Sunday, June 30, 2013

What happened to June? Let's review!

It seems like it flew by, but then, all of this awesomeness seems so long ago too!

I finished off May and started June with lots of travel, both for work and leisure.  Add a Curly Girl cut and new ink - and it started off wonderfully!

West Virginia won the Taste of America contest for our pepperoni rolls, so I whipped some up and shared them with you!

I found a great Amish nursery - with fantastic prices - and added some more planters to the yard and the deck, or as my husband says, put more obstacles in the way of the yard work.

We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary - the first one we got to spend together - with the Phillies, at Ralph's, and with the most awesome gift I've ever gotten.

Finally, Tiki Torches make the buggy summer more bearable on our deck!

I have some great plans for July... this is my next project - the knotty pine TV armoire and the room!  Come back in a couple of weeks to check out the progress!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pest control made easy - with Tiki torches!

Ahhh... summer.  Time to kick back, crack open a cold one, get outside... 

....and fight the bugs or the smell of the products used to keep them at bay.  

If you've read much here, you know that I'm super sensitive to scents and sprays, so we had to find another way. Tiki torches fit the bill, but you can't just stake them into the deck!  So, we improvised.

I can't take credit for this idea.  My awesome father-in-law actually has umbrellas supported this way on his deck in Florida.  You get yourself a pipe strap like the ones here, you screw them into the deck banister - and viola - you have a full support for your torches anywhere!

Anywhere that you don't have something overhead, anyway!  (Cobwebs optional)

The bonus to this approach - they're above me when I'm sitting, so no burning citronella smell!

Nothing left to do now than to enjoy the great outdoors like Buster and Mati do!

Linked up:
It's Monday - check out the Goods!
Lots of DIY ideas at That DIY Party!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's our anniversary!

Well, yesterday was... and if we're friends on Facebook, you followed along with the first one I've actually spent with my husband since we said our vows five years ago!  

We both left work early to be able to get to Philadelphia for these guys - though he didn't know why that's why I told him he needed to leave early until he got home:

But before he got home from work, these were delivered (daisies are my favorite and were in my bridal bouquet!):

After the game, we went to our favorite old-school Italian restaurant, Ralph's on S. 9th in Philly for a late dinner and then headed home.  

If you're ever in Philly, you MUST try it - and the one on South 9th specifically.  There's a nice, new, fancy one in King of Prussia, and the food is just as good, but the atmosphere is at the Italian Market location.

When we got home, my husband hands me a box. His gifts have been something "traditional" each year, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect with the five year anniversary tradition being wood...  This brought tears to my eyes!  

So thoughtful - and he had to really work on finding this one!

Hallmark has a list of the traditional and modern gifts here.  So a discussion item - do you and your spouse stick to a list like this or just whatever works?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Backyard and deck planters - update!

Last month, I shared the first round of adding some color to the yard... We had such a pretty Saturday last weekend, and I happened to drive by a pretty nursery (wait - stop - something shiny!), so I've added some more planters - and have the pictures to prove it!  I bring you, the picture post. Enjoy!

In the wheelbarrow corner, I added 2 whiskey barrels with thrillers, fillers, and spillers! (Thanks, BHG magazine!)

I didn't know where else to put these large planters but in front of the clothesline supports....

I love peace lilies - I would have these wall hanging planters all over if I could!

This one, I did not make... I did buy this one just as it is.

And a sunny one, too...

Looking to the left... and yes, I do use the clothesline from time to time. Nothing better than one of my quilts, made by my Grandmother, dried on the line on a sunshiny day.

The carport wall under the deck is part of what I call "the 20 year project" - someday, the stucco will be completely gone and will be replaced with stone, or at least stone veneer.  But, why not pretty it up with plants in the meantime?  What you can't see in the picture are the two huge propane tanks that we need for the generator to run when we lose power.

And up on top, the tomatoes and peppers are coming in!  Love the Earth Box planters!

I just love the view from the deck (and my wide lens.) If only we didn't have a house right behind us messing it up!

That's it for now!  Check out lots of other good ideas for your outdoors here at the Summer Spruce up Series or here!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Yummy, gooey Pepperoni Rolls - WV Style!

I've seen a flurry of "pizza roll" activity on Pinterest lately... let me introduce you to the original - the Pepperoni Roll.

When I first started this blog, I said I wouldn't be sharing many recipes or cooking ideas, mostly because that's my husband's realm, not mine.  But, every now and then, I think of something that others might enjoy and then I go to share it, and I think "This isn't a food blog.... any professional blogger will tell you that you need to stick to your niche."

But, I'm not a professional blogger, I'm a professional Sales Manager who happens to blog.  And I don't really have a niche.  I'm random.  They also tell you that your posts shouldn't be wordy.  Pshhhh... Have you met me?

Then I think "Nobody's interested in little day to day stuff..." and then I look at other blogs, and that's what they are, day to day stuff!  And they're awesome and they have readers - lots of them!

So in the spirit of sticking to "Experiment in Creative Randomness" - I bring you a food post!  But first, a little background...

Pepperoni rolls are a staple in my beautiful home state of WV. My New Jersey raised husband is always amused when, even at the most remote gas station, there's an aisle full of nothing but different brands of pepperoni rolls. In our house growing up, we almost always had them around, well, at least for a couple of hours until my brothers ate them all, and they were a must at all birthday parties.

Legend has it that pepperoni rolls were created in Fairmont, WV many generations ago as a way for coal miners to have an easy to carry, filling, doesn't-need-to-be-refrigerated lunch.  Ask any West Virginian about their favorite comfort foods, pepperoni rolls rank pretty high on the list.

In honor of the pepperoni roll winning the blue ribbon in the "A Taste of America" contest (beating out another one of my favorites - the Philly Cheesesteak!), I had to share the DIY route with all of you not lucky enough to get yours while pumping gas!

This is the real-deal, plain-Jane, good old-school pepperoni roll just like my mama used to make.  You can fancy them up with spicy cheese, spices and herbs on the crust, adding some sauce, using "Turkey" pepperoni (who does that?) but nothing beats plain and simple in my book!

To make pepperoni rolls is an all day affair, so be sure to plan accordingly!  You'll need to thaw out and raise that frozen bread dough, and I don't know about you, but I don't ever have room in my fridge for a sheet of anything, so I go with the 5-8 hour countertop method.

Spray a baking sheet with some Pam, set your loaves on it, spray one side of cling wrap with more Pam, cover up the bread with the Pam side down, and wait. It really depends on how warm your kitchen is, but after 4 or 5 hours, keep an eye on the loaves.  You do kind of need to pay attention before the loaves become huge cloud-like poofs. There is a fine line, I've crossed it many times. It almost happened again today, and I put them out at 11.

Once the dough is thawed and raised, working with one loaf at a time and keeping the other covered so that it doesn't dry out, slice the loaves into smaller pieces, about 8 - 10 per loaf, and stretch each piece to about the size of your palm before loading it with cheese and pepperoni that you'll tuck into the roll by sealing up the edges. This is also a great time to preheat your oven to 350°.

Place the rolls, seam side down, on a baking sheet and bake them for 15 - 20 minutes, checking them at 15 and just kind of going from there until they're what my husband calls "GBD." I'll let you think about that one for a minute.

Yes, that's my pepperoni roll pan.  Need to find those blog posts that tell you how to get them all sparkling again!

Don't worry if some of the cheese bursts out of the rolls as they're baking.  Happens every time.

Once they're golden brown delicious, place them on a cooling rack over some paper towels to soak up some of the yummy pepperoni grease that you're not going to think about while you're eating them, and let them cool.  I personally like them best about 5 - 10 minutes out of the oven, but that could be because that's how quick I had to get to them before these guys demolished them all.

These will store for about 5 - 7 days in whatever tightly sealed container you choose - if they last that long!

So to take away:

1 bag of frozen bread dough (3 rolls) - could use frozen dinner rolls if you want them all uniform in size - they're a bit small for me 
1 bag pepperoni - or about 1/2 lb. if you get it from a deli
2 bags of (good) Mozzarella

Thaw and raise the bread dough according to the instructions on the bag, any of the methods will work.  Once raised, preheat oven to 350°.  Cut the loaves into 8 - 10 pieces each, stretching each piece to about the size of your palm.  Place a "pinch" of cheese and 4 - 6 slices of pepperoni in each piece of bread and wrap the edges around it to seal.  Place the rolls on a baking sheet 1-2" apart seam side down and bake for 15-20 mins.  Cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!  Once rolls are completely cooled, place in airtight container to store for up to 7 days.

Word of warning - if you have pets, be sure to cool them out of their reach.  I once went into a kitchen with greasy paper towels on the floor and a very guilty looking set of puppies.  I thought the counter was high enough.  They worked together to prove me wrong.

linked up here - check out the list of awesome summer recipes at Thistlewood Farms
and here - always lots of good stuff in the Give Me the Goods parties!
and here - TONS of recipes available to grab at Carole's Chatter!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gotham, Boston, Pittsburgh and INK!

So let's see... May was busy!  I was in Manhattan, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pittsburgh - and most of that was just for fun - not even counting work trips to NJ, MD, and Philly. Somehow, in between, I did get the bathroom mostly done, but that's about it for ME being creative lately!  However, I was the recipient of some creativity that I'm excited to share!

So, to keep you all interested in checking BohoWillow out, here's some of the stuff I did manage to get done in May in (shoddy quality) cell phone photos!  Enjoy!

I took a train ride into Manhattan for a meeting... this is the view from New Jersey:

After spending a day in the rain in Manhattan and being more than frustrated with the mop on my head, I found a LOCAL stylist who specializes in THE curly girl cut - as in Deva Curl - as in the products I've used for a couple of years now, but hadn't taken the time to even call the Devachan Salon in SoHo, much less make an appointment... But, my new guy, Jon, at Frank Fico in Lancaster actually used to TEACH the method!  Score 1 for me, 0 for the frizz!  (Terrible - and dare I admit - no makeup - picture, but I loved my curls that day more than I ever have in my LIFE!)

I went to West Virginia for Mother's Day, and sadly, this is the only picture I took.  Though the fog settling into the nooks and crannies of the valley still looks pretty awesome, no matter how blurry.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the huz and I flew up to Boston for a nice long weekend that actually also turned into work for me. Before that happened, we stayed on the South Shore at the Nantasket Beach Resort for a couple of nights.  It was really cold the first day, but on Monday, I woke up to sunshine calling my name for a walk on the beach.  And lobster boats.  Well, truth be told, what was calling my name was the Dunkin Donuts with their amazing Massachusetts coffee down the street.

The beach there is so beautiful.  I love walking and collecting, and at this beach, the collections are mostly beautifully hued rocks rather than shells.  I did find some beautiful deep blue shells as well, and I passed a woman who was filling a bag with beach glass in greens and blues - my target for the next visit!

The trip was for my husband and his buddies to see the Phillies/Sox series - 2 games there and 2 in Philly, and they were nice enough to include me in one, so I got to see Fenway Park - and Yawkey Way before we went in.  I fell in love, and I want to be part of whatever group will keep this park from being replaced - or even worse, destroyed.

Yes, that is two photos that I matched up, poorly.

As I mentioned, I had some work to tend to while we were there, and after meetings one day, our group went to a fantastic steak house on Boylston Street.  Like any good American, I wanted to take a moment at "the" spots. The paper posted on this tree, as well as the scars in the bark set the tears off.

Finally, I wrapped up the month with a trip to Pittsburgh with my BFF to see Dave Matthews Band (haven't missed one since '94!)  The setlist was a bit of a bummer, but the time with my girl, the food we ate, and oh, the new ink were well worth the trip!

With just a few of our friends...

Andddd... the tattoo!!  I love tattoos - I love GETTING tattoos... and this was my first in about 18 years!

And that, my friends, was May in a nutshell!  Though my projects will likely be moving outside with the temps warming up, there will be more soon!
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