Konza Prairie Nature Trail

Derek wanted to get some extra exercise in last night, so we tagged along with him to the Konza Prairie Nature Trail. Last time we went, there were no leaves on the trees and grass was just beginning to sprout. Now everything is green and wildflowers are blooming! I snapped the panoramic picture from the top of the hill, just as the sun started to go down. We didn’t go all the way through the trail but the boys love this walk “up the mountain.”


Spicy Sesame Noodles

IMG_1221Republishing this post from a couple years ago to keep this old favorite recipe handy!

This is a meal that I make when I’m running behind and need something super easy. The great thing is that is uses mostly pantry items or things we often have on hand. You can eat it right away, but I think the leftovers are even better, especially cold. I may or may not have had a bowl for breakfast before! If you have leftover shredded chicken that makes a great addition.

Spicy Thai Noodles

1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or more to taste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or lime juice)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Chopped green onions, shredded carrots, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, edamame for toppings

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Heat oil, sriracha, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and peanut butter in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Drain the noodles and return them to the pot or to a large bowl. Toss the noodles with the oil mixture and tops with green onions, carrots, peanut and cilantro. Can be served warm, room temperature, or cold.

Hildebrand Dairy Farms

This past Friday we finally made the short drive to a local dairy farm. It’s about 15 minutes away for us.

As you drive down the dirt road approaching the farm, you pass cows lazily eating in the pasture. They’ll stop to stare back at you.

Even with the faded colors of the landscape, it was still beautiful with the sunshine. I can only imagine how green it is in the spring!

The farm schedules tours, which I would love to do, but this time we came to check out the farm store.

They sell their milk in sturdy glass bottles that you return. Their whole milk is delicious, and their cream is amazing. In addition to that, they also have buttermilk, creamline milk, and several flavors like chocolate, mocha, strawberry, root beer (?!), and season flavors like pumpkin spice. We took home their eggnog and Theo’s loving expression says it all:

They don’t sell just milk, but also butter and cheese, beef, bacon, sausage, raw honey, and farm fresh eggs, which I was really excited about finding a good source for eggs nearby.

They also make soft serve ice cream with their milk, and even though it was under 50 degrees, we had to try it out. Cold but delicious!

I’m sure we’ll be back often. Their eggnog and cream is definitely on my Thanksgiving grocery list!

Our First Month in Kansas


We packed up and left my late grandparent’s home, where I was living with the boys during Derek’s basic training. We’re going to miss that sprawling farmhouse and country life.

Derek drove the truck, and I drove the van with the boys. The boys were great travelers (the DVD player in our new van definitely helped!) and we stopped in Illinois for the night, and arrived in Manhattan, KS late the next day.

We moved into an apartment near Fort Riley, and unloaded the truck. Boxes everywhere!


Derek had a four day weekend for the holiday, which helped us get most everything unpacked.

We visited our new church, Manhattan Presbyterian. This was a huge answer to prayer and we are so thankful to have a wonderful community to join. We’ve enjoyed worshiping each week, slowly getting involved, and the fellowship in people’s homes and outside of Sunday morning service.

On the Fourth of July we watched the local parade, ate BBQ, took the boys to see Despicable Me 3, and watched fireworks from our bedroom window.

On July 10th, we celebrated Theo’s second birthday! As you can tell from the video, he loves to be Batman, and wears this cape almost all day, everyday. He’s obsessed.

The views of the Flint Hills are beautiful, and video can’t really do it justice. This month has been hot, usually hitting 100 every day, but we’re hopefully going to see it start to cool down.

We’ve played at a fun splash pad, ate fries at 5 Guys Burgers more than once, opened up birthday packages that made the boys’ day, visited the library, found a little produce market to get our summer tomato fix, and snuck a couple playground visits in between the heat. While Kansas doesn’t feel quite like home yet, I know when the time comes that we’ll be sad to leave it.

Theodore’s Second Birthday

the birthday boy opening a card from Papa Gregor and Grandma Kelly (his mouth is blue from a lollipop he got at the apartment office)

Theo’s birthday snuck up on us this year, since we have been busy moving and packing in the last couple weeks.

We kept things simple, and Jude suggested that Chick-fil-a would be fun. So when Derek got home from work we drove 20 min to Chick-fil-a (a new luxury for us) and let the boys play “aliens” in the playscape with other kids, until they were sweaty and out of breath enough to sit and eat their meal. Well, Jude anyways. Theo was content to take a break a lot sooner, and he ate a lot more than Jude. He’s a less distracted eater, and while Jude eats just enough to get by, Theo enjoys the experience for itself.

We stopped at Walmart for a cake, which pained my homecooked soul a little, but the boys were so excited to pick a cake out. We talked Jude down from “the best cake for Feo,” and went for the 8 inch round cake over the giant Batman sheet cake. After we brought it home, we cleaned up a little Batman action figure to put on top, and circled him with candles. Theo loved it and they’ve been eating cake since Monday, a little at a time.

Here’s the funny part: Theo is a creature of habit. He likes routine, and protocol. Once we do things a certain way, that’s the way it should be done and needs to be repeated. When Michigan spring turned from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in one week, he was so mad at me that I wouldn’t let him wear his flannel hat, and heavy coat in the stroller anymore. That just wasn’t the way we did things! He’s adjusted to sunglasses and sandals now and will probably have another fit with the heavy coat comes out again.

The morning after his birthday, at 6 am, he woke me up crying for “Batman.” I thought he meant watching a movie or something, and said no. He lead me to the fridge and pointed to the cake. So I got the cake out and gave him a slice (it’s his birthday cake after all). He still wasn’t happy, repeating “Batman, batman,” until he found the little figurine on the counter and brought it over for me to put on the cake. Ahh….that’s it! So we’re good, right? Nope. Total commitment to repetition means we had to find candles, light them, and sing happy birthday again before we could enjoy a slice. That’s the only way this particular cake could be properly served! I honestly think it was about the routine he had in his mind, and not so much about the special attention. Either way, he enjoyed it and it made me laugh to be standing in the kitchen at 6 am in my pajamas, just the two of us, singing happy birthday to him again. He wanted the same thing the next day, but two times of lighting candles was plenty, haha.

​Happy Birthday, sweet little boy! You add so much joy to our family!