Finally ready for summer!

I have always been in charge of any landscaping we have done around our house.  My husband does a great job of keeping the lawn looking lush and weed free but he has no interest in any flowers.  That was never a problem until the last few years when I started this process of joint replacement.  So far these new joints do not want to be on the ground crawling around and our landscaping has seriously suffered.

Before1

Before2

After whining and complaining to my sister about this issue for a few months she volunteered to come help me plant.  Linda is one of the hardest workers I know.  She and Steve live on five wooded acres that she keeps in pristine condition.  This lady’s idea of a good time is a fallen tree and her very own personal chain saw.

After about five hours of shopping for new perennials, planting and putting down 20 bags of mulch, I think we are on our way to recovery.

after

Hydrangea

daiseys

coneflower

Geranium

I have never had much luck planting flowers in my window box, I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I frequently forget to water the plants in it, but this year Linda suggested I just plant some hardy green ground cover and see if that works.

greenery-window-box

I think Cleo is thankful she has much prettier things to view while sunbathing.

cleo

patio

Thank you Linda!!

 

 

 

A Day in Denver

We had a very quick trip to Denver this past week to help our daughter move.  We spent a day driving there, a day to play and a day driving home.   The hubby and I listened to a book tape the entire eight and a half hours it took us to get there and surprisingly enough the drive went by pretty fast.  That is a good thing when driving across Kansas because there is not much to see except for the occasional wind farm.

windmil-sfwl

On our play day, Molly showed us all her and Taylor’s favorite hang outs.  We started with a delightful outdoor brunch at the Eggshell Restaurant which included the cutest coffee bar.  Makes me wish I liked coffee….

coffee-bar2-sfw

coffee-bar-sfw

I had an awesome frittata (surprise, surprise) with sheepherder potatoes and sourdough toast!  It was so good.

my-breakfast-sfw

We then made an expensive trip to Costco to fill Molly’s freezer and pantry.  At least I know she will be eating well for the next month or so.  While Molly and I repackaged freezer items and attempted to get everything to fit in her small freezer, her Dad used his best McGyver skills to re-glue one of her wooden kitchen chairs that had seen better days.  I sure wish I would have gotten a picture of how he improvised without clamps, let’s just say it consisted of a bicycle intertube and a tie down strap.  He was pretty proud of himself!  We told her not to sit on it for a few days so we will see if this did the job or not.

After all of this shopping and exhausting labor we worked up an appetite so off we went to a local favorite, VooDoo Donuts.  Located in the heart of downtown Denver, we were lucky to be visiting in the middle of the afternoon and only had to wait in line with about 15 people ahead of us.  Molly said she has seen the line out the door and down an entire city block.

vd-donuts-sfw

VooDoo Doughnuts is fairly new to Denver, having originated in Portland, Oregon.   I am almost at a loss of words on how to describe their handmade, very tasty, highly unique donuts.  Only pictures will tell this story…..

Doughnuts1-sfw

Doughnuts2-sfw

The picture above features their signature VooDoo doll doughnut complete with a pretzel knife.  Our selections below included a few “safe” traditional doughnuts plus a Bacon Maple Bar(maple frosting with real bacon strips), Diablos Rex Bar (chocolate cake with chocolate icing, red sprinkles and a pentagram), Old Dirty Bastard (yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, oreos and peanut butter), Butterfinger doughnut (chocolate cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and butterfinger crumbles) and a Neopolitan (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and strawberry dust.)

Our-VD-selection-sfw

We loaded up our pink voodoo doughnut box and traveled a few blocks to the Great Divide Tap Room, a highly regarded microbrewery.

great-divide-sfw

We found an outdoor table and had ourselves a little afternoon snack.  Don’t judge!!!

beer-and-donuts-sfw

ice-cream-truck-sfw

molly2-sfw

As we left the downtown area I just had to snap a picture of one of the many storefronts supporting Colorado’s new commerce venture.

Cannabis-care-center-sfw

We topped off the day with a movie, “Million Dollar Arm” (which is very good by the way) and dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  Although the day was very fun, saying good-bye to Molly that evening was very sad.  It is hard to leave your baby 600 miles away from home, even if she is almost all grown up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Gatherings|May|Breakfast on the Patio

Sunday morning we are packing up our youngest daughter and moving her to Denver.  She will finish her last internship rotation this summer and take the Registered Dietitian’s exam this fall.  If we are all lucky, that will result in a paying job soon thereafter!!!!  Such a bittersweet time, I am so excited for her to start this new phase of her life, yet sad because she will be so far away.  For her last Saturday at home, I thought we would make the day special by starting our morning with breakfast on the patio.

scones-tray-sfw

One of my favorite items to make for breakfast are scones, I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE them.  My go-to recipe comes from a workshop I took with Jenny Steffens Hobick at Everyday Occasions.  She makes several versions of these, cranberry, vanilla bean and cinnamon swirl to name a few, but my favorite are the jalepeno cheddar.  Click here for the link to that recipe.  For this mornings scones, I left out the jalepenos.

scones-sfw

Another quick breakfast recipe I love are frittatas, first because I like my eggs cooked well done and that is easy to accomplish in this recipe and also because frittata’s are great for throwing in leftover veggies.

frittata1-sfw

I have included this recipe at the end of the post.  Did you happen to notice the wooden butter knife in the scone picture above and the wooden cutting board in this frittata picture.  These are handmade items by my brother-in-law Steve.  I have talked about his craftsmanship several times on the blog including here, here and here.  I should just start a page about all the items he makes, better yet, I should start a shop to start selling his items.  Hmmmm…

Here is another picture of the frittata where you can see a better view of the inlaid cutting board.  This board is actually a pizza peel.  It has a very thin edge perfect for scooping up a pizza out of the oven.  We use it all the time, I love it!

frittata2-sfw

I got off track a little there, back to our breakfast!  I kept the table-setting very simple with a tablecloth over our bistro set and a few individual flowers in vases.

table-sfw

I did spend a couple of minutes making fun bowtie napkins!

bowtienapkin-sfw

Below is the Veggie Frittata recipe…..enjoy your weekend!

 

Veggie Frittata

6 Eggs

2T butter

½ onion, diced

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/3 c diced green pepper

1/3 c diced red pepper

2 t minced garlic

Red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

 

In a heavy, oven-proof skillet, melt the butter. Sauté the onions, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms until soft. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and seasonings together. Pour the eggs over the veggies until the sides are set. Set the oven to broil and put the skillet in the oven until the top of the frittata is set and browned. Slide from the pan and slice.

 

Linking to

Amaze Me Monday

Inspiration Monday

Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm

Tablescape Thursdays

Hymns and Verses Find your Voice Friday #1

Neapolitan Krispie Treats

Last week while cruising Pinterest I came across these amazing Neapolitan Krispie Treats from Bakingdom.com.  Do they not look amazing?

Strawberry-Nutella-Krispies-Treats-from-Bakingdom

Since my family and I all love rice krispie treats I thought this would be a good thing to try for our memorial day cookout.  One of these days I will learn to follow a recipe as written instead of thinking I know what I am doing.  First of all, this recipe called for nutella along with plain rice krispies to make the chocolate layer.  I did not have any nutella, but I had cocoa krispies to substitute.  That layer actually turned out just fine.  Where I really got into trouble was with the strawberry layer.  Her recipe called for strawberry jam and freeze-dried strawberries.  I had the strawberry jam but no dried strawberries.  I decided to substitute some real strawberries I had by throwing them in the food processor.  The result was less than perfect.  The strawberry layer was too moist and not nearly pink enough.

Neopolitan-Rice-Krispies

I must say though that they tasted just great and we had no issues emptying this platter.  The next time I am at the store I am going to get some freeze dried strawberries and try this again until I get it right.  Fortunately the smoked ribs and the grilled salmon turned out perfect thanks to the hubby.

RIbs-and-Salmon

On a post-surgery recovery note, I am pretty close to losing the cane but still having issues with range of motion, meaning I can not get my knee to bend more than 95-100 degrees.  Optimal for post TKR is 125 degrees.  My physical therapist tells me the issue for me is that I still have a significant amount of swelling in the joint and until that is reduced my knee will just not bend any farther.  I need to spend more time laying on my back with my knee iced and elevated above my heart.  Still looking for a way to do that and keep working my day job.  Maybe my IT guy can rig up something that will project my computer screen to the ceiling.  Any ideas?

 

Honoring and Remembering

Dad

Today I am thinking about my dad Jesse Spencer, my father-in-law Kenneth Guetlich, all of my uncles, my brother David Spencer and friends, Fred Weixeldorfer, Fred Weixeldorfer, Jr, Jake Boswell, Ashley Powell and Samantha Pittala, plus all the many others who have served our country providing us with a daily  freedom that is easily taken for granted when that is all you have ever known.   For those that have given their lives in service to our country,  mere words of thanks seem so very inadequate, but I am forever grateful.

Post-Op Update

I am quickly approaching the five week post-op mark since my TKR (total knee replacement) and have made great progress in many areas.  I have  replaced the walker with a cane, started outpatient physical therapy and drastically reduced my pain meds.  All of those milestones are good things, yet I can not seem to shake the “feeling sorry for myself” phase.

Two of the last three weeks the MR. has had to travel out of town for business.  This means I have had lots of alone time which has contributed to this mental state.  My daughter was with me in the evenings the first week he was gone which was a good thing since I was mostly confined to the second level of my house.  I was just starting to come up and down our 17 stairs and did not feel comfortable doing that with no one else in the house.  I have a little fridge in my master closet and we stocked up a basket with fruit, crackers, peanut butter and other snacks for my lunches.

foodbasket

I did not need anything and got along just fine, but you can only watch so many episodes of Million Dollar Listing without going a little stir crazy.

This past week when the hubby was gone again,  a friend took me to my physical therapy appointments and even out to dinner one evening since I am not suppose to drive yet.  It was great to get out of the house.  She even forced me to have ice cream after one of my sessions!

Sonic-sundae

I have also gone back to work, which in my case means commuting down the hall to my home office.  I started part time a couple of weeks ago, but this past week I worked full time.  I do not recommend going back to work so early in the post surgery recovery.  Between physical therapy and the stress of work, I have been REALLY tired.  Bedtime has been about 8:30 or 9:00 each evening.

I am so looking forward to this holiday weekend and trying to move closer to my regular routine.  We will be attending a wedding, cooking out with family and working on a couple of home projects.  I already feel the fog lifting.  Have a great weekend friends!

A week out

One week post-op and I am alive to tell the tale.  Overall I am doing well but I have decided that TKR – Total Knee Replacement must be similar to child birth.  The pain is quickly forgotten in retrospect.  That must be the case because I totally do not remember having this pain a year ago with my other TKR.   I know that I never cried at physical therapy before, but that is exactly what I did at my first home session on Monday.  My PT is as nice as can be but he totally reminds me of a retired marine drill sergeant.  He is built like a bulldog and sports a totally bald head.  He ask often if I am doing ok, but does not let up on pushing me to do one more heel slide.  He is intense and totally the meanest most serious of all the PT’s I have worked with.  I know he is just what I need to push past this pain, I just wish it was more of the “licked on by kittens” pain instead of the “my leg was just sawn in half” type of pain.

To help get past this “feel sorry for myself” phase I decided to look back at one of my pinterest boards created just for occasions like this.  The board is titled, “Things that make me smile!” and here are a few items included.

MOM (via Taylor Lampson)

HokeyPokey(qualitypeoples.com)

gladyour home(via SherryCurrie)

Baby(murat Tavli)

To see all the things on this board you can follow it here:

You can be sure I will be looking at this Board many times over the next few weeks.  If you can think of other items that will make me smile, please send them my way.  I need all the help I can get!

 

 

Bits and Pieces #7

1.  My husband is an enabler………he knows my weakness.  Hello my name is Theresa and I have a problem.  I love PEEPS!  My kids always received PEEPS from the Easter Bunny and they did not even like them very much.  Bad bunny!

Peeps

2.  Went shopping at Joanne’s last Sunday and picked up some material for a couple of new projects.  Here is a sneak peak.  Any ideas what I might be making?

fabric

3.  Everytime I go to Joanne’s I stop by to drool over watch the Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Machines do their magic.   I really, really, really want one of these.  This time I even picked up some brochures and brought them home.  Maybe if I lay them around the hubby will take notice and surprise me someday.  You think?

Viking-Husqvarna-Sewing-Emb

 

4.  Although I have had my spring chalkboard up for a LONG time, it seemed to take forever for spring to finally arrive.  Hopefully it is here to stay now.

Spring-2014

 

5.  In less than 24 hours I will be undergoing the last of my four joint surgeries!  I am very much ready to conclude this journey I started four years ago.  I have many plans and goals to pursue and I am READY to get started.  However, those first 3-4 weeks post surgery are excruciating for me.  Sure, there is pain and mild physically therapy torture but that does not hurt me as much as the dependency on others and inconvenience to my normal schedule and activities.  To say that I have a lack of patience is a little bit of an understatement, so if you hear a little (or a lot) of whining for the next month, please bear with me, I will get over it!  See you on the other side!

Never-said-it-would-be-easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Gatherings|April|Brunch|Cinnamon Rolls

Last Sunday was stormy, cloudy and the perfect day to stay in and host a brunch for friends.  We started with a fun Bloody Mary Bar that included the usual vodka and Zing Zang.  For the adventuresome who preferred to build their own we added tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and pepper.  Toppings included lemon and lime slices, celery sticks, green olives and jalepenos.  Yummy!

 

BM-Bar

Although this was not an Easter brunch per say, I could not resist adding some fun napkins folded in the shape of bunny ears.  There are many tutorials out there in blog land to show you how to fold these.  Here is a link to the one I used.

Bunny-ears

table-setting

When I host a brunch I frequently purchase a Honey Baked Ham because it is SOOOO easy and most everyone enjoys it.  The serving instructions suggest just bringing it to room temperature.  Could it be any easier?   Dave also likes it because we usually have enough leftovers for his lunch for an entire week.

 

Honeybaked-Ham

Our friends pitched in with a couple of savory egg casseroles, some muffins and amazing individual cherry cheesecakes.  I also used this occasion to make a batch of my mom’s cinnamon rolls.  When I was growing up, my mom made bread every Sunday and I never once saw her use a recipe.  I also do not recall ever seeing her measure ingredients.  My sister inherited this baking gene and she is always in charge of hot rolls on holidays.   A few years before my mom passed away I had her tell me her recipe and I wrote it down.  She said she was just guessing on the measurements.

Nena making cinnamon rolls

I have only tried making these a few times and they have turned out differently every time.  They tasted fine but they did not measure up to my mom’s or even my sister’s cinnamon rolls.  I will keep trying though!

Iced-Cin-Rolls

Here is the recipe if you would like to try also:

Nenas-Cinnamon-Rolls

For a printable version click Nena’s Cinnamon Rolls.

 

Goodbye to Eddie

A moment of silence please!  In a few days we will be saying good-bye to Eddie, a valued contributor to our family for over twelve years.

Eddie

When he first came into our life our daughters were only only 17, 14 and 10 years old.  Eddie accompanied us to many music lessons, dance class, swim meets, cheerleading practice, work and countless trips around town.  He taught two of the three girls to drive but they each felt he was a little too big and not really “cool” enough for their taste.  He did not take this rebuff personally though and continued to accompany us to work and even on vacations.  He moved all three girls into dorm rooms, and other dorm rooms, apartments and other apartments and back home again.  He has gently carried the wedding dresses of two of our daughters on their special days.    He even professed his love for our Kansas City Chiefs by prominently displaying their logo on his license plate for all the world to see.

As Eddie got older he spent more and more time resting in the garage and letting the younger whipper snapper take on the day to day operations.  He was only called on for those really hard days when his special skill was very much appreciated.

Explorer-snow

The day he met his maker was dark and stormy.  He was performing flawlessly as usual, keeping our youngest safe from violent winds and hail.  Boy was that hail nasty looking…..

Hail-storm

It was just too much for Eddie to bear.  They told us it was a total loss.  The cost of surgical repair far out- weighed the quality and value of remaining life.  It was best to let him go.  Farewell to our 2002 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer.  You served us well!

And hello to you sweet young thing, you have any plans for the next ten years?

New ford edge

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company.

 

 

 

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