Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh deer! :-(

Oh goody a new decoration for the wall. yup I'm being sarcastic alright. puke and gag!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

~A few of my favorite things

Don't you just love Christmas!? I walked around the house taking pics of a few of my favorite things about Christmas. I love the ornaments....old, new, handmade, store bought. The stockings hung by the fire with care (so they don't fall down lol). I love the Christmas memories. I love love love wrapping presents :-) Leaving cookies and a thank you note out for Santa/Sarge. I love Seasonal coffee creamer :-) Making Christmas cards..... and this year I even made the envelopes! Unfortunately I didn't start on them until about a week before the big day then got too busy to finish :-( So I sent out cards to Aunts and Uncles and everyone else is getting their Holiday greetings via the internet. The few cards I started to send out a week ago, I found laying in sarge's truck seat a few days ago Grrrr. (anne, carrie, alisha....blame it duane! sorry!) I love getting a stack of cards in the mail. I love my snowman collection, especially the one Cody made me in 3rd grade with it's little stick arms, too cute! I love plaid. I love plaid. I love plaid! I love the get togethers. I love the kids Christmas programs at school. Cody no longer has them and I'm bummed. I love the cousins in their matching PJ's. And staying the night at Grandma's house. I love making the buckeyes and cookies. Although this year I tried to do a dozen different kinds in 1 day....I don't recommend it, what a job!!!! I love the Christmas brunch at my parents house and Christmas Eve meals at D's Mom and Dads house. I love the excitement and anticipation. I love torturing the kids by making them eat breakfast before opening the presents. I love the decorating. I might even like the predictability of sarge waiting until Christmas Eve to go shopping (which is where he is right now) LOL No.....I'll never love THAT!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

~Thank you!!!

Thank You Anne Hunter & Alex!!! I love finding packages on my porch :-) I so totally know what we're having for breakfast on Christmas :-) Woo hoo I can't wait to get into them (IF I can wait that long), I even have a new jar of Black forrest Jam to go with the english muffins. English muffins=my weakness!!! Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!! At least someone isn't a slacker, I on the other hand just got my cards out today heehee Running a little behind aren't I?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ATC 2008

It's so nice to get dressed up every now and then. For the recruiting world that means ATC. (annual training conference) We had a big king size room with a LaRgE bathroom with windows all across the way and an awesome view of the state house and downtown columbus. Our room was up by Andy Warhols eye, luckily we couldn't see him from our room :-) We arrived in Columbus Friday about noon. Sarge had to jet off to classes (hence the 'training' part) But I had more freedom. I met up with friends and we headed to the mall. I'm a big scaredy cat about driving in unfamiliar areas.....especially large, busy areas. But somehow I got talked into driving. I was doing good until D called and asked us to come back. It was impossible! It took us 4x longer to get back then it had taken us to get there. Even the gps couldn't save me. We were so extremely lost! The gps kept telling us to turn left onto one way roads or roads that were blocked off for construction. I could not for the life of me get back to the valet area of the hotel to pick up another wife so she ended up having to walk around the corner to where we were parked. After that I asked one of them to drive LOL seeeee....big chicken :-) There was a situation with a city bus, a screaming bus driver and illegal U-turn but I won't mention that. LOL Friday night we broke up by companies and had our separate parties. Some companies have themes for their parties so it looked alot like Halloween. We saw a cereal killer (Small bloody cereal boxes with knives in them stuck to someone's shirt) Thing 1 and Thing 2, a smurf, a couple of romans and I can't even remember what else. Luckily our company was just sports themed....as in, wear a sports jersey. But 'someone' forgot to tell me. We discussed doing an 80's theme next year-I'm all for that! I'm already looking for the perfect outfit :-) The company parties are always a blast. And here's where I brag on my hubby for a job well done. The brigade command sergeant major came in looking for Duane to commend him for a good year and present him with the Top Station Commander award, maurader coin and a shirt awarded for excellence :-) *beaming with pride* Saturday morning rolls around much too early and lots of sleepy looking people congregate downstairs for classes....again. Luckily they had lots of starbucks and breakfast ready for us. In the morning there were classes about being an army recruiting spouse and about the Family Readiness Group, etc. And the soldiers went over to the statehouse for a motivational speech by RUDY, Rudy Ruettiger, the football dude from the movie RUDY. Then a lunch break. Then us gals were back to class for a sensing session. which is basically bringing any questions or complaints to the commanders attn....quite annoying in my opinion because most of it was complaints or questions that the wives should have been asking their hubbies, not the commanders. I say if your not willing to help or be part of the solution.....then you're not aloud to whine. Then we had a spouse panel which I was on, in which the other spouses could ask us questions. Guess I'm of that older/wiser age now :-( sounds like code for : old. Then finally we got to go get ready for the ball :-) I was a little nervous because we didn't get to sit with our station this year, which took me away from 'my girls' :-( We were seated at the company commanders table but I ended up having a blast :-) The making of the Grog is always interesting. Those boys come up with some interesting stuff. Each time they add a bottle of alcohol (or whatever) they have some silly lil story to go along with it. Our redneck wine got filtered thru someone's lucky jockstrap, that hadn't been washed all thru college (as if!) The mixed up alcohol wouldn't be so bad if I dared to drink it (which I don't) but when they start adding stuff like pork rinds and last years grog that has been sitting in someone's car all year and swamp water...then it gets really really gross. But at least they are creative!
Sunday morning the Chaplain has a prayer breakfast (basically if you want breakfast, you're going to church too heehee) then the guys have a few more hours of classes. And alot of the wives spent the whole time trying to get the cars out of valet so they could be ready to go when the guys were done in class. The poor valet kids were overwhelmed with hundreds of people trying to get their cars out at the same time. Alot of people got them out before they went to bed at like 2am but we were not about to park the car out on the street all night. We went down at 8am and there was already a 30 min wait. The people that didn't venture down till later were NOT very happy because it took about an hour and a half. I'm sure valet parking is lovely when there aren't quite so many people :-) I'm already looking forward to next year's ball :-) And I'll make sure we take a government vehicle so that I can't be responsible for driving heehee J/K

Friday, December 19, 2008

~Flute Tooter

5th grade band concert: They've only been playing for about 2 months! They are so darn cute I was beaming with pride thru every squeak, squeal and sour note they hit :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

~Bad day...........

Wow Saturday was a bad day to be amish...........
the pic looks extremely blurry but it's mostly because the snow was blowing completely sideways. Poor kids only had an umbrella as protection :-(

It was a bad day to be an amish horse too.

And it was a REALLY bad day to be a deer!!!! :-( Bambi slayer had 4 poor deer in the truck. Not exactly what I wanted to see while driving thru town!!! (so I figured I'd make you look too!!!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation

Try saying THAT 5x fast! ~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation~Rachel Ray Recipe Recommedation
Rachel made this recipe on the show Wednesday, It looked yummy and I had all the ingredients here so I gave it a test run last night. Yummmmy! And it smelled heavenly! I highly recommend this one. So do Duane and Cody. I love my boys! They totally don't mind that I'm always experimenting in the kitchen, and they usually eat & like my creations too :-) Now Courtney on the other hand.........she's not willing to try much-she's too much like me at her age. I didn't try much (even coffee!) until I was about 30!!! Now that I'm a coffee addict and killed all my tastebuds, I eat all sorts of crazy things :-) I add spinich, edamame, sweet potatoes or flaxseed to anything I can. I added emamame to this recipe too-it just seemed to need a little more color. who would think butternut squash, dates and chicken go together?......not me!!! But it works. Try it!

Baking the butternut squash
simmering the chicken and spices
the finished product and almond citrus couscous

eatin' time!!!!!!

Spicy Chicken with Dates and Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), seeded, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)l, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, chopped
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
12 dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley leaves (a large handful), roughly chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and roast in the hot oven until tender, about 30 minutes.While the squash is working, place a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and almost cooked through, 6-7 minutes.Add the onion, dates, spices, bay leaf and cinnamon stick to the pan, and continue cooking until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock to the pan and bring up to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened and dates are plump, 5-6 minutes.Remove and discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the stew. Stir in the roasted butternut squash. Garnish with the cilantro or parsley and serve with Citrus Couscous alongside.
Citrus Couscous

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups chicken stock
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
2 cups couscous
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat with the butter. Add the nuts to the melted butter and toast until golden brown, 4-5 minutes.Add the stock and zest of the lemon or orange to pot and bring the liquid up to a bubble. Stir in the couscous, cover the pan and remove from heat. Let couscous sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve. *add more liquid if needed, mine was a lil dry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

~Chuckle chuckle

Look how my crazy cat was sleeping today! It looks like he was sitting up and just zonked out and fell over. Silly boy!

After taking a closer look at this pic I noticed Gunners eyes were glowing and he looks coo coo like Cujo so I added a sign for him lol
But really he's a sweety and his eyes don't usually glow I swear!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

~Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We hosted Thanksgiving, like we do every year - it's "our" assigned holiday. Just about the whole immediate family was able to make it :-) so we had a houseful of 18. It was lovely!!! Even the turkey turned out wonderfully. It usually does because Duane is in charge of the turkey, except for last year when I tried to brine it-and it turned out rather....blah. We injected it the night before with marinade this year and it rocked. I'm so glad D's sister, Cristy (and family) got to come down from MI this year. My niece Hailey is getting so big and she's talking up a storm. She's such a lil doll!

Courtey & Hailey:
Hailey loving on Gunner:
Mom, Cora and Hailey:
I snapped a blind picture during prayer (I still had my eyes closed/head bowed) and God was really in the room! Look at all that light! I took a pic seconds before we prayed and it came out normal. Isn't that cool!?

chowing down: I didn't get to sit at the big table this year :-( lol
but at least I wasn't at the kids table :-)
Cristy & Hailey:
Sarge & Chad: Chad & Clea were late, big surprise!
I swear they do that just to get out of doing dishes LOL

~Thanksgiving Weekend

Cristy, Craig and the kids came to stay for Thanksgiving weekend (weds-sat) And my in-laws stayed here too. It was utter chaos and it was great! We got up at 4am on Friday to go shopping for some sales. Craig, Duane and Cody took the truck and hit a bunch of stores and got all the stuff they were looking for, (GPS, MP3 players, digital camera, microwave, toys, carhart coats, pool table, ping pong table, tools) they were super quick shoppers too! Craig was tired of waiting in line so he was yelling "check out #11 is open with no wait" but there was only 10 checkout lanes. Dork!! LOL The guy really is good for alot of laughs. Cristy and I went to Staples for memory cards and to Walmart to people watch while we waited on the guys. Walmart actually wasn't that bad after 6:30--no lines at all :-) so we did end up doing some shopping. Then we all went out to eat. Then hit a few more stores together. Duane and Cristy's parents (who were still at our house) watched the lil kids, and when they were getting packed up to go home they asked if any of the grandkids wanted to go spend the night at their house. My MIL said the amish neighbor girls wanted to come over to put up the tree and decorate for Christmas (because they can't decorate their own house) When she went to pick the girls up, their mom, Fanny asked Courtney and Justin to stay and play with her kiddos. They made popcorn balls, played dodgeball, played in the barn and drove the buggy around - they love playing 'amish'! Actually Justin loves spending the night there when he comes to Ohio even tho they don't have nightlights, Courtney... not so much LOL Fanny also sent us 3 pumpkin pies and an incredible and I do mean INCREDIBLE peanut butter pie for Thanksgiving . Wednesday, when I was getting ready to bake some pies, my MIL called and told me I didn't need to make any because Fanny was sending some for us :-) Yay Fanny!
Hailey & Justin:

We had Christmas with Cristy's family while they were here
because they stay in MI for the holidays.

We played at the park alot, even Breck the dog had fun:

Duane went to wash my car right around the corner and said he'd be back in 10 mins........
but he didn't realize it was Saturday, date night! So all the young
men were there washing their buggies. it took Duane like 45 minutes to get back.
It's totally normal to see this, in town, where we're from. LOL

Monday, November 24, 2008

~Happy Birthday Cody

My baby is 14!!!! We went to Kalahari for Cody's birthday (it was a few weeks ago, I'm a slow blogger!) The kids had the next day off school for some reason and the Kalahari stay was part of a school fundraiser so a lot of the kids friends were there too. I discovered that the inside of a water park is a horrible place to take pictures, but I managed to get a few (very few). Even from the resorts website you can not tell how cool the place is and the indoor water park is HUGE!!! Cody also got a electric guitar and amp which is exactly what he wanted :-)
Lazy River

the wave pool

It took them so long to climb up all those stairs but they come down so fast!

See Duane in the toilet bowl water slide? Me neither! I tried to catch him whizzing by about 5 times but he was just too fast.

~1/2 Bath

I finally got my beloved slate tiles :-) I've always loved slate. We had a big ol' pile of it growing up. It was originally on the roof of our farmhouse but when the roof got replaced, the pile of slate was ours to play with. I liked to pretend I was Laura Ingalls and write on the slates like I was in a one room schoolhouse. We were suppose to put the slate in the kitchen but my poor lil heart got broke when Sarge said it couldn't be done. (something to do with the house beam and the slate cracking so easily blah blah blah) But at least it's in my bathroom now. I will happily mop my new slate every day (ok, maybe every other day) I don't have a before pic. But there was really nothing to look at. It was a sink and a toilet and a big huge blank mirror and flat white paint. Now it's got a bit of personality :-) It's such a small space, it's hard to get pics but you get the gist. I have a few spots of paint to touch up and I need to put the sealer down on the floor then it's Done done done :-) yay!



Friday, November 21, 2008

~Buckeye heaven

Here's my favorite holiday candy recipe...... It's an absolute must have for Christmas! And now that it's been requested I've been craving them BIG time! I actually meant to do this blog way back when I made them for Angie's birthday, even took step by step pics, but I got sidetracked. I get sidetracked ALOT and very very often :-) It's a honking miracle if I ever post something on time. I know this is 2 days late but here ya go angie :-)~num nummy!!!

P.S. ~ you better double or triple this recipe cuz they won't last long!!!!
1 1/2 Cups of creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, room temp
2 1/2 cups confectionery sugar (more or less)
melting chocolate (I prefer chocolate almond bark, it's near the chocolate chips)
Mix together pb, butter and sugar. You may have to use your hands because it gets pretty thick. You may have to add more confectionery sugar. The dough needs to be nice and stiff but not crumbly and definately not sticky.
Roll dough into 1" balls and set them on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and store them I the freezer until very very firm. (20-30mins should do it) (hint: you can fit lots and lots of pb balls on a cookie sheet but when you start dipping them they'll need more space so they don't touch)
Melt chocolate (I microwave it in 30 second intervals until smooth and runny, stirring every time I check it)
Get a few of the pb balls out of the freezer (hint: I only get about 10-20 out at a time because if they aren't really good and frozen, they start sliding off the toothpick and plop into the chocolate) Using a toothpick, dip them in the melted chocolate. Make sure to leave a bit of the pb showing at the top like a real buck's eye or buckeye nut. Place them back on the wax paper and into the fridge or freezer until the chocolate is set. Store in the fridge.

dip them just 'so far'

give them a spin to get the excess chocolate off ~yes there really is such a thing as "too much"
Now go store them in the freezer under the frozen veggies where the kids never look :-)

I usually have leftover melted chocolate so I dip mini pretzels, nuts, ritz crackers sandwiches with pb in the middle, oreos or crushed up starlight mints. Or you can dip 3/4 of a pretzel rod then roll it in sprinkles, the kids love those. My fav to dip is marshmellows and cashews~together :-)

And if you really wanna go into sugar shock try this OMGosh!!! Isn't it beautiful?!

Buckeye Cheesecake:
1 (8x8-inch pan size) package brownie mix
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 (10-oz.) package peanut butter chips, melted
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter-flavored shortening (or butter!)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Spoon batter in a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake 20 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sweetened condensed milk. Mix in the melted peanut butter chips, eggs and vanilla. Pour filling over baked brownie. Place pan in a larger baking pan with 1-inch hot water . Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn oven off; remove baking pan with water. Let cheesecake cool in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; chill 1 hour. Remove side from pan. Melt chocolate chips with shortening; stir smooth. Spread this glaze over top and sides of cheesecake. Chill 3 hours. Garnish with buckeyes.
............and now that I'm drooling all over the place, I'm dipping a spoonful of peanut butter into chocolate pudding--isn't that pitiful!?! It's all I've got at the moment :-( sooooo sad.