The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

LifeInk’s Pampered Chef Party November 9, 2010

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Life in General — lifeink @ 5:15 pm
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Hey guys! It’s Ashley & Erin here.

As many of you know, Michelle recently moved to Texas with her husband, sons and parents. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, she and her husband (and the two kids) were forced to move in with her parents. Meanwhile, they were storing all of their kitchen supplies and household goods that they didn’t immediately need (including Michelle’s non-maternity clothes) in a locked trailer storage facility provided by the community they lived in. Much to their dismay, the gated storage area was left unlocked, their trailer was stolen, and their insurance company is only covering about a tenth of the damages.

When Michelle told us, we wanted to help, but living so far away from her (in Michigan and Indiana) seemed to provide a major challenge. That’s where Pampered Chef comes in.

We decided to help her replace the Pampered Chef products that she had stored up from her wedding shower by throwing her a catalog party where she benefits from the sales.

That’s where you come in. You can help in a few different ways:

  1. You can purchase items from the party for Michelle, having them mailed directly to her.
  2. You can purchase items for yourself, and Michelle will receive the rewards for her party. Don’t forget about gifts for friends and family, too, since Christmas is almost here!

We’ll be keeping the show open through the end of the day on Friday, November 26, Monday, November 29, so there’s plenty of time to check it out, and products should arrive the first full week of December.

Here’s how to check it out:

  1. Check out Michelle’s wish list.
  2. Order online. When asked for the host’s name, search for “LifeInk”, and make sure that all your contact information is valid so that our consultant can contact you should she have any questions and so that you get your order. Also, please include which items will go to Michelle in the notes section of the order form.

Please note that our consultant won’t email you about anything other than this particular show, and she won’t add you to a newsletter list of any kind either.

We’re both very excited about this, and we hope that you get as excited as we are. It’ll just be one more step on the way to Michelle and her family having a place of their own again.


Moving On With Lemonade June 12, 2010

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Life in General — michellehuegel @ 9:49 am
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After 12 years in Michigan (well, including a short stint in Mishawaka), we are moving on. Upward, remains to be seen. Downward certainly, at least geographically. Around in circles, sometimes. But I think just “on” is the best description. Life goes on, even when it seems like there’s no possible way to go, somehow it marches on.  Josh has no job in San Antonio yet, we have no house there, and we are still stuck trying to sell our mobile home in Michigan – still we believe God is leading us to San Antonio. For many reasons, and maybe one day I’ll try to think through and list them all for you, but today I’m just focused on the leaving, not the whys.

I don’t want this to be a depressing, morbid post, and as I look back through my first paragraph it certainly seems to be drifting that way. To quickly reroute and avoid water damage on my laptop, I’ll tell you about the Great Lemonade Experiment at my going-away party, thrown by (who else?!) Erin and Ashley. Erin craved homemade lemonade for some reason, so she stopped at the grocery store on her way to Joel and Ashley’s (party central) to pick up the ingredients.

Step 1: Peel and Slice

I craved chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (I have an excuse, remember) so she got me some of that too :). None of us actually knew/remembered how to make real lemonade, though, so we prevailed upon Joel to Google us a recipe. He obligingly found one, but it required about 4 hours of prep time (!!!), mostly involved with making simple syrup and letting it cool (the author was obviously not familiar with refrigerators as a quick-cooling method). Since none of us had that kind of patience, even all put together, we decided to modify the recipe. Surely if we had lemons, a juicer, water, and sugar, we could dump-and-pour and come up with something drinkable, right?

Wait, scratch the sugar part. Ashley and Joel, as you might be aware from reading Ashley’s blog posts, are living on an “eat nothing invented in the past 100 years” diet and therefore had no normal sugar in the house. She had some sort of sugar replacement (maybe she can comment on this and tell us what it is?). Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to act or taste quite like sugar in lemonade. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First they (meaning everyone but me, who was enjoying the “i’m pregnant” excuse to relax and put my feet up :)) had to peel and juice the lemons.

Step 2: Shove through juicer

This created a most amazing scent wafting through the house – way better than a citrus-scented candle. If only it didn’t take so much time and effort, I would use freshly-peeled and juiced lemons as an air freshener every day. As the “supervisor,” I reminded them to slice some lemons for garnish, too. We had plenty – Erin went a bit overboard and bought about two dozen.

After the peeling, juicing, and slicing, Erin started concocting. I’m sure we all got an ample dose of Erin-cooties from all the sampling/testing. 🙂

Step 3: Measure the ingredients

Step 4: Ignore the recipe's measurements. Dump and pour, tasting after each addition.

Like I said before, the “sugar” wasn’t quite up to normal sugariness, and (in my opinion) left the lemonade a bit lacking. But certainly not for lack of effort! And we drank and enjoyed it anyway. In terms of memories and good times, I don’t think I’ve ever had a sweeter, tarter glass of lemonade. A good analogy for how I feel leaving Niles, I suppose. Leaving my home of 12 years and many, many friends (not to mention Josh’s family!), along with all the uncertainty that’s surrounded this move, leaves a biting tartness in my heart. But the possibilities and excitement of a cross-country move, a new place to explore, new friends to meet, and better job prospects for Josh bring sweetness into the mix (the real kind of sugary sweetness, not that weird all-natural fake stuff). I don’t think my life-lemonade mix is quite right yet – our lives are still in too much turmoil, with too much tart uncertainty hanging over our heads. But I’m sure soon, as we trust God and move on each day in faith, He will bring more sweetness into our lives. And eventually, I trust we will find the perfect balance of missing our friends and our old home, and enjoying making new friends in a new home.

Step 5: Enjoy with friends!


Flapjack Fiasco December 3, 2009

I am the world’s greatest babysitter. Especially after having the fire department called based on my cooking skills. (And no, they weren’t called to come join us for lunch.)

On Monday, while I was watching my regular rowdy rascals, I went to the kitchen a little later than normal in search of ingredients for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Much to my dismay, after already telling the kids I was making what I thought would be a quick lunch, I discovered a lack of bread in the house. While rummaging through the cupboard for something that sounded tasty, I came across a box of Bisquick.

Oh, how I love Bisquick pancakes. I like to think I’m okay at making them. My dad’s the master at making ones the size of your plate or larger. His ability goes so far as to our giving him a giant pancake flipper for Christmas a couple years ago. It looked a lot like this.

So, in honor of my father, and in full knowledge that the children like eating pancakes, I set about on the adventure of making lunch with two kids banging on the table and yelling that they’re hungry and a third screaming just to prove she could be as loud as her older siblings.

The first pancake went well. I would say it was perfect. Round in shape, a wonderful shade of brown on either side, yummy smelling. In order to calm the storm, and not to start a fight, I split the pancake in half and cut it up so that the kids couldn’t notice quite as easily.

I’d thrown the second in the pan to cook while I was getting the first ready for the kids to eat. Unfortunately, I’d had the heat on just a little (or a lot) too high, and by the time I looked back over at the batter, the top was hardly cooked, and the bottom was smoking just a lovely shade of, oh, black.

Having run into this issue on occasion before, I decided to at least cook the opposite side in order to scrape off some of the pancake to eat. It was mine anyways.

I looked around at that time, searching for a smoke detector to wave smoke away from in hopes it wouldn’t go off. When I didn’t find one, I thought it odd, but I figured I just didn’t recognize it. I didn’t, however, have the common sense to open a window.

As a result, the little smoke there was floated and found the ADT smoke alarm, setting it off in an awful screaming beep and alerting the security company to my follies, who in turn called the fire department before calling the house. After I explained the situation, they called off the alarm to the fire department. An inside source told me they even announced to everyone listening that “the babysitter burnt the pancakes.”

Great, now everyone in town knows of my mad cooking skills.

It wasn’t for another hour that I had the opportunity to eat my own pancake, once all the kids were in bed for their naps or “rest times”.

On the upside, the kids and I made a fort out of a giant blanket and the kitchen chairs later on that afternoon to make up for the lunchtime chaos. It was a hit, and even I momentarily forgot about the stress.

Looking back, I find it amusing that the kids continued to sit quietly at the table, munching away at the first pancake while all of this went on. The only time any of them seemed distressed was when they ran out of pancake, not when they heard the alarm go off. I wonder if Mommy has this issue often.