Travel Tuesday {A Passport Series}...

Last October my whole immediate family took a little weekend trip to Saugatuck Michigan.  It is one of my favorite places to get away to.  We started going when my dad was working up there one summer restoring an old cabin for a client.

It is a fantastic area to sneak away to with a quaint downtown, art galleries, and tons of antique stores.  Not only is the downtown charming but so was the lodging.  We stayed at the wonderful Timber Bluff in Lily's Cottage.

Not only do you have your own private beach just across the street but each cottage is different, lovingly furnished with cozy beds, fireplaces, vintage table clothes, a fully stocked kitchens, and funky art.  It is the ultimate cottage getaway of my dreams.

But to stay in one of these lovely cottages you have to act fast.  They book almost a year ahead.  We know the owner, he was been one of my dad's clients for years.  Remember that cottage my dad restored?  He owns it too- here is what it looks like now...

You can stay there too it's called Helmer House. Check out the website- it has a photo gallery to give you the whole affect.  But here is my own little photo gallery of Timber Bluff- the following is the private deck and beach...

The beach is private and there are only 6 cabins total at Timber Bluff.  So it's very quiet and relaxing.  There is wood to build a bonfire and chairs to relax.  There are dunes and quiet a few stairs to climb down to get to the beach but you cannot beat the view.  Take your coffee down in the morning and enjoy listening to the sound of the waves of Lake Michigan.

I am telling you check out Saugatuck, Michigan.  There is something for everyone from an old fashion ice cream parlor and fudge factory to art galleries, hiking, and sailing.  It's beautiful in the spring, the summers are warm and the evenings are cool, and the fall colors are amazing!  You cannot go wrong.  It is ideal for family retreats or a romantic getaway with that someone you love.

Our family has many wonderful memories and we plan on making many more!


906 E. I'm never gonna leave this place...

* Warning- the following post is dangerously close to a pity party... proceed only if you are able to put up with extreme pregnancy hormones/emotions and either A) agree with me or B) KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

Three years ago me and Ryan made the big decision to move in together.  It was a fun and exciting time in life.  While most people pick out something together, Ryan already owned a home.  So we waited for his room mate to move to Oregon and then we made the big leap into co-habitation.  At the time I didn't really think much about the house...I was blinded by love.

The house was for lack of a better word {or words} a bachelor pad.  Gross stained carpet on the floors, dated 1970's kitchen with dark red paint on the walls, bathroom with a tub that was black.  The bedrooms are small with tiny closets and the windows are old and single pain.

This is a resale nightmare and I am living it.  For the past three years I have been working my fanny off to get it on the market and each year goes by and I seem to get further and further away from that goal.  Sure I have learned a lot along the way- like don't paint your trim and doors with flat paint {wish I had found Young House Love a little sooner} and my tool belt has grown considerably.  And yeah, yeah, yeah, I did a bathroom makeover all by myself while Ryan was out of town...but what do I really have to show for it???

I'll tell you what- a to-do list that is even longer today then it was 3 years ago.  I am going to be stuck in this 900 square foot twilight zone FOREVER!  I hear that doo dee doo doo music in my head right now and I am going crazy.

How will we be able to fit a baby in here?  How are we going to put it on the market and be able to show it when we have an infant?  Where are we going to put said infant?  Are they going to tear down the house that is falling apart next door?  Are they going to sell the empty lot next to us and try to put a house on it, even though it's not zoned for a house?!?!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!!?

Can you hear the voices too?

Don't even try to look at comparable houses in our neighborhood it will just depress you you more.  They are neat and clean.  Completely remodeled, with nicer showers and bigger kitchens.  Makes me wonder will I be at 906 East forever?  Will I ever get to put that glorious for sale sigh up in my yard?

Don't get me wrong.  This house has been a great house.  It felt like home the moment I moved in.  I have been the happiest of my adult life at 906.  I started this blog.  I planned a wedding.  We came home from our honeymoon to this house.  Me and my sister in law stayed here the night before her wedding, crafting into the wee hours of the morning.  So many special memories are here but it's time for someone else to make their memories here.

So here is the nitty gritty list of what needs to be done still.  You better read it and leave me lots of comments on how sorry you feel for me.  Cause I need your pity right now people- it's the only thing that is going to get me going again.  I need to know that you have been there too.  That it's going to be better.  That someday this house is gonna be for sale.  I need to hear it!

Here are some of the before pictures just so you can get a good visual of my poor, hard working, life for the past three years...

And while we have come a long way from these pictures we still have a lot to do...

:To Do:

scrap around edges of window frames to get extra paint off
paint underneath upper cabinets
order end cap for counter top on right side
install vent above stove
paint ceiling and lighting medallion
stage and clean for showing

Living Room
clean ceiling with magic eraser
have carpet installed
organize coat closet
paint floor vent
clean windows inside and out
stage and clean for showing

new light fixture
paint windows and scrape edges for clean lines
clean windows inside and out
paint floor vent
organize closet
stage and clean for showing
install new carpet

caulk around the tub
caulk around the edge of floor
paint the floor vent
new coat of black on vanity
stage and clean for showing

Spare Bedroom
install new carpet
paint trim and windows with semi gloss not flat
paint floor vent
paint chain to light white
organize closet
stage and clean for showing

Master Bedroom
install new carpet
paint trim and windows
paint ceiling
paint floor vent
organize closet
hide internet and cable wires better
stage and clean for showing

Make sure that all door surfaces are painted with semi gloss paint
finish painting the front steps and shutters
power wash siding
stain back porch
paint front door
paint entire basement {walls and floors}
clean basement out and stage for showing
have Restore come and pick up old furniture
re- gravel driveway 
work on curb appeal somehow

So what the heck have I been doing for three years?!?  Sometimes I think I have just been going in circles...So for the next 2 months I will be doing a weekly check in with new after pictures of progress we are making to keep us motivated and accountable.  


Weeks 12/13...

I watched a documentary called The Business of Being Born {produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein}  it changed my life...

Up until this point I thought midwives were a bunch of hippie hoopla {sorry but true}  I thought birth plan??? Who needs a birth plan- that's for girls who think they actually can control what happens during labor.  I had watched enough TLC's "A Baby Story" to know that was not the case. I would probably not be able to progress quick enough need some pitocin, thus need and epidural to deal with the intense contracts the pitocin produces, probably then the baby's heart rate would drop {it almost always does on this show} and I would be rushed in for a C- Section.

And I was ok with that?!?

I was under the same assumption that I think 99% of American woman are under.  My body is not capable of doing this- at least with out lots of major medical attention.  I was scared.  Very scared but I knew what would go down.  The doctors were in control and I was just gonna be there to do what they said needed to be done to get this baby out "safely".


What if my body is capable of doing this?  What if I can do this on my own with out any medication?  Not just because it is better for my baby but because it's better for myself?  Did you know that the United States has the second highest death rate for infants in the developed world?  Only Latvia {have you even heard of that country?} has a higher rate then the US.  We also have more neonatologists per person then Canada, the UK, and Australia and yet our death rate is still higher then those countries {says the annual State of the World's Mothers Report}.  What are we doing wrong in this country?

When I lived in Germany I got bronchitis- really bad bronchitis to the point where I had to sleep sitting up and was so weak from not sleeping that I couldn't function.  It took forever {ok like 2 weeks} and 2 or 3 trips to the doctor before this lady would give me some antibiotics.  I thought they were loony!  I wanted America with it's shiny, clean hospitals and Amoxicillian and I wanted it NOW!  Soon after my mom mailed me my own mini Walgreens and I was dealing Ibruprofen to all my closest friends {in Germany you pay like 10 euros for 8-10 tabs- I had a bottle of 500 that my mom got for $5}  Do you see a difference here?

What the doctor was waiting for was my body to fight the illness on it's own.  Our bodies are amazing things if we let them do what they need to do.  Most of the time when you have bronchitis you will have it every year for the rest of your life.  But somehow after 5 years this year I didn't get it.  Do you wanna know why?  Cause I didn't treat it with antibiotics every time I got it.  If it got really bad- then yes but if it was mild then I fought it out.

So what if I let my body do what it needs to do to labor?  Instead of numbing it up and not being in control of my legs let alone what is happening around me?  So now I am making a birth plan...this is not to say I am going to have a home birth or that I don't believe in modern medicine but I do have questions and concerns like...

Why are over 30% of births in America C-Sections?

Why are almost all women given pitocen to speed labor up instead of letting them progress naturally? Especially with the risks involved to mother and baby?

Why do most C-Sections take place around 4pm and 10pm?  This sounds to me like doctors who want to go home at the end of the day and who don't want to be there all night...

Why are we giving birth on our backs? This seems like the most uncomfortable position ever and doesn't make sense to me at all.

Why do I feel intimidated and guilty for questioning what my doctors tell me?

So I am gonna make me a birth plan and maybe it will not happen exactly how I want it to.  Maybe I will end up needing a C-Section but I am no longer going to believe that I can't do it.  I am going to be prepared and know what I want for me and my baby and if worse comes to worse I will know I did all in my power to do what I feel is best.  I think it is important to research and know what you are getting into.  To have facts to back up your questions and doubts.  We do this when buying cars and cameras- why not when we birth our babies?

I have worked for doctors for a long time.  I know that they aren't going to purposefully put you in danger but I also know that sometimes the decisions they make are more for their time and schedules as much as it is for the doing what is best for the patient.  They are human after all.

I will end it on this story.  A few weeks ago I was having some spotting.  It was very scary and it took the nurse almost 4 hours to call me back.  I came in for a sonogram and then met with the doctor.  The baby was fine we could see that for ourselves on the sono screen and hearing the heartbeat.  The doctor on the other hand came in and said this..."Sometimes women just bleed"...ok

That's when I should have know that things can be different.  That you can get quality care and if doctors in America are going to treat birth like a business and team up with the insurance companies against us.  That if natural childbirth is not exciting enough for them that I am not just going to go along with their urges for a C-Section.  That I am not going to be a part of that.  I am looking into the whole Midwife thing.  Call me a hippie if you must but if the tie-dyed shirt fits then I guess I'll wear it.

*Disclaimer-  If you have had a C-Section, Pitocen, or an Epidural please do not feel I am judging you.  How can I?  I have only started on this journey to discover the facts and the risks involved.  I have not walked in your shoes or been in the situations you have been in.  Sometimes these are necessary things.   am just saying that I am not going to accept them as the only way.  That we can all have the birth experience that we want and that fear doesn't have to be a part of it.



Lemons are good for...

Throwing down the garbage disposal in small pieces {Ryan just learned this trick recently and is completely in love- if my lemons go missing I know what happened to them} makes it not smell so funky...

Getting rid of on Design Star- sorry Cathy but you were a lemon!  Your design was commercial and boring and you couldn't get along with anyone.  Me and Ryan high fived when they announced they would not be producing your show.  It was like sending a lemon down the garbage disposal...

Putting in ice water.  I dunno if this is a pregnancy thing but nothing tastes quite as good as nice, tall glass of ice water with lemon wedges in it...  

Holding sugar-  I got this sweet little sugar jar {pictured above} from Anthropology after I found out the owl cookie jar I really, really wanted was $99!  For a stinkin' cookie jar {Ryan might get it for my push present...who needs diamonds when you can get an owl cookie jar???}...

Lemon Buddies!  I read about them here on a sweet  blog I am addicted to and now I cannot stop thinking about them.  I must make them.  Visit her blog and also make me some of these!  I am pregnant and demanding...

Are you in the mood for something lemoney yet???


Week 11

-Dear baby-  

Will you please behave in there? 
Instead of making me worry every couple of weeks that you are gonna be ok?
It's really scary every time and I feel like you enjoy getting a rise out of me already...
You are too young for that.

Just stay inside and bake until you are nice and big and ready for this crazy world.
Cause let me tell you- it's some cushy life you are living right now.
Taking all of my food and energy, sleeping and floating around without a care.

Me and daddy are getting pretty excited about you,
not that we weren't from the beginning but hearing your little heartbeat was pretty amazing
and made you seem a little more real.

Even the doctor said you were ornery when she had to look for 5 full minutes to get your heartbeat
cause you kept swimming away from her...
or because your mom had just eaten almost an entire bag of Cheetos before the appt. {and then lied to the doctor saying I just had a small snack}

I feel like you already have a little personality, which may seem silly but you do seem to have specific likes and dislikes that me and daddy laugh at.
We hope you like to laugh a lot too when you come out and meet us.

Just don't laugh for the first time while daddy is at work- that would make him really sad and I promised him he wouldn't miss much your first 2 months since you are coming right smack dab in the middle of his busy season.

Also I think dad is kind of tired of gnocchi, spaghetti, and Spaghetti O's {even though he won't admit it} so please try to like something new soon...or not since we know you are gonna do what you wanna do.
I think that's a little bit of your mom coming out in you : )

But like I said stay in there and cool it for a while. 
I can only miss so much work for your whims!
We love you already!!!



Aunt Susie's Chicken Enchiladas...

My Aunt Susie makes the best enchiladas ever.  After I ate them one night over at my cousins house my life was never the same.  Every year on our birthdays we got to decide what was for dinner and every year it was the same for me...enchiladas please!

Not only are these yummy but they are so easy to make.  They are perfect for a date night because they seem like you had to put a lot of love and time in them but really all you had to do is mix a few things together and throw them in the oven- leaving you plenty of time to get all purdyful for your man {or woman}.

Aunt Susie's Chicken Enchiladas


2 12.5 oz cans of chicken 
{I use Valley Fresh all natural but you can also cook chicken breast and use it}

1 package taco seasoning

24 oz container of sour cream

2 10 oz cans of enchilada sauce {red kind}

4.5 oz can of green chilies

package of 10 soft tortillas

1 bag of taco cheese {or any yellow/white cheese mixture}


*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

*Drain chicken of all liquids

*In large mixing bowl combine: chicken, sour cream, taco seasoning,  and cheese {yup the entire bag}

*Mix together until it is all incorporated together

*Grab tortillas and spread mixture down the middle, about 2 large, heaping spoonfuls

*Fold the tortilla and place folded side down {this recipe usually needs two pans}

*Pour enchilada sauce over the top

*For a little heat sprinkle green chilies over {I do not use the whole can that's a lot of heat}

*Bake for 25- 30 minutes until heated through

Be prepared to make these again soon because your family will love them!  Hope you have enjoyed foodie week over here at 906 E. Chic- I know I have- in fact I'm getting hungry right now just thinking about all this food.  Good thing I can blame it on the baby!


I never have buttermilk...

Do you ever wake up on a Saturday morning wanting to make delicious pancakes or waffles and then realize you are missing that one star ingredient- buttermilk?  I do all the time!! Buttermilk just makes them taste so much better but I never use all of it and I never have it on hand.  Total bummer...until  I learned this weekend that you can make your own buttermilk and it's so easy you could almost do it with your eyes shut {and there is no waste you only make what you need!}.

How to make your own buttermilk
{this recipe can easily be doubled}

*take a cup of milk and let it come to room temperature

*add a tablespoon of regular white vinegar

*let it sit for 10 minutes

*voila you have buttermilk use in your favorite pancake or waffle recipe {I made crepes with mine} and enjoy!


Sweet Basil and Blackberry Jam...

Now that the morning sickness has passed {hurray!} I have moved on to more important things like how much can I possibly eat in one weekend.  The answer?  Apparently everything within eyesight and if you watch Food Network as much as I do, that can be sorta dangerous.  Ryan is even dreaming of me eating if that gives you a visual of how often I have something to munch on in hand.

Friday night I was home alone and instead of being so tired I couldn't even think straight, I actually had energy and wanted to do something, anything besides sit on my throne {aka my chair in the living room with a twin bed that folds out that has been out since my little sister stayed the night last weekend- so pregnancy does have some perks!  You can have a pull out bed in your living room and guests won't say a thing about it!  In fact they act as if it is perfectly normal and I LOVE it.}

This jam was just the little project I needed.  Easy peasy and so delish {in the words of Rachel Ray}.  So if you too want to feel like domestic goddess and love to smear stuff on baguette as much as I do- make this jam!  It tastes like summer in a jar and it will make your house smell yummy.

Whatcha need to make it...

  • One 16-ounce bag frozen blackberries, thawed, juice reserved
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
How to make it...

*set the blackberries out in a bowl to thaw {remember you need the juice of the berry as well}

*combine the basil, sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth consistency {kind of like a runny pesto}

*once your berries have thawed place them in your pot and smash them down a little with a fork {I used my potato masher cause I like my jam to be more smooth then chunky- so it's really up to your preference}

*combine your runny basil mixture with the berries and bring to a boil

*turn heat down to low heat and simmer for 25- 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

*Take off heat and allow to cool for one hour

*Place in jar and enjoy for the next couple of days with: pork chops, baguette, on top of crepes or pancakes...or like Giada herself, by the spoonful all by it's glorious self

I am declaring it Foodie Week over here at 906 so look for more yumminess to come! And blogger was being a pain so please excuse some spacing issues and font variations, apparently my blog has a mind of it's own tonight and my hormones can't play nice right now so I just said whatever and posted that dang thing!


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