Friday, May 8, 2015

"DIY" Fresh Baked Blueberry Streusel Muffins [Before and After]

'DIY' Fresh Baked Blueberry Streusel Muffins: Before and After

Happy May! It's almost Mother's Day, do you have any plans for the special day? We have our whole family here for lunch with all the moms, it's always a nice gathering and the weather usually cooperates to have the shindig outdoors. It's supposed to be in the mid-70s on Sunday, so I'm happy about that!

This is one of the few years we're not rushing to finish some kind of home DIY project right before the Mother's Day gathering, or at least trying to tidy up a mess mid-project. So far this year, we haven't really done any major home improvement projects around here. There are a few reasons for that - time, energy, budget, and time. Oh, and budget, did I mention that? ;) I must say that I miss being knee deep in some kind of home improvement update sometimes (crazy, right?!), so I'm pretending this post about blueberry muffins is a DIY project, because it is, right?! Homemade=DIY! It's like a mash-up of two of my favorite creative passions, baking and home improvement! If you think about it, baking isn't such a big leap from DIY home improvement and decorating. In both instances, you take a bunch of separate elements (ingredients), put them together in a pleasing palette (palate), and decorate (garnish) them to appeal to the recipient. Just go with me here. 

I made these muffins for our neighbors who just had a baby. Hooray for sweet snuggly babies! I love the idea of new life coming into this world and all the possibilities that precious life brings. Babies are like THE ULTIMATE DIY PROJECT!!! (Too far with the DIY analogies? Haha, yes.) I also think new Moms deserve fresh baked somethings because they're sore and tired and their boobs really hurt, amIright?! Blueberry muffins seem cozy and homey for a family with a new baby.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Flower Wide Open (A Poem)

You can see these same tulips in their heyday on my Instagram feed, but I think they look wonderfully interesting like this too, all wide open right before their petals fall.

Happy Lei Day (and May Day)! ♫ May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii...♪. According to Wikipedia, "May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations that the day includes."

Did someone say cake?! I should really take this May Day more seriously.

Given that today is May Day/Lei Day, I thought I'd share a flowery poem with you. I wrote this little poem recently as I was returning these tulips from the photo above back to the earth (i.e. the compost pile) after they died. Okay, granted, May Day is more about celebrating spring and renewal and life and I'm sharing a poem that I thought of as these flowers were dying, but hey, it's the circle of life, right? Let's just call it my eulogy at a tulip funeral.

I call it...Flower Wide Open. A poem by me, Sharon B. *finger snaps all around*

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Fresh Berries: DIY Wood Sign {how-to}

The Fresh Berries: DIY a rustic vintage looking wood sign {how-to}

I finally got myself a sign that's been on my mind for years! Weird, right, to have a sign in my head for years?! And such a specific sign too. Well, let me tell you a story about that.

♪ Now, this is a story all about how
My board got flipped from scrap to a sign
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the fresh Berry of a town called Bel Air...♪

I don't know where that came from. We don't even live in Bel Air.

Here's the actual story:

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Vacation with Your Parents Without Losing Your Mind: A Tour Around the Island of Oahu

How to Vacation with Your Parents Without Losing Your Mind: A Tour Around the Island of Oahu
Last month I took a trip with my parents back to Oahu. Now to some people, spending 9 days and 8 nights together in close proximity with your parents may not be your idea of a vacation, but I've gotta say, it was a great time - it's ranked high up there as one of my favorite vacations. We've taken several trips together over the years and we really enjoy each other's company. I'm fortunate enough to have pretty fun and active parents who are game for trying new things, that definitely helps. When I try to explain to people that we were on vacation together, sometimes I get a strange look and some kind of mumbling that sounds like they'd rather spend time in a dentist chair having a tooth pulled than go on vacation with their parents. I have one simple tip on how to vacation with your parents without losing your mind. Ready for it? Here it is:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tiptoeing through the Tulips at Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2015

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2015

Last weekend, two of my favorite galpals and I had a fun girls day visiting the Skagit Valley tulips in Mount Vernon, WA. I love making this trek to the tulip fields - the sea of bright colors is such a happy way to welcome Spring, so I thought I'd bring a little cheerfulness to the internet today with photos captured from our day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Grilled Island Jerk Shrimp and Sausage Skewers

Grilled Island Jerk Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
Olá, amigos! Como você está?
That is the extent of my Portuguese, and Google Translate had to help me with part of it. Seems random, right, to greet you in Portuguese? It'll all make sense in a moment...

There's nothing like the enticing smell of food sizzling away on an outdoor BBQ grill, would you agree? We are huge fans of outdoor grilling - we'll grill just about anything, at any time of year. We cooked up these skewers on the grill the other night and each time we make something with this jerk marinade, I loudly announce throughout the meal, "Mmm!!" and "This is soo good!" - I figure if I like it that much, some of you will too.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Live Aloha ~ Recycled Goodwill Painting Gets Two New Looks

Live Aloha! Recycled Goodwill Painting Gets Two New Looks

We have had a pretty mild winter in the Pacific Northwest and even saw quite a few beautiful sunny days here in the past couple weeks. I am very grateful for that considering that so much of the country has had severe winter conditions that would challenge the sunniest of dispositions. It is still cold here though, so about this time of year I'm ready for some warmer weather.

I'm talking REALLY ready.

Tropical getaways.

Sitting on a lanai somewhere listening to island music.

Mai tais. Or pina coladas. Both.

Swaying palm trees.


Sand between my toes.

Ocean waves.

Who's with me, people?! 

I try to keep the Aloha spirit in my heart and my mind all year 'round, but living in a state of Aloha is just not the same as being in the state of Hawaii and sometimes I really miss being there. Coming up with fun ways to bring more Aloha into our lives helps, like making a "Live Aloha" canvas sign for a friend who reminds me of this message every time I see her. So here's how this sweet little sign came to be...