Friday, June 7, 2013

The Art of the Catch-Up Post!

Hello! I thought I said I was going to be better about blogging... what happened?! Things have been chugging along as the NEW usual for a few weeks now, so let's catch up!

The first thing I'm super excited about makes me sound like a super nerd, but hey... if the shoe fits! Martin has fixed the hole in our living room ceiling! HOORAY! Last May, we met my parents at Mackinaw Island for a great overnight trip, then trekked back to our side of the UP for a little visit. While here, my father and Martin cut open the ceiling to discover what why we were having leaking issues.
Cutting open the ceiling!

Low and behold, there was a HUGE piece of metal pipe sitting in the buckling section of the ceiling! Who know how much longer that would have held?! Dad and Martin discussed how to fix the hole... then it stayed there.... for a year!

The offending pipe!
Well I came home from work one day to Martin hard at work in the garage, and before the end of the day the ceiling (which I often complained about) was fixed! Happy day! Thanks Martin! It may be a bit odd looking, but I don't really care! No more ugly ceiling hole! Now, if we can fix the couch situation, this room will be just about done! Yay!

FINALLY! Hole be gone! 

What else? About a month ago I got accepted to Michigan Tech to start a Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (TESOL) program. I literally got the acceptance in the mail on Friday, registered for my first class Saturday, and started on Monday! I'm back to school ya'll! I am a very different student now than I was a decade ago (while I was in college), and I'm probably driving my classmates crazy! I have been able to keep an A through the mid-term Exam we just had (90.5% on that exam!), so I'm going to give it all I got to maintain until the end! I'm shooting for the 4.0 this time!

I'm also super pumped up because I was accepted to participate in a "Fit for Life" Zumba program that one of the local instructors started this summer! Her daughter is fighting leukemia, and the two are related (I can't say how...yet!) in an awesome way. I've committed to attending at least three Zumba classes a week, but I'm aiming for five! Most weeks I end up right in the middle at four! Working on my fitness AND a good cause! Holla!

Martin's car finally gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. It would cost $800 to fix, and now that we are both based at Michigan Tech, we are trying to become a one car family. Hopefully this will help us save money (insurance, gas), and won't drive us TOO crazy. Martin has been a trouper working around my earlier-than-he-goes-to-work schedule AND sticking around while I go to Zumba. He's the best! We'll see how we do this summer and re-evaluate in the fall!

Earlier this week I had a bit of a "milestone" birthday. That's right everyone, I have graduated from my 20's and I'm now the big 3-0! When I was asked how it felt to be thirty, the only thing I could think of was "same as 29!" I haven't really had a problem with starting a new decade. In fact, I have HIGH HOPES for the 30s! I hope to work towards lasting fitness and health, start a family, support Martin as he finishes his PhD and we figure out the next step, get TESOL certified, and (fingers crossed) start/finish a Library Science Masters Degree program! I should totally come back and read these hopes every year and see how I'm doing!

Photo from
Now, to reward you for reading all the way through this update blog, a Menu Planning Monday.. on Friday! This is the first week in a bit of a "reboot" project that Martin and I are doing. One of the benefits of having insurance is being able to get to a doctor for a wellness checkup. Sadly, I did not really pass that wellness check with flying colors! I'm still working things out with my doctor, and will know more next week, but I'm being proactive! We are cutting back on meat and trying to up our plant based protein. We are trying to cut back on gluten and up our ancient grains. The results? SCRUMPTIOUS! Hooray!

Strawberry Quinoa Salad = Amazing! We loved it so much that I ended up making a second batch later in the week! Our notes: we used "Sweet & Spicy" Pecans from Trader Joe's rather than toasting our own pecans. Also, after crisping the prosciutto, it was rather bacon-like. Might as well save yourself some bucks and just crisp up some bacon instead! The second batch I didn't have feta, so we used the gorgonzola we had left over from last week, and it was equally wonderful (if a bit more fatty)!

Chicken Marsala Casserole has become one of our go to meals! We use orzo pasta in lieu of rice, but now that we are trying to cut back on gluten, we may have to try it with rice. Don't skip the fresh parsley - it adds something! We've made this with skim milk, 2%, and half and half.... all are good! It gets richer (duh) with fat content! 

Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa Enchilada Soup Mmmmm... the flavors are very reminiscent of one of our favorites, White Chicken Chili, but it is broth based and doesn't have a block of cream cheese in it! We added some jalapeno dip and mexican blend cheese on top and it was super duper! I don't have a link for the Tamale Bake, it was the first recipe I ever made from my "Trader Joe" cookbook from my bestie LB! Let me just say... polenta, black beans, zucchini, soy-chorizo, and cheese work in perfect harmony!  

I'll have to let you know how the wheat berry salad is next week! I really AM planning on exploring the "Homemade Pantry" book too! Life kind of threw me for a loop when I started taking classes three weeks after staring my new job, going to three or four (or five) Zumba classes after work, fitting in doctor appointments, and oh yeah, spending time with my husband, cooking... etc! We are working out the kinks of having a set schedule and now only having one car too. I guess we never REALLy stop juggling, huh?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Hello everyone! I am futzing with the layout and the header design, so please be patient with me during this bumbling transition! I'm not computer illiterate, but I'm not really sure what I'm doing right now either, haha! Hopefully I'll have everything smoothed out in no time!

That's not the only thing changing around here - I'm also FINALLY changing jobs! WOO HOO!!!! Most people that read this are my real life friends and family and already know this information, but I am SO excited about it, I'm sharing again! After a year and a half of juggling, stress, no sleep, and no insurance, I'm going back to my favorite place - the library!

Michigan Tech's Library!

I've been working in libraries for over a decade now, and I've worn many different hats along the way. I started as a page, putting materials away, and ended up running school libraries! My new position is going to be a bit different from anything I've done before, but I'm excited! YAY!

Isn't it inviting?

I'm especially excited to have insurance for the first time in almost two years! There also seem to be some nice fringe benefits - including a new computer and iPhone 5, AND they are paying for the phone bill too, NICE! I'm really excited to have a stable schedule and time to work out and cook for myself and my husband!

I'm also excited about some new blogging ideas I've been playing around with lately! For my last birthday I got a bunch of really awesome cookbooks, one of which is called "The Homemade Pantry." Since moving to the UP Martin and I have tried to rely less on supermarkets and make things ourselves. I've been DYING to dig in to this book, and I've never really had the time to do so. Now I'm playing with an idea to challenge myself (a la Julie & Julia style) to make all the recipes in this book and compare the homemade version with the store bought version! What do you think? Good idea?

YAY for homemade! :) 

I'm also really excited about trying my hand at cheese making, more crafting, and finally finishing the decorating of this here house! I seriously can't want for these changes to start, YAY! 

Excited Yooper Love!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu Planning Monday... It's Baaaaacccckkkkk!

Hmm... let me see if I can BRIEFLY describe the last six and a half months that I've been MIA: Pneumonia. Pneumonia. Too much work.... pneumonia. HOLIDAY WITH THE FAMILIES!!!! New Year. Drama at work. Too much work.... present day. Ta da! I'm a word genius! :P

I had pneumonia or some demon version of it for four solid months ladies and gents, and it was a hot mess! Martin and I were not really cooking, and anything that was made was completely on the fly and came from Martin's bag of tricks! I finally started to kick the sickness at the end of the year, and when 2013 arrived, we toasted each other and committed to work on our happiness and our health. January we slowly started to get back on track, and I assessed the damaged that had occurred to my general health and well being... and yeah, there certainly was some!

One thing we quickly restored was our menu planning! It is astounding how much less we spend on groceries, and how much less wasted food we have when we plan out what we are going to make before we make it. What a simple, yet effective concept! I never even got to show off our fancy crafting project for our menu plan and grocery list, so I'm absolutely giddy to do so now! Behold! Ooooo! Ahhh!

Old Door + Chalkboard Paint = Craft Goooollldddd!

Of course we have improved the general functionality since our first use many months ago... I think! We really try not to keep the colors distinct, but of course my cell phone picture doesn't really do this much justice! So what are we eating this week? Behold!

February 11-17 at a glance!

I freely admit that it is better for everyone if Martin does the writing on this chalkboard - the things I write are nearly illegible! I'll try to keep that in mind for future menu pictures! Truthfully, I wasn't even considering blogging yesterday when we threw this together, but you MUST strike while the iron is hot, so... deal with it! Sadly, I don't have many new links for you, as the stuffed peppers are a homemade mishmash, the chicken stroganoff is from a cookbook, and the coconut shrimp and lentil salad has already been shared! It ain't pretty, but I'm going to go ahead and link to the bare bones Cream of Carrot Soup recipe that we use! This soup has somehow become my signature dish over the past 20+ years! We really love it, so I hope you will give it a try!

I'm really hoping that my schedule will start to ease up in the VERY near future and that I'll start blogging with more regularity. I just worked 18 days straight, and today is my only day off until next Monday (it was going to be 12 days, but I just couldn't stomach it!), so needless to say, I'm still figuring things out! At least I have put the kibosh on working doubles! I haven't pulled a double in over a month, and I have no plan to pull another in this lifetime! Haha!

Anyhow, I've missed crafting, cooking, and blogging, so I hope I'll be back here sharing with you soon! If I manage to grab a few minutes this week I'll share a few pictures from the MTU Winter Carnival celebrations! What do people do to pass the time up here in the great white north to pass the time during the months of snow, snow, and more snow? Well duh, they create giant works of snow sculpture artwork! A unique yooper experience!

MUCH Yooper Love! <3