Monday, January 31, 2011

Zuzu's Confused

I've noticed lately that Zuzu has been going to the front door looking out.  I think she must be wondering what happed to the shop and all the people that came to see her.  She has had one of her treat bearing friends come see her.  I wonder what she must be thinking.  The shop is on it's way to being a dining room and we've moved lots of things around.  She'll be fine and here are some shots in case you miss her.

Zuzu is our 9 1/2 year old shih tzu and former shop dog.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Vent Free Fireplace

For years we have wanted to either fix our chimney so we could use a wood stove or real fireplace but when you live in an old house safety is a big issue.  This year we decided our Christmas and Anniversary present to one another would be a vent free fireplace.

We got some recommendations and looked around different places for the vent free logs.  Our house was built in 1914 so we have very small narrow fireplaces.   We decided on an 18 inch set from Lowes with a remote.  The remote added $75 to the price but oh is it worth it in the long run.

The man who installed it works for the gas company so we thought he should know what he is doing.

I don't have before pictures but Todd had to level out the base with concrete and then patch gaps in the bricks and then paint with a special fireplace paint (available at Nicholasville Paint- my favorite paint store)

Then the chimney had to be sealed off.  They placed a piece of steel to fit the opening and then screwed it in place.  They painted it.   Then the logs were installed and we have enjoyed it so much this sold snowy winter.  Old houses are cold and drafty and cost a fortune to heat and cool so the vent free logs have kept our living room nice and toasty and since we spent most of our free time in there we could cut the furnace back.   The bills are high in the winter, but they are always high and this winter has been so cold it's hard to compare but it's been worth every penny.  If the electric goes out our logs will work and keep this one room warm so we are very happy about that.

Logs, prep and installation worked out to about $700.  Larger logs would cost more.  We already had gas in the house so they tapped into the line we have.   If you can do some of it yourself you'll save money.  We feel like we already have our money's worth.

One note in case you didn't know.  You cannot interrupt the flame in vent free logs.  This would cause the release of monoxide so they are just to look at and feel the warmth from.

Have a look:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Do you remember the Hula Hoop?

I never was able to hula hoop.  Now it is the latest exercise rage.  My daughter Laura got one about a year ago.  Hers weighs about 5 pounds.  It is about 2 inches thick with bumps around the inside so that it beats you as you hula.  It also comes apart and fits in a case.  I'm not kidding.

Now our youngest has one and has just enough room in the living room to use it.  Ok, I tried it and I got so tickled that it was like I sneezed if you know what I mean.  Anyway,  I still can't do it.  Did I think I would improve in that ability as I got older?

So here are some pictures of Marylee and her hula hoop.  Her's weighs 3 pounds and is covered in foam so it is very soft and it has no bumps to beat you.  She hula hooped for 4 minutes and 40 seconds before it slid down to the floor.  Pretty good for the first day.  Will the living room survive?  Hey, she's the last kid so who cares!

So here are some shots of the Goepper's with their Hula Hoops!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Twice As Nice

Have you been to Twice as Nice?  It's like a peddler's mall but twice as nice!  It's in the place where Goody's was on the south end of Nicholasville.  You can find just about anything there.  If you like hunting for that special treasure this is the place for you

This is Penny and she owns Twice As Nice.  You'll see her smiling face when you go there.  If you don't see her you'll see her mom or Charlotte Todd, who helps her out some.  You all may remember Charlotte from The Front Room as she would help me out on busy days throughout the year.  If you run into Charlotte there she can help you if you have any antique questions as she is a dealer and appraiser.

This is Penny and her dog Mac, a boxer.   Mac is very nice and I am very scared of big dogs.  I've never seen a nicer boxer.

See that green bowl with the painted roses on it.  My friend got that for $5.00

Here are some other views at Twice As Nice.   Check it out.  The store is open at 10 ish  each weekday.
Open until 8:00pm Monday through Friday,  10-6 on Saturday,   and 1-5 on Sunday.

It's a fun outing and a place to find that special gift or treasure.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Check out the blogs I like

I'm relatively new to blogging but I have a few favorites I'd like you to know about.

My daughter, Sarah, has a blog and it is:

Cookbook editor and author, Maggie Green has a great blog:

My friend Jill has several blogs which you can discover from her blog at:

Traci has a great blog with lots of tips on organizing and decorating :

My friend Danielle has a sweet blog at :

Our friends Scott and Valorie Walz have a beautiful blog featuring the people they photograph.  They did all three girls senior pictures, our 25th wedding anniversary and Sarah's wedding.  They print every photograph they take.

Follow some blogs, it's fun.  I hope you will follow mine too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brrrr It's Cold

                                             It's a bitter cold day for our scarecrow!

I know it's hard to tell from this picture but this a a robin feasting on the holly berries in our front yard.
I thought robin's didn't come back until spring.  This robin is so fat!  Must be finding plenty to eat in Wilmore.

 Luke 12:24  "Condsider the ravens:  They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brenda Bakes

Maybe I shouldn't post a story about a cookie when my last post was about my friend's heart attack but here goes anyway.....  My friend Brenda has started her own business making wonderful homemade baked items.  Her Facebook page is Brenda Bakes.  Every week she has a special and this week it was 24 chocolate chip cookies filled with Chocolate Ganache.  They were $10.00 and she delivers free in Wilmore.  The picture above is the presentation.  Nice brown box wrapped with raffia.

Think of this as a chocolate chip cookie round boat, perfectly baked and really tasty then think of the most delicious creamy chocolate filling you have ever had, and there you have it , my new favorite cookie!  They are so rich and wonderful.   I like baking once in a while but it is so nice to buy something that is homemade and it taste great.  Treat yourself and your family to something wonderful at Brenda Bakes.

                                   That's all folks!!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Fifty years ago Marlene and I were in the first grade together.  She remembers everything.  We had the same shoes, and our Mom's stood behind us in the classroom.  My Grandmother would be our first grade teacher.    We lived in Sadieville, population 350 and of course our Mom's knew one another.   Fast forward 50 years...............

There is a lot since then but right now all I can think about is two days ago when her son, Bobby, called me to say she was in the hospital.  They had called 911 at work and she was in the emergency room.
I jumped up and started getting ready and just as I was going to walk out the door Marlene called, said she was okay and  would be going home soon.  she had had a spell but they did an EKG and it was all good.  I told her I would bring soup up later that day.  In a few hours Bobby called to say that they got some blood results and they think she had a heart attack.  I told him I'd be right there.

On the drive to Lexington I was thinking I have to be strong, I can't cry when I go in there.  I walked in the emergency room and she looked good.  No ashy color and she showed me that she had her boots on and that if she died at least she would die with her boots on.  That's just like Marlene, to make people around here feel at ease, to crack a joke and laugh that distinctive happy laugh she has.

The Doctor came in and told her that she would not be going home,  she would be admitted and that she would need a heart cath in the morning, that she would get blood thinners and some blood pressure meds.  They would check for blockage and put stints in if there was blockage and if not she would go home after the heart cath.  Marlene wanted to go home but the doctor would not hear of it.  In hind sight she only lives a mile from the hospital and she would have rested much better but that was not to be.  They needed to check her blood through the night.

Can I just say, it's impossible to rest in the hospital.  From the crummy beds to the noises, and people in and out of the room and one's own nerves about the test to come makes it impossible.  I should have kept count on how many times Marlene said she wanted to go home.    At 4:00am this lady comes in the room to draw blood for another enzyme test.  It was dark and she had to turn the lights on so while we are trying to adjust our eyesight the lady says would you tell me your name and birthday please.  Marlene says,  Linda Goepper.  Then the happy laugh.  I said, "You little stinker."  the lady never cracked a smile.  That isn't the first time we've been in trouble for laughing.  One time in high school we were sent to the greenhouse from our horticulture class for cutting up.  That's probably the only time Marlene was ever in trouble in high school.

So at 8:00am they came to take her for the heart cath.  I remember thinking if Marlene has blockage then I am probably a walking time bomb.  She never overeats.  She eats healthy.  She rides horses and gets exercise.  They gave us a pager and Bobby and I went for coffee and tea.  In less than 30 minutes she was done.

The doctor came in and told us there was no blockage and minimal damage.  She would be put on blood pressure meds. and go home in a few hours.   So stress and high blood pressure are the problem.  Marlene never knew she had high blood pressure.  This is a wake up call.

We had her home by 1:00pm, where she could rest.  Todd, Marylee and I took the soup back later.   It's been a tough couple of days.  She'll be OK.  Thank God.

Marlene and I have been through a lot in 50 years;  the death of many loved ones,  the birth of our children and now a grandchild,  weddings,  milestone birthdays,  high school reunions, and the day to day struggles and joys of living in the world.   God has blessed me with the best of friends.  Some I haven't known long and many I've known for years.  Not having sisters makes me so grateful for my friends.  They are the "aunts" to my girls.  I know they will be there for them if something happens to me.  I can be real with them and they still love me.  They show me Jesus  with skin on.

Whew... I'm tired.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Should My Child Start Piano

Having driven my three daughters to lessons for two decades I consider myself qualified to answer this question. My father in law, Albert Goepper was a gifted musician who started out very early taking lessons with his mother, also a gifted musician. Eventually Albert took lessons with other teachers and as a child took some lessons at Julliard. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and playing in bands was a natural for him. He played in a big band and eventually became part of the Army/Air Force Band and when they spit he went with the Army Band, Pershing's Own in Washington DC. His career in the band spanned 33 years. He played trombone in the band but piano at White House Parties and many other venues. He taught lessons and played many gigs on the side.

When I married into the family I started to learn about classical music. Something I have a great appreciation for now. Albert was a very good piano teacher and I hoped that our children would have a smidgen of his talent. When I began to pick his brain about lessons his theory was that the child should be able to read, sit still, and listen and follow instructions. He felt that while some children can do well at age 5 or 6 that a child of 7 can learn everything the child of 5 or 6 learns in a year in his fist 6 months. So financially why start too early. As it turned out our three daughters got more than a smidgen of his talent and have all majored in piano in college and are all teaching so here are a few suggestions I have to offer:

1. It takes years to learn to play the piano. In this want it right now era you must have patience and be in it for the long haul. So many people who took lessons as children say I wish my mom hadn't let me quit. Some parents who wanted to play and didn't now insist their kids play without considering desire, ability and determination. When our girls began lessons we told them they could never quit. Having the history we did with their grandfather we thought there was a good chance they could do well. We told them they could try other things and quit if they didn't like it but they had to take piano until they left home. Does your child like music, are there musical people in the family line? Do they have a desire to play piano? Piano is the foundation for all instruments. They can move to other instruments easily from piano. They will know both music clefs and theory basics and it will also help them with singing.
Make this a serious decison and don't let them quit without a valiant effort.

2. Find the best teacher you can afford. Lots of people teach piano. Ask about their degree.
Is it in piano or music ed with an emphasis in another instrument? A piano major will generally be a better teacher, not always, but they should be. It's really hard to find a piano teacher with a doctorate that will teach children. They mostly teach at the college level. That seems a shame to me. It would be great to get the children started with someone who won't teach them a lot of bad habits. You might find a college student who is a piano major studying with someone really good who would not be as expensive but would not mess your child up with bad habits. Many colleges have prep departments.

3. Support the teacher. This is a group effort. You must insist that your child practice.
The teacher cannot make the child practice. You as the parent are paying for the lesson.
Would you take your child to a doctor and then not do what they told you? You need to make sure the child knows you are not going to cave in and say "okay practice tomorrow", "you'll have to quit if you don't practice" Don't bribe. There should be appropriate consequences if the child doesn't practice. Quitting is not a good option.

4. You need a real piano or a very, very good keyboard with weighted keys. Most teachers do not like keyboards. I think they have their place but I'm not a teacher. I think after the child has been playing for several years and maybe is starting to play more difficult music a keyboard can be a fun instrument to have. Ideally it is nice to have both but if you are going to take lessons you need a decent instrument. Start out with a used piano. You can always sell it and get something better.

5. Listen to your child play. Ask if they understand what they are supposed to do for their lesson. If they don't, then communicate that to the teacher. Don't try to be the teacher just encourage the child. Do not sit in the lesson. This may intimidate the child or the teacher. If you have checked this teacher out then don't feel like you need to sit in the lesson. It's not a good idea.

6. Music lessons have the potential to help your child in many ways. Studies show that children involved in music do better in math. What a benefit. If you are serious about piano lessons it will pay off and in 5 years you will be enjoying beautiful music, you'll enjoy the first years too but when you look back and see what the child has accomplished it will have been worth the effort, time and money that you invested in your child.

Our oldest daughter, Sarah, graduated from Tennessee Tech University in Piano Performance and has her own piano studio in northern Kentucky and this Christmas she recorded a professional CD for us. It's priceless to us.

Our middle daughter, Laura, is working toward a masters in Theory at SMU in Dallas, Texas. She will be working as an assistant at a national piano conference in Chicago this summer. She graduated from UK in piano performance. Laura has her own students and teaches at several piano studios in the Dallas area.

Our youngest daughter, Marylee, is a sophomore at Uk in Art Administration with an emphasis in piano. She has her piano studio in Wilmore and works as an assistant to Bryan Crisp for the Tri State Ensembles.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking back with Thankfulness and Forward with Hope

A lot happened in 2010 to be thankful for. New Year's Eve 2009, our daughter Sarah and son in law Bryan had their first child, Sadie Christine and our first grandchild on our 34th wedding anniversary. That event alone has made this year very exciting and a great big blessing. We get to see them about once a month and Sadie changes so much each time we see her that it’s always special.

Sarah turned 30 in July and we all enjoyed the celebration of that event. Time seems to be moving at warp speed. How could Sarah be thirty. To me she looks just like she did in high school.

Marylee moved into a house with 4 other girls in August and has now moved back home. She had early classes and the other girls are up all hours so we are glad to have her back home even if it’s a short time. She performed at Singletary this fall in a recital of Dr. Voro’s students. She has really grown as a pianist. I love to hear her play.

Laura got engaged in August to John Allnutt. They met at UK and he is a percussion education major working on his masters at SMU. Laura is also a student at SMU and may work toward a masters in theory. We are very happy about this upcoming wedding in August.

Todd and I plug along in our jobs and have managed to stay pretty healthy. The older I get the more thankful I am for my health. December 31rst was our 35 wedding anniversary. We celebrated Sadie's first birthday in the afternoon and then had a lovely dinner out with our girls, Bryan and John. I’m thankful for our life together and the family we have together. We are blessed. We have so many good friends.

(Marlene, Vicki, and Stephanie)


(John and Laura)

(Bob and Jill)

(Dick and vicki)

Now as I think of other things I’m thankful for many things come to mind. We are blessed to hear good messages at Southland Christian Church and love the Dollar Club and other ministries there. We are thankful for our home even if it is a money pit and hope to make some progress on the kitchen redo this year. I’m thankful for staying in touch with cousins and others on Facebook. I never planned to do it but find it’s a great way to keep up with my cousins.
I love seeing what they are doing and every once in a while sending a message.

As a woman I’m especially thankful for my girl friends. We all need them and God has given me the best of friends. In order of how long I’ve known them: Marlene, Laura, Vicki, Stephanie, Charlotte, Johanna and Jill. You all are the best. Thank you all for being there for me and teaching me so much about life, faith, and grace. I love you all.

I have so much to be thankful for. There is much more. As I wait to see what direction to take now that The Front Room is no longer open how can I not be hopeful about the future. God is good. He is faithful.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gift of Canning

Ok, the picture has nothing to do with canning. So the next best
thing is a picture of little Sadie, my 1 year old granddaughter. So, on to canning.

When I was a young girl we would go visit my Grandma Marshall for a week and we would can beans. White half runners to be exact. They had strings. So first we would pick and then string and then break the beans.
It would be August and hot as it is here in August and no air conditioning. Get the picture. This may seem unbelievable to some of you but my Grandmother didn’t have running water or a bathroom. She had a cistern. ( and an outhouse) and great big wash tubs. My job was to go to the smoke house (a small barn like building where they would hang country hams to cure. The scent was nice.) The jars were so dirty, I mean they have been in the smokehouse for almost a year. Grandma placed the giant wash tubs on the porch floor. I was just the right height to wash them while standing on the ground. Grandma would bring boiling water and soap and fill the tub around the jars. I would have to wait until I could stand to touch the water. When they were clean I would put them in another big washtub and Grandma would come out the screen door , I can still here it smack as it had a spring on it. She would pour boiling water in the rinse tub I would move them around until they were all scalded and then lift them out onto a tray. Meanwhile Mom and Grandma are cooking the beans and filling the scalded jars and putting them in the water bath canner. This method is not considered safe today. We practically lived on green beans and cornbread all winter. They always tasted good but I never want to see another white half runner.

Forward 45 years and I have just learned a new love of canning. Maybe I should say first love of canning. One thing my Grandma made that I never helped with but enjoyed the fruits of her labor, was pear preserves.
I have looked for pear preserves in shops for years and they are always anemic looking. Grandma’s were an amber color and the pears were sliced thin and the liquid around the pears was so yummy. Now I know Grandma didn’t use lemon juice and I don’t think there was fruit fresh back then, so the pears turned darker from the air. Sounds gross I guess but they were delicious. Last year I got some pears from a lady my husband works with and I found a recipe on line and tried it and they were just like Grandma’s!!!! I was so happy. My friend Jill is a pro at canning and she walked me through getting the pears done. This year I ask for a canner for Mother’s Day and I have really enjoyed getting into canning. First I did bread and butter pickles. I bought the little cucumbers at the farmer’s market early this spring. They turned out nice.
Then Jill took me blackberry picking on her farm. The heat was the same as when I was a child and the stickers on the briars got me but in an hour and a half I had one gallon. The next day I started with seedless blackberry jam.
It was very messy and I wouldn’t try this for your first experience. If I hadn’t done the pear preserves and pickles I would have quit right there.
All that work and 4 cups of berries netted me 2 half pints of jam. The good things was there was a lot of pulp and seeds left. Jill told me to boil it on the stove with water and add some sugar then strain and I would have blackberry-aide. I added a little too much sugar but it was a beautiful color and delicious. With the rest of the blackberries I made preserves. While they were processing I made biscuits. My Grandpa ate biscuits and preserves after every meal for dessert. My biscuits are small just like Grandmas.

So after those success stories I’ve done dill pickles, salsa, and pear preserves with my friend Johanna. By far the most wonderful canning I’ve done was 21 quarts of tomato juice. If you have never had homemade tomato juice, you have missed out. First of all I think it is a crime to use homemade tomato juice in soup. I mean, the bought stuff is fine for that. Drinking homemade tomato juice is like drinking a bowl of fresh homegrown tomatoes. There is just nothing better. I wouldn’t start out canning tomato juice either. Start with something easy like bread and butter pickles or preserves. To can juice you first clean the tomatoes, core, quarter and place in a large pot and heat until soft. Then you turn them through a food mill. Messy, and your neck will be sore from turning the food mill, and then you heat all the juice to 190 degrees and don’t boil. Cook for 5 minutes. I run the jars through the dishwasher. They are hot and ready to go. How easy is that. Then fill the jars, add lemon juice and salt. Lemon juice is added because tomatoes today are not as acidic as they were years ago. Then place in a water bath and process. Warning! It will be hard to give these away. If someone gives you something they have canned, they really like you a lot. Jill has applesauce canning day and I've enjoyed the fruit of that labor. My friend Annette, gave me applesauce, canned peaches, pear jam and spiced peach preserves. Yummy.

It is wonderful to have home canned items in the winter to enjoy. It makes you think about spring and summer and all the wonderful items you will can.

As for green beans, I know there stringless beans today, but I will never can green beans. I had my fill. I have learned that you can buy a giant can of green bean for less than $4.00 and I can make them taste like country green beans any day of the week. I do hope to broaden my horizons in canning. I’m scared of the pressure canner so Jill is going to help me overcome that. Jill does chicken soup and in the winter when someone is sick she can just open a jar of her homemade soup. Sometimes when I make soup it is really good but after a few days I’m sick of it. Now when I make a good batch I can have it for a meal and can the rest. I’m looking forward to that.

My Grandmother had to can to have enough food to eat over the winter. She worked very hard on the farm and finally got a bathroom and running water when she was in her 70’s. Her name was Sara and my first born is named after her. She had lots of old sayings and I’ll leave you with one. “ I’m so full you could crack a tick on my belly.”

Maybe having Sadie’s picture is perfect. She is Sara’s great, great Granddaughter. I'm told Sadie is the Jewish name for Sara.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meet the New Yamaha Artist

Our son in law, Bryan, has recently been named a Yamaha artist. Maybe you have heard of a Steinway Artist; Sarah’s piano professor at Tennessee Tech was married to a Steinway Artist, Herman Godes. He was a Jewish concentration camp survivor. I’m not sure when he was named a Steinway Artist but part of that included a Steinway piano.

Bryan did not receive a new Yamaha trumpet but he will get many accolades, perks, and recognition for this achievement. Bryan earned his undergraduate degrees in music education and trumpet performance at Tennessee Tech University where he met Sarah and then went on to Cincinnati Conservatory for his Masters and now has half of his Doctorate finished. He has a seat in the Kentucky Symphony, the Middletown Symphony, and the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. He subs for the Cincinnati Symphony and the Dayton Symphony. He is a freelance musician in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati and has played in the orchestra for many Broadway shows, most recently, South Pacific. He also performed with Michael W. Smith and Manhiem Steamroller this December. Bryan does special music for weddings and church services and if that isn’t enough he teaches many private students. He is an adjunct Professor at Whittenberg University, and The College of Mt. St, Joseph. He has worked with Beechwood High School Band, and Grant County Band Camps. He is an adjudicator at band contests. He also started the Tristate Ensembles

, and hopes to take a group to the national trumpet competition. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about all that.
We are very proud of our son in law and but not just for his music accomplishments but for his love for God, Sarah and Sadie.

Way to go Bryan! We are proud of you. Love, MIL & FIL

Friday, January 14, 2011

Who thought up dropped ceilings?

For 15 years we have lived with an ugly dropped ceiling in our kitchen.  Bigger projects always seemed more important.   This summer Todd and I tore down the dropped ceiling only to find a mess above.

Why did people ever install  dropped ceilings?  My guess is it was to save on the heating bills or cover up a mess they didn’t want to fix.  Dropped ceilings can either have 2x2 foot tiles or 2x4 foot tiles .  Ours had the later.  

The mess above was broken plaster and lathing.  I don’t think I’ve ever been dirtier.  It took three days to get the kitchen usable again.  So the surprise above was that after the plaster and lathing was down we were looking at the inside of the roof in half the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom floor on the other half.  So we decide we would place 1x4 inch boards above the beams and then try to match the finish of the bottom of the bathroom floor and have a rustic look.   This redo is going to take a long time.  Living with a mess is still worth taking down that dropped ceiling.  Someday it will be done.  

These work days have a way of trying your  patience.  I don’t think any couple married under 25 years should even consider it. :)