Photo Friday #14 and #15

I’ve been so busy…it’s pretty bad that I have to keep loading my once a week blog into two. Oh well. 

So here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to, in photo Friday form:

jared and I went up to Santa Barbara (where we managed to not take a single picture) to hang out with some friends. It was lovely! On the way back down we stopped in Orange County for my cousin’s wedding. I was one of the bridesmaids. I was pretty worried about wearing yellow but I think it turned out to be a “good” yellow, hah. Her wedding was beautiful! Then we stayed up there at Rachel and Matt’s house. It was a lot of fun seeing their new place and hanging out. They made delicious delicious food and even had Easter eggs for us Sunday morning 🙂 We managed to not take a single picture there either!! What is the world coming to?? We also got to experience their cute new dogs, one of them is farty. Farty dogs are pretty funny, gross but funny. Anyway, that’s what we did for spring break.

 

Here are Shannon, Diann and I at the wedding:
 

Another thing that I’ve been up to lately is going to the Wild Animal Park. I’ve been there 3 times in the last month for different Special Ed. field trips. It was a lot of fun hanging out with the kids and watching their experiences with animals. Being in speech I NEVER get to go on field trips so this was pretty cool for me.
The last time we went we actually saw a cheetah walk right by us. Apparently they are really docile animals and they walk them through the park in the mornings because the guests like it! It was so awesome!! I think the very best part though is right after we saw the cheetah, we walked by a little pond with a duck in it. One of the kids started jumping up and down screaming “duck, duck, duck, and water!!!”. We were laughing so hard, the kid JUST saw a cheetah walk by and he’s excited about a duck, oh and water. oh man.

I happened to have my camera out so here’s the cheetah:

2 days and counting until we are homeowners 🙂

Pumpkin muffins = delicious

So we used to go to this place Muffin Break quite regularly on Sunday mornings. It was kind of a nice way to start Sundays with something different. They had the absolute BEST pumpkin muffins. As you can see, I keep using past tenses. That’s because we went to Muffin Break a few weeks ago and they were gone! Completely gone. I guess in this economy people really can’t be splurging on muffins.

 

So of course, ever since, I’d been craving pumpkin muffins. I know they don’t sell them in boxes so I found a recipe. It turns out they are super easy and really really good. This was the first time I had ever made muffins from scratch and I have to say, they are much better from scratch than from the box.

So here’s the recipe:

 

RECIPE FOR PUMPKIN MUFFINS
From Gourmet November 2006
Adapted from the American Club
Makes 1 dozen
Active time: 15 min.
Start to finish: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice)
1.25 cups plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Equipment: 12 foil or paper muffin liners; a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

DIRECTIONS:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1.25 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

House Pics

Ok, here are some more pictures of the house!! I will call these “before” pictures and hopefully get some “after” pictures once we get in there and make some improvements 🙂

So here’s the front of the house…obviously

The living room with fun vaulted ceilings

The ‘garage’ – well it used to be anyway. The people before converted it to a second living room and we’re going to use it as our office/studio! So if you need portraits…hint hint

The VERY overgrown backyard. The list agent said someone was supposed to be keeping up with it…that someone probably needs to be fired.

The view from the back…ahh, country living!

And…drum roll please…my very favorite part, the kitchen! It definitely doesn’t look like a 1972 house when you look at this room 🙂

We’ll keep you posted. As of now, we should be able to close mid April and move in Mid May, woot woot! Anyone want to rent our duplex after we’re gone? Our landlords have been really awesome and we want someone awesome to take over.