Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Beautiful Things...

My 86 year old grandmother and my 10 month old niece.
How beautiful?
Love, Kelli

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beautiful Things

I wanted to share my weekend with pictures...

On Sunday after church, our family had a wonderful brunch at a really fun restaurant in Northern Kentucky. I've lived here for 25 years, yet have only eaten at this place one other time. The restaurant is on the top floor of a hotel and the floor of the restaurant actually revolves in a circle. During our 1 hour brunch, we enjoyed a panoramic view of downtown Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky.

This is a view of the Ohio River and downtown Cincinnati. That's Paul Brown Stadium you see behind the bridge. For those of you not "up" on your stadiums, that's the home of the top-notch Cincinnati Bengals. The Reds (who are actually a decent ball team) play at the Great American Ball Park, which you can't see in this picture. The tallest building you see is the Carew Tower. It's the tallest structure in Cincinnati, and I have walked the stairs to the top of it!
This is Mainstrasse, in Covington, KY. Covington (and Cincinnati, for that matter) was settled in the early 1800's by mostly German immigrants. We LOVE our German heritage in Cincinnati, and celebrate Oktoberfest and Maifest every year!

This gorgeous building is the Cathedral Basilica, also in Covington. I apologize for my amateur photography, but this building is probably a good mile from where I was enjoying lunch. This beautiful structure was modeled after the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and is a must see if you are ever in the area. It also is home to the world's largest and third largest stained glass windows. Beautiful!!!

After brunch, we went to the Butterfly show at the Cincinnati Flower and Garden center. This year they featured native species to India. I usually insist on going each year, but this year I remembered my camera! This Common Tiger butterfly was beatiful and rather friendly. Shortly after I took this picture, he (she?) flew away.

And this is where he landed. He actually stayed here for quite some time. Plenty enough time for my sister-in-law and I to take plenty of pictures. That's my husband's forehead, by the way. He says it's because he's so sweet and all. Not sure about that?!?!

I loved the pattern on this beautiful Common Sailor butterfly. Even black and white is beautiful!

I have no idea what this is, but doesn't that big spot look like an eye staring back at you?

This is an orchid, that was in the flower part of the show. Isn't it stunning?

I simply LOVE the color of these leaves. I think this is called a Red Ti, but not certain. I'm pretty sure these aren't native to Kentucky, but I'd plant them in my front yard if they were!

I also love this red Peace Lily. My grandmother's name was Lillie and everytime I see one, I think of her. She would have loved this red one.

This is what I found after I finished up in the gift shop. Don't they look content (aka bored out of their minds!)?
Love, Kelli

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Nice Reminder

As part of my "day" job, I work with business teams to solve business issues, brainstorm new ideas, create new products or strategies, etc. It's a really fun job, and I'm very lucky to have it. There are 2 things that I particularly love about my work. First, I absolutely love the people. I have met some of the most incredible and interesting people. I have found and heard some absolutely inspirational stories that have brought me to tears. I've also heard some stories that I've retold at parties for years afterwards, too.

Check out the video below. I usually use this at the beginning of my brainstorming. Please don't read any of the descriptions or comments ahead of time.

How did you do do? I like re-watching this video from time to time, because it reminds me to take my own personal "filters" off of what I'm seeing. I like looking at problems and challenges through a fresh pair of eyes. You can usually solve your issues much faster!


Love, Kelli

Monday, May 11, 2009

Snapping Turtles and Kitchen Wars...

I wanted to share some completely random things with you that don't really make for a post. But because I'm writing it and it's my blog, it counts :)!

When my beautiful 8 year old baby boy first started at his school last year, he simply had to join the chess club and the ski club. After looking into it, he decided that he didn't want to do the ski club, because he was a better skiier than the rest of the kids. Keep in mind that we live in Northern Kentucky and our ski season is 8 - 10 weeks long at best. So it's not harder to be better than the other kids.

He did join the chess club, though. Chess was something we taught him back in pre-school as a way to talk to him about "war". What do you know? He picked it up and can hold his own in tournaments now. Since he wasn't doing the ski club this year I told him he could do something else. He chose Fishing Club....

Don't ask me, I don't know either. But these kids absolutely LOVE fishing club. They talked about all kinds of stuff at these meetings. Every Tuesday, my son would come home with a fishing story or a list of things he needed to have for his next fishing outing. He even came home with a 10 foot long cane pole (should have seen me trying to put that thing in my little car when I picked him up that day). Last Friday was the last week of club, so Mr. L organized a fishing tournament. I'm figuring this is going to be Colin and about 8 of his friends with little cane poles around a dinky lake.

I had a PTO meeting at school that day, so I called Grandpa (gotta love Grandpa's - especially this one) to see if he could bring Colin's fishing pole and tackle box and meet us at the lake at 4:15. It started to drizzle on our way out, but I figured I only had to do this until 5 or so and then I was free and clear to start my weekend. I pulled up to what is normally an empty lake, and there were at least 50 cars with three times the number of kids and parents. There are only 250 kids in the entire school!

This was a serious party! They had refreshments and grilled hot dogs under a tent at one end. Kids were scattered all around this pond. Luckily, Grandpa brought his fishing pole too, because these people were serious. Mr. L was even set up with a measuring tape and scale pully thing to measure the fish the kids caught. They had serious prizes too. My son had his eye on the second prize. A pretty new red fishing pole.

I gabbed for a bit and then heard a bunch of commotion. Some kid had pulled a big snapping turtle out of the water all by himself. I decided to walk down there and there's my baby boy nose to nose with one of the biggest snapping turtles i've ever seen in my life. Mr. L came running and it measured at least 16 inches, but he wasn't going to get too close. It took 3 grown men to try to wrestle the fishing line from this turtle. Mostly cuz the turtle wasn't too happy about being messed with. He was snapping at anyone that came too close to him. It was a site! I wish I would have brought my camera, but I didn't really know about the outing, so I guess you can either believe my fish/turtle story or not! Either way, it's true :).

Now, for the continuing saga of the Kitchen drama. To catch up, click here. Hubs came home on Saturday morning with everything he needed to make my Mother's Day weekend a living heck (aka paint the living room and kitchen). Recall, that he was bent on painting kitchen "Limelight".

Which is not very different, AT ALL, from "Contemplation" that I wanted.

So, what did he come home with, you ask????

Wait for it....

No, seriously, wait for it....

Are you even kidding me?!?!?!?! And you know what his excuse was? That he had picked out a different brand paint chip (AKA SOLD AT LOWES!) and he was trying to "color match" to the original color.

OK #1) you didn't...not even close there, my dear! #2) everyone knows that the Orange Home Depot will color match any swatch of paint for you...HELLO!?!?!?!? it's on their commercials!

Where are we on the neverending home renovation, you ask? Well, my one finished room in the house (my living room) has now been repainteda lovely shade of boring tan, but I no longer have any face plates, molding, base boards or curtains. So, I now have ZERO finished rooms in the house. And my kitchen has a blue tarp on the hardwood floors and not an ounce of paint on the walls. Go figure!

That's all I have time for right now. I'll check back soon!

Love, Kelli

PS - even though C had the longest "catch" of the day, some kid who caught a 15.5" catfish won the tournament. Semantics!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What I do for Fun

One of my favorite blogs to read is CakeWrecks. Jen is extremely funny, a bit snarky, and a not so closeted science-fiction geek. I'm not sure why I feel so connected to her sometimes ;-). She shares pictures of "professional" cakes that have gone horribly horribly wrong.

One of my goals in life, is to own my own bakery and be a "professional". I like doing wedding cakes, because that's where the money is in cake decorating, but I really LOVE to do little party cakes (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). I can be a bit more creative with a party cake. One of my greatest fears, is that my cakes would somehow end up on Jen's blog (hoping not, though). I thought I would share some cakes that I've done. Keep in mind, that I do this out of my home, for friends, and that I work full time :).

I made this cake for my mom's retirement party a few months ago. Each layer was a different flavor and included butter cream frosting under the fondant (cuz fondant tastes icky, but is really pretty). Other than the 2 live Gerber daisies, I made the flower decorations.

I made this cake for a little girl's 5th birthday party. I was a little disappointed in the overall color (I wanted it to be more yellow than brown). I LOVE the leaves and ivy, but they seem to big for the dainty little flowers.

This cake was for the same little girl the previous year. This is all buttercream except for the fondant in some of the flowers, leaves, butterflies, etc. The birthday girl placed some of her cute little fairy dolls on this cake, and it's still one of my favorites.

This is one of the first cakes I ever did in all fondant. I thought it was really great when I did it, but I think I could do it better now :-). This was for my friend's daughter who was turning 16 on Saint Patrick's day. She wanted a St Patty's day cake that was whimsical and wasn't just a big shamrock. Her friends thought she was pretty cool!

I did this cake a few weeks ago for my son's 8th birthday. This is the Daytona International Speedway, as interpreted by me. I'm pretty sure that the Daytona 500 doesn't have a figure 8 or a cave in the middle of the track, but I still really liked it. The checkered flag and the road is fondant, and everything else is buttercream. It was yummy. Also, just for the record, my son added the ugly candles and cars. I tried convincing him he didn't want to mess up my piece of art with candles and Hot Wheels, but he felt differently.

I'm almost a little embarassed to show this one, but this is one of the very first cakes I ever did. It was for one of my co-workers baby showers. The big black smiley faces on he stars are a little over the top. I still love it, though!

Just wanted to share. I hope you enjoy! If you're ever in the Cincinnati area and need a cake, let me know :-)!
Love, Kelli

Monday, May 4, 2009

Life is Funny....How to Fix Your Marriage...

After Friday night's post, I feel like I need to post a "funny". Just for the record, I actually love my husband very very much and he's a good dear man. I just like to complain about his taste in interior design :).

I get a joke email delivered to my email inbox every morning. This morning, I nearly spit my fresh brewed extra caffeine 2 splenda iced tea at my computer screen. This is not mine, it's courtesy of (you should seriously sign up). I also thought I would share in Wendy's carnival, cuz it's funny! You can find the carnival "rules" on her blog

How To Fix Your Marriage...
After just a few years of marriage filled with constant arguments, a young man and his wife decided the only way to save their marriage was to try counseling. They had been at each other's throats for some time and felt that this was their last straw.

When they arrived at the counselor's office, the counselor jumped right in and opened the floor for discussion. "What seems to be the problem?" Immediately, the husband held his long face down without anything to say.

In contrast, the wife began talking 90 miles an hour, describing all the wrongs within their marriage.After 15 minutes of listening to the wife, the counselor went over to her, picked her up by her shoulders, kissed her passionately and sat her back down.

Afterwards, the wife sat speechless.The marriage counselor looked over at the husband, who stared in disbelief. The counselor said to the husband, "Your wife NEEDS that at least twice a week!"The husband scratched his head and replied, "I can have her here on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

That's all for now!
Love, Kelli

Friday, May 1, 2009

Color Blind

I promised I would fill you on on the "drama" that happened last week while I was on vacation. Here is my lame attempt at explaining what happened.

First off, I didn't know that men really cared about colors. My husbands idea of how colors "go together" is whether this shade of brown is the same as this other shade of brown. I have been working on him for at least a year now that I wanted to add color to the kitchen. He got to paint his new bathroom downstairs a lovely shade of off-white with white trim. I get to choose the colors upstairs. right??? WRONG!!

So, I went to the orange Home Depot (not the blue Home Depot that my son prefers) and picked out several different shades that I wanted to paint the kitchen. There were some pretty orange-ish colors, some nice shades of green, and a gorgeous shade of bluish gray that I simply had to have!!! I managed to convince him that this beautiful shade, "Contemplation", was what we needed. (Doesn't the name even sound serene?) I know my husband quite well, by now. Of course I had him sign his initials to my "Contemplation" paint chip.

The next morning, the paint manager at the orange Home Depot gladly gave me 3 gallons of primer, 1 gallon of white ceiling paint, 2 gallons of "Parchment Paper" for my long hallway, and 2 gallons of my beloved "Contemplation". She did laugh at his scribbled initials, but she definitely understood and appreciated my logic. Heck, I had my bases covered!

My dad came over the next day and helped me prime and paint (2 coats) the kitchen, hallway, and ceiling. It was a long long day, but my kitchen was beautiful when I was done. Now, I held my breath until my husband walked in the door.

Long story short....he hated it!!! And, I apparently used the wrong kind of primer. I was so devastated I cried for 2 days. I'm sure my crying had nothing to do with the fact that I was completely exhausted, had spent $300 on paint and supplies, and that "Mother Nature" might have been visiting.

I had to listen to him complain non-stop about how the kitchen didn't "match" the hallway or the living room (which is the only finished room in my house, by the way)! And he kept complaining about the primer poisoning that he was suffering from. Granted, I purchased the prime that the lady told me to buy. How, was I supposed to know that oil-based primer shouldn't be used in doors!

So now, not only does he want to repaint the kitchen and hall, but he also wants to re-paint the ceiling and living room! And I know he's going to need to re-prime everything because it stinks so bad.

This all happened on Tuesday. On Friday, I finally went with him to the blue Home Depot (I'm sure they don't really like me calling them that) with my husband to pick out new colors. I told him I would be involved in choosing the color, but that I wouldn't help him paint. I had already been there, done that! Either way, he picked out a new color for the living room (which is actually quite nice and I will secretly like it I'm sure, but I'll never tell him that) and a new color for the kitchen.

So you ask...why am I complaining? I'll tell you why. First off, here is a swatch of my beloved "Contemplation" (the color doesn't exactly come across here, but it's a gorgeous shade of blue, green, and a bit of gray):

Now, here's why I'm complaining. Here's what he picked out to replace the "Contemplation" that he simply couldn't live with. I introduce you to "Limelight":

Yep - tell me about it! Hello People!?!?! It's like the same color!

OK - rant over. Do you know what I'm doing this Saturday? Yep, that's right! I'm going shopping, getting a manicure and pedicure, and having lunch with my sister and using his debit card. Guess what he's doing?

That's all for now!

Love, Kelli