Saturday, April 23, 2011

It’s a Glorious Day! Happy Easter!

Glorious Day by Casting Crowns–make sure to shut off the regular blog music before clicking play on this video.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crystal Lake Rib House

Before we did our pre-wedding scoping, we had a pre-wedding scoping lunch.  Doesn’t everyone do that?

Joe had been telling us about his favorite restaurant, the Crystal Lake Rib House.

Oh be still my BBQ soul!  It was hands down the best BBQ we’ve had on the northern side of these United States.

The place looks a bit dumpy but it’s decent inside.  It only seats 26 at a time.

I had my favorite, the pulled pork sandwich which in no exaggeration was at least 4” tall.  I ate it yesterday, again for supper tonight and still have enough left to take to work for lunch tomorrow.
Joe had the ribs.
and DH had the rib tips.
And as if they weren’t full enough (we all took home doggie bags), the guys decided we needed dessert too!

Look at the size of those pieces!
Their menu says the place is a gift from the God’s of BBQ.  They’ve got that right!

So if you’re ever in the Crystal Lake, IL area you’ve got to stop in and have a bite or two or three or four or until you bust!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pre-wedding scoping

We took a drive into the burbs yesterday to check out the location our son is getting married at in early June.  You can read a bit more about the style of wedding they’re having here.

Joe’s friends, Chuck & Dawn have graciously offered his beautiful home and yard for the occasion.

This is where the ceremony will take place.

And here is where the reception will be. 
They have a few cars to move out of here first though. Smile
This might have a bit to do with why they’re having a car show wedding.  They’re thinking of parking the cars here along the driveway.
I’m excited!  I think this will be a bunch of fun.  Now we’re praying for great weather!

Tomorrow I’ll show you where we had lunch.  Oh be still my BBQ heart!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Miss Ella Rae arrived early Friday morning at 12:36am weighing in at 8 lbs-6 oz and was 20-1/2” long.  She’s a beauty with lots of dark hair.   We’re so thankful for this healthy baby girl.

Ella - Day OneBabies always amaze me.  What a miracle from God!  How does something that beautiful get created from well, you know?  So precious!
Ella - Day One (2)I’m so thankful that we’re able to be a part of our grandchildren’s lives. 
Being a “Grand” is great!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

31 years!

31 years ago in this country church on a beautiful Spring day,IMG_6315
I married a man who is my best party 001Check out the curly hairstyles and big glasses.  Smile

Alot has happened over these last 31 years; many good things and some not so good, but memories were created none the less and much laughter was had along this road of life together.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

31 years!  Can you believe it and some said it couldn’t be done.  To those of you who doubted we’d make it this far, I say “HA!”

IMG_5963I don’t think we look any older at all, do you? Smile

Thank you for being my friend, lover, husband, confidant, caring father, loving grandfather and Godly servant. Here’s to 31 more!  I love you honey! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sure signs

It’s a sure sign of Spring when the bushes are budding,


daffodils are blooming


and the everlasting snow pile is GONE!
When I got to work this morning, the pile was gone! 
IMG_6328The 80+ degrees we had yesterday must have done the trick.  This means that Marlene from Stitchin by the Lake is the winner!  Marlene guessed April 10.  Marlene, if you could drop me an email with your mailing address, I‘ll send your prize right on to you as soon as I decide what it’s going to be!  Smile  The next guess was Joyce for April 15th, Di on April 16 and Saska on April 20.

And speaking of prizes, a few weeks ago I dropped a comment on to Karen’s blog, My Red Farmhouse and I won!  Last week I arrived home from work to this beautifully wrapped gift. 
IMG_6227Now that’s something to come home to after a semi-crummy day at work.  Inside this package were all kinds of fun quilty things. 
IMG_6229I’d been looking at this book and this charm pack for awhile but hadn’t pulled the trigger so you can imagine how excited I was to win it.  Thanks for all of the goodies Karen!  Stop by and check our her blog when you get a chance.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Espresso Cupcakes

Between comments here and on Facebook, a few of you have asked for this recipe and because I’m too lazy to type it more than once, I’ll just post it here.  Smile

A friend of mine, Sue, suggested these to try while on my quest for wedding cupcakes.  The original recipe came from the Betty Crocker website but as with most recipes, I tweaked it a little to accommodate what I had or was willing to purchase to make them.

Espresso Cupcakes

1 box chocolate fudge cake mix (I used a triple fudge mix)
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee (I used 1 T. of very finely ground espresso coffee)

8 oz. mascarpone cheese (I used 1-8oz pkg. of cream cheese plus 1/4c. whipping cream -- too cheap to buy the mascarpone)
2 teaspoons milk
2 tsp. instant espresso coffee (again I used the finely ground espresso coffee)
1 cup powdered sugar

Frosting (I used a completely different frosting than what they used) & garnish:
1 tsp. instant espresso coffee (used finely ground espresso)
1 – 12 oz. Betty Crocker Whipped milk chocolate frosting
Chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish on top

Frosting I used:

Beat together:
6 T. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Add in:
1 tsp. finely ground espresso coffee
1/2 cup whipping cream
Beat in: 1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
until light and fluffy

This makes a very stiff frosting.  If your not going to use a decorating bag/tip, you might want to add a couple more tablespoons of liquid to make it more spreadable.


1.  Heat oven to 350.  Place paper baking cups in 2 – 12 cup muffin pans.

2.  Beat cake mix, water, oil & eggs on low for 30 seconds then on medium for 2 minutes.  Gently stir in espresso powder.  (I messed up and dumped it in at the beginning with everything else and it seemed to work just as well.)  Divide batter evenly among the 24 cups.

3.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes then remove from pan to a cooling rack.  Cool completely.

4.  In a medium bowl, beat filling ingredients together until blended well and nice and fluffy.  Spoon mixture into a decorating bag fitted with a round decorating tip or a bismarck tip.

5.  Poking tip into the top of the cupcake, gently fill the bag until the cupcake expands just a little but doesn’t burst, approx. 1 Tablespoon.

6.  Frost as desired.  I used a star decorating tip from my handy dandy Pampered Chef decorator tool.

7.  ENJOY!


There you have it.  They have a coffee taste but not overpowering.  I don’t like coffee and I like them.   

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Cupcakes, oh my!

What do lions and tigers have to do with cupcakes?  Absolutely nothing, it just popped in my head when I stated writing.  I’m having one of those random thought kind of days.

I practiced a couple of more cupcakes today and yea!  both of these are keepers.  DH says these are the best yet. 

I present to you…


Espresso cupcakes with Espresso Cream Cheese filling.  I’m not much of a coffee drinker but these could convert me!


Banana pecan cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese frosting.  Think banana bread in a cupcake only better.

Last weeks cupcakes I used Wilton decorating bags and tips to frost.  They do a nice job but are such a pain to clean up afterwards.  I was starting to frost these the same way when the light bulb finally went on in my head and I remembered a handy dandy decorator tool I bought from Susan’s Pampered Chef party a few months back.  Now, only to find it.  20 minutes later….oh holy mercy!  This is the end all of decorating tools and the clean up is soooooo much easier than those awful Wilton bags and tips!


2 keeper cupcake recipes today and I’m stopping for now while I’m ahead.

And for those of you who I know are holding your breath on the snow pile contest or for those of you asking “is it ever going to end?” so she posts pictures of something other than a dirty ol snow pile, this picture was taken on Wednesday.

IMG_6226It was much smaller by Friday but I’m fairly certain it will still be there on Monday.  It is supposed to get up to 70 today and 80 tomorrow though, then storm like crazy.  However, I still guess it’s pretty safe to say that Susan who guessed April 9 isn’t the winner.  Sorry Susan. Sad smile  Marlene guessed April 10 and I’d be pretty doubtful that it will be gone tomorrow either but you never know.  The next guess isn’t until the 15th so you might still stand a chance at being closer than the 15th.
Expect a full report next week.  Hopefully the never-ending snow pile will be melted by then. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It’s a cupcake kind of day

I’ve been given the task of making cupcakes for our son’s wedding in June.  My plan is to make 4 – 5 different kinds. I’ll need 150 total.

I actually decided to do a trial run on a few new recipes today instead of winging it the day before which is not like me at all.  I’m thankful I did though, as 2 are keepers and 1 completely bombed.

IMG_6220White cupcakes filled with blueberry/strawberry fruit filling and lemon buttercream frosting.


Chocolate cupcakes filled with a Reese’s peanut butter cup and chocolate/peanut butter frosting.IMG_6222


and the bombs… Sad smile  The batter didn’t seem quite right when I was mixing these but I double checked the ingredients and did everything as I should have.  However, they came out of the oven with major sinkholes in the middle.  DH thinks they’ll fine used as an ice cream bowl. Smile 


If anyone has a great recipe for filled cupcake and would be willing to share I would love to give them a try.


Miss A and Mr. O came to see me at work yesterday while Mommy had a baby doctor appointment.  Two more weeks to go and we get to meet Miss Ella!

The kids were so good.  They played and colored while Mom was gone and I worked.  Mr. O colored a bit but mostly played with his cars.

Love this face!  And look at those beautiful blue eyes.  Oh, be still my Grandma’s heart!  Plus he looks so much like his Daddy did at that age, it’s déjà vu.


This kids cracks me up.  He comes out with some of the funniest things and his expressions are a riot.  A co-worker was in my office and when they left they said “Bye Lori”.  Mr. O puts his hands on his hips and says “that’s not Lori, that’s my Grandma!”. 

Miss A got a special treat today while she was visiting.  Just down the hall from my office is the Cosmetology Department so she had a manicure.   
IMG_6211You can’t see them real well, but those little nails are a very pretty glittery deep pink thanks to Amy, one of our Cosmo students. It’s fun to see Miss A and her dolls.  After having three boys, it’s quite a switch for me.  You can see she and her doll Ellie had matching outfits today.
You can tell our grands receive a lot of love at home from Mommy and Daddy as they are both very affectionate, loving children.  Out of the blue, they’ll say “Grandma, I love you!”  Oh my goodness, it just warms my heart.  And of course, my response is “What do you want sweetie, Grandma will get it for you.”  Smile

Friday, April 1, 2011

This is so wrong!

Yesterday morning the sunrise was drop dead gorgeous again.


and this morning I looked out the door at work and was greeted by this! 

And THIS, which I can’t even bring myself to call by it’s rightful name because it’s just so very wrong!  It IS a  4-letter word that begins with “S” you know?  Has someone not told the weather that the calendar says it’s Springtime?  Hello?

I can’t wait for this pile of “S” to go away either but alas it’s still there. 
IMG_6203Sorry to Jackie @ Jackie’s Stitches and Patti @ Osage Bluff Quilter who both guessed April 1st.  Also, if I was a betting person, I’d bet Joyce, who picked April 2nd, from and sew on and Patty @ My Mountain Blessings who picked April 3rd are out of the running as well.  Oh, how I wish you were all right on this one.  The pile is getting smaller (notice it’s not on the parking island anymore) albeit veerrrryyyyy sllloooooowwwlllyyyy.