Fishing & Grilling Salmon

Papa David & Nammy Joan took the kids out fishing yesterday in Hudson, WI, and while Papa was the only one to catch a small perch, we were still able to grill up some salmon he had in the freezer. Before I get to the salmon recipe I used, here are a couple pics of the kids with the one and only fish Papa caught!
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Katsie was brave enough to take the fish from Papa! A girl after my own heart.

After fishing, we headed home to grill up some salmon. I hopped on allrecipes.com to search for a good recipe to make a salmon. I normally follow the rules that my brother-in-law Jason’s dad follow (only make recipes with 5 star ratings) but when I came across Maple Salmon at 4.5 stars with 2,200 ratings, I HAD to try it.
Just mix up:
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Marinate a pound of salmon in the mixture for 30 minutes. Then grill it up using tented-tinfoil. Voila!
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It was so delicious. I didn’t think the maple flavor would go so well with salmon, but I was glad I was wrong.

“Baby Cakes” Cake Pops!

Nammy Joan came over today to help my niece and nephew, Katsie and Jacob, make cake pops! Nammy Joan bought her “Baby Cakes” cake pop machine from Micheal’s craft store (using a coupon, of course).
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Nammy Joan’s cake pop machine came with a couple different cake recipes, and we used the vanilla recipe to create our pops. Here are the kids helping Nammy make the batter…
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We used a plastic zip bag to dispense the batter into each cake pop vessel…
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And the machine came with a handy dandy double-pronged tool to take the cakes out…
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The cake pops only took about 3-4 minutes to bake—really fast!
Then we dipped them in melted chocolate and peppermint white chocolate.
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Sprinkles were applied while the chocolate was still melt-y. Then the cake pops were propped up in a foam block to solidify. (nevermind the cake pop that slide down it’s stick…)
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These cake pops are so good, I have already had about 3 of them! Thanks, Nammy Joan, for helping the kids in the kitchen today!
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Lastly, here’s “URANUS” cake pop. This was all Nammy Joan… She was cracking up at this cake pop’s shape…Image

DIY: Homemade Playdough

It was an exciting day at casa de Uncle Dunk & Auntie Kelsey because Great Auntie Barb came over make homemade playdough with the kids! (I call her “Great” Auntie because she’s “Aunt” to me and “Great Aunt” to my niece and nephews.)
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Great Auntie Barb’s homemade playdough recipe came from an old book…
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The recipe called for the following ingredients:
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1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt (I think 1/4 cup would suffice though)
2 Tablespoons veg oil
1 teaspoon alum (Great Auntie Barb had something called septic pencil that we used instead of alum)
Mix the first set of ingredients first, then add:
food coloring
1/2 cup water (slowly add the water, you may not need all of it, or you may need more)

The kids helped Great Auntie Barb mix up the playdough ingredients…
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We added the food coloring to the water in order to help it mix in the dry ingredients better.
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After they were done mixing, it was time for playing!
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Of course, Uncle Dunk made an alligator…
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Thanks for the fun day, Aunt Barb!

Fresh-Picked Strawberries

After yesterday’s adventures in homemade strawberry jam, I decided to stay on the theme with designer Vickie Clontz’s Fresh-Picked Strawberry pincushion. Her pattern for this crafting project can be found in the March/April 2013 Quilt-It…Today magazine (or you can order the kit through her website). 

This project took me about 2 hours, and I STILL need to improve on my sewing techniques. Next time I make these I want to use red velvet to make the strawberries. Anyways, here’s my take on it…
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I left the white flower off because I think the white ribbon looks fine in its place. I’ll be giving this strawberry to my niece Katsie tomorrow. First, I need to find some kind of ribbon/lace to use to hang it like a necklace. I think she’ll love it! It will be a way for her to remember picking strawberries with her brother, her Nammy Joan, and her favorite auntie–ME! 😉

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Yesterday, my mom and I took my niece & nephew (Emily & Jacob) to the opening day of Afton Apple’s strawberry picking season. It was a hot and muggy day, but we still managed to pick 13 pounds of strawberries! My mom did most of the picking. Here’s our bounty…
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We proceeded to make strawberry jam using the recipe found in the box of Sure Jell.
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First, I removed the stems and washed all the strawberries.
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Then, I crushed the strawberries using the Pampered Chef’s can strainer because I don’t have the potato masher (that’s what a KitchenAid mixer is for) that the instructions called for. The can strainer worked beautifully!
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Per the Sure Jell directions, I combined 2 cups of crushed strawberries and 4 CUPS OF SUGAR! I could not believe it required THAT MUCH sugar. This concoction was mixed for 10 minutes.
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Halfway through mixing, mom started the Sure Jell–combine 3/4 cup water with 1 packet of Sure Jell and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute then mix it into strawberries and sugar. Stir for 3 minutes.
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Once we were done mixing the Sure Jell into the strawberries and sugar, we were ready to put our strawberry jam into old glass jars. I love being able to re-purpose old jam and jelly jars.
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My mom put jam into 3 baby food jars for her 3 oldest grandchildren, Jacob, Emily, and Silas. Here is Jacob & Emily with their jars–they love it!
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Here’s another picture of the 2 monsters with all the jars we filled…
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And last, but not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that I accidentally spilled about 4 cups worth of crushed strawberries on my floor because I wasn’t holding on to my Ziploc bag…
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I told my mom that this picture reminds me of her favorite show, “Dexter.”

Get Organized: Gas Mileage & Maintenance Schedule

Am I the only one who neurotically keeps track of gas mileage?
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That would be the tattered-up notebook that I keep in my car to record gas mileage, total gallons, cost of gas, total cost of gas purchased, etc.. Every time I fill up my tank I record the info in this logbook. It’s interesting to track the gas prices–in August of 2009, when I first got my car, gas was at a low $2.51 per gallon… When I filled up my tank yesterday, it was $3.45 a gallon. Sheesh!

This record-keeping obsession has now made it’s way into my vehicle’s maintenance. Just the other day I was actually reading my vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out what kind of maintenance schedule it should be on. (Does anyway actually read the manuals anymore?) I was surprised to find out that my vehicle should have a myriad of inspections and maintenance things done relatively frequently. Up until reading my manual, all I concerned myself with was getting the oil changed and having my hubby and father check out my vehicle anytime it made a funny noise. Now I’m obsessed with changing the AWD power transfer unit fluid every 21,000 miles, flushing the coolant every 100,000 miles, and changing the automatic transmission fluid and filter every 120,000 miles… just to name a few.

Creating a maintenance schedule for my car is work, but I’d like to think it will pay off in the future–preventative maintenance, people!  I realize that I could just copy and paste the maintenance schedule from the owner’s manual, but I wanted to tailor my maintenance schedule and make it look how I want it to look… it’s an aesthetic thing.

June 23 – 28 years old

It’s my birthday! Birthday post!
Today I turned the big 2-8. I waited up until midnight for my hubby to return home from work. He brought me presents and was the first to wish me a happy birthday.
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For lunch, my hubby took me to Osaka. We ate sushi and awesome fried rice. I confessed to the waiter that it was my birthday and he came out with a birthday dessert and this candle…
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It had a sweet flare on it that lit all the candles and made the flower bloom–then is played the happy birthday song! It was the coolest birthday candle I’ve ever seen!
My sister Chastity showed up around 2 p.m. with Gigi’s cupcakes in tow. WHAT A GEM! She totally hit a home-run with these delicious cupcakes on my day of birth.
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I am wonderfully blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with my Tennessean nephew and niece, Jacob and Emily Kate. They are the offspring of my eldest sister Melissa and her hubby Shadrick. Jacob and Emily Kate painted some pictures for me for my birthday…
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Then, we headed over to MaMa Joan’s for grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and my favorite German chocolate cake!
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We also had a bonfire and made s’mores. Here is a picture of Jacob and Emily Kate with marshmallow mouths! (Katsie has marshmallow hair!!!!)
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I received a SECOND birthday cake from my hubby Donncuan. He got it from Dorothy Ann Bakery, the same place we got our wedding cake from 6 years ago. DELICIOUS cakes.
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All in all, it was a pretty great day. I enjoyed myself thoroughly–even though my son wanted to stay up past his bedtime and celebrate mommy’s birthday by playing on his play mat… He’s after his own mother’s heart!