So, Bree had this nifty little thing going on in her blog called “Things I Love Thursday”. Well, it’s not Thursday, but I don’t want to wait, so here are my 5 things I love, part I.

Justin and I1. Justin! There is no one in this entire world who knows me better, who has seen me at my best and worst, and who could support me in every way the way Justin can. I still look at him and can’t believe how far we’ve come in the last three years, and I really don’t see how I got so lucky. I must have been a saint in a past life. He is my miracle and I cannot wait to call him my husband…in exactly two months from tomorrow!

Bride's!2. Wedding planning! I’ll admit, it can be a major pain the the ass. The guest list more than doubled from what we had originally planned, the industry loves to nickel and dime you, and it feels like no matter how much you can manage to accomplish in a day there’s a bazillion other things than need to get done just as urgently. But after all that you have the excitement of planning the biggest party of your lives for your closest friends and family, you get to do some “research” at the local winery to decide what kinds you want to serve said friends and family, you get to make a kickass wish list in the form of a registry, you get a pretty dress, a great vacation, and after all is said and done, you get to marry your best friend in the whole world. I’ll take the stress in exchange for all that…and the sparkly rings 🙂

Sushi 13. SUSHI! Omg, I love sushi. I suppose technically what I make for myself are called “California Rolls” but that works too, since I’m a California girl, Born there. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I could live off of sushi, and I’m seriously considering going on an all sushi and fruit diet until the wedding, it’s so good for you! All the delicious veggies wrapped in rice with toasted seaweed…oh man. I think I’ve made them about 5 times since I posted my how-to, and I’m still not sick of the stuff. I need to hit my grocery store tonight and buy more seaweed and avocado though. But yeah, love my sushi.

Allegheny River4. The mountains, especially the mountains in summertime. This picture was taken in early spring, which is amazing as well. The mountains, aside from being amazingly gorgeous, just hold a lot of crazy/wonderful/surreal memories. From first meeting my soon-to-be brother and sister in law, to trips where I couldn’t call Justin mine yet, riding through the woods and trails on our quads, all leading up to him proposing in a downpour on the most romantic and wonderful day of my life (for another two months or so!)

betsy's 165. Our wedding venue! I can’t even begin to describe how in love I am with this place! When we decided to move our wedding date up we were so nervous that we would have to sacrifice some things that we really wanted as part of our wedding, such as it being outdoors, able to have the ceremony and reception in the same place, not outrageously expensive, allow us to bring our own alcohol in, etc. This place completely fell into our laps after some extensive googling. Not only that, but for some reason that can only be explained by fate, we got the very last day that they had available! Seriously, I cannot wait for that day to come!

Well, there you have it, five things that I love! I’ll add to the list some other day, haha. Now it’s time to compile my grocery, wahoo 🙂

Oh, my Monday started off badly!
You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed in between sleep and being awake where you contemplate the absolute necessity of getting out of the big warm bed? Uh huh. I was so close to just putting geology on the back burner and rolling over into sweet, sweet sleep.

But I didn’t. I was a good girl and got out of bed, drove the half an hour to school, and sat down in class ready to take furious notes.

Then class got canceled.

Two years ago I would have been very happy about this, but I had another 3 hours until my next class and my big warm bed was half an hour away and not as warm anymore. That really put me in a mood.

But the day got better. I don’t have to do observation tomorrow, which I was really starting to sweat about because the chores are piling up. I need to do some grocery shopping badly tomorrow because I haven’t mastered shopping bi-weekly, so we usually run out of food at this point. It doesn’t help that Justin thought it would be a great idea to empty our fridge and take all the food I painstakingly planned out for these two weeks up to the camp last weekend. It threw my whole system out of whack! I also need to hit the financial aid office for the first time in my four years of schooling and see how the heck I’m paying for these next couple semesters. I’m so close to the finish line of school I can almost taste it. I need to do some major cleaning and revamping of the kitchen. I’m not a neat person and even I’m starting to twitch, Justin must be dying.
speak of the camp, we did have our first nice-weather trip of the year up this past weekend for Justin’s 26th birthday. Or 24th, it depends who you ask 😉 the weather really did cooperate, and hung at about 50 degrees the whole weekend. For us who have been living under 10 feet of snow these past few months, 50 degrees is practically a heatwave.

Anyway. I take this same picture every. single. time. I go up there. Honestly, I think it’s one of the most breathtaking views anywhere. I’m especially happy with how well my camera caught it, as it is not quite the fancy camera I would like (that one happens to be on our Target wedding registry, hinthint 😉 But yeah, gorgeous view of the Allegheny river about a minute from Justin’s camp. You really can’t beat a view like that. We went tubing down that river about three or four years ago (wow, has it been that long??) and it was a great expierience that I’d really love do do again. I’m not sure why I make it a point to take the same picture every time we’re up there, but it really isn’t. the river and the scene changes dramatically with the seasons, and this one might actually be my favorite, mostly due to the blue and purple color my trusty little camera caught. Love!
My love, and me cheesing biiig time 🙂 We were out by the fire on Saturday night (Justin’s birthday!) Which besides Justin haveing a little close contact with a little bit of pavement, was an awesome day. Slept in, lazed around, and then went out to the best BBQ place in the entire world…or at least western Pennsylvania. Seriously, pulled pork to freaking die for, and I’m not a huge BBQ fan. They also have amazing smoked meats and cheeses, so everyone stocked up for the rest of the weekend. That’s how I like my men, low key and laid back. He can be made happy with a case of Sam Adams and a BBQ birthday lunch. Well, Justin got a shiny new helmet for his shiny new (new last year anyway) dirt bike. But that’s the way we like it, just…simple. We like to throw some curves every once in awhile to keep things interesting (he doesn’t know it yet, but we’re going to go see Rent, methinks) heh. But you get the idea. There’s a lot of give and take and a lot of relaxed moments in our relationship. We are not high maintenance people…unless it comes to cooking for me and cleaning for him. ha.
Last picture I took on the trip, and fittingly I took it as we were descending down the mountain. I don’t know if it’s because we only get to visit maybe once a month once it starts getting nice out, or that we just don’t live there 24/7, but the mountains just look so much more beautiful than anything around here does. I really can’t explain it, but I always think it. There is a lot of country side to the area we live, but absolutely nothing compares. I might be biased. The camp and the mountains is where Justin and I just clicked. It’s where he proposed to me, and although it holds some random bad memories that do not involve one another, there’s a history that just has to be respected, and the future that we’re building now. Not to mention our own children one day building memories. I hope one day they’re able to take pictures like this and be able to float down the Allegheny. I also want to see the day where Justin and I can totally bust them for underage drinking up there, I’m really looking forward to that. I’m a simple girl 🙂

Except for one little wedding detail I left out…
A closeup of the bridesmaid flowers! The picture I posted yesterday really didn’t do them much justice, huh? I’ll admit, I’m not real sure what the little bitty white flowers are, but they really give it a put together look. I was originally just going to go with half a dozen big calla lilies for the bridesmaids, but then I thought it might look a little weird, they’re all a little on the small and vertically challenged side (Love you guys!! haha) so maybe carrying huge flowers might just over power them and the dresses, and I’d rather my wonderful friends be the focus of the pictures and not the flowers. I’m pleasantly surprised how easy the flowers were to pick out and arrange. I basically started with the calla lilies and walked up and down the white section of the floral wall picking out flowers and comparing them with the lilies, putting them back, and repeating until I found what fit together best. Yet another reason silk is so much better than real. I think I might even hit hit them with essential oil to make them smell better. I was thinking of setting up our spare bedroom with a couple oil burners and letting the flowers sit in there for a couple hours the day before the wedding and give them a more floral scent…no one will be the wiser! haha.

Anyway, I said back to cooking, and I meant it…for the most part. Yesterday I made stuffed pork chops, again just throwing ingredients together and hoping for the best..
First, I took just general thin sliced pork chops. Notice my technique with the butt of the knife? I realized yesterday we are desperately in need of a meat mallet…will be going on the registry. We’ve been living there with the same kitchen appliances for a year and this has been the first time I ever needed one…go figure! haha Anyway. I made the pork chop slices as thin as possible to aim for a quicker cooking time and much easier handling, you’ll see why here in a minute. Pork is a wonderful thing to cook with. It’s not as tough as beef and it’s not as touchy as chicken, if that makes any sense at all. Also, I make chicken all the time because I love it, but Justin’s pretty sick of it. haha. The second step (or you can make it first, whatever) is the stuffing. I don’t know about you, but I adore home made stuffing, but who has the time for it? Seriously? I get it on Thanksgiving, that’s about it. So I make instant. ha. I used Stouffers cornbread stuffing for this recipe because it’s my favorite, but I’m sure you can use just about anything and it will taste good. Or you can just stuff them with whatever is handle. Tomatoes? Sure. Olives? Celery and onion? The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to stuffing, you really don’t have to use bread or bread products. I chopped up a few celery sticks and a couple small onions to the stuffing mix just to give it a little more flavor, but if you don’t like the taste of onion or whatever no need to do it. I should have been born in Thailand or something, I love seasoning and intense flavor almost to the point of overpowering…poor Justin 😉 But I behave myself when I’m cooking for others. I’m a terrible baker due to my experimenting, but I’m an excellent cook. Anyway. Make the stuffing, let it cool off, add the celery and onion, onto the next step… This part is kinda gross. in order to keep everything together you have to get in there and really kneed the stuffing into a ball and flatten it onto the pork. Put as much in as you like. Justin and I like stuffing so I put in as much as possible, but some might be more into the pork flavor than stuffing. Up to you! The next step is to literally wrap the stuffing in pork. This is where very, very, very thin meat is very helpful, the meat needs to be flexible. If all goes according to plan and the meat is thin enough it should pretty much just stick together. If you’re having trouble keeping it together try eliminating some of the stuffing from the inside. I used Giant Eagle brand pork, but I don’t think it really matters. I don’t have any expierience with any other, so there’s my disclaimer if, say, Wal Mart pork doesn’t do what you tell it to. 🙂
Onto the cooking!
I used a skillet for these, which in hindsight may not have been such a great idea. They cooked a little unevenly so I kept having to hold the rolled pork on its side so it would cook, haha. Next time I make these I might try baking or broiling, just so it will cook evenly. I recently fell in love with the broiling method of cooking, especially for crispy potatoes. Anyway, back to pork: a nice little trick to keep the pork together is to initially land the pork on the side where everything comes together, it kind of cooks together and stays put very well. I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on these bad boys because I didn’t want to go too crazy, but I’ll probably add a crunchy breading with parm, some spices, and mozzarella cheese next time I make them, the outside was lacking something. I tend to overdo things initially though, so I thought I might ease Justin into these. When these little beauties are done, they should have a nice gold/brown color. Remember, pink and pork do not go well together! There will be no medium rare pigs running around my kitchen. haha.
Overall I think they turned out rather well for a random brainstorming during a lazy Sunday afternoon. Justin ate them right up, and he’s by biggest priority. I’ll admit, he’s not exactly the pickiest eater I’ve ever met, I like to affectionately refer to him as my breathing vacuum cleaner when it comes to food. 🙂 He’s also the perfect match for my eccentric cooking skills. He’ll let me know if I crossed the line, and if I crossed the line for Justin then I know I’m in bad, bad, very bad territory. haha. I’m glad he can deal with my cooking though, sometimes I hit something perfect, other times I go a little overboard, but I can usually pull together a pretty kickass meal. I think my next conquest is going to be wedding soup. It’s still soup season, although I do with it would warm up.
Anyway, that’s it for now. Tomorrow I’ll be complaining again about the price of textbooks, as spring semester 2008 is right around the corner!

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.

Wedding wedding wedding! I gave you a break for a couple days, now back to complete self-absorption 🙂 so yeah, this post is going to be long and image heavy.
Anywho, these are these are the candlesticks and vases we’re going to use for the reception. Actually Lori bought them for her wedding years ago, and conveniently still had them for her favorite future sister in law 🙂 I love the spiral twistiness to them. Lori still even has the silk flowers for them, which is everything I would have picked out already. There are two candlesticks to each vase, I’m not real sure what exactly I want to do if I want to do anything else or whatnot. The place where the reception is going to be is a big re-done barn and both sides of it are going to be open, so candles may not work out so well, so I may use these in the vases with the flowers in them to give it the romantic-type feeling without the candlelight. Just a thought for now! Now that the place is booked I feel like I can calm down a little, haha. Now I am very, very proud of these. These are the invitations I found at Ollies for $10 for 100! Ten dollars for 100 invitations, envelopes, and R.S.V.P. cards and envelopes! They aren’t incredibly fancy, but they have a beautiful silver lining with silver double hearts at the top, which is kinda the theme we have going on. The other invitations I’ve liked were going to be around $300. That’s just overkill to me. I like the simple kind of life. haha. I keep bouncing around with the colors. I thought a red/black/white would be nice, but then the dress I fell in love with actually looks better in ivory, so now I’m leaning towards that, and I also like the silver/red, so maybe that instead of black/red…. women really should not be in charge of wedding planning…I change my mind like..a woman!! these are the tri-fold programs I found, also 100 for $10 🙂 It looks gold in the picture, but that’s just the lighting in the room, it’s actually silver like the invitations. I can’t believe what a deal I got, I’m sorry, I just have to brag a little! I can’t wait to get my hands into designing them. Once upon a time I thought going into graphic design would be a cool field, but I never made that jump and just stick to simple graphic design as a hobby. I also am a total font-whore. I love them and I love finding beautiful new ones to try out. This is going to be my most favorite project ever, I just know it 🙂 I’ll probably add some sort of little brush design, I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of experimenting and I’m sure our printer is going to see a lot of action in the next couple months! And these, of course, are the simple little place cards I found, 100 for $5, haha 😉 I’m still not sure if I’ll be doing this or not. I’d like some order and to make sure none of the guests have a hard time figuring out where to sit, especially those who may not know too many people there. But again I don’t know if Justin and I will really want to sit down and figure that out, haha. I’m not sure, do people like being told where to sit? The barn is big and open, so it’s not so much a matter of “front and back” The bar will be set up outside under a big white canopy/tent, the food on one end and the DJ/music on the other end. I think it will probably just come down to who ends up R.S.V.P.ing, and we’ll go from there. I’m not too worried about that, and hopefully will not start worrying until a couple months before the big day. Then I will proceed to be a nervous wreak until my bachelorette party, where I will proceed to just be wreaked 🙂
I also took a picture of the first of the things I bought my bridesmaids, but I don’t think I’ll post those until after I give them to them to keep the surprise. Some of them read this and I like to have my secrets too! So on to the pictures of where Justin and I will tie the knot!!!
This is the awesome gazebo they have there. As you can see, they are cleaning up from Halloween, the pumpkin pictures do not come with the wedding package, haha. The ceremony and reception will both take place at a place near where Justin grew up called Cheeseman’s Farm, and more specifically, Betsy’s barn on the Cheeseman Farm. It’s out in the middle of nowhere and very private, we’re even going to have a bonfire! A bonfire at a wedding? Oh yes, this wedding is really going to let Justin’s and my personalities shine! Wine, beer, and a fire. And me in a pretty wedding dress 😉 This is seriously going to be the party of our lives. I cannot wait! I can’t believe I get to marry my best friend. (shuttup, I know it’s cliche!)
This next picture is just a better view of the inside of the gazebo. It’s not very big, it can fit about 20-30 people inside plus us. This whole affair is going to be very laid back. We’ll have our immediate family in the gazebo and then people outside. We’re really aiming for a short ceremony, 20-30 minutes max. We’re still debating if it would be ok to have people stand outside, not sure if the hill would permit chairs. haha. We are also able to have our rehersal and rehersal dinner here, which we’ll probably do a picnic style out on the picnic tables. The wedding party is fairly small, so with everyone in the party, and out parents we’re really only looking at 15-17 people. We’re still unsure about a flower girl and ring bearer. This is just a picture I took from outside the barn. Like I said eariler, they are still cleaning up from the Halloween festivities they do every year, so it doesn’t look like much now. If you go to the website, however, you can see some pictures in all its wedding glory, it’s great =) One hiccup is that the chairs they provide are the basic metal folding chairs, those would look…um, bad. ha. So we’re looking for chair covers. The ones they can rent to you are $5 a chair, that’s a little on the ridiculous side, so we’re looking into making our own. I guess we’ll just have to see if they’re more trouble than they’re worth! I’m googling like crazy, so I hope I can find something.
the last picture here isn’t of the barn or anything, but one of three cabins right beside the barn. I think we’re going to rent these for that night and my parents are going to take one, and then the wedding party, whoever wants to stay, will have the other. Justin and I probably will not be staying in the cabins that night. We’ll probably stay at a nearby hotel and then skip off to our mini-moon the next day. We’re going to wait to take a real honeymoon in the wintertime, what sounds better than a Caribbean cruise in the middle of December? Noooot much! They really are decently priced too. I’ll have to keep an eye out and see what I can find. I’m just doing some shopping around for now. We still have a year to work towards that goal. It would probably be best to get the wedding out of the way first since we’re not going on our honeymoon right away.
I’m glad to feel like I have time now. the big stuff is out of the way, so now we can have fun with the little details. What an exciting couple of months to come!

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.