Friday, December 9, 2011

Really Bad Eggs - Part 2

Found these on the kitchen counter. Typically eggies left out for a little too long don't worry me... not this time. Enjoy, brother.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Goodbye, Rock Hard Brown Sugar

Ever left the lid off the brown sugar? So annoying. Here's the solution. It takes several hours in a sealed container but works every time!

Rock hard brown sugar + piece of bread = soft brown sugar deliciousness

My mama taught me this.

I thought everybody knew, but I've run into several people recently that didn't. Maybe you didn't either. There you have it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Oatmeal Cookie

These are our favorite cookies now. I got the recipe from Pat, a colleague and friend, who got it from her mom, Lois. More people have asked me for this recipe than any other. So I'm gonna share the love.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 c. margarine
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. bkg powder
2 c. oatmeal (little more)
1 c. each of any/all: coconut - nuts - raisens/craisens - chocolate chips

Bake at 350.

I use coconut, pecans, white chocolate chips, and craisins... and leave out the cinnamon.  And I bake it on parchment paper so keep down the mess.

Can't get any easier or more delicious than this. Thanks, Pat and Lois!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Learning to Wife w/ A Bump

The bump's not quite visible, but here's an introduction. Baby Lovebird is working to join us in June! Josh and I couldn't be more thrilled. Today's our 2-year anniversary, so I thought it was the perfect day to announce I'm learning to wife in a new way!

(Ultrasound: 11/10/11 - turn up the volume)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My and Maybe Your Kind of Unrefined Breakfast

Some make elaborate breakfasts with fancy flour, grains, and nuts. I definitely drool over a friend's site I would love to try her recipes, but in the meantime I'm on the run... working and packing for our big move in December.

This oatmeal has become my new favorite breakfast.

- mug
- oatmeal
- salt
- boiling water
- berries, optional

I take a large mug and throw in a handful of oats and half a pinch of salt. Then I pour boiling water on top and walk away to get ready for the day. After a while, I return and throw a few frozen berries in there (sometimes I add these before the water), grab a cup off coffee, and enjoy. Yummmmm.

In the meantime I've added coconut flour to - a price tracking site for Amazon (my favorite kind of shopping). When it hits a super low price, I'll snatch it and experiment.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Really Bad Eggs

Don't eat the floaters.

Glad I learned this trick before making a mistake.

Learning to wife!

Monday, November 7, 2011

I hate shopping.

Choices are my worst nightmare. I hate shopping but these were a super good deal at Coldwater Creek. I dragged myself there to return something and saw them. I took this picture and sent it to Josh. I ended up with the grey and cream ones. Grateful Josh loves to buy my clothes.

The lady who worked there felt bad for me as she watched me wander, nervously look around, and whisper on my phone.

I felt bad for me, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We had the incredible privilege of joining good friends for a birthday celebration at Manny's. Gals, you're probably like me in asking the the silly question "What's Manny's?" Save yourself the gasps and don't ask your husband. Just check out the website.

It's a big deal.

I learned the value of steak for a man.

I had crab stuffed halibut.

Learning to wife!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

It's so easy. Especially with this maker and this thermometer/timer.

  1. Heat 40oz of 2% or Whole milk in a saucepan until it starts to boil (180*F) for a couple minutes.
  2. Let it cool to lukewarm (110*F). If you're in a hurry, put the saucepan in cold water, but it doesn't turn out as good.
  3. Stir half the milk in a bowl with 3/4 cup of plain yogurt. You'll feel it start to thicken already! Add the other half.
  4. Pour into cups. Leave alone for 8 hours (for Whole) or 9 hours (for 2%).
  5. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    You can add fruit, jam, or other flavorings before filling the jars, but I don't. We like to add our own flavorings afterward. I mostly eat it plain or sprinkle some cinnamon on it. We love to eat it with rice and curry.

Just make sure you start it at a reasonable hour or you'll have to set an alarm. Oh, and don't use Skim milk. Learning to wife!

How do you make/like your yogurt?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot or Cold: Can't we all just get along?

Are you task-oriented or relationship-oriented? Do you focus more on doing or being? Do you tend to think objectively or subjectively? No right or wrong answers.

Josh and I are taking Perspectives, an in-depth study on the World Christian Movement. Absolutely phenomenal. It is some of the best training I've received in preparation for missionary service.


I had a learning to wife moment in class last night.

We were looking at the generalized characteristics of the world's two cultural "halves." This refers to the concept that the world can be divided into two cultures: hot and cold. Read this. Westerners tend to be cold-climate cultures and the majority of the rest of the world tend to be hot-climate cultures. We received a handout that described both "cultures." Its purpose was to self-evaluate and understand from where we're coming when entering another culture. Josh and I of course charted our way down the list. As expected he leaned cold, and I leaned hot. What can I say? I'm a TCK (third-culture kid) from Bangladesh. Of course I wasn't across the board hot... but Josh conveniently was hot on areas I'm cold.


  • I multitask and feel time is limitless (hot), and he focuses on one thing at a time and prioritizes efficiency (cold). 
  • I am time-oriented (cold), focusing on punctuality and goals. Josh is event-oriented (hot), focusing on completion, quality and solutions.


It was fun getting to know each other a little better, but the instructor brought a valuable point to the discussion. It's not about judging what's the right or wrong way to be. There are no right or wrong "cultures." God has beautifully created the diversity.

I'm reminded that God has made Josh and me very different.  

We see the world from opposite angles in a lot of ways, but we're excited to see the way God is going to use us as we bring our "cultures" together under Christ. After all, isn't that was he's doing with all the nations? All those cultures are going to be represented before the throne one day. I think we'll get along just fine.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ham & Cauliflower Bread Bowl

Ham & Cauliflower Bread Bowl  
Ruthie Wagner

1-2 ham bones with a little ham on them
6-8 cups water
several brown or red potatoes
1/2 large yellow onion
1 c. of carrots, chopped
1 c. of celery, chopped
1 T. garlic
1 head of cauliflower
sourdough bread (the round roll kind)
grated cheese (preferably the strong and hard kind)

  1. Boil and simmer ham bones and water in a large saucepan. The water doesn't need to cover the bones. I boiled them for at least half an hour.
  2. Pull the bones out of the water, and leave the liquid in the pot on the stove! Cut the meat from the bone and set aside. Throw the bones away.
  3. Chop and add to the liquid the potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
  4. Cook on medium until veggies are soft. Pull the veggies out of the pot and puree in blender (or food processor) with a little liquid.
  5. Add ham pieces, cauliflower florets and puree mixture to the pot. Cook until florets are done but still slightly firm.
To serve:
  1. Cut out the inside of the sour dough roll to make a bowl and set the bread insides aside for later soup dipping.
  2. Ladle soup in bread bowl.
  3. Top with grated cheese.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes: I like to freeze ham bones with some meat on them until I'm ready to use them. Then I can use two for one soup. Hint: Men like meat. Hint hint: My man likes to share so one BIG bread bowl makes for a romantic dinner as you can see from the picture above. It's difficult to eat bread bowls with good manners. Oh well. It's delicious.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This is what some of our dates look like.

Love it!

P.S. The game is Dominion.

P.S.S. Sometimes we invite others. 
Sometimes we want others to invite themselves. *hint hint*

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Squirrel vs. Josh

Squirrels are not welcome in our apartment.

Josh woke up early to enjoy the morning with a cup of coffee and his laptop. It's a beautiful day today - no snow, hail or tornados - so the window was open. While he was sitting there, a squirrel jumped into our apartment through the window, a few stories off the ground! They were probably equally thinking, Oops, probably shouldn't have done that.

After chasing him for awhile, Josh came and gently woke me up to join the fun. I'm so glad he didn't wake me up while said squirrel was in the bedroom. Oy. That squirrel ran around the apartment and found clever hiding places to catch his breath. There was a lot of squirrel-jumping, pot-banging, broom-wacking, furniture-climbing, light-shining, shelf-emptying, chair-standing, and squeeking. I must not have been that threatening because it ran across my feet and legs multiple times. (I've felt squirrely all day!) In the end, after an hour and a half, Josh was the conquering hero. The squirrel climbed back out the window defeated. Now to find the window screens...

Our home is not your home, Squirrel.
Yes, that's a cellphone light.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Attack of the Charley Horse

My calf tried to kill me last night.

The last time Charley Horse attacked was two years ago when I was racing Josh across a pool in North Dakota. Sooooo not fair. Anyway. Last night was more abusive then said pool attack as Charley grabbed my leg in my sleep. Taken completely off guard, I sat up, promptly let out a yelp, leapt out of bed, and stomped on it--which gave me the upper hand. Oy!

My poor husband. It took some explaining this morning.

Know why it's called a Charley Horse? 
Because it feels like you got kicked by this.
(among other reasons, I'm sure)

Here are some other names for it:

USA: Tommy Horse
UK: Deadleg, Grand Daddy or Chopper
Australia: Corked Thigh or "Corky"
German: Pferdekuss - "horse's kiss"
Norway: Lårhøne - "thigh hen"
Netherlands: Ijsbeen - "ice leg" 
France: Béquille - "crutch"
Portugal: Paralítica - "paralyzer"
Japan: Komuragaeiri - "cramp in the calf"
Northwest Italy: Vecchia - "old woman" or Dura - "hard/tough one"
South Italy: Morso di Ciuccio - "donkey bite"
Israel: Regel Etz - "wooden leg"

I find this interesting. I'm a linguist.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God-Mother's Day

Yesterday Jacob, my dashing godson, called me on Skype
to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. 

My heart melted. 

Wouldn't yours?

These were the highlights of our conversation:

Funny faces
Brushing Teeth
Being 4
Uncle Josh

Just in case you wonder what a godmother and godson talk about.
You can find out more about him on my sister's blog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What makes my tiny kitchen so lovable?

Our kitchen is minuscule, but it gets a lot of love. Josh has helped me utilize the space, and its best feature is a tall ceiling. I would love to paint and organize a bit more, but I thought I'd let you peek at one of my favorite places.

Here are the things that make my kitchen so lovable:

Pot Rack
Spice Shelves
Industrial Shelving (under the counter)
Pegboard (above the oven)
Knife Magnet
Coffee Bar (above the sink)
Shelving (above the cupboards)
Under-Cabinet Lighting (just for romance)
Padded Floor Mat
Red Cupboard Curtains

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I read on the news this evening that nine Americans were killed in Central Asia today. Today those nine families lost a loved one. The man who killed them, a colleague, was also killed. There are ten families that lost someone today. Somehow since getting married, news like this has become much more difficult to handle. Life without Josh seems nearly unbearable to me. Yet I know that God doesn't abandon. Josh and I have been reading the book of Job, and Job ironically finds comfort in dust and ashes (Job 42).

Dear spouses and families, I'm so sorry.
Dear Jesus, please bring comfort to the brokenhearted.

(I'm going to go give my hubby a smooch and tell him how much he means to me. I recommend you do the same.)

Improve Your Workspace

When my productivity went down at work, I decided, that one culprit was the space. It was a disaster, and there were days when I came to work, shot straight for my desk, and dreaded looking at my surroundings. So I did something about it and asked for help. A couple people at work came to my rescue. I must say, things are much happier these days.

It started off as a small project, but then we discovered that the wall behind some shelving was like cardboard. No wonder I could hear everything from next door.

A co-worker, volunteer, and I made use of everything we could on a limited budget. They worked on drywall and wiring and we all painted. I decided to paint the file cabinet. So glad.


It was a bit of a shock to everyone when I said that I wanted gray. I felt nervous about it too, but I felt like it would be a good color for a communications/publications office. Plus it won't effect the computer screen when I do editting. Ikea was the winner for furniture.

Then to add a little taste of the World Mission Prayer League, I pulled some pictures from the archives and put them in some clearanced frames.

Here's the final result. And a movement has begun. The business office and other offices on my floor are starting to transform! What do you do to improve your workspace?


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Climbing Counters & Ceiling Fans

What is the first thing you do when you know guests are coming?

I've heard all kinds of crazy things all the way to stashing dirty dishes in the oven. Now, I never do that, but I wouldn't blame you if you do because I have my very own quick-guests-are-coming routine.

I turn on the kitchen fan when guests come over.

Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but if you've ever had a fan in your kitchen you might get where I'm coming from. They get n-a-a-a-sty, but the secret is to leave it on. No one will know. (Josh didn't even know that's why I had the fan running all the time. I'm good.)

One day I was standing on the counter stashing some pantry items. I had turned the fan off, of course, to keep my head from getting lopped off. When I was eye level with the disgusting-ness, I knew I had to do something.

If you've ever tried wiping grease off a fan, you know it just smears all over the place. I had a learning to wife moment, climbed off the counter, and got this.

It solved all my problems.

And now I don't need to turn on the kitchen fan when guests come over. And when I asked Josh if he noticed anything different, he guessed that I painted it.  What are you embarrassed of? Even better, what are you no longer embarrassed of?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Posole or Pozole is a pork and hominy stew found in Mexico, southwestern USA, or as of last night...  the Wagner apartment. 

That's right, I had a taste of this deliciousness at my sister-in-law Maria's house, yes, the same Maria found here. And she got the recipe from a friend who got it from who knows where. And I switched it from an oven to a crockpot recipe, which I included below. It even got a 5/5 from Josh. :) So, with no further ado...


Serves 8-10, Total time: 2 hrs 30 min. (includes 1 hr 50 min. simmering time)
Serve with shredded romaine, chopped cilantro, sour cream, and chips or warmed tortillas. 
2 T. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced fresh oregano or 1 t. dried
1 T. chili powder
3 lbs. boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes.)
5 c. chicken broth
3 (14 oz.) cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed (I bought a gi-normous can at Cub Foods.)
1 T. fresh lime juice
Pepper (I omitted this.)

Oven Version 
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Add the pork ribs and coat with the spices. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 min.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pork to a cutting board. Stir the hominy into the broth (be careful of the hot pot handles). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove and cook, uncovered, for 20 min., removing any fat that rises to the top.
  4. Meanwhile, when the meat is cool, shred it using your fingers, discarding all gristle, and season the stew with the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Ruthie's Super-Easy Crockpot Version 
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add the onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Add the pork ribs and coat with the spices. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 min.
  2. Transfer to a large crockpot. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the broth. Cook until meat is tender. (It's great to leave it on low overnight. In the morning let it cool and shred the pork, getting rid of the fat. Put it all in the fridge until dinner.)
  3. Remove the fat from the top and stir in the hominy. (At this point I freezer baggy what I know we won't eat. I can get several additional meals this way.) 
  4. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Serve with all the delicious toppings, especially cilantro and lime.

To Make Ahead

This stew can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to a month. Reheat over low heat, adding more water or broth to adjust the consistency, and season with additional lime juice before serving.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leftover Rice to Rice Pudding

On my lunch break one day, I pulled out the leftover rice and made this - a favorite.

You can too. I searched around for a good recipe for a while and threw together my modified version with happier texture and less sugar. :) I'll let you in on the secrets. They don't call me Rice Girl for nothing.

RICE PUDDING - by Ruthie Wagner
(couldn't come up with anything more creative)

3 c. cooked rice (I use leftover cold basmati)
4 c. milk, divided
1/3 c. sugar (more or less)
Dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
Handful of raisins
1-2 tbsp. butter (I like to do less so consumers can add to taste)
1 tsp. vanilla (I do penzeys so only use half a tsp.)
Shakes of cinnamon

  1. Cook on medium until thick (15-20 minutes):
    rice, 3 cups of milk, sugar, and salt 
  2. Add and stir constantly (2 minutes):
    remaining cup of milk, beaten eggs, and raisins
  3. Remove from heat and add:
    butter, vanilla, and cinnamon
  4. Serve with any/all toppings:
    butter, sugar, more cinnamon, peanuts, more raisins, warm milk

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Turning My Husband's Screws

I've been off work for four weeks, hence the lack of posts. Go figure. It takes me working full-time to post again. Reason: lunch breaks.

I was off to help my Josh recover from a tibial osteotomy he had done on his right leg. Basically, a couple doctors cut his leg in half, inserted a rod at the knee, screwed it all together, and instructed me to turn some screws to rotate his leg 22 degrees. Whew, I'm glad that's over with. Josh is recovering nicely but still has at least 2 weeks off work and on crutches.

Tibial osteotomy = a whole lot of money
Pain meds in the middle of the night = very little sleep
Turning the screws in my husband's leg = wincing

Spending every moment of 4 weeks with the love of my life = PRICELESS!

I love you, Josh!

how 'bout this...

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