Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A worn out pup and an overdue recipe.

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this or not, but the pup has this thing about sleeping in our room. He will military crawl his way under the bed to where his tail is in the center of the bed with his head sticking out just under the bed skirt – even though I set out a really nice pillow on the floor for him to sleep on. No matter how many times I see him do it, I still laugh at it! Last night, I had to take the picture of the weirdo {it was with my cell phone, so it’s really hard to see, but you get the idea.}


I took him on a 20 minute run yesterday after work, then I took him into Petsmart to buy dog food {uh, that’s tricky to push 40 lbs of food in a cart, pull him along, and sign for a credit card purchase!}, and then we went to Eugene’s parents’ place again to visit & check on the brother. So the pup was definitely worn out! {P.S. even though he makes me laugh, I’m pretty mad at him still though because he ate part of our baseboard & wall in the living room. ARGH!}

Okay to jump ships to another topic, I promised the recipe for banana bread in a bread machine a LONG time ago. Finally, here it is. I found two recipes to work from here and here, and {as always} made a few tweaks by changing the oil ingredient to applesauce and added cinnamon & vanilla.

Bread Machine Banana Bread

  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cap of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts {or pecans}

First you want to spray your bread machine pan. Then it’s a little open for interpretation - some people posted that you can just dump everything in your bread machine and let it do all the work, but I decided to mix the stuff a little first.


I mixed the applesauce, milk and eggs together and add the cinnamon & vanilla here if ya want.


Then I added the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


And my lovely husband helped by mashing up the ripe bananas {the browner they are the better the bread tastes!} Add the mush & your nuts.


From there, I dumped it in the machine and selected the Quick Bread/Cake cycle & pressed Start.


After about a minute, you’re supposed to check to see if it’s all mixed together.


Then, let it do it’s job and take the bread out when it beeps at ya and it’s had time to cool.


Eugene really loved this bread, but I’m still on the traditional side – I prefer baking it in the oven. Don’t get me wrong, it was really good, but I just like the oven recipes better. :)


Plus, when you make it in the machine, your pretty loaf gets a big, fat, ugly hole in the bottom from the mixer piece. Not a fan of that.


But I was impressed that everything was evenly baked with a nice brown crust.


Perfect on a Sunday morning before church with a mocha coffee drink.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love a good deal {so much.}

Since Saturday night and Sunday were so packed, I didn’t get the chance to share my super exciting Friday night…I went grocery shopping. Contain your excitement. Eugene went with his family to the Red’s game and so I was left to finish up some stuff from my to-do list, and then later Libby visited and joined me for a walk with the pup at the Reservoir.

I am aware that this makes me a super nerd, but I was pumped because of the amount of groceries I got at Meijer all for under 25 big ones. SDC14893

I don’t normally use coupons. I can almost always get the off-brand stuff cheaper at Aldi than when I used coupons, plus they’re time consuming. But this time around, I decided to give it a shot because I found out that Meijer doubles coupons up to $1.00. Good enough for me to try. So basically, using coupons and finding in-store specials, I scored all of this {you can’t tell, but it’s really 4 packages of english muffins there!} for $25…pretty good, I think! Again, I realize I’m weird and a nerd about deals.


Continuing the theme of deals, Eugene & I experienced the huge deal in Springfield – the Annual Ramar Garage Sale. Uh, this is no joke. Cars were lined on every inch of this large neighborhood. I would guess 800 people at least. Can we say crazy!?


We scored some good deals on baby stuff because {new news here people} BABY CATE IS VISITING NEXT MONTH!!! I’m so pumped to have 10 days – yes, you heard that right – 10 whole days with my sister, her husband, & baby Cate! Ah, can’t wait!


Anyway, back to the {lame} story, the nice thing about this sale is that it’s a really nice neighborhood with nice stuff for sale too. We bought a bouncer for five bucks, a boppy for only ten, and 25 Titlist golf balls for five bucks. Ok, so boring to most, but I enjoyed it!

Later Sunday night, I snapped these pictures. The little brown pup is Panga, and she hates Espn. I mean, it’s bad. But Sunday night, for approximately 3 minutes, they laid side-by-side almost like they were friends. Weird dogs.


Eugene’s working Cedarville’s basketball camp from 8 am – 11 pm this week, and I miss him! I’m thankful for a temp job for him though. We’ve had a few leads come in this week for the job search, so it’s been some-what encouraging. He’s interviewing for two {one Wednesday morning and another Friday.} Prayers would be great for that!

p.s. sorry this post is pretty lame-o!


Monday, June 28, 2010

This bread’s amazing & this weekend was crazy.

I am in love with this bread. I made it when Britney visited, and I made a double loaf (2 lb.) this morning and another 1 lb. loaf during my lunch break for for a spaghetti dinner tonight with our small group.

I found the bread machine recipe here: And, for once, I didn’t change anything I changed my mind and decided to make a few minor changes – substituted olive oil for margarine, and added garlic and garlic powder. It is so stinkin good!

Italian Herb Bread {for a bread machine}
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • garlic or garlic powder

It says you’re supposed to put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, but since I was too lazy to look in the manual, I just threw it all together {later, my dad said I did the wrong order, but, hey, it worked!}


Then, you just select the loaf size {ingredients listed above make a 1 lb. loaf}, Medium Crust and Basic/White Bread settings, hit start, and go watch LOST or 24. ;)


Or you can be a nerd like me, and watch the bread machine do its thang.


Then, if you’re like me, you wake up at 3 AM to the smell of pizza and freak out that a thief has broken in and made a home in your kitchen. {It seriously took me the entire trip down the stairs to remember that I made this bread!


What a pretty little loaf you are!


Sliced pieces of delicious, moist yet still crusty on the outside, herbed to perfection, carb overload, heavenly treat!


We most certainly ate the entire loaf, and {ashamedly} fought over the last piece…which I {reluctantly on the inside, but happily on the outside} gave to our guest.


So stinkin good.

This weekend was an interesting one to say the least. I worked a wedding Saturday night, and Eugene stopped by to say hey {like the great husband he is}, but by 10:30 pm he got a call saying his brother had to have an emergency appendix surgery asap. His parents planned to leave for a cruise vaca that next day, so it was a bit nuts for a while figuring out who would stay where and take care of what. But we got it all under control, Dillan’s surgery went well, Eugene too his parents to the air port, I brought the sickie home from the hospital {he’s doing well, btw}, and I stayed with Heidi & Rita & Dillan that evening. Eugene & I stayed there last night to be sure all was swell.

Today’s just as nuts, with a to-do list that’s enough to make ya faint, but I’m staying on task and knocking ‘em out. Feed 3 dogs, pick up before I left, drive home, make bread, do a load of laundry for Eugene, tear down 150 chairs and 25 tables, sweep, email/call/make a brochure, eat lunch while making another loaf of bread, walk the dog, feed the dog, cry as he’s locked up again while leaving for work, sheesh…and I wonder why I’m tired!


Friday, June 25, 2010

You can’t fake a smile.

Last night, Eugene and I went to a networking event hosted by one of the local churches. It was a free event, and the even offered dinner – plus, it was a good opportunity for me to do some marketing for my job and Eugene to meet new people and try to find someone hiring.

After networking, we headed over to church to have our picture taken for the directory book. Eugene has always struggled to make himself smile on command {he usually ends up looking drunk, drugged, or in pain!}, but he’s really getting a lot better at it. Unfortunately, last night must not have been a good night for him to try because when we looked at the proofs, he turned to me and said, “Wow, sorry I’m so bad at this!” Needlesstosay, we didn’t  order any prints! I’m really just teasing, the smiles weren’t that bad, but I guess you just can’t fake a real smile.

Today, I know I should be happy it’s Friday, but I am feeling really burned out at work knowing that I have to work late tomorrow night, plus Eugene’s going to a Red’s game with his family. That leaves me with a to-do list of getting groceries, getting wedding gifts, taking the pup on a walk, and cleaning the condo. Get pumped for the rockin’ Friday night.

I’ve been struggling with staying positive and hopeful during these past few weeks. I read something in one of my email devotions this morning that seemed to fit well with what I’m feeling. I told Eugene last night, that I have been feeling like God’s presence is so far away lately…feeling very disconnected from the Vine. I know He’s always near, but I just haven’t felt it. Anyway, reading this reminded me the importance of focus and patience.

Choosing to focus on God's presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

God, unleash your powerful peace on me please. I will work to focus on Your presence, but oh how I long to feel your powerful peace!  "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 4:7, NIV).


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicken Marinade with the grill master hubby.

I used this recipe for the visit I had with my good friend from high school. I made the marinade, and Eugene grilled the chicken, and it turned out to be very delicious. Not overpowering, but still enough flavor where I didn’t feel the need to have a dipping sauce for the chicken {like the usual BBQ.}

I found the recipe here: and I added some things I had on hand {paprika & chili & garlic sea salt.} I also adjusted the quantities because I was only doing 4 chicken breasts.

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ground chili and garlic sea salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons bell seasoning or Chesapeake Old Bay Seasoning {I just used the whole pack shown below}
  • 2 spoonfuls of garlic
  • ground pepper
  • paprika
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts


It’s as simple as combining all the ingredients.


Then mixing/blending well using a whisk or blender.


Then cover your chicken with them {or flip them regularly if they’re not fully covered} and let ‘em sit overnight in the fridge.


Then let your man get his grill on & cook ‘em slowly over low heat.


Take it from here…


…to here. YUM!


I think I’ll make these again. Delish & easy, plus no weird ingredients that require a separate trip to the grocery.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy birthday to my very adult sista-in-law!

Yesterday evening, we went over to Eugene’s family’s place again, but this time to celebrate a different birthday.


My sister-in-law turns 18 today! I have known her since she was only twelve years old, and it has been such a joy to watch her mature and grow into the beautiful, kind, caring woman that she is today. She is {by far} one of the most generous people I know. So, happy birthday to my great friend Rita, whom just happens to be my sister too! I’m so proud of you and so thankful that God blessed me with you as my family & friend. :)


As always, Eugene’s grandma made the birthday cake…what a pretty summer cake!


We enjoyed the sunset outside on the fabulous deck {shout out to Ron for that one!}


Eugene pitched to his #1 baseball fan, Cam. That boy can hit a wiffle ball!


I asked the birthday girl to pose for a second with me. And then I think Heidi felt a bit left out {what do you think?!} ;)


So we grouped together for a sisters pic {minus one in Tulsa.}


Oh, and side note…that shirt is my $3 Walmart bargain I mentioned a while back & I got compliments from literally everyone - score! {Good thing I bought it in three different colors – bahaha!}


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our first wedding anniversary.

Eugene spent tons of time and energy planning an absolutely amazing surprise getaway for our first wedding anniversary. I took plenty of pictures to help me remember this on our fifty year wedding anniversary. :) So I guess I’ll tell the story through photos. {Prepare yourself for a long post!}


He kept the whole thing a secret until Saturday evening, which was so precious because we really don’t keep anything from each other, so when we do, it’s very tough to keep things secret. Finally, Saturday night, he told me he booked us a private cabin in Hocking Hills {about 2 hours away from where we live.} We went to church Sunday morning and then headed on our mini-vacation.


How darling is this little cabin?! And we had something like 20 acres of nothing but trees on all sides. Peace. And. Quiet.


When we got to our cabin, we were really excited – it was really remote and private, super clean {a huge plus in my opinion}, had plenty of space to cook, relax, and rest, and it had a fire pit, fire wood, a beautiful view, and a hot tub! The picture above is the cute kitchenette, below is the living room area…we started to watch Facing the Giants here, but then we realized we had already seen the movie {a classic Jane mistake!}


Below is a picture of the cabinesque hallway leading to the restroom & bedroom.


The bedroom was very comfortable and we loved that we could head straight to the hot tub from our room.

SDC14825   SDC14824

We both decided that we hope to have a porch swing when we buy a house someday. We sat here on Sunday afternoon and watched our wedding video, prayed, laughed, held hands, {I cried…no surprise there}, swayed on the swing, and enjoyed the quality time together.


I can’t tell you how amazing Eugene was this weekend. All the planning and work he did for us floored me. He remembered everything {which, for him is unbelievable!} and he was so kind and pampering to me. My heart literally hurts when I think about what a wonderful husband he is to me. God has certainly blessed me with a great man to be my best friend. The picture below is basically what I felt like doing all weekend – just smile at the great husband I have & grin at all the things he planned and did for our anniversary weekend. I love him {so much.}


Sunday evening, we explored the grounds around our cabin…


… and met some new creatures.



The sun was beautiful coming through the tops of the tall trees during our walk.


We spent quite a bit of time relaxing in the hot tub, listening to the birds in the trees. We talked about things we want to remember from our first year of marriage, things we never expected to happen, things we were proud of, things we wish didn’t happen, things we hope happen every year.  Eugene and I talked so much this weekend {I loved it!}, not much TV or distractions…just us.


I just thought the leaves were pretty against the sky above.


Then Eugene {aka pyro man} took on the challenge of making a bonfire with the wet pieces of wood one of the earlier tenants left.


It took us forever, but between the two of us, we finally achieved enough flames to roast a marshmallow.



Then, because it’s what you do on your first anniversary, we ate some of our wedding cake. The very center wasn’t so bad, but the outsides tasted a bit like stale freezer! {I highly suggest wrapping it in many many layers of saran wrap and foil after the big day – we only did one layer of each.}


I woke up Monday morning to hot cinnamon rolls, which we ate on the porch swing.


More hot tub time, then we packed lunch and said goodbye to our darling cabin. We hiked Old Man’s cave together.



From Old Man’s Cave we drove a few minutes and then hiked Ash Cave.



We then spent some time in the sun at Lake Logan and ate our lunch and a nearby picnic table. From there, we headed to some shops of antiques and Amish furniture. And from there, we started our drive back home. Oh, what an amazing 36 hours alone with my husband!

Since it was also Eugene’s dad’s birthday weekend, we got cleaned up and headed straight to his parents’ place to celebrate {and pick up the pup, whom I missed very much.} We love our time with his family, and yesterday was no exception.


Good kabobs on the grill, and oreo/ice cream/caramel dessert. Happy birthday to a great father-in-law!


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