Monday, June 30, 2008

Nice Evening!

What a lovely evening we had.  Our small group all met at our place for a cookout and time to visit.  There were brats, chicken, and shrimp on the grill, pasta salad, fruit pizza, strawberry pie, etc etc etc!  The weather was perfect - not to hot, nice and sunny, hardly any wind.  We were able to eat and enjoy each other's company.  After dinner we enjoyed time in the backyard, playing frisbee, relaxing in the hammock (here is Ann and two of her three daughters - Kathryn & Ellie), and visiting around the campfire.  The only ones not able to make it were Jim & Jenn and their girls – we missed you!  

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quite Possibly My Favorite...

I made Monster Cookies this afternoon.  I found a recipe for them at Bake or Break, which differed slightly from the one I had been previously using (which I honestly wasn't all that pleased with).  My eyes will never wander again, looking for a better recipe, as these came out ridiculously delicious.  I remember my aunt Phyllis making Monster cookies when I was a kid and LOVING them.  I always wondered why my mom never made them but, as I was mixing the dough this afternoon, I think I figured out the reason.  My mom realized, in her motherly wisdom, that I could not be controlled around these cookies.  Well, look at them!  Unless you are stricken with a peanut allergy (my condolences...), what would ever keep you back from those?!   (Stop licking the screen, Jenn - that's gross)  Which is why the only time I make these is when I am getting them out of my house and into other people's stomachs as soon as possible.  Though I never can make a batch without having at least one (okay, okay... four).  

On another note...
Does anyone out there know the real name for this flower?  We have them in our yard and really like them.  They get about 5 feet tall, and Justin has coined them "Pinkies," though we are pretty sure that isn't the technical name!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time's Up...

Entree Vous is officially closing.  

Today at work we cleaned out and shut down all of the make tables, and began making meals to use up our current inventory.  Over the next few weeks we will make up as many meals as we can for people to stop by and stock their freezers with our tasty food!  Everyone that comes in is very sad to learn we are closing (as we are sad to tell them!), but it just has not been busy enough to stay open.  
This is something I have been so pleased to have been a part of from the beginning.  And despite some of the crazier or frustrating days, I have thoroughly enjoyed building friendships with the other ladies that have worked there, I have loved the food and prep work, and I have enjoyed sharing this great way of "cooking" with customers.  
I am not sure exactly what I will be working at next, though taking on more orders for cakes and desserts is a possibility.  I am not in a rush to find something, as I am heading to Peru next month and I think the last thing a potential new employer wants to hear is that you need off right away!  I am sure I will think of something soon though, as trying to be a productive member of society is in my nature!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I want to go outside!

After many nice, sunny days, we have rain today.  And while our plants and lawn definitely needed the rain, I wasn't in a rush for it to fall!  I would much rather be going for a walk or bike ride this evening than be stuck inside.  As you can see, Norm wishes it wasn't raining either!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More painting!

Okay, so most of you have seen our fence, and realize what a big task it is to repaint the crazy thing.  Yes, we got a big chunk of it done on Saturday, but that still left another big chunk!  As a surprise for Justin (Surprise!), who is out golfing today, I asked a neighborhood boy (Thanks, Luke!) over to help hold the cardboard so I could paint as much as possible.  We were flying!  As you can see, some things OTHER than the fence got painted as well!  The only parts left to paint are the areas that our plants are by, which will have to wait until fall when we cut them back (probably only another 1/2 hour of work).  But this is huge!  We really accomplished a lot, and I know Justin will be excited that he doesn't have to commit another day to this project (well, until the fall!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First post by Justin

I spilled yogurt on my foot.  It felt icky.

Flowers are pretty:

I like cake:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In response to something in the news...

It took me a long time to decide if I wanted to mention this, but I was just really disturbed by James Dobson's remarks that made the news today, including the fact that he feels he speaks for millions of evangelical Christians. I am not one of them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not so busy day.

A very nice, relaxing day after many busy ones!  Not that we still didn't fit a lot in, but at least we weren't rushing around.  I went to the gym this morning, then came home and we played some MarioKart on the Wii.  Justin got some work done as well as putzing in the garden a bit, after which we walked downtown, picked up sandwiches for lunch, stopped at the library, and walked home.  Justin worked again and I mowed the lawn, and then we both had a chance to sit in the swing or hammock outside in the sun and read our newly borrowed books.  This evening we are heading out for small group.  The picture is Justin's view of what got accomplished today...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun Day

Today after church we drove up to my dad and stepmom's campsite near Birnamwood, WI.  They have their mobile home parked at a year-long campsite and enjoy spending almost all of their weekends there.  We finally found a free weekend afternoon to go up and visit with them among all the busy ones!  While the weather didn't exactly cooperate and rained a bit, it ended up clearing up long enough to fire up the grill for burgers.  I also brought along those crazy-good flourless chocolate cakes.  Yum yum!  
Then we headed over to my cousin Thomas' high school graduation party, where there was plenty more food, but also lots more family to visit and laugh with.  There were two backyard game choices, bean bag toss and laddergolf.  
Both were going merrily along until someone (I won't mention any names!) got a little carried away with the golf balls and a set ended up on one of the overhead cables!  Much chaos and laughter ensued, until Greg saved the day with a gigantic squeegee.  
The gaming commenced, though the direction of the laddergolf game changed slightly to go parallel with the wires!  

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Paint is Everywhere!

Goodness Gracious.  6 cans of paint, a trip to Menards (for more paint), and 4 hours later, a big portion of our fence is repainted.  It has been needing to be done for the last 3 years, and we finally got to it.  Last year we got CLOSE - we at least bought some paint and a paint sprayer, but alas, both sat in our garage and basement over the winter.  This year we are determined to get it done.  We still have the front and east side of our lot to do, but that is not as tall as the west and north side.  Hopefully the next nice weekend we get we can hammer it out.  I think we can... I think we can... :)

We also took the cats out this afternoon, and Storm was chasing something through the flowers.  I am assuming it was a bunny, but it could have been anything.  Whatever it was, it knew she was coming a mile away.  Storm doesn't exactly possess a "stealth" ability.  She was going through those flowers like Godzilla goes through Tokyo.  She isn't as bad as this guy but she could stand to lose a few pounds.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Okay.  I apologize in advance.  But this might be the silliest thing I ever saw on a household product, much less a toilet bowl cleaner.  Don't get me wrong - I am all about killing any living organism (germ, virus, bacteria, etc) that might be in our toilet, but the FLU virus??  I didn't realize there was such a high risk of catching the FLU from the TOILET BOWL!  Who has heard of someone catching the flu from the toilet?  And if so, I think they just might need an updated lesson on how to use the toilet exactly!  

Don't worry.  I also baked today.  I was pretty sure I was going to get through the day without having to put something wonderful in the oven, but at about 5:45, the urge just hit.  
I tried to resist, but as Justin is out golfing with some guys from church, I really didn't have anything better to do (well, except clean the toilet, of course!).  
Tonight's feature, for your viewing pleasure, are Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes, recipe courtesy of Rosemary's Restaurant in Las Vegas.  We had the absolute pleasure of eating there in May, and it was one of the best meals Justin and I have ever had.  EVER.  As in, GO EAT THERE.  They have a spectacular lunch and dinner price special that makes up for the cab fare to get there.  Heck, it makes up for the AIRPLANE fare!!  Until we go back, we will just have to make do with their cookbook, and thus suffer through these ridiculous little bits of chocolate bliss.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Up North

This morning we left very early and drove up just past Minocqua, WI to Crystal Lake.  I actually dropped Justin off at TimberRidge Golf Course in Minocqua, where he met his dad and they played a round.  I drove the rest of the way to Crystal Lake, and met up with Justin's mom, Sarah.  They have been camping there for the week.  We spent a very nice morning riding bikes, reading on the beach, talking, and walking along some of the trails.  The day was mostly sunny, but very breezy at times.  They had a great campsite location, right off the beach, and the breezes kept all the bugs away.  John and Justin's round took much longer than expected - very busy - and we didn't end up eating lunch/ dinner until after 3:30.  But it was very tasty.  There was a slight mishap with the tripod spilling the brats, but as the guys hadn't shown up yet, we just rinsed them off and put them back on the grate! :)  We put shrimp kabobs on the heat just as they pulled in, and lunch commenced without any more plunging proteins! :)  Afterwards, we cleaned up the dishes and such, and then headed into Minocqua for ice cream before heading home.  A very nice day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More baking!

So this morning I went to the gym again and ran 2 miles and walked 4, and then came home and baked again (can you see the pattern here!).  Well, I did get to have the pleasure of having a few more shots in between there (typhoid & hep A vaccines this time).  And, in my defense, I made a somewhat healthy cookie today (as opposed to the peanut butter brownies, which there is probably a picture of next to "unhealthy" in the dictionary!).  I tried another new recipe, and Justin and I have both pronounced it a hit.  And at only around 85 calories per cookie, they are practically guilt-free (until you reach your fourth or fifth of the day!!).  

Here's the my recipe for Butterscotch Ranger Cookies:

1 Cup Butter Flavored Shortening
1/2 Cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking (NOT straight splenda!)
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Butterscotch Chips
2 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
2 Cups Crisp Rice Cereal
1 Cup Flaked Coconut (I pulverize it even further with my food processor, as I am not a fan of big flakes of coconut, but this isn't necessary)

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in the oats, cereal, coconut, and butterscotch chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks or paper towels.  Yield: Between 4 & 7 dozen - depending on your scoop size!  


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"You'll feel a pinch"

Well, both Justin and I have sore arms today from tetanus shots.  I needed to get one for when I go to Peru in August, and since they were only $4 at the free local clinic, I dragged Justin along to experience the fun right along with me!  It has been over 10 years since either of us had had one, so we were due anyway.  We were both very grown up about it, and neither of us cried at all. :)

We went for a walk this evening around Schmeekle Reserve, along the Green Circle Trail.  I think that was the fastest we have ever walked!  The mosquitoes were incredibly bad, and if you slowed down they would just swarm around you.  I think from now on we'll just plan on walking around our neighborhood, or else BIKE through the reserve!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Monday

Quite a bit on our schedule today!  Typical Monday morning workout at Adventure 212 (BodyPump!) and then immediately came home and made peanut butter chocolate bars (I know, I know.  Quite laughing at me!).  I am completely hooked on a new (to me) blog,  Her pictures of food are INCREDIBLE, and descriptions are so funny and detailed that you want to try some of her recipes right away!! This was the first recipe that I have tried, but I have a stack that I printed out and want to work through.  As you can tell from the picture, our small group thought they were alright. :)  I think I would tweek the recipe just a tiny bit.  I felt like the semisweet chocolate overpowered the peanut butter in them, and thought they would be great with some strawberry rhubarb jam swirled in with the batter.  Or maybe just cut back on the chocolate a little.  They were certainly easy to throw together, and were excellent as is!

Justin and Trav went out to breakfast this morning, and when they got home the three of us watched some of the U.S. Open
playoff round between Tiger Woods & Rocco Mediate (of course Tiger won, but Mediate put up a great fight!).  We also got some Mario Party on the Wii in, and then drove Travis up to CWA around 4 pm for his flight back to Texas.  We certainly enjoyed having him stay over, and hopefully he is almost there by now - safe and sound!  

We then stopped at the golf range on the way home so Justin could hit a bucket of balls (I brought a magazine to read), stopped at home and had a quick dinner, and then headed out to Lincoln & Ann's for small group bible study.  This was our first time meeting with this new group, and we really felt welcomed (it might have just been for the bars!) and enjoyed our time there.  We are looking forward to continuing with them through the study of the book of John.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to our own dads, but also to all of our friends and family who have kids!

We drove to Wausau today to have lunch with John, Sarah and Travis at Texas Roadhouse (very busy and rowdy, but nice to visit with family) and to visit with my mom and stepdad. It was nice to sit out on the sunny deck and catch up for a little while. Travis came back to Point to stay with us overnight. He is currently living in Texas and is doing an internship with Gospel for Asia. He came up to Wisconsin to stand up in the wedding of a good friend. His internship will be wrapping up in July, at which time he plans to come back to Stevens Point for a little while before (possibly) going to graduate school in New Zealand!

We also gave our two cats a chance to explore the garden a bit and get in some sun as well this morning. They both thoroughly enjoy being outside (when we let them!) and are pretty good about staying near us. Here is a photo of Norm wishing he had claws in order to climb this tree!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We do more than just golf, really!

Another gorgeous day! Sunny, warm, and a little breezy, and it feels great. I always like to think my favorite season is fall or spring, but they really just don't compare to summer. And the fact that I actually get a bit of a tan and am no longer creepily pale is certainly a benefit!

Justin drove up to Wausau today to play a round of golf at Greenwood Hills Country Club. It is one of the nicer courses in the area, but as it is a country club and he needs to be invited by a member to play, he doesn't get to go very often. Hopefully he and his dad will have a good time with the other two men they are playing with, no matter what the scorecard says!

We are also looking forward to celebrating Father's Day this evening with John and Sarah, and Travis. They are coming over to our house for dinner (pizza from Polito's - the best in town!) and plenty of Wii games. Fun!

We went for a walk this evening, and what a funny sight - these two ducks were walking down the road!  By the time I caught up to take this photo they had safely found the sidewalk.  And several weeks ago there were two ducks sitting out in the grass on our boulevard - probably the same two!  What is funny is that we live a couple miles from the Wisconsin River - too far for these ducks to have walked the whole way!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finally Sunny!

After a week of so much rain, it is bright and sunny and warm today. Justin and I celebrated by going to the Driving Range at SentryWorld. It was a bit breezy, but the sun made it well worth our time.

We had so much rain yesterday water started coming in our basement! Thankfully it was easily controlled and the dehumidifier dried it out by this morning. We certainly haven't gotten as much rain as farther south in the state. One of our friend's parents live in Portage, and their basement has several feet of water in it, and the roads and Interstate are all closed around them! Hopefully we will have a few warm, dry days so the ground can absorb all the water.

We are looking forward to going out to dinner tonight. It is Chef's weekend at Christian's Bistro, so they will have a special seasonal menu just for tonight and tomorrow. It is always a wonderful treat, and we always have a great time with friends. Tonight we are going with Jim & Jenn. Jenn works in the Student Ministries office at church, and she is such a fun asset to the team. Check out their blog at I am sure we will have lots of laughs tonight (and plenty of great food)!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I'm not sure if enjoying reading a blog is a good reason to actually start a blog, but it is what it is. We also thought, if anything, it will help our friends and family keep better track of us and what we are up to.  So whatever your reason is for reading, I hope you enjoy it, even through the days when not much is happening!

I love traveling in the traditional sense of the word - getting in a plane, flying somewhere, and discovering a new (to me!) area.  But I also enjoy going for a walk around our town, going for a short (or long!) drive to visit family or a friend, and just getting out of the house in general.  

And Justin is certainly willing to travel to just about any golf course in the county, state, region, country, continent, and so on!  
Speaking of which, he is going way up to Hayward, WI today with his dad to golf one of their favorite courses, Big Fish Golf Club.  

I, on the other hand, will be staying around the house today, though running a few errands is on my agenda, in addition to laundry and baking.  These mini loaves of Cinnamon Streusel and Glazed Lemon Poppyseed bread came out just right!