Under Construction....

Please excuse my interweb-dust! Changes are underway- thanks for your patience!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Little about K's Car Accident and Facing Fears

So, I mentioned that my sister, Katelyn, got in a car accident last week Wednesday.

My sister (actually all of my sisters and myself) are generally nervous drivers. Where most teenagers can't wait to get behind the wheel, we had to be forced. I got my license at 16, then my closest-in-age sister got her license at 16, and then Katelyn got her license at ... 18. She didn't take driver's ed. She didn't have much experience behind the wheel. Those things right there, I think, made her even less confident about driving.

Katelyn started commuting to college this fall. She drives about 20 minutes each way.

And then, on Wednesday, on the way to college, she went to turn on the heat and the knob broke off. She looked down at it. And then this happened.

The police say that it looks like she rolled two or three times. Katelyn hit her head on the door frame and was knocked unconscious, so she doesn't remember much of the actual accident. She does remember waking up and hearing a man shouting, "Hey! Are you okay?" She responded, "Call my mom."

Her legs were trapped under the driver's side dashboard, and the man who found her asked if she could wiggle her toes. She said yes, and he told her that he couldn't really tell because he couldn't see her feet. She started freaking out right about then. When he called 911, he told the police that he smelled gasoline. Katelyn started crying harder. She said that she really thought she was going to die.

They had to use the Jaws of Life to cut her out of the car. Her legs were just fine, pretty miraculously, although her face was badly bruised on the left side and she broke her collarbone in two places. We are so blessed. It could have been much, much worse.

It's hard for me to think that I could have gotten a different phone call- not one about my sister in the hospital, but about my sister already being gone. It's humbling to remember how fragile life is.

She's doing great, only a week after the accident. She's going to her classes, she's losing the black and blue bruises and they're starting to turn green. The collarbone is healing as best it can. But she keeps saying she'll never drive again.

We're praying her through that fear. I can't say that I'm shocked that she feels like that, though. She's been driving for like, a month. Out of the blue, something as terrifying as this happens... But at the same time, I'm afraid that by saying no to driving, she's also saying that she's not strong enough to face her fears. It's driving now, but it could be choosing an unpopular major, making the difficult decisions in relationships, reaching for her dreams.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


The past couple of days have been full ones. Busy.

My sister was in a car accident last Wednesday and broke her collarbone (which is a blessing- it could have been a lot worse. The car rolled three times...), so I went home and helped out. This weekend was the Women's Retreat, so my mom was here from Friday to Sunday night. Zeke took the day off on Monday so the two of us could make a bed (I'll explain that one later...), and then I got called in to sub Tuesday (at about 7:30... late notice!). Wednesday was my catch-up day, and I cursed my washing machine for being too slow. It's not too slow in reality, but when you have almost two weeks of laundry to catch up on... you understand. I subbed today, and I'll be subbing tomorrow as well.

With everything going on, I've been kind of lacking on "me time." And as much as I love spending time talking with my Hunky Husband, when you've been talking to eighth graders all day, the last thing you want to do is talk.

Hopefully this weekend will bring at least a little down time!

On the other hand, I do have a quilt that I'd like to plan out... and I'd like to figure out what I'm making my nieces and nephews for Christmas... 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Steak and Egg Breakfast Burritos!

 Steak and Egg Breakfast Burritos Little Wife

What to make for Saturday breakfast? Got any leftover steak from last night's cookout? Here ya go!

I chopped up about half a green pepper and sauteed it over medium heat in olive oil. Then I cut the leftover steak into small strips and cooked that through. It was a little too rare for my tastes the night before.

When the steak was finished, I took four eggs with about a half teaspoon of water...

... and scrambled them up! 

Add the eggs to the skillet (I just used the same skillet as the steak and peppers, but you can totally use a different one if you want to wash two of 'em!).

I popped my tortillas in the microwave for about thirty seconds to make them softer.

I tore up some cheese (good ole Kraft Singles!) and put the pieces on the tortilla.

And then topped it all off with the eggs, steak, and peppers.

I know that my Hunky Husband likes things a little spicy, and saucy. Food-wise, I mean. So I added some mild salsa on top.

Steak and Egg Breakfast Burrito!

And after!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Decorating!

 Fall is here! Well, not officially, I guess, but it sure feels like fall. I think the weather in our neck of the woods went from "too hot to have the windows open" to "too cold to have the windows open" in nearly record time. Seriously. The other day, it was only 38 degrees at 8:30 in the morning! I'm so not ready for this yet.

On the bright side, the arrival of fall also means that it's time to put away the summertime decorations and start feeling fall! Here's a little peek into my house...

On top of our "pantry," I moved the wedding stuff I had there to make room for some candles, the adorable lantern we got as a wedding gift, and a jar of red candies. I also put some acorns in an old pickle jar after I removed the label and wiped the dirt off the acorns. I almost wish I'd done two of the acorn-jars, it's so cute. 

Even though I moved it from the prominent "pantry" location, I couldn't help but keep out a bunch of stuff from the wedding. The roses are actually my wedding bouquet, and below them is my tiara (up until the last moment, I really didn't think I was gonna wear that thing, but I did!), and the wooden heart thing was our cake topper. Oh. And please ignore all the clean dishes in my sink. I got too into decorating... they were drying when I took this picture!

On my little blanket trunk in the living room, my summery bottles and sand centerpiece has been cleared away for leaves and pumpkins. I also convinced Zeke that I neeeded the candles- we couldn't find any pumpkin wax melts at Walmart. We got a set- five candles (three small and two large) for $10. As much as I dislike Walmart, the price was right this time!

And outside? I found this scarecrow at the Dollar Tree, added a cardboard sign with our last name, and voila! Cute little welcome scarecrow!

What are you doing to decorate for fall?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taco Casserole

Taco Casserole! 

I asked Zeke what he was hungry for last week, and he said, "Casserole." He's an easy to please kind of man. And I love him for it. So after I exhausted some of my classic casserole recipes (Tater Tot Casserole, etc...), I found this great one! It's easy there aren't too many ingredients to hunt for, and I had almost everything on hand. You can add more veggies to the casserole if you'd like, like black olives, peppers... but I don't like olives and we didn't have any peppers. 
1  pound ground beef 
1  can (16 ounce) refried beans
1  jar (16 ounce) salsa
1  package (1 ounce) taco seasoning mix
2 1/2  cups coarsely broken tortilla chips (I just guesstimated, here)
4  medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
 2  medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cups) 
1  cup shredded cheese
1  cup shredded lettuce
Brown the ground beef and drain the excess fat. Add the refried beans and salsa to the skillet, and heat over medium until the mixture begins to bubble. 

Prepare a 2 qt casserole dish by putting the crushed chips on the bottom. I also used this time to chop up my tomatoes.

When the beef mixture is bubbling and heated through, put the mixture over the chips in the casserole dish. Add half of the chopped tomatoes on top, and cover with the shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

Put the rest of the tomatoes and the shredded lettuce on top of the casserole. 

You can also add more crushed chips on top! 

Taco Casserole!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A List.

Our internet is baaaack! Whoo! I've got a couple recipes to post, but today, in honor of having internet (thank you for fixing it, guy who lives below us), I'm just get all caught up with the highlights of the past week or so.

A List:

1. We did not get our new mattress yet. We had to have it ordered, but it should be here by next week! Zeke is building a frame for it, which could be an interesting late-night project... we'll see how this goes.

2. Today I fell asleep on my couch at 4:30 in the afternoon. I don't remember falling asleep, though. Weird.

3. We started the process of moving stuff around in our house- it's amazing how much more space there is now that a spare bed and dresser are gone!

4. Tucker Turtle has picked up some bad habits. Apparently, last time Zeke's little brother was in town, he spent some time tormenting playing with Tucker. Now the little Tucky fellow tries to bite when he gets picked up. He hasn't actually succeeded as of yet (mostly because his neck is pretty chubby... too many moths on the farm), but it isn't a habit that I like. Tuck's gotta be around lots of kids.... and the biting thing? Not making me happy. I've been taking some time every day to handle him, so hopefully he'll go back to his human-loving, trusting, green little self.

5. The reason I've been able to take so much time with Tucker? I haven't subbed in two weeks now. Bummer, I know. I was hoping to be busier than this, but I guess, it's not cold and flu season, teacher in-services are just starting up... hopefully I'll get some calls this week or the next.

6. I'm really making a big effort in the Live Healthy Iowa Next Step challenge! My goal is to stay above 10,000 steps a day, and so far, I've been doing okay. I missed out on my walk today, which actually really disappointed me. I planned to walk in the morning, but it was raining. I should have done an exercise video at least, but I cleaned house, folded laundry, and then plopped in front of the television. And fell asleep. (See #2). Now that I have internet back, I'll be posting my step totals- then you guys can cheer me on, too! Today, I'm up to 7,408. Not great. Tomorrow will be better.

7.  This weekend is the women's retreat here at camp. My mom is coming, too. I'm really excited! Things have been pretty quiet around camp lately, and I've missed the fellowship.

That's about all over here! Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight after my late nap... we'll see.


I’ve been MIA for the last couple of days, here! The internet in our building hasn’t been working, which is a bummer, but it’s kind of helping me not to have the distractions that come with it. I’ve gotten a lot done this week already- lots of organizing and reorganizing in our home. We’re getting a new bed tomorrow, which we’ve definitely been looking forward to. Camp was gracious enough to provide us with a mostly-furnished home, but with Zeke’s carpal tunnel and back issues, we really needed to get a new bed.

Our little cabin home has three bedrooms- the master and two smaller rooms. Right now, the two small rooms both have twin beds in them. The back bedroom has one, and the front bedroom has a bunk bed. It’s worked really great for having our siblings come to stay, but there isn’t really anywhere for us to put a couple (like Zeke’s married sisters or our parents). We decided that when we move our bed out, we’d also take the twin bed out of the back bedroom to make a little more space. At the same time, we’ll take the dresser out of the back bedroom, and move the desk from the front to the back.

All that moving around will mean that we’ll be able to “unbunk” the beds in the front bedroom and put them next to each other to make a king-sized bed, and there will be space in the back bedroom for our queen-sized air mattress. It’ll also make the spare bedrooms much less crowded.

This week has also been busy because I’ve started the Live Healthy Iowa Next Step challenge! Our camp put together a team (mostly of just the camp wives) to count our steps and try to get more active. It’s been really fun so far. My step totals have gotten bigger and bigger every day. Making progress! Even so, the other ladies on the team are kind of kicking my butt. Okay, big time kicking my butt. One of them had 32,000 steps in two days! Crazy. It’s a good way to get me moving, though.

On Wednesday, I did an exercise video (it was rainy and cold outside), and yesterday and today I went for nice long walks. The weather has been cool, which makes it nice to walk through the woods or just through my neighborhood. It’s amazing what a mood lifter just getting some exercise can be, and I’ve even noticed that my energy levels have been higher the past two days. I haven’t been subbing (everybody’s healthy, I guess, which is a blessing), but I’m sure that when I do, my step total will go up like crazy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Movie Night with Hunky Husband

"Honey, what movie should we watch?"

"That one... you know... the one with that one guy?"

"Um, no... which guy?"

"It's somebody... someone between Will Ferrell and Will Smith. Um... it's... that's it! Bruce Willis. It's got Bruce Willis!"

Between Will Ferrell and Will Smith? What?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Budget Bride: Registry Tips

Once upon a simpler time, it used to be that you just told your loved ones that you were getting married, and they got you stuff. Okay, maybe you ended up with something that didn't match your color scheme, or with three toasters. But you, as the bride, didn't have to worry about it. The gift-giving was up to the guests.

Until the invention of the Wedding Registry.

Now, the bride (and sometimes groom) agonizes about where to register, what to register for, how many to register for, do we have enough items, do we have the right colors... in short, it's kind of a pain. Granted, just clicking willy-nilly, adding anything that you've ever dreamed of owning onto your registry... that can be fun. Fun, but really impractical.

Here are some tips to make registering for wedding gifts worth your time and focus.

1. Choose where you register wisely. 
   If you never shop at a store, don't have a store nearby, or a store is very selective on what they sell, you may not want to register there. You'll most likely end up returning items or have gift cards to use from wherever you register, and choosing a store that's an hour or more away can be extremely inconvenient. Pick stores nearby you, preferably those that have a website or are a national chain, so your guests can easily use your registry. Make sure that you choose stores that you will or have shopped at for everyday items. Sure, Fancy Schamncy Brothers has that nice china pattern, but if you never, ever shop there otherwise, how will you spend that $300 gift card your great-aunt gave you? It'll be really difficult to spend the gift card money or store credit for returned items if the store only sells a select few types of items or if you don't typically shop there. I'd suggest only registering at two or three stores. It makes returns easier, gives you some variety without being overwhelming, and gives your guests a choice.

2. Know what you need.
  This is one tip that I didn't follow, and wish I could have. It's nice to know where you'll be living before you register for gifts. I didn't have that option, but if you do, use it to your advantage. You know the size of the space you'll be living in, and you know what you and your betrothed already have. For example, I knew that we needed a new toaster. However, if I had known that my kitchen would be so tiny, I wouldn't have chosen the beautiful, but enormous monstrosity of a toaster I chose. Knowing what size of bed you have is important, too- don't register for king sized sheets when you have a queen sized bed. Or vice versa. Also, know what you don't need. An ice cream maker, for instance. When are you gonna use that? And where, in the name of pizza, are you going to put it until you do? Sure, it looks fun... until you've been to every store in the tri-state area trying to return it and you find out that it must have just appeared from thin air. Careful what you click on.

3. Update, update, update. 
  You'll most likely be receiving gifts at a couple of different times during your engagement. You may receive gifts when you announce you're engaged, although this is becoming a little less common and you most likely will not have a registry by then. You will most likely have at least one bridal shower (I was blessed with three), and you'll be getting gifts at your wedding, as well. A lot of online registries are set up so that when a loved one buys you an item off of your registry, the site automatically removes the item from your list or marks it "purchased." That is a heck of a nice feature. However, some of your guests may buy something from your registry and forget to tell a cashier that it's a registered gift, so the item won't make it off the list. Or a guest may buy an item that's similar to something on your registry, but it's not the exact item on your registry, so it won't remove the original registry item (like if Aunt Nell buys you a seven-speed blender, but you registered for the five-speed, so the registry still says you need a five-speed blender.) That's how I got three blenders. As you receive gifts, update your registry.

4. Make sure that your online registry is marked "allow gift cards."
  Let's be honest brides, here. Sometimes, as you're looking over your registry, you'll think, "Hmm. I'd almost rather have the money." Really. In your deepest, darkest places, you wish your friends and relatives would just hand out the cash. Some of them will. But I'm telling you, gift cards are the next best thing. For me, gift cards have been so wonderful because I really didn't know what I needed right off the bat (see #2). I really needed a good, heavy duty rug for in front of my door, but I didn't know that until a week into marriage when HH told me that he's been basically undressing on the porch so he didn't track in all kinds of mud. A gift card got me that rug. As long as you have gift cards from places you'll purchase stuff from, gift cards pretty much heaven sent. One of the stores where we registered is a department store. I just used some of our wedding gift cards to buy a couple clothing items for this fall from there. Gift cards rock.

5. Be prepared to return and recycle.
  As much as you love your Aunt Sylvia, your Uncle Freddy, and Cousin Karen, and value the time and effort they put into coming to your wedding and finding a gift they thought you'd love, you really don't need three blenders. Return, return, return. Make sure that you're not (as I often do) making the decision of which blender stays based on which relative you think would be most offended. Judge your gifts on the content of their character, not on the content of the character of the person who gave it. Furthermore, be prepared to recycle. If you receive something that's not off your registry (ie you have no idea where it came from) or something from a specialty store (like Thirty-One or Pampered Chef), or something that has no receipt and you can't return, be ready to re-gift or sell. Zeke and I got three of the large cooler bags from Thirty-One. Three. We not only don't have space to store them, but Zeke already had like, seventy million cooler bags before we got married. I'm selling two of them on Craigslist.

There you have it! 5 of the most important things I've learned about wedding registries. Hope it helps!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins!

In camp's large and often overlooked pantry of donated food, I've found many, many oddities. Oddities that would be difficult for our camp cook, who we lovingly refer to as "Chef," to use because he can't use anything in such small quantities. Like, 3 cans of pumpkin puree. I've been eying those cans for about a month now.

I saw these 3 cans of pumpkin and thought, "Hey. I could probably use those."

And I finally did.

Thanks to Sweet Escape Bakery! Thank you very much for posting this recipe!!

Here it is, with a couple of (mostly need-based) modifications...

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins  
(Based on Sweet Escape Bakery, modifications by Little Wife)

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. It's kind of sticky, so this might be a little tricky. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. This recipe makes 24 muffins (and I only had a twelve-muffin pan... so I had to bake these in two batches.) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. 

These muffins were so delicious. I got rave reviews from everyone who tried them, and I definitely passed them around (Zeke and I couldn't possibly eat 24 of these babies, as much as we may want to!) I'll definitely make these again around Thanksgiving!

I noticed that some of my cream cheese was poking through on top, but I didn't really mind that so much. Too delicious to care!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Turtle Homecoming

Wow! What a busy weekend it was for us! I'm sure we're not the only ones! It seems like everyone I've talked to had a busy and fun-filled Labor Day. I'm sure that the beautiful weather played a big part in that.

We found out on Friday that we'll be staying in our little home for the long haul. For a while, the camp wasn't sure if this would be our home past this summer, so I kept a ton of boxes for fragile stuff (in my poor, poor storage and craft room), and we didn't do any improvements on the actual physical space of our home.

Now we've got lots of projects to perhaps accomplish! Like...

-Putting in a new shower!

-Changing around the entryway of our home so it's more winter-clothes friendly

-Updating the windows (camp has had this project in the works for a while, but we'll be the ones really benefiting from the improvement!)

-Adding a couple of shelves or storage units into the kitchen

And... best of all... my baby is back in my home again!!

Our little Red Eared Slider turtle has found his way home once again! Tucker has been living in the basement of Zeke's parents' farm house, under the diligent care of Zeke's little brother. I've missed him lots. He's really enjoyed eating the farm bugs Zeke's dad caught for him. We didn't want to move him to and fro as we figured out our living situation, so Tucker has been "visiting his grandparents" out at the farm since May. Now that we know we'll be staying here, he's home at last.

We're still figuring out the tank set up in our little home... Zeke also brought his fish home this past weekend, so we now have a ten gallon tank for Tucker and a twenty gallon tank for the goldfish... our house is starting to look a little like an aquarium!

But I don't even care. Because I have my husband, a home, and my little Tucker Turtle. Who could ask for anything more?

nRelate Posts Only