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Monday, June 13, 2011

Columbus Zoo

Ethan and I had the chance to spend a day at the Columbus Zoo while we were in Ohio.  Ron’s dad was in the hospital, so we were all spending lots of time there.  One day, while Ron spent the day there, Ethan and I went to the zoo.  It was a beautiful day for the zoo.  We saw lots of animals!


SMART polar bear was cooling off in the water.  It was HOT there that day! 


Ethan enjoyed the bears!


And a BEAUTIFUL, regal looking eagle!


LOVED this sleepy tiger!  It was hot, so most of the animals were resting in the coolest spot they could find.



Pink flamingos are my FAVORITE!



Sea Horses are COOL!


We could have spent HOURS in the aquarium!




In this bird house, we could buy a little cup of nectar and walk in.  Ethan had this bird on his shoulder within 10 seconds of walking in the door!

Ethan and the birds

It was a great day to spend together with my youngest son!  We just had FUN being together and seeing cool things!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family Gatherings

Graduations are a good time for family to get together and visit.  We recently traveled to Ohio for nephew Nathan’s graduation.  The weather was beautiful and the family was mostly all gathered together.  The food was good and the visiting was even better!


Nathan with Grandma and Grandpa Koch


Ethan and Sarah play Corn Hole


Gene and Krista play Hillbilly Golf



          Danny plays Hillbilly Golf                                                    Ronnie plays Hillbilly Golf



And Sarah plays, too…LOOK at that FORM!                Avery just hung out and played it cool.


He even hung out with me for a while!

IMG_2429 Fuse

Jessica, Curtis and Avery


Martha, me, Krista and Val


Ronnie, Gene, Martha, Danny



Martha and Sarah


Gene and Krista


and family



Avery and his grandpa!


Danny and Val


Me, Ethan and Ronnie


and finally…Me and Ronnie.

Thanks, Martha, for hosting the whole crew for a few days!  We enjoyed the day greatly!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Good Dog

I don’t even exactly remember how it came about, but we received a phone call a little over 11 years ago.  This fella’s parents had a “mostly” yellow lab puppy that was just a few months old.  This puppy had a bit too much energy for his folks to handle, and he’d heard we were looking for a dog for our family.  We agreed to take her.

When she arrived, she BOUNDED out of that pick up and took off running.  We instantly fell in love with her.  She was just 4 months old, and wow…REALLY full of energy.  She was named “Sandy” but one of us in the family changed her name immediately.  (Much to the dismay of the rest of the family…THEY all thought it would be awesome to have a dog named Sandy…me?  Not so much!)  It took us a while to settle on the spelling of her name, but KT was Ron’s choice, and it stuck.

We tried keeping KT mostly outside, but she yipped and barked all night long and we were afraid our neighbors would hate us.  So we brought her in that first night.  And…she never spent another night outside.  We began referring to her as “Princess dog” because she would NOT go outside if it was rainy.  She wouldn’t get her feet muddy!  She sometimes went more than 24 hours without going potty, if it meant she could keep her feet clean! 

She had been a farm dog for her first 4 months.  I’m not sure if that is the reason she never once had an issue with going to the door to go outside to do her business or not.  She just NEVER had an accident in the house…(well…except for the ONE time…the weekend after Thanksgiving when my sister’s family and my family went shopping and out to dinner.  We came home to find an ENTIRE pumpkin pie missing…and a HUGE mess on the carpet!  GROSS!!)  KT was SO sheepish, and hid in her kennel for a few hours!

For the first several years, we had to work hard to keep that dog at home.  If the door was open even a smidge, she’d nudge it open and work her way out and take off.  My kids spent HOURS on bikes and on foot, chasing that dog down.  KT always knew if she’d done wrong…she’d hide her eyes, turn her head away from us or go and lay down in her kennel.  She hated disappointing us…but she just couldn’t help herself.  One year, Grandma Marge brought Ethan a pretty blue birthday cake.  We left it (dumb on our part!) in the middle of the table while we went to midweek.  When we came home, a big (doggie sized) bite of Ethan’s birthday cake was missing!  And KT was hiding in her kennel and wouldn’t look at us.  (Ethan didn’t know…we hid the side with the missing cake and put candles on and sang to him and he never knew the difference)

KT  made a couple of trips to Ohio with us…Once it was just her and Ron in his little blue car for the whole trip.  She LOVED car rides!  She went camping at split rock with us several times as well.  She loved the water and had a blast retrieving her fetch toy when it was tossed in the creek or the pond.  Ron and I walked that dog for miles.  She never did learn to walk with us very well…she was definitely a puller and a tugger!  By far, her very favorite activity in the world was playing fetch.  She’d play til she literally couldn’t move any more.  Then she’d rest a while, and toss that ball back to us to throw again.  She spent many nights by our side with a small fire going in the back yard.

Ethan was only 1 when we got her.  Those two have been buddies for 11 years.  Best friends.  The first thing Ethan did every morning was to pet her and feed her, and the last thing he did each night was give her a scratch and a hug good night.  She knew that he was the one who would give her a treat at night.  Each morning, she would lay right outside his bedroom door, waiting for him to get up to feed her and play.

While my dad was sick in Ohio, we talked to Ethan one night.  He was worried about KT.  He told us that her back legs just weren’t working right.  Sadly that was only the beginning…very quickly…all too quickly…her back legs quit supporting her.  She’d go down the steps to go potty but couldn’t get back up them.  Or she’d walk across the front lawn and then her legs would quit and she’d have to just lay there til they decided to work again.  We took her to the vet, but was told she had tumors that were causing her problems.  We, extremely sadly, knew it was time.

KT was a great dog, and we all miss her terribly.  It’s quiet around here.  No one to clean up our food when it drops on the floor.  No one to play fetch or walk with us.  No ears to scratch.  No dog laying at our feet, tripping us when we try to get up.  No paws on our lap, or nose nudging our hands for a pet.  We knew we’d miss her, but didn’t know quite how much.  She really was a beautiful dog and a perfect fit for our family.

KT fell asleep at the vet on Monday, May 23, with me petting her and Ron scratching her ears and saying “Good dog”.


Ethan and KT, Aug. 2005

KT in a hat


She loved playing with her kids in the snow!  Jan. 07


In Wapak at Grandma and Grandpa Koch’s, with her chewed up throw toy.  When traveling, that was like a security blanket for her.  July 07


Same trip…never to far from Ronnie…


She always wanted to be near her people!

E and KT


We often wondered what all KT did when we weren’t home…March 08IMG_3787

She loved being outside with us!  April 08



KT May 08

The only furniture she ever got up on (to our knowledge) was the patio furniture…so she could better sun herself!


May, 2011


May, 2011


May 2011



KT 08

Good Dog, KT!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I stopped buying taco seasoning a year or so ago.  I used to buy a LOT of taco seasoning, because I use it in so many different ways.  I was buying it in bulk at Sam’s Club, and then when I’d run out, I would buy those little packets.  I found this recipe, and wow!  It’s GREAT!  I usually multiply it by 10 and store it in an old (BIG) container that had taco seasoning in it from Sam’s Club.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can tweak it to your tastes.  You can add more or less pepper flakes, or substitute a little cayenne pepper.  You can use more or less of any of the ingredients to make it the way your family likes it.  We like it just as it is…or maybe a BIT hotter, and I often reduce the salt by a bit.

I generally use close to 3 tablespoons / pound of meat.  Try it.  You’ll never go back to store bought packets again.

Homemade Taco Seasoning (x 5 in 1st parenthesis)  (x 10 in second parenthesis)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder  (5 T)                 (10 T)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  (1 1/4 t.)      (2 1/2 t.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (1 1/4 t.)       (2 1/2 t.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (1 1/4 t)      (2 1/2 t.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano  (1 1/4 t.)       (2 1/2 t.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (2 1/2 t.)                      (5 t.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin  (7 1/2 t.)  (5 T)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (5 t.)                                   (10 t.)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (5 t.)                         (10 t.)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Use approximately 3 tablespoons in place of 1 taco seasoning packet.

The Sound of Music!

I LOVE The Sound of Music!  When Rachel told me that was going to be the school musical, I was thrilled!  She was happy to get the part of a nun (Sister Margaretta) and did an EXCEPTIONAL job!  Ron and I were SO impressed with her performance!  And she makes SUCH a cute nun!






Hee, hee…Rachel and Katelyn just always make me laugh!  I love those girls!

Ethan also had a part in the play.  He was chosen to play Friedrich, one of the Von Trapp children. He did very well, as well!  We were quite pleased.  He did come home and tell us “everyone LAUGHED at me when I tried to sing “Good NIGHT” and couldn’t hit the high note!”  We told him to just try to ham it up and laugh at himself the next performance.  Which he did!  He had MULTIPLE costume changes!


The Von Trapp “uniform”


Pajamas, for the “thunderstorm” scene


Play clothes, made out of the curtains



A suit, for the evening dinner scene


Back to the “uniform”


back to the suit for the wedding


and finally….the traveling clothes.




GREAT JOB, Ethan!  We really enjoyed watching you perform!

And then there was Cameron.  He, also, had multiple roles.


He started in the pit.


Then he was a distinguished guest at the dinner party (an Austrian…I can’t remember his name)



Then he was a Nazi.


And…he ended up back in the pit.

Great job, Cameron!  You are a man of many talents, and I enjoyed watching your performance!