Thursday, December 5, 2013

7...No. Can't be possible.

Words are not falling off my tongue today. Or really, words are not pulsating through my fingers onto my keyboard. Pictures will have to do.

Birthday party #1!

Birthday morning!

"I wish everyday was my birthday!"

7!?!? What!?!

Birthday party #2! 

Birthday fun!

Leaf fun---from the one tree we have in the backyard. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Despite teenagers trying to kill is good

No, this is not the road in question.
My daughter should ride the bus.  I figured one of the great things about being a stay at home mom would be to drive my daughter to and from school. It is not all its cracked up to be.  I fear for my life every day...mainly in the mornings.  With the high school next to my daughter's elementary school, I pass a lot of teenagers on the back roads. There have been numerous close calls and days when I have gone off in the grass slightly.  This morning was a year and half in the making. 

This particular back road (which leads into the back of our subdivision) is narrow in parts.  I saw the big pick up truck coming toward me. "He will get over on his side before he passes me"...this is what I told myself. I slowed down a lot and got over as far as I could. He got closer and I could tell it was a teenager. And.....nope! He didn't get over. To avoid hitting him head on I veered off the road, missed hitting a tree by a foot or less, dodged a mailbox and garbage cans, went down in a ditch and back up, over a driveway and finally (after finding my footing and putting on the brakes) I stopped in someone's front yard. A lady behind me stopped to be sure I was ok. Physically? Yes.  My Jeep? It is fine.  The homeowner's mailbox and garbage cans? Intact.  Whew! My first instinct was to head back to the high school and search the parking lot for the punk.  Instead, I came home and spent the morning in a daze.  Not really for what had just happened, but rather for the fact that this just about happens to me every morning.  My anger for teenage drivers grows on a daily basis. 

After being thankful for missing the tree and being alive, I got on with my day. I started thinking about all the things I am thankful for (other than missing that monster tree).
- I am thankful for my family- especially for my wonderful husband who works hard and is also a great dad and wonderful engineer and for my beautiful daughter that we didn't think was possible.
- I am thankful for Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer for my coffee which makes these cold mornings bearable.
- I am thankful to be able to watch deer wonder around in our backyard (even though we live in a subdivision which is why I love this house and will be a little sad when we move).
- I am thankful for weekday lunches with friends.
- I am thankful for my favorite authors who give me reasons to curl up on the couch with my favorite blanket.
 I could go on and on.  What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Yes, it is Thanksgiving season...not Christmas.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Working on my domestic skills

I am not a good cook. I'll be the first to admit it.  However, I can bake. Yes, cooking and baking are two completely different things. At least in my mind.  I can whip up my awesome chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, cheesecake or bread.  But can I cook a three course meal? No. At least not that well. When I do attempt bigger meals I am always bound to destroy a pan and set off the smoke alarm.  Baking has always come easy to me. 

Knowing I was going to be laid up for about a week after gallbladder surgery, I decided to bake something I have never done before. An apple pie.  Mmmm. If I may brag a tasted awesome!  I can't wait to make another one but this week is all about healing and making a birthday cake for my husband.

I couldn't help but share this recipe.  I swiped it from an ancient issue of Country Living magazine (May 2006).  Pardon my pictures. My camera is not liking me lately. Not to mention, when I am in a baking zone I do not like to stop and snap cutesy pictures. 

Grandma's Pie Dough (makes 4 crusts)
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. sugar
1 3/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbl. white vinegar
1 egg (extra large)

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Whisk  the vinegar, egg and 1/2 cup of ice water together and mix into the flour mixture with your hands until just combined.  Transfer to a clean work surface, and gently press to form a dough.  Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Shape each into a ball, flatten slightly to form a disk, and wrap in plastic.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  If only using some of the crusts, put the others in freezer bags and freeze until needed.  However, allow 2 days to thaw before using.

I used a pastry tool to mix in the butter

This is the dough before I took it out and formed it into a ball to divide into four pieces

This is the dough I didn't need at the time and now have stored in my freezer

Farmhouse Apple Pie (about 8 servings)
2 disks of Grandma's Pie Dough
2 1/2 pounds of mixed apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
2 Tbl. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbl.
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. lemon juice  (although I had no lemon juice so I used vinegar instead)
(I also added a dash of Apple Pie Spice- found in the spice aisle at the grocery store)

Heat oven to 375* F.  Roll out one of the disks of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness; transfer to a 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside and keep chilled.  Roll the remaining dough to 1/8/ inch thickness.  Set aside on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or just flour the sheet) and keep chilled. Toss the chopped apples, flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice (or vinegar) together and mix until combined. Pour apple mixture into the prepared pie pan and top with the remaining dough.  Trim, leaving 1/2 inch overhang, fold under, and crimp edges. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar. I forgot to rip out the last page of the recipe so the rest is completely my own--- Cut four little slits in the top crust toward the center. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until dough in the center is slightly brown.  Halfway through I covered up the pie with tin foil to prevent the edges from browning too much or burning. Allow to cool. Enjoy!

Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Trial error procedure to be sure it fits in the pie pan.

After all the ingredients are mixed together and ready to be put into the pie pan.

Bottom crust in a 9 inch pie pan

Sugar is sprinkled on top and slits to allow venting.

Voila! And might I say, "Yummy"! Later I heat up the pieces so that I have warm pie.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Feels like fall favorite time of the year.  The smell of burning leaves and fire pits.  The sound of crunching leaves under my shoes.  Surrounded by falling leaves as I walk through the woods. The season when my camera is my best friend.  Love it!

I don't have a whole lot of decorations for autumn.  This year I wanted to spruce up our front porch. Thanks to our local nursery, I was able to one stop shop and get everything I needed...and really, only for about $35. Not only does it get me in a festive mood, but it also keeps the curb appeal up since our house is like the last kid picked on the playground as far as the housing market goes. Only wish I had an autumn themed welcome mat.
Now, if I could only keep the neighborhood kids from playing with the little pumpkins and gourds....grrr.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Change: the good, the bad, the ugly

Yesterday, a neighborhood kid came to our door to play with my daughter. He was so sad.  He told me he was sad because he didn't have very many days left to play with my daughter.  They are moving.  Not only do we have our house for sale but our neighbors do as well. They haven't sold, but are moving anyway. Now it gets real. 

We moved to this small town near my husband's family thinking we would set down roots.  Little did we realize the toll the commute to work would have on my husband.  Little did I realize there are no jobs here for a Communications major like me.  Now, as we sit and wait for an offer on the house, it is becoming very real that soon we will not be here.  This town that we have called home for so many years is where my daughter has made friends.  She has played T-ball and soccer.  She joined Girl Scouts.  Starting all over again is exciting and at the same time- pretty damn frightening.  We are not completely entering uncharted territory.  We are moving back to where we lived when our daughter was born.  However, we never lived there long enough to have roots.

My daughter, god bless her, tells me things like, "we will be closer to grandma and grandpa K.", "we will get to see Daddy more!", and "I can't wait to see my new school".  Really, god bless her.  She is so optimistic and adventurous.  I only point out the positives to her, never the negatives. I never want her to fear change. I want her to embrace it.  I tell her we can even come visit her friends here once in awhile.  We are only moving about 70 minutes away.

Our neighbors sad eyes yesterday made realize the time has come for both families to move on.  Whether we sell or not we will be moving out before she starts second grade.  We made that commitment for our daughter. 

The key for me, a fear phobic,  is to take one day at a time.  Thinking about the details, how my daughter will handle it, the job search for me, the search for a home, etc., is too much at once.  One day, one step at a time is the only way to go.  All you can do is focus on the positives.

Last night as I watched my daughter and the neighbor rolling down the hill in the backyard laughing hysterically, I smiled knowing that once we move and get settled she will have friends to laugh with again.  She will be fine.  We will be fine.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My blogging mind is a vast desert

I have not blogged in awhile. I promised myself I would try to blog every week. Not happening.  Why? Honestly, there just hasn't been anything to blog about.  I could bore you with details about how I get up in the mornings, get my daughter ready for school, take her to school, clean the house, pay bills, do laundry, feed the dogs, make the beds, exercise, run errands, job search, pick up my daughter from school, make dinner, homework, etc.

I am also not sure you would want to hear about being body slammed by my doctor this week with a routine check-up which is leading me to have two ultrasounds at the hospital this week. Gallbladders? Eh...who needs 'em?!  A monster 'mass' on ovary?  Eh...been there, done that. Just not what I expected of this week when I woke up Monday morning!  I have a problem with being blindsided by life..but then again, who really enjoys that? Plus, doctors, hospitals, and tests have been a constant for me for the last 20 years. It is routine.

Other bloggers can pick a subject and just write a witty post about it with ease. Then again..maybe some bloggers should take a hiatus as well. I clicked on one of my favorite blogs this morning to find a post about potty training. Not so bad, right?  There was a picture of her daughter on the toilet. Really, I will never be that kind of blogger.

Guess my mind has been in a rut lately where the routine has taken over by body.  When I am stuck in a routine way of life my creative brain takes a vacation.  This time I think it booked a one way ticket.

Even my camera has wondered where I have been lately.  I finally took her out last weekend while visiting my parents for a family cookout but she is still feeling neglected. I will fill this post with a few of the pics I captured last weekend- all taken at my parents beautiful home. 

So, any ideas on how to get out of a rut?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer wrap-up

Today was the first day of school. Where did the summer go?  Now that summer vacations are shorter for us, they seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. It could also have something to do with the old phrase, "Time flies when you're having fun!".  We had tons of fun this summer. 

Our "Summer Fun List" was half checked off. I had all these ideas and grand plans on that  list but over the course of the summer plans took on a life of their own and we did things we never expected.  A run down:

-Visited an Amish animal farm and got to hold a goat, feed a camel, and visit with an Amish family.
-Stopped at an Amish cheese shop and taste tested way too many cheeses.
-Ate at a train themed restaurant in which we could explore a train car, engine and old train equipment.
-My daughter took the train into Chicago for the day with her grandma and rode on the double decker bus.
-Enjoyed many days on the slip-n-slide with friends.
-Took lunch out to the park and enjoyed a couple of lovely afternoons there.
-My daughter enjoyed lots of swimming while visiting my family.
-Had a campout with my husband's family which included a walk in the woods, a balloon fight and a campfire.
-My daughter got introduced to her favorite author/illustrator who is also her cousin. He then gave her a 'tattoo' on her hand.
-Enjoyed a family reunion on my husband's side.
-Spent a few days at my parent's lake house with the added adventure of getting stuck on the lake after a boat issue.
-My daughter caught her very first fish (baited the hook herself too!).
-Went to a state park for the day with my mom, niece, and nephew.
-Ate at a restaurant that floats on the Ohio River.
-My daughter lost her first tooth and her second tooth.
-We watched caterpillars turn into butterflies with a butterfly house.
-Attended a free movie at our local theater and a water show at the library.
-Played T-ball and did pretty good I might say!
-Went to the Indianapolis Zoo where we enjoyed a dolphin show and cooled off in the splash park.
-My daughter had swimming lessons and finally went underwater by herself. Victory!
-Learned to play croquet.
-Went bowling.
-My daughter got her first taste of red velvet cake at my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.
-Climbed the rafters in the barn on the family farm to see baby turkey vultures.

WHEW!! That is just everything I can remember off the top of my head. No wonder the summer flew by!

Now onto first grade and back to the routine.  A little relieved we are slowing down a bit. With my daughter's absolute refusal to play soccer this fall we are laying low with only Girl Scouts.  Hopefully dance lessons will be in the near future too.

Closing the book on another fun filled summer.  Summer's always remind me why I am a stay at home mom. So blessed.

My daughter, my mom and niece at a state park.

Climbed up the observation tower and could see the Ohio River.

Enjoying a day at the state park.

Fun times at my mom and dad's house.

We really enjoyed our day at the Amish farm.  So many animals to see...some I have never even heard of!

Getting a 'tattoo' by her cousin, Will Hillenbrand, who is an author/illustrator.

A fun day at the Indianapolis Zoo with cousins.
Her very first catch! Baited the hook all by herself. That's my girl! At my parent's vacation home.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Talk to me homebuyers!

I am baffled. I am confused. I am frustrated. I am clueless.  These are my sentiments about selling our home. We have been trying to sell our home now for a total of 13 months. We live in a small town so I anticipated it would take awhile to sell since not that many people look for homes in our area.  I did not think by any means that we would soon be facing another fall/winter in this house. We keep a steady stream of lookers, however, with an average of maybe 3-4 showings a month.  There have been some down times with no showings for 6 weeks and other times when we have 3 showings in 24 hours.

Our realtor gets feedback reports from other realtors that show our home.  This is where I am confused and frustrated.  Every single feedback report we have received tells us that the potential buyers love the house.  They love the size of the bedrooms, they love the views, love the deck, love the walkout basement, love how clean it is, and think the price is great.  Okkkaayyyy....then what is your problem? Please tell me because obviously there is something off or your realtor is completely fibbing on the reports.

I have always been one to think, "things will happen when they are suppose to" or "it will all happen in God's time".  However, there is no pushing aside the feelings of frustration. 

Today I looked at houses pending sale in our town online. Should not have done that.  I got even more confused. Houses priced the same as ours but in need of complete renovation are selling, houses priced more than ours but smaller are selling, etc.  Hard to explain without pictures and hard evidence that I won't post on here. So, Take my word for it.

Now the inevitable questions arise as our third contract ends with our realtor that we have had from the start. Do we lower the price (which we can't budge on much)?  Do we list with someone else? Do we take it off the market for awhile...again?

Talk to me homebuyers! Tell me what you are looking for. I am at a loss. The houses that are selling do not have bigger yards than us, they do not have better finishes, they do not have more square feet. I know that the housing market is still recovering, but when your town is spiking and homes are selling all around, you have to question why. Patience is virtue. I have maintained that since early last year but this virtue is quickly disappearing.  Things will happen in their own time...the right time. I hope. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Straight laced blog no more

Up until now I have been's say, safe, on my blog. Yes, I have hidden a lot from my blog followers. I have been straight laced.  I see it as boring.  No, I am not necessarily calling my own blog boring. However, you can only go on about the same things over and over again until it DOES become boring.  I have made a commitment to this blog now that I will be more open, honest, truthful and blunt. If you like it, great! If not...see ya! I have held my tongue for the 34 years of my life.  I have learned that it gets me no where.

No one's life is perfect and in no way do I want to portray that mine is.  Nor do I want to come off as 'supermom' because hell, I am far from it. 

So in the interest of this new found freedom to express myself, I will start off with something that lies in my head every single day and I will just put it out there for the world.

It took us three years to have our daughter. She is our miracle child from the trials of infertility.  My husband and I married knowing there was a chance we would never have children. To spare you the details I will say it is a combination of pre-cancer cells and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Our daughter was born 6 1/2 years ago. We have faced secondary infertility now for 6 years.  I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  I have been poked, prodded, injected, lectured, etc.  Really, when do you call it quits?  How can you call it quits when your daughter draws pictures of you with a baby in your belly?  How do you tell your child you quit when she says she looks out her window at night and prays to God for a brother or sister?  I don't know...someone tell me.

I get the fact that very few people know what we are going through. I understand that even the people that do know just don't get it and can never fully grasp the situation. However, understand this and we will all live in harmony:
-I do not want to see your ultrasound...especially plastered all over facebook.
-Do not get your feelings hurt when I choose not to attend your baby shower.
-Do not expect me to jump and down at your announcement that you are pregnant or at the gender reveal.
-Do not say stupid and ignorant things to me such as, "Just relax, it will happen",  "At least you have one kid-be happy", "Do you know how ovulation works?" (Yes, someone ACTUALLY asked me that!), "Go on vacation or forget about it for awhile...then it will happen", "Just adopt", and the worst one...."Just get a hysterectomy and forget about it". 
-Lastly, the WORST thing a couple with infertility wants to hear is that your child was an "Ooops!".

Please people...think before you speak. 

Oh..and on a side note. Never ask a couple when they are going to have kids or why they do not have kids yet.  You never know what is going on privately. Let it be. 

Yes, I have more arsenal in me waiting to me released.  I won't hold back anymore.  I am a Communications major and trust me...I am ready to communicate. Whether you like it or not.  Not every post will be so out there but just expect it more often.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Photos by yours truly....

Love when this tree blooms in my front yard in the spring. I just wish the blooms lasted longer.

Happen to capture this in my in-law's backyard...with my smartphone no less!! Hey, you have to compromise when your camera is not readily available. Not to shabby for a phone pic.
I love these unique flowers in my mother's garden...simply perfect to photograph.
My mother's garden presents endless possibilities for beautiful photos. mother's garden. I have no idea where she gets the energy to take care of it all.