Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mama Tip Tuesday! Bisquick Pumpkin Choc Chip Waffles

Fall = Pumpkin Everything!

Really can there ever be enough pumpkin goodies around?

This past Sunday was a magical day. The cool crisp fall air came through my bedroom window as I snuggled up in my warm bed. The kids slept in, then came into my bed to snuggle and snoozed some more. I lay there not wanting to get up, but also knowing I had to eventually get up and make breakfast for everyone.

I stumbled sleepy into the kitchen not knowing what to make. Feeling a little nauseous too being in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I needed something fast and easy. So I found the Bisquick thinking hey that's easy. Then I remembered I had about half a can of pumpkin puree in the fridge from making cookies the night before. Eureka! A perfect morning for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles! Breakfast was ready in a flash. Perfection.

Bisquick Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles
2 cups Bisquick or baking mix
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of mini Choc chips
Preheat and grease waffle iron
Mix all ingredients until most lumps are gone. 
Then pour in the center of the iron.
Cook about 5 minutes or to crispy perfection.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cheers to American Spirits at ISM - Opening September 20th

I So Could Have Been A Flapper

I'm fascinated by history, whether Indiana, American or World. I love to dive in and understand how people before me lived and what was important to them in their daily lives. What influenced their decisions? What did they value? How did they dress? Where did they live and work? What made them the person they were? What legacy did they leave? I know...so many questions. Can't help it. I'm inquisitive, and I adore the art of storytelling!

And storytelling is something that the Indiana State Museum does oh so very well. I could get lost within its walls for days taking in all the treasures and stories. Their newest exhibit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition opens September 20th and runs until February 15th, and I can't wait!

I've always been intrigued by flappers, gangsters and bootleggers. Oh what an interesting time 1920-1933 was in America and even our dear Indiana! A gangster or two passed through our very state from time to time. My quaint Fortville has a Bed and Breakfast that is rumored to have housed a prohibition-era gambling operation often visited by the legendary Al Capone! Many Hoosier's stories are weaved throughout that time frame. Billy Sunday, May Wright Sewall and Grace Julian Clarke to name a few. 

Come to think of it, I believe there has been a Halloween or two in my past where I've gone as a flapper! Yes my love affair with the flapper has been going on for years. You have to admit their outfits are just cool and the pictures you see always ooze confident American woman! They were their own woman and didn't let society define who they were to be in their daily lives. I love it! I so could have been a flapper!

To think the prohibition struggles so long ago have played a very key role in shaping the world's attitude towards alcohol today. What if alcohol was still illegal? What kind of world would it be if there were no craft brews, no small wineries, no beautiful aged bourbons? The Super Bowl commercials would definitely be different. No magnificent Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales gracing our screens. One of my favorites! I wouldn't be able to go down the street to Scarlet Lane Brewing Company with my growler and get a sampling of their newest artisan brew. No fall visits to Oliver's Winery to enjoy the scenery and a glass of wine with friends. Oh how the world would be different.

I love that the Indiana State Museum is bringing this slice of American history to us in an interactive new 5000 square foot exhibit, complete with multimedia experiences, temperance speeches, a re-creation of a speakeasy and over 100 rare artifacts from the time period. It will be as if you are right there in the middle of all the action! Who would you have been back then? A dry? A wet? A bootlegger? 

I would have been the girl in the middle to the left. Yep her!

For more info on planning your visit and ticket prices, visit the museum website. Tickets are now on sale for an after hours special Indiana Spirits event October 3rd. Special event visitors will be able to celebrate the new exhibit with a VIP Speakeasy featuring a bourbon bar and gorgeous canal terrace city views. Additionally prohibition-era themed cocktails, a vintage photo booth and live music. It's a perfect excuse for a date night out and a fun way to enjoy the Indiana State Museum after hours all dressed up!

I want to hear all about your experience when you go visit! Make sure to hashtag #ISMSpirits and follow the Indiana State Museum on FB and Twitter to keep up with all the cool and exciting exhibits!

Wandering Wednesday - Whimsy on Binford's North End

Gift Closets - What a Nifty Idea

The idea of having a gift closet never occurred to me until I met Indy's most Twisted Sisters! And what a fabulous idea it is! A place to stockpile gifts perfect for any occasion or even a stockpile for holidays. It allows you to browse anytime during the year and find perfect items and have them tucked away and handy for when the time arises that you need a gift for an event, birthday, shower or holidays. You can look with certain people in mind or for "generic" give-ables all year long. Just think by doing this you are also able to take advantage of sales, instead of waiting until the last minute to find a gift and most times spending more than you'd really have preferred.

Eureka! We all have those friends who always give the most perfect gifts, even on short notice. My wonderful sister-in-law, Rhonda, is just like that. She always has the best simple thoughtful gifts. Even themed gifts. I always wonder how she does it too. I bet money she has a gift closet now I know such a thing exists! Okay, Rhonda, give it up...you have a gift closet, don't you?

I called her. She does. She laughed at my questioning. She's had one for years. It's in her walk-in closet tucked in a corner. Here's some of her current gift closet loot.

If only I had been given this idea back on December 26th, I'd have my own gift closet well stocked by now. Instead it's September and I'm already stressing over the upcoming birthdays AND holidays and getting organized to get it all done within budget. I guess it's never too late to start! And it doesn't even have to be a whole closet, maybe start with a drawer, single shelf or an empty cedar chest just begging for something fun inside. 

So what kind of items are perfect for a gift closet:
  • Cards, wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper and bows of course
  • Simple selection of age-appropriate gifts for last minute children's birthday party invites.
    • Target Clearance - It's a gem mine for a gift closet! 
    • Board Games! Who doesn't love a board game?!
    • Books - I could get lost in Barnes & Noble any day. Every kid needs, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.
  • Baby shower items. 
    • Shopping all year long will let you pick up cute items on clearance and save.
  • Bridal shower items.
    • Bed, Bath & Beyond Clearance
    • Kitchen gadgets
    • Wine
  • Graduation gifts.
    • You could even keep a jar in the closet with a little cash tucked away for this gifts. We all know grads prefer cash over wrapped pretties.
  • Teacher gifts.
  • Holiday gifts. 
    • Giving Tree at Church
    • Stocking stuffers too.
  • Themed gift items perfect for gift baskets such as a relaxing spa, beach or movie themed one.
I feel inspired! I'm taking the gift closet challenge! Are ya with me? My first stop is Twisted Sisters on Binford's North End. The Sisters were the ones that gave me the idea and I think it only fitting my first gift closet item be something from their unique gift shop! Shop Small Peeps! It does a world of good.

About Twisted Sisters (A Featured FortvilleMama Sponsor):
Twisted Sisters on Binford’s North End is your go-to gift shop featuring whimsical handpicked specialty gift and d├ęcor items, personally selected by two of the most hilariously twisted sisters to ever grace the Indy area, Teresa and Linda, and their equally witty business partner, Judy.  The three pride themselves on sourcing local and domestically crafted artisan merchandise. Featured items include handcrafted jewelry, soaps, handbags, fused glass works, recycled content items and food items, such as heavenly organic specialty peanut butter produced right here in Indiana. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Kryptonite? A Good Deal of Course!

I Swoon Over Clearance Tags and Price Cuts

I Get Giddy Over BOGO Sales

But the SALE that puts the biggest spring in my step, comes around just twice a year. Each spring and each fall at the Hamilton County Fair Grounds. The Indy Kids Consignment Sale! Keep reading peeps, there's passes to be won at the end!

By far the most consistently amazing kids consignment sale I've ever experienced. I've been going for about five years now and each and every year I discover amazing finds for each of my kids. I go with a list of things to look for that my kids need and I usually find most of my list and a few extra items all within my set budget. The prices are amazing! All gently used (and sometimes brand spanking new) for great prices. Here are some of my favorite finds over the years and their approx. cost.

One of my favorite Indy Kids Sale finds!

  • A light pine toddler bed for $25. That specific year, baby girl's brother had gone through a Spiderman period and broke her current bed just weeks before the sale while testing his webbing/flying skills in her bedroom. Brothers!
  • A handmade pink fleece jacket (pictured above) for $6. So well made. Baby girl adored it! We were sad to see her grow out of it.
  • T-shirts $1-$4. If you really look, you can find both long and short sleeve T's for cheap. Always good to have lots of these. If you're kiddos are like mine, they often go through multiple outfits a day as they play hard.
  • Unique dresses. $3-$10. I love that I can find sweet little dresses she can wear to preschool or church that are unique. You can often find holiday dresses as well on the racks for way less than new at the department store. 
  • Shoes $2-$15. In the younger years, I'd had great success in the shoe area. Crocs, Spiderman and Hello Kitty Boots. Sparkly flats. Boys Nike shoes that were barely used. Amazing luck! Shoes are expensive. If you can find a pair that have hardly been used, I say BINGO, get 'em girl! (HINT - take a shoe in your kids current size with you. Helps to easily hold it up and compare sizing on the fly.)
  • Homeschool Items. Various pricing. Things from text books to learning games and puzzles.
  • Videos and CDS. Various pricing. Great cheap, gently used items to help expand your own home video and music library. My kiddos always loved to sing in the car. Finding a new kids CD that was decent was like GOLD to me.
Another element that I adore about the Indy Kids Sale is that they take the exclusive private presale passes very seriously. I've been to other sales, where the "exclusive" presale passes were way over sold and you have to end of waiting in a 2 hour line to check out when it was supposed to be an exclusive shopping event. I'm the type of mama that wants my true exclusive shopping experience, if I'm going to actually spend money to buy the special private presale passes. 

With that said, I am extremely thrilled to be able to offer the Fortville Mama readers a chance to snag a pair of these coveted private presale pass! Believe me, they are golden! Be one of the first to get to experience this fall's Indy Kids Sale. Looking for a little red wagon this year? A stroller? A Little Tikes play item? The presale passes give you the best chance to snag it before someone else does. 

All you have to do to be entered to win, is comment below with why you love the Indy Kids Sale or what item you'd love to find there this year. That simple. Make sure to check out how you can earn extra entries daily as well. Contest ends Friday (8/29/14) at noon. Follow Indy Kids Sale on FB, Twitter and Instagram too via @IndyKidsSale! It's the best way to keep up on all the hot items coming in for the sale from the consignors

Please note if you win, the presale passes are good for a private shopping event the evening of Wednesday September 10th. Please note, no children are allowed at the private presale event unless worn in a carrier. Good luck peeps. Enter away.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Surrounded By Love Is A Good Place To Be


It's been a strange week for me. My father passed on Wednesday of a massive stroke. He was 78. My mother passed a little over a year ago. Such a weird feeling to have them both gone. I feel way too young for this to be the case. Way too young, with so much more to share with them. So much more. But in my heart I know no matter where life takes me, their love follows me and always will. I'm also so blessed that they gave me the gift of 8 siblings, tons of cousins, nieces and nephews and well... just good ole family. Way blessed in that.
Herman and Gloria before all of us arrived. Weren't they cute?!
In the same manner, I am extremely blessed by my Fortville family. Over the last week, so many of you have reached out in kind words, thoughts, prayers and love. You've surrounded me with love and you've ministered to my family in beautiful ways in our time of grief. You are amazing; a beautiful community that I am proud to live and work within.

Thank-you to the Okerson men and Ten West Center for the Arts, Nancy Strickland and The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce, Tom Ryder and Genesis Plastics Welding, Donna and Dennis Burns, Julia Feeney (who is my newest Fortville friend!) and Community Hospital's Wellspring Pharmacy, my fellow Fortville Mama Ashley Thomas and my many many friends in Fortville who pitched in to make the luncheon after the service beautiful! You all touched my and my family's heart!

Thank-you from the entire Koehl family.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We'll Always Have Fortville In July

Ooh and Awe, and a Little Ooh La La

If you know me well, you know I hate being hot. Summer is definitely my least favorite season. It just plain makes me cranky at times. But even with the heat there are a couple of Fortville July festivities that I will venture outside for no matter how toasty. They're a definite must do for this mama and her crew!

The first is the Fortville Fireworks Show in Landmark Park (July 5th at Dusk). A perfect example of what I love most about the Fortville community! Residents of the town coming together to bring something wonderful to everyone in the town! The event is brought to life each July by the great efforts of Jeff Ratliff, and his friends. Jeff visits all the businesses in town and asks them to donate to make it happen and so many do! A big Fortville Mama thank-you to all of them! Thank-you for funding something that brings such great joy to so many and brings the community together to celebrate in the most patriotic of ways. Your efforts are much appreciated and do not go unnoticed.

Photo Credit: Andrew Okerson
Last year the folks from Six Feet Up (owners Calvin and Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker are the founders of Indiana Bastille Day) were on hand with patriotic tunes before and during the show, along with information about my other favorite July Fortville event - Indiana Bastille Day! And we're in luck, Six Feet Up, along with Ten West Center for the Arts will be mixing it up in Landmark Park again this this year with all your favorite Independence Day tunes. Rumor has it a special guest(s) will be on-hand too. I can't wait to see who it might be!!! I also can't wait to ooh and awe over the in your face close fireworks! One of the best small community July 4th fireworks shows I've ever seen! 

Next up, in mid-July, is the 5th Annual Indiana Bastille Day Celebration! This year's festivities take place in Landmark Park Saturday July 12th 4-10:30 p.m. It's one of a kind event and filled with family fun around every corner and best of all admission is FREE! Check out this great recap of last year's Indiana Bastille Day from our friend Kara Fleck over at Simple Kids! She explains the essence of the event perfectly! 

Some of my favorites from last year included: Artisan food vendors (and a delish walking taco vendor), painting of Parisian scenes in park with the Paint Cellar, live French music, live Fortville fire department demos, Peewinkle's Puppet Studio, the candle light lantern children's parade and best of all capping the evening off - a laser light show to music!

New this year a partnership with Indiana On Tap! Five local breweries will be on-hand pouring from their own tables! Festival goers will be able to enjoy beer and wine throughout the park during the event. You are no longer just confined to the fenced in garden area! WooHoo! I'm excited to enjoy a little Scarlet Lane brew with my French tunes on the concert lawn! Oh and waiter races! Local waiters will take to the soccer field in Landmark park for a friendly little competition, while holding trays!

And you know an event is great when the famous PINK ELEPHANT leaves his post to join the FUN! Sound like an event you and your crew would love?! Want some free Bastille Day Bucks to help make it even more exciting? You're in luck! The great folks over at Six Feet Up, have given us 2 - $10 Bastille Day Buck giveaways to share with our Fortville Mama fans! See below to enter! Good luck peeps!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Mama Wandering Wednesday: The Roots of Art on Mass Ave - Opening of 431 Gallery at Indiana State Museum

I adore a good back story! 

As well as Indiana history! What can I say, I'm a proud Hoosier through and through. 

I am quite pumped about the opening of 431 Gallery: Art & Impact Exhibit at the Indiana State Museum this weekend. The exhibit will showcase works from the 431 Cooperative Gallery that stood on historic Mass Ave in downtown Indianapolis from 1984 - 1993, and is in conjunction with a free exhibit entitled Ed Sanders/Life and Art at the Herron School of Art and Design that features solo works from one of 431 Gallery's founders who passed away in 2006. Bret Waller, Director Emeritus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, said in regards to Sanders, "...he painted as if painting really mattered, as if truth itself depended on it." 

As if truth itself depended on it... I've just gotta see that!

When the famous 431 Gallery opened in the early 80s, Mass Ave. wasn't exactly the Indy hot spot destination it is today. It was a bit of a poverty stricken, dark area of town. In my opinion not only did the cooperative gallery and its 17 artists (most Herron School of Art and Design students), along with the other Mass Ave galleries help spark the cutting-edge art scene in Indianapolis during that time frame, but they also planted the first seeds of what so many of us love about Mass Ave. today. So much creativity and energy nestled into a little corner of a bustling downtown Indianapolis. Really a cultural bright spot!

During its prime, the gallery was considered one of the premier Indy destinations for those looking for a taste of contemporary local art. It featured sculpture, paintings and photographs. The exhibit at the Indiana State Museum will feature a partial recreation of the famous Mass Ave. gallery where visitors can view up close and personal works from the original cooperative. Featured artists include: Bill Adkins, Anita Giddings, Larry Kline, Carla Knopp, Steve Paddock and Ed Sanders.

A sneak peak via @IndianaMuseum

There is definitely a buzz in the air about these new feature exhibits in downtown Indianapolis! It's the first time the Herron School of Art and Design and the Indiana State Museum have partnered for a major program.

The exhibits kicks-off with a progressive reception this Friday, where visitors will visit both the museum and the Herron School of Art and Design. The fun continues Saturday June 28th with two panel discussions. The first centered on 431 Gallery, and its impact on Central Indiana. The second is Our Journey: 30 Years of Art and takes a look at what's next for the Indy art scene. Both discussions are open to the public, but due to limited seating, RSVP is required. Call the museum at 317.232.1637 to save your spot.

I do hope you join me and take in a little art before the exhibits closes on September 14th and connect with the history of the Indianapolis art scene and beautiful Mass Ave.! 

Wanna enjoy it all for the price of kid's admission? Go on a Wednesday through the end of August! In an effort to make enjoying the Indiana State Museum more affordable for families, the museum launched Everybody's a Kid Wednesdays, where adults also get the $5.50 child admission price. Go ahead enjoy childhood, a little bit of summer and art too! 

*The museum exhibition 431 Gallery is funded in part by the Buckingham Foundation, the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the City of Indianapolis and is free with museum admission following the 6/27 opening reception.