Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Weekend

What are you up to this weekend?

Thanks to Kelly's stepdad, we finally have lights in the kitchen again! Can I get a woohoo? I know nothing when it comes to electric and thought they were just running wires and fixing boxes and whatnont. Little did I realize, they were hooking up the lights. When Scott called me in and told me to 'flick on that switch' I about puked rainbows I was so excited. I have been cooking in the dark for about three weeks now. It's hard! I dare you to try it.

I'm heading to the barn this morning, then this afternoon to a baby shower for our sweet newborn nephew. It's absolutely crazy to think that he isn't even suppose to be born yet, everyone is so in love with him already it seems like he's always been here.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Here are some links to enjoy with your morning brew...

The Culticycle. Saves on gas & promotes excersise for farmers. 2,000 acres? No biggie.

Sea Life Michigan Aquarium opened yesterday in Auburn Hills.

A homemade Valentine gift for your four-legged loves.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Superbowl Recipes

I hate football.

There. I said it. I'm sure it's partly because I don't understand it, but also it seems like such a waste of time.

If they're not walking to their places on the field, they're standing in a circle whispering sweet nothings to each other. Or taking a time out, or yelling things to each other. Then you have to watch the quarterback lick his dirty fingers and wipe them on the little tea towel attached to his belt. When you finally see something awesome like a guy grab someones face mask and throw him to the ground like BOOM...a flag gets thrown and they blow the whistle.

I just cannot follow. On the other hand, I do love to see those big, beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales.  

Honey keeps telling me that I'm going to watch it with him, but I thought of a fabulous way to get out of it. Cooking. If I'm in the kitchen the whole time cooking to fill up his belly, there's no way in heck he'll be complaining that I'm not sitting on the couch with him. 

Here are some delicious game-day recipes from a few of my favorite food bloggers;

Toasted Ravioli       -       Buffalo Chicken Wings       -       Sweet Potato Fries

Notice that not a lot of these are crock pot recipes. Like I said, it's my goal is to be in the kitchen for the game...the entire game. Mwhuaaahahahaha.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Passing Time with Games


We stopped at my mom's house the other night and while we were sitting at the table having a drink, she pulled out
this game. It's easy and fun, you can play in partners or singles. The best part? It's quick, so it's fun to have around to whip out if your friends are meeting at your house before going out.

Here are some others we love;

We've also been playing a lot of Trivia Crack - thanks a lot for that addiction Aunt M.!

We live on games in the winter and I love it, but sometimes I get sick of the same old ones. What games do you play?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kitchen Ceiling Demolition

There is nothing that motivates me to clean the kitchen more than it being covered in blown insulation and mouse turds. Can you imagine a little of that sprinkled on your Sunday night dinner?

We have continued our kitchen project in the most disgusting of ways. Not a lot of words needed here, I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Forewarning...the next pictures are not pretty.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Weekend

Good Morning! There's not much I love more than waking up to a quiet house Saturday morning, brewing a pot of coffee and snuggling in my pjs with my dog while I figure out what to do with the day.

I hope you all have a great weekend and here are some links to enjoy with your morning brew...

Could you go 24-hours without complaining?

I'd love to make this embroidered trip map. You could use the same map with different colors for each trip.

A heart wrenching story of a woman completing her dying dog's bucket list. *Warning: Tear Jerker

Serious Romance.

A gentle reminder that sometimes it's nice not to have a plan.

LOL. This poor guy. And this one.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January's Book Review: The Invention of Wings

Remember how I said I'd like to start reading more? Well, I also decided I'd challenge myself and try to write a book review.

You can January's book selection through Amazon by using the link below.

So here it goes...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Poor Boy Biscuits

I have been craving stew for a month and a half. No joke. Around Thanksgiving, my mom told me that she had made stew and since then, that's all my tummy has been able to think of.

Problem was, the stew meat was in our freezer in the pole barn. Do you think that I could remember to take it out? I park in there daily. The dog's kennel is attached to the pole barn. Multiple times a day I am in this pole barn.

So my grand plans to have stew simmering in the crock pot all day to enjoy with a fresh, crusty loaf of home made bread hot out of the oven? Well, we improvised :)

I made the quick 3-hour stove top stew using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, but there's no quick recipe for homemade bread. Our pantry was empty of Jiffy mix and there weren't any Grands in the fridge. What's a girl to do? 

So I tweaked a recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits just a tiny bit and let me tell you, yum. It's a very simple recipe using only five ingredients that are commonly stocked in most pantries; flour, baking soda, salt, shortening and milk.

Unless I know ahead of time that I'm going to be cooking or baking something that calls for milk, I typically don't buy it- I'm more of a fan of almond milk. I have found that a lot of times when recipes call for milk, I can substitute water and there's not much of a problem. Otherwise, equal portions of evaporated milk and water should substitute just fine.

Here's what I did:

Friday, January 16, 2015


Perhaps my most favorite things about succulents is that they're almost impossible to kill. Short of a cactus, I am truly horrible at keeping any plants alive. This includes hanging baskets in the summertime. 

Our wedding centerpieces all contained three little succulents, so I had bunches left over from the wedding. I had been spritzing them with water every now and then, but when the dirt got to be rock hard I decided to plant them before they went to the elephant graveyard. 

See that poor little guy in the front already turning yellow? Something had to be done.

So I just layered up a few plastic bags to line the boxes, then filled them with dirt and planted the little guys. The bags got trimmed down as much as they could be.

They now sit happily on top of the piano where they get lots of sunshine and make me smile whenever I sit down to play.

Are you any good at keeping house plants alive? I would love to have one of these around, but would be terribly sad if it didn't survive.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Therapeutic Riding: Online Resources

Happy Thursday everyone :)

Last week I was sicker than sick, so I apologize that I've been horribly unmotivated to any blogging lately. Trying to catch up on everyday life I suppose!

For the month of January, our barn typically takes a little break between sessions to allow time to regroup and set goals for the year. I personally have been taking this time to write lots of lesson plans to prepare for the onslaught of student teaching that will begin on February 2nd.

One of the most helpful online resources that I've been utilizing is 'Lessons in Therapeutic Riding.'

Cindy has created a blog that is chuck full of useful information covering everything from certification, skills to teach, adaptations, disabilities and more. She's also provided lots of creative ideas for games and lesson plans.

When I touched base to thank her for providing such a great resource, she asked about what certain things helped me to teach my first lesson. If you're interested, this post offers advice and tricks from both of us to help make the most of that very first lesson.

If you're looking for a great online resource with first-hand experience, you've got to check it out!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Childhood Dreams

When I was around ten years old, my absolute favorite books to read were a series called 'Thoroughbred'. The first novel was about a young girl named Ashleigh and a premature filly called Wonder. No one thought Wonder would make it, but Ashleigh spent day and night in her stall, bottle feeding and taking care of her every need.

The books follow Ashleigh as she raises Wonder, starts her training, becomes a jockey, races Wonder, and then goes on to own her very own farm.

My dream when I was younger was to be Ashleigh. When I was sitting in my room reading her books, I wasn't just reading her books. I was her, living and breathing her life in each and every word of each and every book.

I vowed that when I was old enough, I was going to pack a duffel bag, take my teddy bear and buy a greyhound ticket to Kentucky. I would search until I found the biggest horse farm; a farm with a giant white mansion and hundreds of acres of rolling green hills outlined in white fence and dotted with sleek, shiny horses. I'd walk right up that long drive fenced by giant magnolia trees, but I wouldn't go up to the mansion.

No, I'd veer off onto the drive that would take me to the stables, straight to the stable manager to beg for a job. I would do anything, I would scrub grain buckets and muck stalls for years if I had to. I would prove to them what a hard worker I was. I'd advance to groom, exercise rider, then jockey and before long, I too would be the owner of my own farm. Of course, as I got older and hormones started kicking in, my dream included the hunky, hardworking, farm-inheriting son falling madly in love and asking me to marry him.

Well, I did end up marrying a hunky, hardworking farm boy!

I think it's funny how dreams change from time to time. Pieces of your dreams come true, and for the ones that don't, time will tell the reasons why. Every time I think about it, I smile and remember what big dreams I had as a little girl. I believe dreams are one of the most important things that we can have because if we don't have dreams, they can never come true.

Did you have any big dreams as a child? What were they?

I leave you with the words of Steven Tyler...

Dream On

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reasons to Love Winter in Michigan

If we base the seasons on temperature, winter has been here for quite a while now. But there hasn't been any snow. And that, in my book, is when winter starts.

I love Michigan and experiencing all of the different seasons, so I thought I'd share with you today some of my favorite things.

I love taking the dogs out and trudging through snow that's two feet deep. Seeing footprints from all of the creatures; little bird prints, deer tracks or sometimes even that eerie, lone coyote track making it's way across an open field into the distance. Coming back inside, your face half frozen and sitting front of a fire with a mug of hot chocolate.

Driving around in a snowstorm, the wind and snow whipping around the vehicle. You're the only one on the road with no place to be, driving at your own pace and listening to a little Stevie Ray Vaugh, or maybe some Motley Crue, depending on your mood.

I love the bird feeders right outside our window because on sunny days I can look out and see woodpeckers, cardinals, morning doves, chickadees and all sorts of others feeding at the same time.

I love how absolutely quiet the world is. That I can walk outside and everything is covered in a blanket of white and it sounds as though there isn't another soul in the world.

We haven't been yet this year, but we are lucky enough to live very close to the shores of Lake Michigan. It's always great to take a short trip over to the lakeshore to see how much ice has built up on the piers and lighthouses.

Tom Gill, Photographer

The above photo was taken by Tom Gill of the lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan after a severe winter storm where the waves reached twenty feet high.

What are some of your favorite things about the winter? Do you partake in any winter sports? Snowmobiling? Ice Fishing? I'd love to know! We need some fresh ideas :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 2015 Calendar - Free Printable

Our house is lost without calendars. I love being able to look at the month and see what commitments we've made, so I'm better able to manage my time on the days that we have nothing scheduled.
It's been seven days since December ended and I haven't put January's calendar on the fridge yet, and I've heard about it every single day from my husband. "Where's the calendar? What are we doing this month? How am I suppose to know what's going on? I don't even know what's happening anymore!" ...for those of you who know him, I'm sure you can hear the tone of his voice. Silly sense of humor my man has.
Since both Kelly and I love having a calendar on the fridge, I thought I'd create my own. 

If you simply click on this link to download the file, it will print using a full sheet of letter size paper.

This is my first go-around at creating a free printable, so please let me know what you think!

January's Read: The Invention of Wings

Hello my sweet chinchillas!  
Happy New Year! How are you?

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m living in the Berenstain Bears ‘Too Much TV’.  Let me explain…

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was sit in my room all day long and read. Just read. I lived for reading. Summer reading programs at the library, book orders in Elementary School, camouflaging a novel with my textbook in science class. I remember when the second Harry Potter book was released late on a Friday night. Either my mom or grandma (maybe both) took me to Barnes & Noble at the mall Saturday morning to get my very own copy. When we got home, I sat in my room all day long and way into the night and had the book finished by noon Sunday. All eight hundred and something pages. One of my favorite gifts was a reading light that my parents clipped onto the headboard of my bed. I could read all night long, even when I was supposed to be sleeping. If I heard my parents wake up or the floor creak, I would quickly shut if off and pretend I was sleeping. Rebel yell, baby.

It's a bit sad to realize that I really don't read that much any more. My mom gave me a book a few months ago and the only times I've read it are when I'm at the salon getting my hair colored. Pathetic, to say the least. 

I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to read more. Instead of watching a half hour of TV before I get ready for work, I’m going to sit down with a cup of coffee and read. In lieu of playing on my phone or on the computer during my lunch break, I’ll read my book. Rather than watching those late night episodes, I’ll let them record and hop in bed with my book.  

So to start this off with a bang, I’ve chosen Sue Monk Kidd’s novel ‘The Invention of Wings’.  

As I mentioned before, our family is having a reunion in Charleston this June. I thought that for Christmas, I would give the ladies a couple books that were set in Charleston to get us in the groove. Everyone got a copy of ‘The Invention of Wings’, then I chose another book based on each person’s individual taste. I also included this streetmap of Charleston. All of the books are fiction, the second book for my sister was  ‘Oolong Dead’ - she loves tea.  The second book I chose for my mom is a murder mystery called ‘The House on Tradd Street’, it was kind of neat because when she looked at the map, she was actually able to find Tradd Street in downtown Charleston. Can you tell that I really like to get into vacation mode?

Back to the novel. It was partly inspired by the historical figures of sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, who were born to a slaveholding family in South Carolina. The book takes us back to the 1800s during a time of abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Beginning on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is gifted ownership of a handmaiden Hetty, or ‘Handful’ as she's called, we follow their lives over the next thirty-five years as the women form a complex relationship while fighting against oppression to create lives of their own. They experience loss, hope, love, sorrow and everything in between on their journey to create the meaningful life they know they're are meant to lead.

I’m starting it today and, after reading the inside flap, I don’t think I’ll have a problem setting the TV remote down.

Have you read anything good lately? Do you know of any other books set in Charelston?

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