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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Your Husband Is a Maintenance Guy...

- You learn how to spell the word 'maintenance.' Seriously, English language? Couldn't have come up with an easier spelling for that one?

- You become very familiar (even though on my part, it's mostly unintentional) with phrases like, "priming the lake pump," "welding floats," and "3/8 socket." And you know what all those things mean.

- The entryway floor is always covered with mud, leaves, and sand.

- You learn to check pants pockets (ALL OF THEM), for drill bits, boat keys, tire pressure gauges, and little rubber seals.

Not this kind of rubber seal...

... I'm talking this kind of rubber seal. Not as cheerful.
- You become okay with the fact that most of those stains on his clothes are never, ever, ever coming out. Ever.

- Random cuts and scrapes (on his hands, his shins, his lower back, his thumb...) are to be expected, and he probably won't know how they got there.

- He'll need regular back rubs, shoulder rubs, forearm rubs, and calf rubs to soothe those sore muscles. The ones he gets from, you know, siding a house. Or switching out air conditioners. Or building a retaining wall.

- You'll need to figure out the difference between "work shirts" and "good shirts." And it's not always that easy.

- An understanding of mending (very basic, even) comes in handy. Otherwise you'll be buying new shorts every week or so. A needle and thread are currently sitting on my coffee table, just waiting. They'll be needed any moment now...

- Every once in a while, he'll have to fix something for some pretty young thing, and then she'll see the ring on his finger. And you'll think to yourself, "Yes, be jealous. Be veeerrry jealous."

- He will fix anything at camp within the hour. Anything. But that broken step on your porch? Broken for weeks.

- He comes home hot and tired and hungry. Every. Single. Day. Which makes you the perfect wife when you have the air conditioner on, some kind of food ready (delivery pizza!), and give him a comfy place to sit down.

- You may be constantly surprised by how many things he knows, and how well he does what he does. And you love all those surprises. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dinner Tonight!

Tonight, I splurged. Instead of using camp food, like I have been a lot, I went big. I got ground beef... from a grocery store. I know, I know.

Zeke's brother (I'd call him LB, Little Brother, but that abbreviation now looks super mean-spirited... so we'll go with BB, Baby Brother. And now he sounds like a Korean beauty secret. Maybe TB? Teenage Brother? ...Now he's a deadly disease. Man. This is a hard one. Okay. JB it is. Because his name starts with a J. So there.) is visiting.

JB's here for a week, and I thought that I should probably feed him. At least a little. So I went big, and bought ground beef.

(Bet you didn't think that I'd ever come full circle, huh?)

Hoisin Beef with Rice Source, notes by  Little Wife

2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 lb ground beef (see? I knew I couldn't call him LB!)
1 Tbs sesame oil (I used olive)
 2 Tbs ginger, minced (I used powdered)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used powdered)
2-3 green onions, chopped
1/4 c hoisin sauce

-Combine orange juice and cornstarch, set aside. 
-Saute meat til cooked, drain and remove from skillet
-Stir-fry ginger, orange peel if desired, and garlic in sesame oil
-Add green onion, stir fry for one minute
-Return meat to skillet, add hoisin and stir
-Add orange juice mixture and stir until sauce thickens

Little Wife Notes: 

I served this meal over rice, which wasn't what the original recipe called for, but it made more sense to me. I doubled the sauce and spices, but the meal still didn't come out "saucy" enough... I don't think that you'd need much time for the sauce to thicken. Next time I make this dish, I think I might use the original recipe idea- serving it on a tortilla. Flavor was good, overall, and it was a pretty easy meal to make. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Camp Living

How many times have you been somewhere- on a retreat, on vacation, even just visiting a friend or relative- and thought, "I wish I could live here!" Where everything is relaxed, you feel like yourself again, and you feel like you and God finally had that really good talk you've been needing.

I live there. For many people, my home is that place of rest and renewal.

Because I live at a Bible Camp.

When children find out that I live here on site, their faces light up with awe. "You live here??" they ask, jealous. Yep. I live here.

Even adults (and we have a lot of adults come to camp- our Bible camp hosts mostly family camps), when they find out I live here at camp, look at me a little differently. I feel like they just want to ask, "What's it like, living at this place where I've been so restored?"

It's weird, really. Right now, I'm kind of existing in an in-between place. I'm not a staff member- I don't work at camp or know the actions to the songs or help out with the kids- but I'm not a camper, either. This isn't a vacation from my life, this is my life. Granted, it's only been my life for about a month, and I'm still finding my place in it. But I'm learning a lot from being here. I've gotten to join campers for Bible studies and see their families change through the week.

It's kind of amazing.

I went to one Bible camp as a kid, and it was fun. I worked at a Bible camp not long ago at all, and that was fun, too. But to be honest, I've never before seen what I'm seeing here.

Let me give an example.

On Monday, Zeke volunteered to take an extra group out tubing on the lake. Usually he takes two groups out per day, but the sign-up lists were full, and not all the families had gotten a chance to sign up. So he took out three groups on Monday. I went along, because the counselors are in a meeting during the time he was taking this group out, and the boat needed another "staff" member.

Anyways. Monday. We're out on the lake, tubing with two families. Zeke is driving the boat, and I'm watching. Listening. One of the dads on the boat seemed tense. Not scared, just tense. Busy. He was a little impatient with his little daughter when she wasn't sure if she wanted to tube or not. He seemed buttoned up. He didn't say much.

On Tuesday, I ended up in a small group with the same family during Bible study. We talked about how God speaks to us, the things that distract us from hearing His voice. The dad talked in the small group about being busy, traveling for work, and how he didn't spend as much time in the Word as he used to. At worship, he sang and held his wife's hand.

On Wednesday, the dad said hi to me as I walked by, and his wife smiled at me. At lunch, he sang the silly camp prayer with gusto. He pushed his little daughter on the tire swing, and during free time, he chased his teenage daughter through the water.

On Thursday, the dad shared his thoughts with the large group during Bible study. He spoke about how for years, his career came first. How he felt like he missed out on raising his eldest daughter, who's in college. He cried a little. At worship, he joined in with the goofy hand motions, getting a big eye roll from his teenage daughter.

And on Friday, he shared with the Bible study that he wanted this. That he felt like being at camp (for the first time this summer) was a God thing. That he needed to figure out how he was going to change, how he'd balance his love of the Lord, his love of his family, and his responsibilities to work. His family signed up for a week next summer. In the lunchroom, he walked by cheering, "Skiiiit! Whoo, whoo! Skiiiit! Whoo, whoo!"

Then his family left. Back to real life, back to the stress of every day. And maybe he'll make a change for the better in his family, for his relationship with the Lord. Maybe his children will notice a huge change in their dad, or his wife a huge change in her husband. Or maybe he'll drift back to the way things were. But camp made a difference. Maybe just for the week, maybe the month, maybe their lifetime.

Camp made a difference. Because God spoke to him in this place.

And that's where I live.
Evening sunshine through my living room window

It doesn't mean that I'm constantly hearing God's voice, that I'm super relaxed, super religious, that I'm perfect or have all the answers. Or that I even have any answers.

What it does mean is that I am blessed. I'm so incredibly blessed to see this happening. Just to observe God's kingdom here on earth. I'm living somewhere that makes a difference in people's lives.

For so much of the past month, I've really felt like I'm constantly looking forward, tugging at my leash until fall comes and I start the next thing- getting into schools and teaching. Like everything I'm focused on is in  "tomorrow." I've been impatient. Waiting.

And this week, God said to me, "I have you right where you're supposed to be. Look around you." I finally did.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Cream Pie!

I started thinking about Thanksgiving yesterday. I know, I know... it's like, 400 degrees outside and everything, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

Given that I have a ton of peanut butter, I thought I'd look at some kind of peanut-butter-pie-something for Thanksgiving. So here it goes!

Peanut Butter Cream Pie  Little Wife

1 Sleeve (about 9) graham crackers
4 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs peanut butter
3 Tbs sugar

Smash the graham crackers (or use a food processor to turn 'em into crumbs). I just used a plastic bag and my pent up frustration. Just kidding about the frustration.

Put the crumbs in a mixer. Add butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Mix until the crumbs are well coated. 

See my pretty KitchenAid mixer?? It's beautiful!
Pour into a prepared pie dish and press around the edges. Bake for 10 minutes at 360 degrees. Make sure to cool the crust completely.

2 1/2 c milk
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 egg
1/2 c peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs butter

In a medium saucepan, whisk milk, egg, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat until mixture gets warm. 

Not warm yet! The milk will start to bubble slightly.
Add the peanut butter and whisk until the mixture thickens. Then remove from heat. Note: When the mixture begins to thicken, it thickens fast. When you start thinking, "Hey, I think it's getting thickened... yay!" take it off the heat!

Adding peanut butter...

... and now it's definitely thick enough.
Add the vanilla and butter, and whisk until incorporated. If you cut the butter up into smaller bits, it will incorporate better. 

Pour the mixture into a prepared crust. The original recipe calls for the mixture to be poured through a strainer, but I didn't do that. 

Smooth the top, and then lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on top. Chill for four hours, and then serve with whipped cream. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


For the past couple of days, I've been taking advantage of living at a Bible Camp. The Bible Camp where Zeke works hosts family camps, primarily, and included in the programming for family camp is a Bible study for the adults of the families. The studies are led by a different speaker every week, and the families seem really impressed with the studies, but I just haven't felt comfortable enough to attend any of them. I'm not a camper, and I don't work at the camp... so I just felt like I didn't quite fit anywhere.

And then the executive director's wife told me that I'm welcome to come to the Bible study. And told me that she'd be there. I got a little more comfortable with the idea. So for the past couple of days, I've been attending, listening, taking notes, and sharing. It's been incredible.

The speaker is wonderful, but even more than him (and he's hard to top...), I've really been blessed by the fellowship. The speaker gives us time to form small groups and discuss the message, and that's the part that's really made this experience so great. I've gotten to know people, to talk to people, who are struggling with their faith, walking the narrow Way, and who are willing to share about their journeys. It's been wonderful.

Photo Credit: http://www.minigeek.org/?p=554

Today's message was about being a light in the darkness. The speaker used the example of being in the deepest part of a cave, how one tiny little light shining in all that expansive darkness makes a difference, how it isn't swallowed up by the great darkness. Our small group talked about how our relationships with everyone around us can be our little light. Someone brought up the fact that while we need to set an example to those around us, we also have to be okay with showing others that we don't have it all together. Being a Christian doesn't mean that my life is perfect. I have hard times. The difference is in how I deal with those hard times, how I handle the pain and the struggles in my life.

I really needed this. I needed this time of spiritual renewal- and most of all, I think, I've needed to spend time with other Christians. I've been pretty tied up with things going on here at home- the cooking and cleaning and organizing, getting paperwork taken care of, and working on getting a job. What I really needed was other people. I needed that fellowship.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toads in the Hole, Looney Eggs, or Sunny Windows

This is one of Hunky Husaband's favorite breakfasts.

And best of all, it's too easy to make.

The hardest part about it is the name- there seems to be a whole bunch of names for this breakfast. Toad in the Hole (which I think is kind of a gross reference. Toads for breakfast. Ew), Looney Eggs (?)... so I came up with Sunny Windows. I think it's more pleasant than either of the other ones. Any other suggestions?

Here's how it works.

Take a piece of bread and rip a small hole in it. Or if you really need the hole to be uniform and perfect, you could use a small cup to punch out a hole.

Put some butter in a frying pan and wait til it melts. Put the bread into the pan, then crack an egg into the hole!

Wait until the egg is about half cooked, then flip the bread and egg. When the egg is done, it will be a little higher than the bread, and will feel firm when you try to squish it with your flipper.

HH likes it with a little jelly spread on top (which I truly don't understand. I think the bonds of matrimony have a limit when it comes to jelly on fried eggs.) or you could eat it with salsa on top, or dipped in ketchup.. or mustard. Or HOLLANDAISE SAUCE!! Fancy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Married One Whole Month

Wow. Zeke and I have been married one month.

Check. Out. My. Dress! So pretty!

It's weird, really. I feel like it's been more like a year. In a good way, don't get me wrong; it just feels like it's been so much more than a month since we've been married. Our wedding feels like it was sooo long ago.

I guess it does make sense, though. In this month I've learned so many things about Zeke, myself, and about being married.

Zeke likes juice. Lots and lots of juice. He's a big guy, and after being outside running around all day, he's a thirsty guy. He does drink two 32 oz bottles of water during the day, but when he comes home, he wants more variety. I usually make about 3 gallons of Crystal Light or Kool-Aid (or whatever was on sale) every two days or so. That's a lot of juice. 

I have a lot of trouble getting out of bed on time when Zeke's there. Really. I wake up on time, but I usually roll over and get all cuddly with HH until he has to get up for work. Which is usually about an hour later that I was planning on getting up.

Zeke goes through about four shirts a day, and his clothes are a lot larger that mine are, which makes laundry a constant. It's ridiculous. I'm used to doing laundry once a week, but for the two of us, I could probably do two loads every day. I keep it to one load most days. So. Much. Laundry.

Making prayer (especially praying for my husband) a priority is important. Even when he's frustrating me, which hasn't been often, just praying for Zeke helps me. I heard somewhere once that prayer isn't a way for us to give God a list of all the things we want, it's a way for God to help align our desires to His will, to become more like Him in our thoughts and attitudes. I definitely can tell the difference in myself. After I've prayed for Zeke, I have a better, more godly attitude towards him and towards our relationship. Even after I've been super grouchy.

I'm sure I've got a lot more to learn in the next few months as well as all the years to come, but this first month has been so enlightening for me. I love being married even more than I expected. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Lord does in our lives and for our futures!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Only Thing I'm Using my Resume For!

Resume Funnel!

Haha, just kidding! That's actually an old resume... and it made a wonderful funnel for making Kool-Aid earlier!

I've been going through a lot of my paperwork (including resumes... why did I keep the ones from 3 years ago??) and also updating my teaching portfolio. Which means that while it's sunny and beautiful outside, I'm sitting on my couch, laptop on my knees, typing. I'm sure that I'll be glad I put all this time in, though! I'm going to be substitute teaching in the area for the next year- that's the plan, anyways. One thing I've learned in the past two years is that God's plans don't always match up to my own.

This weekend we're going to visit Zeke's sister, and then we're going to return some wedding gifts. Am I the only one who feels a little guilty about returning gifts? I know that I don't need three blenders, but still... We still have a few things on our registries that we'd like to get (like a tent!) and we should probably have sat down yesterday to prioritize what we really want, but Zeke has been so busy at work that most of the time he comes home and just crashes!

I'm looking forward to getting away for awhile- away from the paperwork especially. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a little sick of my living room!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DIY Wedding Centerpieces

I haven't talked about my wonderful wedding in like, one. whole. week. You missed it, I know.

Anyways, I thought that I'd bring back the wedding stuff! Yay!

In an attempt to keep wedding costs low, we decided to make all of our centerpieces as much as possible. We went with three different centerpieces.

Here's the first one. The base is a cedar slab, borrowed from a friend of Zeke's who does woodcarving and burning. We borrowed mason jars from friends. We wrapped burlap around the center ones, and then tied raffia around the middles. We filled them with rocks, then put candles inside. Our Washington relatives brought fresh greenery, and we put some around the bottom. We also bought some fake hydrangeas from Walmart and pulled them apart- a couple little flowers was all we really needed to bring a splash of color to the table. In this picture, you can also see our table labels (click here for wedding table 'number' tutorial).

The second one was a little more intensive, and all about my Hunky Husband. HH got some cedar branches from the camp he used to work at, and cut them into three different sizes. Then he drilled a hole in the middle, and we put tea light candles inside (which was it's own adventure). He also got grapevine from camp, and we wound that up around the candle pillars. We also put some fake moss around the pillars, some orange raffia, and a fake orange flower.You can't really see it, but we borrowed mirrored tiles from church to put underneath.

The third centerpiece! We used more of the cedar slabs and greenery, borrowed some hurricane vases from Zeke's mom, my mom, and Zeke's sister. We used more rocks, and then filled the hurricane vases with water and two goldfish (they went to a good home afterward). It's a little hard to see in the picture, but we also put two small glass votive holders on the sides, and put a tea light inside each of those.We put more hydrangea flowers around these, as well.

The centerpieces looked great. They were all so unique, and the personal touches (like the cedar slabs and branches from Zeke's old camp) made them really special. The tables had a burlap runner on each, which gave a simple and rustic feel to the reception.

We had a lot of help with the centerpieces and with set up, and I think that getting help was one of the best parts- we had a blast with our aunts and cousins and moms getting everything set up and looking good! That's one thing I think I learned from the experience of wedding planning- ask for help, not only because you'll need help to avoid going nuts, but also because it's fun to spend that extra time with your loved ones. The wedding gets so crazy that you really don't have enough time for everyone, so that set-up time is great.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies on a Hot Day

Like most of the country this week, our outdoor thermometer looks like this...

Sidenote:  The Christmas lights? Well, the girls who lived here before us put them up all around our porch, and since they're a little tacky to have up in the summer (definitely college-student outdoor decorating going on here...) and we STILL haven't found the place to plug them in, they came down right after this picture was taken.

Anyway, in spite of the heat wave going on across the corn belt (angry farmers, friends. Angry farmers.), I needed cookies. NEEDED. COOKIES.

And so, even though it feels like some kind of terrible sin to turn an oven on when it's this darn hot outside, I made cookies.

Yummy! Zeke was pretty excited to come home. Every counter top (we don't have many counter tops) was covered with cooling cookies. I had fun making all of em.

Which brings me to my next thought. I love my KitchenAid Mixer. Looove it. Because I don't have much chance to cook this summer, I'm still using some of my new, beautiful wedding gifts for the first or second times. This was the second time I used the KitchenAid Mixer, and the first time I used two of my cookie sheets.

My beautiful KitchenAid Mixer.
Tomorrow is Zeke's birthday. I'm going to see if I can't make him breakfast in bed, since I haven't gotten him a present yet. Whoops. I found a crock pot egg dish recipe... we'll see if that happens. It'll be the first time I've used my crock pot, actually...

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY Reception Table "Number" Alternative

There are so many different ways to decorate wedding reception tables, but almost all of them include some kind of numbering or labeling tables. This helps with inviting tables to buffet lines if you're doing a buffet, or helping guests find their seats if you're doing a seating plan (I didn't, actually. It seemed like such a nightmare to worry about!)

Instead of using numbers on our tables, we decided to label them with places that Hunky Husband and I have been together. Here's how I did it.

Here's what I used:

-A stamp (the one I used on the invitations) and silvery ink
-A glue stick (I used Elmer's brand, the 'craft bond' variety)
-A pen
-A printer (see my tips on using printers here)

First, I made a list of all the places I wanted to include, and made sure that it matched up with the number of tables. Then I found pictures of Zeke and I in each of the places. I printed the pictures onto plain white cardstock and cut them out, leaving a white border.
Faces smudged to protect our privacy
Then I typed out the name of each place (two on each page), printed them out on white cardstock, and used my stamp with a silvery ink to make a little design on each of them. 

Then, I took each of the pictures, and traced the size onto the cardstock with the name of the corresponding place. 

Then I cut them out...

and took a small rectangle of extra cardstock and folded it in half.

I glued the extra folded cardstock onto the inside of the label card,

and then glued it to the inside of the corresponding picture card.

Ta Da!

Note: I found that using an additional piece of cardstock to bind the two cards together makes the labels a little stronger and keeps them standing better.

Friday, July 13, 2012


One of my greatest sins, I believe, is comparing my life to the lives of my friends, my co-workers... anybody, really. I even compare myself with random people I went to high school with but don't really remember all that well. (I think that's one big downfall of Facebook in my life- that it allows me to compare myself to people I don't really even know!)

I found out yesterday that one of Zeke's dear friends and his wife are expecting a baby. I could tell right away that my heart isn't in the right place. My stomach felt a little like I had a rock in it, and I wasn't happy. Zeke was happy for them- smiled as soon as he heard the news. I, on the other hand, felt yucky and sad.

I don't know why, really. Babies are wonderful gifts, blessings to a family and to a marriage. Someday, I'd like to have children with Zeke. But I know that a baby, while miraculous and life-changing, would not be in the best interest of our family right now. I know that it would be difficult to raise a baby in our small home, I know that my college debt should be paid off before we consider having a child. I know that I need some source of income and we need a lot more in savings. But somewhere in my heart, all the things that I know... they don't matter. They don't matter- because I'm not being a logical being. I'm comparing my life to the lives of others, and they "have" something that I don't. It makes me jealous, and I know that I have no good reason to be jealous.

Why am I all jealous?

Well, when I make those comparisons, I'm not being grateful. I get some kind of tunnel vision that keeps me from seeing all the blessings in my life as it is now, and instead I look only at what I don't have. And that- that is sin.

I have so much to be thankful for! I have a beautiful home that fits Zeke's and my lifestyle perfectly. Not only is our home beautiful, but we're not paying rent or utilities because our home is part of camp- which also means that Zeke doesn't commute to work, and also means that he often gets the change to drop in at home and say hello during the day. And we live on the lake, for heaven's sake! I have a great "camp family" around me, many of whom live on site as well. Most of all, I have a loving, generous, adventurous, fun, godly man who calls me his wife, and together we have a strong and healthy marriage. Truly, I have been so blessed that to be lusting after more is selfish.

I told my Hunky Husband about all this on our porch before lunch, and he agreed that he'd noticed this particular struggle of mine before. It was good to talk about it, and even better to eat lunch together at our picnic table in the sunshine on this beautiful day, watching campers play games in the field. I felt such contentment. I'm working on that, being content in what we have, in where we are in life right now, and in knowing that by following the Lord and doing His will, we can  be assured that our lives will follow His perfect plan for us. Someday, we may have all the desires of our hearts, all of our dreams may come true. But for now, this is enough.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things I Love about my Husband

My husband has the ability to make every day a special and unique adventure. My husband also finds the most interesting things for cheap or for free.

Zeke found, or bought, I can't remember really... but in some way, he acquired a food dehydrator. Yep. It's been sitting in our kitchen for the past two weeks looking lonely, and before that, it lived in Zeke's storage room. Very unloved.

Anyway, Zeke's mom gave us a ton of mangoes. Very generous, but we couldn't possibly eat all those mangoes before they went bad. That's when Zeke pulled out the dehydrator.

If you've never seen one (and I don't blame you for that... they're kind of a novelty, I think), this is what they look like....

We put the mango chunks on the dividers, set that puppy to "Fresh Fruit" and let it dehydrate.

This is the end result...

Looks appetizing, huh? Zeke bravely tried one and pronounced that they taste like raisins. I'm not sure if I'd call it a successful attempt, but I'm pretty sure that Zeke will eat them nonetheless.

One downside of this particular adventure? It's kind of tough to get all the sticky mango off the dehydrator!

Dinner Tonight!

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit for a few days!

And, because it's Wednesday, there's no scheduled meal at camp, and my sister and her boyfriend do, in fact, need to eat.

So here's what we're having!

Inspiration: Left-over pork tenderloin, lots of spaghetti noodles, a craving for something savory.

Pork Stir Fry!  Little Wife

About a pound of left over cooked pork, broken into chunks (or cook it as you stir fry, that's good too)
A little green onion
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 cup sugar snap peas (in pod)
1 cup carrots, cut into small pieces
Spaghetti noodles (enough for 4 servings)

1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup vinegar
3 Tbs. ground ginger
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 Tbs. brown sugar

I prepped everything first, because we were planning on going boating before supper and I didn't want everyone hungry and waiting and grumpy. I would suggest making the sauce before you start the rest, because it's just a hassle to mix it up while you're cooking.

Start some water boiling for your spaghetti noodles and cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and green onion, and then add the veggies. Stir fry for about three minutes, then add the cooked pork. When the veggies are about done, add half of the sauce mixture into the skillet. 

After you drain the spaghetti noodles, return them to the pot and add the remaining half of the sauce mixture to the spaghetti and stir, heat on low for a few minutes.


On the Side: Okay, I admit it, the side dish is one part of meal planning that I kind of suck at. Especially when the meal is kind of a "one pot" deal- meat and veggies and carbs all together. But I overcame my side-dish challenge, and actually made a side for this meal...

Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad A Little Wife

1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (??? Totally didn't use that)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup sliced onion (the original recipe calls for a red onion,
 I used some green onion)
1 tsp hoisin sauce (I added this one for kicks)

Mix together everything but the cucumber in a small bowl.  Then pour over the cucumber slices and mix. Put in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. 

Consensus: I thickened up the sauce a little by adding some flour to the veggie/pork skillet after I added the sauce. 

The sauce gave the noodles and pork a nice "zing." The cucumbers were good, too! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Balls!

The adventure continues! I'm still trying to find yummy and creative ways to use up what we've got around without buying a ton more stuff. This week's project? Use up the two huge containers of quick oats (both of which were open), and some of the unlimited peanut butter we have around here!

I found this super easy, four-ingredient, no-bake recipe for "Peanut Butter Balls."

Peanut Butter Balls  Little Wife
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup powdered milk
3/4 cup quick oats, uncooked

Add a topping if you'd like...
We used melted chocolate, but you could be creative with it! 
(Jelly dip? Oohh. Peanut Butter and Jelly Balls!)

And you only need four ingredients!

Mix all of your ingredients together in a bowl.

Roll the mixture into balls with your hands, and place the balls on a baking pan (or whatever you've got, really. Something flat).

After you've finished rolling, put the pan into the fridge for at least 20 minutes to let them set.

This is two batches, actually.

As an added touch, I had a couple of chocolate bars in my pantry, so I melted those with a little vegetable oil... and dipped the peanut butter balls in the chocolate.

All done!

Zeke's Hunky Husband consensus: So. GOOD. The only thing I'd change is that I'd make them a little smaller, so they're bite sized. 

We ate all of them within a week. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July! (and Can Lantern Tutorial)

And what a beautiful day it is here! It's about 95 degrees Fahrenheit here at the lake, and the water is the place to be! Hunky Husband usually takes two sets of campers on tube rides every day, but there are just too many boats on the water today to be doing any tubing! Instead, he's installing air conditioners into cabins. Sooo much more fun than driving a boat around...

I've been busy, too! I wanted to do something sort of patriotic for the holiday, but I really don't have too much to work with just yet, and I didn't want to spend money. I remembered an idea for making little lanterns out of tin cans that seemed pretty easy, cute, and most of all, cheap!

Okay, here's how it works....

 You're gonna need a couple cans. I used three. And I pulled 5 of them out of the recycling bin here at camp. You're also going to need at least one nail and a hammer, as well as a freezer.

First things first, you're going to want to wash out the can really well if it still has any food remnants. At my home, if I didn't, I'd probably wake up to three raccoons, a turkey, and a family of deer asking for seconds.

Then, use warm water to loosen the label, and peel the label off.

 Fill the can with water...

...and stick it in your freezer. (Little Wife Note: This is a very important step! Make sure that the ice is completely solid before you go on. It's much, much more difficult and blister-inducing if you skip this part!)

Pull the can out of your freezer (the next day, I'd say) and take it outside!

Because I know my own (lack of) artistic ability, I pre-drew the stars on pieces of paper. Otherwise, I would have made catfish lanterns. I'm trying to make stars, here. I put a nail right through the paper and into the can to begin.

Then I put nails into all of the "important" corners, to give me a guide. (Notice, the ice is already beginning to make a big puddle on the table. It's hot out here, guys!)

At this point, I took the paper guide off, and freehanded the edges of the star. I found that it was pretty difficult to put nails into the raised part of the ridges, so I tried to just put holes on the lower parts.

 After I finished my star and put a little candle inside, the can looked like this!

It was all right, but not exactly what I was going for. I consulted with HH. He suggested putting another row of holes into the can.

And I like it much better.

I made three cans like this, and I'll use them tonight on our porch while we watch the fireworks!

I had a couple left over cans- Zeke took care of those... he picked some flowers for me!

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