Image by Laura Ketteman

Image by Laura Ketteman

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I was a terrible student.  No exaggeration... terrible.  It's not to say that I was incapable of learning. Honestly, there are probably so many details that go into reasoning through it, that it would take way too long to sort it out in a way that wouldn't  bore anyone to tears.  I was way too wrapped up in the social aspect of being a teenager.  I very much enjoyed attention from boys. I hated being forced to learn and/or study something in which I had zero interest.  I had issues with authority.  I didn't like going to a private school.  My piers probably thought I was an idiot. My true friends knew better, but really didn't get it.  My teachers, and ESPECIALLY my parents were continuously frustrated by me.  I spent the majority of my teenage years grounded for poor grades, and bitter because that interrupted my socializing....  I really wasn't all that misbehaved, but I had a whole lot of inward struggle... always feeling a bit tied down and repressed....  and, well, like I said, the list goes on and on and on.  Quite honestly, I'm so thankful those days are behind me.  I'm not proud of them, but at least I can say that I'm not the same person I was.  In fairness, who IS the same person they were as a teenager?  YIKES!

HOWEVER, my husband is exactly the opposite... THANKFULLY!  I truly want my boys to take after their dad!  :)  He loves to learn.  He reads constantly.  He was an excellent student, and the man is a wealth of knowledge.

THIS is why he has always wanted to go back to school.  When we met, he had come to St. Louis to be a student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  That education still serves us well.  :) His career, however, took a different course.  Only in recent years, have both paths joined.... into what they call "health informatics." Yeah.... you can look here:

Definition of Health Informatics

So, that's what he does... he does it well, I might add.  And he decided to get an official degree in it.

I'll be honest, the idea of him going back to school had never been a popular one to me.  He's already a busy guy.  We're managing a family of five, with three growing boys who need their dad around.  I didn't  care for the idea of time being taken away from our family, while he was in classes.

But I trust his judgment, which has not led me astray yet.  :)  He recently found this school that impressed him, and once he made the decision, he pretty much jumped right in.

WGU Missouri

To my pleasant surprise, he has managed for his studies to make little impact on our family.... so little, in fact, that I really didn't realize the weight of it until a couple of weeks ago, when we attended a "social, getting-to-know-you thing" for the students in the area.

We went to a little restaurant downtown, where they did a "happy hour" kind of event, and we met the chancellor of the school, and mingled with other students.... even met two other "health informatics" people (who knew?!!!).

And as I looked around, it all started to soak in.... he has finally done it... after nearly twenty years of wanting to, he's doing something he so badly wants for himself.  And my heart swelled with pride for this man to whom I'm married.

It's easy to overlook the wonderful things about a person when you've known them so long... to take them for granted.  I'm thankful for the moments when I'm snapped into reality and it is made aware to me in a new way, how blessed I am.  I love this man's brain... that he loves to soak up new things... that he loves to learn.  I love that he wants to continuously challenge himself, to do better... to be better.  He takes his responsibilities very seriously.  He provides for our family, all the while allowing me the freedom to make our family my top priority. 

I happen to think he's pretty awesome.  :)

Jason and me, April '14, at the WGU happy hour.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ripped Jeans

I've loved them since I was a teenager.  There have been times that they're more in style than others... On this, I don't really care.  They're casual, comfy, breezy... perfect for spring or summer.  I've had people eye me up while wearing them... and I'm pretty sure it isn't in a good way.  Still don't care.  I like them.  :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

French Toast

This is a really easy, tasty treat.  Unfortunately, my oldest doesn't care for it, but he tends to eat healthier on his own.  This is probably the only way I get a good-sized serving of eggs into my younger two on occasion.  :)

I don't really measure anything for french toast.  Break some eggs, add some vanilla and cinnamon.  The coffee creamer just makes it a bit sweeter and creamier.  Mix it up, dip both sides of bread into the batter and put it in the frying pan.  I put butter in the pan, but not on the toast after.  Top it with a little dusting of powdered sugar.  Voila.  :)

Now, I'm aware that the bread I use isn't necessarily my best option.  There's an interesting article on bread choices if you'd like to take a look:


Unfortunately, there's no way my kiddos would touch the best options for bread.  They take sandwiches for lunch to school every day, and I would maintain that their sandwiches made from home are still a healthier option than what the cafeteria would serve them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gooey Butter Cookies

I'm not a "no sugar" mom, but I do prefer to keep their treats as natural as I can.  We have a community candy drawer in the kitchen, where gift/holiday candy is rationed upon request. :)  Other than that, I prefer to keep the "desserts" as unprocessed as possible. Homemade means i know what's going into them....

Usually, when I prepare a dessert from scratch, I like to do it for real. My youngest requested these, though, so "all things in moderation" applies here. :)

Gooey butter cookies.

I used this recipe from Pinterest.

I mixed the butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla.

Add the box of cake mix (this is the part I don't prefer.... Pre-packaged cake mix means I'm cheating on the "from scratch" part, but whatevs.)

Scoop by tablespoon and bake for 10-12 minutes.

The recipe says to roll the cookies in powdered sugar before baking, but I skipped this step and heard no complaints.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Ms Heather's" Tacos

This recipe is super easy, and a huge hit in our house.

My second son was at our friends' house one night, and had these for dinner... He scarfed them down, so my buddy passed along her recipe for our family to enjoy.

Sometimes it's the most simple change that can be made to improve something!

I've made several variations of tacos, burritos, enchilladas, etc., but I'd never thought about this: baking the tacos. We always just made our filling, put it in the shells, and ate 'em!

1 lb of ground beef
1 can of refried beans
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 box of taco shells
Shredded cheese

Set oven to 350.

Cook the hamburger in a skillet, mix with the beans and seasoning.

Fill shells.

Line up in a baking dish.

Top with cheese.

Bake for ten minutes.

That's it.  My boys aren't fans of extra toppings, but you may add whatever you want from salsa to veggies to sour cream....


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My grandma :)

Yesterday, on April 1st, we marked 18 years since losing my sweet grandma.  I was 19 when she passed away.  I didn't get nearly enough time with her.

Most of my growing up, I remember her living about two minutes away, in a little apartment where my siblings and I visited often.  She was not a "we'll see her on the holidays" grandma. She was always around. When my sister and I would get angry with our parents, we would pack little bags of clothes and canned goods and plot to run away... which meant running to Grandma's house... explain the whole situation to her, and just KNOW that she would hide us for at least long enough that Mom and Dad would feel badly about us being gone.  We never actually did it.  I think I got as far as crossing our street once, and I got so afraid I'd get caught just crossing the street, that I ran back home and unpacked my bags... frustrated again that I didn't have the guts to go through with it.  Incidentally, Mom always knew about these plans. She let us plot and scheme anyway.

My mom and grandma were so very close.  Mom was the baby of five, and the only one of Grandma's children who didn't move away from the area after growing up and having families of their own.  Grandpa passed away when I wasn't even 3, and that's when Grandma moved so close to us.  If Grandma wasn't at our house, we would usually know she was on the other end of the telephone line, while Mom cooked dinner or did dishes in the kitchen.  She would even let Mom pass the phone to any one of us kids, and we'd chat away.  She would entertain me endlessly with her phone calls.  Mom says she'd let me chatter away about anything, and had no problem with any conversation my little heart desired.  I would even sing songs to her over the phone.  :)

I called her Mom-Mom all the way until I started KG.  My mom tells the story that I came home from school one day, and asked Mom-Mom if I could call her "Grandma."  She said, "Well, why, Laura?  I love being your mom-mom."  I answered, "None of the other kids at school have a mom-mom.  They all have grandmas!"  Probably broke her sweet grandma-heart, but that was the end of "Mom-Mom."  She was "Grandma" from then on.  I even have a locket that my parents gave her with the name "Mom-Mom" engraved on it.  I wish I'd never asked her to let me change it.

Oh, how she brightened a room when she entered it.  She loved colorful clothes and shoes and accessories.  She would let us girls come over and play in all of her jewelry and we just loved that she'd never had her ears pierced, because that meant we could try on all of her clip-on earrings!  She laughed... a lot... and loudly.  :)  She loved to give us hugs and kisses, and to play with our hair.

Dress up at Grandma's house.

She always carried peppermints in her purse.

She was sassy and mouthy and loved to tease my dad.  

She knew how to laugh at herself.  She never embarrassed easily.

She made regular appointments to get her "curly" (a perm) refreshed at the local hair salon.

She never had a driver's license.

She always kept Pepperidge Farms refrigerator cakes in her fridge.

She got married when she was only 17.

She never liked chocolate, because when she was young and worked in a chocolate factory, smelling it so often made her feel sick.  She never had a taste for it afterwards.  We thought that was CRAZY!  :)

She went to the "center" every week, where she hung out with other senior citizens... just to get in her social time.

She went school shopping with us every year.  She and mom would plan a day when we'd all walk to Kmart or Venture during the school sales, and we would get new supplies and clothes.

She loved to take pictures.  She let me borrow her camera.

She was strong.  She loved and cared for her mentally disabled son, when "back in the day," many other parents tried to convince her to put him in "a home."  He passed away at 17 years old, and Grandma always ever spoke of him as having been such a blessing to her.

She ironed EVERYTHING.

She loved red.

She loved trains, because her daddy was an engineer.

She loved Native American decor in her home, because her birth mother was half Cherokee. Her mom passed away when Grandma was very young, and she liked to have things around that made her think of her.

She loved music by Julio Iglesias.

She wore dentures and used to let us take them out.  Hahaa!

She would tell me when she thought a boy on TV was "cute."  :)

She saved paper towels and aluminum foil and rubber bands, because she grew up during The Depression and never wanted anything to go to waste.

She had a million stuffed-toy kitty cats on her bed.  And she made her bed that way every day, without fail and without flaw.... every cat had its place.

Sitting at the snack bar at Grandma's apartment.

She was truly one of the most special people I've ever known.  I'm so thankful for my memories of her.  I feel lucky that many of her personality characteristics were passed down to me.  :) Every time my mom says I remind her of Grandma, it makes me smile.

We always joke that God decided to take her on April Fool's Day.  She would've gotten a kick out of that.  :)  And she would've laughed and laughed as she told the story.

We all adored her... and we miss her.

My photo
ilLaurastrations Photography began in Spring of 2009.