Uncategorized

Spring 2015 Bucket List

Happy weekend everyone! After a very busy month and kind of a stressful couple of weeks personally, I have been so grateful for a weekend of taking things easy. Spring is officially here, though the weather has been quite gloomy on our side of the world lately. To cheer myself up and help me let go of anything crummy from recently, I’ve decided to make my first ever Spring Bucket List (a great accompaniment to the autumn and summer ones I’ve been checking off the past couple of years!). Spring 2015 Bucket ListI’m really looking forward to getting back into the habit of checking off items from a fun to-do list. I think these seasonal bucket lists really help me stay motivated and always give me something to be excited about!

What kinds of things are you planning on doing this spring?

xxCaitlyn

Autumn Bucket List

Autumn 2014 Bucket List Recap

Even though it is technically still Autumn, in Michigan we’ve already gotten quite a bit of snow to remind us winter is on its way! I thought I’d give a recap of what I’ve been able to scratch off my Autumn Bucket List so far this year so I can get started on creating one for the winter ahead. As with my Summer 2014 Bucket List Recap, many of the links will take you to posts about the topic so you can remember along with me 🙂

Autumn Bucket List 2014
1. Go apple picking √
2. Make monte cristos √ (This year I made this yummy recipe with my Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, and last year I made this one!)
3. Go to Crane’s in the City for lunch √
4. Make amazing apple pie √ (More details to come!)
5. Make apple rose tartlets
6. Make sweet potato bread √
IMG_1404This sweet potato bread recipe was so, so good!
7. Make apple butter √ (recipe here!)
8. Make an apple roll cake
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9. Make acorn crafts √
How to Paint Acorns | Upcycled Garden Style | Scoop.it
I tried making these…. (Source)
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…and these! I was inspired to make the little gnomes above by this etsy shop.
10. Carve pumpkins
11. Have a ramen party
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12. Have a wine & cheese night (Though we did join a Raclette party which I hope to blog about soon!)
13. Have a chocolate tasting party (No party, but I did try plenty, and even reviewed this one)
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14. Eat caramel apples √
15. Make homemade ice cream (I swear I’ll get to this one of these days!)
16. Have an Oktoberfest party
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17. Go to the Detroit Beer Festival √
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More pictures can be found on my instagram
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19. Make name silhouette art √
IMG_1501I got this idea from a painting my mom had with her name in this style, and I can’t wait to experiment more with name silhouettes in the future!
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21. Writing challenges 1/week (I only did two, one of which can be found here…)
22. Restart book club √ (In October we read Your Face in Mine, and this month we’re reading the latest Haruki Murakami novel)
23. Try Ethiopian food √
24. Catch up on art journaling (But I’ve been starting to gather pictures and other memorabilia!)
25. Get officially certified as a coffee master √
IMG_1541Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! I got certified yesterday!! 😀
26. Make Jack-O-Lantern tartlets
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28. Dandelion blowing √
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30. Make a fairy garden (But I did start collecting supplies!)
31. Go mushroom hunting (The weather got too cold, too fast!)
I definitely was a busy girl over the fall months, and I think with our move to Tokyo ahead, I will likely stay that way! What kinds of fun have you been up to this Autumn?
xx Caitlyn
P.S. Don’t forget that tomorrow is the end of the second Little Snail Thrift Store Challenge! I am looking forward to seeing your projects, and will be posting the next challenge soon!!
Autumn Bucket List · Food & Cooking

Autumn Bucket List: Apple Roll Cake

I am so excited to share a new recipe with you: Apple Roll Cake! To make this uh-mazing cake, you will need to use this cake recipe, apple butter (I used the apple butter I made and it was fantastic, if I do say so myself!), and whipped frosting (recipe follows).

IMG_1217To start, you’re going to beat eggs with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until nice and frothy and lemon-colored. Then you beat in sugar before turning the mixer on low and gradually adding water, vanilla, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice, ground cloves, salt and powdered sugar. IMG_1224Once you’ve got your batter ready, pour it into a pan lined with parchment paper and spread into the corners. I carefully dropped the pan a few times on the counter to get out some of the air bubbles, too.IMG_1227Bake the cake for 12-15 minutes, preparing a powdered sugar-dusted towel in the meantime. IMG_1228Invert the cake onto the prepared towel and carefully peel off the parchment paper…

IMG_1229…then slowly roll up the cake and let it rest for 30 minutes before topping.

IMG_1233After the resting period, it’s time to add your yummy apple butter. I used about a cup and a half (nearly a pint jar full).

IMG_1234Because of the strong spices in the cake and the apple butter, I decided to compliment the flavors already present with a nice fluffy frosting.

IMG_1226To make the frosting, I whipped together the following ingredients in a small bowl over another bowl filled with ice water:

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

IMG_1235After spreading a layer of the whipped frosting over the apple butter layer, it is time to roll up the cake.IMG_1238I frosted the outside of the cake and dusted a little cinnamon along the top to make it look pretty.IMG_1244Finally, your cake will be done! Make sure to store your cake in the refrigerator–it tastes even better cold and served with a complimentary coffee.  IMG_1241I brought some of the cake to work and we paired it with Starbuck’s Anniversary Blend. The cake was really good; one of my coworkers described it as an apple version of pumpkin pie. Once you try it, you’ll understand: the apple roll cake has lovely fall flavors, and the texture is moist yet light. Let me know if you try this recipe, and what your favorite cake recipe is in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out my Maple Roll Cake recipe if you’re looking to have more roll cakes in your future 🙂

xx Caitlyn

Uncategorized

Summer 2014 Bucket List Recap

Wow, this summer flew by. I think because Michigan’s summer was a bit cold this year, it didn’t even feel like we had a real summer, but I was really happy that I could check so much off my summer bucket list for 2014 anyway! The to-do’s with checks were completed, and most of the ones with a strike-through were just transferred to my fall list (coming soon!) instead. Many of the links will lead you to past posts so you can remember with me, if you like 🙂

Summer Bucket List 2014

1. Drive-In Movie √
Drive-In
We saw Guardians of the Galaxy
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4. Go to a Star Party √
5. Have a BBQ √
6. Go on a picnic √
7. Make homemade ice cream
8. Blow bubbles
9. Tie-Dye Shirts
10. Make Bloody Mary’s √
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11. Make jam
12. Make milk carton boats
13. Make pickles
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Remember these watermelon rind pickles?
14. Run at least one 5K race √
Camp Sunshine 2Camp SunshineI ran the Kalamazoo Mud Run & the Holland Camp Sunshine Run in the Sun
15. Look at bugs/plants/nature under a magnifying glass
16. Go to a museum √
17. Have a fancy night dressed up around town √
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19. Have a wine and cheese night
20. Have a chocolate tasting party
21. Dandelion Blowing
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23. Traverse City Trip √
24. Make macarons √
25. Make bread in flower pots √
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26. Work on our first garden √
28. Do a 30-day drawing challenge
29. Do at least one writing prompt a week from 642 Things to Write About
30. Go fishing and/or eat fresh-caught and battered fish
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32. Build something with wood, a hammer and nails
34. Do another wine and canvas
35. Try Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids
36. Try Drip, Drop, Drink in Muskegon √
37. Try Unruly Brewing in Muskegon √
38. Try Lemonjellos in Holland √
39. Make a fairy garden
40. Buy a cute summer dress √
Also, just for fun, here are some more Wheatland pictures from this year, as well as an adorable picture of Simon in Chad’s back pack before a bike ride downtown.
Wheatland
Click image to enlarge
IMG_0780What are some fun things you did over the summer?
xx Caitlyn
Projects

Pretty Fall Wreath Project

I’ve been thinking about ways to make our new house a home, and I thought one good way to do it would be to have a nice Autumn wreath. I was pretty surprised to see how expensive seasonal wreaths are at most stores, and how making your own can end up being a pricey endeavor, too. Luckily, I found a few ways to cut the price down and still end up with beautiful results, all the while enjoying myself as I put it together.

Firstly, I used a 50% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for the wreath form. Hobby Lobby has an app that will always give you a coupon code to use for a discount. I got lucky and managed to hit Hobby Lobby when they were having a 50% off all ribbons sale, too, so I went ahead and bought a color I thought went well with my Autumn theme.  I was shocked to see that at most craft stores a single bunch of artificial flowers will often cost $5.00 or more, so I ended up purchasing my bunches from the dollar store, cutting down on the overall cost of the project dramatically.

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The first step was laying out the flowers in clusters I thought looked nice.

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After wrapping the ribbon around the wreath form, it was time to add flowers.

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After adding a bunch of flowers, I asked Chad for feedback, and he said he thought it would look even better with more leaves. I had to run to the dollar store and get some more (as well as more hot glue gun sticks!), and though I forgot to take a picture of this step, you can sort of see the nearly finished wreath behind my husband and his mother’s spoiled dog Simon 🙂

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I think he knows he’s spoiled!

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After adding the leaves and ensuring there were no strands of hot glue residue, I was finished with my wreath. I think it turned out really well, and am happy to cross the project off my Autumn Bucket List. You’d never guess that the entire project cost less than $20.00! Have you ever tried making a wreath? Do you have any tips?

Monday Matters · Projects

My Day in Photos & My Summer Fun Bucket List

Yesterday we went to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game, followed by a judo farewell party for Chad (one of his teachers started the party by saying, “Ladies and judo-men, thank you for coming. Kanpai!). Both events were really fun, but drinking in the sunshine followed by drinking at a small izakaya led to two sleepy friends this morning. So, we slept in and then lazed around all morning. Chad played League of Legends online and I drank coffee on our balcony while reading blogs, twitter and the news.

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We finally got going in the early afternoon, walking from our apartment to Nunobiki waterfalls, down through Kitano (spotting a woman with a monkey!) and to Starbucks, to Sannomiya for a little shopping, and then all the way to HAT Kobe for some more shopping and sushi.

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We ate sushi at a kaiten sushi restaurant called Kurazushi, and while we were waiting for some of our specially ordered sushi to come zooming down the sushi train, Chad surprised me with a Rilakkuma stuffed animal! Yay! Just looking at it makes me so ridiculously happy. You can’t deny Rilakkuma is one of the cutest characters ever, not to mention the fact that our favorite things are the same in life: eating sweets and relaxing.

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I know. I look tired. Focus on my cute Rilakkuma & the striped bag I got for only 300 yen instead!

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We tried some new sushi today, as well as some yummy sweet potato sticks (top left corner, above). You can see sushi with grilled bacon and mayo on the bottom left, and lemon steak sushi on the bottom right. In the upper right corner is my handsome husband with his cheeks full of sushi, and in the middle you’ll see more normal types of sushi (crab salad, tuna salad, shrimp mayo and cucumber salad, shrimp, and tuna).

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Chad expertly making green tea with the powder and hot water.

All in all we had a really nice day. We’re both feeling sad about leaving Japan, despite our excitement about going home, so I made a summer fun bucket list to help cheer myself up! The warm weather was a welcome reminder that summer is on it’s way, so I thought I’d share my list (so far!) with you!

Caitlyn’s Summer Fun Bucket List

1. Drive-in Movie

2. Binder Park Zoo

3. Go fishing

4. Make S’Mores

5. Have a Star Party

6. Learn to play guitar again

7. Make a bird feeder

8. Make jam

9. Join a book club

10. Go mini golfing

11. Go bowling

12. Have a BBQ

13. Go on a picnic

14. Make banana splits

15. Make homemade ice cream

16. Tie Dye Shirts

17. Blow bubbles

18. Paint rocks with my niece

19. Cheese Fondue

20. Make Root Beer Floats

21. Board Game night

22. Milk Carton Boats

23. Go to a museum

24. Friendship Bracelets with my niece

25. Look at bugs/plants/nature under a microscope

26. Learn to make egg tarts

27. Get a cat!

28. Can tomatoes

29. Play badminton

30. Run at least one 5K

31. Have a fancy night dressed up around town (going to ordinary places)

32. Find a gym with yoga and zumba that’s reasonably priced

33. Volunteer

34. Pay it Forward by paying for someone behind me at a drive-through

35. Paint Balling

36. Wine and Cheese night

37. Make kimchi

38. Make homemade pickles

39. Make homemade Bloody Mary’s

40. Make pineapple upside-down cake cupcakes

41. Make sun tea

42. Dandelion Blowing

43. Make a sandcastle

44. Make/decorate pottery

45. Bon Fire

46. Celebrate 5th Wedding Anniversary at Guster concert!

47. Visit Green Dot Stables in Detroit

48. Go to our high school reunion

49. Traverse City & eating/drinking cherry-flavored things!

50. Shorts Brewery

51. Make waffles

52. Make homemade bread

53. Make cookies with my niece

54. Make trail mix and go for a walk with my niece & nephews

55. Make dreamsicle orange punch

56. Make strawberry mimosas

What fun have you been up to lately, and what fun things do you have planned for summer?