Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Hubby Made Dinner From Scratch!

Here it is Saturday night and you're probably surprised to be hearing from me. It's been a pretty non-eventful day. It is cold out people! Well, if you live in Michigan then you already know that, but for those of you that don't... it's not just cold... it's bitter cold. We woke up this morning and it was a whopping 0 degrees. Yes, that's right COLD!!! Too cold to do anything that requires leaving the house in my opinion. I had errands to run, but just didn't feel like going out so a lazy Saturday it was for us! Since it's been so cold Greg has been in the mood for soup. Remember the soup cookbook I won at bunco last fall? Greg's been flipping through it during the week and saying he was going to pick out one of the recipes and make some soup. Today was finally that day. We both decided on the Corn, Potato & Cheese Soup. So off to the store Greg and Evan went to get the ingredients (remember, it's cold out and I wasn't leaving the house, especially to go to Meijer on a Saturday).

Greg made the soup all on his own. He does cook sometimes, but this recipe surprised me for him to make because one, he doesn't like onions and two he's not a wine person. He willingly bought the shallots and wine at the store and put them in the soup all on his own. Normally he'd ask me to omit those kind of items when I'm making something that requires them. (Note: don't omit the wine it give it a great falvor!) To my surprise he even chopped the shallots himself! Way to go honey! Maybe there's hope yet... do I hear salad in your future? (Note: Greg doesn't eat lettuce and I really wished he did so I could just make a big salad for dinner some nights. I think my little Emmaline may end up being my salad buddy in the future... keeping my fingers crossed. Here's Greg going to work making the soup... starting with the shallots!!!

Here's the recipe:

Corn, Potato, & Cheese Soup
2 TBSP butter
2 Shallots, finely chopped
8 oz. potatoes, diced
4 TBSP all-purpose flour
2 TBSP dry white wine
1 1/4 cups milk
11 1/2oz. canned corn kernels, drained
generous 3/4 cup grated Swiss or cheddar cheese (we used cheddar)
8-10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
fresh sage sprigs and croutons to garnish (optional)

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the white wine, then gradually stir in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously, then reduce the heat and simmer.
  3. Stir in the corn kernels, cheese, chopped sage, and cream and heat thoroughly gently until the cheese has just melted.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with croutons, and fresh sage sprigs if desired.
The soup was fantastic! The only problem is it didn't make that much so we would definitely double the recipe next time. When we make soup I like to have left overs. If you're going to all that work to make soup from scratch then you might as well have enough to enjoy the next day. This is a picture from the cookbook. It's the best I could get and figured it was still better than taking a picture of my own bowl of soup!

Just a side note: The recipe calls for 8oz. of potatoes diced. What the heck is that? Usually a recipe will say 2-3 potatoes or something or a cup of diced potatoes. So I figured it meant about a cup of potatoes (2-3 depending on size). Also, we used a Chardonnay. I guarantee you'll really enjoy it if you make it! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is This The Next Beautiful Baby?

For those of you that don't know, I'm a big fan of Live with Regis and Kelly. It's my morning entertainment unless I'm busy and then I DVR it and watch it at a later time. The host chat is my favorite part. Regis cracks me up with many of his stories. Every year they have a beautiful baby search and the winner gets to be on the cover of Parenting magazine. When I had Evan several people told me I had to enter him in the contest because he was so cute. Then I had Emmaline and again was told I had to enter her in the contest because she was so cute. Of course I think they're both cute because they're my kids. However, when I'm told several times by different people that I should enter this contest, it makes me think, "hey maybe they got a chance." I also think that my friends have some really cute kids too that should be entered.

For the past five years since I was able to enter Evan, I've sent in pictures of him. Then after Em was born I've sent in pictures of her. Then every year I watch at the end of February/early March to see if they're chosen. And every year we've had no luck. I guess it's like a needle in a haystack, because the 100's of thousands of entries they receive seems like it has to be luck to get picked. Seriously do they really look through all of them? I wonder. There's the option of mailing in a photo or entering online. I've switched it up from time to time and have entered both ways. No luck. I was at least hoping over the years I'd see one of the kid's picture in their online gallery or on display in the studio during baby week when they chose the top five. No such luck. I don't think my kids are the only beautiful babies in the world, but there are some babies that just aren't cute. And some of those babies have been in the online gallery or in their studio displays. I just don't get it. Not to mention that a few years, I wouldn't say the winners that were chose were the most beautiful.

So with that said, once again I'm giving it a whirl and entering the contest this year. Unfortunately Evan isn't eligible anymore, he's too old (6 months to 48 months is the age limits). So it's a solo entry for Emmaline this year. I've received some wonderful comments about the picture on facebook, so I'm hoping the people on Live with Regis and Kelly/Parenting Magazine think the same thing. If only my wonderful friends were picking! So I ask you.... Is this the next beautiful baby for the cover of Parenting magazine?

I think so, but do Regis and Kelly think so???? This is the picture I submitted. Keep your fingers crossed she makes the top 10 or at least gets her picture shown!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Budding Artist

Over the weekend Evan was coloring and started drawing pictures for everyone. I shared these on Facebook, but for those of you not on Facebook or aren't on there often I wanted to share them here too. I thought they deserved to be shared some more! Evan said he was going to draw a picture of Spongebob. When he was all done, I couldn't believe my eyes. I was really impressed with what I saw. Here's his picture of Spongebob!

Not bad for a five year old, huh? I think it might even be better than I could do. He even wrote "mom" at the bottom since the picture was for me. How sweet, huh? This was the first time he's ever drawn Spongebob so I'd say it was very good for his first time.

On Sunday it was raining most of the day until late in the afternoon. I saw a rainbow while I was driving and snapped a picture when I stopped. I had shown it too the kids and then later that night when Evan was coloring again he said he was going to draw a rainbow. He decided he wanted it to be a "spring picture" with a rainbow in it. This is the picture he brought to me when he was done.

Not bad again. This is him outside with a rainbow in the sky. There's flowers on the left and a tree on the right. That's his hopping bunny next to the tree. I think my little guy is turning into a budding artist. I'm really enjoying his pictures and I hope you did too! Great job Evan, keep up the nice coloring!

In other news, Greg worked from home yesterday. It went pretty good and he actually got some work done even though the kids were running around! Today Greg's car was getting fixed. He had slid into a street sign a couple winters ago and needed it fixed before we have to turn it in next month. His cousin works at a Chevy dealer so he was able to get it fixed for us cheap. Thanks Chris! So Greg was without a car today. We didn't want to have to wake the kids up super early for me to take him to work so he decided to try out the CATA bus. There's apartments down the road from us that MSU students live in so the bus runs regularly. Greg hopped on it to work this morning and believe it or not, he said it wasn't too bad. I'm thinking maybe that's our next car... a CATA bus pass! The Spartans played the Wolverines tonight in basketball and it was another nail biter to the end. Thankfully they pulled of another "W" and beat Michigan. That's two 1 point wins in the final minute in the last two games. C'mon Spartans, you gotta step it up a notch now! I can't take any more of these games!

Today is Ellen's birthday. She's 52, but doesn't look it. You can enter on her website for a chance to win an iPod touch that she gave away to her audience. Go to and try to win one!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bathroom Project Completed

Here it is the end of another weekend dear readers, and I've managed to accomplish the bathroom painting project! A pat on the back and three stars for me! I've painted, touched up any needed spots, cleaned the bathroom again, and got the new towels washed and hung! Woo hoo! It feels so good to have it done. Greg surprised me on Friday, by staying home for the afternoon. He had some time to take off since he worked late earlier in the week. So after lunch I went at it and in about a hour and a half I was done... with the first coat. I planned to do the second coat on Saturday. Then Friday night after the paint was completely dry I had second thoughts. It ended up being a little darker than I thought. Ugh... what to do! I had chosen a shade lighter than our bedroom. It ended up looking almost like our bedroom. Now I had to decide, did I want to try to lighten the paint, leave it as it was, or get some new paint and go two shades lighter than our bedroom. On Saturday after looking at it in the daylight, I could tell that it was lighter than our bedroom. It just wasn't as light as I was thinking I wanted it before I painted. So after taking a whole day to decide, this morning I went with keeping it as it is. It's not that it looks bad, just not as light as I intended. It does look much better than the before. Now I'm wondering why I didn't paint a long time ago! Isn't it crazy how you live with something for so long and you're fine with it, then you change something as simple as a paint color and it's like wow, why did I wait so long! I'm happy with it, and now I've got the itch to do some more projects on my list. This one has been something I've wanted to do for three years! So without further ado, here's the old and the new bathroom pics!

The old color at one angle...
The new color at the same angle!
The old color at a different angle...
The new color at that angle.
The old color at another angle...
One last picture of the new color !

So there it is. All freshly painted, clean, and new towels ready to be used! It will be nice to have our bathroom back after using the kids for a couple of days!

In other news from the weekend, Greg and I had a kid free Saturday again! The kids went to stay with Greg's mom for the night. We were going to have date night and go to P.F. Changs for dinner. That didn't happen since there was a two and a half hour wait when we got there shortly after 5pm. This happened to us about a year ago when we tried to have date night at the end of January. We had planned to go to P.F. Changs for dinner and then to a movie. The wait was two hours then and we drove all over trying to find a place to eat and everywhere was crazy busy. We ended up at Qdoba. This year, we decided to just try the Spartan Hall of Fame cafe and then go home and watch the Conan finale and a movie. We lucked out, no wait. When we got home, we did watch the Conan finale from the night before in piece and quiet with no interruptions. It was really good I thought. I'm sad to see Conan go. I hope he comes back with a new show somewhere! We also watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I had bought it the day after Thanksgiving for $5. It was funny. It made me miss The King of Queens. We loved that show. Today we got our taxes all done so that's nice to have out of the way. Now it's about bedtime and Greg is working from home tomorrow so we'll see how that goes and what the day brings!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bathroom Floors & Blinds Are Not My Friends!

Hey folks! It's almost the weekend! Yippeee! This week actually kind of went by fast. Maybe that means the weekend will go slow! (I know wishful thinking!) Yesterday, I made a trip to Home Depot and got the paint so now there's nothing really stopping me from getting the bathroom done! Evan keeps asking me if he can help. Oh how I wish he was older and could help me! I'm thinking it probably wouldn't go to well and would take me twice as long if I let him get into the paint! Looks like I'm doing this project all on my own since Greg has absolutely no interest in helping. I don't mind painting so much unless it's a bathroom because there's a million things to tape around. I did the kids bathroom soon after we moved in this house and it didn't take me too long so I'm hoping this time around goes quickly too!

The other day I cleaned the bathroom, everything except for the floor. I hate cleaning bathroom floors! So today I spent a chunk of the afternoon on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor really good. Oh, how I hate bathroom floors, did I mention that? I also cleaned the blinds in the bathroom. F.Y.I. I hate cleaning blinds too. Both are a real pain, and are not enjoyable in the least bit! After I finished cleaning today, I decided... bathroom floors and blinds are not my friends. I do not and NEVER will enjoy cleaning either of them! It feels good now that it's done, but it was not a fun way to spend part of my afternoon. If anyone wants to volunteer next time around feel free to let me know. Spring is coming and all my other blinds will need cleaning too so I welcome volunteers for that too!

Now that I've got the bathroom all nice and clean it's ready to be painted. My goal is to get started tomorrow, however now Greg is not working from home this week so we'll see how it goes with the two kids. My only chunk of time will be when Em is napping so that will depend how much I get done!

A couple miscellaneous items... yesterday I was watching Ellen and it was super duper funny. If you've never seen the clip of Dennis Quaid in Starbucks on Ellen (from a past episode) you're missing out! Ellen had sent Dennis into Starbucks wearing an ear piece and she told him what to say. I've seen it about 10 times and it never gets old and is still as funny as the first time. Yesterday Ellen had Dennis Quaid on again and she did a new skit with him. This time Dennis Quaid went into his dressing room and a delivery guy brought him lunch. Once again she commanded him what to say while the delivery guy was there. Sooooo funny! If you didn't see it you can catch the video clip on her website

Last thing before I head off to bed. Today was trash day so last night I was gathering all the trash that needed to go out. I was out in the garage fridge and noticed something smelled funny. There was so leftover pizza in there so I thought it was that. I threw it out and it still smelled. Then I looked in the drawers (which I hardly ever use)... NOTE TO SELF: don't put sweet corn (or anything for that matter) in the drawers in the garage fridge! Yes, that's right sweet corn had been left in there since Labor Day weekend! I know it's so gross, sorry! This is why I hardly ever use the drawers in that fridge because I forget about stuff since that's our extra fridge. We pretty much just use it for extra milk, pop, and water, and the freezer for my jam. The thing with the sweet corn, or not so sweet anymore is... it didn't smell all this time. Neither of us ever noticed anything smelling until last night. It's so weird. I know it didn't get moldy overnight, but apparently it got smelly overnight! Thank goodness it was trash day today so it didn't have to sit in the curby! O.k. folks I'm off to bed now!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back On Duty

After a long weekend off from school, Evan went back today. Just when he had gone back to school for two days last week, it was time for a break again! Next week will seem weird when he has a full week! Since this was the first Tuesday he's been back in school since break, that meant Em and I were back in school today too. Tuesdays are library day so I was back on duty as the library mom. The kids were super excited when Em and I rolled the library cart into the rooms. I was bombarded with books as kids were telling me, "I want this one." It was fun to see them excited and listen to them talk about taking their books home to read tonight! Nothing wrong with kids liking books! So three more months of library duty every other week, and then I will be done.

Today Scooby Doo had to go back to school too. Evan loved having him for so long. He was a little sad to have to take him back. He's already talking about what he's going to do the next time Scooby visits. We wrote in the Scooby journal and included pictures from our visit to the auto show and Greek Town. Evan was super excited to share it with the class today and they all enjoyed seeing the pictures!

In other Shearwater Nest news, I'm really itching to get our master bathroom painted. It's been on my "to do" list and I'm hoping by this weekend it's got a new look! Greg's working from home Thursday and Friday so I'm thinking it's a good time to work on it. I think it will get done if I get out tomorrow and get the paint. Wish me luck! Not too much else is going on around here. It's reality t.v. night here. As you know, I'm a big reality t.v. junkie so it's back and forth between The Biggest Loser and American Idol tonight. Thank goodness for DVR and being able to fast forward through shows and catching up to live t.v. I can pretty much watch both shows in two hours instead of the combined real total of four hours! That's about it from here folks! I've got some UL orders to enter and some farming to do before bed! More on the latter in an upcoming post!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Poor Little Emmaline Got Sick

Wow, here it is Sunday night already. I swear these weekends just fly by and the weekdays just drag on most of the time! I told you we had a busy weekend planned, and on top of that my poor little girl got sick! Ugh! More on that in a minute. First up though was my Uppercase Living open house on Friday night. It was small, but went well. I appreciate those who came. I know you'll love your expressions when you receive them! It was nice to have an evening with the ladies and a little kid free time.

Saturday was a super busy day, and it never really ended. In the morning, Em and I went to playdate at her friend Madeleine's. It was so nice to get the playdates going again and all the girls playing together again. We mom's enjoyed our "mommy social time" as well. What a nice way to spend our late morning/early afternoon Saturday. Thanks Christina and Jeff for opening your house to us for playdate! We had a great time! Can't wait until the next playdate! I didn't take many pictures at playdate this time. We must have been too busy socializing! Here's a cute one though of Em and Madeleine reading some books.

After playdate we headed to the auto show in Detroit. Greg's mom went with us and we planned to check out the cars first and then go to dinner in Greek Town. Of course since Scooby is here for the weekend, he went along too. The auto show was pretty busy since it was opening day, but I actually expected it to be a little busier than it was. Still there were plenty of people nonetheless. I haven't been to a car show in probably 10 years. I'm not one that has to look at every single car. It was something to do and since Greg's looking for a car this year seemed to be a good year to go. There were lots of nice cars. Some concept cars that were cool, but will probably never be made. Then there were lots of cars that were roped off or locked that we couldn't check out. Greg really wanted to look at the Mazda 2 that is coming out this summer. Wouldn't you know it... they had three there and ALL three were roped off. I just find that a little ridiculous. Why have a new model (and three of them at the auto show) that is coming out in the summer and not one of the three could you look inside and check out. A big disappointment.

So as we made our way in and out of people we spotted some cars that we liked, some that were very different, and some that we would pick should we ever win the lotto! Evan and Em found some they liked too. Evan thought this little cafeteria car was pretty cool. He and Scooby had to check it out!
This was a Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept car that was very different. I had to imagine our family in it for just a minute, and then I realized that within in 10 seconds in this winter weather the interior would probably be black! Not the color for a family with two little kids! Evan thought the doors were really cool!
We saw this truck about half way through the auto show, and the kids thought this truck on the ceiling was silly!
Em didn't really care what the car looked like as long as she could sit in it!
Greg and I both like this new Lexus LFA. Oh if we could only win the lotto! Gorgeous with the black and red leather interior. Neither of us are white car people, but for a car with a white exterior, this Lexus looked really nice! The three combo color of white, red, and black was awesome!
After continuing our way through a little more, I found my dream car should I win that $86 million in the lotto on Tuesday (maybe I should buy a ticket). The Maserati! I think this car is so beautiful. I've never seen blue leather interior. Not only was the blue leather beautiful, but with the tan it was super gorgeous! A little pricey though... probably $250,000! Isn't it pretty?
After we finished at the auto show, we hopped on the People Mover and headed to Greek Town. It's been years since I've been to Greek Town. The kids loved the people mover and thought it was fun. Here they are (Scooby too) heading to Greek Town!

It was pretty busy in Greek Town with the auto show going on and all. We ended up eating at the Parthenon. I'm not a huge fan of Greek food, but since Greg is Greek he likes spinach pie and all that. I do like the Saganaki (flaming cheese). At first Em didn't like it when the waiter lit the cheese on fire, but as we saw more and more of the Saganaki being served to other tables she was getting into it, saying "Opa," which you shout when the cheese is lit on fire! Here's our Saganaki!

It was a long afternoon/evening, but we had fun! We managed to keep Scooby with us the whole time and not lose him! I was a little worried about that! We got home about 9:30pm. Evan went to Greg's mom's to stay the night and Em went to bed right when we got home. Since we were kid free we decided we'd finally watch one of our movies we got for Christmas, The Hangover. After staying up late and going to bed a little before 1am, we were then awakened right after we fell asleep by Em puking. Poor thing, I felt so bad for her. She's only puked like a couple times ever. Greg cleaned up the mess, while I gave Em a bath. We got her bedding changed and everything, got her tucked back in only to get right back up 15 minutes after we tucked her in because she was puking again. Yes, you can see where this is going. It was a long night to make a long story short. Greg made a Meijer run at 2am (thank goodness it's right down the road) to get some Pepto. Em and I hung out in the living room and she puked two more times. We ended up camping out in the living room for the night. Of course neither of us slept well. We both woke up very tired. Unfortunately no time for a nap today. Evan had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon. It was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do this afternoon, but I took him, while Greg stayed home with Em. She napped the whole time so Greg got to chill. I'm not sure what was wrong with Em. Both kids have had flu shots so we didn't think it was the flu. Maybe it was, who knows. We were thinking maybe it was something she ate yesterday, but she really didn't eat much. She seems to be fine all day today. Just tired from not getting much sleep. So we're all going to be calling it an early night tonight. That's our busy weekend and here's hoping we all get some good sleep tonight! Happy Monday tomorrow everyone! Hope your work week goes fast!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cleaning & Rearranging

Hello readers! Have you missed me? Sorry I haven't been blogging much. I've kind of been in a funk with my blogging in this new year. I didn't really know what it was, but then it kind of hit me when I read my friend Ann's blog. I feel the same as she is, nothing really exciting has been happening in our household, and I really haven't had anything to blog about. I can blog about nothing which is what I'm doing right now, but then that wouldn't be very exciting to read about everyday for you loyal readers. I feel bad because I know some of you check daily. Here it is the 14th of January already, and I've only had 6 posts. Geez I really need to make some things happen so I have something to right about! It seems like it's always everything happening at the same time and then I have a ton of things to write about. Then when nothing is happening I have nothing to write about. I'll try to get out of this funk and get thinking of some good things to write about.

Over the past few days though while I haven't been blogging I've been doing lots of cleaning and rearranging of things. I spent two hours rearranging the furniture the other day. If you know me well, you know I like to move the living room furniture around often. Well, I just moved it before Christmas to accommodate the tree. Then we took the tree down, and I left the furniture how it was. It just wasn't seeming very cozy. The kids got lots of new toys for Christmas, and I've been trying to make room for everything and rearrange toy baskets, and get these toys under control and organized. Then I had the couch right by the front door when you walk in and it just seemed to "heavy" there and made the room feel all "boxy." So then I read Ann's blog one night and she had moved her living room, and it got me thinking about ours. So on Tuesday I spent the morning rearranging and did some good cleaning behind the furniture. I like how it is now I think. It's a little different than I've ever had it so it's a nice change. I'd take a picture, but at the moment there's a million toys all over the floor so it doesn't look so pretty!

Next up was our laundry room. It really is a catch all place for everything and anything. I had it cleaned and then Christmas came and went and there's been empty boxes, gift bags, winter stuff, etc. piling up. Not to mention baskets of laundry. So I've been working on cleaning that too. I'm almost done. I did get one of my new Uppercase Living expressions hung in the laundry room which I think is really cute. Here's what it looks like.

Since yesterday was Evan's first day back at school, I managed to get some upstairs cleaning done too. Those dang full laundry baskets never seem to want to put themselves away! Why is that? So while Em napped I got almost all the laundry put away that's been sitting around except for her stuff of course. Then I dusted our bedroom, it was a little overdue. I've got some more cleaning to do before my Uppercase Living open house I'm having tomorrow night here. The new spring/summer catalog is out and it's filled with fabulous new things! They've really come out with some neat things this season!

In other news, we've got company for the weekend. When I picked Evan up from school today, he had "the backpack" which meant Scooby Doo is coming for a visit. He was super excited when he got in the car. He said, "Mommy I get Scooby for the whole weekend." I had to think for a minute, but yes it's Thursday so that means it's the weekend for school since no school on Fridays. Plus there is no school on Monday for MLK Jr. Day so it's an extra long stay for Scooby this time! As the weekend nears, it looks like it will come and go faster than the weekdays. I've got the Open House tomorrow night, Em has a playdate Saturday, then I think we're headed to the Auto Show in Detroit later on Saturday, and Evan has a birthday party to go to on Sunday. I'll try hard find some blogging time in between all that so you have something to read! Now I'm off to spend some time with the kids. It's just the three of us tonight. Greg has to work until about 10:30pm. He did some interviews earlier today and had a meeting to attend this evening with students and professors who are working on some relief efforts for the earthquakes in Haiti. He's got to put everything together to have the video up and running on the MSU website by morning. Deadlines people, deadlines! My prayers do go out to all those affected in the Haiti disaster. I can't even imagine! Please pray for those people and help if you can.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Food Shortage???

Yesterday we went to Sam's for a couple things and by the time we got to the checkout the lines were a mile long. We had two things and of course no express line open and only about a total of four lanes open. It was ridiculous! I was almost about to walk out and say skip it, but by the time Greg was getting the kid's coats on them the line we were in was moving. Then we came home and a couple hours later I ran to Meijer and that place was crazy too! It was a madhouse, and about half the stuff I wanted was out. As I was walking up and down the aisles, it seriously was really strange because the shelves were bare! It was day one of their ad and nothing on the shelves in the ad. More so than normal. Usually Meijer runs out of their sale stuff early, but not on the same day their ad comes out. This is what I saw as I was shopping! I just so happened to have my camera in my purse still from when we went sledding earlier in the day!

See, now you believe me! No juice, no bread, no fresh meat, no frozen meat, no bottled water, and the list could go on! It was crazy, this is just a sampling! I couldn't figure it out, was there a food shortage coming I didn't know about? Finally when I was checking out which was a nightmare, all, but 2 lanes at Meijer were open (and they have 30+ lanes) and the lines were all long it dawned on me! The MSU students were back! Sunday was the first day for them to be back in the dorms and that's why Meijer was so ridiculously busy. Apparently none of the students were fed over break because they raided the shelves at Meijer that's for sure!

The only good thing about the students being back means Evan gets to go back to school this week! Yipeeeeeeeee! It's been a long break, and I think he's more than ready! His preschool is on the same schedule as MSU since the student teachers are all from MSU. So finally on Wednesday he goes back! Hopefully him being back in school will allow me to get the terrible two's tamed down! If not, I just might go crazy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Fun Sledding!

On Friday, Greg promised Evan we'd go sledding sometime this weekend. Well Saturday was shot since Greg and I went car shopping because his lease is quickly approaching the end. I really hate car shopping. It takes up way too much time and then they try to go back and forth with you and it's really aggravating. Just give me the bottom line or if I tell you what we want to pay let me know if you can do that or not. No instead they have to come up with all these excuses of why the price keeps changing and then sometimes (more times than not) blatantly lie to your face. Which is what happened to us on Saturday. All the sudden one of the lease incentives was no longer available which we knew it was because it was good through Feb. 1st. A total lie which we knew AND confirmed later on when we got home and looked on the internet. I mean seriously, do car dealers think you're that stupid and will just believe everything they say? Well, maybe some people, but not us. They've now lost a customer (this would be the third car we've purchased from them) unless they come way down on price for the car Greg really wants. So anyway, that took all our afternoon Saturday so no time for sledding.

Today ended up being nice and sunny, but COLD. It was still a good day for sledding so we took both kids over to Granger Park where there is a big sledding hill. Evan and Greg have been there before, Em and I never have. I always stayed home with her last winter because she was too little to go down the big hills (or semi big hills). I'm not real into the whole cold and sledding down hills, but since Em is bigger now she could go so we made it a family outing. Evan did all the hills big and small. Em on the other hand was a little hesitant about going down the bunny hills. She was more into being pulled around on the old fashioned sled that used to be Kaite's and staying on the flat surface (she did this last winter too). She did go down the small hills a couple times though. Both her and Evan had fun! Once Em saw her brother doing some things she wanted to try too (except the really big hill). It was a fun morning, but I was frozen by the time we were done! Evan and Greg finished up on the big hill while Em and I warmed up in the car. Here's a few photos from our sledding adventure. I posted most of them on Facebook, but I'll share some of them again here!

My cheesy snow bunny!
Evan and Greg going down one of the smaller hills.
(My camera died when it was time for them to go to the big hills.)
Emmaline and Greg going down the bunny hill finally after she got brave enough! (I think Em was a little surprised how much fun it was!)
Evan wanted to go down the hill without the sled...
... and then Emmaline had to do the same! She liked going down the hill on her bum!
She had fun just pulling the sled around too while brother was on the big hills!

That's a little bit of our sledding adventure! More pictures on Facebook of our winter fun!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Big Red" Tractor Memories

I mentioned that Saturday after Christmas we had a little fun winter adventure. Finally here's my post I've been talking about. My cousin Joe (on my Dad's side) made a comment on Facebook the week before Christmas that he had gotten "Big Red" up and running again. "Big Red" was my Grandpa Dickeson's tractor. It brings back lots of great childhood memories! My Grandpa passed away 12 years ago, and my cousin Joe took over "Big Red." I didn't think it was running anymore, and apparently it had and then it hadn't and over the last couple years Joe had some work done on it. In December he got it running again just in time as the snow was hitting. When I heard that "Big Red" was working again and Joe offered for us to come over for a visit and the kids could go sledding behind it and go for a ride on the tractor, I knew we had to go. When my sister and I were kids and we visited my Grandma and Grandpa's house, we spent many times riding on the tractor. Grandpa would take us for a ride in the wagon behind it, we got to sit on his lap and drive the tractor, and he would take us on the tractor down the street to a little pond at the bottom of the hill. They were great special times that I will never forget. Oh to be a kid again and have that special time back!

Since we were down at my Dad's for Christmas and Joe lives not far from my Dad, it was a good time to head over there for a visit. It wasn't looking like the kids were going to get to go sledding though because if you remember we had all that rain/ freezing rain for Christmas and pretty much all the snow was gone. Then that night on Christmas it snowed, and by Saturday afternoon when we had planned to head to Joe's there was just enough snow. I think Grandpa was watching down on us and knew the kids would have so much fun on "Big Red" so he gave us some snow!

My niece Kaite drove the tractor and pulled Ev and Em behind it on the sled. She also held both kids and let them drive the tractor. Just like my sister and I used to. The kids had a blast and Kaite loved driving the tractor. The setting was perfect on Joe and Diane's farm as the snowflakes fell and the ground was covered in the "white stuff." Here's some pictures from our fun winter adventure!

Kaite ready to take off on the tractor with Evan and Em in tow on the sled!
There's my little snow bunnies riding behind "Big Red."
Emmaline and Kaite driving the tractor around Joe's yard!
Evan taking a turn driving "Big Red" with Kaite.
Evan loved checking out Joe & Diane's horses and was so excited he could sit on one!
Emmaline didn't want to sit on the horse, but she finally decided she'd pet the horse!
Evan did a little sledding down the hill without the tractor while Kaite was busy cruisin' around the yard on "Big Red."

Thanks to Joe and Diane for inviting us out to their farm and sharing "Big Red" with the kids and letting them see their horses too! After we froze outside a little we even got to enjoy some hot cocoa inside before we left! We had a wonderful time, and it was very special that my kids got to ride on the tractor I did when I was a kid!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

Here's the recipe for the chicken tetrazzini recipe I mentioned we had at Christmas. It's really yummy!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4oz. can mushrooms (drained)
2oz. jar pimento (optional- sometimes I use, sometimes I don't)
1 can chicken broth (15oz.)
2 Tablespoons cooking Sherry
1 cup whipping cream (1 small carton)
4 large chicken breasts (cooked and cubed)
cooked tri-colored rotini pasta (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese ( I don't really measure this just sprinkle to cover)

Patty shells- sold in freezer section in a box of 6. (NOT pastry sheets- Patty Shells)

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan on low heat, blend in flour and seasoning and cook over low heat until smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 can of broth, add all of cream.
  3. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute.
  4. Stir in sherry, pasta, chicken, mushrooms, and pimento.
  5. Pour into ungreased 9x13 pan or 2 qt. casserole. (If it seems dry add other 1/4 can of broth)
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bake patty shells according to package directions. Serve tetrazzini over puff pastry patty shells.

Notes: The patty shells cook at a higher temperature so you can adjust how you want to bake accordingly. I usually cook both at same time and then take tetrazzini out before 30 minutes while patty shells finish. Then when take patty shells out you scoop out middle of shell and while doing this I put the tetrazzini back in for a couple minutes to keep warm. Also the tetrazzini can be made up the night before. Just wait to sprinkle with parmesan right before bake it. Also if make night before it usually needs a little more chicken broth added. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5 Year Checkup & A Tree

Today Evan had his five year check-up at the doctor. Everything went pretty well and he's right in the range for height and weight. I don't really like those charts, but it's their way of telling you he's on "schedule" for his age. A little surprise we found out while at the doctor was that Evan needs to go see an eye doctor. One eye was a little off from the other so they recommended that he get a thorough eye exam from an eye doctor. We don't have vision coverage so that's lovely, but we still need to get an appointment scheduled and are hoping that it's nothing. I didn't have to have glasses until I was older so I'm hoping my little guy doesn't need them already! I'll keep you posted when we find out. Evan didn't need any shots today, but they recommended a flu shot. We've done the H1N1, but not the seasonal flu. So since Em was there too we got both of them flu shots. No nasal this time so it was a poke in the arm for both of them. I was absolutely amazed at how well my two little munchkins did. Evan went first and he didn't flinch or cry at all. Then Em was up, and I was almost 100% positive that she would be crying by the time it was over. The nurse poked her arm and she didn't flinch or cry at all either. When the nurse was done and put the band-aid on, Em says, "All done!" They both got suckers which they were super excited about! I was very proud of them both. They did a super job!

After we got home from the doctor, I put Em down for a nap and decided I'd call Sears to see how much their Christmas trees were marked down. I've had my eye on an artificial tree there over the past week and was waiting for it to be marked down more. The two times I was there it was 50% off and was still more than I wanted to pay for it. Of course there was only one left in the size and kind that I wanted so I knew I'd have to check often if I was to stand a chance of getting it. So when I called today and they told me the trees were 75% off I was super excited. However, I didn't want to get my hopes up because with my luck I figured the tree would probably be gone. I was planning to go when Greg got home from work, but instead my wonderful husband offered to stop on his way home for me to see if they had it. We were in luck because it was still there! So now we've got an artificial tree for next year, (well actually this year- next Christmas, since I'm still forgetting that it's a different year now) and the years to come! We're going to have to take it out of the box this weekend to check it out and make sure it's good, but it looks like no more real trees for us.

I just realized I haven't posted the chicken tetrazzini recipe from Christmas, and I haven't told you about our fun Winter day that Saturday after Christmas so I promise that's coming in the next couple days. Before I leave you tonight, I was just reading my friend Ann's blog, Life on Roosevelt Street, and I was totally shocked as I read that she's pregnant again! It's always a shock when you find out someone is pregnant and exciting all at the same time! I'm so happy for her and her husband Jason, and their daughter Sylvia! What wonderful news! Congrats Luke family! Now that makes seven of my friends that are pregnant! What a year it's going to be to meet all these new little bundles of joy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Pirate Party

HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is my first post of 2010 so I'd like to wish everyone all the best in this new year! We finished off 2009 with all of us, yes ALL of us staying up to watch the ball drop! Since it was Ev's birthday he got to stay up, and Emmaline took a late nap so she stayed up too. I was guessing that she'd be tired and fall asleep before midnight, but nope... she and Ev were both wired and wide awake! They were having so much fun practicing, "Happy New Year" before the ball drop. Evan counted down with us as the ball dropped. Emmaline was sporting her shades for some reason while watching Dick Clark's New Year's Eve. Here's my silly girl right before midnight!

Emmaline wanted to give her brother a kiss when we welcomed in the New Year!
We had a fun evening finishing off Ev's birthday just the four of us and by 12:10am we were all in bed!

Saturday was the big birthday party. Evan chose a pirate theme as I mentioned before, and he was so excited when I got home with his pirate birthday cake. No homemade cake this time. With the holidays and everything going on I didn't have time. We ordered a cake from Sam's (love Sam's cakes... so tasty!) and it turned out o.k., but I was a little disappointed. We took in a picture to put on the cake and they didn't do it how we thought. Here's the cake.

Sam's said to bring in a picture and they would put his face in the empty spot for the pirate so Evan would be the pirate. Well, they didn't exactly make his face to fit the hole so I wasn't too happy about that. Plus there was air bubbles all over the cake. It was still cute and tasted good nonetheless, but just not what we had in mind.

The party turned out nice. We kept it simple and had pizzas, veggies & dip, and I made the buffalo chicken dip again. This time I tried it with a buffalo bbq sauce and it was really good! The kids had fun playing and Evan loved the "pin the treasure chest on the treasure map" game. Of course he had fun opening presents and eating cake and ice cream. Here's a few pictures from the party!

The kids eating some pizza!
Here's Connor playing the "pin the treasure chest on the treasure map" game!
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Evan!
Evan had blue lips from the frosting! (All the kids did and thought it was silly)

Here's Emmaline sporting her blue lips!

Evan missed his Aunt Jen, cousin Kaite, and Papa & Nana at the party. Unfortunately they couldn't make it because they got a bad snow storm and had over a foot of snow. Glad we didn't get any of it. Evan got a lot of nice things and enjoyed having friends and family at the party. A big thank you for everyone that came and for all the wonderful gifts!