Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some Randomness

This is a picture of my Great-grandparents, Christian and Stella Hauck. Aren't they cute? I suppose they had their share of troubles but somehow I don't think they were as overscheduled as my sweet little family seems to be right now! This college athletics recruiting thing is KILLING me. It's all so complicated and the logistics of managing all the paperwork is daunting, to say the least. That combined with Sweet Baby M's schedule and volleyball makes for busy days and then throw the Big D and his activities on top of all that. My poor husband gets lost in the shuffle.

This makes me smile and lightens the load. Sweet Shadow thoroughly enjoyed licking the spatula for the cake I was making. I love how his eyeballs look as if they could pop right out! I think he was amazed at his good luck.

And finally, why oh why can NO ONE in this household reload the toilet paper roller? It is beyond me why they can't just move a roll from the back of the toilet (I always stack LOTS of extras there) to the roller. Usually it's carefully balanced on top of the roller but not loaded on ready for the next potty-er. Annoying.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I'm here...I'm just too busy and tired to post anything. We were busy all weekend with Cross Country meets (in the VERY rain soaked park) and Volleyball tournaments. Then my wonderful husband wanted to go see a movie (Love Happens...very cute!) and out to dinner. Today was a major catch-up day and "pull the house back together after the weekend" day. I'm just exhausted...more later.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Celebration Time, Come On!

Is that the CORNIEST title or what! Today we are celebrating this lovely woman's 70th birthday! She is my wonderful Mother-In-Law, Susie. I love this picture of her taken just about a week ago with my sweet Sister-In-Law. They are both so sweet and I can't imagine any better family. My Mother-In-Law put herself through college after the sudden death of my husband's dad to become a paralegal and then went to work for a prominent immigration attorney. She was truly MORE than the right hand man for the office. She was the driving force for so many people in their quest for citizenship. When she retired she moved out to the country to run a tree farm with my husband's stepdad.

This year she treated her whole family (5 kids and their spouses and grandkids) to a three day adventure in Bennett Spring, MO. We had so much fun being together and relaxing away from home. Since the untimely death of her only sister, she has become a surrogate Mom to her nieces and their families. They are always included in everything our family does and it makes it all so fun. She is the glue that holds it all together. Susie is a hard worker. She loves yoga, reading, cooking, gardening and her dogs and cats. She adores her family.

I love this picture of Susie and her hubby looking out over the waters at Bennett Spring. This place holds special memories for her family and it was so fun to experience it this year with her. She loved watching her "boys" fly fishing together....they are a true Band of Brothers and watching the grandkids and great-grandkid and great-nieces and nephews scamper through the shallow water gave them so much pleasure.

Susie, or Mom as she is known to all, is one in a million. She is a lionness when protecting one of her family, has the tenderest heart when faced with any problem and is one of the most intelligent people I know. If you have a problem....she will find a solution.

Mom, I love you! I hope your birthday today is everything you thought it would be. We have been so blessed to have you as the Matriarch of our family.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heights Falcons Thump the Competition

Heights volleyball team is doing so well this year! They have only had one defeat and that was from their bitterest rival, Bishop Carroll. Because they had such a strong Senior team last year, they were not slated to do well this year but they have rocked the court! Just look how high these two can jump!

That's Sweet Baby M on the right with her good friend Perri in the middle! What an awesome block!

Of course, it helps when you have cute little fans like Annabelle to come and cheer you on!

These girls are a great team and good friends and that's exactly what we want to see this year!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Little Dog...Strange Ways

This little brat is Sweet Baby M's pet. She is not my pet, no matter that she sleeps in my bed, I feed her and hold her and her fur is usually covering every bit of my clothing. Even though I LIVE in a house with 5 pets...none of them are TECHNICALLY mine! Tiki (the chihuahua)is my husband's dog, Shadow (the wicked lab) is the Big D's dog, Leo (the gecko) again...Big D's. Zippy the Cat is Sweet Baby's and this naughty Pommy is Sweet Baby's. If I had pets, they would be only good, trained to behave and they wouldn't rip and chew everything up. So HA!
For some reason this little twerp (who is named Pup Pup but is also called Baby Butters) likes to pick up one piece of dog food in her mouth and carry it all the way across the kitchen to eat on the family room rug. She does it at least 15 times...back and forth, back and forth. I think it's kind of weird.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have really mixed feelings about this post because I don't want it to be misinterpreted as weird and I certainly don't want anyone who's on the fence about Christianity to be put off. Please don't use my thoughts as your barometer. But I wanted to document it so I don't forget it.
The morning the planes changed my generation's idea of safety forever, I had just dropped off my Kindergartener and 4th grader at school. My Dad called me on my cell and said, "Don't turn on the radio...something has happened and the kids don't need to hear it." Since I always obey my Daddy...I didn't turn it on or think anything of it. You see, I was on my way to First Evangelical Free Church to lead 50+ women in a Beth Moore Bible Study, "Jesus, The One and Only". That is why I will NEVER forget that it was Tuesday..because it was Bible Study day.
When I walked in the church, the t.v.'s were on in the foyer and the pastoral staff was gathered around them. In one second, my joyful, carefree morning changed. I had 50+ women congregating in the church basement, some who were just hearing the news for the first time. At that moment, before we started the welcome time...I felt absolutely stunned and brain-dead.
After a time spent processing what had happened and dismissing anyone who felt they needed to get home, we decided to carry on and start our time together with worship and prayer. Everyone stayed. I decided we would open with prayer and felt very compelled that I should lead but I didn't even know what I would pray. I stood up in front of this group of ladies, some who were sobbing...and I FELT the Spirit of the Lord fall on me. Now...................
I don't want this to sound creepy or weird. However, for one of the few times in my life...I felt absolutely loved, absolutely at peace and I had the right words. I prayed naturally and from the heart. The words were right and true. When I opened my eyes, our lead Pastor...Tom Macy...was standing beside me. I really barely knew him personally but he squeezed me and proceeded to reassure the ladies.
We went on to study "Jesus, The One and Only" and it will always be one of my favorite studies. Who else but Jesus could heal the heart of our broken nation? Who else but Jesus gave the tragedy perspective and who else but our sweet Jesus would step in and meet some Midwestern ladies in the basement of their church and make them feel as crucial to his work as the most respected evangelist? He became something more than just "God" to me that day. Although I know I received Jesus in my heart when I was a little girl in Awana's, that day I felt like I really "got it". It was all about feeling him meet us in that place. He came down and dwelt amongst us that moment and I really truly believe that.

Later, someone told me that Pastor Macy said that when he walked in the room as I was praying, he truly felt the spirit of the Lord amongst us too. I felt that was just a validating gift that God graced me with. :)

When Bible Study was over, I actually had the presence of mind and peaceful spirit to see each dear lady out the door and then RAN to my car and SPED to the school to grab my babies. I wanted them physically in my arms and with me. Then I broke down.

That day changed alot in our household. My husband works in the aircraft industry and it had a HUGE effect on business since planes were grounded. We have financial holdings in aircraft so we definitely were financially affected. That said, I hope I never, ever forget that feeling of God drawing near. Although I loved Him made me adore Him.

Okay...there's nothing more I have to say.
That's it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ten Things I am Loving this September!

1. The State Fair. I am not even sure we are going to get a chance to go (it starts on the 11th...) but the idea of it is worth pondering. I love the fair but it just always falls at a horrible time for us right in the middle of Fall sports and bad weather. However, the Kansas State Fair and all it's wonderful taste tempations and freebies is #1. The pronto pup is worth the admission and drive alone.

2. Cheese and apples. I love apples! Right now the store is getting a new shipment of good apples and they are crisp and yummy, especially with cheese (my fave combo).

3. Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream. It really is the best. I don't know why I ever deviate into any other brand or flavor.

4. The Cleaning Authority. This is a total spoiled indulgence but I love having cleaning people. Mine are two of the most wonderful ladies that you would ever meet and they clean like whirling dervishes. I always go down in the laundry room and talk on the phone and do laundry and babysit the little dogs while they are here and when they yell down the stairs "See you next time", I venture up to an immaculately clean house. Heavenly!

5. Walking Shadow. Even though we have three dogs, Shadow is the most ill-behaved and hardest to control. The last few weeks he has really come around and is behaving much better on the leash. I attribute this to my compulsive following of "It's Me Or The Dog" on Animal Planet. I am a big fan of Victoria Stillwell!

6. Touched By An Angel. Where was I when this first showed on TV? It's in re-runs on the Hallmark Channel and I love it! And the Hallmark Channel should be it's own number anyway! It is one of my all time favorite channels.

7. Estate Sales. I adore them. There is nothing that gives me such a thrill as digging through someone else's old junk. More often than not, I walk away with nothing but I adore finding a bargain and it's always very heartwarming to see that other people have more junk than me. :)

8. "Ladies of the Lake" by Haywood Smith. Just started this book but I am LOVING it. I adore the library (which could have also been #8). Every time I ever go and leave with a bag of books it amazes me that they are just letting me TAKE them. I can not understand why everyone doesn't utilize the library. The VERY best part is that if you HATE the book, you can fling it down...unread...and then return it without feeling the least bit guilty that you wasted the money buying it.

9. John Eldredge's "Walking with God". I have read this book before and started the workbook but for some reason this time it's really clicking with what's going on in my life.

10. Fall Sports. I love volleyball season, cross country meets and Friday night Heights High School football. I like packing the cooler, making sure people have cold gatorade and clean sports uniforms. I LOVE packing the sports duffels and organizing the snacks. It's all fun! This year we want to tailgate before one of the Heights home games for the Seniors. Fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ravioli Lasagna

I'm not quite sure what to call this stuff but it is YUMMY! Here's a loose adaptation of the recipe which I made up.

1 bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed and uncooked
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1 package fresh spinach, sauteed (could also use frozen, defrosted and drained)
5 links Mild Italian Sausage, squeezed out of casing and browned and drained
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup parmesan cheese

This is not for the faint of heart calorie and fat wise.

1.Brown sausage and drain.
2.Saute' spinach in a tiny bit of olive oil with a clove of chopped garlic and -set aside (you probably could get away with just throwing it in unsauteed and it would work).
3.Make the parmesan white sauce by melting the butter and whisking in the flour to make a roux. Then slowly add about 1/2 cup of the milk stirring continually. When it is thick and incorporated, add the rest of the milk and then bring it to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir to make the cheese sauce.
4.In a 13 x 9 pan lay the 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce (kind of depends on how wide your pan is) and then lay a layer of the cheese ravioli nice and evenly on top. Top with the sausage and spinach. Layer on 1/2 the cheese sauce. Lay the rest of the ravioli on top and then top with the other 1/2 of the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the 1/4 cup of parmesan and bake covered with foil for 1 hour on 350* then remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes to brown parmesan on top.

YOU DON'T NEED to thaw the ravioli or cook them prior to using them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Love Fall!

It's not even that Fall-like here but I sure am anticipating it! Next to summer, fall is my favorite season. Mostly because I am always so cold everywhere in summer. Too much air conditioning. All summer long I wear long sleeves or three quarter sleeves and finally in fall I can wear them and not look like a freak! Ha!
Today just seems like a fall day so I made chili for my gang. Chili with crushed up saltines and cheese just sounded very fall like and yummy. Plus it was what I was going to make last night for dinner before we decided to go to Carraba's and I already had the hamburger thawed and the onions diced.

This chili powder makes such good chili. I love Penzey's spices and if you have never tried them YOU MUST! Just go to and order away. We love almost every single one. I just placed a big order for vanilla, cumin, chili powder, Chesapeake bay seasoning (for shrimp) and Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle (for garlic bread). It's too die for.

Doesn't that look yummy! Okay...I just looked at my PREVIEW and it doesn't look so yummy but trust me, when it's all stirred together and simmered for a bit, it will.

I think I will whip up a batch of these too! I made some of my Mom's famous Marie Callender's Cornbread but pumpkin muffins sound so good. Plus my Grandma Baker used to always say that pumpkin was one of the very best things to feed children. It's just so good for them. That and molasses were her tricks to raising healthy kids.

Pretty soon it will be time to go and pick up a few bushels of apples and create one of these beauties!

I can't wait! I love apples and everything apple related. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple turnover, apples with cheese, applesauce. Yummy!
I think this looks like the perfect combo for apples though. Two of my favorite things...apples and cheese. Now I just need a fondue pot.

Buttons and Yo-Yo's

I am addicted to these.
I am not a good sewer. I have NEVER been able to master a sewing machine. My last attempt ended in a thread ball that was as big as a jawbreaker. Suffice it to say, it didn't go well.
Yo-yo's require no true sewing skills. You just have to be able to cut a circle of fabric, thread a needle and sew a running stitch and then gather the thread. Tie a knot and you have a yo-yo. Super simple. You can use the yo-yo's to make a coverlet which is something I'm working on (it only takes like 1000!) and use them for accent on other things. I am using 14 of them on the neck of a cardigan sweater. It is going to be "too die for" cute! I saw the original on the Country Living website.

I think this is the version I am going to use on my sweater. With the darling buttons in the middle.

This is the deluxe double yo-yo with button model. Haven't tried this yet.

This week I went to a wonderful estate sale and picked up two gorgeous, never used pillowcases. They have beautiful embroidered monograms and at least 8 inches of crocheted lace on the edge. Gorgeous and they washed up beautifully. I also found a crocheted throw which came from Dublin Ireland and washed up soft and sweet. But the find of all finds was a whole shoebox full of old buttons for $3.00. I snatched it up and sorted it out at home. Lots of wonderful jars! I love jars of buttons.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Yes. This is a complete post about nothing more than my love of Toast. My whole family loves Toast (except my husband who really detests my love of it). I will eat just about any toast, even that made from cheap white bread, but the preferred toast of all time is made from this......................

San Francisco style sourdough bread. I love it toasted just to the burned point. It can even be a little burned. Toast is meant to be dark. Not floppy and light in color. It has to be a little charred to be really good. Most of the time it has to be flipped in the toaster after it's done toasting and toasted for half the time on the other side. Then immediately spread with butter. Not margarine. Yuk..who eats that anyway? Real butter, preferrably with a low water content so it doesn't get all yukky and soggy. Then a smear of this glorious substance..........

Bonne a variety of luscious flavors, the only jam I will buy. First, who can resist the jar? Is it not the cutest thing? I love to reuse them for homemade salad dressing or for storing buttons. Too die for. The jam is yummy too though. We adore the Four Fruits but also love the blueberry. The cherry is good too. I don't think we've had one we hated. That is about the perfect snack or breakfast. Sourdough toast, spread with buttter and smeared with four fruits jam.

I also have a cookbook about nothing more than toast. The title is (what else) "Toast" and the author is Jesse Ziff Cool which I happen to think is one of the "coolest" names around. Jesse Ziff would have been wonderful but add the Cool and it's over the top. The recipes are yummerrie (are you familiar with that word) and easy! She's the owner of the Cool Cafe and the Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park near Stanford. Since I adore Menlo Park...I'm sure I'd love her in person.

On another note. One time I read an article on Wolfgang Puck and he was asked his favorite comfort food. His reponse was, "baguette fresh from the bakery. Sometimes I have to buy two just so I can tear into the first one in the car, yanking off chunks and eating it and still have another one left when I get home". I loved that!

Another use for toast that I adore is Crostini. Beautiful little pieces of baguette or whatever bread you choose to use, toasted up and topped with some wonderful substance. Even just melted cheese. Don't get me started there...toasted cheese and paninis are a whole other post and obsession.

That's it for now. Just my ode to toast. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

This, That and The Other Thing (revisited)

Oh dear bloggy world! What in the world have I been doing that I haven't blogged since August 22? Well...suffice it to say, I've been busy. So here's what I've been up to:
1. Letting Shadow in the house and out of the house. He is the perpetual "inny-outy" dog of all time. If he's in, he wants out and if he's He truly has some annoying ways about him. Oh and this..for some BIZARRE reason, when he wants to go out, you have to step out and hold the door open for him. As if I'm a doorman at the Ritz! It doesn't matter if it's 3 in the morning, pouring rain, sunny or if he has to poop so bad he's going to explode. Then he walks through as if he's entering Narnia for the first time. Tentative. As if it's a whole new backyard, not the same one he has been frequenting for 8 months straight. Like we are sending him to a gas chamber...which very well might happen if he doesn't quit chewing on the outside of the house. Ahem.
2. I've spent countless hours shuttling the Big D's forgotten items to his school. His ID badge, planner, books, running clothes. Luckily it's a 10 minute drive round trip but still....the only place to park is the faux handicapped slot. This is the parking stall that USED to be handicapped as referenced by the wheelchair painted on the pavement which has been eradicated in blue paint. It always freaks me out though...does that mean it isn't for the handicapped anymore and I can park there without repercussion or does it mean someone's stencil slipped when they were repainting the slot and everyone is going to think I'm a jerk. All this over a forgotten pair of running shorts.
3. The oven repair. My oven on my brand new stove quit working about 6 months after we purchased it. It only heats on Convection and only to 350 degrees after about 1 1/2 hours. SO....finally 6 months later I called the repair man and he came out and said the broiler element was burned out. He would order a new one and it would be in after a month. It's been two weeks and it's in (hallelujah) but the only time frame they can give me for installation is a 5 hour span. Can you be available between 8 and 1? I can't fathom that they can't pin it down to a shorter span. It is like saying...can you be home non-stop, never leaving, never having to go run an errand, never walk away from the phone because you just might miss our 15 minute prior to arrival courtesy call....for a whole day? That's bizarre to me.
4. Volleyball which has never NOT been the focus of our lives, has ramped up to become our very breath. The gatorade, inhalers, clean sox, clean spandex, uniform which CANNOT go in the dryer and stinky knee pads are never ending. If the washer isn't running and damp volleyball clothes aren't hanging, their is a problem.

I guess that's the long and short of it. Today I finally feel like I can take a breath. The long Labor Day weekend is going to be nice. Tomorrow we have a Cross Country meet (Big D) in the morning and then it's nothing until Tuesday. Should be wonderful!