Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Yes. I finally rescued the photos from my camera. They only went back to the beginning of the month so I wasn't too far behind...

I wanted to share this one

The same woman who made our Anniversary cake made this. It was a pumpkin square, chocolate covered pretzels and the cute marshmallow head.

I saved this picture for today's post. We did not save the treat. We gobbled it up.

By the way, I also wanted to share my take on the fact that Americans are spending $5000000000000 dollars on Halloween (according to this website). Whether that is the actual figure or not, it's a lot of money.

My guess is that no one stopped to think about how much of that is Hollywood. I enjoy watching the holiday shows, but it seems like every show has gotten in on the act.

Wait. It doesn't just seem that way, it is that way. Add in those costumes, sets, and designs, throw in the Food Network and you get somewhere close to that number.

This year I bought a pumpkin (that I didn't carve). All of my decorations are just fine, I didn't need to add any new ones. I have plenty of candles to set the mood. The candy was leftover from my overnight (I gave the group more than enough sugar). Pretty simple. 

Don't ask about Christmas though. I may have more of an addiction to that holiday.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


It's Halloween Eve and I have not carved my pumpkin. At least I bought a pumpkin.

Hopefully it will be nicer out tomorrow and I will carve it then.

My other hope for tomorrow is that I finally rescue the photos off the camera.

And then post them in here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

superhero status

I feel like a superhero.

Along with saving dogs and fixing signs, add helping stranded person to that list.

I was running along, like I do, and a woman was pushing a toddler in his stroller. She said more than hello, so I stopped to talk to her.

She had locked herself and the toddler out of the house. She wondered if I could call her sister and ask her to come and get them. She meant, could I go back to my house. I offered the use of my cell phone (because I always take it with me). She gave me her sister's number and I called.

I didn't feel like it was a trick because even though I offered the phone to her to use, she declined. The sister did sound suspicious until I explained to her why I was calling.

After I hung up the phone the woman thanked me and I continued my run.

I need a cape and a superhero name...

Sunday, October 28, 2012


It's taken me awhile but I'm finally starting to make the family connections at our church.

It seems that everyone is related to someone else.

A lot like my high school. My best friend Alisha was related to almost every person in school. Most were distant relatives, family is family.

The same goes with our church. I've known a couple of family relations; some were obvious, such as youth with siblings. Then I learned that some of them were cousins.

I discovered two new relations today and they may be connected.

It's very interesting. You can ask some of the long-time members and they'll just shake their heads. If you ask about specific families, they will tell you. Otherwise you are left to figure it out on your own.

Which takes a few years.

I can't even keep up with my own family...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

the Overnight plus the other days I've missed

Okay, clearly I am too busy for the last few weeks of my "year of blogging, part 2".

Thursday, I went to visit Molly. She is attending Hope College. It was almost 80 degrees so we had ice cream. It was yummy.

Friday, I spent most of the day preparing for the Jr. High Overnight. We had nine youth. We went to The Spark Foundation and made a donation.

Our super star mom, Denise, made the best dinner ever. Here's the menu:
Mini Eyeball subs
Mummy hotdogs
Veggies N Dip (Pumpkin shaped – carrots/broccoli)
Spider Cheese Ball n’ crackers
Bone Bread Sticks n’ Blood Dipping Sauce
Brain cupcakes
Eyeball cake pops

Then we went to the John Ball Zoo for a Twilight Tour. We saw the reptiles, a Screech Owl, a Chinchilla (which we got to pet), some monkeys (or relatives of them), we saw a Barn Owl, the Frogs, and the Aquarium (Penguins sound scary when you wake them up at night).

We watched a video clip (from the Skit Guys but it's not them... it's really good and spooky) and then "Goonies". 

Today I have spent the entire day (once I got home at 11:30am and cleaned up) on the couch watching tv. I watched shows I have dvr'd but haven't had a chance to watch.

Right now I am watching part two of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". It's the end of my marathon. Three months later.

Hey, better late than never.

And just so I would be sure youth show up for Sunday school tomorrow morning, I bribed* them with prizes/treat. 

*Disclaimer: only two of them really came in costume last night and I had three prizes. I also had enough goodie bags for the youth plus the leaders. I had two youth who were grounded and only one leader took a goodie bag. I have plenty of treats left so better to give them away, even if it means bribing them. I am fairly certain the Bible doesn't say anything about not bribing your youth to show up at Sunday School the morning after an overnight. That is pretty specific so please correct me if you know of that particular Bible verse.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I went bowling with the Young Adult group tonight.

No, sadly I am no longer part of the young adult demographic (according to our church), I help co-lead.

Someone has to keep those rowdy "kids" in line.

Okay, I fit right in.

But boy do I need to go bowling more. I am not proud of my scores. At least I improved in the second game.

Do you really want to know?

I am so embarrassed to share.

My mom has trophies from bowling leagues. When she was pregnant with me she bowled right up until two weeks before my due date.

She is good.

It was not passed on to me.

Tonight I bowled a 75 and a 79.

I should buy some bowling shoes. I bet that would help.

Or try bowling more than once a year.

Wait, I've bowled three times this year.

Hm, time to buy a home bowling kit.

Our living room looks long enough...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

three days behind

No. I didn't post pictures.

I had lots of thoughts on what I could post.

Like, leave stuff alone that's not yours. I guess they needed it more than I did. The good news is; it was too big and I had been thinking about adding it to the donation pile and buying a new one. That still doesn't make it right that someone else took it.

I think I'm a serious runner now. I ran in the rain today. I didn't give up. It was miserable but I wasn't really miserable until I stopped.

I should think about waterproof mascara. I got a couple of weird looks from people as I ran by them.

I'm still eating sweet potato french fries. I gave up and froze the rest. I don't know if they'll make it but I couldn't just throw them away. I like them. Bill does not. I have made the mental note for next time to make a third of the batter and use one sweet potato.

They taste especially good with Ranch dressing.

I have a Halloween overnight this Friday with our Jr. High youth group. I'm very excited about it and am spending most of the week preparing for it. There's a lot to prepare for. I made goodie bags, I am creating the "worship" service (think Veggie Tales), I have to go shopping for tons of junk food (I'm making this breakfast on Saturday morning) and I have to gather the prizes for the costume contest. I found ribbons in the dollar bins at Target. There were three; Best Costume, Most Original Costume, and Scariest. Perfect!

I haven't given up on blogging yet. I've just been busy. There are still things in life that are more important and since I know none of you are out there waiting with baited breath, I can get away with missing a few posts here and there.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

another post without a picture

I finished a project that I crocheted but I don't want to post it until the recipient has received it. You see, it's a gift.

It's adorable.

I have tons of pictures on my camera that I need to rescue. Download. Remove from the camera and put on my computer. Perhaps I'll get around to that tomorrow. Then you'll get to see the cute crocheted project.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The things I'll learn...

I'm taking over as Wedding Coordinator at our church.

I have been training all year under Pat, the current Wedding Coordinator.

She has been doing this job for thirty years.

I have big shoes to fill.

I've learned a lot the past few months. I have much more to learn.

Tomorrow is Pat's last wedding. It's official, she said so herself tonight.

I'll be taking over with a wedding in November.

It's going to be interesting.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

don't miss the point

I am participating in my first marathon.

We're supporting our friends, the Friar's. Their two boys have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

They have done various fundraisers over the years.

When we first moved back to Grand Rapids they had a chili dinner. They've also had golf outings.

Last year they started the marathon.

It's .1k

As in point one k.

You start at one bar and run, or walk, to the end of the block to the other bar.

I hope you'll help me raise money and meet my goal to help their two boys. It really is for a great cause.

Click here for the link to my page. You can make a donation online or send a check.

Thank you for helping me, for helping a wonderful family and also supporting me in my first "marathon", even if it is only one block.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

how much is too much...

... popcorn?

I like popcorn.

I've mentioned it once or twice.

I am always eager to purchase Boy Scout popcorn.

This year, they are selling two pound bags of kernels for $10.

Last year the bags were 2 1/2 pounds.

I'm not complaining, I'm stocking up. We had one bag left from last year's stash.

I have ordered three bags of popcorn from two of our youth.

Then I remembered my parents still had two bags that they had bought for us from last year.

Then I ordered a bag from a friend's son.

Let's review. That totals three bags of 2 1/2 pounds of popcorn, or 7 1/2 pounds. There are four bags of two pound bags for a total of eight pounds.

We have fifteen pounds of popcorn kernels sitting in the kitchen.

Will it be enough? I just don't know... I'm being serious. We went through six bags of 2 1/2 pounders last year. Do you have a son selling popcorn? I may need to buy more.

Monday, October 15, 2012


So those sweet potato fries I made last week, there are a lot leftover. Bill had fried the rest of them for me (I had to leave for a meeting) and stuck them in the fridge.

Tonight, I heated up a plateful. I thought it would be enough for Bill.

Turns out, it was too much.

Frying something three times isn't bad is it?

Please tell me it isn't.

Next time I make these, I'm cutting the recipe by half. And then another half.

Would you like to come eat sweet potato fries with us? We'll be eating them for the next four to six months...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

they do melt in your hands...

We wrote acrostics in youth group tonight.

The youth and leaders got into it.

Of course I may have been bribing them with M&Ms.

Apparently youth and leaders will do anything for M&Ms.

What they didn't know was that later, based on the number of candies they had, they were going to have to write out a phrase that many times.

It's a good thing that's a four pound bag of M&Ms. I wonder what else they'll do if I bribe them?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

we feel like we drove through the night

The wedding was very nice.

The bride was beautiful.

The groom was dashing.

The venue was not "white enough" as Bill and my dad put it.

The walls were white, the cathedral ceiling was white but the floor was not white. It should have been according to them.

The reception was in the Garden Pavilion. It was basically a glass atrium style building. The interior was draped with white chiffon-like material. Think "My Best Friend's Wedding" reception and that's what it was like. The floral arrangements were spectacular. The food was good (even if because of Bill we were the last table to get in line and had to wait for the servers to bring fresh trays of everything).

Today we spent most of the day in the car.

We watched one of Skylar's soccer games (50 minutes from Cicero), went to lunch at 99th street. Drove clear across town to the mall so I could buy a silly lanyard for my church keys, drove back to Mom and Dad's and then hopped right back in the car and drove home to GR.

But Skylar won her soccer game. Spencer giggled, played and had fun blowing raspberries at us. Lunch was yummy (Red Robin, yum). And I found the lanyard I wanted and got $5 off!

While it was a long day, it waited and rained at the end, we made it home safely and enjoyed seeing my family.

Friday, October 12, 2012

just another Friday

Today is the wedding of our dear family friends' son, Ethan.

I have known Ethan since he was born.

I talked about him the other day because I bought their wedding gift (the oil & vinegar).

We got the wedding invitation months ago.

I immediately put it on the calendar. Mine, not the Bill's. I have access to his calendar on the iPad but he's a big boy so I didn't [think to] add it.

About six weeks ago Bill walked up to me in the kitchen and proudly shared that he finally got an appointment with that company in Ann Arbor for October 12th.

Um, that's Ethan's wedding, I reminded him.

After a few minutes of, "oh crap what do we do now"; this is the plan we came up with.

I found a salon here in Ann Arbor, while Bill has his meeting (it just started), I got my hair done. He'll come and pick me up and we'll head to Indiana from here. It's a four-hour drive so we'll get to my parents just in time to get dressed and leave for the wedding.

It wasn't at all complicated.

I am using sarcasm.

Now I sit in the fine establishment with free wi-fi and enjoy a bagel while I wait for his meeting to end.

The uncomplicated part happened when I scheduled my hair appointment. In a perfect world, I could have made it for exactly fifteen minutes before his meeting. When I tried to do that, I discovered my high expectations. The salon couldn't get me in at 11am. They could get me in at noon (too late) or 9:30am or 10:00am. Let's go with the 10am. We had to leave the house by 7:30am (yes, we were early, no we didn't hit traffic but had we, we would have been late and neither of us like being late) which meant getting up early. Early for us. I don't know what time Bill got up but it was before his alarm which was set for 5:30am.

I hope you have a happy Friday. I'll tell you about the wedding tomorrow, after Skylar's soccer game.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fries with a side of meatloaf

I promised to write about our dinner tonight and it was not disappointing.

I made this meatloaf from PW's site. I don't know if I've ever talked about it before.

A quick check of my labels says that I don't have a "meatloaf" label. So if I did write about, I didn't label it as such.

If your standard meatloaf recipe is becoming a bit bland, try this one. It has quickly found its way to the top of our favorite meatloaf list (that list isn't too long, Paula Dean's bacon meatloaf is the only thing that tops it and coming in third is an Italian style meatloaf from Giada; all my favorite chefs + meatloaf = yummy).

The side dish tonight was pretty special. It was a recipe from Giada; sweet potato fries with caramelized onions and a garlic butter-fontina topping.

Bill, do you have our doctor's phone number on speed dial? We may need to get our cholesterol checked.

The fries made enough to feed ten people (don't worry, we didn't eat them all but I'm doubting they'll be as good reheated). The toppings sent them over the top (pun intended).

I used the fancy balsamic vinegar. The aroma was unbelievable. The caramelized onions were delicious. I forget how much I love caramelized onions.

And how can you go wrong with melted butter seasoned with minced garlic? I also added some thyme. Then the grated fontina...

I love cheese.

These fries were superb.

Next time, I won't cut up three sweet potatoes. Unless I'm feeding an army. Or the sweet potatoes are smaller.

Just remember; if anything I mention sounds good, when you come visit just remind me of what specifically you want me to make for you. The list goes on and on...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a day of shopping

I had a lot of errands to run today for various reasons.

One is for a wedding that we have this Friday.

We (my family) have known the groom's family since we moved to Cicero. We spent many Christmas Eves together and I learned a lot from his parents. They helped shape me.

Ethan, the groom, wanted to be a chef when he was ten. In fact there was a period of time that you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and his reply was a firm, "I want to go to college for hotel management and then go on to culinary school". He was ten!

He ended up going to Purdue and getting a degree in Engineering. Doesn't that make more sense?

I'm guessing (and hoping) that he still enjoys cooking.

If not, this gift is going to be a huge disappointment.

I went to this great new store called the Old World Olive Press. Bill and I had stopped in there on our anniversary. They have delicious oils and vinegars. I knew this would be a great gift for someone who likes to cook.

I went back today. The young woman working knew her oils and vinegars. She had me try a couple combinations and I was sold.

I bought a bottle of each for us to try too. I'm making caramelized onions tomorrow night so I'll let you know how this balsamic works out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

food kick

I'm on a roll so I'll stick with the food topic.

I made a creamy tomato soup that I discovered yesterday when I linked the recipe for the focaccia. I will not link it tonight because I am tired and if I go back to the King Arthur flour website I might find yet another recipe. And while I generally get excited for that kind of thing, tonight I really just want to go to bed.

The tomato soup was simple and, while I don't recommend tasting it before it's finished, the end product is delicious.

Trust me. It was really good with the rest of the focaccia bread.

The next dish is meatloaf and sweet potato fries with a caramelized onion topping. I'll let you know on Thursday how it turns out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

focaccia & eggs

I had my favorite breakfast this morning; poached eggs over toast. Except I used focaccia bread. I made it last week and it's amazing. It's so delicious and so easy. If you like bread but don't want a complicated recipe, try making focaccia.

The recipe I followed used two packets of active dry yeast.

I think the trick to getting bread/yeast to rise is to not just use warm water but to heat the water and use a thermometer to get it between 120 and 130 degrees F.

It also makes a difference as to how warm your house or kitchen is. If it's too cold or too humid, you may have a problem with your dough rising. If that's the case, I'll preheat the oven to 250 while I prepare the dough. Then, once the dough is ready and the oven has preheated, I turn the oven off and let the dough rise nearby. The heat activates the yeast and it will rise nicely (sometimes too quickly, so keep an eye on it).

I did find this recipe as an advertisement in the Gourmet magazine back when I was given a year subscription. Here it is, in case you wanted to try it.

I also had some of the best pizza I've had since we were in Naples five years ago. If you're local, check out Harmony Brewery. They're on Lake Drive just past that crazy Wealthy intersection with the Subway and CVS. Their beer is amazing but seriously, their pizza is great.

They're not paying me to say this, but I know one of the owners (and I've mentioned it before). We took our friend Heather W. there on St. Patrick's Day. We had the breadsticks. I'm so sad that we didn't try the pizza that night. It's the best pizza. Seriously, you gotta try it. And if you come into town to visit, ask. We'll take you there.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the window project

Here it is, the window project, a photo montage from beginning-ish to end-ish.

Here's a sample of what the windows looked like before (this is the set of double hung windows on the second floor).

Here's the casement window that has been under construction since last year. This is the beginning of the scraping. Yes, there is primer on there, that was removed. All of it was scraped off.

You can almost see that here. As I was priming. Did you know I'm forgetful? I almost forgot to take a picture of the window while it was naked, sans paint. Then I remembered and I snapped a picture halfway through priming.
Here they are all primed. Ready for paint...
And here's the final paint. The sill needs one more coat (it's a darker brown, think dark chocolate). We weren't too sure about the trim color at first. I think it's growing on me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

you gotta read this...

I'll get to the windows tomorrow. I forgot to take a picture of the [almost] finished project.

Instead I direct your attention to Bill's blog. It's definitely worth reading today... I even linked it for you.

I hope you enjoy it, I know I did.

I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

I laugh because it's true.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

and the windows are almost done

The window painting is almost complete. Now that the weather is about to take a turn on us.

I was fortunate to be able to get out there today and get a second coat on the casements and trim. The sill only has one coat (plus the primer). If I don't get the second coat on before winter, it should be okay until spring.

I will take a couple of photos of the almost finished project. I may go ahead and post all of them on here tomorrow so you can see the entire process (or as much as we photographed).

We're not sure about the color choices... you'll see.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

a walk in the park on a fall day

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

I enjoy walking around Meijer Gardens and looking at the sculpture that resides there. Today was no exception with the bold fall colors intruding on the gray, rainy day.

One thing I noticed was the different types of sculpture.

I like the simple shapes (seen below).
Then there are others like this one...

Can you see the heads? They have axes sticking out of them and the one is tied up.

Happy and cheerful? I don't think so. Not all art is happy. I thought of all the crazy people out there who create the art and wondered where their inspiration comes from.

Then I stopped thinking about that and just enjoyed the beautiful fall colors.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

boys vs. girls

At a recent party, a friend and I noted that there was one little boy and several little girls. The friend has a boy, she was the one who noticed the difference in genders.

Then, in youth group, we were going on a Scavenger Hunt and when it came time to break into two groups one of my youth suggested boys vs. girls because we had an even number.

It got me thinking about everyone I know with children. How close is the count?

So I figured it out.

I have a lot of time on my hands.

Maybe I do need a fourth job...

Just kidding.

Back to the count. This is completely unofficial and is limited to friends and immediate family.

Out of twenty-seven couples boys out number girls 30-26. Remember, this is completely unofficial. I actually started going through my facebook friends to make sure I didn't miss anyone. I started ignoring families with one of each because they negated each other. If I stretch and look at my extended family, the numbers still come close.

Take a look at your friends with children. Are there more boys or girls? What's the official count?

Monday, October 1, 2012

two more months

I can do this.

I have two more months of blogging every day.

I still don't know what I'll do after that.

Should I blog once a week?

Twice a week?

Will I remember to blog at all?

I fear that if I don't commit to some kind of goal my blog will begin to fill up with cobwebs and dust.

Oh wait, that's just my computer screen.

Just kidding, sort of.

I will let you know what I decide to do.

As a side note: I'm keeping track of my funny youth group stories. I may have to publish those some day. When the kids who are currently in youth group have joined AARP. Maybe I should have them sign a waiver that they agree to let me blog about them. I could just add that line to the bottom of the Release form. I bet I would find out how many parents actually read the form!

I wonder if any of the parents have found my blog?

I'm going to go finish laundry...