Monday, February 14, 2011

The Way To My Heart

As I wrote last year, I'm not into Valentine's Day. I think it's a silly holiday. My feelings on Valentine's Day border on disdain and mocking to outright loathing of such a manufactured commercial holiday. I know, there's a history and there's a St. Valentine who did something great to merit a holiday, but a sea of red and hearts and commercials exhorting a guy to buy a ring and propose or send flowers or buy chocolates or buy jewelry or do something to prove his love... it all makes me want to toss my cookies.

Frankly, I want my guy to show me how much he loves & cherishes me until death do us part every day, not just one day in February. And happily, SP is the kind of guy who makes me feel loved and special every day. That being said, he did some extra nice and extra sweet things this past weekend. He knows how to make my heart beat extra fast!

1. Flowers
2. Baked treats
3. Shiny new appliance

Let's start with the flowers:I often tease SP because the one and only time he has given me flowers was at my bridal shower! That changed this past Saturday when he returned home with a bouquet of flowers for me. OK, they're Costco flowers, but it was the surprise, the thought, and the fact that I really do think these flowers are beautiful. He even cut the stems and put them in the vase.

Next up: treats. All year long, SP will surprise me with treats. Sometimes it's as simple as a candy bar he impulsively buys in the check out line or a cookie he swipes from a work potluck. Other times, he goes to a bakery. This time, he decided to get the Sweetheart Box of cupcakes from Dozen Bakery.It is important here to note that although I did write a blog post about Dozen's Sweetheart Box for Valentine's Day, I personally have not swooned over their cupcakes. I often feel like there must be something wrong with my palate because I don't swoon over these cupcakes.Ever since I tried my first Dozen cupcake in 2008, I've not been impressed. Maybe there was just too much build up from all the people praising their cupcakes? The icings are OK, but I prefer creamy buttercream. And the cake itself has always seemed dry. I kept thinking it was me, maybe we didn't store the cupcakes properly, maybe they need to be consumed as soon as purchased. Why does it seem everyone else loves them and thinks they're the best cupcake ever? Yet I keep trying them, convinced it must be me and that I am missing something.So SP got the Sweetheart Box. Clockwise from top left: Chocolate Cake with Spicy Chocolate Icing, Passion Fruit, Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Icing, and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing. Friday evening we tried the Spicy Chocolate & Passion Fruit cupcakes.

I liked the spicy chocolate one, but didn't love it. I would have liked spice in the cake, too, but it was just chocolate cake. The spice was all in the icing. The cake wasn't as dry as I remembered, but it wasn't as moist as Bethel Bakery's cake.

SP liked the Passion Fruit. He said it was fruity and seemed moist enough. I didn't try it.

Saturday after lunch we shared the Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing:I think this was the most moist cupcake. The previous red velvet cupcake I had from Dozen seemed more moist than their other cupcakes, too. I still wouldn't swoon and proclaim it best ever, but it was decent.

Sunday night we shared the Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Icing:Lots of red sprinkles and one of those candy hearts I don't like! They're cute, those candy hearts, but I think they taste awful. This cake was really dry, but to be fair, it was picked up Friday afternoon, so it was over 48 hours old. The icing was tasty - nice vanilla taste.

The thing is, though, that the Bethel Bakery cupcakes we bought on February 5 were still moist on February 11! That's 6 days!

I still don't get why it seems everyone looooves Dozen cupcakes. I've tried them off & on since that first one back in 2008, but still come away disappointed. I think some flavors must be better than others. I'm also not sure they are worth the cost. I want to like Dozen, they're a small, local business, and the cinnamon buns are tasty, but I just can't say the cupcakes are swoon-worthy.

Let's move on to the shiny new appliance: a new dishwasher. This wasn't a surprise - we bought it the day before the Super Bowl and it was delivered and installed this past Saturday.

Here's our old one, in all its dented, scratched, black glory:And here is its stained, dirty white interior:When we moved into this house, the refrigerator was white while the dishwasher, stove, and microwave were black. I have this crazy idea that the appliances should all be the same color! When we replaced the refrigerator last July, we opted for stainless because of the color. White was too blah against our 'bisque glaze' cabinets (plus white easily shows dirt and food drips) and black seemed too dark. We opted for a stainless dishwasher to match the refrigerator color:I like the silver/gray color so much more than black or white against our light colored cabinets. Here's the shiny stainless interior:It's huge inside! I don't quite understand how something that fits in the same slot can have so much extra space, but like our new refrigerator, the new dishwasher blows the old one away in terms of interior space. And the new flatware baskets? Also so much more space - and the individual slots to keep them from laying against each other. One problem we have had is our flatware getting pitted and splotchy from laying against each other in the dishwasher. Hopefully those days are over!I couldn't resist one last photo last night when we turned it on to run it for the first time. Shiny blue lights! And it's so quiet. We actually hovered around it, afraid that it wasn't really working because it was so quiet. We didn't get a headache from the noise, we didn't have to talk louder or turn up the volume on the TV. So quiet. And so many options: Smart Wash, Normal Wash, Eco Wash, Pots/Pans Wash, China Wash... Also options like TurboZone, High Temp, Heated Dry and Sani Rinse.

Step #1 in 'Project New Flooring' is now complete. Nearly every flooring place we talked to suggested getting a new dishwasher before installing new wood floors because if your old one breaks/leaks water over your new wood floors... well, let's just not even go there. I think I would dissolve in tears and despair.

You might be thinking, hey, you have wood floors already, I see those light colored wood floors in the kitchen photos!

Yes, we do, sort of. We have laminate oak flooring - laminate is not real wood. We want to replace the carpet in the dining room and living room with real wood and the kitchen is in between those 2 rooms, so in order to make all the flooring match/flow, we also need to replace the laminate floor in the kitchen. At the same time we are going to replace the vinyl floor in the sun room with tile - the vinyl is actually peeling up along seams and is becoming a tripping hazard.

So this flooring project is big and stressful and daunting and I am so scared of making the wrong choices and having it look awful!! Last night I dreamed about our subfloor and discovering that it's wood and level so we can nail down the wood and not glue it!!

The new dishwasher is step #1. Baby steps. And by May, it will all (hopefully) be over!

So Happy Valentine's Day - - in the sense that I hope your loved ones are showing their love to you year round and maybe a bit extra on this day!


  1. Ooh, beautiful. Absolutely lovely, with such glorious lines and soft, delicate features. And those blue lights...

    The flowers are nice too, heehee

  2. My man can buy me a new appliance for every holiday and I would never wish for anything else! Your new dishwasher is gorgeous! I despise my dishwasher but I'm trying to be patient...
    I agree about Valentine's Day and Dozen cupcakes too. I've never tried Bethel Bakery, but the only consistently good cupcake I've had (besides my own!) are from Vanilla Pastry Studio - my only complaint is that sometimes they are too moist (if that's possible) Might have to make the trek since I've had Vanilla's cupcakes on the brain for a few weeks!