End of the year odds and ends!

Life has been crazy. Christmas snuck up on us and then was gone even quicker.¬† After Christmas I got super sick for over a week and being pregnant and sick is not fun. We didn’t do anything for NYE, I don’t think we even watched the ball drop. We are party animals can’t you tell. I haven’t blogged in a while so this is a hodge podge of photos.

The end of the year was good, minus being sick. The best was to come and sooner than we would have known. ūüôā

2016 Christmas Photos

This year our Christmas/maternity photos were last minute and my best friend Teri took them again for our 4 year. She took them and had to edit them before she went on her trip to Hawaii plus she had a 2 month old! Can you say superwoman. We didn’t have much snow at the time and it was super cold. We decided this year to do it at a tree farm which was really fun! This is our last Christmas photo with just us and Arie.

Here are some of our photos!

Little did we know that our peanut was going to be coming very soon. We made it home for Christmas. We did the drive in a day, we wanted to make sure we were close to home. What a year 2016 was, we purchased our house and 4 months later found out we were pregnant. We did not know that we would be spending a lot of our time the next 9 months at the doctor making sure our peanut was healthy and growing. We were so blessed in 2016 and didn’t take any of it for granted.

Christmas Day

For Christmas Day, we traveled¬†to my parents house for my family Christmas dinner. It was another great holiday, it stinks sometimes when you have a big family because unfortunately, some of the family can’t be there because of distance. My sister and her family live out of state so they were not able to be there; however, we sent her lots of pictures and talked on the phone. I made a fresh fruit salad with honey and lime over the top, I forgot to take pictures. I was pleasantly surprised at how good¬†it was, so much so, there are no leftovers! ūüôā My other sister said that is a staple that I have to make for our family gatherings.

Here are a few photos from Christmas Day at my parents house.

We wish you all a great holiday season!

Love, Blondie, Carl and Arie

Successful- Amazing Christmas Eve Dinner

Our Christmas Eve in Review.

Our Tree

Here is our Christmas tree. It turned out well, next year I will mix it up, maybe white lights and different color garland.

Carl’s parents came to our house for Christmas Eve. I wanted to make prime rib, just to be able to say I could make it. I know a lot of people make it for Christmas dinner. We got our 5 lb prime rib from the local butcher shop where they seasoned it for us and told us the best way to cook it. I made lemon butter asparagus¬†(a Paula Deen recipe)¬†and butter, rosemary, thyme potatoes ( I blended the butter and herbs together and stirred into the potatoes). It was all sooooo good and the flavors blended well together.

Here are a few pictures.

 

After our delicious meal together, we opened gifts. Here are a few photos.

Merry Christmas,

Love, Blondie, Carl & Arie

Family Christmas Photos

Family Christmas photo time! Carl and Arie just love it – said neither of them! ūüôā

Our friend Teri took the¬†Christmas photos again this year. She is a professional photographer and her photography site is¬†Teri Lynn Studios¬†¬†she takes great family photos. Last year, we did photos inside and this year we wanted outside ones. A dog park in the metro was our backdrop; however, sad that there wasn’t more snow. Arie was such a character. We MAYBE used a tennis ball to get him to focus, but then he was only focused on the ball. Our photos turned out great. I love the last photo she took of Arie running towards the ball. It is a little blurry but his ears were hilarious.

Thanks Teri for the photos! They were great in our Christmas card.

Arie Christmas Haircut

It’s that time of year again, Arie had to go to the groomer for his Christmas cut! It was getting back, he couldn’t see and was shaggy, I forgot to take a before and after photo. We love our groomer so much!

Here are his photos!

Christmas_Cut Look at that handsome boy!

Arie_Friends He was licking his lips because I was getting his food.

Ball_Crazy He is ball crazy

Gangster_Arie So he is a gangster now with his doo-rag. He bent down fast and came back up and did that with his scarf. goofy dog!

Christmas Mug shot

We were getting our lights untangled to put them up outside around the garage, of course Arie stuck around too long and he was the subject to the following.

His Christmas light mug shots. lol

Light_mugshot Arie-(What is my mom thinking?) 

Light_Mugshot_2 Arie- (Can she hurry up?) 

Light_Mugshot_3 Arie- (My mom is a crazy lady!) 

Happy Christmas Mug Shot.

-Blondie!

Secret Hobby Finally Revealed…

For those of you who read Go Blondie on a fairly regular basis or at least when I post; know that I mentioned a new hobby that I found. Now that we are done with gift giving, we can reveal our hobby.

Drum roll please………….

Our new hobby is WINE MAKING!!! 

Yes, you heard it, Carl and I are making wine. How did this start you ask?!

Back in September 2013, I told Carl it would be fun to make wine and what a great gift to give. When we get invited to someone’s house or need to give a gift, most of the time we bring wine. We thought how cool would it be to bring homemade wine and how special. So for part of my Birthday present, Carl gifted me with the equipment to start the wine process.

Here are the pictures of how our process has been going.

Wine_Rack¬†This is the 30 bottle wine rack I bought from Target, great purchase and it does it’s job.

Wine_Storage_Area¬†Here is our “Wine” Closet. This is where the magic happens or the stinky fermentation stage. haha Our equipment is from Midwest Supplies. They are all great there and so helpful. We were told a main reason why a batch of wine is ruined is because the equipment was not sanitized. We have to sanitize every piece of equipment before and after use.

We attended a 4 hour wine class with them back in September and that was helpful to see the process and we tasted a few different wine kits. It’s sad because when we walk in there now on the weekend they know who we are. Well you can’t miss me. haha

First_Two_Wines Here are the first two kits that we have started. We are starting slow with kits to make sure we get this down. The kits make 6 gallons of wine and produce approximately 5 bottles of wine per gallon- Yes, that is 30 bottles of wine! I wanted to make a short term wine first to make sure we get the process and then try to make a Merlot and Riesling.

Wine #1 Pomegranate Zinfandel 

We decided to start the Island Mist Pomegranate Zinfandel (PZ), that was a 3-4 week wine and you can drink it right away. It is a little sweeter and needs to be served chilled.

Stirring_The_PZ We are stirring the PZ, then we put the yeast in and place the cover on. The kits have specific instructions for when you need to check your wine for the gravity level.

PZ_Ferm_Stage The PZ is now going into the closet for the fermentation stage. This is about a 1-2 week process.

PZ¬†PZ Wine. That’s a lot of wine.

PZ_Batch¬†Once the fermentation stage is complete we have to “rack” (meaning move or transfer to another container) the wine into a 6 gallon carboy. It is placed in the carboy to clear out so there is no sediment in the wine.

We ended up racking the wine2-3 times. We need to check the the gravity every time we look at the wine and then we need to make sure we de-gas it.

Prepping_Bottles¬†While the wine is clearing out, we soak the wine bottles, take the labels off and then clean them out for bottling. We asked family and friends to save bottles for us so that we didn’t have to spend extra money on bottles. We had a great amount bottles and we greatly THANK everyone for saving bottles. Everyone has continued to save bottles so we can continue to bottle. ūüôā

I love our bottle cleaner tree. We tried cleaning them another way and leave them in the drying rack in the sink. That took forever and was really unproductive, the tree is awesome and works so well.

Bottle_Drying_Tree There is a plastic bowl on top with the cleaning solution. The solution is safe as it is an ingredient that is in the wine mix.

Now lets start bottling our first wine!!!!

Bottling_PZ Bottling our first wine, all 30 bottles. This was my job.

Corking_PZ_Batch Carl has a stronger arm and he had job of corking. We broke the corker with only 4 bottles left. oops.

PZ_All_Bottled Our first batch of wine, Pomegranate Zinfandel is complete and bottled. How awesome to see something all come together.

Wine_Labels Our inexpensive wine labels. We are going to order nice labels for the Merlot and Riesling.

Finished_Product Ta Dah! Sorry it is a little blurry. This was so much fun for us both to do.

Wine # 2 Merlot 

Merlot_Ferm_Stage Getting the Merlot ready for the fermentation stage. Our Merlot had oak chips in it. Yum!!! We wanted to make sure we get the Merlot started because it takes the longest to age.

Merlot_Batch Merlot done fermenting and being racked.

PZ_Bottled_Merlot_Ready PZ bottled and Merlot clearing.

Racking_The_Merlot Racking the Merlot again, We did this 3 times to make sure it cleared.

We bottled our Merlot already, I did not take pictures. The Merlot will have to sit for 9-12 months. Each time we did something with the wine, we tasted it and I can’t wait, it is going to be good.

The next few pictures are of me opening our PZ wine.

Opening_The_First_Bottle Opening the first bottle. So excited, so was Arie. haha

First_pour First pour.

Filling_the_glass Yum.

Full_Glass_PZ It was so good. When I put my post up about the scallop supper I made, that is when we tried the wine.

I tasted this wine when it was warm, that was a bad idea. I was scared because if that is what it tasted like, yikes we messed something up. But once it was done and chilled, it was awesome.

This has really been an exciting hobby for both Carl and I to share and keep it a secret this long. We have had a lot of fun watching it all come together.

We had to keep this a secret since September because Carl’s mom and sisters were getting bottles in the Christmas presents. I kept it a secret from my family until October, we surprised everyone with it at my brother’s housewarming party. We have gotten great reviews on the PZ wine, which makes us feel really good and lets us know we did it right. All family and friends who saved us bottle got a bottle of our wine and then we gave some for gifts.

Now we have to get our Riesling started because that one needs to sit for 6-12 months. I would like to do another short term wine, so we will see.

Stay tuned to what is next. I am crossing my fingers for a new italian corker. ūüôā

Happy Wine Making from Blondie and Carl!

Christmas 2013

Our Christmas this year was a little different because of the holiday being during the week. I had to work on Christmas Eve so we stayed home this year. Good thing we did, we got a lot of snow and the driving wouldn’t have been good. We went to 3:30 Christmas service and it was a new pastor this year, I really liked him. He kept everyone engaged and really involved the children in the message. This church reminds of me the church we attended when I was growing up. The families and children were so involved. I miss that. We are going to try the Saturday night service to see what it is like.

Our_XMas_Tree Our tree on Christmas Eve.

After Church we got home and had a lame supper, as my sister would think. lol Carl had reheated pizza and I had gluten free chicken nuggets. haha we didn’t have a lot of time because we were going to a movie. We went to the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”. It was a great movie and I would recommend it.

When we got home we opened our presents. We are very practical people and this year it showed. lol

Opening_Presents¬†Carl and Arie assumed their position for present opening. Carl wanted the crackle and music of the Yule Log and then we had the warmth of our fake fireplace. lol As our friend said, “Dueling Fireplaces”.

I got great gifts from Carl and Arie this year. I got a 10-cup Food Processor, cutting board, magnetic chip clips, new cutting board, a Duluth canvas, corn on the cob holders and my Arie 2014 calendar.

Carl got clothes from Arie and me; a few sweaters, t-shirts, a jacket and a gift card for jeans.

We had a good Christmas this year.

Happy Holidays to You All.

Cheers!

-Blondie!

Arie’s Christmas Photos

The first weekend of December, my best friend “The Photographer” wanted to take photos of Arie. We thought, oh what the heck that would be fun. I think her most difficult subject was our 4-legged family member. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the photos and it was so thoughtful of her to take them. Then Arie got to play on the frozen lake when we were done so he was happy.

All Photos by Teri Lynn Studios 

Thank You so much Teri, we love the photos.