Aunties M & Em

Thoughts on Faith, Family, Food, & Fun!


On becoming a Grandma-to-be

grandmother granddaughterFor years before we ever had a baby-to-be in our family, I was looking forward to being a grandma.

As a child, I loved both my grandmothers very much and loved spending time with them. There was little need for them to discipline me because I wouldn’t have said or done anything to make them angry or sad. It was a fun and happy time. Pure love.

When I grew up and had children of my own, my mother just naturally became a wonderful grandma. She had, and still does have, a beautiful way of reaching them and teaching them through unconditional love.

When my children became adults, I began to look forward to the time when I could have that kind of relationship with a grandchild.

You know how when you’re trying to get pregnant, there are pregnant women everywhere – reminding you that you’re not pregnant.

I felt a similar hurt. Every day I was on Facebook, at least one of my friends was posting photos of their grandchildren or a cute little saying about how wonderful it was to be a grandma. Some days I wanted to scream. Don’t misunderstand me… I was really, really happy for these grandmas. I really was. It just began to wear a little thin. I began to tell myself to quit hoping so maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.

As I shared in a previous post, Greg and Jessi tried for two years before getting pregnant. Jessi knows first-hand what that felt like. When I found out that Jessi had been feeling this way for so long, I felt for her empty arms and that empty place in her heart that was just waiting to be filled by her own child.

Once we knew of their struggles, we all began to pray. I believe in the power of prayer and it was something we could do to help.

Now, thank the Lord, Jessi has their own child growing inside her! And we all continue to pray for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

Now, I’m beginning to let my own guard down a little and have hope again.

Now, when my friends or cousins or my own mother tell me how wonderful it is to be a grandma, I listen better, and I smile.

I’m a grandma-to-be. I hope I can be for my grandchild what my grandmothers were to me.  :)

My heart is full as I write this. Let’s always remember that home is where the heart is…and there’s no place like home.
Auntie M


Happy Birthday to Me

You know that saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”?

Well, yesterday was my birthday.

The big 6-0.

I spent it baking my own birthday cake.

And helping my wonderful hubby in the building of our new deck out the back door of our house.

And totally enjoying all the nice birthday greetings from my friends on Facebook.

I like it that I didn’t hear from every “friend” I have on Facebook.

I mostly only heard from the people there that I actually consider my friends in real life.

That was cool.  :)

We ended the day having dinner with friends that we don’t get to see very often.

Yes, they are both friends on Facebook and they are friends in real life too.  :)

It was a very enjoyable evening!

When we got home we had a piece of my birthday cake. A Salted Caramel Drenched Coffee-Double Chocolate Cake. *sigh*

I got the recipe from Slim Palate. Click here to see what hers looks like. It’s beautiful!

Coffee Salted Caramel-drenched Double Chocolate Cake - croppedThis is what mine looks like. Not too bad for a first time recipe!

It was delicious too!  A keeper recipe for sure!

Today I woke up and realized that my 60th birthday has come and gone and I wondered, “now what?”

Now I’m 60 and it’s the first day of the rest of my life!

So I got busy and washed the dishes in the sink because we’re out of dishwasher soap.

It felt pretty good!

Remember that home is where the heart is, and there’s no place like home.  :)
Auntie M


It’s a surprise!

happy balloonsThe day our son and daughter-in-law came and surprised us with their good news was a wonderful day indeed!

So… What was the big surprise? Are you ready?!

I’m going to be a GRANDMA!!!

Greg and Jessi are going to have a baby!!!

Say what?  It took me a few seconds to comprehend the full meaning of this.

I mean, they had been trying for two years and had been told by a fertility specialist that it was impossible for them to have a child.

Impossible, that is, without donor eggs, hormone injections, and IVF.

And now they’re showing us a photo of a pregnancy test that says, “Pregnant”?Baby Nelson first test

Without all that scientific and medical involvement?


Wow!  And thank the Lord!  This is a real answer to prayer.  :)

I can’t stop smiling!  :)

Then we were instructed…um…asked politely NOT to tell anybody for a month!!!

I could understand it. They wanted to have their first ultrasound to make sure everything was OK.

But, a month?  Well, as it turns out, the time went pretty quickly.  And the baby is perfect!Baby Nelson first ultrasound

They don’t want to know the baby’s gender until he or she is actually born. So there will be another surprise announcement then!  :D

Me…a Grandma.

Grandma Nelson.

Sounds pretty good!

BTW, is it just me, or does it look like the baby is in a heart?  ♥  :)

Home is where the heart is, and there’s no place like home!

Auntie M



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2013 Backyard Remodel – The Fence

I’m really behind on telling this story so I’ll get right to it.  The fence was the biggest part of the project in 2013.  It took forever for us to decide where exactly we wanted to put it.  Our yard is huge and to fence the entire thing would not only be cost-prohibitive, it just wasn’t necessary.  But how much?  Where should it go?  How high?  What should it be made of?  And on and on.

Thankfully, the Internet is plum full of ideas with really great photos.  I finally found one that was beautiful, quaint, made of common materials, and looked like “us”.  It was made with 2″x4″ horse fencing and 4″x4″ posts.  There were lots of pretty flowers around it and it only enclosed part of a large backyard!  This was perfect inspiration for our own project!

So off we went to price the materials and research how to install such a beast!  :)

Again, I’ll let the photos tell the story.  Click on a photo to see them all in a large format slide show.

This waIMAG1853s a huge project but it’s so wonderful to let our dogs run free and unleashed without worrying about them!

The last thing we did in 2013 was to plant a redbud tree.  The beautiful blooms in spring and shade in the summer will be wonderful.  :)

The next time we visit, I’ve got a big surprise to tell you about!  But for now, always remember that home is where the heart is and there’s no place like home.  :)

Auntie M

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2013 Backyard Remodel – Moving the Shed

It’s been a while since I first posted about this!  We enjoy the new backyard every day!

After they built the foundation for the shed, they had to move it.  Not a small task as you will see… (click on a photo to see more detail and begin a slide show)


Next time I’ll tell you about the fence!

Always remember that home is where the heart is … and there’s no place like home!
Auntie M

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Spring has sprung! The weather is warmer! The races are roaring!

Don’t you just love alliteration?  I do!  I thought of this title last night and thought it was blog worthy.  :)

Let’s take the last one first…

The races… We were watching some shows we had on the DVR after having enjoyed some lovely evening fresh air, and what do we hear in the background?  Yes, the race track!  The roar!!  I don’t mind it though.  Really, I don’t.  The races are a fun sport for many, many people.  They also serve to bring people to our town…along with their spending dollars.  That’s a good thing.Lady n Cassie 4-12-14 cropped

The weather… It certainly is warmer and this is a very good thing after the long hard winter we had here in central Illinois.  Even the girls, our dogs Lady and Cassie, are happier when the weather is nice and they can spend more time outside.  For me, as long as it’s not too hot, I’m liking the warmer temps too.

Spring… What comes with Spring this year is a new and improved way of eating.  I believe it will be a very good thing.

Wait…  Again? Yes, again.  Read on…

I was at a visit with our primary care physician and we were talking about healthy eating and he said something profound. He held up his hand and said there are five kinds of carbohydrates I should avoid – Bread. Potatoes. Pasta. Rice. Fruit.

Really?  Yikes.  Well, let’s see…

Bread… I’ve already mostly eliminated wheat from my diet.  Don’t get me wrong…I love bread.  I love making it.  I love eating it.  I love to eat it in all its many forms and flavors.  I love it fresh out of the oven.  I love it rolled over with some peanut butter and jelly.  I love it cradling a fried egg.  I love it soaked in egg for French Toast.  I love it morphed into a waffle or tortilla or pancake or…cake!!!  But bread – or more accurately, wheat –  doesn’t like me in more ways than one. So, OK…. avoid bread.

Potatoes… potatoes?  Ok, I get it.  They’re a high glycemic food and wreck havoc with blood sugar levels. *sigh* Potatoes are a staple food in our home.   But, OK… avoid potatoes.

Rice… I usually just eat rice with Asian food which we only have occasionally so… avoid rice.

Pasta… refer back to wheat.  I know I’m weird, but I’ve never been a huge pasta lover so… avoid pasta.

Fruit… Now, I do eat a banana almost every day which I will miss but I’m going to give this a good effort so… avoid fruit.

Why am I telling you about this?  Well, I’ve decided not to keep it a secret.  If anyone has any encouragement as John and I start this journey, please do share.  We would appreciate it.  :)

We did try a new low-carb recipe this morning – Cream Cheese Pancakes (Low Carb and Gluten Free).  We forgot to take a photo so you’ll either have to use your imagination or, better yet, visit I Breathe… I’m Hungry for the recipe and much more!

The recipe takes very few ingredients – cream cheese, eggs, sweetener, and cinnamon.  That’s it!  Mix it all together and cook!  Yum!  Since I’ve mostly given up wheat since last summer, we’ve tried several gluten free pancake recipes.  This one, however, is the best!!  I thought they were a lot like crepes and very similar to our beloved Egg Pancakes (next time we’ll use almond extract instead of the cinnamon for that wonderful Egg Pancake flavor).

Well, that’s it for today.  Ooops!  I just remembered that I promised more photos of our backyard remodel project. They’ll keep for another day!

Always remember that home is where your heart is…and there’s no place like home!
Auntie M

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A Little Chilly, A Little Sweet, A Little Spicy


Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow…”six more weeks of winter it shall be”! (

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Perhaps by now you have heard that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. As if spring wasn’t already scheduled to start in about 6 weeks anyway. Now, I am of the opinion that it’s February in the Midwest, and therefore, it should be cold and snowy – though, Mother Nature could keep the ice. I realize this does not make me the most popular person in the region, let alone my own house…and I’m okay with that!

Today is also Superbowl Sunday, featuring the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. I have no real rooting interest, since my beloved Green Bay Packers were eliminated by Steven’s San Francisco 49ers in Week One of the playoffs…the 49ers were later eliminated by Seattle in a close game that came down to the last seconds…bittersweet for me, because it meant Steven was bummed out. Today, we’re both hoping for a good game, and would be okay with the Seahawks winning…so I guess we’re essentially rooting for Seattle! And, what would a Superbowl be without good commercials!

But no Superbowl is complete without some snacks, right? In years past, we’ve had homemade onion dip (Guy Fieri’s recipe is uh-may-zing, and easy, too), dry-rub Italian herbed chicken wings from a local pizza joint, buffalo chicken dip, potato soup, just to name a few. This year, we’re keepin’ it classy with White Castle sliders and fries…they had a special online deal that was too good to pass up, and they just sounded good! I know you know how that is…

I wasn’t planning on making anything for this year’s game…until I saw yesterday’s “currently crushing on” post by Jess at How Sweet It Is, her weekly roundup of interesting things she’s found…and she finds some pretty great things! The first thing that caught my attention today was Sriracha Caramel Corn at I love caramel corn, and grew up making it with Mom most years at Christmas. I haven’t made any for a couple of years, for no other reason than just not getting around to it. I don’t find caramel corn terribly difficult to make, and I enjoy seeing how the molten caramel ends up coating the kernels of popped corn while in the oven…okay, I just made my mouth water…

Sriracha…it’s spicy, it’s flavorful, and a little dab’ll do ya. I wasn’t sure how the sweetness of the caramel would hold up against the intense spiciness of the sriracha, but surprisingly, it turned out really well. The sriracha caramel does obtain a fairly smoky flavor as it finishes up in the oven, and the heat is pretty subtle as I taste a couple of kernels at a time. To me, the heat sneaks up on you, albeit in a rather pleasant way. Steven, however, has been enjoying it handful after handful since it finished earlier this afternoon.  He even told me it’s the best popcorn I’ve ever made…a compliment I’m more than willing to accept.

It's a slow burn...but worth it!

It’s a slow burn…but worth it!

Be sure to check out the recipe at!

So, now it’s nearly game time, and we’ll be picking up our sliders soon…I hope you all enjoy whatever festivities you have planned!



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