30 August 2007

F*A*L*L!

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My absolute favorite season of all is fall. My birthday is in November, Ashley was born in October, my grandpa and uncle both have November birthdays and my dad was born in September. I have always LOVED the start of school and the smell of a new box of crayons.... oh my.

That being said, I also hate to rush the end of summer. Fall is such a short season and I do dread winter, especially since I commute to work every day. Soooo, even though many of my friends begin to decorate for fall in August, I have the distinct urge to hold on to summer, to make the warm weather last for as long as it can.

September 1 marks the time when I can get out my fall things and begin to enjoy the season. I have wreaths, candles, decorative items and the infamous fall village to place this year. I am eager to see what other blogsites do for fall, and perhaps even borrow an idea or two...

These photos were taken last year. The highway scene was taken between JC and Columbia on the bluffs where the mountain goats are said to live. The single tree photo is from Stephens College, where Ashley attends. Both speak "fall" to me, loud and clear!

29 August 2007

Family Room Bathroom

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Our family room downstairs is decorated in retro 50s. My mom and dad were both 1950's high school graduates and they had a lot of cool things that we used to decorate with... such as my mom's HS senior photo and my dad's high school letter jacket. We have their 45 records hanging on the walls and some of the movie posters my dad collected are also hanging on the walls.

However, I think my favorite part of the family room is the bathroom. We moved into this house when Ashley was a HS junior. She wanted to make her decorating debut so I let her decorate this bathroom. I think she did a great job! The graffiti wall has nearly 50 signatures on it and we get a kick out of seeing Ashley's old boyfriend's signatures on the wall!

My sister laid the tile in the bathroom. She did an awesome job!

28 August 2007

Wedding Dress Display

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My 1977 wedding dress was on display at the Cole County Historical Society in June. My friend sent me a picture of the display. The room that the dress was displayed in is my favorite room of the row house where the Historical Society calls home. You can see the room if you go here

www.colehistsoc.org/priceroom.html

I was a docent for the museum for four years, until I got too busy to fulfill my times at the museum. I hope when I retire I can pick it back up. It is fun to talk to others about the history of our county, which is so closely related to our state's history.

27 August 2007

A wonderful apron

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My great grandmother made this apron and embroidered the names on in her own handwriting. My mom discovered it in a cedar chest and gave it to me. I love it! My great grandmother, Lula Belle, was a hard woman who thought no one was doing the best job they could. However, this apron is a testament to the fact that she loved us all.

The cork board is a bulletin board I made with the wine corks of wine we consumed one year. I have also made a wreath and I have enough to do another craft. Last year I made cork reindeer ornaments!

Double click the picture to see it larger... I am "Terri Ann", sort of in the middle!

25 August 2007

Bunco Babes

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Once a month on a Sunday, a group of delightful women gather together to play a game of chance called BUNCO. There are 12 of us, so each of us host one month. Tomorrow we are playing at Ashley's cottage (not my daughter!) which I will try to post a picture of tomorrow or Monday as it is totally delightful.

Ashley will prepare the BEST spread of food and will serve some wonderful cocktail, probably of her own design or something new she has tried lately. Ashley has her whole hand on the pulse of TODAY and always knows the most happenin' thing!

We each pitch in $5 and the winner takes home $20. There are other prizes too, like last BUNCO and lowest score and some others. I have won before but it is pretty spread out who wins. We have this cute thing we do about yelling out BUNCO (which happens when you roll three of a kind of the number of the round you are on...) which is giggle merrily because we have determined the way you yell BUNCO! is how you yell in bed! (aren't we naughty!!)

I look forward to spending time with this group: Letha works for the school district and has great stories to tell, Charlotte brings awesome goodie bags each month, Jan is retired and tells substitute teacher stories, no one tells a joke like Barb, Ashley teaches first grade and has wonderful stories, Sue plays tennis and has all the scoop on Macintosh, Linda was our past Missouri State Teacher of the Year and is now the author of Brain Quest, Jennifer owns her own photography studio, Betsy works in marketing and knows the up and coming events in town, Shanna teaches 9th grade math, again with great stories, and Tish teaches in middle school and has a good time wherever she is! And there's me.

(I am the one in yellow...)

24 August 2007

Five Friday Facts

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I saw this at Life Unscripted and decided to steal her MEME (look! I'm learning the lingo!) I loved the facts she shared about herself and thought I would share these with you.

Fact 1. I was a troubled kid in school, stealing, cheating, and generally causing trouble, but my friends and teachers loved me and that probably is why I am an elementary principal today.

Fact 2. I used to be bone skinny. Why I cannot lose weight now is not a mystery, I EAT A LOT, ALL THE TIME.

Fact 3. I, too, know all the words to American Pie, but I had a bad experience associated with this song so I don't sing it any more.

Fact 4. I don't have a female best friend, although I have a lot of friends. I would say I am close to a number of women whom I admire greatly.

Fact 5. When it comes to spending, I am really cheap when it comes to me. I'll spend money on Ashley and Bob, but all my clothes come from Kmart and I prefer them to be on sale! I think that is rather weird, but it is what I do.

Hope you enjoyed learning some of my quirks! Have a great weekend everyone!

23 August 2007

Walmart Shopping Carts

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Picture from my local JC Walmart!

Having to go to Walmart three nights running, I began a weird personal conversation with myself about Walmart carts. I am incredibly picky about my Walmart cart. If I push it off the carpet and a wheel wobbles, I abandon it and go get another. I will accept a cart that has a pleasant sound on the tile but if a wheel is off and it is a noticeably loud sound, yep, that's right, I abandon it. Last night I had to abandon three carts before I found one that "sounded" right.

I also am starting to carry some antibacterial wipes to wipe off the handle. I got grossed out the other day when I watched a baby and a mom .... need not go there today. The greeter will wipe off my cart if he sees me come in. He gives me this strange little look... I think he knows I am the Cart Deserter.

So now if you see an abandoned cart at Walmart, maybe there is some other crazed woman out there who has decided that she needs a little place to demand perfection in her life.

22 August 2007

Ashley, the Business Entrepreneur!!

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Ashley, our 21 year old daughter who is a senior at Stephens College, entered a contest for up and coming young businesses and WON! She submitted a business plan to open a bath products shop and won $1,000 to get started. She will be featured in Inside Columbia magazine next month and in future months as they follow her business growth. Bob and I couldn't be more proud of her and her accomplishments. Way to go!

To check out her new business, please look at her blog at

www.bathcocktails.blogspot.com

21 August 2007

Around the World in the Steffes Home!

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Bob collected these beautiful wine decanters when he spent a summer in Italy when he was in HS. I think he had remarkably good taste for a 17 year old! And, in a matter of speaking, he still has great taste, as he has kept me on as his wife for 30 years! We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by staying in a lovely Bed and Breakfast in Hermann. The statue of David was purchased in Rome during his stay in Italy as well.

20 August 2007

End of the season Rose Garden

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When Bob and I made 6 trips to England in the 80s and early 90s, we fell in love with the many rose gardens we saw there. We have lived in three homes since those trips and we have planted a rose garden in each. This one, being fairly new, still needs to grow and fill out a bit. However, I love the roses we chose and wanted to share them with you. Please ignore how dry and brown the grass is...we experienced a drought in August! I hope you enjoy my little English rose garden in the center of Missouri!

19 August 2007

A Vintage Find

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The first Sunday in August is traditionally the WIEN PICNIC. Wien is a teeny tiny town in Northeast Missouri that was settled by German immigrants. Bob's family settled there and owned a grocery store (in the family 150 years!). The picnic is for the Catholic church to raise funds for the year. There is Bingo, kids games, a craft fair, a quilt drawing, a wonderful meal of roast beef, chicken, cucumbers, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans, corn, fresh tomatoes and the desserts!!! There are 50 desserts to choose from, not including the cookies!

The church has an outreach program called Share and Care. The locals donate gently used clothing, shoes and household items to ship all over the US for families in need. At the Wien Picnic, though, the store is open to the general public (this helps clean out and weed out merchandise to make room for more).

I always find something I cannot live without. This year it was this bag of vintage ornaments. The lady from whom I purchased them said that they were from the 50s and 60s and that she knew that because they were hers! I paid $1 for them.

Ashley got two vintage hats (from the 40s, according to the same lady) for 10 cents each. She was thrilled!

17 August 2007

A few things and the kitchen sink!

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Last summer Bob and I replaced the countertops in the kitchen with these red ones and replaced the sink. A year later I still love my red countertops but the sink was a FABULOUS piece of luck.

I picked out a sink without a divider so I could lay a cookie sheet down completely. This sink did so much work for me as I have canned and harvested our tomato crop. Being able to drain a huge kettle without spilling and having plenty of room for dishes and work space has been soooo nice.

I highly recommend these sinks if you are thinking about replacing yours!

As far as other things.... I am running on SLOW today, its 8:00 and I still haven't gotten out of my night clothes. I am semi "off work" today although I am going in. This morning I am running to walmart to grab some things that teachers needed before school starts.

Have a good day!

Back to College!

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Our DD, Ashley, who is 21, is back off to her college as of yesterday. Unfortunately, due to my Open House and Bob having school commitments, she had to unpack all by herself. How things have changed since she was a freshman! We took days off work, we cleaned her room and made sure every luxury was available to her before we left. Here she is a senior, and we barely have allotted enough time to help load the car AT HOME!

Ashley will finish this semester, having completed a semester during HS. She will graduate with a degree in Fashion Management and Marketing. Her plans after graduation are to start work on her MBA at Stephens and to get married in March.

Ashley is a Kappa Delta sister and does a lot of modeling on campus and in the community. She has quite a good reputation as a model. She does it for fun and does not take it seriously at all. I wish I had the looks, body and demeanor to be a model and then not take myself too seriously!

15 August 2007

Bustopher, the Cat

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I'd like to introduce you to Bustopher, our Russian Blue cat. Just like every cat, he has an odd personality. Bustopher loves his family, but that is it. Our extended family believes we have a cat "in mind only" because he refuses to make a presence when others are near. Even Eric, who has been coming to our home for two years on a regular basis, has petted him only a few times, each time with Bustopher having a hissing fit.

My sister likes to tell of the time when he came up to her, thinking it was me, rubbing his body against her leg. Something told him that she was not who he thought she was and he raised up on two back legs running toward her with the two front legs batting in front of him, hissing and growling. Scared her to death.

Bustopher loves to jump onto a 7 foot walnut wardrobe in our living room and lay down on the baby blanket we have up there. He loves to wait until unsuspecting family members sit down on the sofa and then BAM! he jumps down from the cabinet onto the sofa. I swear he gets great joy of seeing us all jump out of our skins.

We have had Bustopher since 1996. He was a skittish kitten, and has always hated the vet. We used to wrap him up in a towel when we took him in for his shots. Now the vet comes to the car door and gives him his shots through the window. No kidding.

I'd love to hear about your cats and their fun/odd personalities, too!

14 August 2007

It was a G*R*E*A*T Day!

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It was a very good day today. The meeting went WAY too long but everyone was so nice about everything. Lots of smiles and visits to my office afterwards.

Now I am totally exhausted and I am going to go to bed early. But before I do....

I have decided to treat myself to my all time favorite candy bar... a Cherry Mash! Have any of you had one?

These little babies are made right here in Missouri, in St. Joseph, in fact. To learn more about this tasty little treat, go here:

www.cherrymash.com/history (sorry, it wouldn't make a link for me)

The cherry center is soooo sweet that I usually save part for another day. Today I might eat the whole thing!

Nothing like ending a good day with something that says I love you like this little candy bar does to me! My mom likes to melt the candy in the microwave and pour it over ice cream. Its good, but I would just rather eat it!

It's Here!

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It's finally here, my first official day with staff at my new school. You can tell by the time of this post that I had a hard time sleeping!

I have the agenda all typed and ready to go on pretty colored paper. I bought door prizes to give away during our 2 hour long meeting. I have bottled water to share.

So why is my stomach tied up in knots? Why did I not eat last night in one of my favorite restaurants (Red Lobster) when Bob took me out?

Fresh starts, although exciting, play havoc on our systems, don't they??

Wish me well on my first day as principal at this new elementary school. The kids are the easy part, it is the teachers who make me nervous!

12 August 2007

Wheel Inn Cafe

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While in Sedalia...

We are leaving in time to get a Goober Burger. Alas, this state wide (if not nation wide) landmark is closing after many years of service to its customers. A Goober Burger is a hamburger slathered with peanut butter. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it! You can see that the patties are hand formed, with the peanut butter added like a condiment. Look at those yummy onion rings!

Eric hasn't had the chance to try a Goober Burger. We want him to have this experience with us so he won't be left out of those... OOOo Remember Goober Burgers??? conversations!

Missouri State Fair!

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Today, Bob, Ashley, Eric and I are headed to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. I have been going to this fair since I was a young girl. We have gotten into quite a routine, and need to go only a few hours before the concert to see everything we want to see. We go get the freshest chocolate milk, see the butter cow (oh yes, a full sized cow made entirely from butter, wouldn't Paula Deen be proud?), to the Missouri Products display to have Tiger Striped Ice Cream (40% butterfat) and to see what new products Missourians are producing, to the Floral displays, to the Home Ec building to look at the decorated cakes and the quilts, and to the Varied Industries building to look at the displays of knives, plants, sewing machines, hot tubs, choppers, grinders, whatever gadgets are being hawked. We will go to the Budweiser tent to hear some hope-to-bes and then make sure we have time to get a corndog (the best ever) slathered with mustard and fresh out of the grease. Then we are headed to the Grand Stage to see Dierks Bentley and Chris Cagle in concert. We'll get home late but have a grand time!

11 August 2007

Easy Dessert

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I made this luscious dessert for Ashley's bridesmaids dinner today and it was so incredibly easy....

Ashley calls it

Easy Breezy Ice Cream Dessert

2 boxes ice cream sandwiches
1 container cookie dough ice cream, softened
2 containers chocolate cool whip
chocolate syrup

Layer one layer of ice cream sandwiches into a 9 by 13 pan. Spread a layer of cookie dough ice cream one inch thick over the sandwiches. Layer another layer of ice cream sandwiches and on top of that spread over all the chocolate cool whip. Freeze until ready to serve.

10 August 2007

Nice Matters Award!

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I got this sweet award from Cynthia at Springmont Cottages (she is on my list of Inspiring People) and now I am supposed to pass it on. We frequent the same sights, so I am going to pass it on to Robyn at Happy House of Haas (also on my list). Robyn has the sweetest, gentlest heart and is always looking out for others. This award is perfect for her. Thank you Cynthia, I love that you thought of ME!

A Day Off with Friends

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Today I am taking the day away from my school to spend it with good friends. I changed jobs this year and will be the elementary principal at California (MO) Elementary School! I am thrilled with my new school and staff. So, two dear friends and I are going to meet here and drive to see my new office. Then we are driving over to see my friend's classroom in JC (Linda) and then over to Ashland to see my other friend's classroom (Ashley). After these tours we are heading up to Columbia to have lunch at Olive Garden and to shop in the teacher's store. Doesn't this sound like a fun day? And, let me brag on my friends: Linda was the State Teacher of the Year and Ashley was the Walmart Teacher of the Year. Isn't that cool??

09 August 2007

New Look!

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I think I am just a regular girl, needing a new look from time to time! I like this pink and can get away with it because my cute husband has no idea I do this blog, even though I ask him regularly if he reads it. Anyway, I thought it was time to freshen up the page a bit!

Ashley's wedding dress

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Ashley will not post her wedding gown on her wedding blog because she doesn't want Eric to see it but I don't think Eric knows I have a blog so I feel safe posting this here!

Ashley is our only daughter. She is 21, turning 22 in October. She is getting married in March of 2008. Check out her blog to learn more!

Ashley's dress is being designed by a Stephens College graduate. We found two dresses at the Bridal shop where Ashley works and bought them for $60 each. The designer painstakingly took apart both dresses and created a brand new dress for Ashley from the fabrics of the two gowns.

Here is the train of the dress and the lace as it is being attached to the gown. Even if Eric discovers this blog, he still won't have a good idea of what the dress will look like!

08 August 2007

PEO Tea

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Our PEO chapter just celebrated its 75th anniversary with a tea. The committee who organized this for us had these delightful floral arrangements at each table, using teapots from various members. They also had us wear hats and gloves. It was so fun to dress up and have tea and tiny sandwiches and petit fours.

07 August 2007

LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!

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I am sooooo excited that I can hardly type! I found CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS at the grocery store! At first I was excited because I thought these would be WONDERFUL in a cup of cocoa and then...... I thought of TOASTING these babies and that is exactly what I did.... I like my marshmallows burnt, how about you??

Our poppies

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We are having horrible August heat (107 heat index) and I think my poppies will bite the dust this week. Here are my poppies at their peak. These came from my great-great grandmother's poppy bed which is still blooming in my hometown of Marceline.

05 August 2007

Grandpa Joe's Barrister Cabinet

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My grandparents, Joe and Mildred, had this cabinet for as long as I can remember. You can see it in home movies they made when I was first learning to walk. They collected Hummels and they were stored here. There was also a beautiful nativity set in this cabinet, too. My mother passed this cabinet to me today. I got it home and had it set up in two places before I decided this was the right place. My grandmother also had berry colored dining room walls, and since the cabinet was always in a dining room, I imagine it must feel right at home in mine. I decided to store my collection of teapots in it for now. The picture above the cabinet was cross stitched by my MIL for our 25th wedding anniversary five years ago. The white candy dishes belonged to my grandmother, too. The photo is of my grandpa Joe.

Spicy ToMAHto Salsa!

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A lot of tomatoes do not make a lot of salsa! I am pleased with my batch, though as it was easy to make.

5 pts ripe tomatoes (I blanched them for 3 minutes, submerged in an ice bath, cored, peeled and rough chopped them)
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
2 onions, chopped
3/4 c tomato paste (can be left out if you like runnier salsa)
1/2 c vinegar
2 T sugar
2 T salt
4 1/2 t garlic powder
1 t cayenne pepper
1/4 c olive oil
squirt of lime juice

In your favorite dutch oven (mine is a red Le Creuset) combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour into freezer containers and cool to room temperature before placing in the freezer.

04 August 2007

Missouri Tomatoes!

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When Tina from Cherry Hill Cottage posted her lovely Texas Tomatoes, I could not let you go without seeing some luscious ones from Missouri. Where Tina sat down and ate hers immediately with salt and pepper, I am saving mine for tomorrow and will make salsa. I have a delightful recipe for freezer salsa and I am eager to try it. I bet it will be quite pretty, with these red and orange tomatoes!

Tax Free Weekend

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Bob and I headed to the Lake of the Ozarks to shop for school clothes for the upcoming school year. Its Tax Free Weekend and the mall was C*R*A*Z*Y! Bob got the deals, coming home with 2 pairs of shoes, four pants, 1 polo shirt and 6 pairs of socks for less than $200. I got two skirts for under $35. We will be looking good when we go back to school this fall!

02 August 2007

Ball/Mason Jars

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Do these jars hold a special place in your heart? I remember my Grandma Holt spending hours in front of the stove making homemade grape jelly. We were warned not to touch the jars, but who could resist touching those sparkly purple glasses??

I have a green Ball jar that was given to me by a teacher friend who said it was one of the last ones to come off the line when they stopped making them. I have mine in my office at school, filled with buttons my dad collected for me once and gave to me at Christmas.

I love seeing these jars filled with salsa and homemade spaghetti sauce. Nothing is prettier on a kitchen window sill!