Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesdays with Steph

Suddenly, Wednesdays have become a welcomed day, and for more reasons than being "middle of the week" day. Wednesday is now the day that Steph and I meet together for a short time after school to have coffee and catch up. Steph - my crazy friend from high school, turned college roommate, turned bridesmaid, turned adult best friend - is one of those friends who can just pick up where we left off. It doesn't matter if it's been a week or a month since we've last talked, we're able to jump right in as if we had been chatting just that morning.

Today was no different. We wasted no time and began talking about Christmas and gifts and husbands (the good funny things, not the bad annoying things). She truly surprised me when she gave me a pair of lovely earrings that she made. The picture doesn't quite do them justice. They're crocheted, and I told her they look very Anthropologie-ish. (Quite a compliment.)

If I could just get coffee dates for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I might be able to make it through my work week without complaining.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

This weekend was great. I don't have pictures to prove it, but it really was. We were able to spend a whole day with John and Kelly and baby Anna here in Visalia...a real treat! They were planning on leaving at 2:30, when Robby and I were going to head for a friend's wedding, but when they found out the wedding was going to be short, they offered to wait for us. We were back within two hours and had pizza and plenty of hang-out time.

Besides the fun time with JK and A, we enjoyed Megan Gimlin's beautiful yet simple wedding on Saturday, as well as a cold but fun Saddle game Friday night. And now...back to work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the kitchen

A little less than a year ago, I made a resolution that I would try to cook something new every week. Well, needless to say, I failed. I did not cook something new every week. I didn't even cook every week! However, this week I tried two new recipes, both somewhat inspired by fall. The first was a butternut squash soup. It did not prove to be a winner. It was a little too runny and a little too "chicken soup base" tasting. I'll try it again and change a few things. The other was my try at a "white" pizza - a pizza with all white cheese and garlic-thyme olive oil in place of marinara. Unlike the watery squash soup, this was quite tasty and even looked pretty as it was topped with a lemony arugula salad. Thanks to Barefoot Contessa, I can now say I know what it means to get my hands a little doughey.

Turn before you fall

One of the most exciting things about creating our landscape was buying trees and plants that would change during the fall season. And it's happening! True, our maple just kind of lost its leaves without doing anything, but the gingko turned a lovely yellow before the leaves fell. The firepower nandina is turning a bright red, and even the crape myrtles have fallen in line with a crimson hue. I just love fall.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today was a day off from school in honor of Veteran's day, but around the Vander Kooi home, Veteran's day was really a day off for mom's birthday. We celebrated at Vintage Press and went all out! (Thanks, Dad for the fine dining.) My meal was so incredible: a stuffed baby pumpkin (yes, yummy!) with a fall pear salad and a lemon drop on the side. Delicious!

Mom and Dad toast to Mom's dayBlondies
Close with my honeyThe Desserts
This actually was round 1 because they forgot to bring the creme brulee, so that came next.
Sleeping in, breakfast at Starbuck's, lunch at VP, and the rest of the afternoon lounging around at home. What a fabulous day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Round-Up

For Halloween, our church threw a "Fall Round-up" for the kids in our church and in our community. It truly was a success with about 85 kids and their families showing up. Robby and I dressed up as cowboy and cowgirl for the theme. Too bad this picture doesn't show my cute boots!
I created a cookie decorating station. It turned out really cute, and thanks to the high school girls who ran it, it was a success. My mom and I were in charge of the food. More accurately, she was in charge of the food, but I was her trusty assistant. We served the traditional carnival meal: hot dogs, chili, and nachos. My good assisting disappeared when Steph, Will, and the kids showed up, though. I just had to run around with them! Molly does her "princess pose" for usAnd Willy does his "love that lollipop" pose
Fun, fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Corn Maze Craze

Last Wednesday, we took the youth group to the corn maze. This has become an annual event for our group, although the turn-out this year was a bit smaller. We attribute that to the fact that we went so late in October - most of the kids were over it by then. Robby and I, however, had a great time, and I'm happy to report that my group won...again.

The group (minus Rob - he was taking the picture) before the crazy maze
The winners
And the losers
And the happy family