Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wedding Photos Are Here!

There were hundreds of photos taken by the photographer, and I loved almost all of them. During my first pass through, I marked 101 as favorites. Out of those, I narrowed it down to 25. I then forced myself to narrow my choices even further to the following 12 photos. I think these capture most of the wonderful day.

The first look.

A great shot of Kendall's dress.

Such a beautiful bride!

Love the scenery here.

The whole bridal party.

The shoes that were really under those dresses!

Peter and his groomsmen.

Here comes the bride!

Peter watching Kendall walk down the aisle.

Mr. & Mrs. Peter Richards!

The grand entrance.

The grand exit!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Riley

Still adorable, after all these years.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Uniform


Because our church (Parkside Church) is so large, Life Groups meet throughout the month so that people who live near each other in the community can get to know one another. Our Life Group meets twice a month in Chagrin Falls. We socialize and study the Bible together.

One member of our group (Dave - center in blue shirt) comes to Life Group dressed in a white oxford and a pair of jeans every time we meet. It was his birthday on Friday, so our group leaders sent an email to everyone asking us to wear Dave's uniform to play a joke on him. Mostly everyone got the memo and complied.

Unfortunately, Dave decided to wear a blue shirt (his wife in front of him wore pink). He still got a kick out of the prank. He got a little choked up that we would all do this for his birthday.

Don missed out on the fun because he was in Indiana helping Josh and Katherine with some wiring on their house.

To tell you how observant I am, I had never noticed that Dave wore the same outfit every time we met, and we've been attending for five years!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nurse Kendall

This is a photo of Kendall on the first day of her senior year at Ohio State (last fall). Today, I am shouting out a big congratulations to her for securing a job at The James - Ohio State University Cancer Center. She will begin working sometime this summer! She still plans to apply to graduate school and obtain a Nurse Practitioner degree, but she is going to work next year.

We are so proud of you, nurse Kendall!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Four Generations

When Katherine was about eight months old, I had the idea that we should take a "four generations" photo with my mom and my grandma. Here we are in 1989. Our ages were roughly: Katherine - 8 months; Me - 30 years; My mom (Cecilia) - 62 years; My grandma (Jamelah) - 81 years.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Your Cholesterol Matters

Among my varied health issues, I'm glad high cholesterol isn't one of them. I want to try to keep it that way, so I read this new book by Richard Furman, MD called Your Cholesterol Matters.

He makes cholesterol very easy to understand, and he tells you how to control it. He says to think of your LDL cholesterol as "lethal." This number should not be higher than 100. LDL cholesterol is what clogs up the arteries in your heart and your brain.

HDL, on the other hand, are the good guys, the "heroes" that fight the lethal guys. This number should be above 40 for men and above 50 for women. Dr. Furman says to think of the HDL particles as patrol cars that cruise through your blood looking for lethal LDL cholesterol, and when the LDL is located, it is thrown into the back seat of the patrol car and disposed of through the liver.

Your total cholesterol should not be higher than 200, and the LDL/HDL ratio should be below 3.5.

The two main ways you keep your LDL low and your HDL high are through diet and exercise. The rest of the book goes into what to eat and how much to exercise. It is very informative. I'd recommend that you read the book, especially if you are over 50. And get your lipid panel checked if you haven't done that in awhile. Spoiler alert - you may never want to eat cheese again.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Easy Spinach Salad


Here is an easy salad to put together - and it was very tasty too!

Spinach Salad

1 T. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
2 t. honey
5-ounce pkg. fresh baby spinach
salt & pepper
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced (optional)
1 red onion, sliced (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil and honey. Add spinach; toss gently to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

If you have a few hard-cooked eggs, they make a nice addition.

Next time, I am going to add some sliced red onions.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Puppy Love

Daniel showing me how photo filters work on Snapchat.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mini Gallery Wall

I found a new use for my Washi tape.

I created a fast and temporary "gallery wall" with photos of all my favorite people (and pet).

I threw this together in about 15 minutes, so I know I can do a much better job of it if I take my time and find coordinating tape and pictures.

The inspiration came from Pinterest. I clicked on this website: Fox & Star

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chalk Paint

This is the bookshelf that Peter had in his bedroom from the time he was very small. It is from This End Up, which I believe is now out of business.

I wanted to keep the bookshelf in his old bedroom because you can never have too many bookshelves! But I didn't like the unfinished look.

So I decided to try out Annie Sloan chalk paint today. After talking to my friend Nancy and watching a number of YouTube tutorials, I felt ready to go.

All I had to buy was a quart of paint, a can of wax, and a chalk paint brush. I found an Annie Sloan paint dealer in Stow, and purchased all of my supplies yesterday.

It took me 1 1/2 hours to put the first coat of paint on, and 1 hour to apply the second coat. I only waited a half hour between coats, and that was because my wrist was tired. The paint dries practically on contact. I put the first coat of wax on the shelves and around the edges in about 15 minutes. I plan to apply more wax later.

The color I used was called "Old White."

I really enjoyed this project, and I can't wait to find something else to paint!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Don brought home some flowers for me today. It was very sweet of him since I was not expecting anything for Valentine's Day.

For him, I made Fajitas for dinner and since I haven't been baking much around here lately, I decided to make one of his favorite cakes - the Triple Chocolate Cake - in the shape of a heart.

Last year I purchased a heart-shaped Bundt pan for $1.00 from Volunteers of America, and I hadn't used it yet. I thought today was the perfect time of try it out.

Unfortunately, I didn't grease the pan enough or it didn't cook through all the way, but part of the cake remained in the pan when I turned it out on the cooling rack.

I knew Don wouldn't care. He began picking cake right off the top. I had to stop him long enough to take the photo of my sad cake.

This is a case of "it's the thought that counts."

Monday, February 13, 2017

K + J Vacation

Katherine and Josh did not go with us to Beaver Creek after Christmas because Josh's family spent the week with them at their house. They didn't want to miss another year of snowboarding, so they planned a short trip to Colorado by themselves. They've reported that the snow has been great, and the weather has been relatively warm.

They don't normally sit down when they are snowboarding - it's just for the pictures!

A strange thing happened the other day. The clouds were settled on the mountain, and they had to snowboard through them!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

At Home With Nikki


I stumbled across a laundry room organizing video by At Home with Nikki on Youtube the other day, and I can't stop watching her other videos. I don't know how someone can be this organized and clean, but it makes me feel really good seeing how she uses her creativity and organizing skills to make her home so beautiful.

In addition to the videos, Nikki also has a blog where you can link to her videos and where she shares tips on other subjects such as cooking and entertaining.

Nikki is married and has three grown children. After her husband retired from the Air Force, they settled in Charleston.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Stamping Cards

Carolyn and I got to hang out together twice this week! Our second outing was to Heidi's mom's house for some card stamping.

Chris invited us over to make cards and have lunch. It was so much fun. You can see some of the cards we made on the table in front of us.

We made 8-10 cards each. I guess we were kind of slow at it.

Thanks, Chris, for a really fun afternoon!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lunch with the Uncles

Carolyn and I took our uncles (Albert and Danny) to lunch today for their birthdays. Uncle Albert (left) turns 81 on February 26 and Uncle Danny (right) turned 84 on February 6.

These two are our mom's younger brothers. If our mom were still alive, she would be turning 90 on March 2. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1991 at the age of 64.

Uncle Albert is known for his roller skating prowess. He has been roller skating his entire life. When we were kids, he would pick us up in his red convertible and take us to the roller rink and teach us how to roller skate. He has traveled the world competing in roller skating events and races. Amazingly, he had hip replacement surgery four months ago, and he has already been back on his skates.

Uncle Danny enjoys gardening and golfing and carpentry work. He still gets out on the golf course and hits the ball when he can, and he grows all the ingredients for his favorite Lebanese dishes in his garden. He and his wife, Claudia are planning to move to Arizona within a year. We told him he can't go because we will miss him too much. He just laughed.

Appropriately, we ate at the Sahara Grille (a Lebanese restaurant in Canton). I was only an hour and 15 minutes late to our date. (That's a story for another time). Thankfully, they had nothing to do this afternoon, so they waited for me.

Carolyn and I sure treasure times like these.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

After-Potty Treat

When Riley comes inside from potty time, he has only one thing on his mind - his treat.

Ever since he was a wee puppy, he has gotten a treat after he goes outside and takes care of business. It is so ingrained in him that he can't think of anything else when he gets in the door.

I can barely wipe him off when it's raining.

Today, I was trying to dry him, and he escaped with the towel still covering his head. He ran right into the wall.

Here he is in front of his cupboard full of food and gourmet treats, wondering what I'm waiting for.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A New Way to Make Chicken


This is going to be my new "go to" chicken breast recipe. I found the instructions on the Kitchn. I just realized a few minutes ago that I used waxed paper instead of parchment paper, and I'm very lucky it didn't catch fire in my oven.

The trick is to butter the baking dish and also butter one side of the parchment paper so the chicken doesn't stick and it stays very moist. You can also cut up some lemons and put some herbs in there too for more flavor.

Basic instructions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter baking dish and one side of parchment paper. If chicken breasts are too thick, use a meat mallet to tenderize and flatten them. Use as many chicken breasts as you want.

Put chicken breasts in baking dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like.

Cover the chicken with parchment paper (butter side down). Tuck the edges into the pan and press parchment paper down so it is snug around the chicken.

Bake about 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Coconut Poke Cake

This is a close up of the Coconut Poke Cake Katherine and I made this weekend. The recipe is from Carolyn, and she declares it the "best cake ever" and you don't even have to like coconut. It also has about a bajillion calories per slice. Eat at your own risk.

Katherine took the cake back to Indiana today for the Super Bowl party she and Josh are going to. I won't get to taste it, but she is supposed to report back.

It has a lot of ingredients (for me), but it was SIMPLE to make.

Coconut Poke Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 c. whole buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. coconut extract
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened, condensed milk
3/4 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract. Beat with a mixer at low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Poke holes all over cake with something round, about the size of a pencil (I used a fat straw).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and coconut milk; pour evenly over cake. Cover with foil and refrigerate about 4 hours. Spread whipped cream frosting over cake and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Whipped Topping

Place mixing bowl and wire beater in freezer for 20 minutes before making topping.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 T. confectioner's sugar
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted (I did not toast mine)

Pour whipping cream into cold bowl. Add powdered sugar. Start to whip on medium speed. Whip for 2 or 3 minutes, then scrape the sides. Add vanilla. Continue to whip, increasing the speed gradually until stiff peaks form (but before it turns to butter).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Brunch at Patty's

Yesterday, Patty had our "cheerleader" group over for brunch. We had not seen her new house, and it was so lovely. We were missing our friend, Debbie, who recently moved to North Carolina to be closer to her daughter and in warmer weather.

As we talked, we each gave an update on our kids, husbands, work and travel. It is just amazing that:

Most of us have been married at least 30 years - Lisa for 23. This is really amazing when you consider the divorce rate.

Among the seven of us, we have sixteen children and two grandchildren (plus one more on the way).

I have been friends with some of these beautiful ladies for 45 years.

What a treasure to know we are still there for each other, come what may.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Biking

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
- H. G. Wells

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Some Places to Visit (Online)


I just cleaned out my bookmarks on Chrome and found some places I had meant to go back to. Thought I'd share a few today.

The Homes I Have Made is a Decorating/DIY website by Megan Deausterhaus, a military wife who has lived in six different homes in the past ten years. I'm re-doing Peter's bedroom, so this will help me with some makeover ideas.

UnFancy is a style blog emphasizing capsule wardrobes. I'm still trying to get my closet pared down. The problem is I keep buying more clothes!

Amy Lynn Andrews  Writes a weekly newsletter with all kinds of technical information on blogging and things related to owning an online business. She wrote a great article on writing and publishing an Ebook. Still one of my goals.

Ohio has a website that gives information on lots of fun things to do in the state. I found this while looking for bike paths. This article describes five nice bike rides that would make great day trips.

Paper Cutz has an Etsy shop which sells note cards and prints of Cleveland and other cities. I bought some of their cards when I was at the Cleveland Flea last year. All of the designs are made from cut paper collage. Really cute stuff.