Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Proposal Story

It all started on a kind of gloomy Sunday day in May. May 15, 2016 to be exact. 

The plan?

To go geocaching 

So, John shows up at my place and I ask him where he wanted to go and look for geocaches and he suggests a nearby park because we hadn’t been there yet. I pull it up on my old phone (which isn’t connected to a data plan) and he immediately decides we should try the red dot cache. So we look into it at my place and that cache is supposed to lead us to other caches… something we had never tried before so why not?

So we (I) find the cache in the park and inside is this clue:

Clue #1

We usually bring a stamp to stamp the log book but had forgotten it this time. Sometimes there are tradeable items inside the cache container and in this one was a lego man (not the first time we have found one so I just quickly give it to John without thinking and we leave one of our army men in its place. Because we had forgotten to bring our stamp and we didn’t have a pen to sign the log I never even looked at it… BUT… there was a clue as to what we happening on the log… that I never even saw.

Do you see the clue in the log?

Based on the clue I knew it would be by the boat docks and I pulled up the geocache map on my old phone. There was a dot there so we headed towards that dot. However, once we got there my gps on my phone started to act up and it thought we were on the wrong side of the river. I was kind of discouraged because this would make it harder to find the next cache. BUT, I told John I would restart my phone and hopefully that would help. Meanwhile, he told me it was probably where someone would sit to watch the boats based on the clue and we should see If there are places to sit around the actual dock (because I had led us into the trees already). So we head over that way and my phone comes back on. Remember how I told you my phone isn’t connected to data? Well, I guess because we always load the geocache map while at my place all those geocache dots show up and stay there… but now that I had restarted the phone (and the app) they had all disappeared. I didn’t bring my actual phone and we were at the park (so no wifi) so we were left without the dots (but a correctly functioning gps). Now I really thought we were sunk. But, John found the second one quite quickly… maybe because he had placed them all. 

No log in this one.. just the clue which read:

Clue #2

I knew right away it was by the duck pond and I knew there was a little hill behind it. So we headed there. John insisted that it could also be by some of the rock piles around the pond so he made us check half of those before we got to the hill. Honestly, we would have never found the geocache in that area without the help of my phone… but John insisted that it could still be by a rock pile. So we went to check the last ones… and this is what we found.

Clue #3
By this point I had started questioning some things... All the containers looked brand new. None of them were labeled as an official geocache, and that one by the duck pond was so close in the water at different times of the year it would likely be under the water... just seemed like a dumb place to put one if you ask me.

Anyways, I knew there was play structures at this park so we headed in that direction because it seemed like the right place to find it. John found this one, I later found out he found it because he had never actually left it there (with children playing on the structure all day long it likely would have gotten found and moved... multiple times). But I definitely didn't catch on to this.

Clue #4

I knew this one would lead us back to the shelter by the duck pond and when we got closer there were some bushes in the fork in the road so we knew it was in there. The only problem was that there were also a bunch of kids playing in there.

I quickly spotted that the container was on the ground (but still in the tree/bush area) so we just patiently waited for the kids to leave the area. The only problem was that they weren't. They did find the clue however and showed it to everyone in the tree. Eventually we left sitting right in front of that spot and wandered more towards the pond (but still within sight of the tree) about 30-45 minutes later the kids were finally leaving the tree so we headed back over there. But there was a new problem. One of the little kids had the container in his hand and then... he stuck it in his pocket! John was pretty insistent that we should find out how it ends because we had come so far and luckily for us... just when we thought we wouldn't get the final container back the boy through it under the tree and left. 

So John retrieved it and we quickly got out of there before the boy realized we had taken the container he had grown so fond of. 

This was the clue in the final container:
Clue #5

And well, I guess while I read it John got down on one knee and the rest is history as they say.

While we were finding all the geocaches John was collecting all of them so that I would have them all (I also never noticed this)... so here they are in all their glory.

All 5 geocaches

If you want to see "the ring" I posted a picture of it here

Oh and if you are wondering what the "parfait party" was... he had picked up 2 parfaits for us to enjoy afterwards... but I guess he was in a rush to leave his place/nervous (maybe?) that he ended up leaving them at his place.  Which worked out in the end because we were going back to his place to pick up his boat to bring to my parents house.  We enjoyed them on the ride to my parents.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Cinnamon Bun Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 48

Most (if not all) of us probably enjoy a good cinnamon bun every so often... so why aren't we all turning them into cookie form?  I'm not sure but that's what I did this week with the help of Picky Palate.

I didn't change much about this recipe other than the fact that I halved it.  If I made it again and didn't wan to commit to a whole recipe I think I would third it.  Yes, thirding this recipe would be easier than halving.  The reason?  When it comes to rolling out the dough stuff just gets complicated with the instructions!  Here's what I decided to do:  Make one giant roll and cut it into pieces from there.  It didn't work out too great... I mean it wasn't a complete fail but it could have been done better.  

My dough was also quite sticky... usually sugar cookie dough is dryer because you are cutting out shapes with cookie cutters... I just can't imagine being able to do that with this sugar cookie recipe.  Maybe I messed up somewhere while halving the recipe though... it could definitely be my fault!  But, because I'm not sure next time I would use my Sugar Cookie recipe (just to be on the safe side).

Cinnamon Bun Cookies
John and I have been enjoying these while we go out in search of the perfect venue.  We should be deciding today what venue is perfect for us... so stay tuned for that!  John thought that they were quite good and I would have to agree.  I give them a 9/10... because there is room for improvement.

Last week I made some Ultimate Oreo Cookies which (in my opinion) hold up to their name.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Suddenly we realized all those love songs were about us...

Press Play
You don't have to watch the video... just listen to the song whilst you read!

John and I have news to share!

Last Sunday, May 15, 2016 we got engaged!


Stay tuned for all the exciting details (like the proposal story, the venue, dress dilemmas - yes I've already had some, and so much more!)

And because you'll want to see it...

The ring!

Also what's a good not so typical first dance song? 
We might need suggestions

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Ultimate Oreo Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 47

It's Oreo's within homemade Oreo Cookies or no big deal just an Ultimate Oreo Cookie.  I found this recipe on My Baking Addiction.

This wasn't my first attempt at making these lovely sandwich style of cookies... I've made Jam Jams, Carrot Cheesecake Cookies, and Mint Sandwich Cookies (but I think these Ultimate Oreo Cookies are the best one yet)

First off what I changed.  

... Nothing

Now that we got that out of the way here are a few things that I noticed.  Mine didn't turn out as nice looking as the picture *wah*wah*wah* no surprise there but my cookies aren't entering no beauty contests so all that really matters is what they taste like..;. because I'm going to eat them instead of putting them on display.

Ultimate Oreo Cookies

So they tasted fantastic.  Like REALLY good.  Like I would easily make these again kind of good.
10/10 kind of good.

Last week I made some Twix Cookies... and if you are a fan of shortbread but have never made it yourself you should definitely check out the recipe (for the shortbread recipe at the very least).

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Twix Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 46

I think Twix chocolate bars are probably one of my favourites so I was expecting this recipe by Chef in Training to be just as delightful.

These aren't the first chocolate bar related cookie I've made.  A looong time ago I made some Turtle Cookies that I really liked too.

The only thing I changed up in this recipe is I took a walk to the local Dollarama to buy some bags of caramels.  Why Dollarama?  NO WHERE SELLS THEM!  Seriously, is it just me or have we been on some kind of caramel drought for probably the last 20 years in Canada?  Bulk Barn probably has BUT caramels get hard when they just sit out for long periods of time so I didn't want to go that route.  ANYWHO, these ones were not Kraft and I certainly didn't buy no 5lb log of caramel to melt down!  That just seems crazy.  So, no instructions for how to melt the caramels were on the bag so here's what I did.  I keep some old (frozen) buttermilk in the freezer and I took a piece of that out and melted it down into a bowl of caramels (maybe about 20 of them for half the recipe).  It melted just fine in the microwave on a low setting for 30 or so seconds at a time until fully melted.  

These cookies surprised me a little... mostly because I have always been under the impression that shortbread would be a hard thing to make... but this one was a snap.  So if you love shortbread.... you should definitely check out this recipe!

Twix Cookies

My verdict?  They have the potential to be good... I just wish my caramel wasn't so hard but chewy instead.  I'm assuming it's because I'm keeping these cookies in the fridge... because the caramel does soften up while I'm eating it... maybe it was my melting technique that is causing this.  

Anyways, other than the hard caramel issue these are pretty good 8/10

Last week I made some pretty tasty Graham Cracker Cookies that you might like.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Life Lately

All I've been posting about is cookies lately but certainly there is more to my life than cookies.  So I sat down one Saturday afternoon to think about 5 things that were new or going on in my life... lately.  Here's that list.

1)  I discovered I like celery and started buying it on the regular. Here I thought for many, many years I didn't like it but then recently decided I did BUT only if peanut butter is involved.  Riveting.

2)  A friend and I have been going for bike rides and I've discovered that my bike is quite heavy.  This is unfortunate because I have to carry it downstairs whenever I want to use it.  Which is likely part of the reason I don't use it too often.  I think our longest ride has been 17km which was actually quite hard because it was SO windy... so go us!

3)  I started running.  The weather finally turned nice and I decided I could start wearing shorts and going for runs.  I usually follow a program to get me up to running 5km straight and this year I'm trying something new.  There is a walking path not far from where I live that when I do the whole thing (starting from my place) is 7km.  I always walk the first and last 1.5km though (and since I'm just starting off I walk in between my runs too).  My goal right now is to get down to a 7min km... which may not seem too hard BUT it includes those 3kms at the beginning and end that I walk.  Once I manage to start running the entire path my goal will just be to continue to run it and to run it faster each time.  Right now I can get through all 7km in under an hour.

4)  I've been working a lot.  Lately it's been mostly nursery and kindergarten.  Which isn't my favourite but you get a lot more hugs and appreciation than when you teach middle school!

5)  I set out my patio furniture.  I already mentioned it but I've been spending more time outside and that includes sitting outside and reading the occasional book.

Not an exhaustive list... that's probably because there isn't a whole lot going on in my life at the moment... just needed to let you all know that there was more to my life than cookies though.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Graham Cracker Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 45

Attention everyone... I'm officially back to being ahead with the cookie recipes!... which is probably why I'm managing to post them on Saturday's.  So by the time this gets posted these cookies will have all been gobbled up.

I've also officially picked the last few cookies for my year of cookies... there may be a couple extras.

If you've been around for a while you may recall that this is not my first attempt at making cookies using graham cracker crumbs... I did it once before when I made some S'more Cookies.  Where I mentioned that they would be great without all the extra s'more like toppings... which is almost what these cookies are.

Anyways, this weeks cookies come from Buns in my Oven and in my opinion are super easy to make.  AND.. if I'm allowed to have a second opinion on these cookies I would say that if you made them with mini chocolate chips they would look just like Chip Ahoy Cookies (only these ones are better).

Graham Cracker Cookies
I followed the directions on these and my only issue with them is that they taste a little too salty in my opinion...  BUT that could be a baker's error... I almost always halve the recipe and there could be a chance that I forgot to halve the amount of salt on these... I mean I don't think I did and for that reason I'll add less next time I make these but I may have.

I left them on the pan to firm up... they were definitely still fairly soft when I took them out of the oven and needed to cool on the pan so that they wouldn't fall apart.

My verdict... 9/10.  They were pretty yummy and I'll be sure to make them again!

Last week I made some Fudge Crinkle Cookies that were also easy to make (and tasty too).