Saturday, June 7, 2014

End of School Year and Another Mini Trip

My Lovies are finishing up their coursework this weekend, and are preparing to take finals next week. After that, summer break will be upon us. I’m hoping to have more time to blog over the summer, and more time to take pictures with my new camera.  I got a Canon Rebel for Christmas, and so far taking pictures with it has been really fun!

My nephew got married last weekend, so we got to spend some time on Lake Michigan, one of our favorite places on earth.  I will NEVER need an ocean.  I’d take Lake Michigan over the ocean any day.  There is just something about it…it’s so special to us. We were able to take a walk on the beach, stick our feet in the water, walk on a pier with a light house, watch the boats come in off of the lake, and experience our first sunburn of 2014. Smile  It was a great weekend, and we got some nice pictures.  I’ll share them with you…

My three Loves outside of our hotel…

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My Lovies at the boat marina that was next to our hotel…

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My Love at the marina…

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Me at the marina…I loved the white adirondack chairs!

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My Love and I at the marina…

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        My Lovies on the beach…       

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A walk on the pier to the lighthouse. You can see Morgan in the dark outfit at the back of the group…

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Sticking our feet in the water…super cold!

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So….after this coming week I will officially have a junior and sophomore in high school! Time is going way too quickly.  The kids are growing up way too fast.  I love these moments we get to spend together in places we love.  There is no one on earth I’d rather spend time with than these three people God has given to me to live life with!

I’ll be back soon to post our summer shenanigans!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring Has Sprung…

I don’t know about you, but I was SO ready for spring this year.  We had one of the worst winters imaginable, and it seemed to go on FOREVER. Finally spring seems to be here.  Soon my lilacs will be blooming, the lawns will need to be cut again, and warmer weather will be here.  I can’t wait!

Life gets a bit busy in the spring.  The kids are in the final weeks of school and are preparing final papers and getting ready to take final exams.  This will be the first year in a LONG time that we get to take a whole summer vacation.  Since the kids are participating in the virtual academy this year, I don’t have to catch up on anything over the summer! WOOHOO! They have gotten great grades this year and have worked hard.  It took some getting used to for me to just be a supervisor, but I was still able to weigh in on some brainstorming for essays and helping with subjects that were difficult.  I actually wish we had done this sooner.  I love that I can still have the kids home, but I’m grateful that the burden of teaching is off of me. Smile

A few weeks ago we went on a mini spring break to one of our favorite places on earth.  While we were there we broke out our new camera and took a little family photo shoot.  We got some fun shots, and I thought I’d share them here.  Morgan took a couple with her camera as well.  She took a photography class this year, and really enjoyed it.  She is becoming quite the little photographer!

Let’s look at some pictures! My darling Lovies!

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My man and his silly kids in the background…

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My Love and I strolling along the river (Morgan took these!) Her photo shoots always include a kissing shot, and she says things like, “That’s great! Keep it going! How about another one!” So funny…

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Another shot of my precious children…

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One of my favorites….I love him!

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A pretty pine cone…

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My Lovies again…

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And a family shot taken on Morgan’s camera with the timer…Parker is leaning over.  He is really over 6’ tall now, and has passed his dad up!

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One more of my Love and I…

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Lots going on in the next few weeks, so hopefully I’ll get a chance soon to post! Hope you all have a wonderful spring/summer!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Date Day??

We’ve never really been fans of “Date Night.”  We’re usually tired in the evenings, and don’t feel like standing in lines for dinner.  I’ve never been one of those moms that felt like I needed a break from my kids…I LOVE being with them. Sincerely. We have pretty much included the kids when we’ve gone out, except on our anniversary celebrations.  We just love spending time together all four of us. 

Andy and I talked this week about the concept of a breakfast date, as we would both really prefer that.  I LOVE breakfast, so does he, and we are rested and refreshed that time of day.  It would most likely occur on a weekend, so neither of us will have to work that day.  We talked to the kids also about feeling like we need a date time especially for us more regularly.  It would not be to get away from them or take a break from them, rather to just have the private time to talk through anything we need to, and just be together as a couple.

We decided to start today! I had to drive Andy to his office to prepare some things for a trip next week.  Afterwards we decided to find a place for “brunch.”  There was a place a few minutes away that we had heard about.  We had tried to go there another time, but it was closed.  The restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch, so they close early.  Today they were open.  When we walked in, I was surprised to see white tablecloths on the tables, and it being a bit more “fancy” than I expected.  We made our menu choices and waited for our meals to come.  While we waited, I had a cup of the BEST coffee. Yum!

I ordered Seafood Eggs Benedict, and this is how it was presented!

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It was served with salmon, spuds, and a side of cinnamon apple sauce.  It was so delicious.  The eggs were poached perfectly, the salmon was moist and yummy, and the hollandaise was so good!

Andy had a dish called “The Bandito”, and this is how his was presented…

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It had chorizo sausage, salsa, spuds, chives, cheese, and green chili peppers in it, with two sunny side up eggs on top.  It was also served with an order of rye toast.  Andy had a small glass of citrus peach juice!

We loved our breakfast date, and plan on doing this one Saturday every month, maybe more if we can swing it.  We have a couple suggestions from friends/family for other great breakfast spots.  I’ll let you know if we find any other good places!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Very Scary Night…

My husband was on his way home from a business trip last night. He called just as I was getting myself ready for bed.  My daughter answered the phone, and when she brought the phone to me, she simply told me that Daddy needed to talk to me. I knew right away something was wrong.  His voice sounded agitated and scared. He proceeded to tell me that he drove into a white out (sudden flurry of snow that makes visibility impossible), lost control of his car, and rolled into the median of the highway….Panic ensued.

“When you say roll, do you mean you actually rolled the car?” The answer was yes. By this time I was screaming, wondering if he was ok, where he was, if police had been called, and how I could get to him.

When he hit the white out he could not see the road.  He drifted onto the rumble strip that signifies you are going onto the shoulder of the freeway.  He jerked the wheel back to the left causing his car to spin out of control  He crossed three lanes of freeway, narrowly missed a guardrail, and then rolled over into the median.  He couldn’t tell if he had rolled into oncoming traffic, so he began to panic.  Within seconds, a trucker who was going the opposite way on the freeway and witnessed the accident, banged on his window asking if he was ok.  When Andy said he thought he was ok, the guy busted the right passenger window out, and Andy had to crawl between the front seats on the roof of the car and out the window. 

The kids and I jumped in the van and took off for the accident site.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken the kids with me.  I knew Andy was out of the car and safe, but coming up on the accident scene was one of the most horrific things I have ever experienced.  I could see the silhouette of his car in the oncoming headlights, and all four wheels were straight up in the air.  I FREAKED, and my poor girl got hysterical.  I couldn’t believe he survived this. Thank the Lord he was wearing his seatbelt.

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EMS had come, but Andy thought he was ok, so declined an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital.  Given his recent health history, I was having none of that, so I drove him straight to the hospital once we had taken care of the car details.  He was put in a spinal collar right away.  They were not amused, given his history, that he was not brought by ambulance. They did an immediate chest x-ray because his airbag didn’t deploy.  He had a CT scan and other tests and everything came out fine.  He had some wounds they needed to clean up, but I was able to bring him home very early this morning.

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This afternoon the trauma has hit all of us. What a scary night.  Tears have been shed, gratitude has been expressed to God for sparing his life once again, and we are very grateful to still be together the four of us.

We were told this afternoon that the car will probably be totaled. We’ll go take a look at it tomorrow and get all of Andy’s things out of it.  I’m very sad, as he LOVED that car.  But I love his life more, and I’m so glad he’s still with me.

Please pray for Andy as he deals with this trauma, experiences the impact pain, and is now dealing with a nasty sinus infection on top of it all. 

I can handle a sinus infection…so grateful I’m not planning his funeral…

I’ve shared this all on Facebook, but thought there might be those here that aren’t on my friends list there, and might want to know what has happened.  So I thought I’d share it here as well.  I’ll keep you posted on how he’s doing, and what happens with his car…

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Getting Out The Pretties…

I went to a tea party last night.  I haven’t been to a tea party in AGES.  It was great fun! It was to welcome a darling girl from the Ukraine to her new family here in the states.  A bunch of us brought our beloved teacup sets and all had a lovely tea party together.  The young lady was even given her own teacup and saucer to start her collection.

I have a collection of nearly 40 teacup sets. Both of my grandmothers had “teacup showers” when they got married, so when they passed away my sisters and I inherited their teacup sets. Two of my sisters didn’t want theirs, so I took their share too.  I LOVE these teacups.  They are so beautiful.  In cleaning up after this party, I even found my grandma’s initials written on tape on the bottom of one of the cups we didn’t use.  I thought that was so cool!

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Here are a few of the sets that I inherited…

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When I got home from the tea party, I was SO sad to put these all away again.  I have started storing them in a beautiful teacart that we inherited from Andy’s Grandma, but there is a cupboard on it and no windows for display. I really want to be able to see them.  So I decided to display three teacup sets at a time on top of the teacart.  Only two of these current sets belonged to my Grandmothers. The pink set closest to the camera came from the hospital gift shop where my dad had his heart valve replaced.  It is the only one I have purchased myself. The cup and saucer are both in the shape of a heart, and when you pour your tea it is heart shaped also.  I saw it in the window and HAD to have it.  I bought a lighter pink version for a friend who is very dear to my heart. Get it?

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Closer shot of the pink heart set and inside the cup…so pretty!

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When it came time to put the teacups away today, I decided to make a change.  I moved all of the Christmas dishes out of my china cabinet, and into the cupboard on the tea cart that used to hold the teacup sets. I only use them one season out of the year, and don’t really need to display them.  Now all of my teacup sets (besides the three on top of the tea cart) are on the bottom shelf of my china cabinet, and I can see them EVERY time I walk by.  With the Christmas dishes moved to the tea cart, I also had room to spread out my wedding china collection. As I was doing that I realized that I just don’t use my china enough.

When I was young and we were attending a bridal shower, my favorite thing was to look at the bride’s registry and see what china pattern she had picked out.  I even picked out a pattern when I was in my late teens for my “hope chest.” I didn’t end up getting married until my late twenties, so the original pattern I had picked out was discontinued.  It was fine, because the pattern I ended up picking is SO much more beautiful, and is named after a place that is very dear to my heart. I thought that was much more fitting. I couldn’t wait to register for china, and was SO SURPRISED when I got every piece I registered for, and then some.  I ended up returning several place settings and still ended up with 13! It was crazy.  I got the lovely tea/coffee pot and several serving dishes in my pattern as well.

As I said I just don’t use my china enough.  I’ve decided to change that. Once a month I’m going to cook a special meal, and I’m going to serve it with a nice tablecloth, candles, and my good china.  I think it will make some beautiful memories for the kids, and will make Morgan want to have some china of her own someday. I hope so….

The top shelf of my china cabinet (matches the tea cart and was also inherited from Andy’s Grandma) hold my good crystal goblets,  the coffee/tea pot and my china tea cups…Our German wedding cup is also there. Isn’t the pattern so pretty? It’s called “Ontario.” I love the shape of the teacups as well.

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The middle shelf holds all of my plates, serving dishes, cream/sugar dishes, salt/pepper, and two gravy boats I received…

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And now the bottom shelf holds all of my beloved teacup sets. I just can’t stop walking by and looking at them.  I can’t wait to have some friends over for tea sometime. Smile I only had to stack a few cups, otherwise they were all able to fit on one level.  The plates are all stacked at the other end of the shelf. 

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I am so excited about this change today! I don’t know about you, but every time I rearrange like this, I feel like I have something new.  I found a few things I don’t need/want anymore, and that will all be going out in the next purge. So it was a good change in many ways….the main way being I can see my teacup collection any time I walk into my living room now. Smile The second way is that I’ve remembered how much my china means to me and I want to use it more.  I’ll post pictures the first time we have a fancy dinner!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Favorite Soup….

I LOVE Clam Chowder! I like the New England version and the Manhattan version.  We have a restaurant that makes the best Manhattan Clam Chowder I have ever had, and I go there on every birthday…just for the soup! The New England Clam Chowder that I like around here comes from Red Robin and a little Greek restaurant.  They are not seafood restaurants. Isn’t that funny?

I have always wanted to try to make my own chowder, but my boys have an aversion to all things shell fish, so I have never bothered.  As I was perusing recipes on Pinterest, I found a really easy recipe for both versions of the chowder.  I decided I’d make it for lunch someday and my girl and I would get to enjoy it all ourselves! Today was that day.  I found a great easy recipe at Food.com, and tweaked it a bit to fit my tastes.  It called for dill weed, and this girl DOES NOT LIKE dill weed. Blech…

There was a little prep time involved in this soup, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  It all came together in less than an hour.  Though I don’t have a picture of the step by step process (I really need to start doing that), I have a picture of the finished soup, and it was DELICIOUS!

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I did tweak my soup a bit from the original recipe.  I didn’t use the dill that the recipe called for, as I said before.  I used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon.  It didn’t crisp up like normal bacon, but it was SO good in this soup.  Morgan, our bacon lover, said it was great.  I will probably stick with turkey bacon from now on!

Here is the recipe…my version.  If you want the real thing visit Food.com and search for…

Thick and Creamy New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

6-7 pieces turkey bacon cut into small pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 (10-ounce) cans baby clams with juice reserved
6-7 potatoes cubed
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter

Method: Add bacon to sauce pan and cook on medium low heat until crispy (turkey bacon does not really get crisp…just cook until it looks done).  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add clam juice from both cans. Add potatoes.  Cook and cover until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally so potatoes won't stick (you might need to add a little liquid to keep the sticking from happening). Add clams, soup, cream, and milk. Stir together. Add butter and let melt into the chowder. Cook for about 30-45 minutes or until thickened.  Stir occasionally.

Note: The original recipe called for 2 – 5 ounce cans of clam with their juices.  I doubled it.  I hate when I have clam chowder in a restaurant and there is hardly any clam in it.  So I took care of that and doubled the clams.  It did not overpower at all, and was DELICIOUS! I actually forgot the 1 tbsp of butter in my soup, but will do that next time.  I guess it will add a tiny bit of richness to the soup. I am not a fan of condensed soups per se, but I do love cream of celery, so I was thrilled to see it is in this recipe.  I diced my potatoes quite small, so they cooked faster.  Once all of the ingredients were in the pot, I did not cook the soup for the 30-45 minutes the recipe suggested.  I just waited until it was heated through and the clams were cooked.  We grabbed the deepest bowls we could find and filled them up with this yummy goodness.  It is a VERY filling soup, so one bowl was plenty.  Since my girl and I are the only ones eating it, we have leftovers for the weekend!

I was so happy with the results of my first try making this chowder.  It was seriously one of the best I’ve tasted, and I will be making it often! Yum!

 

 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What A Difference A Day Makes…

We had our staff Christmas lunch at a friend’s house this year.  We had great food, great fellowship, and some seriously funny games to play. While at her house I noticed a really cool wall hanging in her kitchen. It had all of the names of her family members, their birthdates, and her wedding date. At the bottom was this phrase, “What a difference a day makes.”  I just loved it.  I asked my friend if she made it, and she said she had it made somewhere. I should have asked more questions.  I took a picture of the wall hanging, and when I got home I sat down at my computer and tried to make my own.  I didn’t have the same fonts, and couldn’t get the spacing between the entries as close as on my friend’s wall hanging, but I really like what I came up with.

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My family bought the lovely frame for me for Christmas, and this is now hanging on my kitchen wall.  I really love it! I plan on changing the fonts once in a while, and maybe even changing the color of the background paper once in a while.  I think I especially love this and it means so much to me because Madison is included on it.  That always makes me happy.  It is clear here that she was our firstborn, and I love for people to see that. I was so excited to hang this up!