Thursday, June 20, 2013

Month of Pinterest Recipes - Mushroom and Cheddar Stuffed Onions

I know, I know, I am so behind.  I did do my month of pinterest recipes.  It has been lots of fun trying out new recipes and seeing the reaction to them.  Some have been successful, some have been complete flops.  Here was our next attempt:  Mushroom and Cheddar Stuffed Onions.

These looked so yummy and since I have more than one person in this here house that is not too keen on meat I thought these would be perfect.

So here is the thing.  Ever see something that looks sooooo good, and then you try it.  Hmmm.  Well these were those things.  I, personally, thought they were pretty dern good.  Everyone else in the house?  Well it was probably 50/50.  We have a certain picky person who refuses to put a mushroom to her mouth. :)  So it was a no-go for her.  We have a couple of other people who are a little set in their ways and do not like to try new things.  So it was a no-go for either of them.  The rest said they liked them but I haven't heard anyone begging for more.  Needless to say these most likely will not be made again in this house.

The other problem with these is they take a LOT of work.  A LOT!!  The flavor was really good.  I am thinking if I did make this again I probably would skip the roll it up in an onion and just make it as a one-dish type of side with the onions chopped in.  It was a little fun though, felt like a little foodie preparing these.

General consensus is, if you are trying to impress someone and look all fancy, these will do the trick.  Here is the link to the recipe if you would like to give these a try.  Eating Well - Mushroom & Cheddar Stuffed Onions

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Month of Pinterest Recipes - Pickled Asparagus

Spring means fresh veggies are starting to appear.  Thanks goodness.  With a lack of variety in grocery stores you are limited to what you can get at Walmart and Meijer in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Meijer far outweighs Walmart in terms of quality and selection.  So when local fresh yumminess becomes available, we grab it up while we can.

The first vegetable to pop through the winter madness is asparagus.  YUM!  We love it grilled, broiled, or pickled.  Cameron informed me last week that as he was driving past the asparagus farm they had a sign out that it was finally available.  So he used all the cash in his pocket and bought a bunch.  Thank goodness he only had about $14 in his pocket.  We got 7 pounds of asparagus.  Some was immediately grilled for dinner and the rest was used for this:

We all love pickled asparagus.  Especially the hot and spicy kind, but at $6 a jar, it is kinda pricey!  So I set out to find a good recipe and after reading lots of reviews on lots of recipes, we decided to try this one.  You can find the original recipe here.  We do not like the sweet so we left out all the sugar and added garlic to each jar.  We also added a Serrano pepper to most jar and left some with just the pepper flakes to see which way we liked best.

Hot Pickled Asparagus
These are so good.  We love the pickling juice and will be using it this summer to do our pickles also.  So good.

So far we have only tried the one with just a Serrano in it.  It was delicious and after it sets for a little while it is only going to get better.  Yummo!  Better go get some more asparagus because these jars are going to disappear quickly.

Next up on Month of Pinterest recipes:  Mushroom and Cheddar Stuffed Onions!

Summer of Festivals - Tulip Time - Holland, MI

This will be our third summer in Michigan.  Michigan is a place FULL of festivals.  They have festivals for flowers, vegetables, fungi (a.k.a. mushrooms), cars, antiques, historical events, and on and on.  Every year we say we are going to go and every year we are insanely busy, the menfolk don't want to go, we forget, or mostly we are just plain broke.  This year we decided we are going to these festivals no matter what.

The first festival on our list is one that my Mom chose.  The Tulip Time Festival in Holland.  She went when she was young with her parents.  This weekend A. was off with her buddies at a Taylor Swift concert and the boys were hanging out with Grandpa and Dad getting the garden ready for me to plant.  So Rachel, Mom, and I headed off to Holland for the Tulip Time Festival.

First festival lesson learned, it may not be such a great idea to go to a festival on the very first day.  It was crazy busy there.  People and cars everywhere and we really had no idea where we were going.  Just about every festival has a section like a county fair with rides and games and such and we didn't want to go to that part of the festival.  Not sure I could get my Mom on a ride even if we had wanted to go that portion.  But trying to get around all of those people was ridiculous.  Eventually we found a parking spot and found the free tulip garden.  I never knew there were so many varieties of tulips.  Just gorgeous colors and variations in the petal size and shape.

We all had our favorite.  Of course as we walked around that kept changing.

All the streets were lined with these gorgeous trees.  Not sure what they were but they were all in full bloom with the pretty pinkish purplish blossoms on them.  Just beautiful.

All in all for our first festival, and not knowing where we were going, or what exactly was happening there, we had a good time, saw a new city that we plan on visiting again, and got one thing checked off of our bucket list for the summer.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Month of Pinterest Recipes - Nutella Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

So after pinning many delicious recipes and only trying a couple I have decided that May is going to be my month of Pinterest recipes.

First recipe of the month is the pile of deliciousness:

You can find the recipe for this awesomeness here

A. has a slight obsession with Nutella.  Not even a generic or off-brand will do for her.  So her and I headed to get some Nutella and chocolate for this recipe and came home to discover that we had forgotten the chocolate.  Big GRRRRRRR!!!  So I googled and found a simple Nutella brownie recipe that required only three ingredients.  And thankfully they were ingredients that we had on hand.  Nutella, flour, and eggs.

I can't wait to try these again following Nutmeg Nanny's recipe.  I think it will be even more delicious.  On a side note, be sure to make these when there will be LOTS of people around so you don't devour the whole pan by yourself.  No, seriously!  They are that good.

These are our yummies.  My frosting didn't come out as thick but I think I could have used a little more peanut butter and a little more powdered sugar.  I was in a bit of a time crunch and just wanted to get them done.  Even so, these were so good.

One Pinterest recipe down, endless possibilities to go.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Let The Gardening Begin

Be warned, this post is going to be full of randomness.  Complain enough and I will eventually post something.  I know I am so behind.  We went to the butterfly exhibit in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago and I promise to get those pics up soon.  In the meantime, enjoy my random, scatter-brained, musings.

Last Wednesday we woke up to snow on the trees.  One week later, I get a sunburn while out in service this afternoon.  Go figure!  And silly me, I have been in sweater mode for so long that I wore a sweater again today and Whamo! we made it up to 85° today.  Wow!  On the plus side, this means that the trees are in overdrive blooming out, and it is officially get the garden ready time.

So this is our plan, or the start of our plan anyhow.  This year we are going to try "wide row" gardening.  Sounds a little easier, a little better.  Anything that involves less weeding I am all for.  Nothing is planted yet, so if you have any requests, you know, cause you are going to come visit late this summer and you want some homegrown goodness, better get it in quick.

All the little birdies are back including this cute little Chickadee.  Spring is for sure finally here!  It seems like it took forever this year.  But we are very glad for all the extra rain.  After a fairly dry summer last year we need that extra rain for the garden.  All the rivers and lakes around here are so high.  We went to Grand Rapids earlier this week and all the buildings that are built right on the edge of the Grand River have water up over their first floor windows.

This is Gilbert (the dog) and June (the cat).  This is their normal perch where they scope out the squirrels who love to come and torment them.

That is all my randomness for today.  I promise I have stuff in the works to post and some pics of our little faces for you to see.  We miss you all so much!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is Peeking Out

Well we got what we asked for. . .a winter with lots of snow.  And while it was fun, we are pretty much done with it now.  And spring is done with it too.  She has waited patiently but now she is pushing her way out.

This is our maple tree out front.  See those buds at the end of the branches and those stringy looking things hanging off?  Yep, she is starting to bud out.  I am so excited.  I love spring.  Spring is really the start of the new year for me.  Forget about January.  March is the start of 'what are we going to do this year'.  Seeds get planted and wait for the ground to be just right so they can be transplanted.  Garden plans are started, summer vacation looks close and kids are lining up what they want to do this summer, festivals are starting, the world just starts to wake up and is happy to be alive again.

It is also the start of increased spiritual activity.  March has four of our household auxiliary pioneering this month.  We also have our Circuit Overseer visit this month.  This will be the second visit with our new CO and his wife.  We love them!  We get to attend the entire pioneer meeting this Saturday.  We are all excited for that.  And it will be good motivation for the kids to auxiliary with me this summer.

Mom and Dad are returning to us in a matter of days now.  We are all looking forward to having them back.  We are trying to hurry and finish some last minute things around the house.  Almost everything on our list has been checked off as completed.  ALMOST, things never go exactly as you plan them.  But we are nice and saved some things for Mom and Dad to help with.

We miss you all bunches!  You should come visit this summer or this fall or NOW!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Another Year

This post is long overdue!  If you remember on our one year anniversary of being in Michigan I posted the 52 things we miss about Arizona.  My plan was to then post a year later the 52 things we love about Michigan.  Yep, missed that date.  But I have been trying to get to it.  I promise.

So it has been just over two years now since we moved to Michigan.  Two years, and five months to be exact.  Things haven't changed much since that last post.  It is still hard, busy, crazy, stressful, fun, and wonderful.  We are still learning so much about living here, it seems like it is going to be an ongoing theme to our life.

Tree in spring bloom from last year.

So in honor of another year in the greath north, I bring you another list.  Another year means another 52 things.  This list will be things we love about Michigan combined with phrases we never thought we would hear ourselves say.  Enjoy!

1. Green  2. Spring  3. Summer  4. Fall  5. Winter  6. Trees  7. Lakes  8. Rivers  9. Ponds  10. "We need to plan the garden."  11. Birds  12. Family  13. Congregation  14. "Better bundle up for service today, it is 0º out this morning!"  15. Flowers  16. Wild vegetables  17. Grass  18. "No school today, it's a SNOW DAY!!!!"  19. Friends  20. Farms  21. Backyard wildlife  22. Small Towns  23. "We need to plan a trip. . .to ARIZONA!"  21. Fall colors  22. Homecooked Goodness  23. Not ever reading 110º on the thermometer  24. "It's raining" (again, or still, or period!!!)  25. Snow  26. "I live in Michigan"  27. Wildflowers  28. Weather  29. Bald Eagles  30. Forests  31. "We need to shovel the driveway today"  32. Homecooked Goodness  33. Garden  34. Wild Berries  35. Strawberry picking  36. Snowmobiling  37. Pick-Your-Own Farms  38. "We need to weed in the garden."  39. Aunts and Uncles  40. Space  41. Deer  42. "The kids are down swimming in the lake."  43. "Sorry I missed your call, I was out stacking wood."  44. Four - yep, four DIFFERENT seasons  45. Grandma  46. Dinners consisting of only what we picked from the garden that day  47. Sledding parties  48. Lakes as big as oceans  49. Fireplaces that get used  50. GREEN - have I mentioned this!?!?!  51. Festivals  52. The Scenery!!!!

Potato fields just a few minutes from our house.

Needless to say, we love, love, love it here.  This third year is already almost half over.  Each year brings its own challenges and we are working through them.  Each passing year also makes the missing of or friends and family back in Arizona so much worse.  We miss you all so much.  I can't believe it has been almost a year since we have seen you last.

It truely is beautiful here, you really must see it for yourself.  Our door is always open and we would love to see you.

Squash Blossom from our garden last year.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A's New Room Sneak Peak No. 1

A. is finally into her long awaited room.  We converted the sunroom into a very cute little room for her.  She wanted a shabby chic room and since the room was basically being built from scratch we were able to add shabby chic elements into the room itself not just the decor.

For the ceiling we did a tongue and groove pine and did one very thin coat of white paint on the rough sawn side and painted very sparsely so the wood grain would show and in spots the wood itself peaks out.  For the light we used the existing fixture but in place of the old glass we used my favorite vintage mason jar.  To complete the vintage look we used an old fashioned light bulb.

It is easily one of my most favorite things about her room.  I am more than a little jealous since it is my favorite mason jar and she gets to look at it everytime she steps into her room.

I also worked on a secret project for her room.  I did a pretty good job at actually keeping it a secret until 2 or 3 days before I was finished.  Unfortunately when we were out shopping I let it slip that I was working on something for her.  Oh boy did I get it.  The entire rest of the day she bugged me about what it was and then started worrying that she wouldn't like it.  I knew she would love it so I didn't have any stress over it.  Plus if she didn't like it, I did, so I would just snag it for my room or the office area.

She spent the weekend with her besty so it gave me time to finish it up and place it in her room.  I knew I didn't have to worry, when she got home Sunday she was instantly in love with it.

So here are the specifics.  We were cleaning out in the basement and I found this stack of old windows and screens.  I asked Cameron if they were earmarked for something and he said no.  So after squealing with delight, I snagged this window and got to work.  First task was to scrub all the dirt and grime off, then I sanded away.  After I got it distressed to the point I was satisfied, I applied a coat of stain and sealer.

The top and third panel were taped off and a few coats of chalkboard paint were applied.  Make sure you get the chalkboard paint that specifies it can be used on glass.  Otherwise you end up with a big mess and no chalkboard.  Yes, lesson learned.  The second and third panel I stapled fabric to the window frame on the backside so it could be used as a wipe board.

Once everything was dry and in place I add these beautiful porcelain rose drawer pulls that I purchased from TJMaxx ages ago.

To hold the chalk and dry erase markers I took an old can and cleaned up any sharp edges and drilled a hold on each side of the can near the top to hold the ribbon to hang it.  Then I took a scrap of fabric and mod-podged it to the can and added a piece of lace and ribbon.  Once that dried a took a long piece of ribbon and threaded and knotted it to the can and hung it from one of those beautiful roses.

And so she would know what it was, before she got I home I modified a song I used to sing to her when she was little and wrote a verse on each pane.

I love how it turned out.  And almost every day when I head into her room it has something new written on it.  Notes to different family members, a list of crafts she has going on, homework she needs to finish, or just doodles.  Love it!

Have any old windows laying around?  Put them to work!!

A Road Trip, A Snowy Winter, and A Baby

Ok, stop freaking out!  I know you all read that title and the only words you saw was "a baby".  No, I am NOT having another baby.  A sweet friend of ours had her long anticipated little one arrive this month and we are all very excited for her.  More on that later.

So first I will apologize for taking so long to update this here little blog.  I have received many complaints that it has been so long since an update.  So, I am so very sorry.  I will update you all on what has happened these past few months and give you all glimpses of our lovely little faces.

The last post was the big winter storm we received the day we were leaving for vacation.  We headed off that afternoon through all that snow and headed to Missouri to see some of Cameron's family.  I have been begging him to see them for a very long time so we were all excited 1. to be going on vacation and 2. to be seeing family whom we hadn't seen in so very long.

So we started out with our typical Richie trip glitches.  Our power plug up front decided to stop working.  Not that big of a deal except it meant no GPS.  So we had to stop and buy a road atlas.  I was secretly glad.  I love using a map and finding the way on my own.  As I cracked that atlas open I was instantly transported back in time to our family road trips.  I could hear my Dad's voice teaching me how to read the map, how to add up how many miles to our next stop, how to tell where the next rest stop was, what the different color roads meant.  Very nostalgic that little map!  I loved being my Dad's co-pilot.  Loved it until I would doze off and he would whack my arm out from under my head.  Ahhh the memories!

Our trip was a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  I love seeing family that from the very beginning are instant friends and even though you haven't seen them in so long it is like you just saw them yesterday.  All the kids who had never met were instant friends and I barely saw my children the whole week.  Seriously, I saw them in passing as they went from one house to the other.  So much so that I barely got any photos the whole week.

We went geocaching one day.  We learned a couple of very important lessons.  1. it really is not fun to geocache in the cold.  Really, trying to find the micro caches when your hands are freezing takes all the fun out of it; and 2. it is much more fun in one vehicle or on foot than trying to coordinate two vehicles.  But we really did have so much fun.  We love that Missouri bunch and can't wait to get back there again.  This summer you Funderburgs, be prepared we are coming back!

On to our snowy winter.  We are so glad the white stuff was back this year.  Snow on the ground is much more fun than ice on the ground.  Yes, there is a difference.  That snow we got right before our vacation was the start of the snow this winter.  It has been on the ground since that day.  We have had a few warm days where some of it melted off but for the most part we have had snow covered ground all winter.  The kids have had soooooo many snow days this year.  Which means they have to make some days up, but they were pretty happy with all those free vacation days.  And what is there better to do on a snow day but have a snowball fight.

We love the snow.  Love the sound of it crunching under our feet.  Love the snowball fights, the snow forts, the snowmen.  Watching it fall outside as we are cozy around the fire inside.  Yep, we are pretty much in love with all the seasons up here in the great north.

On to that gorgeous little baby.  Our good friends welcomed their beautiful little girl this month.  Rachel and I were privileged to throw them their shower.  They were so excited to be having a girl so we overdosed them with pink.  It was beautiful.  And the new little baby girl is even more beautiful.

I apologize again for the long wait, thank you for being patient with me and I promise to TRY and post more often.  Love you all!