Thursday, January 29, 2009


A man or woman willing to selflessly sacrifice their entire being for the greater good. Have you recently taken the time to thank a man or woman serving our country? Over the years it seems that some people have lost sight of what these men and women do and have done for our country. While growing up I had no ties to military. I was one of those people that had no grasp on how or why we are able to enjoy such freedom. Marrying my husband opened my eyes to what I had been missing all of those years. Everyone in his family serves or has served. My husband was in the army in the late 80s, his oldest brother is retiring this year, his next brother still flies refueling jets and his youngest brother works with a bomb sniffing dog in the Coast Guard. In 2006 his 57 year old mother joined the army. She works as a scrub nurse and will be going to Iraq in March. She is a true inspiration. I am proud to be surrounded by such an amazing family. A great way to show your support for these fine men and women is to look into

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save money, stay in shape and get outdoors

What better way to enjoy winter months than getting outdoors with your family to cut firewood. Our family has bundled up many times over the past couple of months to gather wood. It is a group effort. My husband runs the chainsaw, I haul the wood with a sled and split it and my husband and kids help to stack the finished product in the garage. Most of my friends think I am crazy. I can not tell you how fulfilling the whole process can be. I have a nice axe that is relatively light. For difficult logs I use a maul and wedge. I split the logs atop a wide flat log. I spent this morning researching different aspects of buying wood, species of trees and their efficiency, and cutting. The sites that I visited were , and
On the Michigan site I found that the state offers permits through the Forest, Mineral and Fire management division. The permits cost $20 and are issued from April 1 - December 31. Those issued permits may cut appropriate wood on designated state land. Five cords is the designated amount of wood allowed to be removed. A cord of wood measures 4 ft H x 4ft W x 8ft L. The DNR also offers a lot of information regarding the emerald ash borer. Most of the trees we have cut to burn this year have been dead ash trees.
I found the wood heat site to be very informative. They covered all of the pros to burning wood. They also provided a list of trees and burning effiiciency. I hope my husband is in the mood to run the saw tonight! This post has given me the fever!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great Recipe Ideas

I recently reached a point where I felt as though I were stuck in a perpetual "cooking rut". Wanting to put a different spin on the menu I spent an afternoon reacquainting with some of my favorite resources. I have a freezer full of beef and lamb. I first searched food network to find some ideas. I really like their kid friendly recipe portion. They gave me the idea to try tacozagna and yogurt with granola and berries. Tacozagna could be made with many different approaches. My daughter has enjoyed the yogurt and granola for breakfast and lunch. Next I needed to find something extraordinary to do with lamb shanks. The recipe that caught my attention was "North African- Influenced Lamb Shanks with Couscous", made by Emeril. I always like his recipes because they are doable. The recipe was well worth all the time and effort. All of the flavors united were amazing. Last I searched for pasta meals. Pasta seems to rock everyones world. Always great to make extra to send to work and school for lunch the next day. I found recipes to make homemade ravioli. I liked food networks ideas. Being unsure about making my own pasta I decided to check into my favorite cook book, "How to Cook Everything." Looking into my book gave me some ideas. My daughter does not like cheese, so instead of binding the beef and pork with cheese I used bread crumbs. The substitution worked well. We used a manual pasta machie to flatten the dough. The book gave tips on how to do it manually, with a pasta machine and with the aid of a food processor. The meal was a crowd pleaser. I was thrilled my first run with making the ravioli was a success. To top it off making the pasta from scratch was a fun activity with the family. Happy cooking!

Monday, January 26, 2009

True Romance

Our romance began in February 1998. I was a bank teller and he was a customer. My first encounter with him was at a bar in November 1997. His first move was to say "hey bank lady". You can imagine I was not very impressed. About three months later he came in the bank and asked me out to dinner. I felt better about his efforts this time around. I accepted giving him my work number. You have to be cautious. We went out later that week. He took me to a nice Japanese restaurant. We were the only people there. We had great conversations. After that night we were never apart. In June of 1998 he and I joined his family for a 13 day sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. That trip he let me know that he wanted to marry me. All of the islands were beautiful. Anegada was the most wonderful. We had an amazing time there. Everything you could wish for, picturesque beaches, nice people, and a perfect evening atmosphere. Our romance continued to grow and evolve. We moved in together in July. In October he left for a 2 week hunting trip in Montana. I missed him like crazy. Shortly after he returned I turned 21. For my birthday he proposed. He put the ring in my birthday card. We went round and round about how and where we would get married. My parents were divorced and had not seen each other for three years. I was not up for all of the craziness. He and I ultimately decided we would go away to get married. Getting married was simply about our love. What better place to go than Anegada. My dad was more than happy to foot the bill for this one. We were married on February 24th one year after our first date. We spent an amazing week on the island at Anegada Reef Hotel We spent lots of time on the beach and at the bar. The food was out of this world. What an experience. We had a nice reception in the summer of that year. We had a lot of fun over the next three years. In 2001 my daughter was born. Having her intensified our bond. We thought we were complete with three. We never did anything to prevent family growth. In 2004 our son was born. I am so glad to have 2 children. I am thankful for the opportunity to have a son and daughter. My children are best friends. We are a very close family. What would qualify as "normal." After reading this amazing account of the past 10-11 years you can imagine that I would wish to have a special celebration. Any ideas?