Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Summer

This post seemed needed since I haven't really been talking a lot about what we have been up to lately. So by now you probably all know that I quit my job. I have to say that it's probably been the most exciting thing I've done in a long time. I've been able to do more sewing and crafting lately (more on that later) and I especially have time to work on things that are most important to me, including our own work instead of somebody elses. I also start a new job this week! Something fun and part time so that we can have a little steady cash coming in, you know, to like pay for rent and food and stuff. Seemed necessary.

Jon was able to attend a Summer Arts program in Fresno for two weeks! It was a program that he had to apply to months ago. He got accepted and even got a partial scholarship for it! It counts for a whole class' worth of graduate credit (which means one less class he has to try to fit into his schedule this fall) and it was a super great opportunity for him to hear from guest speakers and artists as well as professors from other colleges and just network with awesome artistic people. I also didn't realize that although this is a program put on by the CSU's, it is actually a national event, so there were people there from all across the states, and last year there were apparently even people there from Italy. So cool!

Jon came home with some AMAZING paintings that were done during the two weeks by friends he made there (pictures to come later since we're revamping the apartment to make room for them all) and he also came home with a small stack of books - when does he not?

Oh, and one more thing... he came home with this:

Most of you know that he had been sporting the beard for quite a while, and originally his goal was to grow it out until graduating with his master's degree next spring. Well, he was getting sort of tired of it and his friends at summer arts encouraged him, so he shaved it off and waxed the stache. I think it's pretty funny and actually looks better in person. It's not especially my thing... but I guess if college is where you experiment and find yourself, I would be happy to say that this is how he does it :)

Jon and I also have NOT forgotten about our year of creation. That is why we have made so many of the choices that we have lately. We want to create more awesome and decrease worldsuck. In an effort to combine our talents, develop new ones and create together, I decided to put together an art lesson for us with Jon's dad. He is a fantastic painter and since Jon wanted to keep his creative mindset when he came home from summer arts, we went to his parent's for FHE last night and each worked on paintings so that the other couldn't see what we were doing.

I finished mine first:

It's a combination of all the things I love. Trees, nature, tree houses of sorts, wisteria (no, those are not bunches of grapes) and owls... which may or may not represent me and Jon. I'll let you decide.

Jon's painting is not done yet, so I have not seen it and have no idea what it is. But he did post a first uncompleted half of it on Facebook because he thought he would be done with it that night. It is still a work in progress so I will make sure to get better and more completed pictures when these go up on our art wall with all the other things that Jon came home with from Summer Arts.

Overall it has been an adventurous start to the summer. Next stop, San Diego!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Play Time

We keep Margo's toys in our room in one spot, and she knows just where that is. Every day when we wake up, she goes right over to her toys and picks which one she wants to play with. Today it was her lobster.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cooking with Jon & Steph - Strawberry Tartlets

Welcome to the Alston home blog!

After working on our photography so much lately I feel like I've really missed our regular family blog. These cute seasonal tiles (pictured above) came from my sister in law Jackee. You should follow her. She's an awesome writer!

But I know what you really all came for... the strawberry tartlets:

Last week was my friend Bay's birthday. And since it is strawberry season, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out a unique birthday dessert for her! My sister Michelle came over and we picked up some deliciously red strawberries from the local stand in Orangevale. Oh my GOODNESS they were perfect.

This recipe is so easy and quick, and it looks cute too! They are best when fresh and crisp. I would highly recommend that you do NOT refrigerate them for a few days and then try to eat them again, because they turn saggy. This recipe makes me think it would be really fun to do a summer party all themed with strawberry desserts :)

Prep: 15 min  Bake: 10 min + cooling

12 Wonton wrappers (you can buy a bag of pre cut dough wrappers. at our grocery store they are in the organic section)
3 Tbl melted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Mascarpone cheese (I couldn't find this, so I used cream cheese instead and it was fantastic!)
2 Tbl honey
2 tsp orange juice
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh mint (optional)
Whipped cream

Brush one side of each wonton wrapper with butter. Place brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Press buttered side of wontons into sugar to coat. Press wontons sugared side up into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool. (This is really delicious because the butter and brown sugar carmelize in the bottom of the wonton cup!) In a bowl, combine the cheese, honey and orange juice. Spoon about 2 Tbl of mixture into each wonton cup. Top with strawberries. Garnish with whipped cream and mint if desired.

Makes 1 dozen

Bon Apetit!