Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Bonus! post

This is not because my earlier post was short, it's because I just took a walk and was inspired to write another haiku. Please enjoy!

The clouds in the sky
Look like waves rippling by.
Will it rain tonight?

the cast iron skillet

I did it! I used the cast iron skillet to make cornbread last night. I also made homemade bbq sauce and we had bbq chicken legs and thighs. Yum!

To date I have used the cast iron skillet to make pizza, cornbread, fried steak and Bill has used it for breakfast potatoes and fried chicken.

What else can I use it for???

Seriously, if you have ideas I would like to hear them!

Friday, April 29, 2011

what a day!

Today is an important day. A very important day.

I made more granola.

Our friend Katrina gave me this recipe a couple of years ago and I have not stopped making it since then. I eat the granola every day with my yogurt for lunch. It's delicious. And in the long run, I am certain it is cheaper than buying the pre-made granola. Plus I can add whatever I want to it. I also think it ends up being less calories.

There are no preservatives, so it has to be refrigerated. One batch lasts me 6-8 weeks. I'm not sure because I've never really kept track. I do know that it lasts much longer than the $5.99 + bag of store-bought granola (those usually lasted a week and a half, tops).

It is so good. I may be addicted to it. I take it with me when we travel (okay, not every trip, but if there's a cooler, then I have my yogurt and granola with me and yes, it has added benefits for my regularity I don't care if you know that). I know not everyone loves granola, so you may not care that I made a fresh batch today. But it's the little things in life that make us happy, and this makes me happy.

What? Did you think I was going to write about the royal wedding?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

prepping for sandwich week

I am taking this National Sandwich week seriously. I always take my sandwiches seriously. Surely you understand.

Tonight, in preparation for NSW, I am making some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Huh? Grilled cheese? That's not creative.

Don't fret. This is not your ordinary grilled cheese. It's much more than just manufactured cheese slices between two slices of bread.

It's a spinach cheese spread with crispy pancetta. Mmm, pancetta. I guess it's more like a panini.

We'll be having french fries and milkshakes (hence the picture of a milkshake -which in case you were wondering, if you google milkshake apparently it is either a popular name for certain women or they enjoy making milkshakes... and then having their pictures taken with the popular drink).

Is it time for dinner?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Walking in the rain

It's all Disney's fault. I took a walk this morning because I'll be too busy later today to get one in. Well, it's raining so I only took a short walk. While I was walking I began to notice I was carefully avoiding the earth worms making their way across the sidewalk. Do you know how difficult that is?

Let me give you an example; yesterday I was visiting the Cool Cats and we had to get some things out of my car. As we walked back from my car to their classroom, CJ counted the earth worms. We saw 18 in that short trip.

You can imagine how many I saw in one mile.

I blame Disney. They have these cute movies with animals that have feelings. Since I saw Bambi at a very young age, I have imagined the life of every living creature I come across. Well, I guess I should blame Charlotte's Web too. I'm not sure if it is because of these books/movies that I am a "nature lover" in a less extreme hippie way, or if I am naturally a nature lover.

Either way I'm here to tell you it is not easy to take a walk, without stepping on a worm, in the rain. I think I succeeded. I'm not sure, it was very difficult to tell the worms apart from the pine needles that line the last third of the route.

All I know is that now they're talking about me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

a clean desk again, for now

Yesterday I cleaned off my desk. I proclaimed, "Now I can see the dust!" Bill was amused (I think). It was pretty bad. I've mentioned before my F.S.S.; the "disease" of having to put something on a flat surface, and I've talked about cleaning off my desk. Well, sometimes it piles up. Then the cat eats things. I don't ever lose anything in the mess, but it does get annoying. I don't know why I let it happen.

So yesterday I was done with the piles. I went through them all and recycled, shredded and threw it all away. The only thing left now is the pile of bills to pay, the list of books I want to read, and the pile of coupons. I feel so much better. I even dusted my desk (however, I see a few spots I missed...). I could go one step further and put the bills to pay back in the holder, but they're getting paid tomorrow, so I'm just going to leave them for now.

Monday, April 25, 2011


knock on wood, the caulk is still on the tub. And both Bill and I showered this morning, so it had two chances to get wet and peel off. But unlike the last two caulk jobs, this one seems to have worked.

This is all due to Bill's patience and diligence. With a little help from Google and another blogger, he got the job done, and he got it done right!! I did nothing to help him this time, except point out beforehand how disgusting the old/bad caulk job was. Thank you Bill. You did it! Not "we", not me, you. It was all you (just like the brakes on the 'Vette)!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Easter, time to cook!

Any major or minor holiday has become a reason for me to cook. Who am I kidding? Any day that ends in "y" is a reason for me to cook. This is why Bill and I walk two miles every week day. Add in my cooking and summer ice cream runs, and I better keep doing yoga every day too!

I found a strata recipe and I asked Bill if I could make it for breakfast this morning (I am not stupid, I must ask permission to skip Big Breakfast Sunday, I don't want to piss off the cook) and he said sure (I'm sure he doesn't mind the break). I assembled it yesterday. It has artichoke hearts, cubed ham and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Oh and some bread.

I'll be honest, after assembling this dish and doing dishes for the third time last night, I hoped and prayed that this dish would be worth it because I was close to exhausted. Of course when we got home from church the strata still had to bake for an hour... so we waited. Bill was close to whining and then I reminded him how long it took to assemble and that it would be worth it (my fingers were crossed). Before the timer even went off, our house was filled with this glorious smell. It was like the artichoke dip I make with the addition of ham... It was worth the wait. This may be an Easter breakfast tradition.

Later, I'll be making the mustard bacon wrapped pork roast, risotto and deviled eggs. We will also have more cake for dessert (like we'll need it). Maybe we should take a walk today...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

lots and lots (or not)

I have lots and lots to write about. Or it seems like a lot floating around in my brain and once I get going it won't end up being that much.

Yesterday, I ran to the post office and while I was there I ran into our neighbors, Glenn and Nancy. They asked if we wanted to play euchre later in the evening and since they hosted last time, I invited them over for dinner then euchre. I had already planned on making a new dish (surprise!): homemade rollatini. I had this dish when Heather, Sami and I went out for dinner to an Italian restaurant for Heather's birthday back in February. Basically it is a pasta roll (some people call them pinwheels) with spinach, prosciutto and ricotta cheese. When I found this recipe I was elated, it was so good. The recipe I found called for marinara, but the one I had was covered in alfredo. Why not do both? Let me explain.

You roll out the pasta dough in two separate circles (8" dia.), then you spread (glop or plop) the spinach filling on the pasta and roll it up, like a jelly roll. Then you wrap up each pasta log in cheese cloth and tie it with kitchen twine. You gently place it in a large pot of boiling (sorry, it should be turned down to a simmer before dropping in the pasta) water, letting it cook for 15 minutes. After removing it and letting it cool for ten minutes on an oiled baking sheet; you slice it in half inch thick pieces, brush it with melted butter, sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese and put it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes. Then you serve it with the marinara and in this case alfredo. Since you made two logs, I put them in two separate dishes under the broiler. Then I poured the heated marinara over one and the heated alfredo over the other. Divine.

I am thrilled that I can make homemade pasta. More to come on that.

Dinner was amazing and the company was enjoyable. We played euchre; boys vs. girls. They boys won two of the three rounds. That's okay, we still had fun!

This morning I asked Bill if he would make me breakfast, he agreed. He made egg whites (left over from the egg yolks the pasta used yesterday) and topped it with goat cheese. He fried up some ham too. Two things about this: the ham is for the strata that I'm making for breakfast tomorrow and I'm making breakfast tomorrow. Thank you, honey.

Then I did the dishes. While I did dishes yesterday while making the pasta, there were still two sink fulls and the overflow on the counter. I didn't mind doing them, and after sloshing water over the counter and onto the floor (in which case I always declare, "the kitchen is clean!!) I am taking a break.

I'm going to head out in a little while to watch a regatta. One of our youth, possibly two, will be rowing. I've never seen a live regatta before, so I'm looking forward to it. And since we got the house cleaned yesterday, I can enjoy this today!

I also have to bake some chocolate chip cookies (I'll get back to that) and the strata has to be assembled and refrigerated today. I'm also going to make a penne shrimp pasta for dinner tonight.

Back to the cookies. For this year's youth auction I donated a year of a dessert of the month. I gave a list of suggestions that I would be willing to bake. It came down to our pastor and the Director of Facilities. Pastor Gary was determined to win (because at the last auction he lost the pies for a year and regretted that loss), but he should have paid attention. Sami started counting down the closing of that table (it was part of the silent auction) and Emil, the Director of Facilities, sneaked over and made the last bid while Pastor Gary was busy chatting. Thus, Emil won. While I was chatting with Mrs. Emil (her name is Vicky) and Pastor Gary was kicking himself, Mrs. Emil suggested that I offer Gary the desserts too, if he paid what Emil bid. I can make two desserts a month for a year. It was for a good cause, all the money raised goes to the youth, sure! Why not? I called over to Pastor Gary and suggested the offer. He thought about it for half a second and agreed. In all, my desserts brought in $300!!

This brings me to the chocolate chip cookies I am baking today; they are for Pastor Gary. His first of twelve desserts for the next year. Next month I'll be making his birthday cake, a triple layer chocolate raspberry cake. You'll probably hear about some of these desserts over the next year, so I thought I should warn you/explain.

Bill is also being very industrious today. He has caulked the tub (again and for the last time), he is going to try to fix the hose (because it burst Thursday night, if you recall), he will probably do something to the lawn and he may even fix the rototiller.

That was a lot. I hope you enjoyed a cup of coffee or something while you read about our day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

is it really "Good Friday"

Okay, so let's talk about this. Nothing "good" happened to Jesus on this day (which we choose to celebrate -and I use that term loosely- on a Friday). Yes, the end result was good. But whoever chose to name this particular day with the adjective "good" must have been crazy.

And so, as our day has not started off on the right foot, I propose this be known as Black Friday. Yes, that name has already been taken for a shopping day, which was really a term used only in the industry that the media picked up on. And we all know what happens when the media gets a hold of something. It becomes normal and a part of every day life.

Back to Black Friday. Spring has decided that the Groundhog was just completely off and that between whether or not he saw his shadow (maybe it's that dead groundhog's fault) and global warming, that the bleak and dreary weather typical of February is just as acceptable in April. "Bah Humbug!" I say! I want some sun, and average temperatures.

Instead, it's hovering around 40, is completely overcast and raining off and on. Yes, yes; April showers bring May flowers. I know my plants need water. But I need sun.

Last night, while using the tiny bit of sun we had, Bill decided to wash his car. That is not a big deal, until it became a big deal. You can read about that here. I'm not retelling it (he does a very good job in his blog).

So our basement is still wet, I'm attempting to wash and dry other clothes, but the dryer doesn't seem to want to cooperate (why should it? It's black Friday), Bill is still trying to clean out the mold around the tub, and I'm working.

The best news is I ran into our neighbors at the Post Office and we're going to play euchre with them tonight. Here. And I invited them over for dinner. We still have to clean the house.

I'm looking forward to Sunday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

we ate too late

Yesterday we went to my HPC meeting at 5pm, then we went to the Dog Story Theater to watch the Cool Cats play. From there we walked to J. Gardella's for dinner. It was only 7:30pm, that's not that late. But it is when you are used to eating dinner and being done no later than 7:30pm.

Maybe it wasn't dinner. It was probably the birthday cake we had at 9pm.

I found a recipe for this Butterbeer cake (it's a Harry Potter reference), so I asked Bill if it was okay if I made it for him for his birthday. He thought it sounded good, so that's what I made. If you click the link, Sugarcrafter decorated hers so much better. For all the baking I love to do, I was not blessed with cake decorating skills. I am lucky if I can get the icing on the cake and have enough left to do the sides.

I tried to keep it simple, just drizzling butterscotch topping on top in a swirly pattern. But even that turned into a mess. Well, I managed to save it and turn it into a flower. Sorry Bill! I should have tried a lightning bolt.

It really doesn't matter what it looks like (or doesn't look like) because it's a darn good cake! I used cake flour instead of all-purpose, and I used whole milk. The cake itself is pretty dense and not too sweet. All the sweetness is in the frosting. Yum!

I don't recommend eating this late at night though... it may keep you from sleeping.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to my "dear" husband

Today is Bill's birthday. He has taken to writing about people, on their birthdays, on his blog. I thought I would do the same for him, on my blog.

Whoa, does that make sense? I need more coffee...

Anyway, to my "dear" husband. When I typed that on his facebook wall, I accidentally typed "dead". Of course I didn't mean it. My fingers are faster than my brain sometimes. If you could see half the things I type (for instance, when talking about a Signing Santa for Quota, I continue to type Singing Satan, big difference) you would get a good laugh.

Oh wait, this is about Bill.

He's my best friend. He's a "wonderful" husband. That is from Wheel of Fortune. Watch that show for one week and everyone talks about their "wonderful" spouse. Apparently no one has a thesaurus and can come up with a different adjective.

Bill is funny, fantastic, and fabulous. He's superb, silly and smart. He's an uncle, unique and ubiquitous (okay, that's sort of a stretch, that's what I get for going for the letter "U"). He's a helper, handy and handsome. As well as a ham and he likes hamburgers and he's my husband. He's a dear, not dead, delightful and desirable.

Now I see why everyone sticks with wonderful.

Happy Birthday Bill. I can't believe I've been with you for twelve birthdays. Each year gets better. We're like fine wine. Here's to barrel aged wine (or scotch) and here's to you. I wouldn't want to spend my years with anyone but you (okay, this also sounds like it belongs with our anniversary, not your birthday. It's a fine line for love).

I love you and I don't need your birthday to tell you that. I hope you have a happy day and a grandiose year!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Look what I did!!!

I challenged the Quota ladies back in the fall. If they could bring a specific number of guests to our five remaining regular meetings, or a larger number to our January event; they could choose what color I would dye my hair. By the February meeting, it was clear that they weren't going to make it (and it wasn't unreasonable, if every one who attended meetings regularly brought one person they would have reached it) so I modified the numbers. We had one person who was close to joining, so I told the club that if they could get two people to join by March, I would dye my hair. (Can you see how willing I was to do this?) In March we installed one new member and Thursday night we will install one more (she couldn't attend the March meeting) and we have another new member who can't make it Thursday, so we'll install her in May.

Now while all of this has been creeping up on me, I had a couple of decisions to make. First, I couldn't dye my hair before Cyndi got married. Because for her first wedding I had chopped all of my hair off in a pixie cut (it was the 90's).

Second, I would have to chop my hair off because I wasn't going to try to grow out the colored hair.

And lastly, what color would they pick?

Well the time came for the club to suggest colors. When "rainbow" started getting tossed around I quickly interjected and told them the color limit was two. Apparently they thought that meant they must pick two. The end vote was pink (heavily suggested by me) with purple stripes...

(it's just pink and I love it!!!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

not the first time

This is not the first time it has snowed in April. It is Michigan after all. And as Bill will contest every year, there's always one more snow fall near his birthday.

If you don't believe me (or do and want to see a picture) check out this post from 2007. Ignore the pictures of Jars of Clay and scroll to the bottom of that post. Please don't read it. Yikes! I was in the infancy of my blogging.

Or you can read it at your own risk and see how far I've come!

There's the snow. I would have republished that picture in this post, but alas, it is on the Mac hard drive. We still haven't replaced it. I haven't forgotten, and we will replace it soon. My iPod is now so out of touch we may have to purchase a new one. Or a new iPad. I miss our Mac. I miss my iTunes. Maybe if we stopped leasing new cars (notice the CX7 in the photo?) we could afford that new Mac.

I kid.

Sort of.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

it's still time for popcorn

Well, I can't say I'm not happy that I'm on the other side of the overnight. While nothing tragic happened, the drama and lack of respect that these youth have for stuff, each other and the building is dismal at best. I'm sure if you asked any one of them, they had a great time. And in the end, that is all that matters.

This was the first Palm Sunday, since we have lived in Grand Rapids, that Bill has been to the service. From the very first year we were here, he has always been down in the kitchen helping the Sr. High youth prepare the Palm Sunday brunch. It did not happen this year, as they were at a retreat (which Bill did not chaperon). It was a very good sermon and a very nice service. Next week, we will attend the Easter service. I think I have only been to one (I know I went with Heather one year when Bill was working at B&N , but I think the rest have been spent at my parents).

Typically we have popcorn for dinner since Bill makes his Big Sunday Breakfast. I made pancakes for the youth this morning, so there was no Big Sunday Breakfast. Bill did make me a cheese and egg bagel. We decided to still have popcorn (which I will be making in a few minutes so I'm trying to finish this post), but I also had a recipe for a carrot risotto. I decided to try that for dinner.

I got to use my food processor's shredding tool! That was fun. I grated the carrots with it (why yes I could have just grated them on my cheese grater, but I hadn't tried this tool on my food processor and wanted to). I cut up the red onion by hand and cooked the rest of it like regular risotto. It was good!

Time for popcorn!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

bagels and overnights

It's a good thing I got the z-pak to make me better because today is our Jr. High Overnight. We're going about it differently in that we'll be spending all day today hanging out in two separate groups: boys and girls. The separate groups isn't different, it's the all day part. And then tonight. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up (I always choose to go to bed early) and make breakfast. We'll be having pancakes (my special recipe) and sausages. It's going to be a lot of fun, if not completely exhausting for us adults. But the kids love it, so we love doing it for them. In fact, since the last overnight back in October, they have been begging and pleading for another one.

Pray for our safety, fun, honesty, and that they all find a way to be closer to God even if it's just for a moment.

This is where I struggle with this group. They are very physical (in a violent way) and very rude to each other. We continue to try to teach them it's not okay to treat each other like this, but it's pretty much ingrained into their social behavior. And I'm not just talking about the boys. Our girls are just as physical.

The best part is knowing that we are building a stronger class for next year (no pun intended). The majority are in 7th grade so next year they will be leaders.

Now to change the subject completely: I bought bagels, which I haven't done in a long time. Like at least five years (when we lived in Jersey and bagels were kosher), but we had some cream cheese that I wanted to use, so I bought them. They're good (I admit, no one can make a bagel like they can in NYC or Jersey), just okay, not even as good as the bagels we can get from Doug at West Coast Coffee (downtown GR, on Monroe Center - how's that for free advertising)!

I spread cream cheese on one half but decided to put peanut butter and honey on the other half. I love peanut butter and honey. I've been eating that on toast since I was a little girl. It's just as good on bagels. I had another one this morning. It made me happy and I just wanted to share!

Friday, April 15, 2011

"by sduffy head"

I am not sick. I don't feel sick. I don't have a fever. But I do have a sinus infection. And, as the nurse said yesterday, I sound like a three-pack a day smoker!

I already had an innocent round of sinusitis back in February. Everything was clear and the Advil Cold and Sinus meds took care of me. No need to waste a trip to the doctor. I was feeling better by our trip to Nashville. Again, I didn't feel sick, just the runny, stuffy nose. It all started the same way on Sunday. Sinuses draining giving me a sore throat. I tried the Advil again, but it really did nothing to help. Yesterday morning I woke up to the husky voice and let's just say colorful mucus. (I don't mince words because how else do we learn? I didn't know until adulthood that green or yellow mucus is how you know you are really sick!) I knew this wasn't going away on its own. I made an appointment.

In the fastest doctor's visit ever (in and out in 35 minutes and that includes the time it took to enter all my information into their new computer system and waiting to be called) he confirmed Bill's diagnosis (kudos dear hubby, you should have been a doctor) and gave me a prescription for the now infamous "Z-pak"

I must remember that when a medicine says it "can be taken with or without food" my stomach is too sensitive to take it without food. Hence the stomach pains I had after wolfing down the two pills. Hey, I was eager to get them in my system and get them working! I survived and am sounding much better. I've used less tissues and my eyes have stopped watering. Yay for fast working drugs!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


November 3rd is National Sandwich Day. I'm not making that up, check it out here. But even more exciting is the British holiday for the sandwich which they drag out for a whole week (check that out here)!!! I am so excited because I didn't want to have to wait until November to have a real reason to make sandwiches every day, and I'm even more excited because there is an actual National Sandwich week. I'm adopting it and I'll be "testing" sandwiches which we will enjoy during the week of the official holiday. Until then, we have to narrow it down.

Bill, I hope you're ready to eat sandwiches!!??

I like sandwiches. If you've been a follower, you'll remember some of my earlier sandwich posts (it's okay if you don't remember them, I linked them for you here and here).

I'm going to start my sandwich endeavor by trying this one.

I am going to search around for more (it's not too difficult to find sandwich recipes online, or to just be creative). I will also look through my recipes, which runneth over. I usually don't save too many sandwich recipes, because well, it's a sandwich. It can be anything you want it to be. Like the Italian Beef Sandwich I made on Tuesday, it's so good with provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayo... yum!

If you have a favorite sandwich, please share!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

married syndromes

Bills says I have "Flat Surface Syndrome" which means if there's a flat surface I put something on it. If you read my post yesterday, you know this is true because my desk is buried under piles. I have tried to do better at not doing that. For instance; our dining room table can be used at any given time without having a five minute cleaning off period. The butcher block and microwave fall victim to F.S.S. more often when I'm cooking or looking for recipes. We are limited on space, so sometime I can't help it. I do try to not leave things on a surface for more than a couple of days.

If I have F.S.S. then Bill has "Next To Where It Belongs Syndrome" or N.T.W.I.B.S. He has the uncanny ability to place things next to where they should go. Back when we had a dishwasher, he would place his dirty dishes on the counter. Next to the sink, or next to the dishwasher as it were, but often times not actually in the dishwasher. His magazines are next to the cute (very expensive) basket I bought for the explicit use of holding magazines. His shoes are next to the bed, where I constantly stub my toes when folding the laundry and his clean clothes are often found on top of his dresser, not actually in it.

Yup, Bill I called you out. Because you make fun of my F.S.S., and I want to make fun of your N.T.W.I.B.S.

This could be one for the Blah, Blah, Blog. Maybe we should go for it (you do come up with better acronyms).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

catching up

I am currently playing catch up. My desk is a disaster zone. Piles of mail, piles of paper from work, piles of receipts I need to enter into the checkbook register (yup, I actually keep track of it), piles of papers I need for various meetings, piles of piles.

This is what happens when I go out of town for a weekend. Tomorrow will be better. Things will get taken care of slowly but surely. I will attack each pile and whittle it down to nothing.

Yes, Atticus did break into my office while we were gone. Luckily I had cleaned off my desk, so there weren't any important papers (like the taxes) for him to eat. He did eat something though... I won't tell you how I know.

On a different note: the house smells delightful! The roast has been in the oven since noon. I can't wait for dinner and I wish I could add a scratch-n-sniff button to my blog. I bet you wish I could too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday's can be so long...

Well, it still wasn't as chaotic as I expected. Setting up went fast and before I knew it, we were taking photos. It wasn't raining but it was windy. The photographer said he got some good photos, so we'll see! Dayton (Jerry's youngest) stole the show with his impatience. Skylar and Daffney were Cyndi's attendants and Chasiddy and Dayton were Jerry's. They were all very cute. The ceremony lasted about seven minutes, even Grandma made it through the ceremony. I think I got a couple of good pictures, so I'll post those tomorrow.

We had the reception (the cupcakes were from Sam's Club and were amazing!!) and had the place cleaned up by 8:30pm. Jerry had taken his kids back to their mom and wanted to have dinner. After Mom, Dad, Bill and I stopped by their house, we met Cyndi, Jerry and Skylar for a late dinner.

By the time we got back to Mom and Dad's it was time for bed. Today we spent the majority of the day in the car. We left after Bill had a phone meeting, at 11am. We stopped by St. Joe for an office visit and we ate lunch too. When we got home we unloaded the car, then we took our walk. It was partly cloudy here by then and in the high 50's, it felt like spring! I quick planted my Dahlia's (I dug them up last fall and kept them in the basement, they're tubers and that's what you're supposed to do, we'll see if it works and if they grow) and did my yoga. Apparently the sit-ups and push-ups are paying off.

Since we ate way too much food over the weekend, it was popcorn for our supper. Tomorrow I'm making Italian drip beef sandwiches (the beef has to cook all day, ensuring our house is going to smell delicious), more on that tomorrow.

My throat has been sore all day, allergies. blech. I hope it stops. Maybe it's time for bed...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going to the Chapel...

I mentioned something in my post yesterday about today being chaos. So far, it has not (unless you read Bill's blog and feel his "chaos" - which means he has had to deal with my mom and me and we haven't been kind. It's just our genes) in fact, it's been leisurely. We went to church, we made the potato salad, ate lunch, I curled my hair, Bill wrote his blog, I'm writing mine, and my mom is currently working a Sudoku puzzle. None of us have been rushed or have exerted more energy than getting up to go to the bathroom. If only every wedding could be like this.

We are waiting for a couple of things to happen: for Dad to get home from his meetings at the church, for my Grandma to arrive, and to leave to go start setting everything up. It may get chaotic then (the new blended family has four children: three tweens and a five year old all of whom have more energy than a Broadway musical).

Stay tuned for another post... if I'm not wiped out. There will be pictures too!

Editor's note: I never did post pictures so here they are!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday, what a day...

Well. This has been a long day. Bill and I woke up at 5am, he made coffee (God bless him) and I got ready. By 6:30-ish we were on our way to Cicero, In. The sun just started to come up as we got closer to the lake, the temperature seemed to be getting warmer. Then it got foggy. It finally started to clear up as we got closer to the state line and while it looked cloudy and was still chilly but that was better than the alternative, rain.

I take that back. It started to rain. Then there was lightning and thunder and a lot of rain. Dark skies everywhere, National Weather Service issuing warnings (quarter size hail), and we're still driving. We made it to my parents house. Mom and I headed out to run some errands for Cyndi. It was still raining. As Mom and I were driving back to their house, it had actually stopped and the clouds were higher, we even saw some specks of blue sky way off in the distance.

Cyndi showed up a little later and we started arranging flowers in vases for tomorrow. By the time we had finished the sun was shining. The boys had all left to go pick up the cupcakes and the girls all left to stop by the park to check out the layout. It had warmed up considerably; for those of us who were wearing jackets and layers, we had all stripped down to our last layer. It was already close to if not 70. By the time we met up with the boys at the apartment it was blue sky, no clouds and warm! The flowering trees are all flowering, the rest of the trees here are all green (!), and the tulips are going to bloom any minute. The hyacinths are in full bloom and so are the daffodils. It snowed in Las Vegas today!!!

We headed to a restaurant, Brugge Braisserie in Broad Ripple. They're known for their mussels and their frites. Oh, wow. It was delicious. We got the L'Norme, the big cone of fries with all the dipping sauces. (A little history I learned in college -see Dad! My education is paying off... or not since I write this for free. Anyway my french professor in college was from Belgium. According to her, and all Belgians, french fries originated there. They are served in a paper cone and should be drizzled with mayonnaise. That's why it's okay to eat mayo with your fries and why this place is named that and serves twenty different kinds of dipping sauces with their fries!)

There were ten of us and we ate those fries like it was our last meal (we had been waiting for our table for an hour and a half). Then we ordered more food.

I need to go take a long walk.

The drive home was pleasant. We had the windows open and the breeze was nice. It was 8:20pm and the sun was setting. It was a big ball of hot pink on the horizon.

Tomorrow will be chaos. Have I mentioned there's a wedding?

Friday, April 8, 2011

chapped lips

Warning: this post is full of female "talk"

It's the end of winter. My lips still get chapped. Like many other females, I am slightly addicted to lip balm/chap stick/lip gloss. I say slightly because my addiction does not exceed more than two in storage at a time. In fact, I think I only have one back-up in the linen closet at this moment. I do however have a tube of chap stick on the side table in our living room, my purse (x2; a lip balm and a gloss), on my bedside table (x2; two different kinds of lip balm), I used to have one at my desk... I'm not sure where that wondered off to and that is it. See? That's not too many.

The reason I'm mentioning this is because I had a coupon for a certain brand (I'll name them, but I'm not getting anything from them because of this. Free Advertising!!), Blistex. Bill uses Carmex (which we jokingly call "cram-ex"), I have always used Chapstick or the one from the Body Shop, but because of the coupon thought I'd give this a try.

It smells just like a Strawberry Shortcake doll I used to have. I cannot figure out which scent/doll, but I am taken back to those days each time I apply it. I actually still have some figurines, but they've lost their scent.
I really like it. It's the "newest" one, "Five Star Lip Protection". If you miss your Strawberry Shortcake days, try this and tell me what scent you think it is... (I tried looking them up online to see if one of the names triggered a memory, but the best I can do is say, "yup, I remember Blueberry Muffin, maybe it was her. Or maybe it was the Cherry Blossom...") It's fruity, without being too much.

It has the added bonus of 30 spf. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

my preservation soap box

In my Preservation magazine (January/February 2011) there is an article on the Land Trust for Tennessee. The state of Tennessee has preserved 58,000 acres of land. This was in response to "the explosive growth threatening the state's rich agricultural terrain."

I often wonder what it is that developers think they're doing to "help the good of the community" by developing land. I understand the need for new construction, without it we don't have anything to preserve 50 years from now. I think I'm a pretty "left-wing" preservationist. But when I drive down any given street and see strip mall after abandoned strip mall, I can't help but wonder when does it end?

When do we stop wondering why there is a wild animal problem and leave land alone? Did you know it would be okay to not develop every square inch of the earth?

I watched the PBS special on our National Parks. I cannot recite an iota of information because there was so much of it packed into each episode. But I do know how proud I am to not only be an American, but a Preservationist who cares about recycling, the environment and saving pieces of history.

There are a lot of Preservationists in Grand Rapids. Looking through our Award winner nominees last night it was evident that this city is full of them. Which is why it always makes me wonder what a developer thinks when he drives past an open field...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blue and White

I noticed something; many people in Michigan like to paint their houses blue. It is not unusual at all. Our house in Niles was blue (it still is, my uncle lives there now). It was no surprise when we moved to Indiana that my parents wanted to paint that house blue (it was a brick red). Unfortunately the blue they picked was a lot less gray, and a lot more Smurf. Almost twenty years later, they were able to reside it (and put in new windows which have saved them a lot of energy, too bad it was too early for tax credits) and now it's a nice pale, celery green. It's very nice.

I mention this because in high school a friend was amused by the blue house. I became pretty sensitive to it and never knew why it hadn't bothered me before that moment.

It recently occurred to me while Bill and I have taken our walks around our neighborhood, and while driving around in the 'Vette, I have noticed the multitude of blue houses. I believe it is the state color of Michigan. We love our lakes and we love the color blue. Our state flag has a blue background. The lakes are blue. Some days we see blue sky. Blue it is.

Our other favorite color is white.

While most teenage girls are concerned about being tan for prom, Michigan girls are still white. We don't see that blue sky until mid summer so neither does our skin. We are proud of our white, white skin (although most times embarrassed) and don't mind waiting until after the 4th of July until we can work on our tan. You see just as many umbrellas at the beach as you don't (it makes sense, just think about it a minute).

Nancy and I did see a couple of girls in bikini's sunning themselves on a porch roof on Friday and it seems like everyone is in Florida or Alabama right now for spring break. But the rest of us like to be white. Or we don't have a choice and we will be white because we're still far enough north that the suns rays can't penetrate our thick winter clothes...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the crazy cat routine

This morning, while I was in the bathroom attempting to tame my hair (it's getting really long, I swear it grew two inches in the last week), Juliette made her morning appearance. So I turned on the faucet and let her drink the cold water. Then Atticus found the shadows on the shower curtain to be fascinating and he joined in the bathroom party. Have I mentioned our bathroom is small?

We call Atticus' addiction, "kitty tv". He will sit and stare at the shadows on the wall all morning. Willing them to move with his Jedi mind tricks. If a bird flies by, look out! He will go after the shadow. Bill and I have both started to play shadow puppets with him. It's amusing, just as amusing to us as it is to the cat. The best part is he doesn't seem to connect that our hands, which are right behind him, are the ones making the shadows. Nope. He is intent on catching whatever that thing is that is on the wall.

We should buy a laser pen. He would go nutters for that.

Instead we will continue to play shadow puppets and share the small bathroom with the cats. As Bill said last night, maybe we should talk about boundaries...

Monday, April 4, 2011

crash like thunder

We had some pretty severe storms last night. Normally I can sleep through anything. Last night I know I woke up twice to very loud thunder. But that's actually not what I'm talking about.

I had wondered if our friends Amy and Adam would be in church yesterday with their seven-day old son, Wesley. I wanted to meet him. When we walked inside, I looked to their usual spot and was disappointed to see that they were not there. We sat down, and as I was looking through the announcements, I saw that the Cradle Cross was in honor of Wesley. I whipped my head around to see if they were still M.I.A., and there they were.

I jumped up and ran over to their pew. As I rushed toward them, my shoe hit the support under the pew and,


It was loud. I guess it didn't sound so much like thunder (which makes for a better title) but more like a gun shot. A very, very loud gun shot. In church. I am sure heads turned. I laughed and ducked. I'm also sure my face was red. I do that. My face deceives me all the time, it blushes whether I am embarrassed or not. I wasn't embarrassed, I kick those pew supports all the time. This time it just happened to be louder then normal.

Luckily I didn't appear to do any damage to the newborn. He barely opened his eyes as I peered down at him in the dim-under-the-balcony lighting. He's pretty darn cute. It was worth the pain (it did hurt!), fuss and noise to meet him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

a spring cleaning tip

The whole reason I wrote that post yesterday was to include a helpful tip that I discovered. Did you read it? No, because I forgot I wanted to include it by the time I sat down and blogged.

Have you ever forgotten which way to flip and rotate your mattress? Or have you ever argued with your spouse as to whether it's time to flip and rotate or just rotate the mattress (that may or may not have been the reason for my "creation" of this tip)?

Here's what you do: take a piece of paper (rectangular helps) and write on the bottom "January-March". Then flip the paper over and rotate it 180 degrees and write at the bottom of that side "April-June". Flip the paper over and at the bottom of that side write "July-September" and finally flip it back over (and you should have to rotate it, but maybe not) and write "October-December". Now you can do the same thing to your mattress with a Sharpie marker. The paper exercise will be your key/guide as you flip and rotate your mattress to write these months at the foot of it because the paper is easier to flip and rotate than the mattress. If you write each one facing the foot of the bed, then it will also be easier to remember which way it's supposed to be read (as witnessed by our discussion yesterday when Bill asked if April-June was supposed to be at the head or foot of the bed; since the words at the head of the bed were upside down it has to be at the foot). I hope that makes sense and I hope it helps you remember to flip and rotate your mattress!!

I am a dork.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring cleaning, yuck!

Warning: You may sneeze while reading this post.

Wait. That's not right. You won't sneeze. I will.

Because we cleaned today. A lot. We need to buy a new filter for the vacuum (does anybody actually replace those filters? You're "supposed to" every month, so Bill says. But does anyone ever replace them???) and I went through an entire roll of paper towels. I won't even tell you what we found under our bed. It was gross.

I made a short list and of things I wanted to get cleaned (so I could cross them off as we went) and the only thing we didn't get to was cleaning inside the refrigerator. I think it will still be there when I clean it. I even polished the silver. Or tried to. I didn't have enough elbow grease left by the time I got to that job. Bill did help me, according to his calculations he did 38% of the cleaning. That's okay, he still helped and it was enough.

At about four o'clock the sun came out (good thing we didn't listen to the weatherman who all said it would be cloudy and rainy all day) and Bill sort of nodded toward the window. "Do I want to take a walk?", I asked. "No, a ride in the Corvette." oooh, okay sure. So off we drove. There is still a problem in the dash, you can read about that on Bill's blog here, but it was nice to be out in the sun. We ended up at Jason and Chandra's house which was a nice surprise. We had a lovely visit, albeit short.

And how about those Butler Bulldogs? (No, I'm not jumping on the bandwagon, I'm just not an avid basketball watcher. It's the Final Four though, history in the making, I wasn't going to miss that!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

the butterflies are back!

The butterflies are back at Meijer Gardens!
My friend Nancy from Kalamazoo came to see them. It was a gorgeous sunny day. It was cold outside, but inside the conservatory it was a balmy 80 degrees (hey, it's spring break)!

They added to the exhibit, one of the conservatories now has Monarch caterpillars, chrysalis and butterflies. That was pretty neat. Then we got into the large conservatory and the butterflies were every where.

There are signs everywhere telling you not to touch the butterflies, but if you ask a volunteer, they'll suggest you wear bright colors to attract the butterflies. One landed right on Nancy's hand! I managed to snap a picture before it took flight.

While we were walking around I overheard a young girl talking to her mom. There were several girls, who all appeared to be sisters. One of the older two (I would guess around ten or eleven) was not happy that butterflies were not attracted to her and were apparently attracted to the others. Out of what sounded like frustration, she asked her mom, "Is it because I put on deodorant?" She clearly wanted an answer as to why the butterflies were not landing on her. It made me laugh, and I wanted to tell her the butterflies might not care, but I appreciated it.

It warmed up enough that we headed outside. We didn't really see anything new, but we enjoyed the walk. In this last photo of the waterfall, you can still see some ice (it's just to the left of the top of the waterfall).