Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Snowy, Cozy "Spring?" Day

It was a January kind of day today....smack in the middle of April.  Blustery, cold, snowing, blowing, sleeting, and snowing and blowing some more.  Ugh.  It was almost spring the past week too...snow was mostly gone, birds were chirping, and I was going around without a coat some days (that can be attributed less to the weather and more to the menopause thing which is oh-so-much-fun for me these days).  Spring made a good attempt but as of yesterday it got the smack down.  We haven't had a winter storm like this for years, and we get to be so lucky to get it now.  In April.  The little birdies in our neighborhood are so confused.  Oh well.  I kind of like today, actually.  We have not left the house.  All three kids are home on a Saturday night (the ones who still live here that is).  I can't remember when that happened last - not since they have had jobs and cars and probably some time before that.  Even though they are spending most of their time in their rooms, it feels nice to be home together.

Macey has enjoyed the calm day as well with everyone here and she has not once obsessed about staring at the door and barking at every noise waiting for one of her missing people to get home.  She did, however, have an episode where she got her ruff all up, and was staring at the patio doors from the edge of the living room as if there was some kind of critter on the deck that needed stalking.  There was of course nothing there.  Weirdo.

I talked to both my dad and my son Nicolas on the phone today, both of which made my heart smile.

Vince and I spent the morning organizing our bills at the kitchen table while we watched a bootleg recording of the off-broadway production of The Little Mermaid on YouTube because HELLO KING TRITON!!!

I'm super excited to see him play this role (and call him King Triton for the next two months!)  I'm thinking about volunteering back stage so that I can see the goings on of the show and how it all comes together.  It's amazing to me that they can get all the costuming, props, and everyone's lines, songs, and choreography down in a matter of 2 months.  Hope is disappointed that she didn't get the part of Ariel, but after seeing her and her dad trying to sing this song together in the kitchen this morning...

"If only you could stay
And never say goodbye
If only I could make time stop
Believe me, I would try
But fathers have to learn
Their daughters have to grow
And if you truly love them
You must let them go..."

Yup.  Vince couldn't get through it without getting choked up, so I'm not sure he would have been able to do this scene with his baby girl if she were Ariel!!  I do feel for her though, this has always been one of her "dream" roles.  I told her she is young enough that she could still get the chance again to play it in another production.  I hope so.  But she is taking it very well.  She'll be a "Mersister" and she'll be fantastic!

I can't wait for the costumes and the music and the's already my favorite musical :)

I started on some organizing projects today...mainly in the office.  I didn't get very far, but hey I started! Sometimes that is the hardest step.  I also went through our recipe books and Vince's family cookbook.  I love that thing so much.  He made it several years ago and it includes recipes from his mom, grandma and siblings.  There are many memories to cherish in that book and I'm sure will be considered a family heirloom.

We have come up with some new kick-butt recipes since it was printed, so maybe someday we will have to come out with a "volume 2".  But then there is the idea I had of doing a "Heeren Family Cookbook".  I really want to do that with my siblings and some of our parents' and grandmas' recipes.  Mom never wrote a single thing down, but I do know a few of her recipes and I'm sure my sister and I can figure out some of the others.  Kathy and Dad have lots of good recipes, too and I have a few of them.  Some of my favorites growing up were mom's meatballs & gravy, tuna hotdish, and roast beef, potatoes and carrots.  Dad made some yummy butterscotch pudding.  Kathy made awesome goulash and salmon loaf.  My favorite things that Grandma Hankel made was her hamburger soup and of course strawberry banana jello cups!  Donna made the best cheesy potatoes for most of our family gatherings, and now my brother Alan has turned into quite a chef himself.

Most of my recipes are in my recipe book...isn't it just the cutest thing?!

We have also accumulated some really great cookbooks that I want to use more often than we do.  (Dang you, Pinterest and Food Network App - you are just too convenient!)  Seriously, I could never get another cookbook or recipe online and we would be able to eat well for the rest of our lives with the cookbooks we have now.  (So, one would think that I won't need to get any more cookbooks ever, but one would be wrong on that.  I don't yet have one of Trisha Yearwood's cookbooks.  Duh.)

In the spirit of wrapping this up for tonight (it's 1am! and I'm planning on sleeping out here on the couch tonight next to King Triton, as he has been working from home since 5:30pm and will likely be up all night doing such)  I will now share my newest favorite foodie discovery...

These are seriously the most delicious little things ever!  I have eaten most of the jar so far and have not (yet) spilled any beet juice on my clothes.  It's a Christmas Miracle!  In April....hmmmph.

P.S.  I feel a "Nice & Naughty" post coming on.  Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

My boy is almost home, and why is Robert Irvine yelling at me??

We have been watching a lot of "Restaurant Impossible" know, the show on the Food Network where professional chef Robert Irvine goes to failing restaurants and helps rescue them.  The show gives the restaurant a makeover and helps the owners learn how to cook better, and manage their business.  I used to hate the show because Robert Irvine, while he knows what he's talking about, is SO MEAN!  He yells at the owners sometimes, especially when their restaurant is not clean and so lately when I look at the dust on my bookshelf and the hair on the bathroom floor I hear him yelling at me in my head..."YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!!  THIS IS DISGUSTING!!!"


I value a clean home.  I can't truly enjoy and relax in our home when it's not.  I've talked about that before.  I'm not OCD or anything (except my kids would probably tell you differently, especially when my "handwashing nazi" comes out), but I do need things to be relatively organized and clean and smelling like something good.  Smells are huge for me.  I don't care how nice a room looks, if it smells bad it ruins the entire ambiance.

This is my favorite thing to keep our house smelling good and homey...


It's a warmer.  I used to put whole candles in it but soon realized that the smell goes out of them far sooner than if they were burned, so I switched over to buying those little wax melts.  I have several kinds but my favorite melts are from the best store in Winona...Pieces of the Past, where it smells like (singing) Heaven!

I put one melt in a little mason jar and soon our house smells like caramel or coffee or cinnamon or apples or some luscious combination of all of those.  


Our house right now is still decorated for Christmas.  Usually I would be packing it all up by now, but I promised Nicolas that we would leave it up until he comes home from his deployment, which will be very soon now!  And we will have Christmas with him in our newly remodeled cabiny-basement :)  when he is finally home.

Baby St. Nick :)

Can't wait to see my boy :)  It's been a long 11 months, and an especially long holiday season without him. 

These pics were taken at his "going away" dinner at Ground Round, and his other "going away" lunch at Wild Bills in Rochester shortly before his deployment last March. I was a bit of a puddle the day he left but thankfully we have been able to video-chat often over the past year so he didn't seem quite as far away.  Man, a lot has happened in our lives since then...

My sister Donna got baptized!  PTL!  I flew out to be there and see her and her kids for a few days.

Vince and I saw Casting Crowns in MPLS, and also went to Minnehaha Falls!

Kyle and Hope both got their driver's licenses!  AAAAAAH!

Vince and I bought new dressers at The Shanty in Alma.  It was the first time either of us have had matching bedroom furniture :)

And we happened upon this little gem of a place. 

Family dinner at Famous Dave's with most of our peoples

My parents came for a visit :)

Kyle was baptized with this group of guys from his youth group!

Grammie and Papa times :)

Hope and Vince shared the stage in Chitty!

Our anniversary weekend in MPLS, back at Minnehaha Falls and an afternoon in Stillwater.

We bought Nicolas some army guy gummies at this old fashioned candy shop!

Shenanegans at MOA!

My flowers survived the whole summer long...miracles do happen, people!

Shopping therapy with my other Donna!  I love my Donnas :)

And the winner is....

Our princess and Queen :)

I tagged along on Vince's salmon fishing trip in Milwaukee


Road tripping with Donna and Dave - we ate here at The Pickle Factory, which is where Nicolas called me and told me about the hurricane they were preparing for (cue minor freaking out).

Preparing for our long awaited new flooring!

These guys got to meet one of their idols at Wizard Con in Madison WI...Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics!

Our first grandbaby, Jaden turned...8!!  (Whaaaaah???)

We met up with Stephanie, Brandon and Lindsey in MPLS, just a week after the shooting in Vegas.  So good to see them and see firsthand that they were ok. 

And then it was off to RENO!  for my nephew Justin & Rachel's wedding!  What a blast!
Wish we could have taken the whole fam.

Hope's first leading role in "Once Upon a Mattress", hilarious!

Tim Hawkins in Rochester....also hilarious!!!

Macers, waiting for her favorite soldier to come home. I can't wait to see how excited she will be!!

Our new kitchen chalkboard is home to some pretty cool art.

Our Thanksgiving movie tradition!  We saw Murder on the Orient Express.

Wine and Canvas night at Signatures (where Trevor also works!)

Baking banana bread with Grama Fwisa :)

Vinny's RCTC graduation lunch in Rochester at Outback Steakhouse!

...where we also exchanged Christmas gifts with Dad & Kathy!

Christmas morning...we video-chatted with Nicolas during the whole gift opening, so fun :)

And then...these two got engaged!!!

Howard Christmas at the Canell's.

Oh Bekah Sue, we love you so!

Lunching with Jay :)

Best. Grandson. Ever.

One of our favorite movies this year...The Greatest Showman!

So many great memories over the past 11 months!!  
Now here we are, my boy will soon be home and we will have the rest of 2018 (and many more years) to make new memories...with my Mr. Wonderful and ALL of our amazing kids and grandkids!
We are so incredibly blessed :)