Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Adventure Up North

We are leaving first thing in the morning to head north to see my folks and to celebrate Christmas with them. Dave is actually excited to go! That is a shocker for everyone. He has an ulterior motive you see. He is a huge space geek. Loves all of the facts about the space program, knows facts about the astronauts, etc. Well, through some online searching, he found that Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 fame (played by Tom Hanks) owns a restaurant up north with his son. So, on Tuesday, we will be going there for lunch. It will be super expensive so we are calling it our anniversary celebration (we made it 13 years last month). Check it out:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Secret Santa?

Yesterday at work I received a package from Harry and David's. Inside was a fantastic box of gourmet cookies. Problem is - I have no idea who they are from!

So Readers, if the lovely present is from you, thank you so much!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Joys of the Season

So, I had my first holiday meltdown tonight. You know, where the stresses of the season overwhelm you and you rant and rave? It went a little something like this:

Me: "I am having a hard enough time getting everything done at work and at home - I cannot add another big project like rearranging a bedroom! I am cooking and cleaning and shopping and wrapping and baking and organizing all of the activities! I can't do one more thing"

Him: "So I should have helped you fold the laundry right now?"

Me: "Or at least put your book down when I am having a meltdown!"

Happy Holidays to All!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Quiz

I kind of enjoy those "get to know you" quizzes that we all get through email. My friend Suzanne posted hers on her blog and tagged me to do the same. OK :)

Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I like both - although I can't seem to find where my bags are this year.

Real tree or artificial? Since we have been in this house, we have had a real tree. This tree its HUGE!

When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

When do you take the tree down? Sometime before the Super Bowl.

Do you like eggnog? I do. I like to drink it with my dad.

Favorite gift received as a child?
As a kid, it was my Sony Walkman. It took cassette tapes. As an adult, I guess it would be my diamond ring. 15 years ago this Christmas Eve.

Hardest person to buy for? My mother-in-law, although she has great taste.

Easiest person to buy for? Dave - he likes stuff.

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, and it stays up all year long.

Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail - did you get yours? If not, see below.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One that wasn't meant for me - you could just tell.

Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, maybe it was to you :)

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love all of the appetizers and festive drinks.

Lights on the tree? Of course! And I like lots of them.

Favorite Christmas song? Let it Snow

Travel at Christmas or stay home? We stay at home Christmas Eve and we are free to travel any time after 2 pm on Christmas Day.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes, and I will even sing it for you it you want!

Angel on the tree top or a star? We can't seem to agree on that here so we do both. Compromise :)

Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve with the in-laws and Christmas morning with the 4 of us.

Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The traffic - I just don't like it.

Favorite ornament theme or color? I love the ornaments from my Gram.

What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace and harmony.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? I actually shop all year long. If I find something I know you like, I buy it when I find it.

Favorite Christmas dinner? Steak and cheesy potatoes at our house on Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Christmas Cards are Out!

In case you don't get one in the mail, here is the pic for the Fink Family Christmas Card this year.
This is not the tree we bought (although it was shaped so nicely!) The tree we brought home is almost 10 feet tall. It's huge!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Thankful

I am thankful for many things. Overall, this has been a very good year. As I was going through my pictures from the week, I realized how lucky I am to have the job that I do. While many people were surprised when I left the classroom, I needed to be more available for my own kids. And now I can be. And I am thankful for that :) Case in point, I was able to volunteer in both of my girls' classes this past week. We made homemade bread and butter in Kaitlyn's class on Tuesdayand a full Thanksgiving meal in Kelsey's class on Wednesday
And I am thankful for these memories with my girls.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back Home

I made it back home from my work trip, safe and sound. More to come on that later. I wasn't home 15 minutes today before the phone rang. It was the groomer - it was time for Copper to come back in. :(

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Tribute to Veterans

My girls' school does a wonderful thing every November - they host a Senior Citizen/Veteran's Day luncheon. I am lucky enough to be able to go and volunteer at this luncheon every year. We are even more lucky that our favorite veteran, the girls' grandpa, comes down for the celebration.

I started crying when I pulled in the parking lot and saw his big red truck already there. I was able to sit with him on and off when not helping with the luncheon. We served lunch to 254 folks that day! It's great because we have real lunch ladies who cook everything from scratch. There was turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable (that I just don't remember!) frozen fruit salad and some other garnishes. Families are asked to bring in pies for dessert. I made a pumpkin pie and Kelsey offered to take it to school for me. She has a really nice duffel bag and the pie set nicely on top of her social studies book. When I thanked her for taking the pie to school for me and asked how it went, she told me that the office accepted it regardless. Hmmm, Kelsey what do you mean? Somehow the pie got folded in half in her backpack :) I looked when we were serving and never did find the double decker pumpkin pie.

After lunch and dessert, the kids put on a music program and there is also a Color Guard. They sing the National Anthem, songs from each of the 5 branches of the service and other patriotic songs.

BTW - I did cry again. Watching my Kelsey belt out the National Anthem got me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going to the Movies

Last night, the four of us went to dinner and the movies. A pretty common Friday night activity, right? For most people - yes. For us, no. As my friend Amy pointed out, I NEVER go to the movies. In fact, I have only been to the movies 12 times. Going to the movie theater has never really been something I have done. As a kid, we did things mainly with family. In high school, I mainly dated farmers and we would rent movies after working in the fields. In college, there were other things to do. Now, our social life revolves about sporting events.

So what 12 movies have I made it to:
  1. The Muppet Movie
  2. Swiss Family Robinson
  3. One of the Batman movies
  4. Wayne's World (at the drive-in)
  5. Titanic
  6. Madagascar 2
  7. Speed (at the drive-in)
  8. Ocean's Twelve
  9. Kung Fu Panda
  10. One of the Harry Potter movies
  11. The Firm
  12. The Distinguished Gentlemen
Hmmm, fairly eclectic and not in chronological order but an interesting list nonetheless.

And by the way, I guess I should be glad that we don't do the dinner and movie thing very often. It was a hundred dollar night!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween, Part II

A few years ago, Kelsey asked how Halloween started and wanted to know it's meaning. I went through the whole thing with her but she still seemed to have questions. So, I told her the purpose of Halloween for us was to get dressed up and go visit some people we don't often get to see. We don't trick or treat door to door or throughout our town. We go to a handful of our immediate neighbors and then we hop in the car. We go visit good friends of our family - a farming family in the country, our Pastor and his family, our afterschool sitter, some big Unity fans. Then, we head to the neighboring town to see some very good friends of ours. Check out what kind of treats they had for the girls:
We visited 5 or 6 houses in Tolono to see friends of the family. One of the families then invited everyone to stay after for a bonfire.
That lovely piece of wood is from our wood hunting excursion a few weeks ago. Oops, it's really a fence post with wire still on it! We made it work :) It was nice to have some grown-up time and let the kids play with their friends. It was a busy day and we were all exhausted. This is one way to end a party!

Halloween, Part I

I was lucky enough again this year to spend the afternoon with the girls at their school for their Halloween parade and classroom parties. I started out in Kelsey's room, working with her 4th grade class. We pretended that we were mad scientists and we made slime. The verdict? Mixed? Some of the batches turned out really well. Others looked like nasty milk. Oh well, we had fun and learned some things about science. When Kelsey's class went to Art, I went to Kaitlyn's class to help get kids dressed in their costumes. Kaitlyn was a Unity Rockets' cheerleader. Thanks for Aunt Jenn for the costume as a gift a few holidays ago and to Mimi for the poms (authentic poms from the dance squad!)
After Kaitlyn was dresses, I hauled it down to Kelsey's room to help her get dresses. She was a "Goth Teenage Queen". She had that idea months ago. I told her that I wasn't sure how appropriate that would be. Well, she drew me a picture of what she wanted and thanks to the Internet, I was able to find something that we both liked. When all the kids were dressed, there was a parade around the playground.
When the parade concluded, both girls had parties in their classrooms. I floated between the two parties - I called Bingo in Kaitlyn's class and picked up trash in Kelsey's class. All is all, it was a great afternoon. Apparently my Daphne costume of last year set the bar pretty high. Many people were disappointed in my take on Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quote of the evening

Kelsey said last night, "Mom, you have no idea how hard 4th grade is! The schoolwork is getting harder and the friend-thing -- whew!" Oh baby, if only you knew.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ah, to be a kid again ...

If you ask me (maybe even if you ask them) my kids had a great weekend! It all started with a half day of school on Thursday. That was so mom could meet with their teachers for conferences. And those conferences, and their accompanying report cards, were fantastic! I was super proud of both of them and they were proud of themselves. Friday, there was no school but I still had to work. That was kind of a bummer but they were able to rest up at the sitter's for our Friday night plans. Kelsey and I went to see REO Speedwagon at Assembly Hall on campus. I really wanted to take Kelsey to her first concert and when I won tickets on the radio, I knew she was the one who had to go with me. We had pretty good seats and REO played a great set. Kels really like the opening band too. Poor Kaitlyn - she didn't get to go. And she was glad she didn't get to go! :) Instead, she got to hang out with her aunt and uncle. They took her out for ice cream and then to our favorite local bookstore. She got to choose a book to take home too. And it was hardcover! We didn't get home until 11:15 that night. The next day, Saturday, Kelsey had her soccer tournament. It was run differently from last year and they only had to play three games. They won those three games and won the tournament! She got a very cool medal for it too. Kaitlyn got to leave in the middle of the tourney to go to a birthday party. Kels had a well-timed break so we could spend 25 minutes at the party - enough time to scarf down some really good food. When we got home from soccer, there was a message on the machine for Kaitlyn. One of her very good friend's was hosting a High School Musical 3 party and sleepover. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself! I think her sister was glad she was gone as well. Sunday was "boring" only consisting of Church and a playdate with the neighbor. What a great weekend for all of us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

An interesting greeting

I ran errands today during lunch. I walked up to the counter at one place, and the guy behind the counter said, "Tell me the best thing that happened to you today." OK, so maybe it was weird that was the first thing he said, but it was also thought-provoking. How many times have we all been part of the "How are you?" "I'm fine." conversation? I think maybe I will try that sometime. Probably not to a random stranger but definitely in lieu of the other idle chit-chat.

My answer? We don't have soccer tonight - we have a bye!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More about Costumes

While I like Halloween and dressing up, I like themed parties even more. I am a big fan of getting dressed up in a particular style or decade. Last night, we went to a beach-themed wedding reception. It was a celebration of their elopement the month before. We were all encouraged to wear beach attire. I wore an extremely floral dress and had a great time. I think my all-time favorite themed party was at our friends' Josh and Brooke's 6 years ago. They had an 80s Halloween party. Not only did people dress up in costumes from the 80s, but the food and drink was from the 80s too. Boone's Farm, gummy bears, Easy Cheese, etc. There were also some of the most clever, thoughtful costumes I have ever seen! Cops from CHiPS, characters from The Facts of Life (skates included!) smurfs, the Karate Kid ... Thinking more about this, I probably like themed parties because of the thought and effort they take. I enjoy planning and searching for the perfect costume and accessories. I probably enjoy even more when other people put forth the time and effort.

As for the party last night, I had a great time. I am sore all over from dancing, my dress has random drink stains on it - again from the dance floor, one of my feet was bloody, and on the other foot, the polish came completely off one of my toes. That is the sign of a good time!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thinking about Halloween

I have been thinking about Halloween quite a bit lately. Well, it's only two weeks away! I love the whole process of dreaming up what you want to be and how you can make it happen. I don't think I have ever had a store bought costume in my whole life. My two favorite costumes when I was a kid was a roll of Lifesavers and a clown costume my Gram made. Kelsey wore it too :)

This year, Kelsey is going to be a Goth Princess and Kaitlyn is going to be a Unity Rockets cheerleader. Kelsey drew me a picture of what she wanted and, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was able to find something! Kaitlyn already had the cheerleading outfit - we are just going to bling it up a bit!

My work is really cool about Halloween. They host a costume contest and pumpkin carving contest every year. There are lots of good sports at work and we have dressed up in awesome costumes the past few years.

I am not sure what way I should go this year. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Livin' in a small town

I started thinking about this post at work the other day when a friend said that he had never been to a tailgate. I was shocked! Then, last night after driving a 4-wheel drive through a field to a burn pile to get wood for a bonfire, I knew I had to write this :) I have seen this list passed around as an email and it always made me chuckle.

You don't put too much effort into hairstyles due to wind and weather.
Thank goodness for my naturally curly hair - it masks the mess from the humidity!

You are related to more than half the town.
I am not, since I didn't grow up here but it is true for the rest of the town. You should never say anything negative about anyone because you may be talking to their cousin or brother-in-law.

You can tell the difference between a deer and a cow from a distance.
At home, yes. But here, I have been told, that it's silly to have cows and waste all that good farmground.

Using the elevator involves a corn truck.
And it's a half-mile from my house.

Your mayor is also your garbage hauler, barber, and insurance salesman.
In our town, the mayor is a professor at a local university. In a neighboring town, the neighbor is the town barber.

Your car breaks down outside of town and news of it reaches back to town before you do.
I made the mistake of getting pulled over in town once. Everyone knew about it by nightfall!

You know you should listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit.
Exactly! It was 48 this morning when I got up and was 83 by afternoon.

You are walking knee-deep in snow.
Not yet, but the Farmer's Almanac said it's coming.

There's a tornado warning and the whole town is outside watching for it.
It's a big neighborhood event!

You go to the State Fair for your family vacation.
We would all pile in and stay together - parents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We saved the change found in the laundry for treats at the Fair.

You get up at 5:30 a.m. and go down to the coffee shop.
I don't but many people do. If you need anything in the morning, that is where you can find many people.

You are on a first name basis with the county sheriff.
We have to know the county sheriff since there aren't town cops.

You call the wrong number and talk to the person for an hour anyway.
You can probably give them the correct number, too.

You can tell it's a farmer working late in his field and not a UFO.
There was a harvest party in the field across the street last night. Perfect night!

Your nearest neighbor is in the next area code.
It is long distance to call the town next to us!

Your excuse for getting out of school is that the cows got out.
I was late to a National Honor Society dinner my senior year because the pig feeder broke.

It takes 30 seconds to reach your destination and it's clear across town.
That is one nice thing - driving 10 miles takes 10 minutes.

The meaning of true love is that you'll ride in the tractor with him.
I prefered combining - there was more going on. I also used to sit in the middle seat in the pick-up to be even closer.

When someone says they are going out for dinner or supper, you know which meal they are talking about.
"Lunch only comes in a brown bag."

The only traffic jam's are caused when a farmer drives down Main Street on his combine.
Or there is a train stopped at the elevator.

You don't signal turns because everyone knows where you're going, anyway.
And they talk in your car is in a different driveway than it should be.

Everyone knows all the news before it's published. But, people read the paper to see whether the publisher got the facts right.
And to see who has a birthday or anniversary that week.

You miss a Sunday at church and receive a get-well card.
It's easier to call in your attendance than to face the questions later.

You know what 4-H is.
Proud member! And so are my kids :)

You ever went to parties at a pasture, barn, or in the middle of a dirt road.
And maybe I still do!

You used to drag "main."
In Marengo, I think it was a sanctioned Saturday night event.

You schedule parties around the schedule of different police officers, since you know which ones would bust you and which ones wouldn't (same goes with the game warden)
Knowledge is power!

You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how old you were (and if you were old enough they'd tell your parents anyhow).
Thank goodness for the cig machine at the bowling alley in Crystal Lake.

When you did find someone old enough and brave enough to buy cigarettes, you still had to go out to the country and drive on back roads to smoke them.
The field by the Junior High was perfect.

It was cool to date someone from the neighboring town.
It was even cooler to wear their football jersey.

You had senior skip day.
And everyone skipped.

You don't give directions by street names or directions by references (turn by Nelson's house, go two blocks past Anderson's, and it's four houses left of the track field).
In our town, you turn at the Casey's.

You can't help but date a friend's ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend).
I have a great (but not printable) story about this from high school.

Your car stays filthy because of the dirt roads, and you will never own a dark vehicle for this reason.
My car is always dirty.

Anyone you want can be found at either the Dairy Queen or the feed store.
Well, in the morning, they are at coffee. Back in my hometown, it was the Dairy Mart - there were no chain restaurants.

You see at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town.
And maybe caught a ride to school!

Football coaches suggest that you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.
I had the best looking arms the summer I baled hay.

You can charge at all the local stores.
And now you can charge at the restaurant uptown.
It is normal to see an old man riding through town on a riding lawnmower.

Kids too. Golf carts are fairly common too.

What is unique to where you live?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

17 Breakthroughs

I love magazines, no doubt about it. I would probably be flabbergasted if I actually counted how many subscriptions we have. Even my kids get several of their own! Well, I was flipping through one of my magazines the other night while cooking dinner and found an interesting article. It was titled, "It's a Wonderful Life: 17 breakthroughs that have changed our lives." So, I thought I would go through the list and share my thoughts and opinions.

The Internet
Uh, hello? Thank goodness that was #1 on the list! What would I do without the internet? I don't even want to think about answering that question!

Cell Phones
Dave and I, in some combination, have had a cell phone since 1993. His first phone was purchased by his folks when he was driving 130 miles per day - and it was a bag phone. I may have to find a photo and post it here - it was so awesome. I am trying to resist the allure of a Blackberry or iPhone. How much linger do you think I can hold out?

Digital Cameras
Have you seen how many pictures I have posted here and there? We didn't really have many pictures growing up. Even in high school and college I didn't take many pictures. Call it a New Year's resolution, but I vowed to take more pictures and I have! Finally, a resolution I could keep :)

I bought a GPS for our family in the spring when I drove to Louisville for work. Dave had borrowed one for a hunting trip to Texas. I think we got the exact same one. Dave calls it Michelle. I think she's abrasive. Although, she did amuse me when we were on the houseboat this summer and used her - the image she projected was a car floating in the water.

We don't have it. We don't even have a DVR. Are we missing out on something?

Love 'em and use 'em regularly. Going to Sam's Club this week ...

The Organic Movement
I grew up in a farming family (I miss that sometimes). I have said for a long time that farmers were the first to realize the benefits of organic food and keeping it natural. I have also said that farm families were the first to recycle. At my Gram's house, we threw scraps over the fence like fertilizer, recycled cans and bottles and burned the rest of the trash. OK, maybe the burning barrels weren't the best idea, but that's what we did.

Microwave Meals
My kids like the ones in the blue boxes but I think they are too expensive. So we buy the ones in the red boxes.

This is another no-brainer! Everyone needs substantial undergarments. Some of us more than others.

Affordable Designers
I at first scoffed at this one but then realized that I like that I can buy some version of Vera Wang at Kohls and Isaac Mizrahi at Target. I used to be embarrased that my Lee jeans came from Farm & Fleet when I was a kid. Now you can buy Levi's at Wal-Mart!

Antiaging Products
Some day I might want to talk about these. Not today.

Debit Cards
Is this where I admit that I don't have a debit card and have never used an ATM? Deficit in my use of technology I guess.

Genetic Mapping
I have often wondered if this is something I should look into. Until then, I will keep getting my mammograms every six months and endure my other yearly appointments. I have to say that I don't mind visiting my dermatologist. He's dreamy!

Smoking Bans
Well, it's nice not having to shower as soon as I get home from being out. However, ...

The Workout Video
I still own my Jane Fonda video, with her in the metallic spandex. Actually, I think it may be an ex-boyfriend's mom's. Regardless, I have it and it's fabulous. I also have some yoga videos and some Pilates and I know I can access videos whenever I want On Demand. And yet, my ass is sitting here in the chair with a drink and a computer. Yep.

See post about genetic mapping. I would love an MRI too.

Totally believe in them and dish them out! I have been known to put myself in time-out too.

So, those are my thoughts on 17 breakthroughs. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Food Photography

I love food. I love to eat it, make it, smell it, read about - you name it. I have also learned that I love to take pictures of food. It makes me happy when something yummy comes right to me and looks so beautiful. Some people laugh. Some people roll their eyes. Guess what? I keep snapping away! I love to try regional food and photograph that.

When I was in San Antonio, the guac they made at the table was fantastic!
I was just in DC last week. I had some more great guac - this time on my friend's roof. She made it along with some Cosmos and we watched the sunset from there. Perfect!

This is probably one of my favorite food pictures. I have some problems when I travel - I have been stuck in Chicago more than once. This photo was taken at almost 1 am, after I had been in an airport or on an airplane for 10 hours. I finally made it to my hotel and was starving. I asked at the desk if there was any place I could eat and they told me that the bar was still open. I didn't want anything fried or heavy, so I chose the cheese plate. I tell you what - I almost cried when they brought it over to me. I think that was the best cheese and vodka I ever had.

Remember that sunset? Here it is - and it was beautiful. Thanks, Suz!

"Big Girl" Dates

First of all, my apologies for taking so long to post. I can get my Facebook status updated in 15 words or less, but actually writing takes more time and effort. However, Kelsey and I had one of our "big girl" dates the other day and I wanted to write about it.

Since her sister came along, I have done my best to make time for just she and I. Since Kaitlyn is younger, she and I are naturally together more when her sister is off doing older sister things. When Kaitlyn was a baby, toddler, and even a preschooler, these dates were easy - when Kelsey had a day off school, I would take off work and we would hang out. Most times, she would want to sleep in, watch TV and then head to Tuscola for the Pizza Hut buffet and the outlet mall. Now that Kaitlyn and Kelsey have the same school schedule, making time for each of them is a bit more challenging. Luckily, Kaitlyn is a social butterfly and gets many invitations. The last two birthday parties she has been to provided a time for Kels and I to hang out. This summer, she chose for us to get our nails done while Kaitlyn was at her party. Fine with me - my feet were a mess!

This past weekend, Kaitlyn had another party (same venue - the bowling alley). The party started at 1 so Kels and I decided that we would stay at the bowling alley and eat pizza and cheesy fries. Mmmmm - so tasty! Kelsey also had a chocolate shake, which was a treat for her. We had a great time together and I am so glad we could do this.

This morning, Kaitlyn and I went to the bank together. Almost as fun :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Adventures with Notebooks

When I was in high school, it wasn't cool to just pass notes. Instead, we passed notebooks. Keep in mind this was before the time of text messaging :)

I spent hours every night putting entries into my notebook to pass on to my friends the next day. I think there was more collage work than writing but those notebooks were works of art. All of my Glamour and Teen Beat magazines were fair game. And when I needed something more, I would sometimes even use my mom's Better Homes and Gardens! I think the last notebook I have was from a boy who loved me my first year of college. Ahh, memories.

I recently purged my pantry. It was truly an example of the snowball effect. I bought some new Pampered Chef things from a girl at work. I brought them home and was going to put them away. I decided that I didn't like the way my Tupperware and things were organized. So, I emptied out that cabinet. I thought that the pantry would be a better place for them. So I emptied out the pantry. I could only get so much done before the girls went to bed and that was noisy work! That night, I decided that the pantry was not the place for all of that, so the next night, I emptied out the Lazy Susan. Well, four days later I finally had it all organized and put away the way I wanted it to be. All of this led to yet another project, one I started tackling tonight. I love to cook and bake and I love collecting recipes. Organizing cookbooks is one thing, but what about all of those things I print out or cut out of magazines? I found a notebook at the store the other day that seemed perfect - 5 subjects with dividers. I spent time tonight with a pile of recipes, some scissors and tape and a Bloody Mary. What fun! My girls joined in several times and did some cutting and helped me sort. I have much work to do but I tickled to see my work thus far.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Web Site to Share

I like to cook and bake. I don't think that's a secret to any of you who know me. It makes me happy to feed other people. Well, since it's football season as well as soccer season, our household is a bit chaotic! I was looking online today for a crock pot chicken recipe - Chicken Parmesan to be exact. Looking during approved breaks of course! :)

I found this fantastic site that I wanted to share. It is called "A Year of Crock Potting". A woman set a resolution for herself to use her crock pot every day for a year. And I am glad she did! Check it out for yourself:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yearbook photos

My friend Cari in her blog profiled a hilarious website that mashes up your real picture with yearbook styles and poses from the decades. As long as I am showing awesome pictures of myself, I thought I would share my senior picture. What's bigger - my glasses or bangs?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photos gone wrong

I don't have many pictures from growing up. That's probably good - not a good looking kid :) Anyway, I am apparently trying to make up for it now as I take lots and lots of pictures. One of Kaitlyn's friends calls me the Lady with the Camera. Well, as we all know, sometimes there is a photo opportunity and no one to take your picture. I have realized that I am terrible at taking self-portraits. So, now to poke fun at myself and my awful picture taking - here you go.

Maybe my next post will be the good pictures that came from this mess.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to school!

The girls start back to school tomorrow and we are all so excited! It took 40 minutes for them to get settled and stay in bed. They also decided to sleep in their back to school outfits. They are freshly bathed so why not? One less thing to do in the morning :)

As we drove to the eye doctor this morning (my glasses are still broken) I asked them to set goals for themselves for the school year. Kelsey decided that she wants to become more organized. I couldn't agree more! I would also like to see her practice her math facts more. We'll see. Kaitlyn wants to learn more words. When pressed further, she wants to learn how to read and write more words. Perfect work for first grade!

Look for photos tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Copper's ashes came home today. I am glad he's here, but I miss him so much.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday's in Sidney

Thursday is the new Friday - at least, that's what my new band t-shirt says from the Sidney Saloon. My husband, Dave, has been playing with a band for almost 2 years. The two guys he plays with play in a full band, New Twang City. However, the three guys who play in Sidney every week call themselves Slim Skinny and the Bunkhouse Bunkaroo. That is our friend DB modeling his new shirt as well.

I love to go as often as I can and that's usually once every 2 months. I was able to go quite a few times this summer. Last night was probably my last time for awhile.

Dave's mom and dad and aunt and uncle came last night too. As usual, they had a great time :)

Check out more Saloon pictures on my Facebook account:

Our new pets

After we lost our little Copper two weeks ago, we said that we weren't going to rush right out and replace him. We knew we couldn't get a new dog now that it's football season. But, after a week, we missed having something furry to love. So, we bought 2 guinea pigs last week! Kelsey has a long-haired white and orange pig named Nibels (her spelling). Kaitlyn has a black and white short-haired pig named Oreo. She said she picked him because he looked like Copper.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Catching Up

I realized earlier that it had been almost a week since I had posted. So much to say ...

We found out that Copper died due to a pulmonary embolism (blood clot to his lungs). That is also what almost killed my dad in the fall. I guess there was nothing we could have done to prevent or save him, but that doesn't make us miss him any less. I have posted a bunch of pictures of him here: I am also working on making a scrapbook for the girls.

So, last weekend was our trip to STL. My third favorite weekend of the year :) Although I cried here and there (and thanks to my friends for putting up with it) we had a great time. I have some pictures to post, but they are on my computer. Dave's computer was up and running and it was easier to sit here than to get mine out - right?

The Cardinals won - yeah! There was some dancing, some drinks, and overall merriment. I took some terrible self portraits of me with everyone. At the end, some did turn out. The Big Bang was much better this year. They actually talked less and played more music.

The shopping on Saturday was fine. But, why is it that when I am ready to spend money, I can't find things to buy? Overall, I spent less than $100 shopping. Probably better in the long run. Fast Eddie's was a better time than I have had there in a long time. The band this year was Millenium. They were great! I danced my tail off! I can always tell the caliber of a band if I dance with a glass cup or plastic. This girl was drinking draft beer out of plastic! I danced with several of our friends but had one interesting interaction - some guy came up and danced with me. And his cell phone. Texted the whole time. Awesome.

On one hand, I am glad that STL only comes once a year. I am not sure my body can take it all. On the other hand, I wish it was more often. I need that kind of fun in my life.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sad News

I woke up this morning with all sorts of ideas about what I was going to write as we get ready to head to STL (for my third favorite weekend of the whole year). But then we got the news that our dog, Copper, died this morning. I am too sad to write anymore but I am sure I will at some point. Rest in Peace, my pooch-i-licious.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Cary

So, here I sit in my childhood home in Cary. I am in my old room - the girls are sleeping with my mom in the guest room. It's funny - the only thing that is the same about my room is the wall color. It is Peppermint Pint. I remember what a big ordeal it was, choosing paint. My dad cautioned that I needed to choose wisely since this paint would be on the walls for a long time. He wasn't kidding! I wish I could remember how old I was when we painted it this color. I haven't lived here in 16 years, so I would say it has to be 25 years that we have had the same color! The furniture is all different and used to belong to departed family members. The furniture that I had growing up came with me to our first or second house. Of course, my room looks smaller than it did when I was a kid. I loved my room and used to spend lots of time in here. As an only child, if there weren't neighborhood kids to play with, I had myself. I used to have a little table in here and I would write notebook after notebook. My "boom box" purchased with babysitting money used to sit on my dresser.

I also used to spend a great deal of time in the basement. The basement is awesome and big. I always wished that it would have been completely finished, but it was perfect for me as a kid. One half of the basement had the washer and dryer, as well as an additional fridge and two freezers. Coming from an agricultural family, we always had half a steer or meat from a hog. The rest of that room was storage and my dad's workbench. They also built a cold room when I was a kid where we kept food and some beverages. The other half of the basement felt like it was all mine! There was a desk and a bookshelf. On the bookshelf was a set of encyclopedias that were my uncle's when he went to college. There was a couch that I remember from our very first house. There was a corner table with - wait for it - an 8 track player. My favorite thing to do was to roller skate throughout the basement, jamming to an 8 track. There was also an unfunished bar and I stored my toys behind it. Somehow, my dad was also able to find a big classroom sized blackboard. That was in the front of the bar and I had all sorts of chalk of all colors.

There is a nice bathroom down there too. That is where everyone showers. When I was younger, it was a huge shower. It reminded me of a locker room shower - you could fit 6 or 8 people in it! Will and Melissa had a similar shower in their house in Urbana. Right before my 7th grade graduation, my dad redid that bathroom. He did a great job! I wish he lived closer so he could come do work on my house ...

What a walk down memory lane! I should sign off and fall asleep listening to AM 780 like I always used to.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back home

Well, we made it back home around 3 on Thursday. The kids were super glad to see their rooms! They ran right in and jumped on their beds! I was most glad to see the shower. We unpacked, did laundry and generally got caught up here at home.

I was also glad to get my tooth fixed - whew! They took off my old filling, cleaned the tooth, and then were able to recreate the missing part of the tooth with something. I have no idea what it was! I can tell you that something they used smelled like acrylic nails. My mouth is still sore, but I can drink now using my whole mouth not just the right side.

Everyone shared their pictures yesterday. I am anxious to dig through them and get them posted. I need to figure out something fun to do with all of those pictures. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The last sometimes is the best

This will probably be the last post I make from Lake of the Ozarks. We had a great day today! After we got the boat serviced at noon, we decided that we were going to cruise the lake. We did that for quite awhile and then found a great place to anchor up and swim. The kids and grown-ups swam all afternoon! Jenn and I were able to sneak up to the top deck and take a nap. It was exactly what I needed! We cruised a bit more in the late afternoon before we came to dock in the marina. We had a nice supper and started packing. I am using my time now to upload pictures and check some email.

At supper, we all went around the table and said our favorite things from the day. It was really nice. Here are the things I will miss from the trip:
  • Bloody Mary's after breakfast every day - thanks Chad!
  • Taking turns cooking - food really does taste better when you don't have to work for it!
  • Swimming every afternoon
  • Swim suit and shorts as my uniform
  • Ice cold beer and frosty wine from the cooler
  • Watching my kids play with their cousin

I am looking forward to some things at home:

  • A nice hot shower!
  • Clean clothes - although I still just want to wear athletic shorts and t-shirts every day
  • A trip to the dentist - who would have thought I would have ever wanted that!

We are very thankful to Pam and Dave for this trip. Pam is right - we will take the memories with us.


Here is the most comprehensive group of pictures thus far:

Last full day on the lake

Well, we survived another night at Lake of the Ozarks. We had some generator and propane alarm problems last night so there was beeping on and off all night. Add in another thunder storm and some of us are tired :) But the tooth fairy made it through just fine.

We are parked at the marina right now to get those problems worked out. We are finding a nice cove to swim in this afternoon and then spending the last night at the marina. Where we parked for last night was very beautiful but snake infested, we found out. So, we will be a bit more selective this afternoon.

Here are the meals on tap for today:

Breakfast - Dave and Lisa = hashbrowns, bacon and sausage on the grill, coffeecake from the 4-H cookbook and banana bread
Lunch - Dave and Pam = hot dogs and brats
Dinner - Chad and Jenn = pork chops, beans, garlic bread

Tomorrow will be leftovers before we leave around 1o. One Dave wants to get back in time for guitar and the other Dave wants to get home to mow.

Well, gonna finish my Bloody Mary before the Pina Coladas are done. More later ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rain on the lake

OK, so our second full day here started out kind of rocky. It rained here on and off until 4 or so. We moved from our spot at the state park last night to another spot but then had to move again. We finally got settled late in the afternoon and then the weather improved so that was good.

Here is our menu for the day:

Breakfast - Dave and Pam = bacon and eggs on the grill, biscuits and gravy
Lunch - Chad and Jenn = cold meat sandwiches
Dinner - Dave and Lisa = pork loin, potato casserole, rolls, cheesecake.

We are in charge of breakfast in the morning.

The theme of the day seems to be teeth - I broke a tooth at lunch. I bit something the other day and hurt my tooth. When I looked at it I didn't see anything. Figured I hit a filling wrong. Well, ONE CHIP into lunch today and away went a quarter of my back tooth. Put a call into the dentist ... Also had no real pain meds so I am trying Dramamine. We'll see!

And for the second time on this trip, Kaitlyn lost a tooth! Her two missing teeth both happened on this trip!

Pictures tomorrow.