Ralphie or Brett?

Brett somehow discovered some old glasses that my mom had in some cabinet over Christmas. While not quite the same shape as Ralphie's, I thought there was a striking resemblance.


Thanksgiving 2010

In an effort to try and get back into blogging, I'm going back to Thanksgiving. We decided to head down to Missouri this year to be with Mike's grandparents. Here's our Thanksgiving weekend via pictures:
There were many rounds of Uno Attack: Lots of time spent ganging up on dad/Uncle Mike:

We attempted to take a picture of Grandpa & Grandma with all the great-grandkids
Here's one with the more cooperative grandkids:

The day after Thanksgiving, we went with Mike's aunt & uncle to pick out their Christmas tree. It just seemed so weird to not wear a jacket and not see snow!

Brett was being quite the stinker this day and decided to go off on his own. This is how I found him:

He brightened up a bit when he saw Santa, but wouldn't go anywhere near him. In fact, he asked me to go sit on his lap and tell him what he wanted. Didn't happen.


It's A Wrap....

I'm throwing in the towel on this whole one blog post a day thing. I already missed one day and quite frankly I've got a million and two things that need to get done each day and by not having to do this every day, I'm down to a million and one. I gave it the ol' college try.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving everybody!


Menu Monday.....

If you read my last post, you'll see that I started my holiday baking. I came across a new recipe this year and just had to try it. If you like puppy chow, you will love these cookies!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Treats (aka cookie crack)
1 pouch (1lb 1.5oz) Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 375. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water and egg until soft dough forms. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheet place balls 2 inches apart. Bake 8 -9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely - about 15 minutes. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter uncovered on high for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth then add vanilla. Place powdered sugar in large ziploc bag - set aside. Place 12 cooled cookies in a large bowl. Pour 1/3 of chocolate mixture over cookies in a bowl. Using rubber spatula, toss cookies gently to coat. Place cookies in bag with powdered sugar; gently turn bag to coat cookies. Remove cookies and place on cooling rack to set. Repeat with remaining cookies.


Bullet Post....

Whoops. Looks like I forgot to post on Saturday. Oh well, what's a girl to do?

A little weekend recap:
  • was awoken by my youngest at 6:45am on Saturday morning telling me that his belly hurt from all his "cough-is" (That's plural for cough to a 4 year old).
  • cleaned the kitchen and had 2 loads of laundry in the process by 7:45am
  • ate lunch at Cabela's. yeah, you read that right....
  • went shopping at Cost-co only to enter into operation abort your cart because it was so stinking busy in there it was ridiculous
  • came home and started my Christmas cookie baking only to realize once I started I didn't have enough eggs, nor did the neighbors. It all ended well, but had to run to the store since I left my eggs in the cart at Cost-co
  • awoke to glare ice and slid sideways in the car on the way to teach Sunday school
  • thanks to Mother Nature, shopping plans with a girlfriend had to change to a late lunch. still fun, but not as fun as some shopping would have been for us.
  • getting ready for a short but busy week


Thoughts For Thursday.....

This year at work, I'm on a committee that is coordinating efforts to adopt families for the Christmas season. We had no idea how many families would get adopted as this year has been hard economically for many. To our surprise, we had to go back to the county and get more families as the initial 20 families were all adopted within 5 days.

I was lucky enough to have the list of all the families needs and wants and asked my oldest child to read through them. I didn't have to say a word about the types of things the kids on the list were asking for. He just looked up at me and said, "wow."

It really puts things into perspective when 14 year-old boys are asking for sweatshirts, shoelaces and chocolate for Christmas instead of Ipods, gaming systems and Lego kits that sell for $50+.

I'm really excited to be adopting a family this year. It gives me goosebumps every time I think about it to know that the employee's I work with are helping over 100 people have a brighter holiday season.

Do you or your family have a tradition of giving back each Christmas?


Wordless Wednesday....

2006 - Little did I know how much these boys would fight with each other and little did I know how much love they would show each other.


Kid Honesty.....

The scene:
Mike driving his truck. Colton and Brett in the backseat. Mike making up a goofy song to pass the time in traffic. Mike gets done with his little tune.

Mike: Did you like my song?

Brett: Bad.

Mike: What? What do you mean bad?

Brett: Horrible. But I still like you.


Menu Monday....

Crock Pot Stroganoff
1 1/2 pounds round steak cut in bite size pieces
3 small cans of mushroom pieces
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 medium onion diced
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 16oz container of sour cream
Combine all ingredients except sour cream. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add sour cream and heat through - about 20 minutes.
Serve on egg noodles


Making Pasties.....

For as long as I can remember, my grandma would make pasties every winter. We would get our supply every Christmas. My grandma passed away over 2 years ago. My mom and I decided that this year, we were going to carry on her tradition.
Friday morning at 8:00 the process began. We chopped and diced until our arms hurt. When it was time for the crust. We hit a minor road block and might have used a few curse words. Then we got the giggles. Finally we figured out the right mix of flour, shortening and water to be able to roll it out without the crust being an inch thick.
Here they are getting ready to go into the oven.

The final product:

In the end, we made 41 pasties. Hope we made Grandma proud!



Here's my answers to the questions left for me earlier this week.

1. From Libby: What is your favorite sport or athletic activity to do?
I would have to say walking or doing the Jillian workouts.

2. From Jill: What are your 3 guilty pleasures?
1. Peanut butter & cookie dough concrete mixers from Culver's
2. Rap music
3. ????

3. From Kim: What do you want for Christmas?
I would like my boys to get along for one week. No fighting, teasing, screaming....but, since that is completely unrealistic, I'm hoping for a watch.

4. From Jaci: What is your dream vacation?
Fiji - warmth, water, beaches = perfect.

5. From Marilyn: Would you rather be invisible or have the power to read minds?
Invisible - hands down. Would LOVE it!

6. From Jenny: What do you miss most about a) childhood, b) high school, c) college, d) life without kids?
a.)having no responsibilities except coming home for dinner when my mom yelled for me
b.)all the free time to spend with friends
c.)sleeping in, taking naps, happy hours and just living in a college town
d.)having money :)


Frugal Friday......

I'm always looking for a deal and really hate to pay full price for almost anything. There are a lot of websites that I visit to help me find coupons, specials or free items. Here's a few:


I would love to hear what sites you visit ~ please share!


And The Winner Is......

Congrats to Marilyn! She was randomly selected the old fashion way (names in a bowl) for the giveaway post.

I'm saving the answers to your questions for another day as right now I'm enjoying some time with my Mom.


Wordless Wednesday....

This is one of my favorite pictures of Mike & Colton.
Colton was 3 years old and at his first Twins game. Little did I know how huge of a fan he'd become and how he would learn the stats of every player perhaps even better than his dad.


My Apple That Didn't Fall Far From The Tree.....

A few weeks ago, Colton had a list of 25+ things to pick from to share with his reading group about a book that they had just finished. He picked to do a presentation.
I helped him do a little research about the topic and he got very engaged trying to gather every little bit of info he could find on crickets. He typed up his information and printed out a few pictures. He laid out all his work on the poster board and rearranged it about 12 times until he had just the look he wanted.
The next morning he admired his final product and thought perhaps there was a bit more he could add. I kept thinking to myself, "oh my gosh, he is me when I was his age." It made me smile a bit.
As if that wasn't enough to give me a little glow, this past weekend he had to do a project about the word "oak." He asked if me if I would help him create a Power Point presentation. Be still my heart!
He was just jazzed putting it together. His friend called to play and he told him, "not now, I'm working." Too funny. He shared his presentation with the class on Monday. When he came home he asked if he could make another Power Point just for fun.
If I didn't know before, that's enough proof for me that this kid is really mine.


Menu Monday.....

This is one of my oldest child's meal favorites.

Potato Soup
6 cups peeled & cubed potatoes
5 cups water
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
3/4 cup bacon crumbles (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (optional)

In a large crock-pot, combine the first 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 7-8 hours. Add milk, bacon and parsley. Mix well. Cover and cook another 30 - 60 minutes until heated through.




I'm going to "blog-lift" this right off my friend Libby's blog - thanks for the idea Lib!

I'm going to do a giveaway and all you have to do to qualify is to leave me a question in the comment section. I'll answer all the questions and then pick a random winner out of those that were submitted.

Best of luck to ya.

Oh, you have until the 8pm on Thursday to participate.


Random Photo.....

Sometimes you just have to take the easy out. I saw this on another blog. You are supposed to look at your clock and note the time then go into you photo folders, find the picture that correlates to that time and tell the story of the photo.
So, for me it was 6:33. I found the 6th photo album and the 33rd photo. If you don't have that many photos in your particular file folder, then you can use one of the minute numbers to select your folder - meaning I could have used my 3rd folder instead.
This picture was from October of 2008. Brett and I were in his sandbox. There were so many Asian Lady Beetles around us that Brett began squishing them with his little finger.


Frugal Friday....

For the rest of the Fridays this month, I intend to dedicate a post to ways in which I attempt to save money. I'm not sure this post will help you, but I was pretty excited when I did the math.

I had a coupon for $3 off 3 boxes of General Mills cereals. Last week Target had their GM cereals on sale for $2.50 each. $2.50 x 3 =$7.50 then I applied my coupon and my total was $4.50. I hadn't realized this at the time, but I had movie codes on two of the boxes of cereal which was enough to get one free movie pass valued at $12.00.
Using my girl math (more about that some other time), I'm up $7.50 at this point ($12 - $4.50). I'm actually getting paid to go to the movie theater!
Low and behold, I was flipping through one of those annoying coupon fliers that comes in our mail that never has deals for things other than oil changes and free cream cheese wontons for all the Chinese restaurants, but I came across a coupon for a FREE large popcorn at the theater valued at $7.00.
Again, doing my girl math, now I'm up $14.50 ($7.50 + $7)! After I pay the $5 per kid to get them into the movie, I'm up a whopping $4.50.
Guess where we're going tomorrow?


Thought For Thursday......

I spent all day at a patient safety conference. For somebody that doesn't work directly with patients, it was very interesting and gave me quite an insight. This post has nothing to do with what I learned, but more about what I observed.
I'm guessing there were about 300+ people at this conference. There were speakers that are known across the country for their expertise. In my mind, people are quite privileged to be at this event and hear what these amazing people have to say. Apparently, not all people think the same as me.
Let me preface this by saying that I'm not against a one or two word comment to your table mates when you hear something that the speaker said that really resonates with you. Now, that I've got that out of the way...
Multiple times I witnessed and heard people having full conversations while a speaker was presenting. And these people were not even at the same table as me. I'm not sure if they thought that they were whispering or what, but for the love of God, either zip your lips or excuse yourself and have your little conversation out in the hallway. I find it completely rude and disrupting to the presenter and to all of us that are trying to pay attention.
Now, my question for all of you is, not whether you are a conversation participant, but has anybody ever had to tell you to pipe down or have you had to tell anybody to quiet down?
I wanted to say something to these people throughout the day, but I never did. I did however give them the stink-eye a few times. I did hear people "shush" the talkers a couple of different times which brought me a little joy. A look that I've really perfected being the mother of two boys.


Wordless Wednesday....

Born Again - Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons

Enjoy the music video of my talented cousin, Cory Chisel.


8 Things.....

I'm in trouble. It's only day 2 out of 30 and I can't seem to come up with a good blog topic. So, I'll just share 8 things about me that you might not have known.
  1. When I go up stairs, I find it close to impossible to not count them as I go up them. However, I don't feel the need to count when I go down them.
  2. I can sing the French alphabet.
  3. I have a bad habit of looking for split ends when I'm sitting at a red light.
  4. A girl that lived with me (and 7 others) in college is now a professional wrestler (I realize that technically this one isn't about me, but it's a fun fact none the less).
  5. I really don't enjoy having to talk to anybody for the first 30 minutes that I'm awake. Just ask my husband. Or my mom. Or my kids. I'm working on this though.
  6. I can't curl my tongue - you know, make it look like a hot dog bun.
  7. I played the trombone in my high school band. I was awful.
  8. When I meet people for the first time, many times I don't even listen to their name when they introduce themselves because I know I won't remember it.


Menu Monday.....

To help me get through the next 30 days of posting every.single.day. I'm going to have to use some themes to help keep my limited creative skills flowing.
So, I'm thinking that Monday's will be MENU MONDAYS where I'll share a recipe and possibly a few pictures if I remember to take them before I manage to eat all the food.

Without further ado, here's the first recipe.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 TBSP melted butter
5 TBSP canned pumpkin
1/4 sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp allspice
a few drops of orange gel food coloring
Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, pumpkin, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to blend ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and blend with mixer until smooth. Add just a few drops of gel food coloring until you get a nice orange color - it doesn't take much. Pour or scoop the batter onto a hot skillet 1-2 minutes each side.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
black food coloring gel
In saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the food coloring gel. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. As it starts to heat, add in a little of the black food coloring. Allow it to boil for a few moments until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, allow to cool and put into a squeeze bottle.
I made these for the boys on Halloween morning. The loved them! They reminded me of a pumpkin muffin. Very tasty. I doubled the recipe and froze them 2 per ziploc bag for a quick breakfast whenever they want them. This recipe was courtesy of http://www.tidymom.net/
I decorated the first pancakes for the kids and then they wanted a chance to be the artist.



Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2010. Colton came up with his own costume this year. I think he did a great job picking out his outfit! Here he is as the King of Pop: Here's my little Justin Morneau. After 25 costume ideas, this is what he ultimately chose.
This was the first year that Colton carved his own pumpkin from start to finish. He worked hard on that thing - switching tools, double checking his cutting with the pattern - he did such a great job.

Then there was this guy. He was more concerned about how his hair looked. As you can see, he went and gave himself a mohawk. Unknown to me, he left the water running with the drawn closed. Needless to say, there was an overflow in the bathroom that lead to watermarks on the ceiling in the basement. Ugh.

The picture is a bit blurry, but Colton's pumpkin is the owl and Brett's/mine is the face.

Hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween.
On another note, November 1st starts NaBloPoMo - one blog post per day for the whole month of November. I'll be giving it another go again this year. Wish me luck!


Family Time....

This weekend was all about family. I stayed home with the boys on Friday since Colton didn't have school and Brett didn't have daycare. We stayed plenty busy. The boys watched Karate Kid (I caught bits and pieces in between loads of laundry and dusting), made wooden airplanes to paint and then it was on to making Halloween sugar cookies. I baked, they frosted and decorated. It was a mess as always, but they love to do it.
Next up was researching crickets. Yep, crickets. Colton has a presentation to do in his challenge reading class. I know more about crickets then I ever thought I would. He was so proud of his finished product. Can't wait to hear how it goes on Monday.
Mike's grandparents are in town from Missouri this weekend. I adore those two. They remind me so much of my paternal grandparents ~ it's wonderful.
Saturday was spent at Mike's parents visiting with them and letting the kids run wild, eating food and enjoying some good laughs. Sunday we were over at my sister-in-law's house. More time for the kids to run around and burn off some energy. The kids play so well together. Brett and Kyler are a year apart and could play cars and motorcycles until they crash from exhaustion.
Here's the younger two with their great-grandma. Nevermind the pizza sauce on Brett's shirt. He refuses to use a napkin if he's wearing clothes. Seriously.
Colton and Jadyn spend their time playing sports and video games.

The kids thought it was so cool that their great-grandma could roll her tongue and thought it would be a great idea to take a picture and of course I took advantage of the opportunity.

Weekends like these are my absolute favorite. No stress, no rushing from here to there, just being in the moment with family.