Amy Artisan

Family | Travel | Craft | Life | Books

Month: August 2016

Weekending…Down the Road…

This summer has been filled with all sorts of busy as a big work project nears a Labor Day weekend deadline. In the midst of this, my Texas crew relocated to Pennsylvania and we have been trying to figure out when a visit would occur before school started – either them to see me or me to see them. This past weekend, I “mostly” took a break so that I could head northwest in the state to hang out with my girlies in their new home and new town. After a busy Friday morning in the office, I finally left around lunchtime with a goal of quality time with some of my favorite people.

Blue Skies

It was a beautiful day for a drive and the scenery was great. In no time at all I was there. The girls and dog ran outside to greet me as I pulled into “my” parking space and before long they were giving me the tour of their new home and amazing yard.


Friday evening included a great meal at Happy Valley Brewing Co – then a driving tour around Penn State – then we stopped into the Creamery on campus for delicious ice cream cones to end a lovely summer evening. The August Pie flavor of the week that I chose was a perfect taste of summer. We all chuckled that the littlest in our crew got the largest ice cream cone…AND she managed to eat it all!

Ice CreamAfter the girls were in bed, it was great to catch up with the grown-ups over tasty after dinner drinks. And then, Riley the dog graciously let me sleep in the guest room that she has claimed as her room in the new house – she stayed with me all night.


I was awake early on Saturday morning & did a bit of work before the 2 youngest girls tiptoed downstairs and into my room. The morning included a visit to one of the great farmers markets where we loaded up on an assortment of beautiful produce and treats. Saturday afternoon started with a visit to the Boal Mansion and Columbus Chapel for the local Herb & Garlic Festival.


Then we headed a bit down the road to experience the 142nd annual Grange Fair. The girls had a great time on the midway rides. Because it was the last day, most of the animal exhibits were already empty so we didn’t get the “full” fair experience. We did enjoy strolling through the streets of the tent camp that has been a staple of this fair.

Bumper Cars

Saturday evening meant homemade pizzas and dinner on the patio under the pergola. As the sun set and the soundtrack of nighttime nature kicked in we stayed around the table for quite a while talking all sorts of serious and silly topics with the ever curious girls. Since pizza on the patio was a frequent evening during Texas visits, I commented that we must be home since we were enjoying pizza on the patio at their new place!


Sunday morning started with a seemingly never ending round of Uno with the girls before breakfast that included some delicious treats from a bakery stand at Saturday’s market. We then visited a local church which reminded me of their Texas church home. After lunch, the girls insisted on washing my car which yielded some soggy girls.


Before long, it was time to load up and head home. It was another beautiful day for my drive towards home. It is an easy and scenic drive between our homes and I anticipate there will be many trips between our towns as the days and months go by.

MKE Moments

As I’ve mentioned before, the last several months have included many trips to Milwaukee for work on a big project. When east coast vacation plans with the WI-fam in early August had to be delayed and I saw another MKE trip on the calendar for mid-month, all things aligned for me to fly out there earlier for a weekend of WI-fam fun before work. Here, a few snapshots along the way.


Saturday @ 6:25 AM – Wide awake early, so I decide to make some iced coffee & read for a while to start the day. “Can I get some non-decaf coffee packets?” That was my question as I went down to the front desk once I discovered the in-room coffee service only had decaf. “You mean regular coffee?” was the response. Umm…yes – evidently I do need some caffeine to ease into this day.


Saturday @ 2:01 PM – As we were out and about on Saturday morning, late afternoon supper plans were finalized. So when the shopping was done, we resumed the great Milwaukee custard tour with a stop at Leon’s Frozen Custard. For some of us, custard might have been our entire lunch. Another delicious vanilla cone – the heat of the day made this a fast melting and messy treat.
golfSaturday @ 6:57 PM – Mini golf with the cousins on a summer evening. It has been decades since I played. Fierce competition gave way to silliness among our 3 teams. By the end, my team of 4 (including the 3 year old) only had 2 golf balls to play among us all – so the adults would tee off and our littlest team member then made a game of getting the ball into the hole. From my play, evidently the stress of the last couple of weeks of work was working its way out via some horrible shots…

more custard

Saturday @ 7:47 PM – To beat the heat after mini golf we all headed to Kopp’s for more frozen custard. Truth, the LaCroix was more satisfying at that point in time after a filling supper and a hot round of golf. I only ate about 4 more bites of custard after this pic…but of course, since this was vacation I had to have custard twice in 1 day…

sleepy Will

Saturday @ 9:45 PM – Tuckered out from a full day…for the youngest in our crew, it was too much effort to stay awake for the final Phelps medal ceremony…watching the Olympics together & cheering on our favorites was a great end to the day…


Sunday @ 5:07 PM – After saying farewell to the WI-fam &  settling into the work hotel, I walked 2 blocks to the Milwaukee Public Market. Finally a chance to stop into the market after walking by it on every trip so far…a few provisions for a light supper & breakfast options for the mornings…

Monday morning

Monday @ 7:17 AM – Waking up to a view like this over the lakefront doesn’t jive with the “MKE travel advisory” email in my inbox from corporate security. Praying for peace here in this town!

beirhausTuesday @ 6:10 PM – A team celebration dinner to end an all day workshop meant a taste of Milwaukee at the Bavarian Beirhaus – complete with accordion music.
23rd floorTuesday @ 9:21 PM – Ending the day with drinks on the 23rd floor – the picture can’t capture the amazing view of the moon reflecting on the calm lake waters. A great jazz trio playing in the corner & plenty of laughter with colleagues.

The trip was quick; however, plenty of fun moments were had both “at play” and “at work” behind the cheddar curtain.

A is for…

As school days are drawing near for so many (my sister has already started back to her 18th year of teaching!), Carole’s prompt this week is a variation on the classroom classic exercise, the acrostic: 10 words that describe you (& begin with the same letter as your first name).

Artful & Aromatic: Zinnias & Basil from the Farm Stand

Artful & Aromatic: Zinnias & Basil from the Farm Stand

Adventurous… While not in the sense of extreme sports, I often respond with “I’m game” when some suggests trying something new…

Adept…I think I’m skilled in many areas – both at work and at home…

Attentive…to my family and friends…to the environments I’m in…always aware…

Amiable…I think I’m a friendly sort of person…

Adaptable…how else do you “survive” entering your 8th school as you start 10th grade when Dad’s career had us moving around?

Anthology…of course, my curiosity send me to to find an “A” word for bookworm or reader…

Astute…building on my attentiveness, I am perceptive and able to connect the dots…

Assured…my confidence has helped numerous times in “fun” situations during all my years consulting and in various work projects…

Authentic…there’s too much going on to not be real in who I am and how I approach life…

Auntie…actually, I’m M’Amy or Miss Amy to the dear ones in my life…but the sentiment is the same…

And of course as a bonus, Artisan…when I was looking to begin this blog I thought long and hard about the name…when I came across this definition, I knew it was “me” – a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft

What words best describe you? 

Muffin Madness

This weekend I knew that I needed to do some smart food prep for the week ahead & beyond – later this week I’ll be gone for a fun weekend & a few days of work at the start of next week. A major project at work is really cranking up as a deadline nears – so the days are long & I know that cooking in the evenings can’t be counted on for meals.

As I started to make a list of possible make ahead meals I noticed that all of the entrees could be baked in muffin cups so that a portion of each could be frozen & ready for smart meals later.

A breakfast treat!

A breakfast treat!

First up, a new to me variation on baked oatmeal: Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal. This was a THM pin-spiration. I “made it mine” by adding some chopped pecans & shredded (unsweetened) coconut to the mix. These baked for about 22 minutes. The cottage cheese “frosting” makes these seem like an indulgence – a clever way to add some protein to the meal.

Breakfast or Lunch or Dinner?

Next, a recipe from the Whole30 recipe feed on Instagram: Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Casserole from Living Loving Paleo. I added some diced mini peppers into each muffin. Even though there recipe has breakfast in the title, they are an any meal muffin for me. These baked for 25 minutes.

A new “go to” recipe in rotation

And then, a new favorite – Cheese Dog Pie – was given the muffin treatment. I mixed about 75% of the hot dogs into the muffin batter and these baked for 25 minutes.

As the week begins, I have 8 muffins from each batch tucked away in the freezer & ready to provide me smart meal options in the coming days & weeks. And, as work zaniness ratchets up in the next 2 weeks the answer to “what to eat” is one less thing to worry about.

What non-muffin recipes have you turned into muffins? What are some of your favorite make & freeze meals?

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