Thursday, December 31, 2009

Words for 2010


What is your 2010 “word cloud”?  We used Wordle to create our word cloud tonight.  It’s a little mixture of our hopes, dreams, goals and resolutions for 2010. Wordle is a toy that generates “word clouds” about anything you want them to be about.  Go to to design your own.  Click create and type in single words or phrases.  The more you duplicate a word the bigger the word will be.  Type as many words as you wish (up to 150) then click “GO”.  Change the font, layout and color to make your unique design.  It’s easiest to type your selected words in a word document first.  This makes editing much easier.  I recommend reading the FAQ.  It contains some great tips.

Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Etsy {3} My Little Bicklets


Local Artisan, Laura Bickel, has opened her own Etsy shop: My Little Bicklets. Laura is a full time teacher at Archbold High School and the mother of three children under the age of six (aka her “little bicklets”).  She specializes in making bags, bibs, burp cloths, changing pads and blankets.  If you are the first to buy one of her new designs, she’ll name it after you.  I purchased a small diaper bag for my sister, now known as “The Megan”.  I loved the vibrant colors and the shape and size were perfect.  I also purchased some of her bib/burp cloth sets for my niece and nephew for Christmas.  I’m loving “The Andrea” bag in her shop right now!  Check it out.  I’m sure it won’t be there long.  Look for a future My Little Bicklets give away.

IMG_6746 IMG_6749


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Simple Discovery

Although I’ve been a part of my nephew’s life from day one, I’m certain he met me for the first time tonight. Tonight, Wil discovered that his mom and I are twins.  He is seven months old and until today, I think he thought Emily and I were one in the same.  I was sitting in front of Wil’s saucer talking to him.  Emily walked in the room and leaned over next to me and said, “Hi Wil.”  Typically, Wil would flash a bright smile in instant recognition of his mom, but this time he looked frightened and confused with sheer panic in his eyes. His eyes focused on Emily, then me, back to her, then me.  Emily noticed right away that he wasn’t himself and said, “What’s wrong with him?”  I replied, “He was perfectly fine a second ago.”  Again, his eyes frantically moved back and forth focusing intently on each of our faces.  I told her I thought he was realizing there were two of us and then he burst into tears.  He sobbed.  Emily picked him up to console him and you could see his little wheels turning.  “Do I have double vision?  Do I have two moms or maybe two Aunt Megans? Which one is my mom? Where is my dad?”

We talked to him and reintroduced ourselves as though it was our first meeting.  Then, we did what any other good mom and aunt would do...we put him back in the saucer, got out the video camera and hoped to catch a similar reaction on tape…and we did.  You can see he is still processing the possibility that life as he knew it wasn’t so. When I brought the video home to show my husband, he responded, “Hmmm, Wil’s reaction is similar to the one I had when I found out there were two of you.” 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stella Leona Artisan Chocolates

Tonight we had a visit from our friend and chocolatier, Nancy Bontrager. She delivered an amazing gift basket that included a variety of her finest creations.   Nancy is the founder of Stella Leona Artisan Chocolates, located in Pettisville, Ohio. We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Nancy and her family over the past couple of years. 

Her storefront and artisan chocolates are characteristic of those you’d expect to find in a big city, but encompass the charm of both Nancy and the village where they are created.  It’s a tiny little escape; a real midwestern treasure. 

Through Nancy we’ve experienced chocolate in a brand new way and have developed an appreciation for the process and artistry from which her artisan chocolates are created.  It really is an experience. I thought I didn’t like dark chocolate, but after trying Stella Leona, one of my favorite pieces is the handpainted Raspberry Dark Chocolate.  You should stop by her shop and check things out for yourself.  She is located at 362 Main St., Pettisville, Ohio.  She is currently closed for a holiday break, but will reopen Jan. 6th.

Stella Leona gift basket

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hot and Spicy Snack Mix

We helped our nephews, Sammy and Wil, make a hot and spicy snack mix to give as gifts to family and friends. This recipe couldn't be more simple, making it perfect for a 3.5 year old. We bagged the mix in Ziploc baggies and taped this card to the front along with a bow.

sammy will card front

sammy will card back

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Iced Mocha Perfected

I heart an iced mocha, our breville espresso maker and the guy that knows how to use it.  I told Kent I was going to post about my favorite kitchen appliance.  He said, “There is nothing megasimple about the breville.”  I replied, “It’s megasimple to me.”  One of the things I appreciate about Kent is that he will experiment, test, retest and fiddle with an appliance and recipe until it is perfected.  All I have to do is be the taste tester.  It’s a sweet job.  He’s offered several times to show me how it works, but I’ve strategically declined.  It was a pricey investment, but worth every penny since we are approximately 50 miles from the nearest Starbucks.  Kent’s persistence has certainly paid off and it’s like we have a Starbucks right in our own kitchen!


Kent’s Iced Mocha Recipe
2 shots of espresso
2 T starbucks mocha powder
2 T hot water
1/2 c. skim milk

  1. 1. Make espresso
    2. Mix mocha powder+hot water=
    ….chocolate syrup
    3. Mix espresso, syrup and milk
    4. Pour over ice and add whipped cream

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Etsy {1 & 2}

I am an Etsy stalker.  Etsy is an online community where you can buy and sell all things handmade.  If I’m not careful, I can spend hours admiring the work of thousands of talented artists.  Below are two of my first purchases. I purchased the apron, from Estelle de Paris, for one of my sisters. She is a preschool teacher and likes to wear an apron to hold all the necessities that she might need at a moments notice. The bag, created by Byan Hippo, was a little gift for myself. 

One of my favorite features that makes browsing etsy shops megasimple is POUNCE. This feature allows you to browse items that were just purchased or undiscovered artists’ creations waiting to be found.  I’ll be posting more about Etsy in the future.

apron         byan hippo bag

Monday, December 21, 2009

What’s in a name?

The blogosphere has inspired me to join in. I’ll be highlighting all that I appreciate about the Midwest and the opportunity it brings for a simple Midwestern life.  As I contemplated the name of this blog the conversation with my husband went something like this…

Me:     “Which name to you like the best?”

Kent:  “I think Off the Beaten Path is out, but I like Megasimple.”

Me:    “I think it should be Megasimple…because we want to be.”

Kent:   “How about Megasimple…because I am.”

Me:     “Am I simple?”

Kent:   “What IS simple?”

His question/statement was endearing and made me laugh.  Kent definitely has simple down a little better than me.

Megasimple it is.  Although we both are aware and have experienced life that isn’t always megasimple, we do our best not to intentionally complicate it.  It’s a goal.