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Pretzel Jello

Hello and Welcome back! I just wanted to share a quick, easy and majorly delicious recipe for “Pretzel Jello”. Sounds crazy I know… but its UH-MAZE-ING! This dish will make you the hero of the potluck, the queen of the barbecue, or the popular party guest who is definitely on the invite list forever and ever amen. There are lots of different versions online or floating around from church lady to church lady but this is the one I tried and it turned out fabulously :) For this recipe you will need:

2 Cups of crushed pretzel sticks
1 1/2 sticks of butter (melted)
3 tablespoons of sugar (for the crust)
1 cup of sugar (for the filling)
1 8oz brick cream cheese
1 8oz cool whip
2 cups boiling water
1 6oz package strawberry-banana JELLO
2 10 oz packages frozen strawberries (slightly thawed)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Crush the pretzels in a large ziploc bag with a rolling pin and place them in a mixing bowl.  

Add the 3 tbsp. sugar and melted butter.  Mix well and Press into the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking pan.  Bake for 8 minutes and let cool COMPLETELY.  

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese until well blended and smooth.  Fold in cool whip and refrigerate.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine jello mix and boiling water. Stir until dissolved and add strawberries with their liquid. Chill in the fridge until slightly set up.

Spread cream cheese mixture over pretzel crust, making sure you seal the edges of the layer completely. (if you don’t, the jello layer could soak through the edges and make your crust soggy)

Spoon the jello mixture on top of the cream cheese layer evenly. Refrigerate until Firm.

I made mine the night before and it was great! Enjoy!

Love,

Meagan

Memorial Day Recap!

Our Memorial Day was great. We did not end up going to Ravenna because of a situation with the brakes in our car. Bummer! But we still ended up having a great time here in Northville with our family and friends. Heres our photo story…

The day began with a breakfast with friends and family! I cut a few folks out of the picture accidentally. Sorry!


Next we headed down town Northville for the Memorial Day Parade!


The NHS marching band was great as always.


All the local Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops were there as well. So cute. I love my town…


Even the dogs were feeling patriotic!


The parade ended up at “Rural Hill Cemetery” and led the crowd through the gates to pay tribute to our American heroes.


May God bless you, our sleeping heroes and may He comfort those you left behind. Thank you for serving.


Bentley and his flag!

Then we went home to enjoy a cook out with family and friends. We had bbq ribs, fried corn, mac and cheese, veggie platter, fresh rolls, pretzel jello, and pineapple upside down cake! Bentley enjoyed some swimming time with daddy at the pool and the other guys played corn hole. Since I’m terrible and corn hole and I hate the name, I stayed inside and drank coffee :) However, by the end of the day, I think everyone felt just like Bentley in this picture…

I hope everyone had a great time! I’d love to hear how you spent your holiday and I will be posting the recipe for “Pretzel Jello” very soon! Have a wonderful remainder of your weekend!

Love,

Meagan

Hello and welcome.  I just wanted to post a few quick thoughts about Memorial Day.  Yes, there will be barbecuing, yes there will be swimming and backyard football and a day off from work… but why?  Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?  What are we supposed to be remembering?  The answer is of course, all of our fallen service men and women who have given their lives for us.  These people literally lost their lives serving you and I.  Their families lost their son or daughter, their brother or sister…their daddy or mommy… their husband or wife…   For them, Memorial Day might not be as leisurely of a celebration.  My heart truly goes out to the ones left behind and I am humbled by their sacrifice.

CHALLENGE:  Don’t let this Memorial Day pass without actually memorializing our American heroes.  I think it would be really special if we all bought some flowers and took them to a soldier’s grave.  You don’t have to know them to love them.  Northville, MI’s  local cemetery “Rural Hill”  has a fallen heroes section and I have seen other area cemeteries that have them as well.  If your town’s local cemetery does not have a military section, please consider making a small donation to  http://www.nvf.org/  However you may choose to honor our heroes, please show your appreciation in a tangible way this Memorial Day! I would love to hear what you decided to do so please let me know!




And I will leave you with this poem that I think is so lovely and moving…

The Unknown Soldier

You need not ever know my name
This unknown soldier seeks no fame

I’m here to bring out thought from you
May your heart see more than your view

America, we marched with pride
We gave our life, for you we died

How well we knew the time might come
When life could sound that final drum

Please think of us as life moves on
We tried so hard till that last dawn

Do let our spirit fill the land
Pass treasured freedom, hand to hand

God blessed this country with such love
Hold in your heart, abundance of

And when you stand before my grave
Think not of one, but each who gave

©2003Roger J. Robicheau

Love to you and yours on this holiday. May we celebrate our faith, our families, and our freedom!

Love,
Meagan

Last week we happily found ourselves in the small town of Ravenna, MI.  It’s barely a dot on the map but it holds some of the folks that my fireman and I love the best.  Ravenna is home to my dear mom-in-law Penny, my sister-in-law and bro-in law Trish and Mark, and my 2 adorable nephews Nolan and Wesley!  Mark and Trish live on 40 acres of land with 1 horse, 3 dogs, 2 barn kittys, 1 house kitty, and more chickens than I could accurately count.  From what I hear, they will soon be joined by a pig that my nephews will raise for their 4H club to sell at the fair, and my husband is doing his best to convince them they need a goat.  Mark and Trish refer to their house as a “hobby farm” but between the massive stretch of land, huge garden in progress, fresh eggs, and the impending pig situation I’d say it’s a slightly larger operation.  But that’s just my city slicker opinion…  We love visiting the affectionately named “VerMeer Family Farm” and I want to share some pictures with you of this little piece of paradise :)

Welcome to the Farm!

Bentley’s first time seeing a horsey with Auntie Trish!

“Hi Horse. Let me see your hairs.”

This is Buffy. She’s a sassy chick! haha! get it? Sassy…. Chick… because she’s a chicken… Yep.

Buffy’s People

I forgot her name. Please don’t tell her. How embarrassing….

And here are some pictures of the loveliness around the farm…

Trish’s grape arbor. In the summer, the grape vines completely envelop this space and the bunches of purple grapes hang down around you. It’s the perfect place to relax with a glass of red while the kids play.

Barn Kitty named Hala. This is as still as I could get her to be :)

Barn Kitty named Kippy. Kippy was my cat who Trish graciously took in when I had to re-home him a few years back. He adjusted to country life beautifully… and I’m so happy he’s loved and cared for.

I have no clue how to spell this girls name! Its pronounced like this: Chew-boss-ka! Shes older than me but she looks fab!

“Smokey Joe” the house kitty has found the best thing ever!

A beautiful piece of Gods Country….

A special thank you to the VerMeers for letting me snap all these pictures! We love you and can’t wait to see you again! (we will actually see you Monday for garage sale heaven!) Thanks everyone for tuning in and I hope to see you back real soon!

Love,

Meagan

Happy Easter

Happy Easter fellow nesters! What will you be doing in celebration of this Holy Holiday? I will be starting my preparations as soon as I get out of the office tonight. I am making a few Easter Baskets for my neighbors. I am going to make some jars of Vanilla Bean-Orange Marmalade and some Cranberry Orange Scones. I am also going to include chocolate bunnies and some gladiola bulbs in their baskets. I hope they’ll enjoy them. I also made Bentley an Easter Basket filled with books, a rubber ducky, a little blue bunny, and some candy for mom and dad since Bentley doesn’t currently have any teeth… oh well!

Then tomorrow night, I will be trying my hand at some Hot Cross Buns! I’ve never attempted these before so hopefully they turn out! Have you ever made any? If so, what are your tips for me?

And finally, my Easter Treats will be complete with these Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Marshmallow Birds Nests! I think they will be pretty and appropriate for the Bluebird to make! Are these not too adorbs for words?

However… With all the busy dinner making and treat concocting, lets not forget the “Reason for the Season”! Thank you Jesus for dying for my sins so I could live a life free from the power of death, hell, and the grave. Help me talk like You, think like You, give like You, forgive like You, and most of all help me learn to love like You.

We are all works in progress aren’t we? We will never deserve the extravagant love God has lavished on us but through grace we receive it. Through this amazing grace we can approach God boldly in prayer and make our requests known to Him. What a priveledge provided to us as a direct result of Jesus’s sacrafice… the “not so even” exchange of His perfect life for ours. For mine. For yours. Because He suffered, we can experience true joy and peace, because He died, we can look forward to an eternity in heaven, and because He lives again, we can face tomorrow.

This is one of my all time favorite hymns called “When I survey The Wondrous Cross”:

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

If you don’t have a place to go to church for Sunday services, I would encourage you to check out http://www.northridgechurch.com and find a service time that works for you. Open your heart to Easter and in so doing, open your heart to Christ. May God bless you this Easter and always.

Love,
Meagan

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Welcome to my nest!  I have been super busy but I found the time (while Bentley was asleep) to make this blueberry pie!  This is an old Betty Crocker recipe that I tweaked a bit.  The fireman had brought home a huge container of fresh blueberries left over from a fruit salad at the fire house.  Somehow, these berries got left out and he didn’t want them to go to waste.  I poured them in a large plastic bag and froze them.  Theres no way we could have polished them all off but I knew I wanted to use them before they got freezer burn.  I am not usually a pie maker but I was feeling particularly empowered and decided to give it a shot.  Here goes nothin! I must apologize in advance for the “more terrible than usual” photos. I lost my camera in the move and had to use my phone camera. Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and buy a Nikon….sigh… For this recipe you will need:

A 9 inch pie plate

1 box Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (there will be 2 in there)

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375 and pull your crusts out of the fridge and set them out on the counter to take the chill off.  They will be too hard to work with if you dont. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine blueberries, flour, sugar, and lemon zest. I used about a tablespoon of zest which was far more than what the recipe called for. I really love to use citrus zest in most recipes. It wakes up all the other flavors in your dish.

If your berries are frozen you will need to let this mixture sit out for about 20-30 minutes just to let them thaw out slightly. Its totally fine that they will be icy or slushy looking. During this time, you can get your crust going. If your berries are not frozen you really dont need to let them sit out so try to have your pie crust ready to go in your pie plate. Take out one of your crusts and unroll it into your pie plate. It will hang over the edges slightly.

Fold the crust under about a 1/2 inch all the way around. For a fluted edge like this one, put your thumb in the edge and use your index finger and thumb on the opposit hand to pinch the crust around your thumb. Do this all the way around the edge until it looks faboosh like this! (it was my first time doing this and i bet you can’t even tell…)

Next go ahead and pour your filling in the shell. Its like a little preview of what is to come. Yum. Amen.

I decided to do a lattice top after I had already fluted the edge of my pie. Technically you should do a plain top on a fluted edge pie and a lattice top on a plain edge pie… but I have always been a rebel. Rules Shmules…er whatever. I made it work! You take your second crust out and sprinkle some flour on the counter top. Unroll it and lay it out. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the crust into long strips about an inch or so wide. Lay them across the top of the filling vertically and and let the strips hang over the edge. Lift up every other strip and let them lay loosely upward.

Lay the other strips across the filling horizontally and then fold the vertical strip back over.

Keep this up until you have the look you want. Listen… mine is not perfect but it was good enough!

Once you have the top looking decent, you need to trim up the strips so they dont continue to hang over. I just used a knife to trim them and then I tried to press the ends into the sides of the bottom crust. Sometimes I could fit a strip in between a fluted part of the edge, sometimes I had to be a little more creative… but this is how it turned out.

When you bake a pie, the edge of the crust will usually brown much more quickly than the top. To prevent a burned edge, cover it in some strips of tin foil like this.

On the top of the crust I brushed a little bit of milk and sprinkled some additional sugar to make it shiny and pretty. Then it was into the oven for about 25 minutes. After that, I took the foil off and baked it for another 30 minutes so everything could brown up. The filling should be bubbly and juicy looking if its done. Let it cool to room temperature and serve it later with vanilla ice cream. So good!!

This pie was a big hit for me and I hope it will be for you too!

Love,

Meagan

It has been far too long between blog postings!  I miss it.  I’ve still been decorating, I’ve still been cooking, I’ve just had to do it all while taking care of a brand new baby!  Holding a camera in one hand and a little squirm ball in the other proves challenging while stirring a bechamel with my wooden spoon between my toes…. Ok I’m sort of exaggerating.  The wooden spoon is actually between my teeth.  My new years resolution is to blog at least once a week… twice if I’m lucky.  Hopefully you haven’t given up on me completely.  Here… this might help… a little picture of the cutest little time sucker you ever did see…

So as you can see, he is pretty darn distracting.  I love him… He is so precious and perfect.  A complete gift from God.  Sure my butt is bigger and I now know the true definition of stretch marks but I wouldn’t give him back for anything.  (Unless you catch me at 3 a.m. and I’m making the millionth bottle for the night and I’ve stubbed my toe on the dresser because I just tripped over the pacifier I was looking for at 1 a.m.  Then I might be a bit more inclined to discuss the options….)  I kid, I kid…I love my baby boy and I’m happy to be back in the blogging community again! 

More recipes, pics of my new house, Christmas ideas, and crafts are coming your way… Welcome back to The Bluebird’s Nest!

Love,

Meagan

 

 

 

Hello and welcome back to The Bluebird’s Nest.  Today I’ve got a bee in my bonnet!  Yes, I am sure that my fury is partially hormonally induced however, the other part is purely righteous indignation.  I have never been the kind of lady who goes around shrieking about the glass ceiling and I have never hosted a bra burning party in the name of women’s liberation, BUT… I am livid about what I keep hearing out of the mouths of men today regarding women.

The verbage of choice to describe a woman is “bitch”.  Example:  “Yeah some bitch was acting crazy at this party over the weekend”  or “Yeah that bitch was so effin’ hot”.  Does this make you as upset as it does me?  Whether you are a man or a woman, I certainly hope it does.  Ladies, this is not how God sees you.  God sees you as precious… God sees you with all the love in His heart and all the wonder with which He created you. 

Where is the respect?  Where is the chivalry?  Where is even a shred of appreciation or admiration toward a lady?  As we know, women have had to fight and struggle to gain our rights, respect, and pay checks.  But why should we have to fight to gain our God-given title of “woman”?  When did it become ok for us to be referred to as female dogs?  I don’t care if the woman being referred to is a prostitute.  She is still a woman.  A woman who is probably in the position she is, because a man told her over and over again she is nothing more than a worthless “b**ch.  (I really don’t like to type the word over and over)

Women are beautiful.  Women are everything that is soft and gentle in this world.  We round off those rough edges and we cushion the falls of those that we love and protect.  We are strong, we are brave, we are talented, we are kind and good and so so so much more than what some men would reduce us to.  Men who have never truly loved a woman… men who have never truly loved themselves. 

If the child growing inside of me turns out to be a boy, I will make sure he knows how to treat a lady whether or not I am watching or listening.  These men must not have been taught how to be real men.  They must not be able to look at their mothers, wives, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, or daughters the way every woman deserves to be looked at.  They must not know what it means to hold someones heart so very high.  I pity these men…even more than they make me angry, they make me sad.

I am so grateful for my husband David.  I know that he loves me because he respects me.  He shows me everyday how it feels to be cherished, esteemed, and valuable. 

We are women.  We are God’s most beautiful creation.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Love,

Meagan

Hello and welcome back to The Bluebird’s Nest!  I am still not up to cooking but I thought I would break my blogging silence to say a few words about mothers in honor of Mothers Day.  As I prepare to become a mother myself in the coming months, I can’t help but feel a wide range of emotions.  Some of this is hormonally induced, but the other part is just being human I think.  I ask myself the following questions on repeat all day, everyday:

– Why did I do this?  I can’t do this!

– I can do this… Right?

– Will I screw up my child’s life?

– Will my child love me?  What if we don’t click?

– Will I love my child?

– Of course I’ll love my child… Right?

– How will I handle those teenage years?

– How will I balance being a wife, being a mom, and being  myself?

Needless to say, there’s a lot of worryin’ goin on in this little head of mine!  In times like these, I realize that the only reference I really have is my own mother.  I think to myself that she did it and she made it through alright, so I must be able to do it too.  When I wonder if I’ll screw up my child’s life, I remember the times my mom made some mistakes and I evaluate my level of “screwed up-ness”.  I think I’m fine.  I’m a little weird but that’s not all my moms fault!  The times that she maybe could have done things differently make me see her as a human being.  Someone who made a mistake and learned from it.  Someone not too proud to say they’re sorry to their child.  It makes me realize that everyone says or does the wrong thing sometimes.  It makes me willing to hand out a little more grace to others… to myself.

When I wonder if I’ll be able to love my child, I remember her saying that when she held me she never felt love like that.  She said that she didn’t think her heart would be big enough to hold it all in.  She has never skimped on verbalizing her love to me.  She has never skimped on demonstrating it either.  It makes me think that I could love like that.  I feel the bond between us and it makes me believe I can make one with my baby.  It gives me a glimpse into the love that God must have for all of us.  They say you understand the heart of God more when you have a child because the love you feel for your baby, strong as it may be, is only a fraction of the love He has for us.

Though my teen years were pretty darn difficult, (examples include: bad boys, blatant disregard for the rules about no mascara or eyeliner, detention for rolling up my school uniform skirt, lying, crying, sneaking around, writing swear words in my diary like I even knew how to use them, etc. etc.)  she managed to get me (and herself) through them pretty much unscathed.  I was grounded sometimes or forbidden to watch 90210 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but I never hated her for too long.  I loved her too much for that.  Maybe, just maybe… my child will feel that way too. 

My mother knows who she is.  She has a strong faith in God, loves her family, and cannot tolerate a bad cup of coffee.  She sings harmony with songs on the radio, she falls asleep on the couch around 9 p.m. every night even though she says she’s just resting her eyes, and she makes really good vegetable soup.  She collects tea cups, loves raspberries, and she is loved by everyone who meets her.  She is the kind of mother some children wish they could have, a saint among wives, a champion for a daughter, and a friend you can believe in.  I hope that someday the child I carry can say at least some of these things about me…

Happy Mothers Day to my mother Debbie Hall and to all you wonderful mothers out there!  God Bless!

Love,

Meagan

Oh Baby!

Hey everyone!  I am just real sorry I haven’t been posting any recipes on here!  The thing is… I can’t do any cooking right now.  Why?  Because the smell of most foods, good or bad, make me take off running to the bathroom.  Why?  Because I’m having a baby!  Yep.  It’s true and I have the growing waist line to prove it.  (insert me crying…)  Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy to be carrying our first child.  It’s just been a little difficult so far. 

It’s not just the morning sickness (which by the way, is NOT just for mornings anymore!  introducing the new and not so improved “all day sickness” – insert me crying again).  I also suffer from a blood clotting condition called “Protein C Deficiency”.  This means that my blood clots too much.  Not good.  Especially when I’m prego.  SO… I have to be on blood thinners.  I can’t take pills because they would go to the baby and cause birth defects.  Since I can’t take pills, I must have injections.  My fireman has to give me a shot everyday for my entire pregnancy and then for 3 months after it.  365 days of 365 shots!  Yes!  They hurt and the blood thinner burns.  I can feel it every time.  Since my blood is now thinner, I bruise even more easily.  I am covered in purple and green bruises.  I have stopped undressing or dressing anywhere near a mirror because its so yucky to see my body like this.  The blood thinners make me extremely tired and that fatigue coupled with the pregnancy fatigue has been pretty overwhelming.

I also found out that I have whats called a “retroverted uterus” which means that my uterus is backwards in my body.  A normal one, would tip toward a womans tummy area .  Welp!  My uterus has dared to be different!  Its tips completely backwards toward my spine.  It won’t hurt the baby (thank God) and as the baby grows, it will get into the right spot.  Only trouble is, once the baby is out it will go back to its normal position which has caused me MAJOR problems over the years.  Lots of pain… 

So all this to say, I’m so sorry I have been so absent lately.  I miss blogging about recipes and projects so much!  I  hear that this mean ole first trimester will soon give way to the glorious peace of the second trimester where I will feel much more normal again.  I can hardly wait.  In the meantime, I would so appreciate any prayer you might think to say for me and any positive thoughts you can muster up!  I am certain that as soon as I start craving delicious food again, I will be back on here sharing the love!  Thank you all for your support!

Love,

Meagan

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