Once in awhile I have an extra 3 minutes in the morning AND there is a beautiful sunrise cresting the horizon.  The other day this such thing happened and below is the result.


Oatmeal cream pies

When I was little my mom would always buy Little Debbie snack cakes.  I loved these and somehow they would always disappear rapidly in our house growing up.  My favorite variety was the Fudge Rounds...they were absolute heaven in a plastic wrapper. 
I spent many afternoons watching Saved By The Bell with a fudge round in my chocolate covered hand.

As I grew older and developed a (ahhhemm), more mature palette, I also enjoyed a good oatmeal cream pie while deviously watching 90210.  My parents didn't approve of the show, but I was more mature...hence the oatmeal cream pies.  

This weekend I decided to make those delicious morsels of my childhood and found a recipe on Pinterest.  These oatmeal cream pies are...amazing.  There is just no other word for them.  Kevin likes them, I like them, and we've eaten wayyyy too many already.  They do take a little time, but are so worth it and sooooo much better than the Little Debbie kind.  If you don't want to take time for the frosting, although I encourage you to do so, the cookies are amazing on their own.  

Tonight I might talk Kevin into a little 90210 with our oatmeal pies, although I have a feeling the North Carolina/Kansas game might trump that little walk down memory lane.


You can get the recipe here.

Happy baking!!


Sounds of Spring...

After the rain stopped a few nights ago, the wild kingdom came alive in our backyard.  It was amazingly loud...I can prove it.



I believe everyone possesses talents.  Some people can play an instrument or a sport, others can make a canvas into a masterpiece, still others can discuss assets, liabilities, and derivatives to no avail (this is NOT my talent).  There are other talents that might seem simpler, but I believe that's a lie.  Some people are able to make people laugh, or listen, or have the capacity to be an amazing friend.  All of these unique talents are what make us who we are and many times drive our passions and dreams.  
This past weekend I was blessed enough to have two talented women out to Pioneer Trail.  We all used to share the talent of basketball (they were a bit more talented than I).  We played together in college and have stayed close ever since.  We try and get together every few months to catch up and laugh about what Jamie (our coach) used to wear to games...but that's another post altogether.
On Saturday afternoon Jill and Kayla pulled up our long, gravel driveway to check out the farm and have dinner.  They were able to check out the new kitchen and get a tour of the yards and winery.  After nonstop chatting for about an hour and a half we decided it was gift time.  Every year we make handmade Christmas gifts for each other.  (As I'm sure you figured out, we are a little behind on the gift giving this year, only, um, three months.)  This is one of Kayla's talents.  She is one of the most creative people I know and she always comes up with the most amazing gifts.  This year she made soap, yep, soap.  Cinnamon soap, ginger soap, chamomile soap, lots of pretty little bars of delicious smelling soap.  And of course it was wrapped in this cute little box with our names on the outside.  I can't wait to unwrap a bar and use it...the only problem is going to be deciding which to unwrap first.  

After opening gifts, our stomachs were growling, so it was time for some grub.  This is one of Jill's talents.  Jill completely planned the menu and created salmon with soy glaze, garlic golden potatoes, along with yummy squash and asparagus.  Jill has always been skillful at cooking and constantly tries to make dishes that are delicious and healthy for the waistline.  Dinner was beyond a success and we sat there a little sleepy from all the amazing food we ate.  

After some more chatting and bird watching (not really), we said our good-byes and the girls headed home before dark.  I wish I could say that I got a picture of us all together, but sadly, I failed at this after mentioning it only about a hundred times.  
I feel blessed to have these amazingly talented women in my life and look forward to each and every time I have the pleasure of seeing them...especially when their talents include tasty food and delicious smelling soaps.



There has been some incredible weather lately in our area.  The temperature has been in the 70s and 80s this past week, which has been absolutely wonderful...and somewhat deceiving.  As a teacher, this weather is tricking me into thinking that it is May and the conclusion of the school year is just ahead.  But, it is only mid-March and we have a few more months ahead of us.  If this weather sticks around, it might make these next few months a bit more fun.  (I'm thinking reading outside, science experiments outside, um, anything outside!)
Kevin and I tried to be outside as much as possible (in between watching all the March madness games) and decided to explore the creek with Abel.  We saw beaver dams, caught an early sunrise, and Abel found about a million and one sticks.  Have I mentioned he absolutely loves sticks?  He's kind of obsessed.
I hope you all were able to enjoy this beautiful weekend...outside!



My kind of green...

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone!  

We are blessed today with another 80 degree day in Iowa!  Just in time for St. Patty's Day, there is green absolutely EVERYWHERE on the farm!  Kevin and I have spent the day raking leaves and cleaning flower beds.  I love seeing all the neon green underneath all the gray, brown, boring stuff. 

This is the kind of green I like to see in March....

Kudos to Diane for making the farm so beautiful!


Happy Birthday Hillary! and a surprise visit

This weekend was jam packed with family, food, and cooking in our new kitchen!  Friday night Hillary and John arrived from Cedar Rapids and we were able to celebrate Hillary's birthday together.  Diane planned the menu and brought everything to make a center cut sirloin with potatoes and veggies.  The sirloin was incredible and the bearnaise sauce that went with it made it even better.  I wish I could say that I took pictures because it really was beautiful...but I didn't.
Kevin had some of his experimental beer to taste and he was excited to get some tasting notes from his family.  We ended the night with Kevin making bananas foster, complete with lighting the skillet on fire.  Needless to say, it was a fun, first family dinner in our kitchen and we thoroughly enjoyed the time together to celebrate Hillary's birthday.

Beer tasting

Abel was completely spoiled by Aunt Hillary...

...and Uncle John.

The fire!

Happy Birthday Hillary!
The fun wasn't over yet.  On Saturday my Mom and Dad headed over to check out our new kitchen as well.  Little did we know that my nephew, Xavier, was joining them.  Mom and Dad wanted to surprise us by bringing him to check out our new place and meet Abel (Abel loved having a playmate his size).  It was a beautiful day and we spent the afternoon hanging out by the hot tub and watching Xavier show us all his tricks in the 'pool'.  Our time together was short, but we were able to have lots of fun and laughs in the less than 24 hours that we had together.

Loving the hot tub

Dad and Kevin with their beer shirts 

Such a sweet little surprise!



This past Sunday Kevin made a day trip for a very important party.  We went home to celebrate my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary.  These newlyweds are two of the most important people in my life.  I was lucky enough to live close to them growing up and I have so many good memories of getting ready for prom at their house, making sandcastles at Lake Rathbun, and taking RV trips to Adventureland, among other places.
The day was spent reminiscing about these past memories, playing the newlywed game (so funny), and listening to people talk about the amazing love between my grandparents.  I feel so blessed to have Grandma and Grandpa Hasley in my life and wish them many more happy years!
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and my purse at home (I know, ridiculous), so these are from my mom's camera.  Thanks Mom!

My cousin, Laci, had this great idea to play the newlywed game.  Little did we know that Grandpa is such a comedian.  
Question for Grandpa: What is the best vacation you and your wife took together?
Grandpa's answer: Branson, Missouri
Grandma's answer: Maui, Hawaii
I wonder which was the best?!

A family pic...and, yes, I did hog sweet little Jakobi.


(Kevin's) Productive Saturday

Kevin has been extremely productive today, however I can't say the same for myself.  I did make mac and cheese (my favorite) and followed Kevin around snapping pictures.
First, Kevin prepared our chalkboard wall.  In order to draw, write, doodle, etc. on the wall, it must be prepped by taking chalk and coloring the entire thing.  This must be done twice, wiping it down with a wet cloth in between.  We still don't know what our first doodle is going to be, but I will keep you updated when Kevin creates a masterpiece.

Next, Kevin put a few coats on the bookshelf in the office.  These bookshelves have been in the house since Kevin's dad was a little boy.  Kevin's dad, Gary, told me that they used to divide the basement for the boys' rooms....I love little stories like that.  They are in good shape and I decided that this bookshelf would be functional in the office, but needed a coat of paint.  Again, Kevin being productive.

Finally, Kevin moved his Grandma and Grandpa's hutch into the 'piano' room.  I know a lot of people don't have hutches anymore, but this is a very special piece of furniture and we feel lucky to have it in our home, besides, where else can you display family china that has been in a box for four years?!  I am blessed to have my Great-Grandma Schutte's Currier and Ives blue and white china.  I haven't had anywhere to display and/or use it these past four years and I am so excited that it finally has a real home in Kevin's Grandma's hutch.  It makes me happy to think about Great-Grandma Schutte and Grandma Gerry and how I get to have a little piece of them in my home.  I only wish they were here to see it.

Cheers to (Kevin's) productive Saturday!


Almost settled

After a week and a half of moving furniture, dusting, putting things away, and dusting some more, we are almost settled!  We still have to hang items on the walls and put window treatments up, but other than that, we are ready to enjoy our new house!
Here are some of my favorite things we have done since moving upstairs: eating off real plates and using real silverware, texting without going outside (we have a signal upstairs!), laying on our couch and watching Netflix, organizing our closet, and, of course, drinking a glass of wine out of an actual wine glass instead of a plastic cup!  Here are a few pictures of how we have gotten settled so far:

The wood burning stove, original to the house.

The spare bedroom...clean!

What we see as we walk out our bedroom door...

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