Once a year…

NIAWOnce a year, National Infertility Awareness Week rolls around, an event sponsored by Resolve, the National Infertility Association.  With all the “weeks” out there for all the different causes it is easy to become desensitized, but it is still important to share your story to “humanize” this silent disorder 1 in 8 struggle with.  We are “2 people 40 acres” for a reason…

So in honor of this week I wanted to “re-blog” this post/article from Seleni Institute called “A Guide to Infertility Etiquette”.  It is written by one of my favorite bloggers, she is a wonderful advocate for this cause and approaches this topic with grace and passion.  Her blog is: http://blog.silentsorority.com/  I challenge you to read it to become more educated on this topic.

Ok here is the “re-blog”… it is short and sweet but to the point… maybe you will pick up a few nuggets!

Taken from:  http://seleni.org/insight/news-information/a-guide-to-infertility-etiquette

A Guide to Infertility Etiquette

How to help your friends and family help you

April 24, 2013 by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

You know your friends and family mean well. Really, they do. But infertility isn’t exactly something we learn about as kids. There’s no merit badge for infertility etiquette, and visiting a fertility clinic is not on the list of typical school field trips. The fact is, unless people have had to deal with it personally, most are blissfully unaware of even basic knowledge about infertility.

That can leave your friends and family members at a complete loss for the right thing to say or do, and odds are high that they’ll tell you the last thing you need or want to hear. And, as you probably know all too well, trying to develop a “thick skin” isn’t even an option. On the worst days, battling infertility feels like you have no skin at all.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “Your day will come.” (What makes you so sure? The reality is that it may not.)
  • “Just relax.” (Seriously? This advice just stresses me out more.)
  • “I know a couple who gave up trying to have a baby and just after filing for adoption, the woman got pregnant.” (Miracle stories may not apply to me.)
  • “You can have my kids.” (Oh, you were only joking? What was the funny part?)
  • “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.” (Ouch.)
  • “God has other plans for you.” (Really? Do you have some inside track with the Almighty? And what have I done to deserve that?)
Understand and educate

Remember, those of us diagnosed with infertility didn’t know much about it either until we were forced to take a crash course – acronyms and all. You don’t want to break out the flash cards on your family, but you can encourage meaningful discussions, even if you have to help define terms now and again.

This isn’t easy to do. You’re already reeling from what feels like an endless loop of heartbreak and hope. You’re more than likely amped up on hormones and short on patience. Sometimes family and friend’s comments can seem downright judgmental, and you’ve probably been hard enough on yourself already.

Besides not wanting to be judged, you want family and friends to know that you need their support, their kindness and when necessary an indulgence – from a getting to take a pass on a family event to a quart of your favorite ice cream. Most important, you want to be heard – not marginalized or dismissed.

We all differ in how much outside involvement we want or need. Some people, like me, feel comfortable being pretty open about their infertility. Others prefer to keep their struggles private. Let your inner circle know what you prefer – and that your needs may change over time. Being clear helps everyone understand your boundaries.


***Next week back to the baking, I have been in my kitchen yesterday and this morning working on some Scandinavian Cinnamon Rolls to share!  Stay tuned for that recipe next week!

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan


Grilling: The Bun – Part 2

Last week the burger… this week the bun!  Whenever you make a hamburger that has a lot of “umph” to it you need a bun to match.  Those wimpy, airy store-bought buns will not hold up to the burger, the toppings, and the condiments.  This is a recipe Huz found online when we were first married 5 years ago and it was used as a french bread recipe initially.  Over the years we have used it for sub sandwiches, bruschetta chips, and hamburger buns.  It is super simple and a pretty quick process.  Lets get to it!

Ingredients: (yield 6 buns or 2 french breads or 3 buns and 1 french bread)

  • 1 Cup of Warm Water (about 100 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Bread Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of white sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  • Sesame seeds – optional


Place the 1 cup of water, sugar, salt, and yeast into mix master bowl (or large bowl if you are not using a mixer).  Let rest for a minute or two, then add 1 cup of flour and mix.  Once incorporated add another cup, switch to dough hook (if using mixer) and finish adding the remaining flour.  Once all the flour is incorporated place dough in a slightly greased plastic bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise for about 30-45 minutes or until it has doubled.  See picture below.

Bun 1

Punch the dough down.  On a lightly floured surface roll/shape into a 16×12 inch rectangle.  Cut dough in half.  *If you are making french bread roll up each half and shape into a torpedo shape and place both halves on a cookie sheet about 3 or 4 inches apart.  I sometimes sprinkle a little cornmeal down on my cookie sheet too.  It adds a nice flavor to the bread.  **If making the buns cut each half into 3 pieces so you will yield 6 buns.  Shaping into about 5 inch in diameter disks.  Place on greased cookie sheet.  Then cover either option with a damp cloth and let rise for 30-45 minutes again.  Since I only made two burgers I opted to make 3 buns and a baguette.  With about 15 minutes left of your last rise preheat oven to 375.  Then take the egg yolk and beat in 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg yolk wash.  Once the rise is done make deep diagonal slashes across the baguette loaves about every 2 inches.  Then brush the tops of your bread with the egg yolk/water wash.  Sprinkle sesame seeds if desired.   See pre oven picture below.

bun 2

Then bake for 20-25 minutes  in your preheated oven or until golden brown.  See finished product below.

Bun 3

This is a nice quick & easy bread to make plus they freeze well too.  So you can even make a few batches a head of time to make for a quick meal during the week.  Also I just checked the long-range forecast looks like this West Michigan weather is starting to turn a bit warmer… I finally see some grilling weather coming up!

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan

Grilling: The Stuffed Burger – Part 1

One week start to finish we built our deck, then the rain came.  It rained, and rained all last week, but never fear we grilled in the rain on our new deck a couple of times anyway.  Wanted to share one of our favorite grill recipes with you, stuffed burgers.  Warning… you need an appetite for these suckers!  They come in at a 1/2 pound each stuffed with cheese and topped with cheese.  Also we have some interesting activity going on around the farm, please scroll a little farther down the page to meet Henny… our broody chicken and the experiment we are trying with her!

Stuffed Hamburgers {Part 1, in part 2 I share how to make the awesome buns!}

Ingredients Needed: (Serves 2, so just adjust to your crowd size)

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef – we like to use grassfed from Creswick farms – check out them!  (Creswick Farms)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste – we use about a scant tsp of each
  • 1 Jalapeno finely chopped – optional but adds great flavor
  • 1 Small Onion finely chopped – optional but adds great flavor
  • 1 Small Clove of Crushed Garlic – optional but adds great flavor – I think we forgot the garlic this time around & they were still great!
  • Slices of Cheese – what ever flavor sounds best to you, we have used cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella before.
  • 2 Hearty Buns that will hold the burger and toppings, we stumbled upon the perfect recipe which I will share in part 2 of this post later this week.


In a large bowl combine above ingredients, less the cheese, and mix.  Dig right in there with your hands, really feel like you are creating your burgers.  See picture below.

Burger 1

Then divide into 4 parts, and shape two of the four parts into patties.  We like to shape them on wax paper so they do not stick as much since you have to get them somewhat thin.  Once shaped into a large flat patty (about 5 inches in diameter) top with a slab or two of cheese.  Speaking from experience, use slices of cheese rather than shredded.  See picture below, shows better than I can explain about how much cheese to add, an average amount is perfect.

Burger 2

Next create two more patties with your remaining parts, that are just as large at the first.  Then put over top of the cheese and seal the burger sides together with a fork.  See photo below.

Burger 3

Then heat up your grill and cook to your desired “doneness”.  While cooking on the grill the cheese will melt inside.  For the last minute or so of grilling top the burgers with more cheese and melt on.  They kind of cook up like a flying saucer, a bit rounder in the middle but they are wonderful.  The cheese in the center keeps the meat moist and the ingredients incorporated in the meat add wonderful flavor.  Here is a picture of the final product coming off the grill, decorate and eat as you like!   Later this week the buns, as pictured below, so easy to make and have enough substance to hold up to a hamburger like this!!!

Burger 4

Now switching gears for a moment…

Henny  Meet Henny – our broody chicken.  Interesting fact, did you know chickens can count to 13?  A chicken will lay 2 eggs every 3 days on average.  Once she lays 13 eggs she goes broody and starts to nest on them until they hatch into chicks.  Of course you need a rooster to ensure the eggs are fertilized (which we have).  If you take the eggs out of the nesting box before they get to 13 they will keep laying.  Which is what you normally do if you want farm fresh eggs.

Thus Henny here has decided it is time to hunker down on her eggs, and get up to 13 laid.   Essentially she never leaves her box but to get food because she is working on getting 13 eggs in her box.  Sometimes when she hops out to get food another chicken might hop up into the nesting box lay an egg, then Henny takes her stop back, so she is getting a bit of help…  Currently she has about 6 or 7 eggs under there from what we can tell.  We have decided to let her brood and hatch these eggs once she gets up to 13.  Will keep you posted on her and if we get any chicks, sometimes chickens can give up brooding and just abandon the eggs (they are chickens after all, thus not the brightest)… we have never done this before, so we shall see what happens.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan

Spring Break…

What a week…  Huz had spring break last week starting on March 31st running thru April 5th and while we hung out at home on a “stay-cation” it felt much more like a “work-cation” but we were able to accomplish a lot … check out the progress around the farm!

1)  We visited the greenhouse and started 12 varieties of tomatoes for the garden, we usually plant around 285 tomatoes for canning!  We also transplanted 10 hot pepper varieties and checked on the flowers we have started…  below is a picture of Dianne’s greenhouse 1.5 miles down the dirt road were all of our seeds get their spring start.

Spring Break 1

2) I learned how to bench graft apple trees from my friend and Schwalliers Country Basket donut partner in crime, Robbi.  Rather… I learned the concept and practiced whittling with some scrap scion wood.  While teaching me she was bench grafting through her pile of 1600 honey crisp for a local fruit farmer.  We had bad bunny damage on our fruit trees this past winter so I picked Robbi’s brain and we decided on a new approach which requires new trees.  The plan is to start them pots this year, get them established, then plant in the garden next spring and use different protection to guard against bunny munches.  Robbi was able to help me graft 14 apple tree root-stock for our garden, since it took me about 45 minutes to get 2 of my 14 trees grafted she assisted with the other 12 to move things along.  I will be working with her later this spring in the orchards around West Michigan to help her with her grafting business.  Looking forward to the challenge of learning this new skill.  Below is a picture of the 14 grafted apple trees, they need to stay dormant and undisturbed for about a month, this helps the graft to heal and take.  Will keep you posted on our new orchards progress!

Spring Break 2

3)  Of course we found time to brew beer!  We brewed an Altbier,  Altbier is a German style brown ale, the “”alt”” literally translates to “old” in German.  It will be a good month or so until this beer is ready to try!  We also bottled our Oatmeal Stout and Roggenbier (a German rye ale) on Easter Sunday evening  after we got home from a celebration, so we were up a bit late but it is worth it for good beer!  Below is our bottled Oatmeal Stout and our freshly brewed Altbier.

Spring Break 3

4)  Last but not least the main event, we built our deck, it has been my dream for years to have a large deck off our back slider.  It was a huge undertaking for the week, but we were on a mission.  Saturday to Saturday, I ran the chop saw & Huz ran the screw gun, we leveled and leveled and measured and measured piece by piece… and the hard work has paid off.  It was darn cold a few days early in the week but the weather held and we had no rain delays… Below is a quick film strip of the deck going up, it turned out awesome!

Spring Break 4

Believe it or not between all of this we were each also able to find down time to start and finish a Jack Reacher novel written by Lee Child, Huz read Die Trying and I tackled Tripwire.  We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch with Huz’s Grandma and the  Jeep got a new U-Joint.  Phew!  Huz is back to school today and thankful for the decking break!

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan

PS:  We have a chicken going “broody” meaning it is nesting on eggs, we think there are about 8 in there now, and it is working its way to 13.  We are going to let it nest and maybe sometime in late spring we will have more baby chicks.  Will keep you posted on this experiment!