Thursday, July 27, 2017

23rd Birthday {Post No.2}

This could also be titled 'Pregnancy Tears From Mild Sorrow to Extreme Joy' or 'I Have An Awesome Brother' or many other variations.

It all started about 3 weeks ago....

I was at my family's and went with siblings for a walk down the road..

Actually... It all started about 3 years ago. When Wesley and I got married my grandma gave us an old couch of hers to help us start furnishing our home. It was one of those couches you find in, well, a lot of grandma's houses.

These are not blog worthy pictures but they're all I could find of the couches pattern

We were very grateful for it and it has served us but for a while now I have been looking to replace it with something that matches my decorations, other furniture, and is a little newer.

Back to the three weeks ago.

I was walking down the road, and there on the side next to a house who's previous owner we'd met and I'd have trusted to take furniture from, was a couch with a 'FREE' sign on it. I sat on it and although the pattern wasn't perfect it was closer to what I wanted, it was exactly what I wanted in shape and size and best of all, it was free. A quick call to Daniel and he was there with his truck. Daddy and he threw it in the bed and we all ended up back at my parents, waiting on Wesley to finish a run so he could help Daniel unload it at our home...

Wesley arrived... they left.. and a few minutes later they were back with a broken couch to throw on the burn pile..

I know it was mostly pregnancy hormones at play but I actually teared up. It must have been pregnancy because who, in a matter of an hour, becomes so attached to a free couch that one would cry over its loss.
I was pretty upset though because, it was perfect and free and lost only because of my brother's recklessness, at least that is what I assumed because, I've seen him drive.
So I was sad, I cried, and I avoided him because I truly knew it was an accident and that there was no reason for me to take it out in anger on him.

Later my mom told me he said to let me know he'd buy me a couch if I picked one out. Ever since then I've kept my eye out on yard sale sites for couches that met my criteria thinking I would take him up on it but I never found one.

So yesterday, on my birthday, he showed up with this lovely couch strapped into his truck. He bought it for me new and so, because I'm pregnant, I teared up again  ;)

This couch, next to the crib and changing table, is the third piece of new, store bought furniture, in our little home. And I'm sure it greatly exceeds those in value..
Although when Jerusha first woke up this morning she held her palms in the air and asked "Where's my couch?" she sat on the new one, patted it and said "don't like my new new couch, where's mine?" but then quickly warmed up as I told her how much I liked it and she was especially eager to accept it and sit on it when I told her I needed to take its picture.

I feel very special at the lengths and expense Daniel went through to make up for what truly was an honest accident. Thank you - love you!


23rd Birthday {Post No.1}

I acknowledge that I'm a tad bit behind on blogging... I haven't posted that Teriyaki recipe I promised, we've gone on a vacation and no pictures or details have made the blog.. but here I am skipping ahead and recapping yesterday because, well, it was an especially awesome birthday.

The morning didn't start all that great, the girls weren't getting along, the house was a mess, and I'm pregnant so dealing with nausea and lack of energy. I spent many years of my life hating birthdays but as I've gotten older, wiser, and have been receiving the best things in life throughout the years I have come to have a better attitude about them; so, in spite of the rough start I pressed on and little by little started overcoming the day.

Wesley is working out of town this week; too far to commute but not too far for a drive home to celebrate my birthday. He made it home at 4 and took me and the girls over to my family's where he had already stopped in to deliver my birthday presents, first of which he gave me right away; doughnuts for Titus Bakery, a shop we've heard good reviews from and happened to be on his route home. They were indeed yummy.

For awhile we just hung out and visited, waiting for more siblings to arrive home from work. One of my brother-in-law's was in the area ending his shift so we invited him to stay for dinner and cake, as well.

Eventually nearly everyone had arrived so we ate a delicious dinner of Italian Basil Toss, I really should make this and put it on the blog; it has been a life long favorite spaghetti style dinner, and that is coming from this spaghetti, pasta hater.

People swam, people visited, we ate, and waited Daniel to get home from work so we could do cake. When he pulled in the driveway it was immediately noted that there was a couch in the bed of his truck. In my next post I will share the importance of this item, it was unnecessary of him but oh, so very appreciated (and I currently sit on it as I write this post). I was very excited to check the couch out and was pretty overwhelmed that he was willing to spend so much on "fixing" what had been an accident. More on that to come.

Once Daniel and Shay had arrived my family sang 'Happy Birthday' to me, only made me blow out two candles as mommy chose to go with the numbers '2' and '3', and we all enjoyed (at least I know I did) my traditional mint chocolate chip ice cream cake.

It was present time as everyone enjoyed cake and although I know birthday's should be most remembered and appreciated for the people you spend them with I certainly felt extra special as I had already received a couch and continued to open gift after thoughtful gift.

From my parents I received an elegant pair of gold and ruby earrings, along with a beautiful string of colored fresh water pearls, AND more photo paper for Wesley's gift to me last year of the fuji insta max camera.

My little sister, Monta, gifted me with many of the special rocks she had collected last week on our trip to the Upper Peninsula as well as a lovely drawing.

And last, but not least, Wesley gave me a set of pearls and earrings as well as a new sewing machine.

The pearls are beautiful and I will love having both the traditional and colored versions, I find it special that my mom and husband both are in sync with things I'm wishing for ;)

The sewing machine is a bit bitter sweet. I am so very excited to have it and learn to use it but find it hard to finally admit it is time to let my old one go. I've had a very old incredibly heavy Pfaff since my second year in 4-H and I knew all its settings, its quirks and secrets. In the past couple years though it has had to go to the shop for the same repair over, and over, and always came back only to putt along on a few projects then have to head back: the time had come to replace it and I'm very glad for a husband who was willing to put in the research and pick me out one as I would have had too hard of a time letting go and choosing change. It is thrust upon me now and I am relieved and excited. I have soooo many projects now only waiting on me to read the manual and start in on :D

And there you have it, the first installment of how awesome and special this birthday was. I have finally learned how to age gracefully and enjoy birthday's, for which I am sure my family is very grateful, am I right, Mommy? Shelby? :P

Monday, July 10, 2017

{Foodie Post No.10} Honey Mustard Chicken

This past week I made two fairly healthy chicken dinners and I took pictures so I could put them on the blog!
Growing up these were two of my most favorite meals.

I have a vivid memory of Honey Mustard Chicken, I don't know if my mom made it often or if this particular time just imprinted on me but, one evening, when I was probably no older than 6, I remember my mom was working on dinner and I was laying on the living room floor entertaining my baby brother with blocks (aka duplo's). At some point in my efforts I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to the sun having set and finding my mom cleaning the kitchen up, everyone else having eaten. She uncovered my plate, a divided winnie the pooh plastic plate and on it was a piece of chicken, rice soaking up the honey mustard juices, and peas, not those nasty mushy canned kind, either, no, my mom fixed the frozen ones that still have life to them.

And that is it, that is my memory of eating Honey Mustard Chicken as a kid and I don't know if that's the first time I had it but I have loved it ever since. And, to this day, it is best served with rice and pea's.

all the ingredients

melting the butter in the baking dish and adding everything else saves dishes ;)

Jerusha is my ever enthusiastic helper :)

Dip the skin side 

turn it over for baking

four chicken thighs ready to go in the oven
I failed to take a picture of the finished product :(. It was thoroughly enjoyed even though I served it with brown rice and sauted zucchini.

Honey Mustard Chicken
1-3 Pounds Chicken Pieces
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Curry Powder

Melt butter in 9x13 dish. Stir in remaining ingredients. Roll chicken in mixture to coat. Arrange in pan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour uncovered. Use sauce over chicken, rice, and vegetables.

I cut the recipe in half when fixing it for us.

Friday, June 16, 2017

{Foodie Post No.9} Ice Cream Cake

This year for Wesley's birthday I made an almost traditional Ice Cream Cake. This is the best, no, make that, this is the only Ice Cream Cake ever. Nothing else compares. My family has been making this recipe for years after our aunt made it for my sister and cousin joint birthday celebration.

Every year my younger sister, Shelby, has The Traditional version of it for her birthday.
On my birthday, every single year, myself or my mom makes the Mint Chocolate version.

So, this year I chose to make an Ice Cream Cake for Wesley's birthday because (No.1) He loves ice cream (No.2) He is trying to make June a perfect healthy eating month with his birthday being the only cheat day. And (No.3) He loves ice cream.

It was a close choice between the Ice Cream Cake or Peanut Butter Pie because, he really loves that, too, so I decided on Ice Cream Cake with Reece's Peanut Butter Cups chopped up on top.

 Yes, I have a 20lb bag of sugar, I bake and sell at the Farmer's Market, remember ;)
(The cocoa somehow didn't make the picture, ooops.
 Melt the butter with the cocoa
 After adding the milk and sugar and boiling until thick.
 Process the oreos in a food processor and add melted butter
 the most effective way of pressing the crust into a pan is NOT with your fingers, use the bottom of a glass, measuring cup, or fairly flat spoon.
 Slicing the block of ice cream. Mine was a little more melty than necessary.
 At this point put the base in the freezer and wait until your fudge sauce is cooled. I was tired, and didn't want to wait so I poured my fudge sauce on while it was still too hot which resulted in it melting through in spots, hence the bubbling in the next picture.
 Fudge sauce on..
 Cool Whip topped and Reece's Cups chopped and spread over the cake, which by the way, my sister Shelby considered absolute desecration of Ice Cream Cake. In her opinion nothing but sprinkles belong atop this cake.

A slice at the birthday party.

Ice Cream Cake
Fudge Sauce:
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 large can Evaporated Milk

Combine cocoa and butter in sauce pan. Melt until smooth. Add evaporated milk and sugar. Boil 15-20 minutes, until thick, stirring frequently. Cool.

1 pkg. Oreo's crushed
1/2 cup Butter
Finely chop oreos in food processor. Add soft butter and press into 11x17" pan.

1/2 Gallon of your choice flavor
Slice and layer over crust. Freeze.

Spread Fudge Sauce over cake.
Top with 1 tup of Cool Whip.
Decorate as desired.

A Mini Adventure

Last week the girls and I went on our biggest adventure to date. It was pretty little but big for me since the farthest I go from home on a typical week that Wesley is out of town is within half an hour. Wesley was staying in an extended stay hotel, for work, near where my sister lives so Monday the girls and I packed up and followed him. I never ever drive long distances and even on family road trips I rarely do much of the driving. It all went pretty well on the way there, the girls slept until about the last 15 minutes. On the way home we had a little detour due to police blocking the interstate and sending us to find our way around to get back on further down the road. Our trip was a lot of fun though. Staying with Wesley, cooking meals on a tiny stove and having to wash everything per meal to use for the next was different.  Each morning Wesley left for work before the girls were awake so when they did get up we would put Éowyn in the stroller and head to the building where breakfast was served. Tuesday I packed the girls up and drove to where my sister lives and spent the morning with her. Jerusha was so excited about going to see her cousin and I think they had a lot of fun. Tuesday night Jerusha had a fever and was pretty restless and delirious so we didn't do anything fun in the evening. Wednesday she was back to normal and I took the girls to the hotel pool for awhile. We went for walks around the other buildings and found a deck off the back of our building so we gathered pine cones from a nearby pine tree and spent awhile playing in the sun. That evening we met my sister and her husband and son at The Rock; a Mediterranean place and enjoyed trying outs new foods for dinner and as we could only find be hour taking, and the kiddos had begun climbing all over the nearby empty tables, we moved our visit to a park just down the road. I think we all had fun at the park, it was very nice with lots of tall slides and climbing options. Once we were back at the hotel that evening Wesley and I took the girls to the pool again. Thursday, after we'd had breakfast I packed all our belongings and we loaded the car to head for home. We ended up going straight to my moms because with about 20 minutes left on our trip Jerusha started crying that she needed to pee. I only live about 2 minutes farther than my moms but I knew unloading would go more quickly if I stopped in there. And sure enough, as soon as we pulled in my younger sisters came running outside to help unload the girls; and I'm happy to report that Jerusha made it to the potty without an accident. 
Note: we came home Thursday because Friday is baking day and I needed to be home in order to get my early start. 
visiting cousins..

 Pool Time

Hide & Seek

And lots of fun at the park!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Growing Bubble

This post is out of order from the ones I planned on posting but I couldn't exactly plan when I'd post this...

^This is the official announcement that we put out there on Facebook. ^

^This, however, is how I told Wesley and then my mom and sisters.^

I have painted each of the girls a picture for the nursery wall which they'll get to take someday to do as they please with. Wesley knows this so I knew I wanted to announce it to him by having Jerusha show him to the bedroom and see how long it took him to notice the change. Friday, when Wesley got home from work and was led by Jerusha to her room, he didn't miss a beat, instantly I heard him say "A new picture means mommy is having a baby, doesn't it Rue?" 
It was Wesley's birthday, as well, so I felt like that added to the excitement. 

I'm not 100% sure when I'm due since I haven't been cycling what with nursing Éowyn still, but, I'm just now having symptoms so I'd say I'm only a few weeks along and looking at a February baby. 

We always choose to announce our babies early because each day is a gift, and for us, part of cherishing our gift is sharing the joy. I feel very blessed to be carrying this child and your prayers for a healthy pregnancy will be appreciated. 

Already I am struggling to keep up with the girls because all I want to do is sleep. Time to find some healthy snacks, stay active, and push through the drowsiness in order to keep up with house work, meals, and life with my 2 and 1 year olds. 


Thursday, June 8, 2017


We are planning a trip to Colorado for late summer and I'm a little nervous as to how camping and hiking days on end with a one and two year old might go, so, when my husband had a floating holiday about to expire he decided to take it the Tuesday after Memorial Day so we could have a little trial camp out. We were excited about the opportunity to fit in camping because we don't  have the chance on a normal weekend since we have to be up by 5 Saturday mornings to bake cinnamon rolls and be at the farmers market.

For me a camp out is setting up tents down by my parents pond; close enough we can walk to the house if we need something but far enough that it's a little inconvenient. Ideally we pack all the food we'll need for one dinner and breakfast at a time and head to the house to refresh supplies the next day after having expired our food. This time things were a little different because it ended up being a micro camp out and kind of last minute.

Camping was fun but in the end it was a little disappointing.  Our plan was to camp both Sunday and Monday night but due to losing our camping buddies and a pop up rain shower we didn't end up at camp for a second night. Sunday night, was a lot of fun just not all I had hoped. I was trying to prepare for Éowyn's first birthday party as well as help my mom and sister prepare for their party so I didn't make it to camp until nearly 11 PM. That did away with the possibility of much actual camp prep. Then once I did make it to camp Wyn threw up in a pretty sickish style so I briefly considered throwing in the towel but I realized dealing with a sick kiddo wasn't going to be any easier inside, in fact, it might be easier outside. I headed to the house for some extra towels and water proof bedding but in the end Éowyn slept off her sickness and was healthy the next morning.

Many of my siblings had  also set up tents and camped with us which added to the fun. We sat around visiting, eating s'mores and marshmallows, and telling jokes until about 1AM before calling it a night.
Monday morning it was up at the crack of dawn, because for some reason sleeping in a tent with the sun illuminating the inside by 5 AM it's impossible to not get up. Lots of people went fishing (soon I'll have a post regarding Wesley's early birthday present of a fishing pole and gear) and my brothers worked on getting the fire ready for me to make breakfast. I used a large iron skillet and started by frying up a bunch of Wright's bacon pieces (my favorite and most economical way of buying bacon), next I cubed up potatoes I had pre baked and warmed them in the bacons grease, then it was add eggs, scramble, and throw the crumbled bacon back in, as well as a block of cream cheese. I'm sad that breakfast is the only meal I got to cook at camp because I find it to be a lot of fun cooking over an open fire. Before long we'll be in CO and I'll be cooking past my hearts desire I'm sure.

Anyway, we had a nice teeny tiny little camp out and I look forward to more! The girls actually did great, falling asleep in our arms then transferring easily to their pallets in the tent while we went back to the fire. Jerusha had no problems with the idea of peeing outside now that she is potty trained, another thing that had me nervous. They both respected the fire and kept their distance although that was a necessity on everyone's part thanks to my brothers fire that was so big and hot that anyone sitting close is now leg hair free. :P

This ends my post of our camping experience and I hope to have more to write of after our July trip to Michigan and then our August trip to Colorado!
The few pictures I took..