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Friday, February 26, 2010

Riding in cars with dogs

During Zoe's 'troublesome days' which occured a couple weeks ago, we were trying to not leave her home alone if possible.  Obviously, work, church and stuff like that, there's no avoiding.  But one day, we were just going for a drive.  So Zoe got to come along!  She absolutely loves car rides.  All we have to say is, "Do you wanna..." and her ears perk up and her head begins to tilt from side to side.  She's so cute.  And did I mention how much she loves car rides??

What will I watch?

I'm really not looking forward to the Olympics being over!

I just made a double batch of Spinach Artichoke dip.  And I want to eat some.

It's snowing here.  Again! 

I've had a load of laundry sitting in the dryer all day.

The only thing I have left to do for the party tomorrow is making a batch of frosting.  And finding something to wear.  I wonder which will take longer?

I'm playing offertory at church on Sunday and still haven't settled on what I'm going to play.

John's project is coming along quite well!

I absolutely hate folding loads of whites.  They will sit in a basket for days, both of us picking out pairs of socks, until I finally give in and fold them. 

I'm seriously (well, semi-seriously) considering writing a book: What Every Daycare Parent Needs to Know.  Or something like that.  Names will need to be changed.  Including mine.

I really wish the kerosene heater was on.  But I'm too lazy to get up and turn it on!

Dusting rarely occurs in my house.  It can, however, be counted on at the change of season, when I change my decor.

One of my snow day activities was decorating my laptop with wikisticks.

Apolo Ohno is racing for gold right now.

He's in 4th.

He's still in 4th.

This is bad.

Crap.  He's 2nd, but it looked like he knocked somebody over.

Silver for Ohno...I hope!  Wait, wait, wait...

Boo.  Ohno is DQ'd.  Sad ending for him.  :(

Now I'm too depressed to blog anymore.  Goodnight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

think, think, think

Big party coming up this weekend.  I've got some stuff to make for it, and I'll be spending the day tomorrow and Saturday helping prepare.  Amy's coming home from San Diego!  So excited...hope the weather cooperates.  John's working many hours on a project that I just know is going to turn out well.  Caleb took his first steps one week ago today, during water therapy.  By himself.  I love my nephew.  Tonight I made (low fat) alfredo sauce with pasta and broccoli.  And it was really, honest to goodness low fat.  Not like when you say something is low fat, just to make someone feel better, even when you both know it's not.  Not like that.  This really was.  And it's delicious.  (Another) one of John's favorites.  There are leftovers...maybe my lunch tomorrow?

We have a funeral to attend next week.  I'm actually kind of dreading it because I know it's going to be sad.  Twelve years on this earth is just too few.  I'm praying that God will continue to use Tyler's life, as well as his family's to point people to Jesus.

Zoe's been such a good girl lately.  I think the spray bottle by the door is helping.  Or maybe it's just because we haven't left her overnight for awhile.  I'm dreading what will happen on our next vacation.  Whenever that may be.  Nothing in the works.  My brother and his family are going on a cruise next month.  I want to go.  No more big vacations for us until we have a BABY!

I'm so thankful this week for a garage to park in.  For a gracious father-in-law who snowblows our driveway.  For a hubby who fills my car with gas (and lets me be the one to park in the garage!)  For my warm house.  For food, clothes and a loving family.  For my health.

My eyelids are drooping and I've got a long weekend ahead of me. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Picky Eater Approved

Most of my friends and family know that John is a picky eater.  Many times I'll tell him what I'm going to make for dinner and I get that look from him.  The look that says, "I don't want to make you mad, but I don't want to eat that."

I've gotta say, though.  John has definitely expanded his culinary horizons since we got married.  The first time I made meatloaf he said, "I don't like meatloaf."  I told him I was going to make it once, and if he didn't like it, I'd never make it again.  Halfway through that meal he said he loved my meatloaf.  :)  (Not to toot my own horn, but I do make a mean meatloaf.  So juicy and delicious with barbecue sauce.  Yum!)  More often than not, lately, John likes pretty much anything I make. 

So when I saw this recipe for Thai Beef Stir-Fry in the 2005 Taste of Home Annual Recipes cookbook, I knew I had to try it.  First, because it has vegetables that John actually likes (not peppers, onions and the like).  And secondly, because it has peanut butter in the sauce.  I love peanut butter sauces.

Here's the recipe, in case you'd like to try it.  And let me just say, it was SO yummy!!  We both gobbled it up, and John took the leftovers to work for his 3am dinner!  It is a little time consuming, but well worth it.

You begin by making the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. hot pepper sauce (think Tabasco)
Whisk those ingredients together and set aside.  It'll smell delicious already.

Pour 3 T. of EVOO into a wok and stir fry 2 lbs. of boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips.  I actually had to do mine in 2 batches.  Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm.

(Put on a big pot of water for the pasta.)

Put another 3 T. of EVOO into the wok and add 2 cups fresh cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces, and 1 + 1/2 cups julienned carrots.  Stir-fry for 5 minutes.  Add 4 cups fresh broccoli, also cut into bite size pieces.  Stir-fry for about 7 more minutes. 

Now the recipe says to add 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms and stir-fry for 6-8 minutes.  John and I both don't like mushrooms, so I omitted them.  Instead, I just continued to stir-fry the other veggies for 6-8 more minutes.  I was worried they might not be done enough.  Don't worry.  They will be!

**At this point, the point where you would add the mushrooms (if you like them!) I poured a handful of salt and some spaghetti into the pot of boiling water.

Veggies should be crisp-tender at this point.  Atleast, that's what the recipe says.  Whisk up that sauce you made waaay back in the beginning and pour it into the wok with the veggies.  Bring it to a boil.  Let it boil for about 2 minutes or so, while stirring.  It should thicken up a little.  Reduce heat and add the beef back in.  (Wok's gettin' full now!)  Then add 1/4 cup peanut butter to the wok.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the peanut butter is blended in.

Drain the pasta. 

Put a big pile of pasta on your plate, and cover with a big pile of stir-fry!  Sprinkle the top with peanuts, if you desire.  I didn't, because I really didn't think John would like that!

Wish I took a picture, because it was a beautiful thing.  But I hadn't eaten all day (except for a blonde brownie) so photographing my feast was the last thing on my mind.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's with Livy Loo!

We had a different kind of Valentine's Day this year.  John had to work 2nd shift, so I spent the evening with the 'alone' women in my life: My Mom (Dad was on a mission trip in Domincan Republic) my sister Sarah (Matt was working) my neice Olivia (her parents were actually getting to celebrate the big day!) and my Dog.  Yes, she's a girl.  Yes, she counts.

Mom made us some yummy enchiladas.  Zoe had dog food.  I fed Olivia some yummy pureed meat concoction.  I don't know if I spelled pureed correctly, and I have no more spell check.  So deal with that.

Dessert was brownies with 3 different kind of chips: chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch.  YUM!  Thanks Sarah!

We spent the rest of the evening watching a chick flick and relaxing.

Olivia was quite the party pooper and went to bed quite early.  But not before she ran up my phone bill,

took a little tubby,

and hung out with Zoe!

All in all it was a fun evening, even if it was a different way to spend Valentine's!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Melting Cakes

Part of my Valentine's gift for John was making him his favorite dessert.  We first had the experience of these delicious little cakes on a cruise.  Our waiter actually wrote down the recipe ("his Grandmother's recipe") for me, which I know I have somewhere, but that's not how I make them.  His recipe called for my oven to have 2 different temperatures at the same time.  And my oven doesn't do that.

Want to know how to make them?  I'll tell you anyway.

First, you need 6 squares of bittersweet chocolate and 2 squares of semisweet chocolate.

Add to that, 10 tablespoons of butter.  (These cakes are very healthy!)

Microwave and stir until smooth.

It may look chocolatey and delicious.  It may smell chocolately and delicious.  But take my word for it, it's not quite delicious.  Seriously.  Take my word for it!

Next you add 1/2 cup of flour and 1 and a half cups of confectioners sugar.  Mix it together.  After that, you need to get yourself 3 whole egg yolks. 

Okay, they don't have to be whole.  But mine are.  And aren't they pretty?

Add to the 3 yolks 3 additional whole eggs.  Then mix the eggs, plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla, into the batter.  It'll be looking very smooth and velvety at this point. 

Now, before you actually start this whole process, you should have prepared  your ramikens.  You prepare them by greasing them.  I just rub a little Crisco on them with a paper towel.

Then, split the batter between the 6 dishes.

Now, you can either bake them right away, or put them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.  Don't bake them until you're ready to eat them!  You can cover them with plastic wrap if you're saving them for later.

Or, if you're like me, and only have enough plastic wrap to cover 4 tiny bowls (even though you just went to the grocery store!) you can be inventive with how you cover your ramikens.

When you're ready to bake your cakes, I suggest taking them out of the fridge and getting the chill off before you pop them in the oven.  Bake them at 425 for about 14 minutes.  I like to serve mine with vanilla ice cream. 

Check out that ooze!!  Delish!

Anybody have a spare draft stopper??

Tuesday morning.  I'm up at 5am.  I shower, dress, blow dry my hair and make up my face.  Let the dog out, start the coffee pot.  Feed the dog, fill my water bottle and watch the news.  I even did a load of laundry.  (!)

I'm getting ready to leave the house at 6:40 and Zoe is being a pest.  I throw her a treat, and expect her to run and get it like she usually does.  But she doesn't go and eat it, instead she runs down the stairs to the outside door.  Like I'm going to let her out again.  Yeah, right.  I know if I let her out she'll just sit in the yard and not come back in when I call her.  I also know John will be home from work in a half hour and he'll let her out then.

So I manage to pull her back into the house and close the door, even though she keeps trying to stick her snout in the way of the door closing.  I may have yelled at her.  She was making me late!

*Side note: I got basically zero sleep the night before because of her pacing and whining and waking me up constantly.  I was not in a good mood.

While driving to work John called and I filled him in on my sleepless night and frustrating morning.  We both commented on how we hoped she didn't scratch up the fridge inbetween my leaving and his returning home.

Well, Zoe didn't scratch up the fridge.  But in the half hour she was alone, she did manage to completely destroy our draft stopper, which is (was) the kind that slides onto the door.  This is what I saw when I got home that evening.

Bye bye, draft stopper!  And isn't this a guilty face if you've ever seen one?

Here's our newest solution to the fridge/door scratching problem:

Yes, our big tough German Shepherd is scared to death of the spray bottle.  This seems to be solving the problem for now!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We figured it out!

Atleast we're pretty sure we know why our dog has been acting so kooky.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that John recently dressed her up in a t-shirt during the massive purge of his dresser.  Althought I don't think she liked it too much.

And while I'm on the subject, here are (about half of) John's clothes, all in piles on the bed.

And the throw away pile!

It's even more clothes than it looks like in the picture.

But I digress.

Back to Zoe!

We noticed one night that both times she (very annoyingly) woke us up, the furnace was running.  We have oil heat and radiators.  We went through one winter with major issues: loud clanging and banging every time the heat was on.  It would wake us out of a dead sleep.  My Dad took the furnace apart, and somehow fixed it.  So now it's just normal.  You hear the furnace kick on, and the radiators hiss a little...but that's it.  It never bothered Zoe before.

Apparently, now it does.

She paces, and I mean constant

If we're up and about when the furnace comes on?  Nothing.  She doesn't even lift her head off the floor.  So why the heck is it such a big deal at night?  She knows we're here, we just happen to be sleeping!

We're pretty sure this is the cause of the refrigerator jumping as well.  If we're only going to be gone for a little while, we turn the heat up, or turn the kerosene heater on for awhile before we go.  That way the furnace won't kick on while we're gone.  If we're going to be gone all day, there's nothing we can do, the heat's gonna come on.

I don't know why our dog has become so neurotic all of a sudden.

I'm glad to have found out why she's acting strange...but I'd really like to understand why she's responding in this way!  I told John maybe our radiators are emitting carbon monoxide and she's trying to wake us to save our lives.

Nice thought.
pacing, if we're in bed when the furnace comes on.  She goes from one side of the bed to the other, whining and trying to wake us up.  We try to ignore her.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Innocence is Gone

I remember my sister-in-law telling me, at the beginning of my first pregnancy, that she felt bad.  She felt like their miscarriage had added to my worry and concern.  I had spotting basically the whole time I was pregnant, and she was the one I called with my concerns.  She was such an encouragement to me, and the first one to be at my side in the hospital when I had to have emergency surgery.  That, I think, was the first chip in the innocence armor.

The months after that, slipping by one by one, made even bigger dents in the innocence armor.  Without going into massive detail, it's just hard to sit there month after month, and not get pregnant.  Especially when it's the only thing you want.

With my second pregnancy I didn't have any of the fear I expected.  Not initially, atleast.  It was just pure joy.  It felt like my pregnancy innocence was back!  I had no worries, I ate well, I avoided caffeine and I got lots of rest.  I took my vitamins and drank lots of milk.  Unfortunately 3 bad ultrasounds and numerous blood draws later, the innocence was stripped away.  Feels like for good.

I want to be pregnant so bad.  But to be honest, I'm almost dreading it at the same time.  I feel like when I get a positive test, I'm going to be a mess of emotions.  Sure, there will be happiness.  But along with that, I expect I'll feel worry, dread, concern, sadness, hope and grief remembering the babies I've lost. 

I'm not a worrier, and I don't want to worry over any future pregnancies.  I truly hope I don't.  But that pregnancy innocence is just not there.  I feel jaded.  Kind of like, I'll believe it when I see it.  When that baby is home in my arms, maybe then it'll be real to me.  Until then, I'm trying to live by faith.  Trusting that God hasn't forgotten me and has an amazing plan for my life and our family.  Because I know it's true.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

just hangin' around...

This balloon has been floating around our living room since December 29th.  The store this balloon was purchased from should be advertising their long-lasting helium quality.  I'm impressed.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Half-time Fun!

Birthday Boy!

Unbelievably, my oldest nephew turned three yesterday.  Three!  It's so hard to believe it was three years ago that he was born!  He's an amazing boy with an amazing love for was displayed through his Thomas themed birthday party!  Thomas cake, Thomas balloons, Thomas goodie bags, Thomas plates, Thomas napkins, Thomas cups...and lots of Thomas presents!  A happier boy you couldn't find yesterday.  Except maybe Drew Brees.

After he opened each present he would say "Thank you ______" to whomever had given him the gift (with a little prodding from Mom).  :)  After he was done opening gifts, he stood at one end of the room and said, "Thank you everyone!"  Soooo cute.

Caleb loved the train conductor hat and scarf Uncle John picked out for him.  It also came with a train whistle that he loved!

Caleb was a little too busy playing with trains to smile too long for a picture, and my camera is slow, so that's why he's not looking in the pictures!

And here's a shot of Grammy reading with Zachary.  One of the only brief moments he was sitting still at the party!  Nothing (including a full arm cast!) slows this boy down.

Happy Birthday Caleb!  You are a very blessed little boy, with so many people who love you so much.  Enjoy being three years old!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sunny Saturday

So facebook is new.  And I don't know if it's the 'newness' or what, but it's running incredibly slow.  Will that stop me from using it?  Of course not. 

Zoe has been exhibiting some more odd behavior lately.  More scratching at the fridge.  Thursday night she woke me out of a dead sleep by shoving her nose at me.  There was nothing wrong, she had been out, she had plenty of water.  So I (after checking her H2O)  yelled at her to platz, which she did, and then I went back to sleep.  Apparently she did the same thing to John Friday morning after I'd left for work.  We think maybe she was mildly traumatized by our trip to NYC a couple weeks ago.  I really hope we don't have to crate her again.

I thought I was being stalked last night.  After picking up my dinner at Subway, I walked out and this guy held the door for me.  I noticed him, because he was wearing a really ugly from the 80's!  I drove to Hannaford to pick up some ice cream for John.  I parked and started walking into the store when I turned around and the same exact guy was walking behind me into Hannaford.  I freaked a little.  I got the ice cream (and some Cadbury Eggs) and went quickly to the check out, keeping my eyes peeled.  He pushed a cart into the store, all the way down the front to the bathroom, then went into the bathroom.  He didn't come out while I was checking out, so I figured I was safe.  I got his license plate number (okay, that's a little overboard, I know).  As I was driving out of the plaza I saw a cop driving through and thought, well atleast if I had needed help, they were right there!  I made sure no one was following me before I turned into our driveway.  :)  I was stalked at college once and I totally freak out about stuff like that!!

John and I have the whole day to do whatever today.  He's still asleep because he has a cold and took NyQuil last night.  So I'm going to go try and pry him out of bed.  Tonight is Carman's annual banquet, so that should be fun.  Hopefully some good food, and hopefully some good fun. 

Superbowl tomorrow...I'm going to try out a new recipe to take to the party we're going to.  I'll probably do a post about it!

I'm still planning on going private with my blog, but haven't had the chunk of time I need to do it all.  I've hardly had time to blog lately!  (And when I have had the time, I've been too tired and lazy to do it!)

I've been going back and forth and back and forth (and back and forth!) emotionally lately.  You think I'd be more stable by now.  But I can cry at the drop of a hat.  I'm trying to be patient where I am, and trust God's plan.  I'm really trying.  But it's very hard sometimes. 

Well since there's always cleaning and laundry to do...I'm going to go do some.