Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweet Summertime

I'm going to be away from the computer for a few I wanted to leave you with a couple of my favorite summertime videos of all time (and no, they don't feature my pretend boyfriend! ACK!) Enjoy and I'll have plenty to say when I return! ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Me" Time

When I'm enjoying 'me' time I....
  • window shop
  • give myself a pedicure
  • visit the library
  • read
  • call loved ones
  • write this blog
  • look at pictures
  • remember...
  • shop, as in spend money on myself :) (groceries do NOT count in my definition of shopping)
  • catch up with friends
  • plan outings
  • eat yummy treats that aren't good for me (esp. chocolate, however, dark chocolate does have antioxidants) ;)
  • go to lunch with friends (or even by myself)
  • bake
  • cook
  • read Disney World websites
What do you do for 'me' time?

Monday, June 21, 2010


  • Read the phone book where ever The Man and I lived and knew the area better than we did
  • Loved Disney World
  • Had a 'nest' around his chair filled with travel books and maps
  • Was always home for dinner
  • Was a fabulous Didad (say...'Did Dad') to The Boy
  • Had a very dry sense of humor
  • Was a very fair principal...didn't like to hear about a student's past mistakes
  • Put family first
  • Loved to travel
  • Was a man of very few words
  • Left this earth way too soon
  • Is missed more than he'll ever know

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

The Boy came home on Friday night to spend the better part of the weekend with his dad. The best part about it? The Man didn't realize it was Father's Day that was even better.

The guys took off yesterday to play golf with our brother in law and nephew. They left around 9am and got home around 7pm. They hit the driving range twice, once before playing a round of golf and once afterward. They also went to lunch....just good old male bonding.

The Boy got up bright and early this morning, handed his dad a card, gave him a hug and headed for the shower. When I read the card, I immediately started crying. I was crying because of the sentiment in the card, because he's growing into quite the young man, and because I'm an emotional mess. :)

If you are fortunate enough to still have your dad, give him a huge hug.

To ALL of the dads in my life....Happy Father's Day!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just Push Play...I mean SEND

So, as you all know, I have a pretend boyfriend. Anyway, he and his band, AEROSMITH are coming to the Chicago area in August. When I found this out, I emailed The Man at work and let him know that my pretend boyfriend was coming to town. He called me and chuckled, "So, you're a little starstruck, eh?" UM.....a little bit! So, then he dropped the bomb...he had no interest in seeing them again, so I should find someone to go with me. THE NERVE! That's ok, though, because I then emailed my sister-in-law Lori and she said she'd love to go. Woo Hoo! I'm sure he's just jealous of Steven...or something. ;)

So, at precisely 10am CDT, I signed onto Ticketmaster and started to buy the tickets. I had like 1 minute and 30 seconds to enter all of my information onto the screen before I lost the tickets. I was shaking like a leaf and had to literally tell myself to CALM DOWN. After what seemed like an eternity, that little circle thingamabob stopped and up popped my tickets! Holy cow! Our seats are so much better than they were a few years ago when we saw Aersomith at the United Center. We had last row seats and I was sitting next to a boozer who left his seat and climbed over me every 2 seconds so that he could buy himself a cocktail. (We're inside the pavilion so it doesn't matter if it's raining or not, we'll be dry and rockin' out!)

Time to dust off my dancin' shoes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To my siblings...with love xoxo

Margie, Sam, and me summer 2007

Over the years, my siblings have meant many things to me. When we were little, it was just Sam and I. We got along the way that most siblings do...we played together some, but we fought a lot. I think that to him, I was just a pain in the butt sister. AND, I tried very hard to be a pain in his tush. However, there were times when he was my protector and when I needed him, he was there. For instance, the time when a bunch of kids on the playground surrounded me on the monkey bars and I was crying because I was scared. He came over and said in his scariest sounding voice, "You better leave my sister alone!" Thankfully, they all scattered. Then, there was the time when we were both at WVU and The Man called me on the PHONE and broke up with me. ugh. I was devastated! Truly devastated. I called my mom crying and she promptly called Sam and he was by my side, holding me and letting me cry on his shoulder. Thankfully, The Man saw the error of his ways (maybe he was scared of my brother???) and we got back together and the rest is history.

Anyway, I'll never forget the day that our mom went into the hospital to have 'our baby.' I was almost 6 and Sam was 7. We were at Mimi's house waiting for the phone call. When the call finally came, Mimi told us that Marjorie was born. We hugged one another and started singing, "Little Margie Mae, sleeping in the hay!" I was so excited because I wanted a sister so badly. Sam was happy too because, well, he wouldn't have to share his room with a brother. OR so he said.

My poor baby sister...I gave her a concussion once. Let me explain, I didn't MEAN to do it. I thought I'd give her a ride on the dining room swivel chairs when she was three, I think. I put her booster chair (which was usually kept on a non-swivel chair because my mom was very smart) onto a swivel chair and spun her around. Wee! That was fun until the booster fell off of the chair and she went flying onto the hardwood floor of the dining room. Whoops! She had a bump on her head and then she threw up. Mom, being an RN, knew that she needed to be seen by the doctor. Mom, being a mother, wasn't too happy with her #1 daughter. In the end, Margie lived. I can't remember if I got in trouble or if seeing me crying hysterically thinking she was going to die was punishment enough for my parents.

Over the years, we became friends. We enjoy spending time together and would spend even more time together if we didn't live in different parts of the country. I love you two more than you'll know!

Oh, and Sam...sorry for being a pain in your butt, but I can't help's who I am. ;)

And Margie? Sorry for the bump on the head! I was just trying to have fun. :(


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making a List...

We are leaving for vacation in about a week, so I'm starting to make a list of everything we need to take with us. The Man claims we don't need much, but because the first three days of the vacation include our class reunion, that means at least three different pairs of shoes. I think once it's all said and done, I may need a separate bag for my shoes. ;)

When I say I make a list, I mean...a list of every. single. thing I need to pack. If it's not on the list, then I'm afraid I'd forget to put it into the suitcase. Case in point....I take daily medication and if I don't have it, then it's not a good scene. In January, I visited my friend in Iowa who was going through a rough time. The first night, I went searching in my bag for my meds when I realized that I had forgotten to pack them. WHO DOES THAT? I'm the same person who is constantly reminding The Boy to take his meds and then *I* forgot mine! Luckily, I had an emergency stash in my purse, so I was good for a couple of days, but I had to cut my visit short because of lack of meds.

That won't happen again. I usually make a list when I travel, but that time I didn't, so lesson learned.

The second part of our trip will be to visit my dear mother-in-law (other mother) and her husband at the beach. She tells me that it's a laid back way of life there (extra bonus), so we won't be needing any dress clothes, fancy shoes, etc. So, I'm guessing shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits, and flip flops will be my attire along with my tennis shoes for walking.

Perhaps I won't need an extra bag for shoes after all? Nah...I have flip flops to match every occasion!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lifelong Learner

So The Man bought me the Microsoft Office '07 software for my computer so that I can play around with it and possibly sharpen some skills for my resume. Then, another piece of software called The Professor Teaches Office '07 caught my eye. We decided it would be good for me to have this software since I consider myself extremely computer challenged. What I love about it is that not only is it good for visual learners, but also for auditory and tactile learners. I'm not a visual learner...I'm mixture of the three. So, I get to listen to the 'man' talking to me, I can read what he's saying and look at the screen at what he's talking about, and then I get to actually do the applications when prompted. It's a wonderful program!*

I'm in the middle of learning about Excel. Each session is approx. 70 minutes in length and there are about 10 sessions for each part of Office.

Before you know it, I'll be an Office whiz and I can amaze the world with my skills!

I'll keep you posted!

*I am not being compensated for this post...I just wanted to share this wonderful piece of software with those of you who are like I challenged. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's a Monday Two-fer!

This is what happens when it's a rainy summer Monday....time on my hands. Yes, I could be doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and various other domestic duties, but I choose to blog instead.

I hope that I'm not the kind of person who walks around with a gray cloud over my head. I hope I am the kind of person to whom people look and think, "She's smiling again....she seems happy." I don't like to talk about negative things (much). I don't enjoy listening to people complain all. of. the. time.

Now before you compare me with Kelly Bensimon (no resemblance, I promise!) from Real Housewives of New York City, I'm here to tell you that my life isn't all cartwheels and lollipops. I have issues, but don't we all?

Life is short....I'm counting my blessings and trying to enjoy every minute I have on this earth. My new goal in life is to love more, be happier, let go of grudges, enjoy my family, be a better wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, aunt, friend....and to try to stop worrying about things in which I have no control.

Oh...and speaking of the Real Housewives (haha)...tonight is a double delight if you love them like I do! Part two of the RHONYC reunion and the Jersey girls are on tonight. If you think your life is whacked, watched the Jersey girls' Danielle. You got nothin' on her! Guarantee! ;)

Needles are not my friend

I was up bright and early this morning and had to leave the house without drinking a drop of coffee because I had to have my annual blood draw. I got to the doctor's office and the sweet nurse pulled out the regular huge needle. I took one look at that and squeaked, "Um, my veins are tiny and hidden, so..." and she just smiled, took my hand and said, "So what you're saying is you want me to use this instead?" and she pulled out a tiny butterfly needle. That was the good news. The bad news? She couldn't find a workable vein in my arms. wah. She told me that she'd try my hand, but she wasn't in the habit of making someone a pincushion, so if it didn't work, she'd have to send me to St. Elsewhere. ugh. I hate that place! She placed the tourniquet onto my wrist, had me pump my hand, and she felt around. She said she thought she found a winner! I took a deep breath and...YES! We have blood! She was able to get the three vials they needed and I wanted to give her a hug, but I just smiled and thanked her. ;)

That's it...done for another year!

Readers...sorry I put you through this, but I'm just telling it like it is!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Play Date

Back l-r: Becky, Amy, Brooke
Front: me, Cheryl

A couple of days ago, my friend Amy invited a few of us to her house. We ordered lunch and the kids played in the pool, jumped on the trampoline, and generally did what kids do best, had fun.

Amy has two precious children, Audrey and Dylan. Audrey is seven and is such a little lady. Dylan will be four on July three (according to him) and he is, as they say, ALL BOY!

Becky has one adorable son who is five and starting kindergarten this fall. Sam cracked me up all day long, especially on the ride to Amy's house. He is quite ornery, which is funny to see since his mom is sort of shy and quiet. SORT OF.

Brooke has four beautiful children: Jordan is going into 8th grade, Kye is going into 7th, Camden is 3, and Durham just turned one. Did I mention her kids were beautiful?

Cheryl and I had fun playing with and watching the kids play...I think one of the reasons we had so much fun is because we weren't responsible for them...therefore when they did really ornery things, we could chuckle to ourselves because we knew we didn't have to correct them.

Here are some highlights:

Dylan and Camden




Kye (who was such a good helper with the two 3 year old boys in the pool)

Jordan and Durham (can you tell Jordan doesn't like having her picture taken?)

Can waterwings make you fly?

One of my favorite pictures...Dylan MAY have gotten in a bit of trouble with that hose, and Sam...well, let's just say that this just about sums it up with him! :)

Bathing beauty

Do they have baby hurdling in the Olympics? This is an optical babies were harmed in this photo!

Taking a break with Mommy...

And, of course, what would a day with friends be without food?

l-r angel food cake with pudding, cool whip, and Reese's cups (she had me at the Reese's cups), strawberries and fruit dip, ice cream sandwich dessert, brownies

I got home around 7pm and was E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D! Who knew watching kids play and talking with friends could be that tiring?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's on the Menu?

I don't know about you, but I have to create a menu before I can grocery shop. If I don't, then I feel completely unorganized, plus I spend way too much money. I shop twice a month and spend on the average $250 bi-monthly, which includes dog food, health and beauty, soaps and detergents, and food. (My goal is to get much better at saving money and to shave our budget way down...$250/bi-monthly isn't bad for a family of four, but it's just the two of us, so that isn't so good!) We do have a freezer full of beef and pork, so the only meat I need to purchase is chicken and fish. Since today was grocery day, I had to sit down and make a menu for the next couple of weeks. Today is your lucky day because I'm going to share it with you lucky folks! ;)
  • grilled pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, grilled veggie kabobs, tossed salad
  • grilled hamburgers, cottage cheese, baked chips, relish tray, fruit
  • leftovers
  • pulled pork sandwiches, grilled veggies, tossed salad
  • grilled steaks, baked potatoes, tossed salad
  • bbq grilled chicken legs and thighs, broccoli, roasted potatoes
  • leftovers
  • homemade pizza
  • grilled chicken breast salads
  • grilled sirloin, baked potatoes, tossed salad
  • grilled burgers, cottage cheese, fresh veggies
  • grilled bbq chicken legs and thighs, corn, grilled veggies
  • grilled Teriyaki chicken and veggie kabobs, corn, salad
There are a few repeats on there and not much starch, but The Man and I are restricting our carb intake. So far, I've lost 28 pounds! He's lost weight also, but that's his news to share. ;)

Here is my recipe for pulled pork:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
1 3-5 pound cheap pork roast
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs worcestershire
1 Tbs chili powder
1 cup water
Place all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for 12-18 hours. Drain and discard cooking liquid and pull with 2 forks. Pour on favorite bbq sauce and serve on buns.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Go-Go Gadget!

I'm not a gadget girl. My cell phone in antiquated. I can take pics and call people and even text (even though I don't have a text plan...I just pay $0.25 each time I send one...shhhh...don't tell The Man!) It's not 'smart.' It doesn't record, surf, have games, etc. And really, for me, that's ok.

I barely know how to use the GPS that we have. I was heading to my mom's this past spring break and it was 'night morning' outside. I was in the car wrestling with Sassy Manassy* when The Man happened to look out the window. He dashed** out of the house to find out what was wrong. When he found out, he just chuckled, shook his head and programmed her for me. When I went to get The Boy last month, he didn't even wait for me to wrestle her down, he just programmed her and handed her to me before he left for work. Did I mention how much I love that guy?

As far as this laptop I'm using. I'm sure that it's very useful. I'm sure its capabilities go WAY beyond the internet and photo storage. Uh huh....However, that's about as far as I've gotten with it. Oh well. It's MY laptop and I can do with it what I want!

Knowing the above about me, you would be surprised to learn that I have a Kindle***....and I LOVE it! LOVE! I was visiting my sister last summer. She and my mom both have Kindles, and they were both telling me all about theirs. I kept thinking, "hmmmm...I'm not so sure about this. I love to read, but I love to have a book in my hand." The more I heard and saw of theirs, the more interested I became.

Imagine my surprise when just a couple of days later, the UPS man drove up and my mom ran to the door because my sister was at a conference. I didn't think a thing of it. I was just minding my own beeswax. When my sister came home, she and my mom came out to Margie's screened in porch, where I was sitting, and presented me with a box. HUH? It was a Kindle and for some reason (cause I never cry...hahaha just kidding) I started crying. I was a mess (nothing's changed.) My sister put me on her account so that we can share books that we buy. Cool, eh?

So, every time I sit down with my gadget and read a book, I think of my mom and my sister and that summer. xoxo

*Yes, I really call our GPS Sassy Manassy
**He didn't really DASH out of the house. He knows me well enough to know that I was just having a moment
***I am not getting compensated in any way from Amazon for this post....I just love my Kindle and wanted to give it a shout out!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I've been reminiscing lately....I wanted to look at our three trips to Disney to see how The Boy has changed. Let's take a look....

Here is my lovely mom and The Boy at 50s Prime Time Diner in 2004. Notice the glasses and the braces on my boy.

Here he is with his cousin modeling Fez hats in 2006. Both of them wanted me to step away from the camera! Notice the contacts and no braces on the boy...yet, even though he's 15.5 years old, he still has his little boy looks.

Here is Cap'n Jack, wait! The Man, me, and The Boy (one of my favorite pictures of the three of us) taken March 2009 at 50s Prime Time. Notice that The Boy has lost his 'little boy' looks. WAH! Of course, I'm sure that's a good thing since he was 18 at that point. HA

I'm miss my 'little boy'...and yet, as he packed up his truck with enough belongings (including OUR sheets) to get him through the summer at camp and then drove away, I didn't cry. Instead I was proud to know that we raised him well and that he's not afraid to get out there and face the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Friday!

Happy Friday, Everyone!
  • It's the first week of summer*
  • It's the first week of unemployment** for me
  • The Boy is coming home for a day and a half today!
  • I'm planning a getaway with my sister and my mom and we're going to learn a bit of Japanese, so get ready for my skills ;)
  • The Man and I are looking forward to our 25th class reunion coming soon
  • I went to the library this week and checked out 75 cookbooks to freshen up my menus...well, maybe not 75, but it seemed like that as I was carrying them out!
  • I also checked out a couple of summer 'fluff' novels while I was there
Enjoy your Friday!

*official first America's standards, not necessarily by calendar standards
**while I usually have summers off, I really am unemployed this year...wah! Anyone looking to hire me? Anyone? haha

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole

Another of my nephew's favorite dishes that I make is sweet potato casserole. The first time he had it, he happened to be sitting next to it at Thanksgiving one year. He kept piling more and more on his plate until his dad had to remind him that there were other people at the table! :) So, when my sister-in-law asked me to make this for his party, I was honored.

I got this recipe from Parents Magazine when The Boy was a baby. We fell in love with it and it's a must-have for every holiday celebration: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Sweet Potato Casserole

1 40oz can sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained (I would imagine you could bake and then scoop out the insides of fresh sweets, if you enjoy the extra work) ;)
1/2 cup half and half (and PLEASE use this because anything with less fat content makes it a bit watery....I know this from experience)
1 egg
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
mini marshmallows
chopped walnuts, optional (I don't use nuts)

Grease a 2 qt shallow casserole dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine potatoes, half and half, egg, brown sugar, spice, and salt until smooth (I throw them in my Kitchen Aid mixer and mix until smooth.) Fold in pineapple. Pour into the casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with marshmallows and nuts (if using). Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Asian Slaw Salad

I got this recipe from my dear friend Sara. I quadrupled the recipe when I made it this past weekend.

I'm not The Pioneer Woman and I don't have pictures to go along with my recipe. You'll just have to use your imagination, or better yet, make the recipe yourself! :)

Asian Slaw Salad
5 cups cabbage (Sara shreds her own, I just use a bag of cole slaw mix...sorry, Sara!)
1 package oriental flavor Ramen noodles, roughly crushed (she uses chicken flavor, I like the oriental flavor better)
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 package (2oz) sliced almonds, toasted at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, cooled (she uses slivered almonds, but I like the consistancy of thinly sliced almonds best)

Put all into a bowl.

2 Tbs sesame seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 Tbs vinegar
flavor packet from Ramen noodles

Mix and shake dressing in pint jar until sugar dissolves (you can do this in a bowl with a whisk). Toss all together just before serving so noodles remain crunchy.
Serves 10.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Recap

Wow! What a weekend! We packed so much in this past weekend, yet it didn't feel rushed. The Man's dad got here on Thursday afternoon. The Boy was off to the gym, so Jim and I chatted while I cooked dinner. Once The Boy and The Man got home, we sat down and enjoyed our meal.

Friday morning, I packed a cooler with sandwiches (I kept saying, "Can I make you some sandwiches?" ala Thurman Murman from Bad Santa while making them) for The Boy and then I had to take him to catch his ride to camp school. What should have taken me 1 hour, actually took 3 because I got part of the way home and realized he left his paperwork in the car (including his medical forms). I called him and told them to pull off the interstate and I would catch up to them. Good times.

Friday evening we headed over to The Man's sister's house. Once there, we followed them to the high school for my nephew's commencement ceremony. His high school is extremely small (about 40 in the class) and the ceremony was beautiful. It's hard to believe that this time last year The Boy was graduating. What an emotional time that was!

Saturday, I got up and made an asian slaw salad and sweet potato casserole (my next post will be the recipes for these) for Jamie's party. They were having a luau/Polynesian themed party. They spent a few years in Hawaii when Mike was in the Air Force and fell in love with the food there. Plus, while stationed there, Mike was sent to Korea and he fell in love with the food there. He's quite the cook and the spread he and his brother put on was amazing! The party was great fun. My mother in law and her husband were staying with Lori and Mike, so we got to visit with them on Friday and on Saturday. I helped Patty (mil) make shrimp/kielbasa/pineapple skewers that Rick (Mike's brother) grilled and then brushed on a fantastic sweet/sour sauce. We had a clam/shrimp/corn/potato boil, grilled turkey and bacon, 2 different types of pork butt, Korean wings (TO DIE FOR), kim che (a cucumber salad), my sweet potato casserole and asian salad, macaroni salad, the skewers of shrimp goodness, fruit kabobs, Hawaiian wedding cake and regular graduation cake, punch, lemonade, etc. If anyone left hungry, it was there own fault!

My sister called this weekend....she is going to the suburbs this summer for a conference and wanted to know if I'd come up and have a girls' week. SIGN ME UP! She and Mom are flying in and we're going to spend an entire week kids, no husbands, just us!

Sunday, Jim wanted to take us out to dinner, so we relaxed during the day and then headed out to dinner. Yesterday day (Memorial Day) we grilled burgers, had macaroni salad, deviled eggs, and a relish tray. The Man and Jim went and spent some time at the driving range before dinner.

So, this morning, Jim left for home and the Man left for work. It's just my Dutchie and me. I think I'll head on over to the unemployment office to start the paperwork. I can start drawing on Friday.

We had a great weekend with family....and we have lots to look forward to this summer. Bring it on! :)