I’m two and a half pages into my book review of Ann Moore’s book Girl Reinvented.  Expect to see it on Monday along with a giveaway!  I haven’t told The Husband about the giveaway yet so hopefully he’s cool buying one of you a present since I make zero money.

Also expect to see a nursery DIY project I’ve been working on.  Here’s a teaser.


Have a great weekend!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What are your weekend plans?

I now have two posts a week prescheduled for the entire months of April, May, June AND July (Thursdays and Saturdays).  Yet I somehow have nothing for today.  Oh well, please enjoy a dog within a dog.  I can at least leave you with that.

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Dog Within a Dog 1 RW

Coming up soon, a book review and a giveaway!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What book are you reading right now?

I have to do a recap (I hate that word) of my niece’s eighth birthday because in one of the Throwback Thursday posts I scheduled for July I mention her party.  And I claimed I would add a link to the recap (I still hate that word) I hadn’t actually written yet.  So here I am, keeping my word.  I’m nothing if not true to my word.

Since I am now pregnant with a little girl, I paid more attention to the finer nuances of little girls at the party.  I realized two very important things.

One.  Little Girls Like Pink.

I think this fact might be universal, but I’m not 100% sure.

The cake was pink.

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Even on the inside.

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Her dress was pink.  At least on the bottom.

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I don’t want to brag, but my kid is an artistic genius.  Genius I say.  G.E.N.I.U.S.


We’ve had lots of snowy, Chilly Willy the Penguin weather in the Midwest and pregnancy has been getting the best of me lately so The Pete has been indoors more than I’d like.  Playing, trashing the house, unfolding the folded laundry, reading lots of books and doing art projects.  I have a plan for an alphabet and gallery wall over his toy area in the family room and some of his art will be framed and hung there.  This piece included.  I love it.  He really is a genius.

I’m currently working on a few blog posts that should be up next week, such as a book review and my niece’s birthday party recap.  I’ve also spent a chunk of time digging through pictures on the external hard drive to keep up these random picture of the day posts.  I’d like to schedule a few weeks here and there of past motorcycle vacations too.  These will be photobomb weeks with a smattering of commentary that, hopefully, The Husband will contribute to as well.  We’ve had some nice trips over the years.

I’m working hard to make sure you all stay entertained, or at least mildly amused, when this baby arrives and starts gobbling up my blogging free time.

Chat at ya soon!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  If you have kids, how much of their art and crafts do you keep?  I keep it ALL.  Petey is only two so right now a modest plastic bin contains it all.  We’ll see how I feel when he’s ten . . .



See that beauty right up there?  Yep, I took thirty seconds to create a new and more fitting logo to announce my pinch hitting here on Midwestern Bite.  I know… I know… you’re impressed by my graphic design skills.  I amaze myself as well. Bye bye overplayed Man Cave logo!

I’m stepping in today to talk about chicken feed.  Specifically, we’re going to walk through growing your own supplemental backyard livestock food via a very simple Barley Fodder System.

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 Why go through the (extremely minimal) effort?

1. Fodder is nutritious and healthy.  Chickens are natural foragers.  As true omnivores, they evolved eating plenty of protein (bugs and such) in addition to green plants. Just like us humans, they’re not designed to thrive on a grain based diet.  So when weather and other conditions permit I let the ladies free range inside our 100’x50′ fenced grassy garden area, pecking around to their hearts’ content.  The barley fodder I grow for them gives them something fresh and green for the times they have to stay secured in the (freaking awesome) coop and run I built… or when their lawn is covered in six inches of snow.

2. Fodder is cheap.  Chicken feed is expensive.  Chickens eat a lot of it.  Providing something nutritious like barley fodder helps stretch their primary feed and keeps a few more pennies in this guy’s pocket.  I’ll do some math later that really drives this point home.

3. Fodder is freakin’ fun!  Yeah, maybe not in the traditional way.  But hear me out.  What kind of a Gentleman Farmer doesn’t grow a crop for his livestock? Pssshhh, not this kind. Once in the morning on my way to work, and once more before bed, I don my large (freaking awesome) Homestead hat and tell the wife I’m “Off to do the Farm Chores!” of watering my tiny tubs of barley.  Yes, I do that every time.  Yes, that little routine annoys her every time.  See… fun!

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How easy is it?  I say stupidly easy, but you be the judge.  The below steps might seem a tad complicated, but reading it is a lot more complicated than doing it.  Growing fodder is a two-minute-per-day job.  Sixty seconds sometime in the AM.  Then sixty seconds sometime in the PM.

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I went out on a limb for today’s Thrift Gift Facelift.


I broadened my horizons, stepped out of my comfort zone, delved deep into the recess of things I never thought I would do . . . that’s right . . . I hand sewed.  Did you catch the “hand” part?  This is epic people, epic.

I don’t hand sew.  I tried cross stitching once in college (my sister loves it) and after about ten minutes I wanted to rip my hair out and run screaming into the night shouting make it stop.  That’s how much I hate cross stitch.

This wasn’t so bad.  I’m not saying I want to hand sew for a living and I must admit my dreams of opening an Etsy store to sell Onesie Pillows have been squelched, but I did have fun trying something new and I’m pleased with the results.  That’s really what Thrift Gift Facelift is all about right?

If you have no idea what I’m talking about you must be new to The Bite so click on over here to read the haps on this swap that Supermom and I created, mmmmm K?  I don’t want to bore the rest of you with repeat information.

It’s no secret that I’m pregnant and it’s no secret that I’m having a girl and it’s no secret that Supermom has two girls of her own.  What you might not know is that a good chunk of the girly hand me downs we’ve received for Baby Number 2 have been from Supermom, including the world’s largest stack of onesies.  Onesies are a baby staple item and nice to have around, but I probably have enough at this point for the babe to wear one every day and not be seen in the same onesie twice.  Okay, I’m embellishing a bit for effect, but you get the point.  We have lots of onesies.  From Supermom, from my sister, the gender neutral ones I saved from Sweetey Petey.  It’s a onesie smorgasbord over here and one less onesie in the closet isn’t going to cause Baby Number 2 to crawl around naked.  I’m embellishing a bit for effect again . . . babies don’t crawl at three months.  Sweetey Petey was booking it at 5, but three is pushing it.

So I made a onesie pillow from a three month onesie.


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Title Ranch Dip RW

When life gives you holiday parties, make ranch dip I always say.

Okay, that’s a lie.  I rarely ever say that.  Mostly because I rarely ever eat ranch dip.  I think it’s the texture and the fact it always always always reminds me of chugging super strong salad dressing.  Not that I’ve ever done that.  Seriously, I’ve never done that.  I’m a modest salad dresser and that’s putting it mildly.

This ranch dip recipe fixes all that.  I’m taking a few liberties by using the word “recipe” here since this is more of a to taste sort of thing.

I like sour cream in moderation.  I like mayonnaise in moderation.  I just don’t like them in my dips.  What I do like and don’t feel nearly as bad about chugging (not that I’ve ever done that, seriously I’ve never done that) is low fat cottage cheese.  It tastes better, the texture is better and best of all it’s better for you.  Although pretty much anything is better for you than mayonnaise amiright?

So here’s all you need to do to make the BEST ranch dip ever.

Two Ingredient Ranch Dip


Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Packet

The Haps

This is why I’m having a difficult time calling this a recipe.  I never measure.  Ever.  Depending on how many people I need to feed, I dump some cottage cheese into the blender or food processor (I never dump the whole tub because Sweetey Petey loves cottage cheese and he’ll want some later.)  Then I sprinkle in some ranch seasoning.  I whir it all together into a smooth consistency, taste test, add more seasoning if needed and whir some more.  Repeat as necessary.

That’s it.  Fabulously tasty.  Fabulously thick for dipping.  Completely customizable to your level of ranchy preference.  Oh, and it’s super simple as well.  Comes together in seconds!  Unless you are too lazy to wash the food processor and your blender stinks and requires a little bit of prodding with a spoon, then it’s more like minutes.  Still.  Very little prep work and no measuring cups to wash afterwards!  And isn’t it really all about how many dishes you have to wash anyway?

– Joanna

Oh!  Sorry the blog has been a bit sparse lately.  I’ve been working on painting the nursery (no VOC so no lectures please) and unboxing and organizing and boxing and organizing the mess that’s been shoved behind our bar for the past six months.  Also, I’ve been reading a lot more lately.  I had forgotten how awesome it feels to just sit and read a book.  Quietly.  With no distractions.  Bliss.  Anyway, coming up on Friday is Thrift Gift Facelfit and hopefully Monday The Husband will be in to give you a tutorial on that funky picture I posted the other day and made you guess on.  I’m also going to write up a review of Girl Reinvented by Ann Moore (Allchin) of Cooking Dangerously fame.  Not sure when I’ll get to that, but hopefully soon.  That’s the plan Stan.  Do I have any readers named Stan?  If so, show yourself please.

Oh Oh, as another aside, I really hate photographing white things.  Also, yellow flowers.  That is all.

Question of the Day:  To dip or not to dip . . .  that is the question. 

So I actually wrote two blog posts this morning . . . neither of which you can see today.


I’ve decided to do a series of Throwback Thursday posts in which I share random details of my past as well as potentially embarrassing photos of me, like questionable fashion choices, kissing a snake, my butt (sorta, this is a family blog after all) and more.  But I’m not starting them till the first Thursday in April.  If all goes according to plan, April will be prime new-baby-is-wearing-me-out-and-I’m-not-sleeping-well-thus-my-blog-sucks-a-little-bit time.  So I thought it would be nice to have some interesting material scheduled to keep things going for a while.  I’m sure I’ll still blog of course, but depending on how much sleep I get I can’t promise how coherent the posts will be.

I have Throwback Thursday posts from the first Thursday in April through the beginning of July already scheduled, with more yet to go.

I’m sacrificing today’s entertainment for tomorrow’s entertainment I suppose.

How about a teaser instead?  No, not the butt picture.  You have to wait till May 8th for that one.

Here’s a picture of an upcoming post by The Husband.

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I’ll let you all guess what it is.

Have a lovely Friday.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What is this picture of?  Why is it important to The Husband?


I have a fun little project to share with you today!  A straight up, seriously fun and easy art and photography project.  That’s right people . . . no snark.  What is this world coming to?

It’s an inexpensive way to transfer black and white photographs to canvas without the high cost of paying someone to do it for you.  Plus, you get the added bonus of creating something handmade which in my book is always preferable to store bought.


First off you need a few supplies:

8×10 Canvas (I can find a two pack at the craft store for $5 or less but this isn’t too much more
if you don’t want to make the trip)

Liquitex Professional Gloss Heavy Gel (like this one)

A brush

8×10 Laser print or copy of a photograph in black and white

Here’s the haps:

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This post was inspired by two people.

First, my friend Nikki who was super excited to find out I was pregnant and super excited about what pregnancy stuff I would share on my blog.  Sorry, Nikki, I haven’t shared much here have I?  To be honest, unless I have become good friends with the blogger, I tend to skip over those posts that detail every excruciating instance of pregnancy.  Weight gain, cravings, movement, if they have swelling or stretch marks or if their belly button has “popped” yet.  The list goes on and on.  And on. Quite frankly, a lot of times I just don’t care.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

In case you do care, my weight gain is none of your business, we’ll get to my cravings in a minute, this baby moves non freaking stop, I have no swelling or stretch marks and my belly button is just fine thankyouverymuch (or as The Husband likes to say “the turkey isn’t done yet.”)

Second, my friend Ann who has recently posted such gems to her blog as I ate Rudolph for Christmas and Christmas trees aren’t good eating.

Between these two ladies, this post was born.  So without further hemming and hawing I’d like to share with you pretty much my one and only pregnancy craving . . . SNOW.

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That’s right.  SNOW.

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