Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Creative Kitchen

Inspired by the idea that I seem to make the same stuff over and over for dinner, I ventured forth this past week and tried two new recipes.
I've always wanted to try my hand at making risotto (a creamy Italian rice dish). I found the arborio rice on sale in the grocery this week and that was all the motivation I need to move beyond thought and into action. I felt like a gourmet as I looked into my basket and saw arborio rice, olive oil, onion, and chicken broth. Now, I must admit, this sat on my counter for about a week until I had the time (and nerve) to give it a try. I followed the basic directions for risotto on the side of the rice container but then took creative license as I added parmesan cheese and chopped broccoli. The end result was FULL of FLAVOR and quite good and resulted in a recipe that I plan to make again.
My other culinary adventure was inspired by three small steaks I had in the fridge, the fact that our grill is out of propane, and our local grocery's meat counter. I knew I somehow wanted to make some sort of a "stuffed" steak out of the steaks I had. Emily and I checked out the meat counter and read what they put into their grillers and we chose and Italian griller. Once again, I felt just like Rachel Ray or Julia Child as I selected fresh Italian sausage, fresh mozzerella cheese, and bacon from the meat counter. I took the steaks and butterflied and pounded them thin. I made a stuffing mix of Italian sausage,Italian breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, parm cheese, and an egg. I spread this inside the steaks, added two thick slices of mozzerella cheese, folded it over and wrapped two slices of thick bacon around it. Seared it on olive oil and finished it in the oven for 20 minutes. They were INCREDIBLE! Full of flavor and I was amazed how for not alot of money, those three little steaks turned into something very substantial.
I did learn a few lessons from all of this. Fresh mozzerella is so much better and flavorful than the pre-grated bags. The same thing was true with the bacon and the sausage. I've always shopped very, very frugally and I'm reaching a point where I still have to be cost-conscious but at the same time, I was good flavor in my meals. By using small amounts I can still stretch the dollars without giving up the flavor.
What a conincidence, my counsin, Gretchen did a post on a vegetarian version of risotto today too!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Picture Week Continues

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture!! From left to right, its me, my sister, Elizabeth, our cousin, Bruce, and his brother, Troy. It had to have been taken around 1969 or 1970 as I look to be 4 or 5 years old.
Taken in Great Bend, KS at my grandparent's home. We are in my Aunt Roxie's wagon (she is 10 years older than I) and she would pull all of us...for HOURS in that thing. I remember loving it!!
The picture is actually a slide my sister had scanned and the quality of it after all these years is incredible. Of course, I took some creative license and changed it to sepia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just For Fun

Found this one in my picture files.
- Three Little Kittens

They ALWAYS know when its dinnertime!! They are alot like children. Yes, I have to put THREE bowls on the floor!!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Labor Day weekend, we always have a church-wide picnic that includes a simple service outside. I've taken hundreds of pictures of church events...this year I'm trying to focus more on capturing individuals, personalities, and the sense of community we have at Liberty.
I'm having alot of fun doing a bit of editing online. By changing the pictures to sepia, I think I captured the feel of this particular Sunday. It was good, it was sweet, it was unified, and it was just so good to be together for one sole worship God. These are some of my friends....This is my community and I'm blessed to be a part of it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Last Video

Josh & his great Aunt, Roxie

A lively, fun song,
"Brother Will, Brother John."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY to my bright, smart, creative, beautiful, youngest daughter, youngest child, Emily!! Where the years have gone, I do not know. Emily is such a good girl and brings joy to my heart!!
I love you, Emily!!!!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Amy's New Bud

Made the mistake of going to PetSmart on pet adoption day and fell in love with little guy.
His name is Lou and he has a very sad history of abuse. Thankfully he was rescued and is now creating lots of havoc & love in Amy's life!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life-Long International Friendship

So as I said in the post about Will's wedding, one of Josh's best friends is a guy from Germany named, Simon. They met Josh's senior year of high school and have been friends ever since. Josh was able to travel to Germany in 2006 to visit Simon. Simon and his parent's came for a visit in 2008 and last year on Josh's Eurepean choir tour, Simon was able to attend one of the concerts in Germany.
It was an incredible and heart-warming surprise that Simon came all the way over from Germany for Will's wedding and these friends could reunite.
This is Josh, Simon, and Will - Senior prom, April, 2005
Josh, Will, & Simon - Will's Wedding - August, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to School Shopping

The last Friday before school started, Cliff just happened to be off work. We had a great day with 3 of our kids...lunch & school shopping. We found some amazing sales!! It's so funny how different the shopping trips for college/high school vs. elementary/junior high.
This was a treasured moment and of course I didn't have the camera. We had to resort to a phone camera!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Video

This is my Aunt Roxie, playing one of my most favorite of her arrangements..."Standing on the Promises"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Most Beautiful Wedding

In his senior year of high school, Josh met a foreign exchange student from Germany named, Simon. The family that Simon was living with had a son named, Will. Will, Simon, and Josh became fast friends and senior year found Josh all but living over at Will's house.
Will's parents, Bill & Robin, were great. They treated Josh just like he were a member of the family. They also have another son, Rob, who is in the same grade as Jacob and before long, our two families had forged a lifetime-friendship.
Over the course of the last year, Will met, courted, and asked a lovely young lady, Dani, to marry him. They are a great couple who give their lives away to help others in the name of Christ.
Will and Dani chose for their wedding location, the summer camp for inner-city kids where they met. Up on the hill is a large cross that overlooks a valley...GORGEOUS! It was probably the most stunning backdrop for a wedding I've ever seen.
Robin & Josh
Will & Dani

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Little Blue House...Almost Done

We've been working on it for a little over a month. Josh and Emily have done the bulk of the painting and scraping. Isn't it pretty? The color is "Pelican Bay" by Behr and it is just perfect. We decided to also get the premium where the paint and primer are mixed and that stuff covered so beautifully. We did, however, have to use some Kilz primer over the blue trim that is now being painted white. You can't see it in this picture but the door is a beautiful cranberry red and we haven't gotten to it yet but the front porch floor will be a dark charcoal blue.
We still have a lot of trim work to get painted so we plan to work hard this weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wings To Fly

After almost 4 months of summer at home, the day quickly came for Josh to load up his belongings and head back to school for his 5th and final year.

During this summer, Amy moved out into her own apartment which mean that once Josh pulled out of the driveway, it is the first time that my household is down to two kids.

Even though Josh has been away from home now for almost 5 years, the good-byes DO NOT get any easier...and in fact, the longer they are home, the harder the good-bye. I did not want to cry when he left but it was inevitable. I miss both he and Amy's presence in my daily life. And over this weekend, I decided that giving my kids the wings to fly was by far, the hardest/most rewarding/scariest thing I have to do as a mom. I look at Josh and I know that if I tried to hold onto him I would stifle him. He's been back to school not even a week and already has had some great experiences he wouldn't get here.

I read somewhere this week that, "Children are like dragonflies. They are born and grow up in the water. They fly away once grown, only to return for a brief moment. Sometimes touching the water, but never staying long. Chilren are gifts that parents only have for a brief time." Josh definately touched the water this summer.

My two younger kids started high school this week. Jacob is a senior and very soon it will be his turn to fly. Am I ready? No. Is any parent ever really ready?