Thursday, October 31, 2013

Time for Trick or Treat

We are all ready for the neighborhood Trick or Treaters to come around.

Riley put his costume on without any complaints. This year he is a police officer.

He's on front porch duty until the first goblin arrives.

I'll wait inside to guard the candy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

20,000 Days

I have been alive 20,000 days!

I didn't just come upon that fact today. I was reading a book about six months ago called 20,000 Days and Still Counting by Robert D. Smith when I decided to find out how long I'd been alive. When I realized I was pretty close to 20,000 days, I got excited, and I wrote it on my calendar for October 29.

Robert D. Smith points out to his readers that every day is a gift and shouldn't be wasted or taken for granted. When you realize you've been alive that long, you wonder where all those days went, and you don't want any more to pass without meaning.

So today I'm celebrating my 20,000th day! I'm thankful for every one of them.

Do you know how many days you've been alive? You can calculate the number at If you are over 55, you've passed your 20,000th day, but you can plan for your 25,000th day or 30,000th day.

"Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crib Tent

This is not Daniel; it's just a boy after his own heart

Daniel learned to walk when he was 9 months old. By the time he was a year old, he figured out how to climb out of his crib. In the middle of the night, he would escape and walk down the hall to our bedroom. Once he figured this out, there was no stopping him. I was afraid he would fall down the stairs in the dark, and I couldn't get him to take his naps.

Then I found the Crib Tent, a device that attached to the top of his crib. I always felt like I was treating him like a zoo animal when I zipped him in. He would be trying to climb out while I was shoving his head back in with one hand and zipping the tent with the other. Of course he cried.

As I research them now, they have been recalled for safety reasons. I guess it wasn't such a great idea after all.

I don't think it scarred him permanently.  He might be a little claustrophobic today, but otherwise he's a healthy young man.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just a Typical Saturday

courtesy of

Some Things I Did Today

1. Helped Riley chase a turkey buzzard off our front walk
2. Met Daniel at Liberty Ford to drop off his car for service
3. Made breakfast for Daniel
4. Cleaned out the upstairs hall closet
5. Changed the guest room sheets
6. Put the second coat of paint on Katherine's bedroom walls
7. Graded Senior Thesis final outlines
8. Had dinner with Don at Bob Evans
9. Set the self-clean timers on the upper and lower ovens
10. Wrote this blog post

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spinach and Orzo Soup

It snowed all day. So soup seemed a good thing to make for dinner. This is a variation of a recipe I found on Epicurious. Very easy and tasted great.

Spinach and Orzo Soup with Turkey Meatballs

For meatballs:
1 large egg
2 T. water
1/2 c. Italian dried breadcrumbs
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Whisk egg and water in medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs. Let stand 5 minutes. Add turkey, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Gently stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch diameter meatballs. Place on baking sheet, cover, and chill 30 minutes.

Brown meatballs in a little olive oil before adding to soup. (Optional)

For broth:
12 cups low salt chicken broth
1 cup peeled, chopped carrots
1 cup orzo
4 cups spinach

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add carrots; reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered 8 minutes. Add turkey meatballs and orzo; simmer another 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer 5 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Snow

It started snowing this evening around 10:00. Riley always loves the first snow. He kept wanting to go outside and lick up the snowflakes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Break

It was Peter's Fall Break this weekend, so he had a little time off. He spent a day at home, then he left to visit his friend, Aaron at Ohio Wesleyan University Friday night. On Saturday morning, he drove to Ohio State University to visit Kendall.

They walked around campus and took some pictures.

And they went to the Ohio State Football game on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, they met the rest of us bright and early (6:30 a.m.) to go over to the marathon.

They left us around 11:00 to go to church and then out to lunch with some of Kendall's friends. All in all, I think it was a pretty good break. No homework, anyway!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

26.2 Miles

I'm so proud of Daniel and his two friends Jon (Thoos) and Brian. They finished the Columbus Marathon today in 5 hours 15 minutes.

They were pretty peppy when they saw us at about mile 5.

Still a little peppy around mile 10.

I think this was around mile 17 or so when it started getting really tough.

Just about to hit mile 22, and they are still looking pretty good.

 Approaching the finish line. There's no stopping them now.

They made it!

Three friends, three marathoners.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


This is what we came home to last night after a birthday celebration dinner for Katherine.

Riley was at it again.

I told Peter it was not a good idea to leave his groceries sitting in bags on the dining room floor. He thought they were safe since the food was packaged in wrappers then boxes.

I knew better, but got distracted and didn't moved the grocery bags to the table.

Riley ate an entire box of chocolate chip Pop-Tarts. Yes, an entire box.

There were four silver packages of two Pop-Tarts each in that box. He devoured over 1,600 calories in one sitting. These Pop-Tarts were filled with chocolate. All I have to say is he must have a stomach of steel. He didn't blink and eye when we arrived home. There were no signs of getting sick anywhere. He wasn't urgently ringing his bell to go outside either.

Interestingly, Peter also had a box of strawberry Pop-Tarts in the bag. This goes to prove my theory that Riley loves chocolate.

At least he had the sense not to eat the second box!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


On May 14, 2000, when I was 41 years old, I completed the 2nd Annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

I didn't run. I walked. And it took me a very long time.

It took 7 hours 18 minutes and 59 seconds to be exact.

Why would I do such a thing? It started out as a challenge to myself, but when I began looking into how to train for a marathon, I got hooked up with a high school classmate of mine whose daughter was in remission from Leukemia. Terry was the walking coach for the Leukemia Society's Team in Training fundraising group. She was my coach throughout my training, and I walked in honor of her daughter, Kristen.

If it weren't for Terry's encouragement, I would have given up.

Shortly after the marathon, I wrote an article for the Cleveland Plain Dealer detailing my experience. It was published in the "Her Say" column. It still makes me cry to read it.

I am reminiscing about my marathon because Daniel is running a marathon this Sunday in Columbus.

I'm so excited for him because I know the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Everyone cheer for Daniel!! Pictures to be posted Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Remembering Grandpa

Today I was remembering Don's dad. He loved being a grandpa, and our kids loved him. He was the kind of grandpa who got down on the floor and gave horsey back rides. He always had a game to play or a lesson to teach. As long as the kids were around, he never tired out.

Christmas 1998 or so. 
Peter always had to sit next to grandpa at the table.

Grandpa was so excited about the arrival of Katherine.

Got a problem? Grandpa would fix it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Project Get Healthy: Month Four

My, my those months go by fast. Here I am once again checking in on my project to get healthy. It's a slow process to be sure.

Success so far:

81 days without Diet Coke
42 days without sugar
4 pounds lost

I like the idea of stacking my good habits. Once I get one habit down, I want to add a new one, but the old ones must stay.

It was difficult to decide which habit to add next. There are so many I could choose from. My top three choices were:

1. Don't eat after dinner
2. Drink 8 glasses of water a day
3. Cut portion sizes in half

Instead of drinking Diet Coke, I've been drinking about 50% water and 50% unsweetened tea. I know I'm not getting 8 glasses of water a day.

But I would like to see some more pounds go away, so I've decided to adopt option number 1 this month and close down the kitchen after dinner.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Riley and Jake

Riley and Jake are having a weekend slumber party at our house. They are so used to each other now, and Jake has matured enough, that they only chase each other around the house a few times a day. They like to play tug of war with stuffed animals, fight over the ball when Don tosses it, and terrorize Milo the black lab next door.

They are both camera shy, and difficult to catch on camera, but here are a few shots from today:

 Jake looks like a giant next to Riley.

 Jake's eyes are so dark they barely show up.

 Such a pretty boy.

 Riley running from Jake.

 Rear view - heading over to Milo's yard.

Look out! Here comes Jake!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall To Do List

Flickr - Shoothead

My Fall To Do List
1. Go apple picking
2. Make pumpkin bread (and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies)
3. Drink warm apple cider
4. Make butternut squash soup
5. Take a crunchy walk in the woods
6. Roast S'mores in the fire pit
7. Take lots of pictures
8. Collect a pile of acorns
9. Buy some apple strudel at Howard's Apples
10. Wear a toasty warm sweater
11. Rake a big pile of leaves (and jump in it too)
12. Dress Riley in his annual costume 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Photo I Love

Why do I love this picture?

My parents are still married, probably still in love.

Everyone is gazing down at me, the newborn babe.

Look at my mom, how slim she was after giving birth to a baby. Why didn't I get her genes? She was so fashionable too.

We look like a very sweet family - 1959.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Parmesan Chicken Bake

This is what I made for dinner tonight. It was easy, easy, easy. It tasted pretty good too.

Parmesan Chicken Bake

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 c. light mayonnaise or greek yogurt
1/2 c. fresh parmesan cheese
1 t. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the inside of a 9 x 13 pan with PAM. Lay chicken inside the pan.

Mix together remaining ingredients and spread evenly over each piece of chicken, being sure to cover all exposed raw meat so it doesn't dry out.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Photography 101

I'm finally getting it! I put my camera on manual mode, and I went out to take some pictures. Thanks to an online photography class I took from Shoot Fly Shoot this stuff is beginning to click.

These two very sweet young men with mega patience explain how to set your camera for proper exposure. Daniel tried to tell me all this many times, but it has finally hit me over the head and sunk in.

Here are a few of my first attempts. Aside from inanimate objects in the yard, the only subject I could find around the house was my dear, beloved Riley.

"A study in berries"

"Sheltie wishing photographer would go away"

"Sheltie relaxing on the front porch"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Engaged Again

As many of you know, Katherine and Josh had a wedding planned for August, 2012. The wedding did not take place, but over the course of this year, they worked out some issues and grew closer together.

Last night, Josh proposed to Katherine again. She said yes.

A wedding date has not been set, but it will probably be sometime next summer.

Congratulations! We love you both!

Friday, October 4, 2013

What Makes Me Happy

Just a few things that make me happy:

1. A visit to the library
2. A fireside chat with a friend
3. Flying along on my bicycle
4. Riley curling up next to me on the couch
5. A phone call from one of my children
6. An Amazon box full of books
7. A kiss and a hug from my sweetheart
8. A new insight discovered in Scripture
9. A clean house
10. Calm tea
11. Finishing a project
12. Seeing one of my students all grown up
13. The end of a good workout
14. Found time
15. Fresh paint
16. A good night's sleep

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Riley ate a Chocolate Bar

Riley has become a choc-a-holic. He stayed at Katherine's place while we were in Italy, and he began to search through waste baskets and backpacks for food. He found some chocolate wrappers and candy, and he was hooked.

Yesterday he was home alone for five or six hours, and he must have gotten bored because he found a large dark chocolate candy bar and ate the whole thing, paper and foil wrappers too.

I had forgotten about the chocolate bar. Before our trip, I put it in a large paper bag in my dining room along with some magazines and other things for my sister.

It wasn't like the chocolate bar was sitting right on top. It was buried. How did he know it was in there?

I expected to find him dead when I realized what he had done. Dark chocolate is the worst thing for dogs, and he had eaten 3.5 ounces of it with lots of foil and paper.

He seems to be fine. I'm thankful. What a crazy dog.