Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Spring!

Easter weekend, I worked. And we all had head colds. Aubrey and I were on our way to Walgreens to check out humidifiers when I looked back to see her wagging her tongue out the window. What a goofball! 

One evening, a tornado was predicted...and Aubrey heard us talking about the possible "storm" coming through. She wanted her umbrella for the storm. It was a nice hot afternoon. (And though a tornado did come through that night, it missed us).

Our neighbor, Jenna, gave us irises that we transplanted last fall. This was April 9th...the first irises were blooming! (Now almost all of them are blooming).

March 28, 2015

Was a day of Easter egg dying...

 And the first soccer games of the season...including Aubrey's first game ever! During the game she mostly looked at birds, chewed her fingers and generally didn't know what was going on. It was cute.

Tyler has had a little more experience and did very well.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Overnight Chicken Marinade

Made this tonight from (, and can't pin it, but I want to keep track of it.

We grilled the chicken and it had great flavor and was moist and tender.

1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 T whole grain mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced,
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 t kosher salt
6 T olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour over 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves.
Marinate 8 hours or overnight.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oklahoma or Bust...or just Bust

This week is Spring Break. Granted, for me it's sandwiched between weekends at the hospital, but having a week off of (regular) work is quite welcome. We planned a quick getaway to Oklahoma over the break. Tuesday we were going to the Science Museum in Oklahoma City. Then a stay overnight in Tulsa, then to the Aquarium in Tulsa on Wednesday. Then home. Short and sweet.

The check engine light had been on and off in the week before, so on Monday, we went to the shop to have it checked out. It appears that our fuel cap was loose and that was the source of the error. Whew. The dealer close to home didn't have it in stock, so we decided to wait until we got back to get a new one. No biggie.

Tuesday, we headed down to Oklahoma City. But as we slowed down in town, and pulled up next to our first stop, lunch at The Mule, we knew there was something wrong with our car. The check engine light had come on again. And, the line out the door of the restaurant was not we headed to Pei Wei instead. The family raved about their lunch. (Mine tasted great, but I had lost my appetite). Then instead of heading to the Science Museum we headed to the Cadillac dealership (where we were told they had a fuel cap in stock...we were still hoping that's all it was). While Wayne ran in to check things out, I broke the news to the kids that our plans may or may not be cancelled. Of course, they had been oblivious to what was going on and appeared shocked at my news.

The Cadillac folks were very nice. They worked us into their schedule, and offered us a very nice waiting area with snacks, TVs and a fish tank. Kind of like the Aquarium...;)

A couple of hours or so later, they came out with bad news. The errors were related to the speed input sensor - the computer that tells the transmission what speed we are going. They said it was a big, expensive job. We explained that we had just had the transmission worked on in December and that yesterday's codes pointed to the gas cap. He said it was definitely the transmission (today) and he thought we may not make it back to Wichita, but the cost of being towed would be quite expensive as well. He said that if we did go, shouldn't go above 45-55 mph...and frequent stops for gas as they thought we'd be burning through gas this way. He estimated that it would likely take about 6 hours to get home. Awesome. Except, not really at all. 

Initially, we took off and it was acting worse than before...we couldn't go above 45 or so, which is a problem when the minimum highway speed is 50. Wayne pulled over and turned it off while we contemplated what to do. When he started it again, it found a better gear and we could go 65. So, we decided we wouldn't stop all the way home. On the way, we called the shop about bringing the car in and called Pat about picking us up from the shop.

Of course, the kids both had to use the bathroom. We didn't want to stop and risk screwing up a good thing...So, they both had to pee in cups. Aubrey, twice. She thought it was pretty awesome.

On the way there and back, we did have some good chats. We came up with Would You Rather questions for each other. Wayne had picked out travel toys for each of us. Mine was Story Cubes - which the kids really enjoyed. (You roll and get different sets of pictures that help you craft your story). I had them each go on a St Patrick's Day treasure hunt that morning, and the kids shared their jelly beans with us. :)
Silly, giddy kids at the end of a long day in the car.

I was disappointed that we had paid for the hotel through Hotwire and wouldn't get to stay after all...
But, I have to say that the kids' disappointment at not being able to enjoy our trip was rough. I wanted to be able to fix it, but clearly I couldn't. 

I told the kids we should pretend that we were staying in a hotel at our house that night and the next morning. That somehow seemed to ease Aubrey's disappointment. I took the kids swimming at the YMCA on Wednesday since they didn't get to swim at the hotel...not the same. At all. But, they rolled with it. 

Today we picked up the car at the shop. I was quite relieved to find out that the repair was covered under warranty as the part was just installed (factory-new) when they worked on the transmission in December.

Not sure why I'm sharing this, except that what I keep thinking is that we still have so much to be thankful for. We made it home without it being a 6 hour journey. We still enjoyed time together. (Granted, car time isn't the most exciting, but it certainly is time we can get creative about how to make it more fun together). Because we came back early, we have been able to relax with one another a little more. I've enjoyed sleeping in the last couple of days as I've eased into vacation mode. 

The blips in life will happen. Despite my anxiety about such things, I want to focus on being grateful and appreciating each other.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Last Saturday, on a bit of a whim, the Pankratz's invited us along to eat dinner in Newton at the Breadbasket, a German buffet.
Our boys love to pose. 
Actually, Abe is posing nicely, holding his belly full of sausage and potatoes.

Then we headed to Hesston to watch the high school girls' and boys' substate basketball games.

It was a little loud in the gym.

Aubrey couldn't sit still for too long, so we took a few breaks outside of the gym...where we found senior pictures.

And Aubrey wanted me to take a picture of her.
Nice and fuzzy.

Then she wanted me to pose like her.
Nice and fuzzy too.

Both girls AND boys won! And we had a lot of fun. 

Recliner Redo

I'm posting this mostly for Grandma Billie - because this recliner was hers. We were gifted this recliner when Wayne's grandparents, Wayne and Billie, moved into a retirement community the same year we got married...15 years ago.

So, a couple of weeks ago, we (finally) put new carpet in the basement...and then a week later, a sectional. In the process of prepping for the new carpet, furniture was moved around and the recliner was brought from the basement to the living room.

It has been well loved and is comfortable. But, it has lost a few buttons and is worn. We planned to give it away the next time the DAV did a pick up.

But, I got used to having another chair in the living room. And I  liked it. And I kind of didn't want to give it away. I'm kind of sentimental about the chair. Especially since we lost Grandpa Wayne a few years ago, it reminds me of him.

I decided that I'd try to tackle reupholstering it. I figured, the worst that can happen is I waste some money on fabric and supplies and it's a bust. So, last weekend, while Ted and Sue watched the kids and we went out to celebrate Wayne's birthday. After dinner, I dragged Wayne along to help me pick out fabric. (And then to the store to buy more stain for the coffee table and end tables...Wayne is welcome).  While he wasn't terribly excited about it, he didn't even complain. I love that guy.

The kids LOVED helping to take out old staples...for a short time anyway.

Wayne was my hero chair-taker-aparter and put-back-togetherer guy! Though he wondered about my plan several times, (especially when he realized that I really had no real plan except to figure it out as I went... heh heh heh) he was encouraging.

After a some short nights when I was stalled out on how to proceed, or should I say, waiting for the next idea to hit about how to make a part of it work...and after a few late nights, this evening I got it done. It's definitely not perfect - no professional job. But I'm happy with it.

It still works and is comfortable. 
Mission accomplished.

February 18

Dress up

Reading Night

I took this January, 27th, at a school reading night. He may not like to pose for pictures, but I love this guy, so I'm posting this any way. We had a great night experiencing different activities together. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cherry Pie

We keep Valentine's Day pretty low key at our house. We actually focused on it a little more this year than usual. I planted a little sweet treat on everyone's pillow, which thrilled Aubrey. 

We had a good breakfast then Tyler, Aubrey and I headed out to City Arts for a Heart-y Party. Ha! They did a little crafting.

We were downtown, so we stopped at the Nifty Nuthouse to let the kids pick out a few treats. 

Then, because the weather was so beautiful (I think it was 60 degrees), we went to Buffalo Park and played for awhile.

Tyler and I headed to the YMCA for awhile in the afternoon. He did his orientation to the youth weight equipment and surprised me by wanting to stay on the equipment for nearly an hour. We followed it up with a few laps around the track. I hope this means that we'll be able to go together which I think will be fun. And I could use a little motivation to get there more often. :)

After some Saturday cleaning, it was time to make dinner. We grilled steak and also had asparagus and these cheesy potato fries. It was a heady, happy meal. The only "recipe" was for the potatoes which we will definitely make again! I used 5 red potatoes, and only used about half of the ranch sauce and 1/2 c of cheddar. Cheesy and delicious! 

For dessert, I made a cherry pie. My friend, Michelle, makes a killer cherry pie and I've made her recipe once before, but I wasn't sure where the recipe was. So I decided to try another recipe that I found this week. The crust was great, but the filling was not what I was tasted good, but was much too runny. So, this morning I scrounged up the recipe that I should have made again last night. (It was on a post-it note stuck inside a folder of recipes). I'm posting this here because this will be my go-to from now on...and I don't want to lose this recipe. It's simple and so good!

Cherry Pie
-Crust adapted from  -Pie recipe from Michelle Pankratz

Crust (for a 2-crust pie):2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T sugar
12 T butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 c coconut oil
1/2 c ice water, approximately

1. In food processor, mix flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and shortening and pulse to combine. Add water slowly and pulse until it comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. 

When ready to use, divide in half. Roll out dough between wax paper. Press into a 9-inch pie plate leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over the edge of the plate. (While preparing the filling I returned the dough to the refrigerator to chill).

4 c tart cherries
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour

2. Mix filling and pour into pie plate (over the unbaked crust).

3. Take the other half of the dough and roll out. If you want to make a lattice crust, cut into strips and do not look at the photo above for the correct method...which was merely a random laying down of crust pieces and putting some over and some under as it was easiest to do. :P Pinch the top and bottom crust together.

4. Brush top crust with cream (or beaten egg white) and sprinkle with sugar

5. Bake at 350 for one hour.  Let cool for several hours before eating.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I was so glad to be home this weekend with my little family. Yesterday, we attended Family Fun Fair at Botanica. They predicted beautiful weather, and I think it got up to the mid 60's.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with the fun of Saturday off - eating out, shopping, and baking.

Today my favorite part was the gorgeous (lower 70's) weather and the fact that the kids spent a good chunk of the afternoon/early evening playing outside with the neighbors.

I don't know if I'm ready for another week...but it sure was nice to be off of work and home with my little loves.