Hello! What a great weekend 🙂 This picture was taken out at Brittany’s parents house in the middle of no where, and well past the point of legal limit. It’s ok, we slept in a tent 😉 Haha.

So yeah, this past Saturday was Brian and Brittany’s bachelor/bachelorette party. Brittany’s parents happen to own a nice amount of land and have more than enough wood to burn. Justin organized all the groomsmen to to pitch for a keg of Yingling and that’s the winning recipe for a great night. We all pitched a tent and spent the night. I know it kind of goes against tradition to have the bride and groom celebrate the final party of freedom together, but they had a joined party because, let’s face it, they both enjoy a good kegger and those are cheaper than strippers.

Another exciting activity of the day was catching my first-ever fish! I had an excellent teacher, and am now a fly fishing master. Errr. Well, I am something, at any rate. haha. It really was a lot of fun though, I never thought I would be real into fishing, but I think Greeny (Professor fish catcher) lured me into loving it by having me fish in a very populated pond. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, only with fishing poles, and the fish lived. haha. I really liked it all though, and even braved holding a blue gill. Obviously I know exactly what I am doing. I wasn’t prepared for the little microscopic teeth in there, even though they don’t hurt. I dropped the poor guy a couple times before I got a good hold of it. All together I caught four fish before I was a bit too drunk to comfortably stand near a body of water and be sure I was not going to randomly fall into it. Or get pushed in. I hope to go on a real fishing expedition later on this summer when things die down a little bit. I just need to get a fishin’ license.

Fish, unfortunately, are not the only inhabitants of the pond. Justin and Greeny discovered a snake near the water that pretty much scared the crap out of me. (Fear of snakes > fear of spiders) but it really didn’t get close enough to pose much of a threat to me. Greeny was more of a threat to him, I think he was trying to behead it with a blunt stick (he claims he was trying to capture it, haha) But it was a heartwarming site, Justin and Greeny trying to vanquish the evil serpent with a smile on their faces 🙂

And, of course, the party wouldn’t be complete without my almost-sister-in-law, who came by with her husband and gave me the final invitation she made for my bridal shower. I swear I almost cried. I probably would have except the booze generally keeps me from crying. It was really beautiful, and it was obvious she put a lot of effort (on my behalf, of all things!) into it. It really just makes me that much more ecstatic that I’m going to get the sister I always wanted and never knew was waiting for me in just a few months. I don’t think I could have hand-picked a better family to marry into.

Seeing the shower invitation really made things even more real. Even through my fuzzy beer brain I was mentally hyperventilating. Not in a bad way. I can’t believe how well everything fell into place.

Marylin Monroe said this famous quote that you see all over the place, but rarely gets credit for it: “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when their right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

I think she was a brilliant woman, and agree with that phrase with my whole heart. I wouldn’t appreciate Justin as much if I wasn’t hurt in the past, and the relationships that I dreamed up in my head over past flames was never what was really going on in real life. Some good things really do fall apart, but if you keep your head up and trudge on through all the bullshit you’re going to find something that makes you look back and laugh at yourself for being broken up before. Hindsight is 20/20, but presently my eyes are finally open to the present(s) in front of me.

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We keep things pretty simple around here, and birthdays are no exception!
Saturday Justin, Brian, Brittany, and I went out to celebrate Brian’s birthday at a local dive bar (which are always the best, hands down) and not only was everything cheap anyway, but we stumbled into an Augustiener (sp?) beer special, 5$ for a pitcher of beer. Needless to say we were in alcohol heaven. And aren’t they just adorable? haha. Justin and Brian were very very excited about their pitchers. their excitement was contagious and we all had a blast. Brittany tried her first ever fried pickle, and I think we’re going to have an artery-bashing day and try our hand at our own fried pickles (and mushrooms, YUM!) Justin and I don’t get enough use out of our fryer in the winter for obvious reasons. Anyway, we went out to see Brittany’s cousin sing in her band, but to be honest, I was already starting to sink under the table. I had my first shot of Three Wisemen (which is jose cuervo, johnny walker, and jim beam, OUCH!) I really don’t recommend it, it was pretty gross and very, very harsh. I like shots, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like shots that make me feel like I’m proving manhood or something. Give me Georgia Peaches or Southern blue any day, those are strong and taste good.
Here’s our DD for the night, the lovely Brittany. She DD’d because I refuse to drive her when she’s drunk. Biggest back seat driver EVER. Well, I’ll drive her again, as long as we’re not in the car longer than ten minutes 😉 haha. But seriously. BAD GIRL! 🙂
Judging from the angle I apparently cannot aim a camera to save my life. To be fair this was after Justin and Brian kept pouring more beer into my pitcher, and after a shot or two of manhood-proving liquor. that has to count for something, right? Yeah…I’m a lush.
I really do love a good night out. Lately with work it’s like we all really, really, really need it. It’s been awful lately. Busy as hell, and it’s hard to tell if we have more callers or if we’re just understaffed. I have to say it’s probably both. The company does really well, we install hundreds of new people every week, but we can’t hire fast enough to keep up with all the new callers. I guess I really cannot complain. The economy is almost in the toilet, and yet our job is so secure here that we are currently running mandatory overtime. As much as we complain about it, and complain about our jobs and yadda yadda, I do know deep down that we really are lucky, and should count our blessings rather than complain about them. I try to keep that in mind, although it’s definitely a trial.

Just another manic Monday.  Ugh.  So freaking busy today.
Anyway, I have another delicious recipe that I promised I would share. This went over well with Justin. Brian, and Brittany. I made this shortly after Justin and I got together and I’m pretty sure this is one of the reason’s he proposed. That and my lasagna, but that’s another story all together.
This recipe is for cashew-encrusted pork, otherwise known as bound-to-get-lucky-and-proposed-to pork. It’s based off of this recipe from Kraftfoods.com, although like most things I cook, I pretty much do whatever the hell I want. First you have your pork tenderloin, although if you are starving to death and want a quick meal I would not suggest tenderloin- it takes nearly two hours to cook, and we have a hardcore hot-as-hell oven. Go with pork chops, they work very well too. If you do go for the tenderloin, stab the little bugger to death and cut it in half, like you see here. Trust me, better to wait two hours than four. the first variation I make from the original recipe from Kraft is that I don’t use pecans, I use cashews. Honestly the first time I made it I just picked up cashews by mistake, but I think it would taste better anyway, we both love cashews, and I’m really not a fan of pecans. Take them or leave them. To crunch them up into itty-bitty pieces I put some in between two pieces of wax paper and use a jar (any glass jar) to beat the crap out of them. This part would probably be best if we had a meat mallet, but that will go on our registry. haha. I also usually use a whole can, or as much of the can as I get after Justin attacks it. next is the ingredients! da da dum. It also leads into the super-messy part. You need: dried tarragon leaves, honey, minced garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil (or any oil, whatever). I also add Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, and sage. I’m kind of a seasoning freak. Add as much or as little as you like. I really like experimenting with the sweet/salty combo. I also think the honey/tarragon mix is pure genius. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for that, but what can you do. This is usually my favorite part. Although the mixture doesn’t taste very good uncooked it smells amazing. I just use the smell test until I get it right. heh.
After you do get it right, cover the pork pieces in the mixture and rub it in good. Then roll the pork with the mixture on it in the cashew pieces untill you have a nice even coating. Sprinkle the remaining cashews on top. I find that any smallish glass dish works best for this recipe. Add peaches and a couple chopped onions around the pork. I know, it sounds weird, but it is so amazing I can’t even tell you. Cover dish with foil and cook until pork is cooked through. Like I said, the pork can take forever and a day to cook, but it’s so worth it. After your toiling you should end up with something like this. I have to say, it’s not as colorful as I would like it, but maybe I can amend it a little to add some color…red strawberries? and something green…maybe green onions, I’m not sure. This is seriously one of our favorite recipes. I asked Justin the other day what he liked best out of everything I cooked. The first thing he said was the ham I posted about a month ago….but let’s face it, you don’t have to be a culinary genius to cook a ham. Seriously, unless you’re butchering the pig yourself there is absolutely no skill needed to unwrap ham, put in pan, and turn on oven. Not exactly impressive. So then I asked him what his next favorite thing was, and he said the lasagna/this recipe. Sooooo, I guess we have a winner here, because I’ve cooked a lot.
This weekend is the big weekend. Justin’s family (parents, brother, sis-in-law) and my family (parents, brother) are….meeting! haha. We figured it’s probably about time considering we’re all going to be family here in 284 days! EEP! I’m excited/nervous though. I’m sure everything will be fine, but damned if I’m not having a glass (or 5) of wine before the actual event. So Friday We’re hitting up the local (amazing) winery and will probably have a good old time with my parents Friday night. I’m sure I’ll obsess over this some more in the next few days, but it will be great to finally have everyone meet.

now these are a long time coming, considering we got engaged in July, but rather late than never. haha. We actually had our friends Brittany and Brian take them for us, Brittany has an amazing camera and I can photoshop and interesting contrast, like the B&W and faded background. Everything worked out perfectly 🙂
It was, however, a pretty crappy day out, but luckily we got our pictures taken before the rain came down. These are just the smaller, blog-sized versions of the pictures that I crop especially for this blog, if you want to see the bigger ones (and are a friend/have a myspace) You can click here. We had fun taking them. I really wanted a swing shot, but a girl with blue hair was swinging away the entire time we were there. Little odd. That’s Butler for you, though. at least we didn’t come across anyone shooting up under the little bridge we did pictures on. Haha. Basically my plan for these are to make some wallet copies for family in Christmas cards. I’ll probably blow one of them up for our home to frame and one for my parents and one for his. I’m not sure which one I like the most. I’m kind of leaning towards this first one, but let me know what you think 🙂 This second one I just had fun photoshopping the blurry background. It also gives us a glow-y effect. I kind of like it, but I don’t think it’s my favorite. My profile always looks a little weird :/ haha.
Speaking of profiles. I went out yesterday with Lori and Tara to try on more dresses. I am officially down to two that I love. The one from last time and another one…ack. I just don’t know. That’s the dress update for now. they are both just amazing looking, I really don’t know which one to go with. Next time we go I’m making a decision! That’s pretty crazy…my wedding gown. I do need to get on that fairly soon, it will take 18 weeks to get it in. That’s a long time, but they need to make my dress especially for me because I’m so tall…boo. At least I found a man who is taller 😉 My hair is doing something funny is this next picture. I might edit that a little more because I love the pose. It’s so romantic 🙂 I really like taking pictures. I can’t wait for the wedding when half of our time will be devoted to pictures. haha.
We also tried to find some bridesmaid dresses yesterday. That kind of failed. haha. It’s really interesting to see how some stuff just can’t be worn by everyone. These was one dress I loved, but half my friends would probably kill me if I made them wear it. I don’t want them to be uncomfortable, but it’s going to be hard to find something that works for everyone. Another cute one. I really like to have the excuse to be self absorbed, that’s kind of bad, isn’t it?
I like to reflect on how far we’ve come every once in awhile, I’m sure everyone does at some point. I can’t help but just smile when I remember how things started out. You have that new relationship fire and uncertainty that keeps you awake at night and keeps to wanting more. Eventually that fire goes out and here is where you figure out if it’s going to last: If he fire does out and all you have is smoke, then that’s it. The relationship started with passion and ended with a burnt fuse and that’s it. But if the fire goes out and you have hot coals, that’s a relationship that starts in passion and keeps burning hotter than the flames. You have the base for something lasting, those are the coals. They will continue to burn, and even flare up for those passionate moments again. I don’t think you can have a relationship without the coals. This is probably my second favorite picture, I really love how black and white looks (although I have it in regular color too! haha) But basically I’m sending these out in Christmas cards (the first ones from Justin and I as an almosy-married couple! haha) I can’t believe next Christmas we’ll be married. Will it be different? I really kind of doubt it. We live together now, we know each others quirks, what annoys us, what we love about each other. We were living together for about 8 months before he proposed, so I guess he was still pretty found of me at that point. This is just a cute picture, probably one I’ll just keep for casually around the house or something. I just don’t know which ones to actually give people.  I think it’s going to be a tie between 1, 3, and 5.  And I think I’m going to give our parents all three.  haha.  I’d like to find one of those cute black frames that hold three medium sized pictures to do something with those three, since they are my favorite.  Number two I just might keep by my bed. haha.  I’m not a narcissist at allllll. I did agree with Justin that wedding stuff needs to take a back burner to Christmas this and next month, but seriously, once Christmas is over, I’m going to be so obsessed it won’t even be remotely funny 🙂 heh. At least I have an amazing future sister-in-law who may or may not be more obsessed than myself, I love her 🙂
Have a great Sunday, time to do my domestic duty and cook a delicious dinner for my future husband 😉 Tomorrow will probably be a showcase of a couple things I’ve been cooking up lately.

We had the most gorgeous autumn day yesterday…and today too, but today I am stuck unside and cannot enjoy it.
Yesterday Justin, Brian, Brittany and I all piled into Brittany’s jeep and headed up to the mountains for the day. The goal was to take some pictures (as you can see!) and chase some elk. We saw a few, but not too many. It appeared we were not the only ones with these 600 pound beasts on the brain, there were actually many people up there enjoying the beautiful day and sightseeing. this particular picture was taken in Benezette, which is actually only about half an hour from Justin’s camp. Brian and Brit introduced us to the cutest little country store. Justin and I bought a shot glass (we collect those..up to 20 now, haha) and I bought a couple things for my parents for Christmas. It was a very cool old-fashioned type shop with freaking amazing smelling candles. I’m hoping to get to go back before Christmas to snag a couple more of those…you would even have to burn them, just let them hang out in the living room, haha.
This second picture was actually taken right outside that little shop. Another gorgeous view given to us by the fall season. Most of the year I hate fall, I hate the cold and I hate seeing summer go…and then I see autumn myself again and forget why I dislike it so much. It seriously is absolutely gorgeous. Spring is happy because it’s almost summer, but it’s slow to progress and shake the last of the frost of winter, especially around here. With autumn it’s like one day it’s summer, and the next the trees are exploding with gold, red, orange, yellow and even holding onto some green to bring it all together. Natures first green is gold, you know. Soon that little stream there will be completely frozen over, as it’s so shallow, but right now it’s in this beautiful place that I’m proud to say you don’t get to see everywhere. Pennsylvania is truly an amazing place, I don’t think you can really get a true appreciation for all the seasons by living somewhere where it is warm all the time (or cold for that matter!) not that I wouldn’t want to live somewhere where I never was completely freezing, but I do love to see the leaves turn. Everyone should take it in every once in awhile, it’s a beautiful sight.
meet Brian and Brittany. haha. I don’t think I’ve had them on here before besides talking about them 😉 haha. they are our “couple” friends and heading down the isle towards marital bliss (or something like that) in May. Actually, on our trip yesterday, we visited the place Brian popped the question, and since I got proposed to up at Justin’s camp, Brittany got proposed around the same area, we all have just another thing to love about being up there 🙂 I guess our men just know what we want, and how to make getting proposed to one of the most breathtaking things to ever happen to us 😀 haha.
So Benezette and the surrounding area, basically on the other side of the mountain from Justin’s camp, is called “elk country” apparently the elk in this area were wiped out by over hunting a long time ago, and recently there have been some major efforts to reintroduce them to PA from out west. They really do have these elk spoiled. There’s about 600 I believe Brian said in the heard and there are whole fields of different plant life plated just for them to feed on. Even private land owners will place some extra goodies for the elk. It’s a really great sight. there’s Justin and I hanging out a viewing window, still continuing our search for elk. This viewing area isn’t actually fenced off or anything. It’s basically a set of stairs leading up to a wall about 7 feet high with some squares cut in the wood for windows. It’s really simple, but also very cool. They also allow a certain amount of elk to be hunted per year, but usually only 5-10, if you get one at all. You’re also only allowed to hunt the bulls, as we all know women are more important and you need more of them for baby making 😉 haha, but seriously. It’s really expensive to even get a license, and if you get one that’s it for you for something like ten years. It’s pretty hardcore, but that’s what killed all the elk off in this area in the first place, people wen to town hunting them and didn’t think of the consequences.
It’s kind of crazy, all the checks and balances in nature. Take Justin’s area for example. That side of the mountain (I’m sure the whole mountain as well) has a bit of a wolf problem. There are too many and it’s annihilating the deer population…so they bring in a mountain lion. I’m not so sure that’s the best idea they could have possibly come up with, but now we need to watch out for wolves and a lonely mountain lion. I-yi-yi.
Here we are at another lookout. We didn’t have any luck here either. The only place we ended up seeing some elk ended up being on private property off of a field where they have food growing for the elk. it was a male and then three females around him. This is the time their mating season is about to cool down, so I am going to assume he is pretty pleased with himself, haha.
After we were done sightseeing and whatnot, we decided to take a little trip to the other side of the mountain to Justin’s camp to show Brian and Brittany around. It’s weird, as soon as we got there I felt like I didn’t want to leave! I really love it there, and I am starting to grow very fond of this time of year. We’re going to see about maybe coming up next weekend for one more sleepover and fire before it just becomes too unbearably cold. It’s just so amazing there, I never want to leave whenever we go. Lori and John lived up there the year after they got married. As much as I love it there, I probably would not want to live there indefinitely. It’s a place you go to escape your day to day life…where would you go if that was your day to day life? I have to say though, very few places have scenes as breathtaking as this. It’s the natural beauty I hope will be around for my kids to enjoy. I support all the effort that goes into conserving the land up there. So I can take pictures like this, and so my kids will be able to as well. I take a different picture here at this same spot almost every time we go up, and this is by far my most favorite picture of it. It’s all just too amazing to put into words. It’s a good thing a picture is worth at least a thousand of them 🙂
Anyway. My day is, thankfully, almost coming to an end. Another two hours and I will be free. Then I’ll go home an relax like it’s my job for the remainder of the weekend…or I’ll drive out to New Castle and watch Justin work on his car. haha. I might try talking him into going out for wings, but our couch at home is sounding very, very inviting right now. I think it might be a wine-and-candles kind of night. Fun filled Sunday, but I wouldn’t have it any other way ♥

-Laiko Bahrs

Justin and I made home made pizza last night! I have to say, Mr. Bahrs is right. You can improvise on just about any level when it comes to cooking, and sometimes you get something surprisingly amazing, and sometimes you mess up big time, but you never end up with something completely off the mark of what you were aiming for (usually) Baking is a whole other ball game. I am the queen of chocolate chip cookies, however it took a million different, ahem, experiments to get them the right way. Most of the time I ended up with a slightly edible mess, but I got it right eventually. I haven’t ventured too far into the world of baking, but I generally fail miserably. I can’t help thinking to myself ohh, more milk will make is softer….more yeast will make it rise quicker, I need more flour, it’s not going to bake right….. etc. I should learn to follow directions, but it’s just not in my genes. My dad always said I cook like his father, throw everything in that sounds good to me. haha I am not a baker, simply because I hate following a recipe when cooking, but there is a difference between baking and cooking. Thank God. We made homemade crust last night. I found a great recipe for beer crust, you can get the recipe here. We used AmberBock beer, in case you were wondering. We thought a dark beer would give it more of that beer type kick, oh, and Justin really likes it. I’m not much of a dark beer person, but it wasn’t bad at all. It actually gives the dough a sweeter taste to it and really brings out the yeasty flavor. We also experimented with bread sticks, and used this recipe. For the bread sticks we melted butter and mixed in a good amount of garlic powder and parsley. It was soooo good. I might brave bread again to make those…or just buy the pilsbury dough packs 😉 I have to state this again, I am so not a baker. I love cooking with Justin (and isn’t he cute with the flour all over the place?) and making dough was kind of fun….but I’m not sure how much I like the extra effort. I was so afraid of adding too much of this or that, but still be able to manage the dough. I like being able to take liberties with my cooking, and that’s just not something I can do with baking. Bread stuff is really testy too, you have to wait for it to rise and all that BS, I am also not an incredibly patient person, so baking is pretty much out for me. As you can see form the next picture, Justin is much better at beating it into submission than I am. You just can’t ask for anything more than a man who can cook! 😉 He’s definitely my other half. He and I have more in common than any other person I have ever met. As much as I love to cook and control the kitchen, there’s just something about cooking with someone and working together that makes for a wonderful night. (Not to mention inexpensive!) We even make a good team, although we do get slightly territorial. (Me: maybe add some onion powder to the sauce? Justin: No! Don’t ruin the sauce! My sauce! Mine Mine Mine!!!) That may or may not be exaggerated =) One of my favorite saying goes Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. – Harriet Van Horne
Well, we do both very well. Actually, when we were first together, he took me up to the camp (as he was living at home at the time and I lived in a college dorm) and cooked me Chinese! He worked so hard to cook me a great dinner, he totally had won me over by then.

Next week is going to bring a huge change for us. Justin’s new work schedule is going to be 9-5:30, while mine is staying 3:30-12. We’re basically looking at never seeing each other during the week, except for that 2 hour overlap at work. He’ll be asleep by the time I get home. One plus to this is that we will have Friday night off work, we’re both off Saturday, and I only work until 4 on Sunday. So basically we have a long weekend of nights we can catch up on, but we’re still looking at major change from Monday-Thursday. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. We (I) did come up with a new deal. Every week we take turns coming up with something new to do. Whether it’s cooking something new, like the delicious looking dish on the right there, or, like next week, we’re going to learn to brew beer! I just feel like we need to shake things up a little. Needing a change type of thing. Since we still have a couple months left on our apartment lease we can’t jump right into buying a house, so we’re saving and whatnot. Just need to keep ourselves occupied in the meantime. I was actually a little surprised how many things there actually are to do around here. Granted you have to be 21 for most of the things I found, so that wouldn’t have done me any good this time last year…but I’m 21 now so yay for me 😉 So yes. Next Saturday Brian, Brittany, Justin and I are going to an antique shop (which I’m sure Brian and Jut are thrilllled about) and then going to a beer brewing class. How awesome is that? Hopefully the guys won’t hate us too bad for dragging them to an antique store if they get to make their own beer later. haha. Tricky girls. Another thing I found to do around here is glass blowing. Glass blowing! They even offer classes on it! It’s not overly expensive either.  I guess it just goes to show you have to open your eyes a little to see what’s out there.