Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Like I said, there are a million steps to get down to the beach. Well maybe not a million, but I counted 135. Close enough.

At first I thought it was too dangerous to take Riley down the steps, but he was so sad to be left behind that I caved in. I took him down on a leash and made him go as slowly as possible.  He loved the water, but he kept on trying to bite it.

I took him for a short walk along the beach. He loved it.

He didn't even mind that Daniel was in the kayak. At home, he goes crazy when any one of us is in the pool.

Going back up the stairs proved to be trickier than climbing down. Riley slipped a couple of times and about gave me a heart attack.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Riley's First Vacation

We left this morning for a one week vacation near South Haven, Michigan. We chose this spot so we could be near Daniel, who is interning in Kalamazoo all summer. The house we rented is right on Lake Michigan. There are a million steps to the beach, but that makes for a nice view from the house.

When we loaded the car this morning, Riley saw the suitcases, and he immediately went into stress mode. He figured we were leaving him again. When the last bag was in the car, however, we picked him up and loaded him in the car too. He was a little surprised.

Riley's longest car ride up to this point had been one hour. He really doesn't like riding in the car. He made the five hour trip without too much trouble. He didn't throw up, which was a plus. However, he drooled all over himself. He was completely soaked by the time we arrived at our destination.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Note to Self #1

"So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom."
 Psalm 90:12

Have you ever numbered your days? When I turned 50, I figured out how many days I would have left if I lived to be 80. It came out to roughly 11,000 days. Since then, I have used up 1,275 of them. They go fast. Every evening when I fall asleep, another one is subtracted from the count.

Of course, I could die in my sleep. One never knows. But assuming I wake up in the morning, I have another fresh day to work with. Will I waste it or use it wisely?

How do I live wisely? Have a focus. Don't get distracted. Eliminate the unnecessary. Concentrate on the important. Do one thing at a time and do it well. Ask God each morning what He wants me to do today. And do it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Who's There?

There's something lurking in the tall grass.

Could it be a tiger?

or a lion?

or maybe a Sheltie?

It's just Riley.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Photo Booth Favors

Don and I went to a wedding Saturday night. You can bet we were paying attention. There were lots of little things we thought were clever and creative. One of my favorites was the photo booth.

At each place setting was a small rectangular frame with a note inside inviting guests to use the photo booth to take home a souvenir from the wedding. There were props you could use to dress up with, but we are too conservative for that.

We just sat there and made faces. We were smooching too, but the timer missed all that.

The photo booth machine spit out two copies of our film strip. We took one home in the frame, and we put the other one is a scrapbook for the bride and groom.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Shower for Katherine

Barrington Country Club was the beautiful setting for a bridal shower for Katherine today. Pam provided the gorgeous centerpieces and boxes of chocolate for favors.

We're so glad grandma Richards and her sister Marolyn were able to be with us.

We enjoyed a pasta bar for lunch and Carolyn brought the most yummy cupcakes ever from Sweet Lil' Things Cupcakes and More

One of the games we played was "guess how old Katherine was in 16 different pictures"

Aunt Pam kept the gifts coming...

Katherine loved the nightgown I picked out for her. I'd show you the real one, but my blog is rated "G" for general audiences.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Indiana Summer

This is the house in Marion, Indiana where Katherine and Josh will be living the first 3 years of their married life. The house is over 100 years old. It is an upstairs - downstairs duplex rental property which Don purchased in March. They will be renting the bottom half. Hopefully other Indian Wesleyan graduate students will be renting the top. The landlord happens to be Don.

This is the major project for the fixer-upper house. The photo makes the kitchen look a lot nicer than it really is. Wait until you see the after shots. 

It was difficult to get a wide angle shot of the bathroom. There is a sink and shower in addition to what you see. This is fixer-upper project number two.

The house does have many redeeming qualities. The front room is very nice.

The bedroom is very nice too. (The furniture belongs to the previous renters.)

And then there is the family room. It's nice as well.

The only two rooms needing major work are the kitchen and bathroom. So that's what Don, Josh and Peter are doing this summer. Each week, they drive to Indiana and spend three days working on renovations. Don is the contractor and the guys are sub-contractors. Don LOVES this stuff. I haven't seen him this excited in years.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To Do List

I finally found a good way to keep my To Do List organized. I love this method. It works for me, and maybe it will work for you if you don't already have your own system.

I purchased a Greenroom Clipfolio at Target. It is a portfolio and clipboard all in one.

On the inside I keep a Master To Do list. This list has everything single thing I can think of that needs to be done.  I write the list on the paper pad inside the Clipfolio. The list is in no particular order. The pocket on the left side of the folio holds Daily Docket sheets which can be downloaded from

Attached to the outside of the folio on the clipboard is my Daily Docket for the day. This is my daily to do list. The night before, I look through my Master To Do list and select the items that need to be done the next day.  As I transfer them to the Daily Docket, I cross them off the Master To Do list. The form also has space to write down what I'm planning for dinner, what I'm going to write about on my blog, an inspirational quote or Bible verse for the day, etc.

All my To Do's are in one place. Any pieces of paper that go with the To Do's are in my To Do basket in the cupboard.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Katherine can't decide on shoes for the wedding. It's almost as bad as deciding on the dress. So thank goodness for Zappos, our one-stop shoe shop.

You can order as many shoes as you want. They ship them free to your house. What you don't want, you ship back absolutely free! Delivery is usually one to two days.

Most of the shoes in this photo are purple. You aren't seeing things. Purple wedding shoes? What will they think of next?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Father's are there to catch you when you fall.

They're there to keep you from drowning.

They make sure you don't fall off your horse.

They teach you how to work hard.

And they make sure you get enough rest.

Father's help you see the beauty in God's creation.

And they give you a lift when the trail is too long.

Father's help you find balance in your life.

And when all else fails, they play Pretty, Pretty Princess with you.

Friday, June 15, 2012


We purchased Peter's first college textbook today. I about fell over when we found out a used book was going to cost $150. One book. One stinking book.

We bought the book at the Grove City College bookstore. It is called Calculus by James Stewart.

Granted, it can be used for Calc I, Calc II and Calc III. But Peter is planning on being exempt from Calc I and Calc II after he gets his AP test score back in July. So instead of the book costing $50/course, it is going to cost $150.

I was curious, so I looked this book up on when we got home. The list price of the book is $245.95. If that doesn't make you want to croak... But Amazon offers the book new for $190.79.

Other sellers offer the book used from $129-$242. If college wasn't expensive enough. And the book doesn't even have pictures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

Having all these strawberries around made me want some blueberries. Thinking about blueberries made me want some blueberry cobbler. My blueberry cobbler recipe has been collecting dust, so I got it out tonight. It came from Jane Brody's Good Food Book, published in 1980. I first made the blueberry cobbler 20 years ago when we moved into our house. I had invited a neighbor over for dinner, and this was dessert.

This blueberry cobbler is pretty healthy for a blueberry cobbler. You can add more sugar if you want it to taste sweeter, but I like it as it is. One thing I might try next time is adding a little vanilla to the milk. This couldn't be easier!

Blueberry Cobbler

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup skim milk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups blueberries, cleaned and washed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put melted butter into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and stir till
4. Pour into baking dish on top of butter.
5. Sprinkle blueberries on top (don't stir).
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or till lightly browned.

Nutrition facts:  Makes six servings (per serving)
Calories: 186    Total Fat: 4g       Saturated Fat: 2g         Sodium: 140 mg    
Carbohydrates: 36g       Dietary Fiber: 2g         Protein: 3g

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese

Tammy and I went strawberry picking yesterday. We were surprised it was the end of the season already, but the weather has been so warm, the strawberries came up early.

When I got home, I washed all the strawberries, let them dry, then hulled them. I carried two trays to the basement freezer. Being the impatient person I am, I carried two trays at the same time.

I fully deserve what I'm about to tell you. I got one tray into the freezer. Then the other tray flipped upside down and all the strawberries rolled on the dirty basement floor. I screamed.

I picked them all up and took them back upstairs. I rinsed them twice again, dried them, then had to inspect them because dog hairs do not come off easily.

The strawberries that didn't get frozen are getting eaten. But today, I'm going to make some strawberry cream cheese just for the fun of it.

Strawberry Cream Cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 T. confectioner's sugar
1 c. fresh strawberries, hulled

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients.  Pulse until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Use right away, or refrigerate until needed. It's that simple!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Riley's in the Dog House

Riley has been limping since the end of April. His back right leg is causing him pain. When he gets up from a lying down position, he won't put pressure on his foot for awhile.

He's been to the vet for an exam and back again for an x-ray. The first month, we treated it like a sprain, which meant just wait and see. It didn't go away. After the x-ray, the vet said he might have a stress fracture in his tibia. This means he is supposed to stay off of his leg as much as possible.

How do you keep a dog off his legs? With much difficulty. He's having a pity party right now in his pen. He hates being in there when we are out here. He's not allowed to run, jump, climb stairs or go for walks. All this for four weeks? You've got to be kidding.

About every hour or so, we take him out on his leash and let him walk around the first floor of the house. We also let him go out on the front lawn to go potty. At least he gets to sleep in his favorite spot under the bench in our bedroom at night. We close our door so he can't escape in the night.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Favorite Kind of Plant

Oh, how I love artificial plants. I especially love the kind that look so real people come up to them an smell them. I purchased this three-pot wonder at Target early this spring. It has fooled almost everyone. Even when I checked out at the register, the young man told me he wanted to be careful not to spill the dirt when he tried to put it in a bag. I laughed and let him know that Target doesn't sell live plants. I assured him it was just some spongy stuff holding the roots in place.

Artificial sage, rosemary and basil adorn the counter behind my sink. I love looking at them. I love not having to water them or worry that they will die under my care.

All I have to do is dust them once in awhile and remember not to snip them when I need some fresh herbs in a recipe.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Graduation Party

Today we celebrated Peter's high school graduation.

Peter with Aunt Pam.

Three cousins (Rachel, Laura and Liz)

Classmates and teachers.

More friends.

A gift from the Engle family: a year's supply of chocolate syrup inside a laundry basket.

Graduation cake pops and truffles made by Mrs. Mucha.