Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Harry!

For those who don't already know, I'm obsessed with Harry Potter.  I don't mean your regular "I'm a fan" obsessed.  I'm talking full on fangirl status that is actually slightly embarrassing!

With the conductor of the Hogwarts Express

Hogshead brew
Yep, I have robes.  Nerd alert!

My wand picked me (but really, I'm such a nerd that Ollivander selected my wand for me)

I can remember where I was each time when one of the books came out and feel like I grew up with Harry! As you can see, I am also a big fan of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I can't wait to go back soon).

Harry's birthday is July 31st and this year would be his 34th birthday.  To celebrate, I made some Butterbeer cupcakes and thought I would share the recipe!  They are rich and decadent and truly make me think of Butterbeer as it's described in the books!

Butterbeer Cupcakes.


Ingredients for the cupcakes
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

Ingredients for the butterscotch drizzle
1 11 oz package of butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

Ingredients for the icing
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup butterscotch drizzle
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 16 oz package of powdered sugar
Splash of milk


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners (I chose a gold foil because it reminded me of the snitch). Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl or mixer cream your butter until light and fluffy.  Add both sugars and beat until well-combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla.

Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated.  Fill each cupcakes linter 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Set cupcakes aside to cool.

For butterscotch drizzle: In a double boiler (I will often use a smaller pot over a larger pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth.  Cool to room temperature.

For the icing: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add in 1/3 cup of the butterscotch drizzle and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Beat in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency.  Add milk by the tablespoon as needed.

Frost cupcakes and top with butterscotch drizzle.
*Recipe adapted from Amy Bites

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Musings

Happy Monday everyone!  We had an extremely fun and relaxing weekend and I hope the same was true for you!  Nothing is better than spending time with close friends and my sweet fur children!


On Friday night, we went out to our house to check out the progress.  After thoroughly looking around, we decided to grab some Mexican food.  Our small little town has approximately 3 red lights but two Mexican restaurants.  We like to share the love and go to both, but haven't been to one of them in a few months.  One question: is it sad that one of the highlights of my weekend was finding Ceviche on their menu?  It's not a common dish here in the rural south and I've been dying to have some since we went to Costa Rica last year! 

 It's the perfect summer dish and I've been trying to convince Muffin and/or my Dad to cook it by buying them both this book for Christmas.  I'm hoping finding a restaurant that serves it will get them in the mood to test out some recipes on their willing guinea pig me.


We spent Saturday morning snuggling our sweet puppies and catching up on TV shows.  Muffin and I are currently obsessed with Tyrant on FX.  It has great drama for me and keeps Muff's attention with the subject matter--it's a win-win!

Lucy and Luna sharing sister snuggle time on Saturday morning.
Luna did NOT want me to make the bed!
Saturday afternoon found us outside enjoying the sunshine with the sweet puppies and adult beverages.   We ended the night swimming in the pool and singing at the top of our my lungs!

Lola and her sweet grin!


Sunday was spent at a baby shower for a family friend.  My mother-in-law was the hostess and let me help create the printables for the party.  I had a great time using her color theme of pink, teal, and brown to create a sweet little owl invitation.  Even more fun, was getting to celebrate the new addition!

After a nice, peaceful weekend, it's time to start another busy week!  The framers should make a lot of progress and I can't wait to see how it all looks!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Building Week 6

No time lapse video this week.  We may or may not have forgotten to change the batteries on the camera and only got a couple of really boring days!  However, I did catch a quick video of the amazing crew putting up a wall and will share it at the end of the post!  The batteries are all changed and next week's video will show TONS of progress...BECAUSE WE STARTED FRAMING!

After months of logging, clearing, and basement pouring our little spot on the farm is starting to look like an actual house!

It is amazing to see how much has changed in just 6 weeks! 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bourbon Smoked Salmon Recipe

Salmon is one of my favorite things to eat in the Summer because it's light, fresh, and full of flavor!  Luckily for me, Daniel has an amazing Salmon recipe and loves to help cook, especially if it involves the grill! 

Salmon marinating

Limes ready for the Salmon.  Serving dish found here!

Making aluminum foil "boat."
Salmon and wood chips on the grill ready for smoking!
 Bourbon Smoked Salmon Recipe


1 Large Salmon Filet
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup of Bourbon
2 Limes (thinly sliced)
2 Lemons (thinly sliced) **lemons are optional


  1. Combine brown sugar with salt in a bowl.
  2. Pour bourbon over Salmon filet.
  3.  Rub sugar and salt mix over entire filet.
  4.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.  Once complete, the Salmon filet should feel stiff to the touch.
  5.  Put Salmon on a large piece of aluminum foil.  Fold the edges to create a "boat" (refer to the pictures above for an example).
  6. Cook at low heat (160-200F) for 45-60 Minutes, or until salmon flakes off.   
    • Step 6 is where you can either use an official smoker, or a makeshift one from a grill.
    • If you use a grill, be sure to put a wood chips of your choosing in a container full of water or beer to give it that smokey flavor.
  7.  Let Salmon rest on bed of sliced limes and/or lemons for 5 minutes prior to serving.

This easy Salmon dish has become one of my favorites!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Building Time Lapse Video Week 5

I'm late with this week's time lapse, but with good reason!  On Thursday, I had the pleasure of going to Georgetown for a work trip!  We are planning an event there in September and needed to go check out the venue!

A gorgeous Georgetown sunrise!

There's nothing more exciting than planning an event in a venue as gorgeous as this one!
I spotted a little Scottie/Westie love on the grounds!
While I was gone, the builders were hard at work!  They added the waterproof seal to the basement walls and filled in around them with dirt.  The biggest accomplishment of the week is that they also completed pouring the cement for the floors!

Here's the video:

They will deliver the lumber to start framing on Monday (tomorrow...yipee!).  I think I am most excited about framing because our vision will finally start to take place in a very noticeable way!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet Our New Addition

I've been radio silent on the blog for a bit (I know you were all just dying for that salmon recipe...haha...but really I will post it soon). Daniel and I unexpectedly adopted a puppy over the weekend and have been extremely busy getting her acclimated to her new surroundings, and getting the puppies acclimated to their new sibling!

Miss Luna!
Meet Luna Lovegood, or Luna, our newest baby.  She is a rescue that was abandoned with a littermate. When they were found, they were extremely malnourished. We feel extremely thankful that she is alive and well and able to join our little family! Luna is very loving and wants to know where we are at all hours of the day. In fact, Luna is so anxious about where we are that we decided to subcribe to DogTV, a television channel for dogs, to give her something to pay attention to when we aren't in the room (more about DogTV here!). She is approximately 5 months old and they tell us she is a Scottie/Westie Mix!

Luna and the puppies are getting along splendidly! They have even gone swimming together in the pond! We are all adjusting to our new routine, and everyone seems to be doing really well!  Luna will start puppy school at PetSmart next week (Lucy and Lola made it all the way through the Advanced class and are Canine Good Citizens).

Sisters resting after serious play time!

Playing together

Lola and Luna having sister snuggle time
While Muffin and I weren't planning to adopt another fur child, we are both so glad that we happened to go by PetSmart last weekend and find our sweet puppy!

More updates on the house, life, and the perfect Salmon recipe soon!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Building Time Lapse Video Week 4

It's officially been a month since we broke ground!  This week we poured the cement walls for our basement and started "stubbing up" plumbing!  I've been told that in the next week or so we will start framing out the house and I couldn't be more excited! 

I love how much progress we've made and love getting to see everything come together!

Since everyone seemed to enjoy seeing pictures along with the last post, here are some shots of last week's progress:

We have walls!
Daniel posing with our basement walls!


And finally, our week 4 video for you to enjoy!  This week's music is a John Denver cover by Old Crow Medicine Show!  Hope you enjoy:

I can't wait to see what happens in the next month!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Buying Windows and Exterior Inspiration

I never knew it would be so hard to pick windows for our house!  It is the most frustrating part of building so far.  It's frustrating because it's so darn tedious.  Windows aren't cute or fun.  The process isn't glamorous or exciting.  Nope.  Windows are boring.  There, I said it.

However, it's such an important part of building your home.  The efficiency grade, tint, etc. all have effects on your home's overall energy efficiency and future electric bill.  Additionally, nobody wants an ugly window!  Luckily, Muffin has done tons of research and knows what all of the window salesmen are talking about (I really do appreciate these kind gentlemen explaining everything to me over and over again because everything seems to look the same).

I decided to make make window shopping more fun by making an exterior inspiration board for our house.  I really needed to visualize how all of the ideas we've had for the exterior colors and finishes would come together and how a window (and it's grill style, etc.) would play into this.

Buy Exterior Sconce HERE
The above is what we are currently thinking for the exterior:  a darker green sage for the entire house with lighter sage in the gables (you can reference our plans here).  The trim and garage doors will be ivory.  I'm debating on if we should paint the door frame sidelights or stain them--I'm leaning towards stain.  I wanted a shingle color that would compliment our stone.  They have hints of grey/green and are reminiscent of driftwood.  Exterior lighting will have a brass/copper finish (and I'm loving the hanging look as shown here).  Lastly, I think we are going with white windows with colonial grills in the front and no grills in the back!

I'm very excited to see everything come together and am glad to have a direction.  Now to get the last of the window quotes in and finalized!  


Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Festivities

Our 4th of July was fun and very low key this year.

Muffin and I decided not to get out my boxes of patriotic decor since all of our things are spread out to the 4 winds (we have boxes of our various things at around 3 separate locations right now)!  Even though our house didn't look  like it was in the spirit to celebrate, we certainly were!

To kick off the weekend, Daniel decided to smoke some salmon and have a mini cookout at our apartment on Thursday night.  He always does such a good job and I will share his recipe later this week!  We then spent the rest of the evening floating in the pool and listening to music (lots of bluegrass, of course!)

Daniel's perfectly cooked salmon!
On Friday, we headed over to my parents house to spend the 4th of July on the pond!  My mom always knows how to decorate for a holiday and I'm so sad that I didn't get pictures of her amazing mantle!  One of my favorite things she had were chalkboard placemats!  I got to have my little kid moment and decorate them for her.  I only got a picture of my "nerdy" one that includes a history joke about Guy Fawkes Day (a british holiday you can read more about here that also includes fireworks).

I really need to get better with taking pictures of things!
 Other versions of my placemat art included a bomb pop (which who doesn't think of the 4th when they see a bomb pop?) and fireworks.  I love that you can change them up for any holiday or occasion and really have my eye on these for when our house is complete.

We spent a lot of time hanging out on a floating island on the pond.  That's right I said floating island!  Muffin and I first spotted our little floating paradise a few months ago at Sam's and knew that we needed to get it for the pond.  There's no better time to try something like this out than the 4th of July!

It took some time to figure out the best way to inflate it, and a shopvac in "reverse" mode worked well!  Once it was in the water, it was time to relax and enjoy our 4th of July and listen to some Old Crow Medicine Show!

In place and ready for floating!

A gorgeous lotus at my parent's house!

From there, we ate my Dad's delicious ribs and had mango margaritas!  It was a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!  

I can't wait to head back out to the pond for some more "island time" in the coming weeks!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!

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