Health, Love & Fire: September 2013

Fall Home Decor

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sorry I have been a bit MIA the past week. I was on Jury Duty for four days last week and didn't do much other than sit at the courthouse. This weekend was pretty uneventful as far as going out and doing much, but I did get the opportunity to finish decorating the house for fall, so I thought I would share my decorations in photos today. I have picked up some of the different pieces over the last few years and am excited to continue to add to my collection of decorations for each season. Just wait till you see my decorations for Christmas! Anyways,  I hope everyone is enjoying the start to fall. We've had pretty wet and windy weather so far, with over 4 inches of rain this weekend alone! I'm hoping the weather improves a bit so that our pumpkin patch trips aren't so covered in mud! Hope you have a good week!

And here's what that gold pumpkin looked like before :) 

 What are some of your favorite fall decorations? 

Come Visit Me - Guest Post

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hey guys,

Today I am blogging over at Samantha Elizabeth, A Lifestyle Blog. I'm excited to guest post for her and share my pasta sauce canning adventure and my love for diy projects. Please visit me over there or check out her blog and her gorgeous photography! I'll be back tomorrow over here!

See you all tomorrow!

Perfect Weekend

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Monday everyone! This was the best weekend I have had in a while. I have a tendancy to overbook nearly every day and try to accomplish too much which leaves me feeling tired and in need of some good relaxation time. This weekend was the exception, and it was exactly what I needed! 

Friday night I met Dan after work and we drove out to the Oregon coast to meet my parents who had rented a house right on the beach for their 30th anniversary. They graciously asked us to share the weekend away with them, and we decided to take them up on their offer. It was so nice to spend the weekend just relaxing, spending time together, and without a plan at all! We played games, drank wine, watched the braves win their division, took walks on the beach, drank more wine, read books, saw whales, ate yummy food, and just enjoyed each other's company. The only thing that could have made it better was to have my brother there with us! 

Instead of going into every detail of the weekend, I'll leave you with some photos! 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy first day of fall! It’s hard to believe it’s already nearly October. Every year I get so excited that fall is almost here that I cut summer a bit short. Sorry summer, I’ll try better next year! Since I am list obsessed, I decided to make a bucket list for this fall. In Oregon, fall seems to speed by before I even know what hit me, but this year I am going to try to accomplish some of my favorite things about this season!

Fall Bucket List:
-       - Make homemade apple cider
-       - Make my Halloween costume
-       - Visit a pumpkin patch
-       - Go through a corn maze
-       - Make an apple pie
-       - Carve pumpkins
-       - Take some fall photos
-       - Redecorate the porch
-       - Go to a Halloween party
-       - Make gluten-free pumpkin bread

I’m so excited for all my favorite parts of this season from boots, to sweaters, apples to pumpkins, and scarves and jackets. I’m also excited because I get to visit my hometown this fall and hopefully show Dan some of the beautiful Upstate New York fall colors. I haven’t been back during the fall for nearly 12 years, so I am thrilled to spend a few days there.

What are your fall traditions? Anything fun on your bucket list?

30 Years of Happiness!

Friday, September 20, 2013

This weekend I am excited to spend time away with my parents and hubby celebrating my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. I’m lucky to have the kind of relationship with my parents that I have. I’m also lucky that we live close enough that I can go to their place for dinner when I don’t feel like cooking and Dan’s on shift, or that we can meet up for wine tasting on the weekends, or especially just to know that they are always there if I need them. I am so thankful for the relationship they have shown my brother and I growing up. There were years where they worked completely separate shifts and would have months without a day off together just to keep my brother and I from having to be in daycare. Their sacrifices while raising us might have gone unrecognized but it was definitely not unnoticed.

If you were a fly on the wall in our living room while we are all spending time together, you’d find laughter, love, jokes, hugs, and probably more laughter. Not only do the four of us have the best time together, it’s awesome to watch them truly enjoy each other’s company (most of the time). There are definitely days that Dad tries to drive mom crazy, and Dan usually tries to join in, but at the end of the day, that’s part of why we love them. While all couples have their disagreements, and there are bound to be lots in 30 years, their relationship always exuded respect and love. I’m blessed and thankful for the best parents and best friends I could ever ask for!

Here are some of the many things I learned from my parents about marriage:
-       -- Never go to bed angry
-       - Be comfortable enough to always be yourself
-       - Remember to tell each other how much you love each other, every day
-       - Make decisions as a couple, not as an individual
-       - Make your spouses dreams part of your dreams
-       - Laugh a lot!
-       - Be honest with each other – even though sometimes this can get you in trouble
-       - Go on adventures together
-       - Be willing to make sacrifices for each other
-       - Learn to balance each other out
- - Always support each other's decisions
 - And laugh even more!

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! I hope for 30 more years of love and happiness & many more beach trips to celebrate! We love you both and are so excited to share the weekend with you! 

Wine Wednesday - Homemade Pinot Noir & Blackberry Wine

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

 Over the past couple of years, Dan has become enamored with the process of making wine. From reading books and blogs, to volunteering at different wineries, he has really immersed himself in the wine industry. I was joking with a friend the other day that our house is closer to a winery than it is to a Target, which is a great problem to have if you love wine as much as we do.
Last fall, after helping at a local winery for two seasons of harvest, we decided to try to make our own. First we decided to try out blackberry wine. We picked over 50lbs of blackberries from our friend's property. In Oregon, you can find blackberries almost everywhere you look around the end of July, so gathering that many berries didn't take us very long. My only request was that I could stomp the berries myself! Dan happily let me turn purple, and do the manual labor, with his assistance. We had gotten a large food grade plastic barrel from a friend so we dumped all the berries in the barrel and I jumped in to start stomping. (Don't worry, Dan made sure my legs and feet were extra sanitized and clean before I jumped in). 

In October, when the grapes were nearly falling off the vines, it was time to pick our Pinot. We found a local vineyard that allowed us to purchase 200lbs of pinot grapes if we agreed to pick them ourselves. Dan, my Dad, and I headed out to the vineyard on a drizzly Saturday morning. It only took us about an hour to pick all of our grapes and sort out the stems and leaves. It was fun to be a part of that piece of the process. So often we taste the final product but don't get to experience each step from the beginning.

Once the grapes had been picked, destemed and we had sorted out all the leaves, we cleaned and pressed them. We then put them into glass carboys, along with some other additives (Dan is the chemist behind the operation) and let them ferment. Dan would check the temperature and levels of the wine frequently to make sure everything was fermenting and aging properly. 

Throughout the last year, Dan has tried different samples of the wine, added the necessary chemicals, and added oak to change the flavor. I haven't done much, especially since he's way more educated on the process and necessary steps to take than I am. He's documented each step, and learns more and more. I'm so amazed at his knowledge and passion for winemaking.
Two weekends ago it was time to bottle the wine! It has been sitting in glass carboys to ferment for the past year. It was exciting to get to taste literally the fruits of our labor! We had 3 carboys of Pinot Noir and 2 carboys of the Blackberry Wine. We tasted each container separately and tried different combinations to decide which blend we liked the best. Then it was time to bottle. We ended up with over 9 cases of wine - 6 and a half of Pinot and 3 of Blackberry. The blackberry has to sit about another 3 months and the pinot needs to sit another year. I can't wait to try to finished product!
It is so neat to watch Dan get so exited about something he is so passionate about. This was such a fun experience, I can't wait to taste the final product and start all over with a new batch of wine next spring. Who knows, maybe one day our dreams will come true and we will have our own vineyard.
Have you ever tried to make your own wine or other neat at home recipe?