Building Our Family Dream Home: PROGRESS!

For the past 6 months Jordan and I have been planning to build our family dream home. We have met with our architect and contractor many times planning and deciding what “we” think is the perfect home for us. It has been a very exciting process and we can’t wait for the end result! (Hopefully sometime June 2015)

Recently, with much excitement there has been dirt moved on our lot where the house will be built. Yes, I just said I was excited about dirt being scraped from the earth’s surface!! I never thought in a million years that I would be so excited about something like that! But, when you have a vision in your mind, any progress is better than no progress at all.

IMG_2588 IMG_2587 IMG_2585

Now, we sit and wait for more progress but don’t you worry, I will keep you updated because I can’t contain this excitement! Even if it’s just a little dirt moving ๐Ÿ˜‰

Michigan Trip

This past weekend my family and I traveled to Michigan for a family wedding. My cousin, David was united in marriage to his gorgeous bride, Angelina! It was a beautiful 4 day weekend filled with excitement, learning, and happy emotions!

The weekend began with a very early flight Friday. My husband, sister, parents, grandmother, and I flew out on the early flight. Which means we were all up at 3:00 am…yuck! Getting up early made for a very long day and night…

IMG_2543 IMG_2544

We arrived in Detroit, Michigan and had about a 45 minute drive to Rochester, Michigan. We stayed at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. It is an absolutely beautiful and most comfortable hotel I’ve stayed at in awhile! I highly recommend it if you are ever in the the Rochester, Michigan area. Later on that night we attended the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The groom and bride have Italian roots so it was only appropriate to fill us with tasty Italian food!

IMG_2549 IMG_2550

At the rehearsal dinner we received “VIP Welcome” Bags. The bag was filled with an itinerary, pages of local suggested shops, restaurants, and attractions, and 2 bags of ย Better Made Original Potato Chips, Faygo Pop, and Vernors Soda. You’re probably thinking…why in the world would they put chips and soda in a welcome bag? Or the real question is, why weird, unknown brands of soda? Well, let me explain… ๐Ÿ™‚

Better Made Potato Chips: In 1930, Cross Moceri and Peter Cipriano purchased a potato chip factory in Detroit, Michigan. In 1934, Peter and Cross launched their first and only brand of potato chips: Better Made. New and improved fryers cooked up to 100 pounds of potato chips at a time, using Michigan potatoes 8 months of the year. Today, Better Made chips are found in stores all over Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and central Chicago, Illinois.

Faygo Pop: In 1907, immigrant brothers and bakers, Ben and Perry Feigenson, began playing around with the idea of creating soft drinks based on their frosting flavors. They bottled their soda – which they called “pop” because of the sound it made when the lid was removed at a factory in Detroit, Michigan. The brothers developed the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works, but they changed the name to Faygo to fit on the labels. Faygo is sold in many states east of the Mississippi River.

Vernors: Without the Civil War, there would be no Vernors. Before the conflict began, James Vernor, a pharmacist, had concocted a new drink. Vernor was called off to war and he stored the secret mixture in an oak cask in his pharmacy. After returning from the battle four years later, he opened his secret keg and found the drink inside had been transformed. It had taken on a zippy, zesty, and gingery flavor. For years, the only place you could purchase a Vernors was from the fountain in Vernor’s pharmacy downtown Detroit. In the 1940s Vernor opened The Vernors Company to handle an expanding business. Today, Vernors is part of Plano, Texas, based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.


With relaxation on each guests mind when Saturday arrived we took a short walk down to the Rochester Mills Beer Co. for “Food, Friends, and Beer” (<< their motto). We spent our afternoon sharing stories and even playing a little pool too!


Finally, Sunday arrived! The entire weekend has built up to this day, wedding day! ย David and Angelina had a traditional Chaldean wedding. The Chaldeans are Catholic descendants of Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. The Chaldeans speak Aramaic, the language Christ spoke. There were quite a few ethnic customs the grooms family had to participate in. This experience was very interesting and such a learning experience!

IMG_2569 IMG_2574 IMG_2565 IMG_2568

Sunday began with a family Zeffa (wedding march). A Zeffa is a musical procession of bendir drums and horns. This announces the marriage is about to begin. We arrived at Angelina’s parents house and did just this. We processed in and danced and clapped with drums and horns blaring! When the Zeffa concluded we drove to the Chaldean Catholic Church where we witnessed David and Angelina say their “I Do’s” and observed more Chaldean traditions.

IMG_2576 IMG_2575


Placing of the Crowns: The crowns symbolize the Bride and Groom as the head of their new family and kingdom.

After the wedding ceremony we headed to a traditional reception with dancing and great food! Rest assured though, there were even more tidbits of Italian and Chaldean tradition put into the reception too! The reception was beautiful with ivory color detail and tons of white flowers! It was a great night!


Sugared almonds known as “Italian Confetti” to remind us that life is both bitter & sweet! 5 almonds represent 5 wishes for David & Angelina – Health, Wealth, Happiness, Fertility & Longevity!


Like any great getaway there is an end! We made our way home Monday afternoon with tired eyes and sore feet from dancing! Thank you David and Angelina for a fabulous weekend!


Starbucks in the airport is a must after a tiring weekend!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Today in South Dakota it has been one of the first very cold and windy days! As I was sitting in a continuing education class for work all I could think about was, hot Chicken Noodle Soup! (Oops, sorry to my instructor ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

By the way if you think I’m talking about Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup…I’m most certainly not!

One of the first meals my Mom taught me to cook when I moved into my first college apartment was Chicken Noodle Soup. She always would say, “Allie, cooking is so simple”! In the recipe I list below have some fresh ingredients and some “canned” but please enjoy it and stay warm!!


4 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (I used Low Sodium Chicken Broth)
Generous dash ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup uncooked extra wide egg noodles
1 cup shredded cooked chicken or turkey (I diced my chicken)

1. Heat the broth, black pepper, carrot and celery in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.
2. Stir the noodles and chicken in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.


PS. If you want to make it easier on yourself, go buy the carton of Swanson Chicken Broth and there’s the recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚ …See, my Mom was right, “so simple”!

Preparing to Pack…Trying to Avoid Overpacking

This upcoming weekend is my cousin David’s wedding. Our whole family and extended family is taking the couple hour plane ride to Michigan to have a whole lot of fun! It has become tradition that the entire family travels near and far to each family wedding to let loose and celebrate such great occasions.

Even though I look forward to having a fabulous time at each family get together I always immediately think to myself, “What am I going to wear?”

Depending on the weather and what type of events I am participating in determines what I pack in my suitcase. My first step is making a long list. The list includes the days of the week I’ll be staying and then listed under each day is the day and night outfits (including shoe choices). I am usually the girl that has the overweight suitcase at the airport so lately I’ve really been trying not to overpack my suitcase and follow my list I initially scribble out. Don’t forget miscellaneous items, such as toiletry items and jewelry!

Wish me luck on my adventure to Michigan!

Tall Boot Socks…my new favorite fall accessory!

As the fall season is now in full swing here in South Dakota, what else would I think about but fall styles? Cozy sweaters, skinny jeans, tall boots, and now my new obsession…TALL BOOT SOCKS! I am loving these tall boot socks because they easily accessorize a fall look perfectly. Effortless style is what I’m looking for and I can only assume most other women are too!

Below are some of my favorite boot socks I have purchased thus far: (Don’t mind my boot sock selfie’s ๐Ÿ˜‰ )


Free People Lola Sheer Rib Thigh High


Free People Speckled Slouch Tall Sock


Free People Pioneer Thigh High


Purchased at Herberger’s


Purchased at Herberger’s

Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies are soft and oh-so delicious!

Who doesn’t love pumpkin everything during the fall season?!


Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies


2 cups butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

4 cups all-purpose flour


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (add until desired consistency/firmness)

Ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat the 2 cups of butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Beat until combined. Beat in the eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the four as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon.

2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on engrossed cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

3. For frosting, in a small saucepan heat the 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.

Semi-Truck Driving Lessons at the Farm…watch out!

Last night my sister-in-law and I were very excited to receive some great semi-truck driving lessons from our men at the farm! The Ryckman farm purchased an automatic semi-truck this year which in turn means driving truck is easier than ever! My sister-in-law Taryn was instructed by her husband, Allen and I was instructed by my husband, Jordan. Both husbands were very patient and great teachers to the both of us! By the end of the night I was driving all by myself with little instruction. Needless to say, Jordan was very proud of me! I love helping and feeling apart of the success at the farm!


My first opportunity to drive the Semi-Truck


My sister-in-law, Taryn


South Dakota Sunset


Climbed to the top of the grain bin with Jordan


Our niece, Iley took a ride in the tractor with Uncle Jordan

Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins…Yes, Please!!

When deciding to start my journey on the 21 Day Fix I thought I would have to cut out many of my favorite food items. Then, after reading over the 21 Day Fix reading material that came in the package with the start up kit, I found out I didn’t have to cut out ALL of my favorite snack choices…I was pumped!

To me, Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins are like a feel good, let’s go to a movie on a Sunday type of little treat. I can have one orange container of Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins three times a week. I’d call that a WIN!