Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review

Today is the last day of 2010.  I would have to say that this year has been about change, and I’m not talking about the Obama kind. 

Jake had his 1st birthday in January and has changed tremendously,  from learning to walk to learning to talk.  He is still hard to understand sometimes, but we can usually figure it out.  He has 083become a bit bossy though.

A post I wrote back in February talked about how overwhelmed I was feeling.  That is when work started to go downhill.  One day I had enough and I finally told my boss and his boss that I needed to move to a different position.  It took until August for the new position to begin, but if I never said anything it wouldn’t have happened.  That definitely falls into the Seize The Moment category.   And I am so much happier at work and one of my co-workers even called me on my way home from work to tell me that she likes working with me.  It feels great to be appreciated.

006The house has changed with some remodeling.  The two upstairs  bathrooms have new tile, we repainted the garage, front hallway and Jake’s room, we replaced the hot water heater and dishwasher and bought a new refrigerator earlier this month.  Most of this was mandatory due to leaky toilets and appliances breaking, but some was in need.

Jamie has continued to do well at his new job.  He seems to really enjoy it since he gets to drive around the state and be home every night.  He started working on-call early this year and that brings challenges but also extra income which is always good. One big change that happened for Jamie this year was when his good friend, Brian, moved to Germany. Jamie won't admit to it, but he really misses Brian.

PillCam SB 2I’ve had a couple health issues that I was trying to work out.  I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and also swallowed a pill camera to see how my insides were doing.  Turns out everything is in good working order but I did find out I am anemic and have to take iron supplements (which means I have to take fiber supplements too), but now I can donate blood again.Bake Sale 11-13-10 001

I’ve also accomplished a lot this year.  I received a check from the USBC bowling championship tournament.  Apparently I took 1069 place for something!  I received my first patent in July and also just found out that my first manuscript was accepted for publication after some minor editing.  I’ve been baking a lot this year: cake pops, star sugar cookies for the troops, all sorts of cakes that I brought into work, more cupcake brownie hamburgers and sugar cookie fries for a bake sale and of course Christmas cookies. 

002To finish out the year I had the girls over for Christmas.  We went to dinner at the Fox & Hounds and came back for dessert: 003Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  We also had our traditional ornament exchange and then the picture in front of the tree. 

I could keep rambling on with 2010, but Becky pointed me to a website that took all the common words from this blog and put it into a shape.  Here is my blog’s handprint :)

2010 hand Happy New Year Everyone!


Monday, December 13, 2010

How many ways can you cook cauliflower?

Jamie is currently on his “Atkins” diet.  It’s in quotes because he doesn’t follow it but has his own rules.  Anyways, we have been eating a lot of meat lately, I mean a lot!  And no carbs which is painful to both of us since Jamie does all the cooking.  Recently, Jamie heard about mock mashed potatoes using cauliflower.  So we tried it out and it was pretty good.  It has an off flavor, but if you add enough garlic you can’t really tell its cauliflower. 

In addition to the mashed potatoes Jamie found a recipe for mock mac & cheese (which is more like cauliflower casserole), mock twice baked potatoes and a cauliflower, chicken & bacon bake that I didn’t try but Jamie seemed to enjoy.

The most interesting recipe is cauliflower pizza crust.  It sounds weird but it wasn’t too bad, or at least I don’t remember what pizza really tastes like anymore.  Here’s the recipe if you are ever inclined to try it out:

1/2 head cauliflower chopped finely in food processor

1 egg, beaten

1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

italian seasoning & garlic powder

Boil the cauliflower for 5 minutes, then drain well using paper towels.  Mix with egg and mozzarella cheese.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and press mixture onto pan, spreading evenly and sprinkle with italian seasoning and garlic powder.  Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Top with any pizza toppings you like and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts. 

You can also broil instead of baking which might keep the crust more crispy, we baked it and it wasn’t very crispy.

I am hoping Jamie’s diet ends soon so we can get back to normal meals.  Or even have a real potato again!

EDIT: Don't broil the crust, it became soggy and not good at all. But, Jamie's off his diet now and he just brought home two Jack's Naturally Rising Pizza's :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Okay, so Thanksgiving was only three days ago, but I have the Christmas bug.  Friday was spent shopping and napping, so Saturday and Sunday I spent decorating inside and out (Jamie doesn’t decorate, but he will help when I need him). 

First I put up the tree.  I bought a pre-lit tree from Stein’s a few years ago and I love it!  It goes up easy and being pre-lit makes it so fast to decorate.  There was a minor situation with the lights where half of a strand wouldn’t light.  It was driving me crazy, but after about 30 minutes I figured out the problem.  After that it was a breeze.

While shopping on Friday I found 50 count LED lights on sale at Home Depot for $1.98 each.  I bought 24 boxes!  I put 150 lights on each of our six arborvitae plus two strands of lights to connect them, 50 lights on the wreath outside the entryway window, 50 lights on the support beam on the porch, snowflake lights up along the porch and 500 lights on the tree on the corner.  So in total I hung over 1600 lights! 

The lights outside look good and bad.  The LED lights are so white and bright compared to the regular lights I put on the tree in the corner and in the snowflake lights.  I may end up taking the snowflake lights and the lights on the tree down just so they all match. 

The only problem is that the tree in the corner was the hardest since it has grown so much.  I had to use our little giant ladder and climb up as high as I was comfortable, then one more step up and using a hanger I was able to reach the top.  I am half thinking of not taking them off just so I don’t have to do this again next year.

Now I just need it to snow to hide all the extension cords!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Earlier this year, around Mother’s Day, Jamie decided to clean off the front of the refrigerator. He took a lot of what I had put on there and threw it away.  When he finished with that he cleaned out the coffee maker and threw the grounds away.  A couple hours later I came by and opened the trash can and stood in horror.  There, right in the trash can, covered in coffee grounds, was all of Jake’s art projects that I had hung on the refrigerator door that I was planning on keeping.  It was all ruined!  Jamie just didn’t understand why I was so upset.

A few days before this all happened I gave Debbie one of Jake’s art projects that I thought she would like to have.  I told her she was lucky to have it and told her the story of what happened.  Then for my birthday, Debbie framed and wrapped that art project and gave it back to me.  I now have it hanging in the bedroom above my nightstand Since then Jamie hasn’t thrown any of Jake’s art projects away.

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Today I finally got aroun d to scanning in some of Jake’s art projects.  They aren’t spectacular, but it is still meaningful to me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Kettles

Every year I see the red kettles with bell ringers outside local establishments.  I usually give a dollar when I see one but if I don’t have any money with me I still say hello to the bell ringer.  I know a lot of people try to avoid them and walk in through a different entrance.  This year I’ve decided to give $1 every time I see a kettle and I’m going to try to keep track of how much I donated at the end of the season. 

Red Kettle History

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome -- funding the project.

Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city's poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Captain McFee's kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Snow White

Jake has seen lots of movies such as Monsters Inc., Madagascar, Cars, Finding Nemo and Lady & the Tramp but he has never laughed at a movie or even a tv show.  But today while watching Snow White he was laughing at all the funny parts.  He liked Dopey the best, but who wouldn’t?  It was so funny to watch him laugh at the movie and it was great to see him laugh on purpose too!  It definitely made the movie more fun to watch.  I was actually afraid he wouldn’t like it because the effects aren’t nearly as good as the newer movies, but this one is still a classic!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy thoughts

The past couple days I have been feeling low and depressed.  I tend to let these feelings take over so I’ve decided to think of things that make me feel happy. 

Baking… I just made two coffee cakes tonight.  For some reason I can bake and it instantly takes my mind off anything that is bothering me.  I think it has to do with finishing the task at hand and the yummy smells coming from the oven.  However, this can also backfire if what I am making is too involved or if I feel rushed to finish (ex. Jake’s 1st birthday cupcakes and the burger & fries for Nic’s party).

Fall… I hate winter, but I love Fall.  I love the cool nights and snuggling in blankets.  I love wearing jeans and sweaters.  I love the changing colors of the trees on my drive to and from work.  I love Fall decorations.  Everything in Fall just seems to slow down from the hectic busy summer.

Books… I love to read!  I love to read on my Kindle, but the book club book this month isn’t available on the Kindle, so I got it from the library.  I still love to read books the normal way and I like the smell of old books.

Pictures… I love looking at old pictures.  I have a few photo albums from when I was little and it makes me happy to see how we have all changed.  I really enjoy looking at Mom’s old photo albums of when she was a little girl.  I can’t believe how much Mom and Julia look alike at her age.

My family… Jamie and Jake can make me laugh so easily.  They are great for hugs and cuddling.  Charlie is also great for snuggling with.  He loves to stretch out on the blanket on my lap really makes my legs warm!  

What makes you happy?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Holy Hill Craft Fair

Yesterday I met Debbie, her sister Trish and Trish’s daughter-in-law, Jamie, at the Holy Hill Craft Fair.  This was my first time there and I forgot to bring my camera and I wish I hadn’t because it was HUGE!  There were over 200 vendors and a ton of people.  It was outside which was tricky because the weather in the morning was not good when the vendors set up, but the time I was there (11:15–2:30) the weather was great.  I bumped into Sue, Matt, Dakota and Mrs. Burch.  There was a lot of Halloween decorations and some Christmas decorations and a ton of country-type home decor which really isn’t my style.

I did buy a couple things.  I bought Jake a tote for him to store some books and toys for car rides or weekend trips.  Debbie also bought him a smock that holds crayons.  I think I’ll have to get him an easel soon.


I was a little bummed that I didn’t see anything worthy enough for me to spend on myself until I found these really cute headbands.  They were $10 each or 3 for $25, so of course I bought three.  Maybe I’ll be wearing one the next time you see me.

 001 002003

I look forward to going again next year since I know what to expect.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End of Summer

These past three weekends we have been on vacation.  Two weekends ago Jamie and I went camping while Jake was at Grandma’s weekend.  Jamie and I spent time reading, playing lots of cribbage, fishing and just relaxing. 

Over Labor Day weekend we went up to Jamie’s Aunt and Uncle’s house where we pitched the tent in their yard.  The first night we lost power for 3 hours and our tent had lots of water in it.  So the next morning we took everything out, mopped up the water and moved it to a new spot.  That day was super windy which helped dry out the tent.  It was cold, but we had a heater from the house and hand warmers for our sleeping bags.  It was still a great weekend.

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This past weekend we went up to the Dells to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday.  We stayed at the Wilderness cabins on the golf course.  The cabin was really nice and the water parks were great!  The highlight for me, other than spending time with my family was winning $60 while playing Blackjack at Ho-Chunk.  Dad and I went on Friday night and I don’t think I lost more than 2 hands for the 30 mins I was sitting there. 

The weather is starting to cool down which means Fall is on its way!

Monday, September 6, 2010

More landscaping

Today after the rain stopped I took Jake to Stein’s Garden & Gifts to see what they had on sale in their garden center.  I still had a gift card that my Goddaughter, Jenna, gave me for Mother’s Day.  While Jake splashed around in the few puddles he found, I spotted some Indian Summer Rudbeckia flowers that I thought would add some great color to my landscaping.  Here is how the new landscaping is doing…

  076078074075The Russian sage and ornamental grasses took off after only a month in the ground.  The lilacs haven’t done much but I hope to see some growth next summer.  The arborvitae look really good and I am glad that we got the taller ones. 

To keep Jake from getting too wet while at the garden center I put him in these rain boots that I bought last week.  While we were checking out he picked out this small pumpkin.  A little early, but too cute!   


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is it on sale?

I hate to buy anything without a coupon or if it isn’t on a really good sale.  I love to clearance shop at Kohl’s.  They have the best discounts and I refuse to buy anything there that isn’t on sale because it will most likely go on sale in a week or so.  Even when I get a coupon in the mail from them I make sure what I am buying is also on sale. 

We buy Jake’s diapers at Babies R’ Us because we can get the most for our money but today I didn’t want to take the drive so I bought a small package at Wal-Mart.  Then when I got home I flipped through my Parenting magazine and found an coupon for buying diapers from them.  It was for 20% off plus free 2 day shipping.  Of course it was only good for 1 unit but I got the same ones I usually buy for about $10 cheaper.  Good deal to me and I don’t have to drive to the store! 

I had to buy some grow lights for work and I was telling my boss about the deal I found online and he looked at me like I was weird.  I got them at and did the free super saver shipping which says takes 5-9 days, but I got the light in 3 days so it worked out great.

I try to remember to use for buying online.  I don’t always remember to use them, but when I do I always look for the store that gives me the best cash back reward.

I also started looking at for the daily deals.  I just bought my first one for Stir Crazy. 

The only time I don’t use coupons is at the grocery store which I know seems weird.  I used to clip coupons all the time, but I never kept up with them and then they were expired.  But I do look to see if anything on my list is on sale.  There are certain items that I refuse to buy generic for, but I’ll give it a try most of the time and then decide.  I just got Jamie into this habit, but that might have been a mistake.  Cherry Vanilla Diet Pepsi was on sale at our local grocery store for $0.98/12 pack and we now have a dozen 12 packs in our house.  It tastes okay and all, but Jamie doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t increase his soda habit just because they were only $0.08/can.  It’s not really saving as much when he drinks twice as many. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chocolate pound cake

I got a new bundt pan for my birthday so I decided to make a chocolate pound cake.  I didn’t think the size of the pan was smaller than a 10” tube pan and it ended up overflowing in the oven.  When it was finished baking I cut off the overflowing part and then flipped it over.  It looks very pretty!  I am bringing it to my company picnic today so I don’t know how it tastes yet, but I am sure it will be yummy.


I got this apron while shopping in Lake Geneva last week.  Isn’t it cute!


I should have realized right away that there was too much batter in the pan!

 003007 The top picture is before powdered sugar and the flash made it look lighter in color.  The bottom picture is without a flash and closer to the color it actually looks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lake Delavan

We spent this past week at a house on Lake Delavan.  Jamie’s family was there and we had a few guests throughout the week as well.  I didn’t always have my camera with me, but I did take a few photos of the week.

The second day we were there we took Jake to Great Clips to get his first “professional” hair cut.  He did pretty good when we were able to keep his attention away from the hair stylist. 


I love this picture!  He’s pretending to talk on the phone.  Too cute!


He got a sucker when it was all over.  He did such a good job!

We ate breakfast together each morning.  The other baby is Michael, the son of Chris’s good friends Michael & Erica.


There was a water balloon fight!


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We watched movies outside with a projector on a white sheet.  We also brought the fire pit to enjoy each night.  We watched The Great Outdoors, Batman Begins and Indiana Jones: The last crusade.


The four cousins took a bath together.  They love Jake!


The last night we had lobster, mussels and ribs for dinner.  Yummy!


Jamie and I enjoyed spending time with his family.  It was a great week and we look forward to doing this again next year.

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Time to clean up and go home!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Farmer’s Market

025This morning Jake and I went to the Hartford Farmer’s Market.  This was our first time there even though we have lived here for 6 years.  We bought a huge onion & cucumber, cauliflower, tomato, baking apples, green beans, a loaf of dill rye bread and three plants to help fill in the garden.  In total this all came to around $20. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Microorganisms and methods for treating poultry

This past week I received two letters.  One from Patent Awards and one from U.S. Patent Services both congratulating me on being awarded patent number 7,754,469!  The patent is for Microorganisms and methods for treating poultry.  Obviously, this was for work and nothing too exciting except that I am one of the five inventors on the patent. 


Sunday, July 11, 2010


So my birthday is coming up in a couple weeks and I have no idea what I want.  Okay, that’s not entirely true, there are plenty of things that I want. 

I want include a new refrigerator, but that’s about $1200 too expensive.  I want a stamped concrete patio in the backyard, but that’s between $6-10K too expensive.  I thought about getting a bike, but I’m afraid I won’t use it much, just like the Wii Jamie bought me last year for my birthday that I’ve used only 3 times.  I would like to go to the Brewer’s game, but it is a day game and I would have to find someone willing to take time off work to go.

And of course there is the obvious that I always want, breakfast in bed, flowers, a nice dinner and a relaxing evening, but with Jamie working on call that week, it’s just not going to happen (maybe the flowers).

However, I do know about one birthday present.  My Mom is taking me to see Wicked which I am super excited about.  Jamie would never take me and I wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by his snoring anyways. 

Birthday’s just aren’t like they used to be.  During grade school it was all about the party with friends, sleepovers and the latest craze (Popples, friendship bracelets, NKOTB, CDs, etc…).  These days I’ll be happy with a phone call or a card.  Where did it all change? 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

Today I came home from work and my new dishwasher was installed!  It is so pretty!  Here’s the old one:

010 And here’s the new one:


So much better, and fancy looking.  There is a lot more space with out the center sprayer.  It is also much quieter.  Now I don’t have to turn the volume up on the tv while running it. 

Last weekend Jamie did quite a bit to the bathroom.  The new drywall went up, the walls were painted with texture, then actual paint and he laid the tile.  The tile still needs to be grouted, but it is all ready for him when he finds the time.  It’s getting there.


No pictures of the new hot water heater… it really isn’t very exciting to look at.