Sunday, December 28, 2008

I got a hippopotamus for Christmas.

Bea was all giggles as she opened her presents this Christmas. And much to our surprise, she adored her new "potamus." 

And Gus was all smiles as he opened his favorite present - a Nintendo DS. He's already mastered Mario Cart and is begging for more games.

We had an abbreviated Christmas with the Weishaar family in Salina (as my mom recuperates from back surgery), and then spent the rest of the week in Colby with 22 or so of the Dennelers. Good times, good food, and lots of laughs.

Cheers to 2008, and all that awaits us in 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Cookies

Being the designated Sugar Cookie Baker for both my family and Eric's, I find myself with cookie cutters and pastry bags in-hand every year, just days before Christmas. And there I was last night around midnight, putting the finishing touches on my "Snow Cookies." Six trays and approximately 160 cookies. My carpal tunnel started setting in around the 93rd cookie. I've gotten lazy the last couple of years and have found creative ways to use ONLY WHITE frosting - I just hate the mess that food coloring makes. Plus, white-on-white decorating can be so pretty.

Anyway, here are the Christmas cookies for 2008 - snowflakes, snowballs, snowmen and the word "Snow." Eat up!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Visions of sugarplums.

We had a Christmas luncheon at the office this week, and I signed up to bring dessert - imagine that. Mini cupcakes and jumbo cupcakes came out of my kitchen this time with little cherry sours on top. I always struggle with how to "transport" my baked goods once they're done - hate for my little babies to get demolished on the drive. This time, I used lots of Christmas candies inside the dishes to help keep them in place and smash-free. Worked like a charm. You takin' notes, Martha Stewart?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh Post-it Note, Oh Post-it Note....

I decided my office at WSU needed a little holiday cheer, so I made this Post-it Note Christmas tree last week. It took 10 packages of lime green Post-its (and no, I did not expect the State of Kansas to fund my little creative whim - I bought them myself.) However, other office supplies lent themselves to the decorations - paperclip garland, CD ornaments, a star pencil, and an inter-office envelope for the tree trunk.

* Special thanks to Craig "The Elf" Lindeman for helping bedazzle the tree.
He finally found himself caught up in the Christmas spirit, but only after two days of razzin' me for wasting all those Post-it Notes (made from a tree) just to make another tree. I'm making a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation in his name.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to celebrate your 37th birthday.

5:25 am - Wake up & run on treadmill so you can have extra cake
6:22 am - Pull out that one, grey hair, reminding you you're 37 today
7:12 am - Open thoughtful presents from husband and kids
7:18 am - Have a birthday breakfast cupcake with Gus and Bea

8:00 am - Open email and see lots of birthday wishes waiting to be read
9:12 am - Sit, chat and eat birthday treats with work buddies
10:18 am - Read more happy birthday wishes on Facebook
11:15 am - Watch the snow blow outside during a birthday blizzard
3:27 pm - Read and reply to more online birthday wishes
4:38 pm - Drive home in birthday blizzard to warm house
5:22 pm - Go to mailbox and find it filled with birthday cards
6:01 pm - Eat bowl of chicken curry soup made by thoughtful husband
6:33 pm - Find funny birthday card in Gus' backpack
6:47 pm - Go to Walmart for tub of Breyer's ice cream
7:08 pm - Get "Happy Birthday" phone call from mom
7:58 pm - Bathtime, booktime and bedtime for Gus & Bea
8:20 pm - Eat one more chocolate cupcake WITH ice cream
9:15 pm - Enjoy glass of wine, Mad Men DVD, and cozy husband
10:00 pm - Bedtime for anyone 37 and older

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.

We were singing that silly Christmas tune this morning as we drove to see Santa Claus at Cambridge Market. They had this cute little gingerbread house all decorated up with Santa and Gingerbread Boy outside to greet the little ones. Gus and Bea loved the Gingerbread boy. (Who wouldn't love a giant kid made of butter & sugar, right?) But I expected lots of tears and resistance from Bea as we put her on Santa's lap. She was remarkably silent and barely moved a muscle. She wouldn't smile, talk or even look at him for that matter, so Gus asked Santa to bring her a new doll. I think I heard him request a crane and a marble tower for himself. (Which is unfortunate, because the "elves" have already made a Nintendo DS and a remote control helicopter for him. Hummm... what to do, what to do?)

Afterwards, they both got a great big gingerbread cookie to take home. Thanks Santa. We'll see you in a few weeks.

"Yes, I've been a very good boy, Santa Claus."

"I munna eat cho."

"Don't look at me and don't talk to me, just take the picture."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Does this hat go with these shoes?

Bea isn't just in the Terrible Two's, she's a Two-year-old-Tyrant. And often times I'm left to wonder: do I fight her, do I give in, or do I go get the camera?
For instance, the other morning she refused to get dressed and insisted on wearing her purple fur hat, red Elmo slippers, and soggy wet diaper. Lovely. I guess our list of errands could wait until she decided to put on some real clothes.
But, I was relieved to read in celebrity news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have similar problems with their daughter, Suri, who refuses to wear a coat or pants. Whew. It's not just the Dennelers.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Thankful for family and friends.
Thankful for good health.
Thankful for steady jobs.
And thankful for colorful turkeys.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday cake and party hats for 10,000!

WuShock celebrated his 60th birthday this week, and my office was in charge of the party. (And no, I did NOT have to bake the cupcakes, thank God!) The festivities took place during halftime of the WSU vs UMKC basketball game, where all 10,000 fans sang "Happy Birthday to Wu." Wilbur Elsea, the original creator of Wu, and Dave Johnson, the first Wu mascot, were on hand to help blow out the candles. People were also encouraged to bring presents - not for Wu, but for Toys For Tots. And I'm proud to say that the boxes to hold the toys were overflowing. It was a really fun night, and one heck of a party. Happy Birthday, Wu. You don't look a day over 18, really!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fun at Fike Park.

We took a quick trip to Colby this weekend for a pre-turkey day visit with family. The weather was so nice on Sunday, the kids got to enjoy a rare, November romp at Fike Park before we buckled them in the car for the long drive home. 

When Eric and I were growing up, Fike Park had one of those classic, 3-story "Rocket Slides." (Now deemed too dangerous, of course.) But, about ten years ago, the folks from Colby came together to rebuild a really fantastic playground for the community to enjoy. It's absolutely wonderful with all kinds of slides, climbs, tunnels and cool stuff. And as evident by the last photo, Bea did NOT want to leave. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bea loves Boots.

Bea's favorite thing in the world is Boots the Monkey. She sleeps with it, eats with it, plays with it, sucks her thumb with it, and takes it with her everywhere. So last weekend, when we were at Barnes & Noble, she discovered three more Boots on the shelf and was beyond thrilled. Eric and I decided it would probably be good to buy another "spare" Boots, just in case something happened to the one we had. Well, needless to say we didn't make it out of the store with one. It was like asking a mother to leave two of her babies behind. Bea's tears nearly broke my heart. So I let her get all three.

My bad parenting decision aside, look how happy that face is?
Bea loves her Boots. (Bootses? Booty? Boots babies?)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cupcakes for the Cure

My oven's been working overtime, baking some sweet treats for a breast cancer fundraiser held last weekend in Brookville, Kansas. A former Colby High School classmate of mine (Jodi Copeland Smith), had seen some of my edible art on Facebook and contacted me to see if I would bake some items to sell at their "Dig for the Cure" volleyball tournament fundraiser.

Jodi herself, is a breast cancer survivor, and was really excited when I suggested selling some fun, yet tasteful "Cupcakes for the Cure" - a pair of boob-like cupcakes, packaged in a sweet little pink box. I also made some giant volleyball sugar cookies frosted with pink ribbons.

The tournament was a big success. They made almost $4000, and I heard th
at my tasty boobs and balls sold out. Yea for sugar! Boo for breast cancer! (Ironically, it just dawned on me this weekend that my Aunt Maryellen - the woman who instilled in me from childhood this desire to bake fun, edible art - was a breast cancer survivor too, from the 1960's.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We had the best Halloween surprise, ever! The real WuShock came to our house for Trick-or-Wheat Friday night, and he even brought Gus a giant-sized candybar. Bea was a little scared of the big yellow guy (to say the least), but a couple of high-fives and a sucker stopped the tears so that we could all go outside and take some pictures together. Big WuShock and Little WuShock (WeeShock perhaps?) were a hit with all the neighbors too. They attracted quite a crowd. It was so much fun.

A million thanks to you, Wu!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween everyone! 

The Denneler Family went with "WSU Shockers" as a costume theme this year. Bea is a WSU Cheerleader, Gus is Wu Shock, Sandra is a 6-foot WSU foam finger, and Eric is a WSU fan. 

I'll cut Eric some slack on his lame costume because he worked so hard creating the Wu Shock head and the foam finger. He's been glueing, carving, flocking and painting a lot of foam for the last month. But all his hard work has paid off because these costumes turned out so fun. 

Go Shocks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

Today, Eric and I are celebrating 13 years of love & marriage. We've planned a simple evening at home with the kids - maybe some steaks on the grill, a bottle of wine, and for dessert: Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. (That was the "cake" we fed each other at our wedding reception.)

Every year on our anniversary, I like to go through the torture of trying on my wedding dress – just to see if I can justify eating another Swiss Cake Roll or if I need to go out and run a few more miles. It still "fits," but I wouldn't want to attempt the Chicken Dance in it. Not bad though, for 13 years and two kiddos later!

All my love and affection, Eric. You make 13 years easy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How tall this Fall?

Eric and I love taking the kids to some kind of pumpkin patch every year. Last Sunday, we hit Prairie Pines Tree Farm for their "Pumpkin Days." Gus went through the inflatable haunted house multiple times, and Bea found herself swimming in a giant pile of baby pumpkins. She picked out her favorite and proceeded to carry it around for the next three days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wichita's best kept secret.

Eric and I were lucky enough to be two of the 118 people in Wichita Saturday night that got to see Joshua Radin in concert. He's a self-proclaimed "Whisper Rock" musician that I absolutely love. You may have heard his songs on shows like Scrubs, One Tree Hill or Grey's Anatomy. His music is a combination of Jack Johnson and Ingrid Michaelson.

Anyway, the concert was so hush-hush – no publicity, no mention in the paper, no nothin' – that only a handful of people even showed up. We'd heard about it from a friend who happened to see something on a Facebook post earlier in the week. It was such a great concert. So intimate. Just Joshua and his guitar on stage, in a tiny brick warehouse, under the Kellogg overpass. It was almost surreal, and we were lucky enough to witness it live. Afterwards, I even got my picture taken with him. I'm still blushing...

Sunday, October 5, 2008


It's feeling more and more like Fall, so this weekend I decided to make our favorite, cool-weather cookie – Pumpkin Spice with Brown Butter Icing. Bea had a little tea party with them, licking off all the icing first, of course.

My friend, Lathi, shared this Martha Stewart recipe with me years ago and I just love everything about them. They're especially delicious with a cup of coffee. In fact, I think I'll make myself a hot beverage and have one right now. Yum.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Only 33 days 'til Halloween!

The countdown has started at the Denneler house. No matter what crazy ideas I come up with, Eric always exceeds my expectations with his mad costuming skills. And this year is no exception. Hush, hush on the details though until the big reveal on October 31. Be sure to check back. In the mean time, here are a few of my favorites from years past.

Kangaroo Sandra and her baby joey, Gus.

Gus in his Denneler Construction crane.

Gus piloting his DennelAir plane and Bea as a bag of airline "Beanuts."

Bea as a bee and Gus in his Denneler Construction wrecking ball.

Sandra the Art Director Barbie. * Copywriter sold separately.

Sandy the Dog and her litter of puppies.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Turning two in a tutu.

Look who turned two, on September twenty-two, in a fabulous new tutu! Bea was all smiles as we celebrated with bumblebee cakes and lots of fun presents. Thanks to Aunt Sharon and Uncle Allen for joining in on the celebration Sunday night.

I also made an Oreo cookie beehive for Bea to take to daycare and share with her little buddies. How many Oreos does it take to make a beehive? Good question. Approximately 82 (5 bags.) And yes, I tend to get carried away when it comes to my children's birthdays. I know. I know. Eric calls it insanity, I call it "inSANDRAty." I just can't help myself. Birthdays are the best!


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