February 11, 2011

A February Frenzied

The month of love, the month of cabin fever and the winter blahs, the month before spring officially starts, and in our house, the month of birthdays! Between our family and close friends, we have no less than 8 birthdays in February! My time and attention has been split between getting my sea legs in my new job, a quick weekend trip to Omaha, trying to do some special things for our daughter's 21st birthday, giving a little thought to Valentine's Day, starting the planning for our daughter's college graduation, plus truly fun hospitality responsibilities at church. There you have the mildly frenzied part of my February, or the first 11 days anyway! I took these dark chocolate/buttercream cupcakes to our last potluck at church - they have a very calming effect on the frenzies!

While in Omaha, we visited a remarkable restaurant called V. Mertz. I was anything but frenzied when we dined here! It was quite an experience and one we probably wouldn't repeat, but wouldn't have missed either. At times we felt as though we were on one of the snotty cooking shows where the server is telling you in excruciating detail what is on your plate. Apparently that helps you appreciate what your eating? It was a little hard to stifle a giggle at times, but the server took his job so seriously and was so earnest that you wouldn't dare! The bottom line was that the food and service were both pretty amazing and it did indeed feel like a special birthday celebration for both my DH and my daughter. The setting was wonderful too, as it was in the Old Market section of Omaha, and we'll want to visit this charming area again.

This bag holds my "little bit of thought" for Valentine's Day, referenced above. I wanted to make a care package for my daughter and her lovely roommates. This will be one of the last times I can do this for them - oh dear! Inside was some Play-Doh in Valentine colors, a bag of Hershey's Valentine Hugs candy, Valentine cereal bowls for each (so cute and only $1.79 at Target), and a big bag of homemade cranberry-almond granola. It's so much fun to put packages together, and I'm not sure how I'm going to get my care package fix after DD graduates!

Is it a stretch to combine these two items in this photo?! First is the recommendation for these little containers, and I do love a new container! Yes indeed, I freeze bacon fat and left over jalapenos in these tiny containers, among other things! The lids actually snap onto the bottom of the container, so you can stack them in the freezer - love it. The little smiley girl in the pictures behind the containers is the same one about to be 21 - and this thought does have me a little frenzied! I'll be more than a little emotional on Sunday when this becomes a reality - more in the next post about this life passage. The photo series of "I Love You" was a Father's Day gift a number of years ago, and would make a great Valentine's Day gift too.

And speaking of bacon fat, our little piggy did go to the market and we now have a freezer full of lovely, pastured, hormone-free porky products. It's been tender and sweet and we're really pleased with it! Last night we had a couple of the Iowa chops, which had a pocket cut into them for filling with stuffing. I made the stuffing from the crusts of our whole wheat bread. Just delicious. I have no picture unfortunately, since I'm never really happy with food pictures that use artificial light, and of course this time of year, dinner is usually after dark! But days are getting longer, we have so much to celebrate in our family this month, groups of bright red cardinals are busy at our feeders, and this weekend we're picking out garden seeds - yippee!

"It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter." Psalm 74:17


  1. I love the photos of your daughter holding "I heart U". I may steal that idea for my kid's photos.

  2. That was one of my husband's all time favorite gifts!