Monday, May 27, 2013

my wild boy and Idlewild | non-stagrams

No one makes him smile like his daddy does!

A rare photo with all three of us in it.

He loves playing with his Color Wonder markers, but we have a hard time finding the caps again!

Standing inside the ottoman (again with a Color Wonder marker).

Just playing around at Lowe’s :)

Endless entertainment.

First cherries of the season!!

This was the first time he asked to take a book on a walk with us.

After an hour-long car ride, I was helping him out of his car seat, and he climbed into the driver’s seat and grabbed the wheel.

Spinning the Merry-Go-Round at the park for his new friend, Parker.

Strawberry cheesecake and chocolate chunk frozen custard… yumm!

My puppy love.

I happened to see this photo at church yesterday for Memorial Day… it’s Ray (in uniform) from the story I told the other day.

He loves the new free piano app we downloaded :)


We made some chocolate chip cookies to surprise Daddy.

Trip to Idlewild amusement park! 85 degrees!

Nolan loved this “Jungle Catch”. The balls were suspended by a constant stream of air.

The pavilion that we had lunch in with MOPS friends.

My friend Briana and me.

We tried putting Nolan on this ride. Briana’s son is behind him. Once the cars started moving, Nolan screamed and cried so much that we asked them to stop the ride. Maybe next year!

He woke up screaming after he had already gone to bed for the night. I wondered if he had nightmares about the cars, haha. Then he fell asleep on me, which hasn’t happened in months and months.

A stop at Target. We bought him a pail and a shovel to play with outside.

Olive Garden!

A fun Friday night out :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

frozen grasshopper dessert


This dessert is perfect for a hot day. It is a minty mix of cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and whipped cream with a crunchy Oreo crust!

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (about half a package of Oreos, without the cream, crushed)
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 package cream cheese (8 ounces) cubed and softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or mint extract)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/8 cup marshmallow cream (5.25 ounces from a 7 ounce jar)
¾ cup whipping cream


Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil, folding the edges over the sides of the pan. Spray with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press evenly into the pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, vanilla extract, mint extract, and milk with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Next, add marshmallow cream, and beat until well-mixed. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

In a chilled, large bowl, beat whipping cream with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese/marshmallow mixture until blended. Add a few drops of green food coloring if you want the dessert to be green instead of white. Pour over the crust. Freeze at least four hours before serving.

Remove from the pan, lifting up the foil to help. Let it sit for a few minutes in room temperature before cutting.

Optional: garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or mint candies.

Keep remaining dessert tightly-covered in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

when Stephen met Rachel

I met Stephen seven years ago on May 21, 2006.

photo from our honeymoon

In January 2006, during my Christmas break from college, I helped my mom and stepdad move from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. We unpacked our boxes, got settled, and then I flew back to Chicago for the second semester of classes. In  May, I returned to Pennsylvania for a month before I went to work as a camp counselor for the summer.

I had heard Steve’s name, and I caught wind of how he was well-liked at our new church. A friend showed me a photo of him from high school, so I had a general idea of what he looked like. (He was cute!). I met his mom and two of his brothers a few times. But Steve was away at college, and May 21st was the first time that our paths collided.

It was a Sunday morning, and my mom and I were sitting together in church. From the left side of the congregation, Steve approached the microphone up front. He brought out his guitar, and began singing “In Christ Alone”. Between the powerful lyrics of the song, and his incredible singing voice, I wiped away a couple tears from my eyes. He was so handsome, and I felt an immediate stirring in my heart.

When church was over, I was walking past him to leave the room, and we managed a “hey” and a “hi”. :)

Later that night, we came back to church for a special “Spring Sing” (think church talent show). Steve was the M.C., and he was really witty on the microphone, introducing the kids and adults for their music performances. At one point, I remember distinctly that an older woman in the church, Doris, (a true saint of the church) told the story of how she met her husband, Ray.

Doris was sixteen years-old, and she was a soloist at her church in Michigan. As she was up on the stage singing, she noticed a man in army uniform walk in late. She said that she almost stopped singing. They continued making eye contact through her song. And when she sat down with her mother in the pew, she whispered, “My husband just walked in the door.” Doris and Ray were married for 62 years before he passed away. I looked across the room to Steve.  Somehow I felt the same scenario had just happened to me.

After the show, everyone went downstairs to the fellowship hall for dessert. I sat down with my mom, my friend Meghan, and Meghan’s mom. And a surprise to me, Steve sat down right across the table from me. He was definitely extroverted and enthusiastic. He introduced himself, and he learned a little bit about me. And what sticks out the most from that first conversation—he drew me a map on the paper tablecloth. Since I was new in town, he wanted to show me all of the hot spots. I’m sure I had the biggest smile on my face. He told me the best place to eat in town was Sheetz (gas station/convenience store), and he even proceeded to tell me the best way to make a slushie there. I was floored by his kindness, his energy, and his green eyes.

Steve and I saw each other at church a couple more times that month, and we had a memorable game of frisbee golf on Memorial Day. I left for camp in mid-June. He worked at the same camp in previous summers, but chose not to counsel there in the summer of 2006. He however did volunteer at camp for 2 weeks—one week in June, and one in July. I continued to have the biggest crush of my life. Camp is a story for another day. 2006 did not end up being our summer. The spark had been lit, but we would wait until July 2007 for a relationship to begin :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

a walk around campus | non-stagrams

After Steve finished his final papers on Thursday, the three of us took a walk around his campus.

Nolan was so excited to have the freedom to roam!

He was pointing upwards, saying “Tree! Tree!”

Stopping in front of the English building where Steve had all of his classes.

Happy boy.

The sun was bright as it was going down.

Waving and yelling “Bye” at Mommy and Daddy (who weren’t leaving).

Hanging out on the steps.

He LOVES rocks and wanted to stay here and play.

Giving Mommy some rocks.

He got so tired of walking that he asked to be picked up on the way to the car (never happens).

He slept really well that night!


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