Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

To my Father who is a hard worker.
To my Father who is kind and giving.
To my Father who fed us Hot Dogs and Oreos while my Mom was in Russia. 
To my Father who finally got to visit Nashville!
To my Father who taught me the importance of being early.
To my Father who called me, "Juicy Poop." 
To my Father who has read more books about War than any other person I know.
To my Father who followed us around the mall without complaining. 
To my Dad who will talk to anyone, even if they speak English or not!

Love you!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Riding on boats!

Sarah (Friend), Me, and Dad 

Growing up a couple from our church owned a camp at a nearby lake. They would invite us over for boat rides and clam bakes. Lots of happy childhood memories were make at Harvey's Lake.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother who has always had an incredible sense of style!
My mother who would play paper dolls with me for hours. 
My mother who would make me laugh hysterically at her impression of Santa.
My mother who helped cheer me up by buying me a sweater and taking me to get my hair done.
My mother who  grossed us out by making jiggly tuna loaf. YUCK!
My mother who didn't freak out too much when I told her I wanted to movie to Maryland, California, Ohio, Washington DC and Kentucky.
My mother who always makes my favorite cookies when I come for a visit. 
My mother who is an amazing Grandmother and spoils her Grandchildren!
You are amazing!


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Balloon Prank

My friend Sandy was the health teacher at the High School where I was working. Her students were watching the movie Patch Adams in class.  The next day during chapel, with help from one of the custodians, I snuck into her classroom and covered the floor with balloons. It wasn't as many balloons as in the movie, but it was still a funny prank and we all had a great time with it!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Joy like licking the beaters!

If baking is any labor at all, it's a labor of love. A love that gets passed down from generation to generation. 

-Regina Brett 

Baking with my mother was always a highlight of my young life, especially when she let me lick the beaters!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: February 8th-February 13th

Monday: Pancakes, Sausage, and Fruit

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese and Soup

Wednesday: Baked Potatoes and Chili

Thursday:  Holy Yum Chicken and Stuffing

Friday: Eat Out

Saturday: Spaghetti, Meatballs, and rolls

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dear Governor Bevin: Why Family Resource and Youth Service Centers are Important in Kentucky Education

Dear Governor Bevin,

Congratulation on becoming the Governor of Kentucky. You have an immense job ahead of you. I understand that it is a very difficult challenge.

Governor, I know that we can both agree that education is important. Yet, students are much more than statistics on a spreadsheet or a name on a standardized test. They are humans with a story. Many of the students in our state are lacking in basic human needs. They may be worrying about where their next meal is going to come from. They squish their feet into shoes that are two sizes too small because their Mom and Dad can't afford a new pair right now. Students come to school wearing dirty clothes because they need to use less water to  help lower the family water bill. These are concerns that no child should have to worry about.

Students are dealing with many issues outside of the walls of our schools. When basic needs are not being met it would be difficult to expect them to care about algebra, reading, history, or science.

Family Resource and Youth Service Centers do a valued service for the students of Kentucky. A main objective is to help remove barriers in the lives of students so they can become successful. The 9% budget cut for next fiscal year and the 4.5% reductions for the current year will have drastic implications on the services provided in our communities.

The directors of school Family Resource and Youth Service Centers already manage right now to do a lot with very little. Activities and supplies are often subsidized from their own wallets. They do so out of the love for the children and families that they serve.  I have had the opportunity to meet quite few directors from centers across the state. They are some of the kindest, most compassionate and strongest people that I have ever met. They will do anything and everything to provide for "their" kids.

The job of FRYSC goes beyond basic needs. Early learning, tutoring, parent education, after -school programs, summer camps, college and career readiness and substance abuse education all fall under the FRYSC umbrella. Directors are also active in local communities. They serve on boards and form partnerships with community, civic and church organizations. You can find FRYSC staff and directors fixing a student's broken eye glasses, helping a parent fill out forms or providing a few dollars so a student can buy a ticket to the school dance.

These budget cuts will cause the services provided to become severely limited. These cuts demonstrate that the needs of Kentucky children are not highly valued.

I respectfully ask that Family Resource and Youth Service Centers be excluded from funding reductions.


Emily Richter

Monday, February 1, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: January 31st-February 6th

Sunday: Shepard's Pie.

This has been on the menu for the last few weeks and I finally made it last night. This recipe is simple and delicious!

Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Grilled Sausage and Pepper Hoagies

Thursday: Chicken Noodle Casserole

Friday: Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes

Saturday: Leftovers 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One Box Challenge

Rachel over at Sweet and Simple Home issued a challenge to take a box and fill it with items from around your home that you don't use anymore. I am always up for a good challenge, especially when it has to do with decluttering! On the 31st of January, Rachel and other YouTubers will be posting videos of what items they are getting rid of.  I will post links at a later date. I can't wait to watch these videos and be encouraged by others and their decluttering journey. 

I first tackled my closet and was so inspired that I continued throughout the house. Over the course of the weekend I removed six trash bags of garbage from around the house. I consider myself to be relatively organized, but I was surprised with how much junk was lying around.

In addition to the garbage bags, I also found a large selection of items that I don't use, but I know might be useful to someone else. So here are a few items that I am donating to our local thrift shop. 
1. Post Bound Scrapbook Inserts  2. Two Coloring Books: I had three of the same! 3. Plastic Binder 4. Jump Rope 5. Ice Scraper  6. Shark Finger Puppet  7. 4x6 Scrapbook Paper Pack  8. Command Hook
9. Books
10. Flimsy arm sling 11. Bags that sheet set came in 

12.Cookie Cutters
13. Games
14. Plate 15. Pizza Stone  15. Apple Slicer  16. Steamer Tray  17. Scraper
18. Expired Coupons from 2014
19. Ribbon  20. Knitting Needles  21. Letter Memo Pads
22. Large Stamps

23. Mini Stamps

This was only a small selection of items that I'm donating. It is so freeing to part with items that you no longer use.  A lot of times people feel guilty getting rid of things. They think about how they might need it someday. There should be no guilt in discarding those things that you don't use anymore and that are just taking up space in your home. 

Are you in the process of cleaning, organizing and decluttering your home? 
Here are a few helpful links

5. Spark Joy by Marie Kondo-Book I am currently reading

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Super Simple Mail Organizer

The new year always brings out my desire to organize and diminish clutter. Almost the moment we arrive home from our Christmas vacation I am motivated to get rid of the old and bring on the new.

Our mail system, or well honestly our lack of a system had been bothering me for quite a while. We had a beautiful wooden two-level mail tray that we purchased from a thrift store a few years ago. While it was beautiful, it wasn't user friendly. All the mail and paper work just got thrown in and was a huge mess. I needed a system that was easy, organized and aesthetically pleasing.

This past weekend we headed to Target to spend a gift card that we received for Christmas. I perused the office supply section. This lovely metal magazine holder caught my eye. Sitting close by was a package of beautiful gold metallic file folders from Nate Berkus for Target. The folders fit into the magazine holder really well. The light bulb went off in my head and realized that this would be the perfect solution  to organizing my messy mail area.
Here is how I labeled my folders, 

1. Bills to Be Paid
2. Car Stuff
3. Coupons
4. Financial To Be Filed: Bank, Investment, and Tax Papers
5.  Health
6. Personal: Birthdays Cards and Letters
7. Project Life: A place to store everyday ephemera before I sit down to scrapbook.
8. To-Do: Where I keep items that I need to deal with at a later time.  For example, I have some life insurance information that needs to be changed because they spelled my name wrong. 

Placing the magazine holder on it's side makes the folders easier to take in and out. 

This system has been working well. Before I put the mail in the folders, I open the envelopes and throw out any items that we don't need. We have a trash can right below this table. When it comes time to pay bills, Michael will only have to pull out the bill folder instead of hunting through a huge stack of papers and wasting precious time. Sorting the mail takes no time at all! Now the table looks clean and organized. I have room to add a vase of flowers or possibly a picture in a frame. 

Using items in ways other than their intended purpose can be a lot of fun. In what ways have you used everyday items in creative ways?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Orange Banana Poppy Seed Muffins

There are a plethora of cookbooks on the market today. Everything from cakepops to gluten-free recipes. These cookbooks are as much of a display of fine photography as they are cooking directions. On my shelf I have more than my fair share of cookbooks. Looking through my mother's cookbooks was a hobby of mine as a child. All that practice planning pretend menus served me well years later while studying hospitality in college. 

While enjoying sophisticated and complicated dishes is wonderful, there is something to be said about simple and traditional recipes from friends, family and neighbors. Those tried and true recipes shared through family and the community.

I collect community, church, and family cookbooks. Most of my collection is centered around areas where we have personal connections.  We have books from Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky. 

While visiting with my mother-in-law over Christmas, she gave me a few cookbooks to add to my collection. One of books came from her side of the family. Included in the back was a family list of names, dates of birth, marriage, and death. Family history is something that I am slowly becoming more and interested in. Michael has become the family historian over the past couple of years. 

Per (Isakson) Isaacson was born 9-23-1860 in Alanas Jamtland, Sweden. Elisabet Ulrika Lofren was born 11-26-1864 in Torsjo, Angermanland, Sweden. Per and Elisabet were married 12-26-1882. They had thirteen children. Per passed away 2-14-41, he was 81 years old. Elisabet passed away 4-23-1933, she was 69 years old. They are both buried in Betheseda Cemetery at Strandquist, MN. 

This book has many recipes that I am looking forward to trying. It will be fun to have a connection to my husband's relatives.  I am hoping to share favorite recipes from my collection of community, church, and family cookbooks. First on the list is Orange Banana Poppy Seed Muffins.

Peel and slice two ripe bananas. 

Mash bananas using a potato masher. 

Add 1 egg, 3/4 cup sugar, vegetable oil, and grated orange peel. 

Stir until combined. 

In a separate bowl combine flour, seeds, baking powder and salt. 

Combine flour and banana mixtures. 

Line pan with paper liners. Spoon mixture into liners until each cup is 3/4 full. 

Bake at 375 degrees from 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 18 minutes. 

Combine 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tsp. orange peel and 1 tsp. vanilla to create a glaze. 

When the muffins are barley warm, drizzle with orange glaze.

These muffins are sweet and would make a delicious breakfast or dessert. 

Orange Banana Poppy Seed Muffins
Jan Isaacson, Philex Isaacson’s Daughter-in-law

2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 egg
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. orange peel
2 cups flour
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Orange Glaze
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp. orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla

Mash bananas well. In a medium bowl, mix bananas, eggs, sugar, oil and peel. In large bowl, combine flour, seeds, baking powdered and salt; stir in banana mixture until well blended. Spoon batter into sprayed muffins tins (12) or into muffin tin with paper liners. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Set aside to cool. While barely warm, drizzle with orange glaze.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make these delicious muffin, I would love to see them. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Baking!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Scrapbooks and Journals and Planners! Oh my! Part One: Project Life

Scrapbooking in some form or other has been a hobby of mine since my teen years. I remember seeing decorative scissors for the first time and completely falling in love. I was one of those people who cut my photographs into fancy shapes. All of my pictures from 1998 until 2003 have lovely ornamental edges :D

In 2008 I was perusing an issue of Creating Keepsakes Magazine and saw an advertisement for a scrapbook kit called Project 365. The premise was to take a picture a day to document everyday life.

I was immediately drawn to the sleek design and the divided page protectors. I always struggled where to place things on traditional scrapbook pages. The idea of being able to slip your photos and journaling into the pockets seemed simple and easy. The perfect way to document  life's little  moments, not just the birthdays, holidays and vacations.

During that first six months of that year I took a picture each day. Then life got busy and I slacked off. I am so glad that I have those six months, but I was a little disappointed that I didn't finish out the year.

In late 2012 Project 365, now called Project Life began to get really popular. The company was preparing to sell  kits in major retailers Michaels and Hobby Lobby in early 2013. Project Life was all over the scrapbooking blogs and message boards. I decided to give it another try. During 2013 I created a two page spread for each week, which filled up two 12 X 12 albums. I adore those albums and love looking back through them. The process of keeping up with a weekly layout was really overwhelming, as was the thought of storing two large albums each year.

In 2014 I began documenting life by the month. I didn't set a goal of how many pages I was going to do each month. I document what I want and when I want. Most of my photographs are from my phone. My albums are a glorious mishmash of Facebook status updates, tweets, memes, current world events, photos, and ephemera. Some months may have four photos and other months one-hundred and six. I am okay with this anything goes style.

Here are 15 Things I Document in my Project Life Album

1. Current Viral Phenomenon

Do you remember "THE DRESS" from last winter? I found  the pictures on Facebook and printed them out. I still have no idea how my husband only saw white and gold.

2. Fun Mail

Post cards, note cards, and thank-you cards go directly in. I don't bother adding them to a page protector.

3. Copies of Newspaper Clippings

4. Copies of Family Recipes

5.  Movie Posters

6. Books That I'm Currently Reading

7. Favorite Quotes

8. Day-in-the-Life

9. Internet Memes

10. Fun Packaging

11. Business Cards

12. Pictures of What I'm Pinning on Pinterest

13. New Recipes

14. Photo Challenges  

You have probably seen on Pinterest different photo-a-day challenges. Each day there is a photo prompt that is open to your own creative interpretation. .

15. Lists

Project Life is so versatile. At it's simplest form you can just add photos and journaling to the pockets and call yourself done. Add embellishments! Create cards using photo editing software Document your current life or tackle that box of photos that your Grandmother gave you. It's really up to you!

The most important part for me is that I have found a system to collects my photos and memories. My photos aren't just sitting in the "cloud" somewhere. My stories are being told. Everyone has a story to tell. How are you going to share yours? 

Want more information about Project Life? Here are a few links to get you started!

1.  Project Life-Discover the System 
2. Becky Higgins' Blog-The creator of Project Life
3.  Ali Edward Blog - A popular memory keeper and author
4. The Answers to All Your Project Life Questions-Fantastic post by blogger and artist  Elise Blaha Cripe
5. Catching Up on Project Life-How to Keep from Giving Up When You're Behind- post by Traci at Traci Reed Design
6. Project Life App-Available in the App Store. Coming February 2016 for Android.