Book Rec: Help for the Haunted

Happy Sunday! Hope you had a nice weekend! We had another relaxing weekend which I know we need to savor before things start to get crazy around here with our move. Thank you for all of the well wishes and excitement for us! It means a lot to know that people are happy for us and our decision to move to Charleston.

Since we didn’t have a ton going on this weekend, I was really able to dive into a book I borrowed from the library last weekend. It’s called Help for the Haunted by John Searles and it is SO GOOD. Creepy, suspenseful, unpredictable and riddled with interesting characters. It centers around a girl named Sylvie who’s parents have an odd profession: they help “haunted souls”. It’s not really a ghost story though, so don’t let that deter you. If you liked Gone Girl, I bet you’ll like this! Ryan even started reading it today and seems to really be liking it which makes me happy.


Oh, what’s that bread in the background, you say? Just this Apple Fritter Bread I whipped up today. No big deal.



Next Stop: Charleston

We are so excited to tell you that at the beginning of May, Ryan, Chance, Sam and I are headed south! As in, we’re moving to Charleston, SC and could not be happier about it. We will always love Columbus, but we’re ready for a change and warmer weather (and oh yeah, the ocean!) We’ve been to Charleston a couple of times now and just fell in love with it.




We are so lucky that with Ryan’s job, we can really live almost anywhere. We’ve thought about it for over a year now, and Charleston is just really calling our name. Here are some FAQ’s about our big move that might explain what we’re up to!

Q. Why Charleston?

A. When we thought about the possibility of moving out of Ohio, and not moving to Minnesota, we thought about the areas of the country that seemed the most interesting to us. Inevitably, we were drawn to locations that were warmer and near the water. We knew that we were most interested in staying on the east coast, so last spring we took a road trip down the coast to check out Wilmington, Charleston and Savannah. With Charleston’s mix of history and beach life, it was the perfect fit for us.

Q. Wait, what?? You aren’t moving back to Minnesota??

A. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love Minnesota. Most of our family is there and it holds a very special place in our heart. But it is also cold. Very cold. At this point, we just can’t see ourselves being happy in a place with such a long winter when winter currently makes us miserable. We need to try out Charleston (because we’ll regret it if we don’t) and if it’s a disaster, we know we can always go back to Minnesota.

Q. But you just moved into your cute house in German Village!

A. We have loved the heck out of this house in the year we have lived in it. I know that I will never live in such a cute or convenient place as I do now, but that’s okay! Change is good. And the next owner is going to love the heck out of this house too.

Q. Um, Allison? Don’t you love your job? That you practically just started?

A. Yes! I love my job and leaving it is one of the hardest parts of leaving Columbus. But I know even more exciting things are on the horizon and the flexibility I’m going to have with my new job is exactly what I’m going to need at this point in my life.

Q. Where are you guys going to work in Charleston?

A. This is one of the most exciting parts! Ryan is going to continue to invest in real estate under a new company that we created. He will also be a real estate broker which opens up a lot of opportunity for us. I will be getting my real estate license and will work with Ryan. It’s a whole new challenge that is really exciting to us. We can’t wait to get started!

Q. Do you have a house in Charleston? Where are you going to live?

A. Ryan’s been working on a flip house down there that we’ll live in for a few months while we find a house and fix it up to move in to.

Q. Are the dogs excited to move??

A. Just kidding, no one’s ever asked us that. But I think they are pumped. Chance especially. He hates the cold.


The next month is going to include packing, enjoying every last bit of Columbus and our favorite places, fixing up the house, and making meals that clean out the pantry.

Any other questions? Ask me! We are so excited about our new adventure. See you soon Charleston!



A Twist on a Classic

One of my all time favorite meals it also the easiest. Like embarrassingly easy. Growing up, we called them Hot Pockets, but they are not to be confused with the frozen variety. These are ham and cheese hot pockets that are folded up with refrigerated croissant dough. And that’s it! That’s all it is. You roll out the dough and separate them into four squares. Put your deli ham and cheddar cheese onto each square, fold ’em over and pinch the dough to close. Side bar: how scary is opening one of those tubes of dough? The scariest! Then you cook them in the oven per the directions on the packaging.

I love love this meal. I even submitted it for a cookbook put together by our dance studio once (Um hello?? You’d think I could have submitted something a little trickier that actually requires a recipe! How embarrassing! haha). This was also one of the first meals I ever cooked for Ryan which I’m sure won him over at first bite. That and B3, but that’s a recipe for a different post.

This afternoon we had some leftover deli ham in the fridge that I wanted to use up so I thought this would be the perfect lunch. Ryan acted super excited when I announced my plan but then he dropped a bomb: “Can we add something to these? They always feel like they are missing something, like they are a little bland.” What?? My favorite, easiest meal is a little bland? Heart broken. Just kidding – I heard him out and we made some changes. I’ll have you know though, that I have switched up this recipe before. For instance, I changed the shape from pockets to pinwheels. Groundbreaking stuff people.

Either way, today’s changes included adding chopped up caramelized onions and mustard. We also rolled it up and cut it into pinwheels after it baked. It came out looking like this:


And you know what? The new additions made it delicious. Especially the onions. Lunches like this make me happy to be married to Ryan. He makes me better. And he makes my favorite recipes even better. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Family Traditions

A lot of the traditions in my family growing up involved food and competition: fondue dinner complete with twice-baked potatoes on Christmas Eve, Easter egg decorating competition with my siblings, sugar cookie decorating contest with my siblings, probably a pumpkin carving competition on Halloween, playing the dice game at my grandpa’s house on Christmas, and my dad MUST make scalloped corn on Thanksgiving or all hell is going to break loose. One family tradition that won’t seem to disappear is my sister sleeping in footie pj’s on Christmas Eve (did I mention she’s 23?).

But one of my favorite, and sweetest family traditions is that my dad always brings home flowers for my mom on the first day of spring. There is nothing better in the dead of a Minnesota winter than the promise of spring brought by beautiful, colorful flowers. Although Ryan hasn’t quite caught on to this tradition yet, that’s okay! I’ll buy my own flowers on the first day of spring. It makes me too happy not too. Happy spring!


St. Patrick’s Day Pinspiration

I never really celebrated St. Patty’s Day before I met Ryan. It could have just been college that taught me how much fun that day can be though!


Either way, now that I am a McCleary, St Patty’s is a must celebrate holiday! We are going to do one last epic bar crawl this year but after Saturday we decided we’re good on the bar-crawl front for a little while.

If you need some easy ways to celebrate the holiday check out these St. Patty’s-themed pins I found! Let me know of you try any!

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup


Shamrock Pudding Shots (we made these last year and they are McCleary approved!)


Wine Braised Beef Shepards Pie


Last but not least, I think the easiest way to decorate for a holiday is to buy a cheap cute holiday greeting card and stick them in a frame like this!


Happy celebrating!