Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen....My Green Thumb

As I have mentioned, I live in a home that doesn't have ANY landscaping. Since we rent and don't plan on being here forever we aren't going to add any flower beds or gardens. That meant if I wanted to have any fresh veggies this year I would have to stick to those roadside stands or get creative. So....I started a container garden. Here is a list of 13 things I am growing!

1. Cherry Tomatoes....I planted lots of them (too many) - two different types.
2. Regular Tomatoes....two different types but I forget what they are called.
3. Bell Peppers
4. Hot Peppers....3 different kinds.
5. Zucchini....I am growing it on a trellis - I'll keep you posted on how it works out.
6. Cucumbers....also on a trellis.
7. Beans.....two different types but they really aren't doing that great.
8. Basil
9. Dill
10. Sage....if you have never tried fresh sage you are missing out.
11. Lettuce
12. Cilantro
13. Sunflowers

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I know, I know, I know.....

I've been hearing all about I haven't had time to blog. I've been doing other things. Like catching up on house stuff, groceries, going to dr.'s appointments and all that. Plus we went out of town AGAIN this past weekend. It was fun. The weather has been so perfect I can't stand to be inside that long. I guess I could take the lap top outside. This weekend is Relay for Life. Yikes....we have sooooo much work to do for it. And then the weekend is taken. Pretty much we are booked up until the end of June. Jake will be doing some more traveling. He is going back to Texas soon. I'm trying not to complain too much. It is his job. I will never complain about the money. ha ha ha. We have the Amish family reunion coming up (I can't wait), this NASCAR thing we are going to and Women of Faith. I might as well leave the suit case in my bedroom. After the last week of June I am going to try to wrap up the craziness and just relax before the arrival of baby #3. Do you believe that????

Yesterday was my birthday. I think some of my friends forgot. It's okay. I am 34 birthdays aren't a big deal anymore. I did have a best friend who quit being my friend after I forgot her birthday. Don't worry none of you can get rid of me that easy!!!! Jake took the day off so that was nice.

Well have a good Wednesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen....Two for the Price of One!

We have been busy in the Miller household these days. Here is a list of 13 things we have done in the last week!

1. Went to the Zoo.
2. Fed the ducks.
3. Played in the sprinkler.
4. Went to the library.
5. Hiked the Gorge.
6. Planted Sunflowers.
7. Watched a Raccoon family walking down our sidewalk.
8. Went to Walmart.
9. Went to a plant sale at Crown Point Ecology Center.
10. Baked a cake.
11. Went to Church.
12. Played at the Park.
13. Went to a kite festival.

And the second list....

Things we haven't done in the last week....

1. Laundry
2. Cleaned the windows.
3. Vacuumed the carpet.
4. Scrubbed the toilet.
5. Worked on my Relay for Life stuff.
6. Cleaned off my desk.
7. Worked on Elise's scrapbook (I would like to have it done before the baby gets here).
8. I haven't done one single thing the prepare for this baby..........
9. Worked out at the gym.
10. Cooked my husband breakfast (he hasn't been going to the gym either).
11. Mailed out my Mother's Day cards.
12. Planned our menu.
13. Watched the Wiggles.

So there...two for the price of one!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Something New From Scratch.....

As you know, I like to make things from scratch. I, however, do not like to bake, so it has been a real challenge for me to BAKE things from scratch. I am not very accurate when it comes to measuring and following a recipe. When cooking other types of food I almost always alter the recipe to make it my own and to suit my taste preference. You can't really do that with baking. At least I am not good enough to do that yet....I haven't reached the baking "virtuoso" level.

Friday was Elise's 2nd Birthday. I was very busy so I didn't have time to write a nice little birthday blog for her. So....Happy Birthday Elise. I did make her a cake on Friday, from a boxed mix. I made my own icing...which was less than desirable. I should have spent the $1 or so to buy the ready made type. I think two small pieces of cake were eaten on Friday. I threw that cake away yesterday. But we were planning to have a birthday party for Elise on Sunday. I wanted to make her a "special" cake. Last year, on her first birthday, I was away taking those silly insurance classes and I missed her big day. When we did celebrate, I bought a cheap ACME cake. My favorite type of cake has always been strawberry (from a box) or cherry chip with cream cheese frosting. I thought I would make Elise a strawberry cake from scratch. I spent some time on-line researching strawberry cakes and found a recipe I was happy with. I wasn't sure about the frosting yet because I hadn't quite decided what I was going for. I decided to start the cake on Saturday evening. Before I started I realized I did not have a cake carrier thingy. Why would I???? I don't bake and I don't take baked goods places. Simple. Instead of going to buy something I decided to call my good friend, Sherry and see if she had one. I knew she would because she is Ms. Betty Crocker. She did. Yeah. I sent Jake right over to get it. On with the cake making. I wanted the cake to be good so I did everything exactly the way the recipe said. I used real "cake flour" and even sifted it. I measure and mixed and folded and poured. The cake was looking yummy. When it came out of the oven it smelled absolutely delish. The next morning after church, I decided on a whipped cream/ pudding type frosting. I didn't have the pudding mix so I sent my DH, Jake to the store to get some for me. I gave him very specific directions (2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding). He came home with one box of instant sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding and one box of instant banana cream pudding. Yikes. I was racing against the clock so I sent him right back to exchange the puddings. He did and I had just enough time to mix it up (sooooo easy, BTW) and it tasted soooooo good. It was the perfect marriage of strawberry and a light whipped frosting. I added strawberries along the sides. YUM. I was imagining rave reviews from all of the party attenders.

So, we started loading up the car and Jake takes the cake. I give him the "don't you dare drop that cake" look. He laughed. Seriously. He laughed. Then he took about 4 steps and I heard this SPLAT. Yes....he dropped the cake. It was one step from the door, frosting side down. I screamed. Then I panicked. I think I said something like "don't even clean it up....we need to go get another cake." Jake said, "what? we have to clean it up, it is right by the door". I came to my senses and realized he was right so I jumped in the car and ran to Giant Eagle for a cake. Believe it or not....I was laughing about it on the way to the store. Looking back, I was probably laughing because the perfect cake smashing to the floor before anyone even got to taste it, most likely just sent me over the edge - so I laughed because I was just a little koo-koo for a minute. I did get a lovely cake and it tasted okay. Elise didn't know the difference and she ended up having a fun party. Sorry I don't have any pics of the cake. I should have taken some smashed cake pics but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time. There is a moral to this story though...Men, just because it has a handle doesn't mean you can safely carry it from the handle. You should ALWAYS keep a hand on the bottom as well!!!!!



  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.



  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix with milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping until no streaks remain. Spread evenly over cake.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday 13...I forgot what number I am on!

This is a list of 13 words/ phrases that people were searching and ended up at my blog. They are in no particular order.

1. dear delilah song (funny....the song is actually called Hey There Delilah)
2. prego bellies
3. gag reflect
4. moonshine runners
5. jude and elise
6. wnir contests
7. vomiting, barfing, throwing up, puking
8. sweaty pits, stephanie miller photo
9. shirtless lebron
10. recipe for homemade whiskey or moonshine
11. how to make moonshine in jail
12. cabbage patch doll penis (I hope this doesn't offend anyone)
13. how to handle passive aggressive behavior in your friend

Some of these are just down right funny.

Have a great Thursday!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day....from my husband!

Can you believe I am posting again today? I have a little time and who knows when I will get the urge again so I thought I would write a little more today.

Last week I was talking to my friend, Jennifer - who is a new mom, and we were discussing Mother's Day. She was saying her husband would be gone the entire day because he was working. This is what I said...."Look, this is your first Mother's Day - that means it is your first year to be highly dissappointed." We laughed and went on talking about something else. Later that week I was talking to Jake and he was telling me about the trip he had been on the past week. He said the guys he was with were buying dresses, shoes, entire outfits for their wives. I had previously purchased windchimes that I told Jake could be my Mother's Day gift. It might seem a little presumptious but I figured if I was going to get something I'd have to buy it myself. So...when Jake was telling me about his co-workers purchases....well, I was getting a little.....let's say agitated. This is my 5th Mother's day and I don't think I've ever gotten a gift. I've recieved cards and last year I got flowers a week later, because I complained until he bought them. Now....let me set everyone straight. I am not writing this to bash my hubby. I think he is a great husband (overall). He washes dishes and helps out around the house. He is a wonderful father and the kids love him to death. But he is not that great of a gift giver. He is more of a doer - I am sure it has something to do with his Life/Love languange and I try to be understanding when I get a gift like a Dale Earnhart Jr. action figure - because he just doesn't know. BUT...when he is around other men that are lavishing their wives with gifts shouldn't he get a clue???? Well, I gave him a little "pep talk". Apparently something I said took hold. My Mother's day gift started on Friday. After he got home from work he took the kids and went shopping. That meant I had about an hour & a half by myself. I took a nap. I love naps these days. On Saturday, he bought me not one but TWO dozen roses. They are cream colored with lavendar filler. How beautiful. He bought them at BJ's so he got them at a bargain price (I liked that too). On Sunday morning the first thing out of his mouth was....Happy Mother's Day. How sweet that he remembered. I usually have to remind him what day it is. But he could hardly wait to give me my gifts. First was the card the Jude picked out and he and his sister both colored. It was sweet. Then the gift bag with a stroller and baby stuff on it (Jude picked it out). He had bought me this beautiful Willow Creek figure with a mom and two kids. It actually looks alittle like me and my kids. He also got me a couples devotional book for us to read together each day. And lastly, he got me a Natalie Grant CD, which I already have (ha ha ha). We will be taking it back. So the gifts were nice. But that isn't it.....he cooked. He made lunch and dinner. Both were grill prepared (of course) but delicious. He also did most of the laundry! Isn't that so sweet. On top of it all, I also got to take a nap. I wasn't planning it but he started watching NASCAR and off to zzzzzzzzzzz land I went...

I basically wanted to tell you all what a sweet husband I have and what a great Mother's day it was for me this year.

Oh, and I have a confession....I still haven't mailed my Mom's Mothers Day Card. I do have one though....I think it is the one I bought last year. Isn't that horrible. I did call her and talk to her for a while. I am going to go put that card in the mail right now.....

The Rest of the Story....

I didn't get to tell you much about our week-end away because I was talking so much about the Amish. We had a really nice time. As I mentioned I liked just driving around checking out the country scene. I used to think I was a country girl at heart but I have to admit when we first got there I felt really disconnected. I was annoyed by the spotty cell phone service and the fact that the stores closed at 5 P.M. Either way we drove to "the city" that evening for dinner and a movie. We watched "The Invisible", which was okay. I guess it just wasn't what I expected. On our way back to the Bed & Breakfast we drove through Fredericksburg, passed Jake's old house. He noticed the lights were on at the softball field, so we drove over to see who was playing. I think Jake was hoping it was someone he knew, so he could join in! But when we got there I saw the coolest thing.... It was a group of Amish teens playing softball. It looked like it may have been boys against girls. The girls were all out there in their dresses & bonnets. The parking lot was full of horse and buggies. Isn't that cool? I so badly wanted to take some pictures but I didn't want to be rude. The Amish don't believe in having their picture taken. It has to do with the Bible verse about "graven images". Some of the new order amish are a little more lenient about it....I guess it all boils down to "if the Bishop is going to find out" least that is what I have heard. Either way, for me, I know I used to think the Amish were all work and no play - seeing them play softball was cool. Jake wasn't the least bit entertained the way I was!!!

Over the week-end we got to see a couple of other things that I thought would have been picture worthy. One was an Amish lady mowing her lawn with a gas push mower. We saw several van loads of Amish going places. Jake lovingly calls them "Yoder Towders". I thought that was funny.

I don't know if I mentioned but Paul & Linda watched the kids while we were away. Since they were in town they decided it would be a good time to go visit Paul's brother, Roy (who is Amish). They took the kids. They had both been before but neither of them remembered. I had told Jude he would get to see all sorts of animals and about the lights in the house being gas instead of light bulbs. I also told him there would be other children there but they would not be able to understand him when he speaks because Amish children only speak Pennsylvania Dutch until they begin school, where they learn English. When they got to the farm, there was a little boy there who is almost the same age as Jude. He is Jude's second cousin. Funny, he knows several second cousins from my side of the family and this was the first time he met this little boy. Anyhoo.....Jude played with the kid all day and like I had warned, they didn't speak each other's language. Linda said it was cute - Jude would say something in English & Jonathon would say something back in Dutch. Isn't that the cutest thing ever???? Well, maybe you don't think so but I do! Jude has been talking about "his know mom, the one who's dad has a long beard!". I love it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

More Amish Pics.....

I received a lot of comments (in person....not on-line) about how great my Amish pics were. I decided to make them b/w for the effect but the truth is they are much more stunning in color. So...I wanted to share. Here you go!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Amish....

I do have more Amish stories & fun Amish facts. I will be getting back to that later. And.....we are going to an Amish family reunion in June. How exciting. Aren't you excited????

I Made it from stuff!

I haven't been so good at posting things for the Made It From Scratch Carnival. I make lots of things from scratch but I've been so busy lately. You may have even noticed I haven't even had much blogging time. Either way....I made a Strawberry Pie. I did use a pre-made pie crust. To me ready made pie crust is great. You can buy the off brands for fairly cheap and it saves a lot of time and headaches. So...that is what I did. I guess where the homemade part comes in is that gooey red stuff that goes on the strawberries. I made that stuff from scratch. It turned out pretty good. At first I wasn't that fond of the flavor because I thought it was too sugary but after sitting and mixing with my tart strawberries it was quite delicious. I made two pies and both went pretty fast. I didn't take a picture. Sorry. Here is the recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin mix
  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled
  • 2 (9 inch) pie shells, baked


  1. In a saucepan, combine water, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberry gelatin. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Arrange strawberries in the pie crusts with the tips pointing up. Pour gelatin mixture over, covering the berries.
It is as simple as that. I did like it better than that store bought stuff.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Miller Way....Amish Edition

Jake and I spent the past week-end in "Amish Country". For those of you that aren't from Ohio - "Amish Country" is a couple of counties in Ohio where the Amish live. It is the largest Amish community in the world (according to a sign I read this week-end). Jake grew up in the area so he knows his way around really well. As for me...I've always just been a tourist. We stayed in a very nice Bed & Breakfast in Berlin. It is fairly close to Jake's hometown of Fredericksburg. It is a small town (population of 487). Berlin is the touristy area. There are a zillion shops with crafty type stuff. We spent some time going through them. I bought an old bracelet at a little flea market type shop. Mostly, the stuff in the shops didn't interest me....everything started to look the same and very overpriced. I did see a few Amish and Mennonite people and of course we saw many horse and buggies.

I have mentioned many times before that Jake's father grew up Amish. He left the Amish when he was 16. He had not yet joined the Church so he was not excommunicated and still gets to spend time with some of his family that is still Amish. Linda was never Amish but her parents were. So...when you think about it, Jake is a pure bread Amish by blood. Like many people, I am so fascinated by the Amish and their way of life. Jake is soooo over it.

So, most of you already know all that I want to tell you (and show you) about some of the interesting things I've seen/learned, about the Amish, since I met the Millers. I want to preface this by saying I don't mean any disrespect to the Amish or anyone else for that matter. The Amish are kinda weird about people getting into their business so I guess they might be mad a me if they knew I am going to debunk some of the myths. Either way, if you are mad I prefer you email me privately. I don't claim to be an Amish expert or anything. I may get some stuff wrong. If you know more or if I am off on something feel free to leave a comment.

Myth #1: All Amish are the same. No, they aren't. There are different "orders" of the Amish. Some are old order (more like orthodox) and some are new order (they are the ones that wear more color).

Myth #2: Amish are poor. I am guessing at this but I am pretty sure there are different economic statuses in the Amish as in every culture. In the grocery store I saw an Amish man writing a check, so I know they use banks. If you look at their homes and stuff you would think they are pretty well off. Some family have 30 horses as well as, pigs, cows, etc.... I've also heard people say something about the Amish not paying taxes but I am pretty sure they have to....I guess Paul could answer that question. If you think about it, the Amish have jobs, businesses, and trades. They save money on some of the amenities you and I splurge on...they grow their own food and livestock. They probably have more money than any of us.

Myth #3: The Amish don't use phones. Wrong. Many of them have phones. They just aren't in their houses. You might want to sit down for this one....many also have cell phones.

Myth #4: The Amish don't have running water. They do. I have been in a real Amish home (Jake's Aunt & Uncle's) and I used an indoor bathroom with running water. I don't know for sure how they make it work because they don't use electricity but it did.

Myth #5: The Amish are very "spiritual". I guess you could say they are very religious....into the rituals of religion but most of them don't know much about the Bible. The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch (not a written language....just spoken). They do learn English when they go to school but when they go to church the service is in German. I read a book about a girl who left the Amish Way. When a person starts reading an English Bible (and found out what it really said) it was usually a sign they were going to leave the Amish.

Okay....I think that is enough for today. I have lots more to tell you about the weekend but you will have to wait until tomorrow (or later because I am heading to WV in the A.M.).

Here are some pics.......

This is an Amish house. The little building in the front is the little phone house.
These are Amish cows. They aren't anything special. I just liked the picture.

I love this picture. This is "Amish Church". They have church once every two weeks. It is held in a home of one of the church members. I asked Jake how they can tell their buggies & horses apart. He said he didn't know but at weddings they mark they horses so they know which is theirs.

The church.

An Amish playground, at a school. Amish kids still get to play on teeter totters. Have you noticed these things are extinct in modern playgrounds??? People say they are dangerous.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The House & Other Stuff.....

So, after I wrote that stuff yesterday about giving up the dream house the realitor called and said that the owner would like to "work something out with us". She had an open house on Sunday and we drove by - there were people looking. I don't know how interested anyone was but she said she has a couple coming by for a second look. Either way, we have many questions. The house is pretty pricey for us. We can probably afford it but we will be stretched. It is move in condition and quite lovely. Eventually we would redo the bathroom, change the wall paper, build a better garage, put a fence up, and make a different driveway. The kitchen is great and that wrap around porch....well, that is so awesome. Either way, we aren't going to rush. For now, we will live in the pink house and be happy. We've actually been checkin out the house across the street from us. An elderly couple lives there and we are hoping they are planning to move to a nice condo sometime soon. The house is big and had a great yard. It needs some work - mostly updating but I am assuming the price would reflect it. We'd only have to move across the street. We talk about the house all the time. It is big - about 700 more sq. feet than we have now. I am not sure how many bedrooms (I forgot). I am not that fond of the neighbors. They have three little boys. The youngest is 3 and Sunday he yelled across the street - "hey you in the pink house - you are stupid!" His dad was outside and didn't even say a word to him. Nice. Back to the house...we like it but it isn't for sale. That doesn't mean they won't sell it. My sister went to a garage sale once and ended up buying a house that wasn't for sale. Seriously.

As for the other stuff....I can't remember exactly what else I was planning to write when I sat down here. But I will tell you about my "garden". At the end of March I planted some seeds inside (you may remember I mentioned it). They really took off. In fact, way too much. Some of the seeds said it would take 14-21 days to germinate, when it really only took a few days. They were growing out of control so I bought bigger pots and replanted them. I went from 1 tray to 3 trays. Then it got cold again. They were all inside by a window and I think the draft effected them because a few died. Mostly all the flowers. Some of the others have slowly bit the dust and I think the cat was eating my basil. Yesterday I finally got the stuff planted in the big pots and they are all outside. I am doing everything in pots. I've been doing some reading about container gardens. Hopefully my "garden" will be a success. I'll keep you updated.

Have a great day.