my new adventure

Jane Austen is a well known author of colorful inspiring novels. With her first novel published in 1811, and she has been amazing her readers ever since then. She has written a total of 6 completed novels {they are the ones pictured above}. I have always wanted to read her collection of books, but it wasn't until I saw the movie 'The Jane Austen Book Club' that I became determined to read them. The movie is about 6 Californians who start a book club discussing the works of Jane Austen. They start with Emma, so that is where my adventure will begin. As I read each novel I will share with you my thoughts and ideas about the characters and the colorful picture that Jane Austen has painted for them.

a quiet Christmas

This year seemed to be a quiet Christmas season. In years past we have had an abundant of family in town, but with our family members spread out a little more than normal this year it was a less crowded family gathering. This year felt different to me, but I realized that it wasn't Christmas that had changed it was me. No matter how many people are in your midst, Christmas is the same, and it's us who are changing.

I know it's true

time doesn't stand still
many things can change
but we know some things never will
the memories we share
the songs we always sing
the mystery of life
the hopefulness this season brings
-Amy Grant

Our kitty Jackson found a new favorite spot to sleep, and with the presents gone he can claim his spot under the tree. I hope everyone had a splendid Christmas and are enjoying the precious time spent with family and friends!


all it takes

All it takes is a little giggly bouncing girl {Katy} and you have:
-smiles that light up the room

-the attention of my whole family {even the dog and cat}

-squishy dippers that can stink up a room
-a sleepy baby taking a cat-nap on your lap
-the discover of tupperware as so much more than just a container,
but now a play toy
-little hands restyling our hair
-new toys that Heidi was disappointed to discover were not for her
-little eyes that lit up to discover the wonders of our Christmas tree
-a contagious laugh that kept us in a blissful mood all night


21 years later

She has arived at the big 21st birthday, and she did it with style. She had a well deserved night out even though it was in the middle of finals week, and didn't complain the next morning about the few hours of sleep! That lovely girl is Noelle. It was her 21st birthday on Tuesday, and even though she had 2 finals to complete she still managed to have a bit of tasteful fun, on her new year of being 21!


the week of dread

This week is inching by with it's stress, restless nights, and ampule supplies of caffeine. It's a week filled with large tests and projects due. It's a week filled with anticipation and frustration. For those of you who guessed finals week, you would be right. I have 2 more finals to go, but it seems as though time is moving along extra slow on a week like this.


'nobody does it like she does'

While the song "Nobody Does It Like She Does" by the band Locksley, is describing their girl, I'm using the title to describe my girl, my mom! Ever since I was a little girl my mom has always thrown the best parties. Whether it's a Pampered Chef get together, a dinner party, or an elaborate Christmas celebration, she always does it with flair and adds her own creative ideas. Last night my mom put on a great bash for her Garden Club. She filled the room with about 30 of her friends, kept them well fed with yummy treats and entertained with a creative gift exchange. I made my signature Enchilada Ring and it was eaten up pretty fast. I've served it at the last few get together, so some might recognize it. The smell of cinnamon apple cider and Christmas cooking filled our home all night.


looking out my bedroom window

I wake to see snow falling outside my window,
it's waiting for us as we enter the cold abyss,
bundle up with you favorite scarf and mittens,
and enjoy the picture perfect moments that await.


a historic day in Eau Claire

It is a historic day here in Eau Claire, and even in Wisconsin. The Governor has declared the state of Wisconsin in a state of EMERGENCY! With almost 2 feet of snow and winds up to 40 miles an hour, we are in the midst of a blizzard.

This morning I bundled up in a hat, 4 layers, 2 pairs of sicks and my snow boots, trudged through 2 feet of unplowed snow to get to ILC {thinking it was still open} only to discover that it was CLOSED!! Speaking to the neighbors along the way shoveling and trying to displace the feet of snow, they made comments like this, "I have never seen a blizzard like this since I've lived here!" or "Anybody's crazy to try to drive in this weather." They are all right! Our Governor has declared it unsafe to travel in the snow, and to stay home unless of an emergency! For the first time in about 30 years, both ILC and UWEC are closed!! I'm not sure that the kids at ILC really know what to do, but the excitement in the air is tangible! Josh told my this morning, "Snow day snow day snow day!!!! The whole dorm was yelling and screaming when we found out school was canceled!!!!!" This will be a day to be remembered in our history books!! And for those who have no choice but to drive, please be carful and drive with causion! Happy Snow Day!!!


a very special tree

Our house is now full decorated with the new addition of a very special tree in our family room. On Sunday my parents, Josh and I cut down our own tree for the best price in town. It has a few holes and gaps, but in my opinion the imperfections only add character. Last year one of my wonderful cousins discovered a local place to cut down your own Christmas trees without paying the larger amounts that so many places charge. There is a family with an extended piece of land filled with what will be Christmas trees. They tend to be on the tall side, maybe 30 feet or so, so we just cut down the one of our choosing and take however much of the top we would like. Only in the Midwest would there be a sign that says:
"Cut down which one you like, and please leave your $10 in the box. Have a Merry Christmas!"

We are prepared and awaiting Christmas with nothing but joy and excitement. As the days decrease toward Christmas, the excitement only increases!

Not really sure what it is about this well, but for one reason or another, it captured my attention and the attention of my camera.


Thanksgiving gone with a blink

It seemed like weeks that we were all waiting for the Thanksgiving break, but in a few days it was gone along with all the leftovers. I know it's been a few weeks, but I haven't even shared anything since then! I got to spend Thanksgiving break with Josh and my family. It wasn't the most leisurely extended weekend with working 3 out of the 5 days, but a break from school and spending time with family and Josh is leisure enough for me. Here were just a few of our endeavours:

: walking the turkey trot on brisk Thanksgiving morning
: trying new recipes and experimenting around the kitchen
: watching Josh stuff the turkey while I stood back trying not to be sick {I don't do too well with raw meet, especially with a 24 pound turkey, yes 24 pounds!}

: watching the Macy's Parade while cooking in the fragrant kitchen
: teaching Josh a few of our Ryan Thanksgiving traditions
: venturing out early on Black Friday {for the 1st time} with caution for the enthusiastic shoppers
: watching movies and relaxing with full tummies and sleepy eyes
: being thankful for the many gifts that God has blessed us with


The Twilight Trap

So yes, I have fallen into the Twilight trap! It all started with the books by Stephanie Meyer. The backbone of the now ever popular Twilight Saga. The books take you on a journey and I was glad to follow. Some have expressed their dislike in rather colorful ways, but as Prof Sullivan would say, I believe that you can not speak intelligently on the subject unless you have done the reading. New Moon hit the theaters last week and has already been a better hit that anticipated! I am not as passionate as some others fans, but I did enjoy the movie's accuracy to the books! What did the you guys think?


A Book Of Inspiration

You know those recipes you find in magazines or on the backs of cereal boxes that look so good, but you never have a place to put them? Do jumbles of cluttersom recipes build up in random places over time, and you just don't know what to do? I have that problem {if you couldn't tell} so decided to turn that clutter into an accessible book. I got these blissful idea from a friend, and went from there. I titled it, 'A Book of Inspiration.'
First I found a journal with lined paper, that's larger that the average size. I numbered all the pages and made a table of contents. Each page has a title in the table on contents so I can access the recipes faster and more efficiently. It's a great way to store those miscellaneous recipes, and you can add your own little notes and suggestions once you experiment with them. It's a personalized cook book that's filled with only recipes that you would enjoy, and it's a way to stay organized! Has anyone done something similar?


Watching Him in the Kitchen

Today was the perfect day for baking, and Josh had a craving for chocolate cake. As I sat back and watched him, I couldn't help by smile as he made his way around our kitchen like it was his own. He knows his way around after volunteering to help clean it up on so many occasions. He is a pretty good cook and likes to experiment.

He added his own twist to the traditional chocolate cake, with chocolate pudding. Apparently it's an Ohlmann tradition to flood the cake with milk, so that's what we did. Even though it was good, Josh told me that nothing can live up to his mom's Butterfinger cake, {which we got to enjoy last weekend}


A Weekend Filled With....

This past weekend Josh, Randy, and I made a trip to St. Louis. This priceless weekend was filled with many things:

>drinking more caffeine in a few days that I've had in the past few months

>spending time with the Ohlmann family

>hearing the word 'Joshy' being yelled through out the house

>laughing so hard my stomach hurt

>being treated like a 'celebrity' as Mrs. Ohlmann would say

>spending more that 30 priceless hours in the car with Josh and Randy

>watching Josh play football with his lil brothers {Noah and Caleb}

>watching a few soccer games and remembering what it's like to be a kid

>cuddling with 2 cute lil girls {Hannah and Lydia}

>going to the crazy book sale with all it's amazing deals

>seeing Josh in his own element: at home with his family

>having supper with the fam

>watching the boys {big and small} play video games

>than later being beat by the smaller boys {which sadly didn't surprise me}

>having a weekend that I'll never forget


Belated Halloween

Even though Halloween was a few weeks ago, here are a few pictures from how I spent my Halloween. A few friends came over and we spent the after noon with yummy food, scary movies on, our arms covered in pumpkin guts (which every year I seem to forget that I'm allergic to until I'm up to my elbows in orange slime). For me, Halloween is one of the best holidays. It's not about the candy or the freaky decorations. I love seeing the creative costumes and the cute little kids. There is nothing cuter that seeing a 20 month old little girl that I take care of at kids club, come in dressed as a chubby little pumpkin with a smile from ear to ear!

P.S. I would highly recommend the movie Taken. We watched it Halloween night, and while it's a little disturbing, for all the girls out there that are a little too trusting, watch this movie. It'll make you think twice about who you trust and what not to do when traveling!


from Roehl to Tiefel....

On October 24, one of my best friends got married. Emily Roehl and Paul Tiefel were married, and forever changed. It was a fun wedding with many friends in town. Joey Reim came for the weekend and we had a blast. Sometimes there can be nothing better that catching up with friends and chatting about memories.

Even though the weekend was filled with bittersweet tears and hard moments, happiness also blossomed out through the difficult moments, even when we had to let go of pieces of our childhood.


Taking a Sunday Drive

There is so much to love about a drive through the country. Where I live in Eau Claire, all you have to do is jump in the car and drive for a few minutes before you hit the country. Fall is also one of the most delightful times. With the array of crimsons, oranges, and yellows there is never enough time it seams to soak it all in. I snapped a few shots while Josh and I took stopped at a place of remembrance from many months ago.


My finds at Pier 1

Pier 1 is fulled to the brim with inspirational ideas and creative new projects. It inspires me to redecorate my room and add a little creativity. I found these candle holders shoved in the back corner of the clearance shelf and I dressed them up with a little silk ribbon and some craft ribbon. With a little care they turned into a matching set!


The First Day of Snow

Yesterday morning Eau Claire awoke with a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground. Throughout the day the weather added to that, making a few inches. Some might call it an annoyance or a pain, but I call it bliss. If anybody is a Gilmore Girls fan, I have a very similar view of snow that Lorelei has, "I was sure some fairy godmother had done it just for me. It was my little present. Flakes, flurries, swirls, crystals, whatever form it comes in. I’ll take it. We go back, snow and me. We have a beautiful history." as she says. With the roofs of our houses covered, it feels as if a blanket of winter has settled in.


Soup Recipe

With a request for the soup, I'll put up the recipe.
Just a little tip: the soup has plenty of natural salt in the chicken and broth, so make sure you taste it before adding any salt

Tortellini Florentine Soup
1 9oz package of refrigerated 3-cheese tortellini
2 14oz cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1 10oz container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
2 cups pulled roasted chicken
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomato strips, drained (optional, I didn't include this particular ingredient)
3 cups lightly packed fresh spinach cut in strips
1 1oz shredded Parmesan cheese

>In a large pan combine broth and Alfredo sauce
>Add uncooked tortellini
>Stir in chicken and optional tomato strips
>Heat just to boil and reduce heat
>After tortellini is cooked add spinach and let simmer
>Cook for a few minuted to heat through and wilt spinach
>Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
>Enjoy on a wintery day
>Makes 6 servings


The perfect day for soup

Ever since our recent dip in temperature it has been feeling more and more like winter. With the cooler days approaching I thought I would get a head start on experimenting to find a new delightful soup recipe. Even though this was my first batch, I can already feel that this soup is a winner. The recipe that I experimented with was Tortellini Florentine Soup. If anybody would like the recipe, just let me know....


Fall is here, with it's changing colors....

This is a time that leaves are falling,
colors are changing,
scarves and mittens are covering our necks and hands,
there is a tangible crisp feeling in the air,
apple cider is filling the air with it's fragrant smell...

Fall is the perfect time to get out and see the wonderful atmosphere that has been created for us!

Sometimes taking the time to listen to the the stream trickle, watch the birds fly over head or squish the sand between your toes is totally worth it every moment....


Fall is here, with it's traditions....

Fall is here again! With this new season in our grasp the leaves are changing colors, the winter coats are being pulled from the closets, summer clothes are being worn for the last time, hot chocolate is being made, scarves and mittens are no longer neglected and apples are ripe for the picking. Apple picking is a sign that fall has arrived.

Last Saturday Josh and I braved the cool weather, picked a bundle of apples and made a delicious apple crisp. Here is the delightful recipe that we enjoyed:
3 to 4 large apples
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon juice

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