Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Snake Charmer and Hank Williams, Jr.

Nick works as a counselor at Scout camp in the summertime.  For the past two summers, he has been the director of the Ecology/Conservation area.  He writes the syllabi for his program and teaches some of the merit badges involved in the program, and has an assistant and CIT to help him with the classes.
The tent on the right is where Nick spends his nights at camp.  It's large enough for 3 full sized cots and is equipped with electricity!
 During Staff Week, while he was at his computer writing the syllabi (and had music streaming from the computer), he looked up and saw a black rat snake cozying up to his computer.  The song?  A song by Hank Williams, Jr....and that is how the snake got his name. 
Nick and Hank Williams, Jr.

This snake?  Not Hank Williams, Jr....and according to Nick, not a friendly snake. 
We went to camp during family night and got a 'behind the scenes' tour of the Eco-Con area.  Nick introduced us to Hank Williams, Jr. and offered to let me hold it.  Um, NO THANK YOU!  I love soft, furry puppies, not icky, cold snakes.  Hank was slithering all over my boy, and Scott commented that he was probably enjoying the warmth from Nick.  (I was having heart palpatations.)  Nick kept saying, "MOM!  He's not going to bite me!" (because I kept saying, "Watch out!  He's going to bite you!"  duh.)
Slithering snake is all over my boy!  ACK!

After Nick put Hank back in his cage (and I breathed a huge sigh of relief), we went over to the turtle tank and he showed us the various amphibians and reptiles in the tank.  There were many sizes of frogs and turtles swimming or lounging around.  Nick picked up some of the animals to point out what made them unique.  Very interesting!

Oh...and being the germaphobic mom that I am...I hosed Nick down with hand sanitizer when all of the animals were put away.  Because that's how I roll!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mini Cheesecakes

I was invited to my friend Becky's house to watch the Bachelorette last night.  Each of us were to bring an appetizer.  The first thing that came to mind was dessert.  These mini cheesecakes are perfect for an appetizer party because they don't require a fork (unless you want to be lady-like).  Unfortunately, my headache turned much worse so I had to pass on the party, but I sent these with a friend so that they could enjoy them.

Mini Cheesecakes
2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
12 vanilla wafers

Preheat over to 325 degrees.  Line muffin tins with foil wrappers.  Put a vanilla wafer into each wrapper.  Mix together cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full;.  Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  When they come out of the oven, they will look like regular cupcakes, but as they cool, they will fall and create a small indentation.  Once they are cool, remove from muffin tins and top with desired topping.  I used cherry pie filling, but blueberry is also yummy.  Fresh berries or chocolate ganache would also be delicious.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

For Fathers' Day

I want to pause for a moment to wish the important men in my life a very Happy Fathers' Day. 

First, to the love of my best friend...thank you for being a great father and role model to our son.

Second, to my own father, who left this earth much too soon.  You were the best father a girl could ever hope for.  You lived for your wife and kids and it showed.  I love and miss you, Dad!

Next, to my dear father-in-law.  You are a wonderful example of Christian love.  You have accepted me as a daughter from day one, and for that I love you!

Dave and both mean a lot to us!  Thanks for being there.

If you are fortunate enough to still have your father, please call him and let him know how much he means to you!  Life is too short...time waits for no one.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday Funday

  Phone call with my mom
  Long phone conversation with cousin
  Lunch date with my hubby
  Two hour nap
+4 mile walk
Perfect Friday

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chicken in the WHAT?

Ugh, I've neglected my blog for over a week and have much to write about.  School's out, Mother Nature has finally figured out it's summer, we celebrated a birthday, and we went on an amazing River Cruise around Chicago. 

May 24 is a special day in our household (Scott's birthday), and it was made even more special by the fact that our good friend Melisa celebrated her book launch on a Chicago river cruise.  After six years of research, she finally released her travel guide for families of tweens and teens.  After reading the book, I think that any age can appreciate the book.

The title of the book, Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go, is from an old folk poem? song? that starts out like this:  Chicken in the car and the car won't go; that's how you spell Chicago.  According to Melisa, her mom used to recite that to her and her sister when they were children.

Melisa wrote the book and it was a total family affair.  Her sister Julie took the author picture and her older son did the graphic work on the cover. 
Melisa's sister Julie, photographer extraordinaire
Our boys from left:  Nick, Melisa's younger son, her older son

My family and I drove up to the suburbs to meet them at their house to follow them into the city and to help carry things onto the boat.  I thought that since it was late afternoon the traffic wouldn't be very congested.  I'm naive.  Scott did a great job staying right with them, though, which can be nerve wracking when you're in city traffic.  It's a good thing he was driving.  He knows how to keep his cool, especially when you have three teen aged boys and one wife talking constantly.  ;)
driving into the city

We found a parking garage very close to the pizza place where we were to get the food for the cruise.  We met Jim, Melisa and Julie (Melisa's mom was waiting at the pier with the various accoutrement).  Scott was to go with Jim to pick up the pizza, but Melisa warned him that he shouldn't be around the bad karma in that vehicle on his birthday.  So, Jim, one of their boys, and Julie got the pizza and the rest of us walked to the pier.  I'm not going to lie, it got a bit hairy as we were taking wrong turns and having a bit of difficulty finding our way there. 
finally at the pier with a view of the Chicago flag, Illinois flag, and the US flag
 BUT, in the end, it was all good, we made it in plenty of time and as soon as the boat pulled in, we were able to board and set things up.

A few important people in Melisa's life were unable to come, including her father who was stuck in TN dealing with issues at his hotel, but she made a special extension of her name tag to honor them.

We enjoyed Chicago style deep dish pizza, along with other Chicago based specialities.

We cruised around Navy Pier...

and up and down the river and had amazing views of the city...

We had a fabulous time on the boat.  After the cruise, we loaded their SUV and were set to meet them at their house (because we had their boys with us!)  Hmmm, this is where it got interesting.  It was cold for May.  I had on sandals (bad idea) and no jacket.  Chicago is windy (duh) and we were walking all over the place trying to find that stupid parking garage.  We knew the intersection where it was located, the trick was to find one of the streets of the intersection.  Finally, I decided that we needed to go into a restaurant to get directions.  Sound familiar?  And, as luck would have it, we were 2 blocks from one of the streets and then another 2 blocks from that intersection.  YAY!

We got the boys home around 11:30ish and then drove the 1 1/2 hours back down here to Farm Country.  It was a wonderful day, and words can't describe how happy, proud, excited we are for our friend!

Melisa, you rock!