Friday, October 29, 2010

Go Go Power Rangers....Pizza!

Long ago, when the boy was almost 4, he wanted to be the Red Power Ranger for Halloween. The problem? I needed to make a costume for the Awana harvest party that was a circus theme. I got the great idea to make a pizza costume (slice of pepperoni pizza) when I saw the pattern and knew that even *I* could make that.

The Boy: But I want to be the RED RANGERRRRRRR! (he used to drag his words out)

Me: Sweetie! Think how fun it will to be a piece of pizza! We can dress you all in red and put this pizza thing over the top and you'll just look so cute!

The Boy: But I want to be the RED RANGERRRRRRR!

Me: But Sweetie, there are no Power Rangers at the circus! Think of how original it will be to have you dressed up as a piece of pizza! How fun would that be? You'll be great!

I finally talked him into it (well, I made the costume and put him in it when we got to the Awana Circus. hehe) He had a ball and loved being the only one dressed as a slice of pizza, I'm sure.

Fast forward to the day care Halloween party when he again went as a piece of pizza. Not so great. Most of his little friends were dressed as various colors of Power Rangers and they were flying around the room karate chopping one another. The Boy wasn't happy one bit. Luckily, his day care teacher (who was a bit older and wiser than I was at the time) drew a picture of a dinosaur and taped it to his red turtle neck and let him take off the pizza costume. My boy seriously thought he WAS the Red Power Ranger. When it came time to take the class picture of all of the little ones dressed in their Halloween attire, Miss K talked The Boy into putting his pizza back on, while whispering in his ear that he could leave the dinosaur on his chest, UNDER the pizza. Looking at that picture later, I could tell how proud The Boy was that he was REALLY a Red Power Ranger in disguise! He had us all fooled! ;)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Time Shopping Saved the Day!

One of the great things of living here in Farm Country is the ability to enjoy living in a small town while having a major city within driving distance. I grew up in a small town in Northern WV that was 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh. I've been to the symphony, ballet, zoo, concerts, baseball games, etc. in Pittsburgh, but it was always wonderful to go back home to our small town. (and when I say small....I mean small!)

When we moved here, we knew we wanted to find a house in a small town. Many people who worked for the same company questioned our reasoning for wanting to live in a town with a prison. Doesn't faze us one bit. In fact, we have a state police headquarters, sheriff's police headquarters and the local police all in one area. Pretty safe small town.

About 6 months after we moved here, our friends who live in the suburbs asked us if we wanted to go to Chicago to see a Broadway play. I was all over that idea! The Man? Not so much. He's not really interested in musicals. However, after Jim begged him, I mean... talked him into it, and after the promise of dinner at The Butcher Shop (now closed, sadly)....mmmmm MEAT....he finally agreed.

So, The Man and I drove to the suburbs and the four of us took the Metra into the city. We got to Union Station early, so we decided to sit and have coffee (Jim and Me), hot cocoa (Melisa), and espresso (The Man). So, we're sitting and talking and people watching, while some Asian woman working in a kiosk is yelling at The Man, "HEY Yummy Yummy!"..... when out of the blue......The Man spills his espresso all over his shirt and pants. He was wearing a dark blue button-down shirt, a tie that had browns and blues (like watercolor), and khaki Dockers. OH NO! We all look at each other......Jim is thinking, "Our day is ruined!" Melisa is checking to make sure he didn't get burned. I yell, "I know! Let's go shopping!" I am such a thoughtful and caring wife! Seriously, I do know that he would never be comfortable walking around with espresso stains on his clothing, so I am thoughtful! ;)

We quickly hail a cab and it was so fun to say, "To Michigan Avenue!" We ended up at Eddie Bauer. The Man grabbed a blue shirt, a pair of khaki pants (thankfully his tie was watercolorish, so you couldn't tell it had espresso on it) and he told the clerk, I'm going to go put these on, take off the tags, and bring the tags to you to ring up. She was a-okay with that. He came out of the fitting room wearing his new duds, asked for a bag for his ruined clothes (that I was able to later get the stains out) and handed the tags to the clerk so that he could pay. She said, "What about the tags for that leather coat?" We looked around....."well, since you don't sell leather coats and this one belongs to me, I don't have a tag!" She wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box and it took her awhile to 'get it.' He finally had to show her the tag inside the coat that said 'Wilson's Leather' on it. Yeah....she finally 'got it.'

After the coffee fiasco and the impromptu shopping trip, we had to hurry to our dinner reservation. We decided to walk (bad idea), so by the time we got to the restaurant, Melisa and I had blisters on our feet and we were miserable. However, dinner was wonderful and we had a good time in spite of the blisters. After dinner, we decided to take a cab to the theater since our feet were killing us. No. More. Walking.

We got to the theater and I was so impressed! The play, Ragtime, was playing at the Ford Oriental Theater. What a gorgeous venue! We settled into our seats and we were transformed to NYC at the turn of the 20th century. I don't remember much about the show, I just remember crying when it was over. I. loved. it. so. much!

After taking another cab to Union Station, and then the Metra back to the 'burbs, we were exhausted. We still had another 1.5 hours to drive back home, but it was so worth it! That was the first of many trips we've made to 'the city' for dinner, shows, touring, etc. We love visiting Chicago, but our favorite part is always coming back home!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Girls' Night

I got an e-vite in my inbox a couple of weeks ago from a friend and former coworker. I was so excited and happy to get it. We're going to meet at a local restaurant for dinner and then we're going back to her house 'for games.'

I'm scared (of the game part, that is!) ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Review!

I have a friend who has been blogging for years. She now has 2 blogs because she also does product reviews for companies. She's been given cars to drive for a few days, food products to test, household products, etc. I think it's fun that she gets to do that. I think it's a great idea because she's a 'normal' person who I trust to give an honest opinion. So, when she told me that her friend from high school wrote a book and asked if I wanted to do a review on my blog, I jumped at the chance!

I received this in the mail yesterday....

It's called The Traveling Tea Ladies: Death in Dallas by Melanie O'Hare-Salyers. Cute cover, right? I turned to the title page inside the book and to my surprise, Melanie had autographed the book for me. She wrote, "Until our next cup of tea, Melanie." How sweet!

The back of the book describes this group of women as "Charlie's Angels meet Steel Magnolias." I was intrigued by the group of friends and the fact that there are actual recipes in the back of the book. My mom, sister, and I have been to a tea room in my sister's small town and we really enjoyed the experience. Since then, we've been dreaming of having high tea at the Grand Floridian in Walt Disney World. One of these days! After reading about Melanie's real life tea room, Miss Melanie's Tea Room in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, I think it's a must see for my mom, sister, and me 'one of these days.'

I sat down to start the book yesterday afternoon. I didn't intend to read the entire book in one evening, but after dealing with the dental office billing department and waiting all afternoon/early evening for them to return my call (I even missed my book club because I was waiting for their non-existent return call), this book was a fun diversion. I put it down long enough to cook dinner, and then again to watch The Biggest Loser. I then picked it back up and stayed up until I finished it. It was that good!

I love the way Salyers describes the personality of each woman in the book. Another thing I really liked was the food she described and the styles that each woman wore. I am not a trend setter and wouldn't be accused of being 'fashion forward', but it was fun to read about the fashions that each woman wore in the story. Each day in the book, Salyers described what each woman was wearing. Fun! The recipes in the back of the book sound delicious and I will definitely try some of them since I love to cook and bake. The recipes include peanut butter pie, key lime pie, fried green tomatoes, Tennessee corn fritters, chocolate chip scones, among others.

Don't let the sub title fool you. This isn't a dark book. This is a light, fun read that I had a difficult time putting down. It was definitely a page turner! The girls travel to Dallas for Amelia's 20th college reunion at SMU. They come face-to-face with Amelia's old sorority friends, former fiancee, and her old nemesis. Without giving any of the details and ruining the ending, the weekend getaway lasts longer than they anticipated because one of Amelia's old friends was murdered. That's where the mystery comes in and the four friends are on a mission to find the real killer!

I'm looking forward to the next book that comes out in 2011 called The Traveling Tea Ladies: Death in Dixie! You can visit her websites and for more information and some great shopping!

I will definitely be sharing this book with my tea loving mom and sister! Thanks for the opportunity to read and review your book, Melanie!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's a Good Day!

October 12 is a special day. Today is the birthday of my sweet niece Michelle. Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Also, it's the 25th 'anniversary' of The Man's and my first date! Happy Anniversary to us!

Monday, October 11, 2010

What were you doing at 10:10 on 10/10/10?

Yesterday, some friends and I traveled North to Utica, IL for the annual Burgoo Festival. Our first stop was at Cheryl R.'s house for a picture of us before we were on our way.

The 'Burgoo Crew': Dawn C., Amy, Sara, Cheryl S., Dawn E., LeRae, Brooke, and Cheryl R.

We took off with Cheryl S. driving Sara, Dawn, LeRae, and me; while Brooke drove Cheryl R. and Amy.

Off we go!

On the way there, LeRae said, "In one hour, I want to have a bloody mary in my hand!" Alright, Sistah! I'm right there with you! We decided that since it was 10/10/10, that we would have our drinks in our hands by 10:10 and we would document the occasion.

We arrived to the festival and after walking around for awhile and checking out the craft stalls, we decided to visit Joy and Ed's, which is a local bar where we had a delicious bloody mary last year. We ordered our drinks and then the countdown began.....

Finally! 10:10 on the dot!

We KNOW what time it is! ;) (for my hometown fans...sorry about the Bears picture on the wall above my head. What can I say? I live in Chicago territory now. We all know that the Steelers are the superior team! wink wink)

LeRae and Dawn E. enjoying their time together and their refreshments.

Brooke and I enjoying our refreshments.

After our visit at Joy and Ed's, we decided to get some fresh air and do a bit more browsing. Plus, we wanted to find the Burgoo.

Street entertainer.

LeRae and I being goofy....

We finally found the Burgoo!

Stirring the Burgoo. As I was taking this picture, some random guy asked if we wanted to stir the stew and we, of course, said yes. He agreed to take our picture....and the guy in this picture said, "OK, I'm outta here!" WAIT! Come back! ;)

How many educators does it take to stir one pot of Burgoo????

The Burgoo. Dawn and LeRae were nice enough to share theirs with me. It really wasn't bad. It tasted just like beef stew (which is a good thing because that's precisely what it is!)

All of that stirring was hard work, so I treated myself to a piece of blueberry pie. What? I deserve it!

After our snacks, we started walking around again and saw Gene Simmons, so we decided to have our picture taken with him. Don't be jealous. ;)

I think this is a cute name for a club, what about you?

Before we left the festival to go to lunch, we saw these adorable puppies for sale:

Lab/bulldog mix

Ok, the funniest thing happened while LeRae and I were looking at these puppies. Amy called my cell to find out where we were. I was trying to tell her and LeRae was confused and kept saying, "Are you calling The Man to tell him that you want one? Is he letting you get one? They are 1/2 off today!" Me: "LERAE! It's AMY! She's lost and I'm trying to tell her where we are!" It was pretty funny, but I guess you had to be there to experience the humor. ;)

We drove off the beaten path to Peru (IL) to a pub for a late lunch. It wasn't crowded and it was nice and cool in the restaurant, considering it was a balmy 88 degrees and sunny yesterday. We had such a wonderful time together.

Bloody Marys: $4.00/each x 2ish
Bottled water: $1.00/each
Pie: $2.00/slice
Burgoo: $4.00/bowl
Lunch: $12.xx
Spending time with friends: PRICELESS

Love you girls!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Foods

I love grocery shopping in the middle of a weekday. The parking lots are mostly empty, the shelves are stocked, there are no crowds, and there are lots of moms with little ones in the carts. Reminds me of my days as a stay at home mom.

Honey crisp apples were on sale for $1.49/pound. That would be a great price IF each apple didn't weigh a pound! I kid you not!

Fall is in the air....well, actually it's more like Indian summer around here. The sun is shining and it's a balmy 75ish degrees outside. Beautiful!

Before I went grocery shopping, I made my menu. It's full of fall favorites. Since it's just the two of us nowadays, I'll be freezing a lot of soup.

Here is my menu....
  • Pork roast, cooked apples, roasted potatoes, green beans
  • chili, cornbread
  • Mimi's chicken casserole, broccoli
  • chicken pot pie
  • meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
  • sloppy joes, baked macaroni and cheese, salad
  • homemade pizza
  • Italian sausage patties with sauteed green pepper and onions on toasted rolls, salad
  • Italian beef, macaroni salad
  • ham and bean soup, cornbread
What are your fall food favorites?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Watch out, Sasquatch, You have Nothing on Mothman

A few years ago, we went to Halloweekends at Cedar Point with my cousin* and her husband. Brad was wearing a Mothman t-shirt and I was intrigued. They had just gone to the Mothman festival in Point Pleasant, WV earlier that year. Apparently, Mothman was first seen near Point Pleasant in 1966 near an old TNT plant. Then, in 1967, he was seen near the Silver Bridge. Shortly afterward, the bridge collapsed killing 46 people.

In the years following the bridge collapse, rumors have been flying saying that the Mothman was sighted before the Twin Towers attack, the tsunami in India, Chernobyl, and other disasters. Hmmmm.....

Of course, I'm sure there is a rational explanation for the sightings....over-active imaginations, a large bird, etc. I thought it would be a fun topic for October. So, if you need an idea for a Halloween costume, you could dress up as Mothman!

*She is actually The Man's cousin, but I claim her as my own.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to my sweet sister!

Today is my sister Margie's birthday. I love that girl! When we were younger, she may have thought I didn't love her so much because of a few horrible things that she *claims* that I did to her....

1. I gave her a concussion (but it was an accident and she really did have fun before she flew off of the chair and landed onto the hardwood floor!)
2. I used to make her cry when we played Barbies. I'm sorry, but it's not MY fault that Barbie and Ken got divorced. Seriously. Why did she feel the need to blame their problems on me?
3. She used to chase me down the street yelling, "DaDa". I didn't hear her. She claims I ignored her and ran and hid from her, but seriously...I didn't hear her!
4. My mom FORCED my best friend and I to take her to see Grease with us. What was my mother thinking? I was only in 6th grade, which made Margie in 1st grade. (however, Margie did tell me recently that she felt totally cool to get to go to the movies with my friend and me. Of course she felt cool. We were the epitome of cool with our braces, Dorothy Hamill haircuts, and matching clothes.)
5. I made her sniff pepper to see if it really did make people sneeze. (I will admit to doing that because I felt really bad that it burned her nose!)

In all seriousness, though, Margie and I have had some truly wonderful times together.

  • She was my maid of honor in my wedding.
  • We traveled to Walt Disney World together (as adults) and totally made fools of ourselves crying during the opening ceremonies at the Magic Kingdom. (Dad loved Disney World and our parents took us there every year when we were younger.)
  • We learned to speak Japanese together this summer (Dawn wa suki chocoleto...Dawn likes chocolate...I didn't claim to be good at speaking Japanese!) ;)
  • We used to get sent to our room when we were younger because we were arguing (or whatever the heck we were doing to annoy our parents at the time) and once there, we would finally laugh so hard at the situation we couldn't stop!
  • When we were on vacation one year, our grandmother fell asleep in the hotel room and started snoring. Again, we got the giggles and couldn't stop, so my dad made us LEAVE THE ROOM! hehe
  • We used to make each other treats for surprises. Mom had a cake tin and we would put the treat in there and present it to one another with flourish.
She is....
  • My best friend
  • "Marnie" to The Boy
  • Someone I look up to and admire (even though she's my 'baby' sister)
  • An incredible mother
  • Beautiful inside and out.
I love you, Marjorie! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!