Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Monday Mail Call ~Gourmet Kitchen Gadgets Galore ~This Cook's Dream Package

Upon returning home from one of our family outings,
we were welcomed with a special delivery.
What could it be?

To our tremendous surprise,
a box packed full of gourmet kitchen gadgets!

Brand..New..Kitchen..Gadgets!

So many cool gadgets...

My college friend, Debra,
a representative with K & A Enterprises,
shared some of her company's gourmet gadgets with me.

Look at these knives...
almost too pretty to use!

Most of the items were from Kuhn Rikon.
They look fun, but are also so functional.


Check out their site (click here)
you will want one of everything!

From one of her newer companies,
were these two specialty knives.
One for chopping our fresh herbs,
and one for those times we just need some cheese and crackers!





My dearest Debra,
how can I thank you enough!
I love everything and have used several gadgets already.

Now I can retire those knives that were wedding gifts
(36 years ago)
and organize my kitchen with the new and improved.

Thank you, Debra.
I love my surprise box of kitchen goodies!

Take care,
~Natalie

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Our Summer's Highlight ~Spending a Week with Family ~Our Time at Home ~On the Fourth Morning We Said Goodbye #The Empty Nest

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Our goal of parenting...
to grow the roots of responsibility 
and the wings of independence.

And their responsibilities were calling...
It was time to pack their bags 
and return to their jobs, their own homes.

Hubby and I prepared a quick brunch of 
Eggs and Homemade Muffins.

Their rental car was loaded...

...and our travelers were ready for their trip back to the cities.

Then, the nest was empty again.
Our time together went so fast,
but we cherished every moment we had together.

Those of you that are Empty Nesters can relate
 to the conflicting emotions...
It is hard to explain how 
we can be so happy and sad all at the same time?!

Life does prepare us gradually.
First day of daycare...
First day of school...
Last day of school...
Graduation...
Going away to college.

First steps...
First car...
First boyfriend...
Prom...
Wedding day.

I guess what makes me a little sad is that the memories 
of their time growing up at home are fading.
Maybe we were busy with our own career jobs,
making meals and doing laundry,
and keeping everyone on schedule
with homework and activities.

What makes me happy is so much bigger!
They are married...
married to men that we love like they are our own sons.
They have great jobs and nice homes.

The goal of parenting 
is to work yourself out of a job.

We are proud of you four
and the life you have made for yourselves.

Take care,
~Natalie

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our Summer's Highlight ~Spending a Week with Family ~Our Time at Home: The Third & Final Day

Our time together as a family was so short...
We certainly wanted to make every moment count.

Hubby was not going to let them all leave 
without treating 'his boys' to a meal of our BBQ Ribs.
The perfect ribs start in the crockpot,
right after lunch.

What is the best way to spend a hot summer afternoon
waiting for the ribs to cook?
A Bocce Ball Match.

Our yard is already small,
not to mention that now,
over half of it is a construction zone.

The course was challenging with all of the obstacles...

Extreme Bocce Ball.
We couples each played as a team.

The competition was fierce.

Each team won a match.
Hubby and I finished the dinner preparations
during the play-off round.

Along with the BBQ Ribs, we served
Emily's Greek Pasta Salad
Amy's Grilled Zucchini from Grandma's Garden
Texas Baked Beans
Potato Wedges on the Grill

The Bocce Ball Tournament generated a hearty appetite.
We polished off three racks of ribs!

Outdoor fun and plenty of great tasting food...
but the best was the time spent with our family.

Take care,
~Natalie

Monday, July 17, 2017

Introducing Miss Ottenbacher

Meet Miss Ottenbacher,
Central High School's newest Family & Consumer Science Teacher.
Here she is with her new school computer.

I was privileged to spend the afternoon with her on Friday.
She is smart and well prepared. 
She had a list carefully thought out questions.

We visited about the curriculum.
She will teach all foods classes, so
we talked about what has been done in the past...
and she will bring creativity and fresh new ideas to the program.

We also talked about student concerns.
Miss Ottenbacher has a kind and caring spirit,
wanting to consider the needs of others.

I am so excited for her, 
and I can't wait to see how she makes this classroom her own.

I couldn't be more confident to turn the reins over
to this young, energetic teacher.

Congratulations, Miss Ottenbacher.
You are going to be a great teacher!

Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Our Summer's Highlight ~Spending a Week with Family ~~Our Time at Home: Day Two ~~Celebrating an Anniversary

This family evening was a celebration of wedded bliss.
It was Amy and Nick's 5th Anniversary. 
We were honored to share their special day with them.

Five years ago we witnessed their marriage ceremony 
and celebrated with them in Rochester.

The happy couple traveled home to celebrate their first anniversary 
surrounded by our family and friends with a dessert reception.

This year, Jake and Emily surprised us with a little Bubbly
to toast the anniversary couple.

The weather was perfect...
We enjoyed a wonderful evening with family.

Again, I went to bed a happy mama!

Take care,
~Natalie

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Our Summer's Highlight ~Spending a Week with Family ~~Our Time at Home: Day One

It was our last morning to wake up in the city...

...to enjoy a leisure cup of coffee and brunch at the hotel.
Soon we were on the road, making the six hour trip home.

This is a familiar sight while traveling in the summer time.
We were the first car in line, so we visited with the flag girl 
during that 10 minute wait. She was quite entertaining!

But then, maybe being out in the heat
contributed to her spunky demeanor!

After traveling through road construction, 
we experienced a typical South Dakota hail storm.
Finally, we were home and it wasn't long before the games came out.

And it took even less time for my new helper cat
to discover that our daughters and their husbands
like cats.

Jasmine didn't leave their side...
in fact, she slept with Amy and Nick every night.

It's hard to explain how good it feels to wake up 
to this in the foyer!

Empty nesters, you will relate...
I always slept the best when everyone was home from college 
and sleeping under our roof again.

One doesn't come home for a visit 
without stopping at Twist Cone...

...and ordering your favorite ice cream treat.

A perfect ending to our first day,
was a trip downtown to enjoy the

Live music, dinner from a food truck,
and being together...
a good time was had by all.

Take care,
~Natalie