Thursday, August 31, 2017

No Need to Run the Dishwasher

Riley - 2009

Roman - 2017

And Lucy too!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rice Krispie Treat Hearts

For the couples shower on Saturday, Heidi asked me to make some form of Rice Krispie Treat as one of the desserts. I decided to go for the heart design since it was for a wedding shower.

I made my standard Rice Krispie treat recipe:

6 cups Rice Krispies
6 cups mini marshmallows (one standard size bag)
5 T. butter

Melt butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.

Then I spread the mixture evenly into a medium sized sheet pan and used a heart cookie cutter to create the shapes.

After that, I melted some pink chocolate discs in my chocolate melter and dipped one corner of the heart and let them cool.

You could do this with any shape cookie cutter and color of chocolate. I wanted to drizzle some white across the pink, but that didn't happen.

The hardest part was keeping myself from eating all the leftovers!

Jon & Rachel - 29 more days (as of Saturday)!

Don and I were the only "old fogies" there. They had to invite us since it was at our house!

Daniel always wanted to be a butler.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chicago Triathlon

They did it again! Katherine & Josh completed the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday - swimming a half mile, riding 16 miles and running a 5K.

We weren't there to cheer them on, but we did keep Roman at our house for them.

They said the swimming was really tough this time because the water was choppy. But the biking and running were on a more flat terrain than in Cleveland.

These two are racking up the medals! Wonder what will be next.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lucy Stops By

This weekend was full of excitement at our house. Roman stayed with us, Lucy spent the night, and our house was borrowed by Daniel & Heidi for a couples shower/swim/Hawaiian party!

It was fun to spend some time with the pups and see how their personalities are developing.

It's hard to leave Riley and Roman in the same room together. I haven't figured out if Roman just wants to play or if he is challenging Riley's male-hood when he barks and goes after him. Riley doesn't like it one bit, and he lets Roman know about it.

Lucy leaves Riley alone....except for the time he got too close to her food. Then I saw a side of Lucy that has probably not come out before. I wanted to put a sign on her that said, "Beware - Will kill to protect my food!"

While Roman was napping peacefully in his crate, I took Lucy out back to take a few photos. She was a very good girl.

She waited patiently for her reward.

Isn't she just so adorable!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Day of School

Children are waiting at the end of their driveways again to board the big yellow buses that transport them to school.

Every time a new school year rolls around I think back to the day in 1994 when Katherine, my first born, went to Kindergarten.

She was enrolled at Valley Christian Academy, but she rode the Kenston bus. This meant she had to get off one bus and get on another one to get to the right school.

We were counting on the two girls next door to help Katherine with the transfer process. They were going to VCA too, and they were in 4th and 2nd grades.

Don and I didn't know any better. We figured everyone rode the bus to school, even on the first day. So we waited with Katherine at the end of the driveway. The bus was late, as it usually is on the first day, and with each passing moment, we became more nervous. Christy and Katie next door were not at the end of their driveway.

When the bus finally arrived, we said goodbye to our six-year-old and then I began to cry. Not because it was her first day of school, but I was afraid she wouldn't know when to get off the bus.

Don had a plan right away. He jumped in his car and followed the school bus to the Kenston elementary school where she would have to transfer. Sure enough, she stayed on the bus. Don got out of his car and onto the stopped bus to get her off. I wonder if she was surprised to see him.

He made sure she got on the bus headed to VCA, and then he drove off to work. This was before cell phones,  so I probably had to wait until he could call me later. I prayed all was fine.

We didn't make the same mistake on the first day of school after that. It became routine to drive the kids to school and drop them off. What were we thinking? Especially a Kindergartner!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

It all began this morning at 9:40 when Peter sent a group text to the family asking us "Who else is ready for the solar eclipse today?" He was sitting in his classroom in Columbus donning his eclipse safety glasses.

Heidi sent us a photo of her homemade pinhole projector crafted from a graham cracker box. She was ready.

Daniel sent us a screenshot of the weather forecast for Cuyahoga Falls which said it was going to be cloudy and raining during the eclipse. But he and his co-workers still went outside to watch.

And Katherine and Josh made us all jealous because they drove to Shawnee National Forest in Kentucky - right in the path of eclipse totality! And the forecast was for a sunny day.

Don and I were at home. I had the TV on! A miracle in itself... and I was watching live coverage from Madras, Oregon and Jackson Hole, WY on the weather channel. When the first total eclipse happened, it brought me to tears. I couldn't imagine what I would have felt like had I seen it live.

We did not have the official glasses, but we did have our cell phones, so around 2:00, we went out on the deck and took some photos over our shoulders in the selfie mode so we wouldn't go blind. We got some pretty good ones.
Early on, and before much cloud cover. The black part is our house.

During the approximate 85% eclipse as we could see it, but with a lot of clouds.

Katherine sent me some "real" photos of the day. This one is of the partial eclipse reflected in the glare of the sun.

The sun through finger openings looked like crescents. 

And the coolest photo! Total eclipse of the sun!

Katherine and Josh called us on their way back to Indiana. Josh was over the moon from the whole experience. He took some video footage, so I can't wait to see that. Katherine said the experience was pretty amazing. The temperature dropped about 10 degrees and crickets started chirping as the sky got darker and darker. It was clearly worth the 5+ hour drive.

Kendall was disappointed because Columbus was too cloudy for a good viewing today. 
We'll just have to be ready for 2024!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. - Psalm 19:1

Sunday, August 20, 2017

40-Year Reunion

I graduated from Kenmore High School in 1977. 

And last Saturday night, I attended my 40th high school reunion.

Thankfully, my cousin Kathy was in my class and she said she would go with me. Don did not want to go, and I don't blame him!

Out of our class of 360, about 52 people attended. I thought that was a pretty good turnout.

We had a nice buffet dinner at Bricco Prime on Manchester Rd. in Akron. The restaurant used to be Prime 93, and before that it was Anthes.

There was a corner photo booth set up to get any photos taken that you wanted. This one is of the "kids" who lived in the Castle Homes development - at least it was supposed to be. I think a couple of outsiders squeezed in.

At first, I was nervous to attend the reunion because it had been decades since I had seen most of the people in my class. However, within minutes, I was recognizing old friends and having a great time. I walked away from the event feeling so glad that I went. The graduating class of 1977 is made up of some of the most friendly and caring individuals I know.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Therapeutic Massage

I had my first therapeutic massage in 2000 after I walked a marathon to raise funds for the Leukemia Society. My friend Brenda gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage because I was walking like a duck. Even though that initial massage was painful, I did not forget how great it felt when I walked out of there.

Then after my rotator cuff surgery, I had regular therapeutic massages every two weeks to help me recover from scar tissue and over-compensating muscles in my arm, shoulder, and back. I don't know what I would have done without those appointments with a massage therapist recommended by Nancy.

Since then, I have only had three therapeutic massages. I found a place near home (Alicia's Massotherapy) where the therapists are well-trained and do a great job.

I was there today, in fact, having Christine work on my trapezius and palmaris longus (inside forearm muscles) which have gotten extremely tight from all the biking I've been doing.

I highly recommend getting an occasional therapeutic massage - not a relaxation massage - to loosen up tight muscles and find out what muscles you tend to overuse.

You will know which muscles they are because you will want to scream when they press on them!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Roman visits Riley

Katherine brought Roman along this weekend, and I was amazed at how much he had grown since we last saw him. His legs are growing like weeds.

I took him out in the backyard by himself with a handful of his dog food, and he did everything I asked him to do...which was basically - sit and stay! He is really good at that when you have a treat in your hand.

He tried and tried to get Riley to play with him, but the grumpy old man would have nothing to do with it. Roman really missed his sister Lucy. I hope they get to see each other soon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Potatoes & Onions

This is such an easy recipe, and one that tastes so good! You can eat these potatoes with your eggs in the morning or with your steak in the evening. Or anytime in between.

Potatoes & Onions

3 pound bag Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large yellow onion
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Paprika (optional)

Wash potatoes and pat dry with paper towel.
Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces.
Cut onion into chunks.
Place potatoes & onions on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until crispy.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Goodyear Half Marathon & 10K

Congratulations to Daniel and Heidi for completing the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10K race yesterday morning!

This was Heidi's very first race, and she ran the 10K in 57:22.

Daniel ran the half marathon in 2:03:00.

Friday, August 11, 2017


While I was checking out my stack of Paleo cookbooks from the library, the circulation clerk recommended this new cookbook by Patti LaBelle.

Even though a dessert cookbook did not fit in with the theme of my checkouts, I said, "Why not?"

One recipe I found in the book stood out as something Don would really enjoy. On page 113, there was a cookie recipe called Sprinkledoodles.

Sprinkledoodles are like Snickerdoodles, only they have sprinkles on them to make them look a little more cheerful.

I made them on Tuesday, and he loved them!
Here is a shortened version of her recipe:


2 3/4 cup flour
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
Multicolored sprinkles for decorating

Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves together in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer.
Beat eggs in, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
Gradually stir in the flour mixture.
Chill dough for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven racks in top third and center of oven.
Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, shape dough into balls.
Press top of each ball into sprinkles and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 15-18 minutes, switching the position of the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotating front to back halfway through baking time. Remove from oven when cookies are barely browned.
Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.

Makes 3-4 dozen.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bike the Gap - Day 4

We biked 32 miles from Meyersdale to Cumberland on day 4 of our trip.

After ten miles more of gradual uphill climbing, we finally reached the Eastern Continental Divide. Elevation 2,392 feet.

If you look carefully at this photo you will see why we are so excited.
It's downhill all the way from here!!

One of the many tunnels we rode through. 
The longest one was the Big Savage Tunnel - 3,294 feet long
That little blue speck is Merry.

A few miles later, we crossed the Mason-Dixon line. 
Nancy has one foot in Pennsylvania and one foot in Maryland.

Merry is so talented. She can ride her bike and take photos from behind all at the same time!

We rolled into Cumberland just past noon.
We had time for a quick lunch at The Crabby Pig.

We finally found someone to take a group shot. 
Three cheers for completing the GAP 150 mile trail!

Our luggage shuttle picked us up at 1:30 p.m.
 and transported us back to the parking garage in Pittsburgh.
Time for a well-deserved nap.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bike the Gap - Day 3

We biked 40 miles from Ohiopyle to Meyersdale on day three of our trip.

And as you can see from this elevation chart, it was an uphill climb the entire day.

When we got up Saturday morning, it was chilly and raining outside. 
We were not happy about that, so we had a nice, leisurely buffet breakfast.

By the time we set out, the rain had stopped. A huge blessing!

Aren't these guys cute!

Nancy said she can tell if a relationship is serious when the girl puts her hand on the guy's belly during a photo. That made me laugh.
We're 31 years of seriousness.

Butt break.

Selfie of the day.

Lunch was at this cute little place in Rockwood.

Enjoying a gorgeous view. 

We were so happy to arrive in Meyersdale for the evening! 
Our legs were spent.

A map in the visitor's center showed where everyone who came through the trail was from.
 Our region was so congested that I couldn't add one more pin.

Our lodging for the evening (Trailside B & B) was situated right next to a very active train track. It was so active that the B & B owner left a basket full of ear plugs for her guests.

The place was actually very charming.

After a nice dinner at Morguen Toole Company, those who could eat ice cream (all but me) 
ate ice cream.

Then we played two games of Farkle. Merry was the winner of both games.

And I was the loser. 
We look kind of tired.
 Probably because we were.

P.S. The Trooper award goes to Nancy. She managed to do this trip without her suitcase! Yes...Rite Aid sells wicking t-shirts and Dollar General sells underwear. And fortunately, she and I wear the same size bra, and bike shorts dry quickly when you set a hair dryer on them. She's my hero.