Sunday, December 20, 2009

dear new hampshire, we're mad at you.

hmm. i'm going to try to write this in the most non-judgmental way, but i'm sorry this whole incident did indeed unfold because it involved the state of new hampshire.

you see, it was friday night and ryan had found that cabela's big game hunter was on sale for $30 (normally $50) at best buy. yes, i did say cabela's big game hunter, stop judging me. You would be just as addicted as we are if you played it. Anyways, the reason this find was so exciting was because we had a $20 best buy gift card due to the promotion at best buy when buying our wii...therefore making the game only $10 out of our pocket.

SO I got home and started searching for the gift card and couldn't find it anywhere. Well, I found the little sleeve it came on, but the card wasn't attached. There was no need to panic yet, though, because I called the number on the back of the gift card holder and they told me I could go to the store with my receipt and they could just look up the card and reissue it.

so off to best buy we went and into the customer service line (which wasn't a line at all...which was great because they take forever there). we walk up explain the situation and they had to find and talk to five different people before they realized they had to call corporate. so the girl goes somewhere else in the store and talks to someone and comes back and says "good news or bad news?"

I said bad news. Save the best for last, right? I'll tell you the good news, first, because it was a joke...she told me "I was going to tell you the good news was that I just saved 15% on my car insurance." Lame.

The bad news: someone found our card and spent $16.62 at the Portsmouth, NH best buy. Okay first question is, why not spend the full $20? Second question is, how did our card get from Danvers, MA to Portsmouth, NH so quickly?!

Hypothetical situation:
say a vermonter found the card...and actually saw it drop from the person's bag. they obviously would pick it up and return it to it's rightful owner.

not the case with the new hampshire best buy go-er.

new hampshire, this is all your fault.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

crock pot failures.

so we can make things like chicken cordon bleu in a white wine reduction sauce and pork tenderloin in a molasses glaze...but we can't figure out how to successfully make tasty delicious meals in our crock pot! every time we try things come out not so tender and fact their dry and just yuck.

we think it could be our here is my plea:

we need good crock pot recipes...pleeeeeease! and thank you. we appreciate it :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

our Christmas tree :)

This should be a quick one...just wanted to post some pictures of our festive little apartment.

Despite both of us feeling not 100% up to par (we were not healthy for a good three weeks...), we ventured out down rainy 128 (never a safe idea) in search of Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Last year we were able to go the llama farm and actually cut down a tree when we were in Vermont, however we didn't think those things existed here in Massachusetts so we headed to Home Depot. Secretly I think that was Ryan's ploy to get me there so he could buy some fun toys for himself, but that's neither here nor there.

So after about ten minutes looking at the trees we decided to just pick one since they were all piled on top of each other and there was no real way to dig through them all...and this is the gem we found:

We were so excited to get our first Christmas tree together!!!!! We came right home and set it up in the stand and then proceeded to decorate it with lights and beads and the very few ornaments that we have. What's funny is that as we took out each ornament we just had to laugh because, besides the 10 little round ornaments we had bought that day, about 85% of our ornaments are penguins! I suppose our family and friends know us well :) and yes, that is a penguin on the top of our tree...

We also hung up our stockings "on the mantle". Lucky for us everyone knows we love penguin stuff so our apartment was fully stocked with Christmas stuff that may or may not be displayed all year round...

So that's our little tree. It stands about 5 1/2 feet and we love it :) We also strung up white lights on our porch because Christmas lights are fun....even if it doesn't actually look like Christmas outside! We love this time of year!! We are celebrating our Christmas together before we go to expect more pictures soon :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving at long last.

I've been meaning to post about Thanksgiving for a while now...but we bought a wii and we've spent a little bit too much time practicing our Tiger Woods golfing... :)

So after much deliberation we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Massachusetts since I just started a new job and currently have no vacation time. BUT lucky for us we didn't have to spend thanksgiving all by our lonesome...we had the privledge of spending it with the Slyman's and a bunch of other wonderful people from church!!

So Sarah and I planned a menu and we were each going to cook separately on Wednesday night at our respective homes...until she called Wednesday morning saying that she had hurt her neck at an exercise class the night before. So we changed plans and went over to cook with Patrick and Sarah all Wednesday night. We peeled and chopped and made things like cranberry sauce and washed dishes so that everything would be prepped and ready for the next day. Silly me forgot my camera so I have no photos from that...but we had a great time. Minus the time i decided to stick my hand on the 375 degree oven and burn two of my knuckles so bad that I literally almost fainted...WHOOPS! oh well...

So then we left around 10 to go home and sleep so we could wake up and go back and start preparing around 10 the next morning. There was sweet potato bread pudding to make and corn muffins to bake:

and potatoes that needed mashing:

Mmm there's nothing like cooking a big feast for a ton of was just so very enjoyable!

And since everyone in my family loves food so much I suppose I should include some of the tasty treats that we prepared...

green bean casserole:

garlic mashed potatoes:

drunken turkey:

sweet potato bread pudding:

butternut squash risotto

grandma's carrots:

So those are the dishes that we made all together...and then other people brought delicious treats and we had far far far too much food...but that's what thanksgiving is partly about, right?

The other more important part is being able to spend time with people that we care about. We felt so blessed to be able to spend the day with people from our church family. Even though we couldn't go home, it was just so great to be here and have it feel like home.

Here are a few more shots from the day:

Roberta and Michael

Sarah and her girls


So that was our day. It was full of friends and fun and lots of cooking! It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving and we are continually thankful for everything that is happening in our lives right now! God is so good to us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a new job.

Whoops...haven't updated this thing in a while. Sorry about that. Anyways........

I started a new job two weeks ago! I am working for a company called Vin Fen. You can check it out at They are one of Massachusetts largest human services organizations. My current position is the Program Assistant for a program called PACT. PACT works with people with severe mental illness and really works to integrate them back into the community. I am so so so excited to be in an organization that is going to allow me to grow and learn as a social worker. The goal is to gain experience with this population so I can move into a more case manager type position.

The funny part about my new job is that we've been functioning without an office for the last two weeks. We should be able to get in there and start setting up this week, but we shall see. So since we haven't been in the office the three of us from my office that have started (we are starting a new branch of PACT) have been in a different PACT office. This has been great in the sense that I can observe and learn without being thrown in right away. It also has allowed me to be able to talk to a lot of the different clinicians and social workers and just really get some hands on experience. Talk about an unexpected blessing!

So anyways - that's the new job. I haven't really described it well because we really haven't gotten our office off the ground yet...but we'll get there! It's so exciting to be able to be at the start of something!

All right...I should get back to my husband...he's been sick all week! We're hoping his fever calms down and he's off to the doctor's tomorrow. Please keep him in your prayers...he certainly is sick of being sick.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

a rockport weekend.

so we were in rockport more often then we were not in rockport this weekend (minus sleeping hours)...and it was just lovely.

day 1: game night with the slyman's and the lear's. we played rook:

rook is currently our favorite game...however playing with six players is A LOT different than playing with four players which is what we were used to...and i'm using that as the excuse as to why i lost. it's every man for himself so I didn't have the use of my favorite games partner ever (that'd be my husband). anyways it was a wonderful evening of laughing and gaming (even if i lost).

day 2: raking and lunching and video making and harvest partying all day long at at/with church.

mmm...isn't that cutest little church you've ever seen?! yes, it is overlooking the ocean..but it's cuteness if far outweighed the the other awesome parts of the church...aka the people who make up the church.

so on with raking we went...and by raking i mean finding lots and lots of worms because it had rained and while picking up all our leaves = picking up lots of worms. it grossed me out but the kids LOVED it.

and to prove that we actually did work:

anyways after two hours of raking up for some of the elderly people and around the church we were pretty excited to be done and eat some spaghetti and meatballs!!!

So we ate our lunch and sat around watching football just relaxing. so then we helped set up for the harvest party for the kids and quickly ran away because that scene became slightly overwhelming. we were going to leave but then sat down with patrick (the pastor) and started working on some video stuff since sermons are going to be broadcast on public access tv. sooo i got roped in (willingly roped in that is) to doing video stuff for church! i'm super excited about it and so glad to be able to use some "skills" (i'm not really good at video stuff yet...) and passions to serve others.

so we were there from 11 am til 6pm and proceeded to go home and crash really early. like 8pm early. yes we are old people. so then we woke up and were off to Rockport again for church. and another good sermon. mmmm solid sermons are SO nice.

so that was our weekend. it's so nice to feel at home in a church for the first time since high school. wow it's been a long time. it actually allows us to feel content here in Massachusetts away from family in a place that we were once not so thrilled about being in. thumbs up to pigeon cove chapel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

no soup for you.

sooo one of our favorite things about winter/fall is the ability to make a pot of soup/stew/chili/chowder and have it last the whole week so dinners after work are as easy as can be.

so far this fall we have made:

butternut squash and apple harvest soup
recipe found here:

It was DELICIOUS, however not so great on the filling you up side.

we've made recipe, just threw some things together.

Ryan made a delicious portabello mushroom bisque.

We made a spicy chicken soup last week that was REALLY good but really reminiscent of chili:

and we have made venison stew.

ALL this to say: we need soup/stew/chowder/bisque/anything made in a large pot and lasts recipes!!!! if you have favorites please send them our way. we love to cook and we love good recipes...and we love to eat.

that's all for now. a life update to come soon considering i'll be starting a new job in a week and a half...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

in a nutshell.

so it's been a little bit since we've updated this blog of ours. it seems like we've been rather busy, but I could only find a few events documented on i'm not really sure what we've been up to. Oh well! Since last time there have been a few things, though, that I should share.

#1 DOLLAR CONE DAY!!!!!!!!! I don't think there is anyone I know who loves ice cream more than our friend Jaq. HONESTLY, I think she would be content eating ice cream for the rest of her life and nothing else...but that might just be me. So anyways, there's this nice little ice cream store down the street called Captain Dusty's and every spring and every fall there is one day dedicated to dollar cone day when you can get a kiddie or a small for a who better than to celebrate dollar cone day than with jaq?!?!

so we met jaq after her long day of teaching and schooling and got our ice cream and meandered to discuss various different topics of importance while standing on this cute little dock:

we had a lot to catch up our newfound churches!! she had tried a new church and we had tried a new church and we had lovely conversation again about what we think we are looking for in a church. it was great. and encouraging. and we LOVE jaq.

item #2. the visit of mama and papa dumas!! i seem to have forgotten my camera for most of their visit. whooooops! they came on a Friday night and then left on a Sunday afternoon. It was a great visit and we started out watching home videos from when ryan was just a little kid. THEY WERE PRICELESS. i nearly fell out of my chair laughing so hard. if only I could include some of those clips on here. sigh. On saturday we had the privilege of meeting cousin AC and UM in Boston for lunch. It was absolutely downpouring, so that was quite the adventure...but it was just wonderful to see everybody!! we ate, laughed and enjoyed each other...just like always :)

if you'd like to share in some laughs with uncle marty please visit it's a good laugh, let me tell you.

Anyways, after meeting AC and company, we headed home to prepare a delish meal and this delightful cake:

That is a dr. pepper chocolate cake and probably the most fluffiest and tastiest chocolate cake i've had in a VERY LONG time. It's a recipe out of the dinosaur bbq cookbook. yum yum yum. So anyways, it was a great visit with ry's parents!

item #3 THE TOPSFIELD FAIR!!!!!!!!

so last saturday night we headed to the topsfield fair with a bunch of friends! some people were having a hard time in the mud pit they called the parking lot and michael was a good citizen and pushed them out. the funny thing is was that when they got free instead of saying thank you the guy rolled down his window and tried to give michael money. he didn't take it. it was quite unusual. perhaps that's massachusetts for you.

So we headed into the fair and Addie brought us all beads to wear :)

We wandered around the fair looking at all the carnies and animals and then found some corn on the cob on a stick. it was sooooo tasty.

and then my husband bought me my absolutely fair treat...kettle corn! he must love me :)

So after I scarfed entirely too much popcorn we headed off to the ticket booth to get some tickets. we knew how many we needed and katie was about to buy them when these kids wanted us to buy their tickets at face value...however, being the deal makers we are...we talked them down to giving us 20 tickets for $15 instead of $20. we were pretty proud.

we used our tickets to go on the ferris wheel! don't worry, bridget is plenty tall enough to ride the ferris wheel...

the view from the top:

item #4. we've started going to a new church! pigeon cove chapel in rockport. ( it's not like we didn't like the church we were going to...we just visited this church with friend one week and felt so comfortable and at home. can't quite put my finger on it, but it just fits. it's nice to find that.

so i think that's about it for now. we're off to go see where the wild things go with some friends!

ps - dearest little brother...if you want to be in the blog, you must come and visit!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

we're still alive.

AH! I haven't updated in so long. in fact I've not written about dollar cone day. ry's rents visiting. cousin, AC and UM in Boston. the Topsfield fair.

i promise...those updates are soon as i get a little bit healthier and recover from my 4am alarm clock going off...

Saturday, September 26, 2009


so i'm long overdue for updating the just keeps happening oh so quickly! we've just had so many blogtastic moments in our life recently, but i must specifically write about this one...

you see we had been planning a game night with our dear friends jaq and abby for quite some time now since it had been at least a month since our last fantastic game night. they're quite wonderful, frantic and fun.

so we had planned on last saturday night. ry and i had been getting very excited and were preparing for the day to come when jaq facebooked with terrible news. abby had to cancel...she was off to nascar.

we giggled to ourselves and told jaq she should still come over, so of course she did. and then the honesty began!!!

jaq came before the arranged 6pm time and decided she had to drive around near the beach until 6pm. i only found this out because i called her to see what her eta was because we were making hummus and needed some more chick peas. we laughed at her for being silly and told her that we HONESTLY didn't mind if she showed up early. the more jaq in our lives, the better.

so she came and we all adventured together for the chick peas and came back and finished the hummus. we all decided together that it wasn't great, but for the picture's sake, jaq pretended to love it. this was one of the lesser honest moments of the evening ;)

so then ryan was honest with us and told us all he wanted to do was go for a walk. so we bundled up ... and dressed like twins and went on our way:

our walk was awesome. we started talking about church. and what church means. and what church should look like. and what we like/dislike in a church. it was so nice to have a real conversation and just try to figure out what we think and want church to look like for us. sigh, we enjoy conversations like that.

so we got back and we were still talking about church and looking at the websites of the different churches we each were trying out the next day when i asked jaq if she had eaten any dinner. she said no and i could tell she was hungry...and we told her she had to be honest with us and just tell us she was hungry. so she finally let out her secret that yes, she would like some we got to work!!!


...and some delightful tea, courtesy of nate, nick, brad and dan...a delightful wedding present, indeed:

so we sat and ate our delightful treats and just continued to enjoy each other and discussed the importance of honesty in friendship. it's such a cool mark of a good friendship when you can be completely honest with telling them you're hungry and really need some chocolate chip banana pancakes before you pass out!

the other important detail of this night was that we had to celebrate jaq's birthday that had just occurred. and by just occurred, i mean two weeks ago. we had spent the afternoon preparing and we came up with this treat:

yes, that is a tea cup. and it MIGHT look like a delicious mocha, but in fact it is a cupcake...

so after three hours of our "game night" we finally settled in and broke out our all time favorite game...frantic four. if you've never played it before, you should definitely come over to our house so we can introduce you to the wonderful creation that will some day make us, jaq and amy dodd millions!!

we finished off our night with some phase 10 that ryan ended up winning. i think it was only because i kept using my skips on jaq so ryan wouldn't feel bad and he could catch up to us when he was losing...but that clearly backfired. oh well...he was a gracious winner..


By then the hour was approaching 11 and we decided to call it a night. it was such a fun evening full of unexpected events. we always have fun with jaq, but we definitely reached new heights ... and learned the importance of honest friendship and how good conversation can be so encouraging when you least expect it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

our friend juan.

this post is dedicated to our friend juan. juan is one of the best friends you could ever ask for. he always knows how to make you smile. for instance, the other day we received an email telling us to expect a package with a special "delivery". we were quite excited and were anticipating a great surprise when we returned home from work the next day.

so we got home from work and found a box on our porch and quickly brought it inside to open. pleasure stallion helped:

Pleasure Stallion is always such a great helper when it comes to such things. We accredit it to her short stay with nate, nick, brad and dan. Anyways, Pleasure Stallion wanted to open up the package and see, so we got right to it:

To all three of our delight, we found the best surprise in that box we could ever ask for!!!!! TWO PLEASURE PENGUINS!!!!!!!!!! We were so excited, but we were nervous because they'd been cooped up in a box for SO long, so Ryan quickly jumped into action:

It was a good thing that Ry knew CPR, otherwise we don't think the Pleasure Penguins would have survived! They survived the close call and we welcomed them both with open arms :)

They are so snuggly and cuddly and PERFECT for our family. While we didn't want to stop snuggling with the pleasure penguins, we had to let them bond with pleasure stallion:

After the three of them bonded, we took a family photo:

We obviously couldn't be happier to have these two WONDERFUL new additions to our home. And the fact that they came specially from Juan make them that much more special.

Juan is one of the most coolest people we know
when he's in Iraq we know he won't see snow
he just gave us the the best present ever
wow we think he is really clever

we can't wait til juan comes home
but for now in the dessert he'll roam
juan we hope you like these pics
our penguins sure give us lots of kicks

we love them so much we hope you see
they make us want to jump with glee
thanks so much for being so great
juan for you we'll never have hate

juan we love you and wait for the day
that we get to see your face and say
how much we appreciate you as a friend
we hope your time in Iraq soon will end!!

thanks, juan. you're the best!!!!!!!!! we love you and we miss you and we can't wait for you to come home!!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

it's official: we're foodies.

i suppose you might have gathered from our previous posts that we like food. a lot. and we didn't think we were THAT much a fan of food until the other night...

so it was Friday and we decided that we would go out since we received a couple of restaurant gift certificates for wedding gifts. note to self: gift certificates that facilitate dates for poor newlyweds is an extremely GOOD idea.

anyways we came home from work and got all dressed up and went out for our first date since the wedding. it was our two month anniversary, why not celebrate?

anyways, we went out to the grapevine in salem. it was lovely just having the opportunity to go out and not have to cook for ourselves, even though we absolutely love to cook. now we had eaten at the grapevine twice before...once we loved it. the other was alright. we decided this would be our make or break time.

so we're sitting there. i ordered a glass of wine, which was delicious, as well as a salad with goat cheese and ry ordered the fish chowder. i'm obsessed with goat cheese so i loved my salad, and ryan's chowder was alright.

then the main course came. as well as the realization that we're foodies. you see, we picked up on the slightest things that normal people wouldn't notice or even bother to comment mmm could have used a little less salt to accomodate for the saltiness of the proscuitto paired with my pork tenderloin. and hmm, should have reduced the pinot noir sauce just a little bit longer for the filet ryan ordered. WHOOPS! who goes on a date and sits and critiques the good points and bad points of the food?! we quickly realized what we were doing and tried to stop...but we just couldn't! it was quite funny by the end of the night. was so so so wonderful just to be able to go out for a night and just enjoy each other without a to-do list and to not have to pay for dinner...we were very thankful. maybe next time we'll leave our foodie brains at home...

Monday, September 7, 2009

welcome to the dumas family bed&breakfast...

***warning - this one is super long and filled with lots of pictures

so this past weekend cousin, daddy and pat-ricia all came to visit us!!!! we were so very excited for many reasons. 1-none of them had been here before. 2-we love cousin. 3-it was my father and pat's first time here for more than 24 hours in a VERY long long time...if ever...

we forgot the camera for this part so we'll have to use cousin came on the train thursday after she had finished all her classes. she arrived around 6:30pm and we wandered to south station to pick her up. we didn't want to deal with traffic so ry lugged cousin's very heavy bag back to the car and then we went in search of some cupcakes...which we wandered up and down Hanover St. to find...and then we learned the place we were looking for no longer existed. don't worry, there were still cupcakes. lots of cupcakes. so we each got a cupcake and then headed back home to make cousin her fav kind of pizza...buffalo chicken pizza!! we had made it the night before and put it in the fridge on a platter and it took ryan, cousin and three spatulas to get it onto the pizza oven:

but don't worry... it may have looked rustic, but it was DELISH!!!!

Then we set up cousin in her bed on the living room floor and she snuggled with pleasure stallion...we hear pleasure stallion has replaced something else snuggly...she said something about her old snuggle bunny liking the yankees... (just kidding about the replacement...)

so i worked the next day while ry stayed home to entertain cousin...however, cousin slept until she was practically asleep the whole time i was at work :) when i got home we had some snacks and taught cousin the tastiness of cold pizza (she had never had it...)

then we prepared dinner. buffalo salmon, baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

we then, of course had to get some ice cream since cousin hadn't had it since she'd been to school. when we got there we saw that their flag was all ry went to work...


we got our yummy ice cream and headed to the beach...and we had a little photo op:

but then we gave cousin the camera and this is what happened:

hmmm...the camera wasn't her friend...

here was the best one:

then we tried REALLY hard to get shots of the three of us...

ryan was sleeping...

i forgot to smile and ryan was still sleeping...

and then cousin fell asleep, too... we gave up and tried for the lifeguard chair:



it was super pretty:

then after ice cream we came home to START the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake:

and it FINALLY went in the oven at 10:33...

so the next day we woke up and played some tennis (we forgot the camera again...sorry...) and then came home to clean. cousin mopped. she's the best mopper ever. she also broomed...

then my father and pat-ricia arrived bearing TREATS!!!! most importantly wegmans cookie cake:

we ate some lunch and decided to wander to ocean lawn! they insist that you can't help but smile while skipping:

we played some bocce. it was oldies vs. goodies. i mean not so oldies. cousin concentrated VERY hard and she was our best player:

probably the most beautiful bocce court ever:

this was the time the goodies got ALL FOUR possible points. yes we were THAT good. must be because cousin and i stick our tongues out while throwing:

goodies won! no surprise there ;)

after bocce we explored the rocks:

...and pat found a treasure. it was stuck to a rock, though, so she couldn't bring it home :(

so we adventured home and made fresh mango....slushies...

and cousin taught ry how to stand:

then the surprise dinner was started!

and then the gnocchi with chili goat cheese sauce was finished!!!

...daddy told us it was as good as his grandfathers...which he has been trying to duplicate for years. don't worry, it was only our second time making them. needless to say, they didn't disappear this time :) :)

we finished off the evening with some white chocolate raspberry cheesecake:

...and some games:

then we tucked cousin into her new bed (the couch) and pleasure stallion wanted to join. again.

so we woke up sunday morning and waited for cousin to arise and my father started the "pumpkin pancakes". he had some problems, though. he couldn't quite figure out how to use the can's difficult, you know:

and then we realized we bought squash.

they were still delish!

and then it was off to boston...first stop: dunks.

we explored the public garden:

and made some friends with ducks...

...and a magician.

then we found some flowers that matched cousins shirt and we were very excited!!!

so we made her climb in :)

don't worry, i followed.


then it was off to the north end for lunch!

we giggled at this sight:

and cousin found a shirt she was VERY tempted to buy...

...and then i forgot to take more pictures when we got home from boston. but we had a relaxing meal and sat around chatting and enjoying ourselves. the weekend absolutely flew by...but i guess that's what happens when you're having lots of fun!!

so dad and pat left this morning at 7:30. they woke us up to say bye. they tried waking cousin...but she rolled over. not for long, though, since we had to deliver her to the train station this morning. so we packed her a lunch:

and sadly sent her on her way...

it was quite a wonderful weekend and we loved every second of it. we love being able to have family come to visit us. it was the perfect mix of adventuring and relaxing. we can't wait for more visitors!!!