Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas projects!

Here we are- a few days before Christmas. This is my favorite time of year--usually.  Some years are better than others. This year has been a particularly stress-free holiday season.  I cut my shopping list down considerably.  Feeling like I have to buy for everyone was getting a little ridiculous. This Christmas I made it a point to enjoy the season and not focus on buying "stuff"...because really, that is all it is--stuff. We gave some of my daughter's old baby stuff away to people who needed it.  We also baked cookies, watched Christmas movies together, bundled up and went for a nighttime drive to see Christmas lights, and we enjoyed my husband's office Christmas party.  This is the way the holidays should be.

Although some tragic events have happened in this country lately, it has only solidified that the holidays are NOT about stuff, but rather the moments we create with those we love.  I have seen so many people spend eye popping amounts of money on gifts for people and talk about how much they have to buy or how much they have spent and wear it like a badge of honor.  Honor? I don't think so. 

I also decided to make some personal, cheap gifts for a few people this year. Hopefully I am not spoiling it this close Christmas--but luckily, these particular people do not access the internet! Here is the latest project I had my daughter make (which, of course, I got off of Pinterest):

I bought a simple ceramic type plate from our local grocery store. I have heard that glass type plates do not work with this project.  The plate has to be able to be put into the oven.  The plate cost me $1.75 and I already had the markers.  A gift for under $2.00!

My daughter used colorful Sharpie's to create her own masterpiece on the plate.  We also made sure to write her name and year on the back of the plate. After designing the plate we put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Voila! After cooling off, I did try rubbing off the markers and it stayed on.  I would probably recommend not putting them through the dishwasher or using any abrasives on the plate. I will probably advise our receivers to hang them with plate hangers or use them for light snacks or just to hold something such as jewelry or candy.  They make great keepsakes for special loved ones. 

I have a few more personal gift ideas but the holidays have come so quickly I think I will save those for a couple of birthday's fast approaching.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cheering on my photo victories

A few months ago I submitted several photos for consideration in our local hospital's 2013 calendar.  This is my third year in a row submitting photos.  The last two years I was lucky enough to have been selected --2011 and 2012 both for the month of July.  This year, however, they did a facebook contest.  They selected 2-3 photos to be finalists and let their facebook followers vote for their favorite. I do admit that all the photos were beautiful.  I knew right off the bat I was not going to win. No, I do not have a low opinion of my photo. I have 100 facebook friends.  Obviously, you have to be a member of facebook to vote. Although I spread the word amongst my 'friends' I knew I couldn't win against a teenager who has probably 1,000 facebook friends (ok, that may be an exaggeration--but probably not by much). 

I became the runner-up.  However, I was delighted to hear that the runner-ups were also going to have their pictures published in the calendar-just in a smaller size.  It is the small victories that make me feel worth something now that I am without my daughter everyday and feel I don't have much of a job anymore. Here is the photo:

A few weeks ago I also got the exciting news that another photo I submitted is going to be framed and displayed in a new physician center in our area. Here is the photo (which is also the photo that was in this year's calendar):

Thank you to my parents for such a wonderful home/garden for which these pictures and most others I take would not be possible! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Something to call my own: Facebook is like a worn out sit-com

Something to call my own: Facebook is like a worn out sit-com: Facebook. I love it and hate it. Three years ago I was pressured into facebook by emails from friends begging me to join.  I gave in, much...

Facebook is like a worn out sit-com

Facebook. I love it and hate it. Three years ago I was pressured into facebook by emails from friends begging me to join.  I gave in, much to my hesitation.  I admit- I loved it at first.  I am obsessed with my genealogy and I found it to be a great way to track down my long lost relatives (and realize others were too crazy to contact)  and share old family photos. Facebook is also a way for me to keep in touch with my entire family no matter where they are in the country.  Lastly, it was great to catch up with old friends from grade school, high school, and college. 

However, I see facebook as a sit-com or drama depending on the day and posts by your 'friends'.  A sit-com is great at first. You get to know the characters and their story lines.  You like to keep up with their lives.  There is laughter, crying, situations, anger and more.  Then the more years the sit-com is on, it becomes old, tired, and redundant. After years and years of this comedy you may start to wonder when the heck this dated, trying to hard, overly ridiculous story line will just give up and call it good.  I wonder the same thing about facebook. I wonder why other people's lives fascinate us. I wonder why we care what you bought at the store. I wonder why people try to outshine each other.  Maybe I am guilty of this from time to time on facebook--but no longer.

Don't get me wrong, there are great things about facebook---new baby photos, wedding photos, life changing news, giving congratulations, wishing happy birthday.  There is good in this enigma. 
With the good also comes the less desirable... I don't want to hear about your child's bowel movements, what you bought at the store, links to every little video you watch, to see that you 'like' a page about boobs (seriously!) and in my news feed is a picture of a woman's breasts, rants because you are outraged at someone, etc. I could go on and on. I'm all for freedom of speech...but I'm also all for common sense that should go along with free speech.

For me personally, facebook is going the way of "Friends", "Cheers", "Mash"...some of the great ones.  The story lines were great for awhile. There were ups and downs but the time came for those shows when going on even longer would have just made the shows lackluster, lame, and boring.

So facebook---you are boring me. I find you lackluster.  You are becoming lame. There are just some things I don't want to know about everyone. I'd like some mystery in my life. Being an open book is not always good.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

My "Ah ha" moment

A few weeks ago I tried out a new endeavor--freelance writing for what I will call a 'content mill'.  Let's just say it hasn't gone the way I had hoped. For pocket change maybe it is not so bad.  Working for clients who request an article that entails at least an hour or more of research, writing the article, proofreading, and possible rewrites with a 24 hr. deadline and in the end for what it costs to go to a fast food restaurant for one person? No thank you.

I continue to consider getting a job outside the home.  I felt, however, that I HAD to get a job in order to feel as though I am doing something..anything.  I thought that since my daughter wasn't here for 7 hours a day that I did not have a job anymore. The other day after I ran around the house cleaning everything in sight (because I am slightly OCD, but that is another post in and of itself!) , fed the dogs, ran to the bank, returned books the library, balanced the bank account and paid bills, ran to the grocery store, picked my daughter up from school, and took her to Girl Scouts, I finally had 50 minutes to go for a walk.  During my walk around the reservoir at our town park I had that "ah ha" moment....the moment that had been waiting since Kindergarten started---I DO have a job!

Whether my daughter is at school or not, I still have a job to do. It is a job that keeps me busy all day. It is a job I have been blessed to have for the last six years thanks to my husband.  It is a job a lot of mothers wish they had day to day.  It is a very important job no matter what some people may think. Just because I have this path does not negate my degree. Whether I ever use it or not, my degree was an accomplishment that I won't regret.

Not to say I am forever a stay at home mom.  If the right career path comes along I will jump in with both feet and a crap load of enthusiasm, but until that time comes I am o.k. with shouting from the tallest mountain that I DO have a job! Taking care of a little girl, my husband, two dogs, and our house is a job and my degree can collect a little bit more dust until the right time and right career becomes clear.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Something to call my own: Free Time= Disney World Scrapbook!

Something to call my own: Free Time= Disney World Scrapbook!: With so much free time on my hands now, I am able to catch up on projects that have been sitting around for a year.  It has been almost one ...

Free Time= Disney World Scrapbook!

With so much free time on my hands now, I am able to catch up on projects that have been sitting around for a year.  It has been almost one year since we went on our first real family vacation to Disney World. I have to say that it was one of the best weeks of my life. I was weary of the sacrifices we were making last year in order to save up for such a trip but after our return I realized it was worth every cent to spend a week without distraction in the happiest place on earth. Now that we are discussing our return to Disney World within the next 18 months, I realized I still had done nothing with the billion photos we took last year.

The perfect way to capture the priceless memories of our trip was with a scrapbook. Now, I don't claim to be great at design--I have my moments.  I am also very new to the scrapbook craze having only done 1/2 of a general scrapbook of my daughter. I found a great deal on a Mickey Mouse scrapbook kit online and also ordered extra accessories. This project will probably take me through winter and I hope to chronicle most of the process. The following pictures show what I have done so far....which is only a couple of pages. I hope to get better at it as time goes on.

Found this album as part of a kit online.
Some of the pages and stickers came with the kit and others I picked up separately.

One of the first pages I completed documenting our resort hotel. I am hoping to find more Disney embellishments to add to my pages.

One of the first attempts...hoping to improve on design from here on out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Things I have learned since my daughter started Kindergarten

Finally, life is calming down now that my daughter is in school. We are getting settled into a routine which is such a blessing. Life is very different and it has taken awhile to get used to the quietness and time available to finally get stuff done.

The following are a few things I have learned and observed since my daughter Kindergarten:
  • I am thankful for back country roads because making a left turn out of the school parking lot is next to impossible.
  • I am tempted to make a citizens arrest on a few punk teenagers who don't know how to drive on these back roads. That is the side effect of the high school being next to our only elementary school.
  • Most parents are clueless.
  •  I would support uniforms in our schools. My daughter is too much of a diva about clothes and seeing the high school girls in daisy dukes and showing cleavage irritates me as a mother.
  • The old guys who sit at McDonald's in the morning make for interesting entertainment. 
  • There really is such a thing as running into the grocery store and grabbing ONLY what you need and be back in your car within 5 minutes! 
  • The days are not nearly as long as I thought they would be.
  • The perfect time to clean up the inside of my car is when I am waiting in the line to pick her up. It is also the perfect time to pay bills, make phone calls, or play 'Angry Birds'. 
  • I am elated to be without Spongebob Squarepants during the day. Wish you could see my dance of joy for that- it's a little Irish jig with some disco in the mix. 
  • My dogs don't know what to do with themselves when the house is so quiet- so they annoy me more. 
  • Going for walks in the crisp morning while the sun is still rising is priceless. 
  • Attempting to find a job after being home for 6 years is not easy emotionally. 
  • After school is more hectic than I ever imagined since my daughter tries to cram in everything we used to do together during the day into the few hours between school and bedtime.

I'm sure I will learn a lot more as the year goes on, but the changes in life have been interesting. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My passion and that time of year again!

It's that time of year again! The point in the year when I gather my photos together to submit to our regional hospital for the 2013 calendar.  The last two years I had a photo selected--July 2011 and July 2012. It's just a hobby right now but I have dreams of turning into something a little more. How much more I'm not sure about quite yet. Mainly my hesitation comes from the fact that I honestly dislike taking pictures of people. I'm a nature photographer and the dilemma comes as- what do I do with that? Which is why it may always be just a hobby.  Another hang up is my camera.  It can hold its own in today's world in general; however, I have had this camera for 6 1/2 years and let's face it--in this age of technology, that is ancient.  I am also limited with a 50 mm lense which hinders my creative spark.

With my daughter in Kindergarten now, photography has been an outlet for my extra time and creativity. So, here is a sample of photos I plan to submit. Considering I let my photography lapse for the last few months it's amazing I even had anything to submit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now what?

This day has been sitting here waiting for 5 years, 8 months, and 10 days- give or take.  I dropped my daughter off for her first full day of Kindergarten this morning. I had to be more nervous than she considering our conversation as we pulled up to the front of the school.
Me: "Ok, now you know you go in the front doors, go left, down the hall..." (I got cut off).
Her: "I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING! Don't worry mom!"
Me: "Love you"
Her: Slams the door and runs off.

Certainly thankful it went that way and not a couple of scenario's I had in my head of a screaming, reluctant girl.  On the drive home I start to plan out my day. My first day of freedom.

1. Go for my 1 hour power walk
2. Do dishes
3. Vacuum
4. Sew up a few things I haven't had time for

So I get home and get right to my list. started at 8 am and I'm done with my list by 9:45. Five hours and 15 minutes to go. Now what? Without "Mom I'm hungry", "Mom, play with me", "Mom, I need ______!", "Mom, let's go to the park"...etc. I was a little lost.  I found myself with dishes done, floors clean, beds made, laundry done, dogs taken care of, bills paid, recent photographs ready for a 2013 calendar submittal and then....nothing. The house was so quiet except for the occasional bark of one of my dogs at something only they seem to hear. Being a stay at home mom is great but maybe only when you actually have a child at home all day. I need something or someone to keep me on my toes all day and my two dogs laying around like lumps isn't cutting it.

Day one down and the only conclusion I can find is---I need a job.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Only 3 weeks to go!

Here we are--only 3 weeks until my daughter's first day of Kindergarten.  I cannot believe how fast this summer is going. At the beginning of the summer I had a list of summer activities.  I remember looking at that list and thinking it wasn't nearly enough and now I doubt we'll even finish half of it.  We have kept ourselves busy; however, this past week I have felt like a mom neglecting her child since we had three showings for our house and I have spent much of the last week cleaning. My self-diagnosed OCD goes into overdrive when we have a showing so imagine me on my hands and knees scrubbing every little inch of my kitchen--not a pretty sight. In last couple of weeks we have managed to do some fun art activities, go school shopping, see a couple of free movies at our town's theater, play outside, and attend a festival.  Highlight of the last couple of days was actually getting rain! I haven't seen drought conditions like this in my life and have never been so happy to see rain.

I have gone off track with my order of days so I'm grouping these pictures together in no particular order from the last couple of weeks.

 We had a Game Day! This is a great idea for any family and it costs nothing-if you already have games at home.

 I LOVE Melissa and Doug products! They are so durable and good 'ole fashion fun which children love. This cupcake toy is a blast for kids. They can take the 'frosting' off and put on a different one.  The 'icing' tubes are markers which you can use on the 'frosting' part of the cupcake (they wipe off with paper towel). It also comes with an oven mit, pan, and cupcake holders. Lastly, you can attach a candle on the top (Velcro).   I also recommend the ice cream cone set from Melissa and Doug.

 School Shopping! She was so excited to get a big girl backpack and lunch box. Again, I love Melissa and Doug items!

Barbie Day! Our tomboy does occasionally play with Barbie's.

At the end of our local library's summer reading program names are picked for certain prizes that children were able to sign up to try and win for reading a certain number of books.  Our daughter got this prize. The Color Twister by Crayola is an easy to use paint spinner. It requires no batteries-children simply push the plunger down and it spins. 

Our very first project from Pinterest! I found these two projects on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try. All we needed were crayons (which are dirt cheap right now because of school starting), a canvas board (2 for about $7.00), a hot glue gun, and a blowdryer. 

We hot glued the crayons to the top of the canvas

We then used a blow dryer to melt the crayons as much as we wanted.  For the other art we also used a canvas and simply hot glued crayons into the shape of a letter (although my middle line on my 'E' should have been shorter) and then melted a pink crayon on the tip of the hot glue gun to make the drops and splatters on the canvas. They easily hang on the wall with a nail.  

Has anyone else done a project from Pinterset?  I'd love to hear about it. I'm excited to try even more.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Something to call my own: I Hate Uncertainty

Something to call my own: I Hate Uncertainty: Yep..I said it. I know I may sound slightly pessimistic but I do hate uncertainty. I should be used to it by now considering my husband and ...

I Hate Uncertainty

Yep..I said it. I know I may sound slightly pessimistic but I do hate uncertainty. I should be used to it by now considering my husband and I have yet to settle on a place we want to live for longer than 4 years. As my daughter is about to start kindergarten I keep finding myself explaining to her that she will start at the elementary school here and may finish the school year somewhere else. I turned down being assistant soccer coach this fall for fear we'd move in the middle of the season. I am also looking forward to going back to work but part of me thinks "What is the point if we end up selling in a couple of months?". If we do sell it would be great NOT to have job so I can pack and deal with the closing and finding a new place. These are the thoughts that float through my head everyday.  I hate uncertainty.

Life is like a roller coaster- I get that. You are not suppose to have your life mapped out in front of you and know all the twists and turns that are going to be tossed in front of you.  I've always prided myself on being a 'go with flow' type of person. I have a giant flaw though--I'm a secret control freak and slightly OCD.  I live by lists and charts. Excel spreadsheets make me giddy and checking off my to-do list is the biggest thrill. I plan things months in advance, am not the least bit spontaneous, and hate being late.

So what does this translate in to when your daughter is about to be at school all day and you have no job and you're in the process of selling your house but still have to live life? A nightmare for someone like me. I'm sure there are others just like me out there. I'd love to hear from you just to know I'm not crazy.  Letting go of control and allowing life to just lead me down the path with extreme calm is my biggest challenge. Uncertainty will not get the best of me!

Friday, July 6, 2012

July already?!

It has been awhile since I last posted...that is a good thing! We are actually busy this summer and I realized this morning my daughter only has 4 1/2 weeks left of summer vacation. Yes, they go back way early due to a new 'balanced calendar' for the upcoming school year. I never expected the summer to fly by like it has and now I think we may not get our 'summer bucket list' done...oh well, we're having fun and time is flying by. I have managed to get my resume down on paper and now I have to actually type it out. The thought of getting a job after 6 years off is more than a little scary but totally exciting as well. In 4 1/2 weeks we start a new chapter in this family and I think we are more than ready.

So these photos are grouped together because the last two weeks have a been a blur (visiting family, baseball game, graduation party, Chicago, swimming, movies, genealogy research, 4th of July, and on and on). I picked out a few, however, because I have taken about 350 pictures over that last two weeks! My only regret was not getting a photo of my daughter riding a horse for the first time! Bummer!

 Summer Vacation: Days 25-45

Yum! Yum! My daughter and I made ice cream sundae's. I compromised on chocolate ice cream because with a sundae I prefer vanilla.

We hooked up the sprinkler in the front yard and she got a kick out of leaving her footprints on the driveway.

Beat the heat! We spent 5 days visiting my family in Northern Indiana and got to swim in my sister's pool a couple of days. Well needed since most of the country is in a heat wave.

Mmmmm....Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Chicago at Navy Pier.

Navy Pier! We had a wonderful day and luckily the storm came while we were eating lunch. This is my favorite skyline--I just love Chicago!

Every time we visit Chicago we have to go to the fountains...yes, that tower with a face on it is a fountain. Water runs over the top and when the face makes an "O" with its mouth it squirts out water. The faces change every minute or so on each tower (can't see the other tower in this picture).

Got to enjoy an evening at South Bend Silverhawks minor league baseball game.

Evening on the porch at my parent's house. So serene and beautiful...I can only wish to have a house like this someday.
My parent's house is a treasure of photo opportunities!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm a slacker

I have been a slacker lately. I haven't been taking my photo-a-day for summer lately. It is hit or miss with me. But frankly, some days are just too boring to capture in pictures. For summer vacation-that is not a bad thing. It is nice to have those days where we are lazy and just play around the house. However, it would be nice if we had a rainy day to do that but we haven't seen rain around here in about 3's getting bad and I think I'll pass out when we see our next water bill. I would have given up on the lawn a long time ago in this drought but when you are trying to sell your house a brown lawn and dead flowers would not be very appealing to prospective buyers. So here are a couple of days that have been worthwhile to post.

 Summer Vacation: Day 23

My daughter's summer sport is T-ball.  She really likes it, which surprises me. They don't keep score but merely try to hit the ball without the tee for the first few pitches and if they can't hit it then they use a tee. Great introduction for kids 3-6 years old.

Summer Vacation: Day 24

On Day 24 my daughter got to enjoy a day at the Indianapolis Zoo with her grandma, two aunts and four cousins. The Indy zoo is great with a dolphin show and a splash area the kids played around in to cool off. Our daughter has been there at least once a year since she was born. In a few weeks I'm looking forward to taking her to the Indy Children's Museum. As for me on this day--I had a day to myself which is very rare.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Combating the boredom

Summer Vacation: Day 15

Oooh the look on her face! She's sweet as can be but this look makes me beg for school to start--it's the 5 year old attitude coming out. However, on Day 15 she and I enjoyed a walk in the woods in town.  We've been doing a lot of hiking lately. Our kick started when my husband and I went on our anniversary trip noted earlier in this blog. Since then we've been up for hiking anywhere. Our daughter loves it and even did a 4 mile hike with my husband and I  a few days before this picture. 

Summer Vacation: Day 16

We wish we were here right now. I took this picture when we went in October. On Day 16 we made a decision to go back next year. We have two different dates in mind and just have to decide- spring or fall. So, on Day 16 our daughter wanted to look through our Disney book and photo album and we watched a Pooh movie and a documentary about Disney World that was on the travel channel. 

Summer Vacation: Day 17

We went to our local craft store and my daughter picked out a natural wooden mirror to paint. She selected the colors and created this. We finished it off with a clear coat.  She was so excited to put it in her bedroom. Any local craft store often has birdhouses, jewelry boxes, stools, etc. to paint. Easy and cheap craft for any kid. Since my daughter did a couple layers we had to let the first layer dry before doing the next so it actually took longer than just a few minutes.

Summer Vacation: Day 18

As you have probably guessed, crafts are my daughter's favorite thing.  While we were at the craft store the previous day for the mirror we also picked up this fuse bead activity kit. It kept my daughter busy for a while and she was able to use her imagination. If you have never seen one, you put the beads on a peg board that comes with the package. After you are done with the design you put a special paper over it and iron it. You then take off the sheet and take the design off the peg board and flip it over. Put the paper back on it and iron the other side. Let it cool for a minute and it's done. What surprised me was how she did this on her own without me lifting a finger to help (except the ironing part of course!). The little holes also made it easy to put a string through it so my daughter could hang it in her room. She has now done 5 of them in just a few days. I think we'll be going to the store to get more!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Something to call my own: Finally--It's June!

Something to call my own: Finally--It's June!: Summer Vacation: Day 12 Day 12 of summer vacation and the entire weekend in general was simply beautiful. Sunny and temperatures arou...

Finally--It's June!

Summer Vacation: Day 12

Day 12 of summer vacation and the entire weekend in general was simply beautiful. Sunny and temperatures around 70 just made for a perfect weekend. On Day 12 we had some special guests over for dinner and enjoyed some margarita's as well. If only summer could stay this nice; however, I know 90 degree temperatures and humidity will be here soon enough. 

Summer Vacation: Day 13

After hearing all the hype about the Fifty Shades of Grey and the two books that follow, I caved and bought it. I have never been so captivated by a book in my life. If you're a little too conservative or a prude--this book is not for you. However, I found this book to be a fantasy but yet somehow grounded in a sense of reality.  I am excited to get into the second book this week. 

Summer Vacation: Day 14

That time of year again! We signed up for our local library's summer reading program. After reading a certain number of books or reading for a certain time frame the kids get to put their names into buckets to win different prizes.  They also get a free book and other automatic incentives for reading. Along with the reading our library has entertainers such as a puppet show, pirate songs/stories, jugglers, etc. My daughter looks forward to the program every year. It gives us something else to do during the summer and keeps us heading to the library.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chugging along

              Summer Vacation: Day 7

Day 7 of summer vacation was one of those days where stuff just had to get done. Laundry, dishes, dusting, putting things away, etc. Luckily, there is one thing that always keeps my daughter entertained-- her cars.  As you can tell from the picture a few of them are pretty beaten up but that is because they were my husband' least 25 years old or slightly more.  The race car in the picture, however,  our daughter just got at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a couple of weeks ago when we went with my husband's company and watched practices. She has at least 50 and tends to line them up on our desk.

Summer Vacation: Day 8

On Day 8 we spent more time outside watering our flowers, pulling weeds, and sweeping the annoying mulch off our porch. I have a theory that our neighbors cats get into our mulch. I believe they also dig little holes in the mulch for their own personal toilet. Yes, I hate cats but that is beside the point. It wouldn't be ok with me even if dogs were doing it. Cats are just too sneaky for me.
Our daughter tended to her flowers as well. Several weeks ago she planted sunflowers and marigolds and has felt so grown up taking care of them herself.  She also helped me cut some of my gerber daisies to bring in the house.

Summer Vacation: Day 9

My daughter cannot get enough of the outdoors in warm weather.  We keep ourselves busy with soccer, baseball, bubbles, sandbox, bikes, frisbee, sidewalk chalk etc.  On Day 9 we went and got a badminton set.  It's rough..but she tries very hard to hit it on her own. Sometimes it ends in fits of rage with her sitting on the ground refusing to move but eventually she gets up and tries again.  Just another adventure to keep us busy this summer.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summertime: Off to a great start

Summer Vacation: Day 2 

Our first day of summer vacation is best left alone. My husband and I were both sick from a stomach bug and I'll spare you the details.  Day two was much better. My daughter and I made this "frozen chocolate peanut dessert" for a dinner I had planned for my mom's arrival into town and my in-laws coming over.  

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Dessert
Freeze a large bowl and a 13X9 pan for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 30 coarsely chopped oreos and 1/4 cup butter and set aside. 
Place ice cream in the chilled bowl; slightly soften ice cream by using wooden spoon to press against sides of bowl.  Spoon ice cream into chilled pan and press into even layer.  Sprinkle the cookie/butter mixture onto the ice cream.  Top with 1 cup salted peanuts.  
Put 1 12 oz. jar of fudge ice cream topping into a ziploc bag.  Cut a corner of the bag  and drizzle over the layers in the pan. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. You can top with cherries or sliced bananas. Makes 15 servings. 

We loved this recipe and it tastes similar to either a peanut buster parfait from the Dairy Queen or an ice cream cake. 

Summer Vacation: Days 4, 5, 6

 My husband and I got to go on a mini-vacation alone for our 10th anniversary.  With a trip to Las Vegas scrapped (darn black out dates for frequent flyer miles) we decided to go a short distance from home to Brown County, Indiana. A beautiful area with a state park, a historic town with shops (Nashville,IN), walking/biking trails, a campground and trails exclusive to horses and their owners, and much more. 
 Wonderful Brown County State Park, Indiana

The Story Inn- Story, IN
Historic little town that is basically owned by one person. Other little houses/cottages surrounding the inn and restaurant are also for rent nightly.  We didn't stay here but will remember it for a future mini-vacation. 

On our last morning at the state park, my husband and I took our last hike. This loop was 1.5 miles through the woods around Ogle Lake within Brown County State Park. Very beautiful-especially in the morning. We were at the park for 2 days and hiked about 7-8 miles. Wish it could have been more but the 90 degree weather didn't help.