Pi Day – Pecan Pie

Happy Monday, everyone! Last Wednesday was March 14th, or, the amazing Pi Day! This year I decided to honor the occasion with not one but two pies. The first is a personal favorite, and is what I am sharing the recipe of today: Pecan!  The other was made for my husband as a personal challenge. My husband is a picky eater, and among the ever growing list of things I’m learning he doesn’t like are pies. He dislikes any kind of baked fruit, or fruit flavored baked goods. He also doesn’t do puddings. Therefore, he made the statement that there were no pies that he would eat. My response? Challenge Accepted. You’ll have to read next week’s blog to find out what I came up with, and whether it worked or not. 🙂  And now, back to our feature presentation.

Overview: This one was definitely a success according to my coworkers. I’m lucky to have snagged one of the first pieces in the morning, because this sweet treat was gone before the end of the day.

One note I have to add is the bake time. The recipe I used (Not sure where it’s from, it’s in my handwritten box of recipes I snitched from my mother) said to bake for about half an hour. Nooooope! I cooked it for 50 minutes before pulling it out from fear of burning the pecans, and it was still a little runny in the center. Still delicious, and no one complained, but be aware that there’s a trick to baking this that I have yet to figure out.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

1 9″ pie crust                                              1 c sugar                              3 eggs

2 TB melted butter                                    1 C Corn Syrup                    1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 to 2 C Pecans (Or walnuts)

Preheat Oven to 325 (Note: I plan to try 350 next time). Mix sugar, eggs, butter, Corn Syrup(I always use dark) and Vanilla until smooth. Mix in Pecans. Pour mix into pie crust. Bake until center no longer jiggles when you give it a wiggle, somewhere between 25-75 minutes. Pie should be kinda puffed up.

Let cool at least two hours before serving.

Have fun!



Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe – Pirate Ship

Happy Monday! Last week we had a going away party for one of my co-workers, which gave me an excuse to at last give my new bundt cake pan a try! And as long as I was trying out a new pan, I decided to also try a new recipe.

First up, the pirate ship bundt cake pan. I’ve been after this pan for years, ever since I found it existed. My husband got it for me at Christmas, probably to make me stop talking about how much I wanted it every time I remembered. Also… pirates!

This pan has a lot of tiny details, so I sprayed the heck out of it before putting in the batter. While it may have been overkill, I am happy to say the cake came out beautifully. My only complaint with this pan is that it should come with its own decorations. I ended up using marshmallow s’more sticks and printed pirate ship sails for a quick finishing touch, which worked okay. I definitely need to do more research to get something better put together for the next time.

Pirate Ship

The cake I made this time was a lemon cake from scratch. I’ve done lemon cakes from box mixes, but I wanted something better for my co-workers to devour. And let me tell you, I made the right choice! The recipe I picked was the Crumbly Lemon Bundt Cake from allrecipes.com.

Most of the comments on the site were correct. I had to cook it an extra 20 minutes before it was done, and when cut it looked undercooked. But when poked/eaten, it really was done and has the density of a solid pound cake. As to the flavor, it is lemon lemon lemon! A perfect amount of tang. And the glaze, what we could get to stay on it, was also just the right amount of tart. My co-workers devoured the majority of it, and I was told to add it to my ‘staple cakes’ to regularly bring.

So, five out of five stars. I would definitely make this recipe again, and you should give it a try!

Have fun!


Lemon Bundt Cake

3 c Flour                                       2 1/3 c sugar                    1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt                                       1 1/2 c milk                       3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil                     1/2 c lemon juice              1 TB lemon extract

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, powder salt) and set aside. Mix milk and eggs, then add remaining wet ingredients (oil, juice and extracts) and mix thoroughly. Mix in flour, then pour into a well greased bundt pan.

Bake 1 hr. 20 min (It took me 1 hr. 40) until toothpick comes out clean. Let sit ten minutes, then flip. Remove pan and let cake cool.

Lemon Glaze

1 1/3 c powdered sugar            1 /4 c sugar                        1/4 c orange juice

2 TB milk                                     1 TB lemon extract           1 TB lemon juice

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in small sauce pan and heat to a foaming boil. Remove from heat and stir until foam disappears. Pour over cake. (Note: Tends to run right off the cake. I’d recommend letting it sit until it starts to stiffen and then spoon it on.)




Makeover – Basement Room Edition

It is truly amazing the difference a little paint and flooring can do to a room. This week continues the remodel work being done on my husband’s house as we prepare to sell it this Spring. With only four weeks left until April, which is when we want to list it, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty!

Our most recent project has been the downstairs basement room. The basement of the house is unfinished except for this one room. We’re guessing it was built as a man-cave/game room. We referred to it as the ‘poop room’, named so for the bloody brown color they painted the walls.

Basement Room


What we did: Well, first we put a primer coat on those walls. It was so dark we couldn’t see what needed repaired. Then, while my husband re-taped and mudded most of the sheetrock seams (they’d all come loose), I ripped out the carpet. There were two layers. A dirty tan color, and then the blue rug you can see in the picture.

The work was pretty straightforward once the walls were repaired. I painted the ceiling, then threw on a second primer layer before going to town with the walls. Recognize the color? It’s the same as the master bedroom. After all the paint work was done we put in a floating floor, replaced the outlets and voila! All but finished. We spent less than $300 for the whole room.

What’s left: We’re not quite sure of what to do with the water line access in the wall. It would cost a good $100 or more to get a custom fit access panel to put in, and about the same if we did a proper job of making one of our own. We’re thinking of putting a very thin frame around the edge so it doesn’t look so choppy then hanging a picture over it. We may end up doing something else though, because we put it on the bottom of the to-do list to figure out later.

Yet to do: The house is coming along pretty fast for only having weekends to work on it. We still need to empty the house, patch, paint and floor the two hallways, stairwell and living room and add flooring to the kitchen. We also have some of my family coming up to help replace the giant living room window. With four weeks to April, I think we’re right on task. The challenge is that my husband priced hiring painters to paint the exterior of the house and… now we’re looking at doing it ourselves. Should only take us four or five days to do, but with weekends only to do it that’s putting us a lot later into April than we wanted. I may see if I can get a couple of friends to help out.

That’s all for this week!

Have fun!


Top 5 Reasons to Brainstorm with Others

Greetings, everyone! This week I’m going to talk about one of the most essential writing Help Me’s I have in my arsenal: My friends.

When I first began writing, I didn’t believe I needed help from anyone else to write. I had more ideas in my head than I had time to put into words. I still have those early manuscripts and notes, and I’ll admit I still hope to someday polish them up and put them into print. Will it ever happen? Probably not. They had problems I couldn’t see. But those first works were my babies, my first steps, my practice runs, and will always have a bit of my heart.

Working out the problems is where having a second, living, outside person comes in. Below I’m listing the top five reasons I have personally experienced in my years of meeting others to help with my writing.


  1. We feed off of each other. When I’m excited about an awesome scene I just wrote, I have someone I can tell who won’t think I’m crazy. The reverse is also true, and I can honestly say I get stoked when she writes something amazing. This in turn usually causes the other person to write something awesome and the cycle repeats.
  2.  A good helper is honest and brutal with the know-how to back it up. To say R can be brutal is an understatement, but sometimes I’m just as bad. We stop each other when our books take a wrong turn, point out loose threads and generally harass one another to make the best story possible. But more than that, neither of us will ever say ‘it’s just bad/dumb/doesn’t work’ without a good reason to back it up. It’s still painful, but I know that not only is my wip better, so is my overall writing. I now catch the little things that she once had to point out.
  3. We are bridges for one another. When one of us is stuck, or forcing ourselves through a tough scene, the other person is standing there waving pom poms and cheering. We’ll also sit down together and hash out a scene that isn’t going well. My characters recently were going from Point A to B, and wandered off to Point C instead. It fit the flow, but it took both of us to untangle the mess. And writing blocks? Those are just things we add to the bridge, because what one of us can’t quite figure out the other person can.
  4. You have someone asking you the big W’s. A writer knows their story. It’s in their head. But others don’t. So we’re constantly asking one another Who, What, When, Where and most importantly Why. Some of these mean better description, the big one requires insight. If the other person doesn’t know the answer, it’s figured out.
  5. When you find the right writing buddy, it’s pure gold inside and out. My friend R and I met in college. She became my second mom, and I the fifth child she never had. I got her into writing because she wanted to push me to write more. She also helped put together my wedding, her husband officiated and her daughter was my maid of honor.

And there you go! Another good thing is to have a solid ‘guinea pig’ friend. That one you trust to read the finished project and give you valid comments and concerns. I also want to say not to ignore someone who might not have the usual writer’s brain. My husband (who is not a writer or all that creative, but is a thinker) read something and made a comment that caused R and I to both jump on him for more information. His different line of thinking caught something that neither of us had, and he’s now been added to our extended circle of ‘people we can question for help’.

Have fun!


(image from publicdomainpictures.net)

Makeover – Master Bedroom Edition

Happy Monday! I hope everyone is staying warm and safe in the wintery weather. It’s a bitter ten degrees right now with a good inch of snow on the ground. Pretty to look at, not fun to be out and about in.

In the three months I’ve been married to my husband, I’ve learned how to replace windows, replace rotting out studs, skim coat a wall, do basic wiring (beyond what I already knew), and just this past weekend how to put in a different kind of flooring than I’ve done before. Most importantly, I’ve learned that my husband and I can do work like this without any fighting and can laugh when one of us makes a mistake.

This week I’m going to talk about the weekend project that we’ve been working on for the past three weeks: The master bedroom of my husband’s house. My first full room project with my husband, I have to say it turned out quite well.

Before and after

The room now sports two new windows (and a few new studs in the wall where the old windows leaked and rotted everything), lots of wall patches, a basically new wall on the window side by the time we replaced all the bad Sheetrock, new ceiling light/fan, new paint, new flooring (from old carpet to bamboo) and new blinds.

The most memorable task was unquestionably replacing the first window. We had to pull off crumbling Masonite boards, fight a few thousand ants (and run out of ant spray), poke at more wood rot than my husband anticipated, and by noon I had at least a four foot hole in the bedroom wall. I think we made three trips to the hardware store that day, but by dark we had the new studs, some new insulation, and a new wall put back up. The bedroom looked a little worse for wear with chunks missing around the window and all that insulation poking through, but we got it done!

I had the most fun doing the flooring. Now, a bit about me is that my two favorite jobs in the construction/re-model world are walls and floors. I’ve refinished the hardwood floors in my own house, I hired for the sanding, but the rest (pulling the carpet, staining, poly-urethane coats) was all me. I’ve also put in floating floors. But this bamboo floor has taken the cake! The nail gun for this thing takes a mallet to hammer in these long staples. And working the planks together is also a favorite thing of mine. It’s hard on the knees, or arms if you’re up for hammer time, but makes fast progress unless you’re at a doorframe.

Our fun oopsie moments include when I measured a board upsidedown for a doorframe cut, and when my husband taped the walls for caulking the trim.  When he pulled off the painter’s tape… the wall paint came with it. Husband swears he’s done it this way before no problem, and the paint was two weeks old, so we decided the painter’s tape was just lousy and in the future I’ll handle all trim work.  I also lost count of how many staples we had to pull out because I didn’t hit the nail gun hard enough. Not a ton, and my husband did it a few times as well, but it cost us our steady groove.

Next up: The house remodel continues with the fixing up of the second bathroom, followed by the hallways, living room, kitchen and basement room. There’s also outdoor work yet to be done. We have about twelve weeks left before we begin trying to sell the place. Wish us luck!

Have fun!

– Abby

2017 Wrap-Up

This has been, by far, one of my craziest years. A lot of things happened, both expected and unexpected, and has also been one of the first in several years that didn’t have something bad happen during it. No major family deaths or injuries (yay!), no major life problems (yay!) no crazy work or friendship problems (yay!) or anything else that’s happened in previous years. I’m hoping next year will be just a great!

As I did last year, I’m once again doing a brief covering of the major points in my life, as well as my goals for 2018.


  • Writing
    • 2017 Goals: Finish editing 2nd work, find an agent/publishing house, post more interesting things on the blog.
    • Reality: I finished editing my 2nd work and put together a solid query letter, but I have yet to actually put out submissions.
    • I started my 3rd project, another fantasy work in the same world as the 2nd.
    • 2018 Goals: Send out submissions and find an agent/publishing house, finish and edit my 3rd work, become more consistent on twitter and blog again.
  • House Projects:
    • 2017 Goals: Finish the garage. Rebuild retaining wall. Replace garage door. Replace bathroom sink. Add the last two supports beneath the house. Fix fireplace and replace the mantle…
    • Reality: Didn’t get as much done on my house this year for reasons explained below. I rebuilt the retaining wall, repaired the fence in the backyard and that’s about it.
    • On new husband’s house, which we’re fixing up like crazy to be ready to sell in the spring, I’ve so far helped replace the siding and batons, replaced three windows, stripped carpet in the master bedroom, did wall repairs throughout the house, skim coated my first wall, ripped baseboards throughout the house, and several other small things, most of these were done over the last eight weeks.
    • 2018 Goals: Husband’s house: replace the huge front window with help from my family, paint the exterior (hiring), replace all flooring, remodel the 2nd bathroom, finish remodeling the master bedroom, finish fixing up the kitchen and living room, sell in March or April (!!!). Die for awhile after getting all of that done during weekends. Finish the garage and remodel the bathroom in my house and prep to sell it in 2019.
  • Life Events:
    • 2017 Goals: Keep the keeper, learn how to decorate desserts… win the lottery.
    • Reality: Not only did I keep the keeper… I married him! Yay! This one event pushed aside all others and has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.
    • I am happy to say I am better at decorating desserts, and I also now have a pirate ship bundt cake to have fun with. Yeah! Thank you,  husband!
    • 2018 Goals: Become a better cook since it’s no longer just food for me (and blog about it), sell a house, start looking at a new long-term house.

What about all of you? What are your big plans for the new year?

Have fun!


(picture from publicdomainpictures.net)

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and we’re remodeling the house.

Happy Monday, all! In the spirit of Christmas, I’ve whipped together this little poem. Enjoy!

'Twas the Week before Christmas 

by Abby White

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house

The hammers were pounding, work lead by my spouse;

The caulk guns were hung from the ladder with care,

I hope they don't drip on the carpet in there.

The dog is off hiding, curled up in his bed,

Waiting for someone to pat his poor head.

And I with my hot tea, and crochet in my lap,

Had almost settled down when I heard the word 'crap'.

Back in the bedroom I heard quite the clatter,

So I yelled from my seat 'You okay? What's the matter?"

I pictured him injured with some mighty gash,

But my husband had only knocked over the trash.

The lights in his workroom continued to glow,

Giving no sign he was going to slow;

As he walked by my questioning eyes with more gear,

I had one thing to say "Your food's cold, my Dear."

With his trusty old driver, he got to work quick,

Drilling in screws like some mad lunatic;

Those squeaky floorboards were doubtless to blame,

As the good drill overheated and he called out some names;

(Redacted for PG content)

And then, out of nowhere, I heard from the attic,

Someone crawling around and being erratic.

As I stood up to see where he'd gotten to now,

Down from the crawlspace he came with a bound.

His work clothes were filthy, and I gave him a Look,

That said 'knock it off, or I'll give you a foot'.

A whole roll of wiring he had slung on his back,

And just then our old dog came out for a snack.

The room filled with dust as they wrestled unwary,

Of the wife that was slowly becoming quite scary;

Then he smiled at me, and kissed me hello,

And I knew I just couldn't be mean and yell "If you two don't stop you're both sleeping in the doghouse!"

He spoke not a word, but he picked up his work,

Reheated his dinner and gave me a smirk;

Then he sat down beside me right there on the couch,

Where I was gulping my tea and being a grouch.

He decided the best thing to do was to tickle,

So I shrieked and attacked him right back with a pillow;

And I heard him exclaim as he ran out of sight,

"Just one more week, and I'll set the house right!"


Note: I bent the truth in this poem. My husband does not actually curse, I’m usually right there working with him and I think I was the one who accidentally kicked over the trash bucket. Photo is what our bedroom currently looks like.

Have fun!


Top 10 Gift Ideas for a Bookworm

Happy Monday, everyone! We’re launching into that season of seasons where we scramble madly for the perfect gifts for all our friends and family. It’s going to be an especially crazy year for me due to being newly married, which means a whole new side of family to shop for!

Because I have several friends who love to read and/or write, this year I’ve decided to have a bit of a book theme in my gift giving. And let me tell you, the world is not lacking in book themed ideas.

So here they are, in no particular order, my top gift ideas for fellow bookworms/writers.


  1. Novel Teas – Most readers are tea drinkers (or drinkers of some sort), so what better than a nice tea with a famous quote attached?
  2. Novel Tea Tins – Once you poke your nose into one of these aromatic books, you might not be able to leave!
  3. Library Card Mug or Tote Bag – Kids today may not understand the fondness we have for the old Library Card, but who cares?
  4. Bookends – Assuming your friend hasn’t crammed their bookcase full, novelty bookends can be just the thing they need! Follow the link to find some of my favorites.
  5. Book-shaped lamp – I present to you… A book that glows! Provides you light at night, and maybe a little imagination.
  6. Book-shaped ANYTHING – If it’s shaped like a book, it’s going to be a win. Necklace, earrings, pillows, boxes, food and more. They even make a book-shaped bed!
  7. Book Mugs – Unfortunately they don’t make book-shaped mugs, but there are plenty of mugs that have snazzy book-related sayings on them. Check out amazon, or almost any store that sells mugs, and you’ll probably find some.
  8. Bookworm Gift Basket – This is a DiY one. Fill a basket with a variety of little things for your friend, this can include a mug or two, some hot drink mixes (cider, coco, tea, coffee), some soup mixes, bookmark and a good book or two. If you’re not sure of what book to get, just read on.
  9. Gift Card – Buying a book for a bookworm is risky. There’s a big chance they already have it. Instead, buy a gift card to a local bookstore or amazon. Trust me, they’ll love it.
  10. Bookcase Chair – if you truly love this person like my husband loves me, and are handy with tools like my husband is, this chair is probably the perfect Christmas gift. Though I would probably make it a loveseat with room for pillows and a blanket. And maybe add a cup holder while you’re at it. And a pop-over tent. And…

Well, that’s it, everyone! My top ten gifts for bookworms.

Have fun!


(picture from publicdomainpictures.net)

How to Plan a Wedding in 3 Months – The Wrap-Up

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s been awhile since I last posted, it seems getting married puts everything else off to the side!

First off, the wedding had no major hiccups that I’m aware of! Quite honestly my only job was to do what other people told me to do, making it surprisingly low stress compared to the two days of Get Everything Done Panic leading up to it. Below is a quick list of observations that I can remember or have been told that might be helpful for others down the road.

  • Get the super strong balloons. It was windy on our wedding day, and the balloons put out to mark the church and reception hall kept popping/escaping.
  • Have music in the bride’s room. One of my bridesmaids turned on the music and we all jammed for the two hours or so that I was stuck out of sight. Mostly 90s boy bands. It was great fun, and helped pass the time.
  • We did pictures before and after the wedding, which was good. While C and I didn’t see each other before the ceremony, we got all of our individual/family shots done ahead which saved a good hour of time for after. We also did the ‘can’t see each other’ couples shots. It was really silly, but worth it because they’re some of my favorites.
  • Don’t assume a short turnaround means no one from far away can make it. I was given the huge surprise and pleasure of having an aunt and uncle from Alaska come for the wedding. I don’t know how everyone kept their visit a secret, but seeing them at the rehearsal dinner made my day!
  • Have someone keep track of the weather for the couple. With cell phones, it’s easy  for someone to say ‘hey, there’s an epic storm that’s going to hit right when you’re planning to leave. You might want to leave early… like your guests are already doing’. We were going to leave the reception around 5:30. We ended up leaving about 5:15 just as the sprinkles started. It rained so hard we couldn’t see the hood of C’s truck and had to pit stop at my parents’ house until the storm passed.
  • If you tell your family/friends anyone who helps with clean-up is to take home leftover food, your family will have ample help. I tried to have different people help with cleanup from set-up. From reports from friends and family offering food may have worked too well, but the place was spotless in about an hour, so yay?
  • PACK SNACKS IN YOUR GETAWAY VEHICLE. Seriously. I ate maybe five bites of food at the reception. A few from a plate they saved us, one or two bites of cake, and a bite of s’more. And half a glass of punch. We had fun and went to McDonald’s for food (they were awesome) but if going into McD’s in a wedding dress isn’t your thing, pack something you can both munch on without it making a mess. (Bonus: A little girl there said I was a princess. It was adorable.)
  • Maybe don’t plan a 15 hour drive for the day after the wedding. We spent two days working our tails off with prep, wedding day was fast and we both just wanted to crash. But nope. At least we split the drive into two days, just sitting and driving/riding was a great mental break and it got us to the beach that much sooner, so overall I can’t complain. 🙂


Ace the Travel Bear enjoying the view of the beach from our patio. My new husband was only slightly weirded out that I brought along a stuffed animal.

And there you have it! In three months we planned and pulled off a wedding with around 150 guests. It was a lot of work and I couldn’t have done it without several amazing friends and a very helpful then-fiance, but completely worth it in the end.

Now I just have to get my husband to help with the ‘torture’ of thank-you cards… any suggestions? 🙂

Have fun!


How to Plan a Wedding in 3 Months (Part 3 – The Final Panic)

The Big Day is a mere 12 days away. Gifts are arriving, last minute wedding invitations are popping up and my fiance has turned into a goofy man child (though still helpful and awesome).

First, a complaint. I am very disappointed in Walmart. They have the option of having registry gifts shipped directly to my place, which with our families spread across the country was a huge plus. HOWEVER, unlike Uncommon Goods (which gift boxes the contents and has the receipt with the buyer’s name sealed inside an envelope) Walmart just ships it like it would anything else. No separate packaging, and NO RECEIPT OR INDICATION OF WHO SENT THE GIFT. So I now have several gifts (one accidentally opened because I didn’t realize how stupid Walmart is) with no way of knowing who sent them (Update: If you go to their website, it tells you who purchased the gift IF they registered it). So, as convenient as Walmart is, I probably wouldn’t use them again. I have yet to receive anything from Menards, so I don’t know if they have more common sense, but they probably do.

Decorations are going well. The burlap ribbons for the pews are done as are the ribbon wrapped jars for the reception tables. All that’s left to do is put birdseed in the roses we made (you flick the roses at the couple and it throws the birdseed! Genius!). As a note, the roses took the most time to put together. One thing that’s really helped with decorations is that for once in my life I am on point for trendiness (rustic theme) and Hobby Lobby and Amazon had everything I needed.

 A Rustic theme is both easy and generally inexpensive.

The only thing really left to finish up is the food. We have the lists of what we’re buying done (that was fun!). I love love love the pre-order feature at stores! We’re going to pre-order everything we need, then swing by and pick it up the day before! Some things I learned: Hy-Vee has amazing food trays! They’re expensive, so it’s best to weigh whether you want the gourmet layout or spend less than half the price at Sam’s Club for the same amount of food on a neat but not fancy layout. For us, we’re getting the meat trays from Hy-Vee. Probably 80% of our reception food is coming from Sam’s Club. Good pricing, huge variety and the trays are presentable. Anything we don’t need in massive bulk we’re snagging at Dillons, because fuel points.

Panic Level at this point: Low with spurts of medium and high. I’m a ‘get things done ahead of time’ person, so now when I think of something yet to do I panic a bit, get it done/arranged, and then relax. My friend-turned-wedding-planner has been in Panic Mode Medium-High for the past several weeks and is making sure all the details are being filled in. My Fiance has Panic Level – I want Pizza.

Other things: My Fiance and I have officially known each other for a year! To celebrate, Fiance took me out to a nice sushi place. Yum! I also had my bachelorette party. We did an Escape Room (we escaped with 3 min. 33 seconds left on the clock!) then had a taco bar and played board games until most of my friends had to leave. Those of us hard-core gamers went on an ice cream run then dominated Donkey Kong on the Super Nintendo until we were too tired to coordinate and kept leaping to our deaths. Breakfast followed a few hours later.

The next two weeks are going to be full of last minute planning and a determined trip to the RenFest (Because not even a wedding gets between my friends and I and a dressed-up day of pirates, lords and ladies).

Have fun!


(picture from publicdomainpictures.net)