Bits & Pieces #8

1.  In July, my group of girlfriends held yet another shower for one of our children getting married.  It seems all we do these days is talk about upcoming weddings and new babies.  For this shower we had a Mexican fiesta lunch and decorated in the bride’s wedding colors of gray and orange.  So fun!

Roses

fiesta

 

2.  Way back in April, the weekend before my surgery, I updated the upholstery on my favorite rocking chair.  This chair has rocked all of our children to sleep and now has also rocked our little grandson Levi.  In the twenty-five plus years I have owned this chair, this is the fourth time I have recovered it.  I am thinking it will not be the last either!


Rocking-Chair-Reuphol

3.  Dave and I recently were trying to think of ways to organize his growing hat collection and I found this awesome idea on pinterest.  All it took were two curtain rods, 50 curtain rod ring clips and an empty wall in our closet.  He loves that he can see and find his hats so much easier!

Hat-Rack

4.  We had some wonderful family time last week when my daughter and grandson visited from Houston.

Fun-in-KC

5.  Are you ready for some football?????  Thursday night is the Chief’s first pre-season game….so excited for the season to start!

chiefs image

 

Small Gatherings | July | 1st Birthday Party Brunch | Egg Muffin Recipe

My daughter and grandson were visiting from Houston this past week and since Levi recently celebrated his first birthday we decided to throw a small party so we could celebrate with him.    We did not want to interfere with naptime so we thought a brunch would be the perfect time to party.   I had recently seen some party inspiration at the blog Hostess with the Mostess.  If you are ever looking for birthday party, shower or wedding inspiration you must check this site out.  They literally have hundreds of pictures of theme decor and food ideas.  I totally copied this idea for my kitchen chalkboard.

kindra-and-levi

Our menu consisted of:

menu Breakfast-pigs-in-a-blanket

Chicken-and-Waffles

Egg-Muffins

Birthday-Cupcakes

Birthday-cookies

The egg muffin recipe is one of my favorite breakfast items.   I have been making them since my girls were little and they became our traditional breakfast for the first day back at school.   Try them sometime, I promise you will like them!

Savory-Egg-MuffinsLinking to Inspiration Monday Party

 

 

 

Gray Strip Baby Quilt

I have been wanting to try a strip quilt for a long time and when the opportunity arose to make another baby quilt I decided it would be the perfect project.  Strip quilts are often made to use up leftover scraps of fabric since they are just long strips of fabric sewn together.  For this particular quilt I wanted to keep the colors somewhat neutral so I did a little fabric shopping.

fabric

I am a little bit of a fabric hoarder and ALWAYS buy much more than I need for a project.  One can never have too much fabric!  The first thing I did was cut a few strips of each fabric in various widths and started laying them out until I found a pattern I liked.

Laying-out-the-strips

Then I just sewed the strips together.

sewing-strips-together

After I pressed the seams open,  I cut out the backing and low-loft batting and basted all the layers together.

press-seams

basting

The next step was the quilting and binding.  Since I had the time I decided to do the quilting by hand like I did on the Chevron Baby Quilt.  I am far from a perfect quilter but I like the look of handmade quilting and feel like it personalizes the quilt.  Besides that, it gives me an excuse to watch tv without feeling guilty, at least I am being productive at the same time.

on-the-tree

on-the-grass

Every quilt I make becomes my new favorite and this one is not an exception.  I love the neutral colors and it was easy and quick to put together.  This specific quilt I made for my physical therapist Christy that I talked about in this post.  Now I have two more quilts to make in the next two months.  I better get started right now!

Linking to Find your Voice Friday #1

 

 

Physical Therapy

I conservatively estimate that I have been to 120 physical therapy sessions over the past 4 years.  That is 4 surgeries, at 12 weeks of PT each, at an average of 2.5 sessions per week.  So very thankful for good insurance!   Last April I had my final surgery and am now on the countdown to finishing my physical therapy.  Over the years I have heard people complain about how much they disliked physical therapy, how it hurts and how some even quit before they finish their program.  I have to admit that there can be pain involved and sometimes it is not very convenient to take time away from work to attend the sessions.  However,  I have been very fortunate to have great physical therapists who talk me through the exercises and encourage me to keep pushing through any pain I am feeling.  I definitely see the benefits and the progression (albeit slow) it has made in my recovery.

Christy

Christy has been my lead physical therapist through both of my knee replacements.  After my first knee surgery, we spent three months talking about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild.  This past three months we have been talking about the birth of her first baby.

updating the chart

I not sure she will be around for my final two weeks!  Warning, my matching scars are showing in this next pic of me working on the leg press machine.

leg-press

Like my first knee replacement, I am struggling with getting full range of motion in my new knee.  One of the tortures stretches I must complete involves the PT pushing my knee to help it bend more.  This is NOT my favorite exercise.

pushing

I still have hard work in front of me to meet my long term goals, but thanks to Dr. L and my very patient physical therapists(Christy and Lisa) my life has changed dramatically in the last four years.  I can walk around the grocery store and go to the mall without giving it a second thought.  I can walk around our neighborhood or local park for 30 minutes and have plans to walk a 5K next spring for the Arthritis Foundation.  Life is good and getting better each day!

 

Small Gatherings|June|Light Dinner Al Fresco

After work last night I had several errands to run and Dave needed to do some work in the yard.  We decided to get those things done then have a late dinner.  By the time we both had completed, it was close to 7:00 pm and still pushing 90 degrees.  The last thing I felt like doing was making a big dinner.  I started thinking about what I could pull together and then it dawned on me that I had picked up some of Sargento’s new tasting cheese at the store and that coupled with some sausage would be a perfect light, no-cook dinner.

dinner

I am pretty much in love with Sargento brand of cheese, it started with the low-fat cheese sticks and I was totally won over when they started making the Ultrathin Cheese slices.  These two items are always in my fridge.  This is not a sponsored post by the way, I just love cheese! When I heard that Sargento had come up with some new block cheese I knew I had to try it.  There are eight different varieties but I just picked up three, Brushetta Jack, New Zealander and Aged Wisconsin Cheddar.  You can see all the varieties here.  They are the perfect size for tasting and trying new items.

Sargento-tastings

They did not disappoint.  I paired them with some summer sausage, grapes, cherries, nuts, baguette slices, pretzel thins, and hummus.

light-dinner

Of course I threw in a few bottles of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

SummerShantyon-ice

We enjoyed this light dinner outside (aka AL Fresco) on the patio and it was delightful.  A perfect ending to a hot, busy day.

dinner3

I am thinking this menu, with a few variations depending on what is in the fridge, will be making a weekly appearance in the summer rotation.  I have already thought of other easy items to add such as hard boiled eggs, roasted garbanzo beans, sliced red and green peppers, cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella.  The list is endless!

Have a great weekend friends!

Sharing at Foodie Fridays@ Rattlebridge Farm

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.

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