Friday, September 30, 2011

I hate to admit it…

but I think I’m getting old.

I love birthdays and always enjoy the next year and what it might bring, but lately I’ve noticed a few changes…

1. Grey hair.  I’ve been avoiding this for a while, but I have lots of grey hair.  I pull them out whenever I have the time, but it takes so much time now!  It used to be that I would take 10 min every month or so and pluck them out, but these days it’s 30 min every week.  I’ve never permanently dyed my hair, but I am giving it serious thought.  The main reason I haven’t isn’t because I believe in natural beauty (although it is partly the reason) but because it costs so dang much to do it and keep it up.

2. AM talk radio.  I used to hate listening to talk radio anytime.  I have a 35 min drive to and from work and was constantly changing the station looking for music.  But lately I’ve been listening to AM620 every morning and evening on my drives.  I think it started when I didn’t change it after listening to a Brewer game one night.  I actually admit that I enjoy this over music.

3. Forgetfulness.  And I don’t mean, where did I put my keys.  Common questions I ask these days are:  When is Jake’s birthday?  What are the words to that song that I sing him to bed every night?  What did I do yesterday?  Was I supposed to do something today?  What day is it?  Did I pay that bill?  How old am I? 

People will say the forgetfulness is just because I’m a Mom.  But I’m not sleep deprived nor do I have a kid with a million extracurricular activities that I have to remember.  I’m not sure why I am so forgetful.  Maybe I’m in denial that I don’t look like I’m in my 20’s anymore.  Or maybe I pulled one too many grey hairs and I accidently started pulling neurons out. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Have a nice day!

I was cleaning the cupboards today and found 2 Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mixes that were about to expire.  So, I figured I should make something with them.

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Have a nice day!

Friday, September 23, 2011

2011 NL Central Champions!

2011 NL Central ChampionsTonight the Brewers became the 2011 NL Central Champions!  I wasn’t able to watch it live, but the news has all the after game coverage and it looks like an awesome time at Miller Park!  I have tickets to the last game on Wednesday night and we have postseason tickets at work and I will be going to the second home game of the NLDS series.  Go Brewers!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Convertible Benches

My brother, Nic, built some convertible benches a couple years ago.  He said he found drawings online on how to make them.  So I did a quick search and I did find a great tutorial here and showed it to Jamie.  I asked him if he could make them and he said sure, how many do you want?  I said, how about 4 of them?  He laughed and said, how about 2?  Okay, I’m good with 2. 

Pressure treated pine was on sale at Menards and we still had a full gallon of stain left over from the deck.  So in one day Jamie cut all the wood and we stained it that night. 


We let the wood dry for 4 days and then Jamie put them together.  I love them!   They can be used as a bench or as a table.  Or put 2 back-to-back and you have a picnic table.


Since the wood was still a little tacky from the stain, we put some old blankets over them and were able to use them around the fire with friends.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital

Team Jenna was back at it for the Al’s run this year.  I made a Firstgiving fundraising page and asked family, friends and co-workers to donate.  I was surprised by the amount of donations I received, but I thought I would make a last ditch effort. 

I made cupcakes and brought them into work.  All I asked for in exchange was for them to drop some change into the jar.  I made Strawberry with Vanilla Buttercream and Devil’s Food with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream using some raspberries a co-worker brought in the day before. 

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By the end of the day all the cupcakes were gone and there was $94 in the jar!  Some of them also donated online.  I think this worked out well because they could name their own price.

By the day of the Al’s run/walk I had collected $762.22!  Jake and I joined Jenny, Jadyn and of course Jenna.  Jenna wore a purple shirt for Children’s Champions.

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The other shirts had Team Jenna on the back with a cute stick figure of a girl with curly hair.

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There were over 4,000 people there and the weather was cool but by the end of the walk I was quite warm.  In total Team Jenna raised $1,717!!!  Thank you to everyone that donated and while I hope we never have to use Children’s Hospital I am so grateful it is there for all those children that need it and in case we ever do. 

Als run 001

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homemade Salsa

The garden has produced lots of tomatoes so I decided to make some salsa.  The first salsa I made was using Tastefully Simple’s Simply Salsa… just add tomatoes.  Now, I love Tastefully Simple’s products but I was pretty disappointed in the salsa from this. 

So, I went to and found D’s Famous Salsa which has 4 1/2 stars based on 654 reviews.  The recipe looked easy enough and so I gave it a go.  I won’t post the recipe here, just click above and it will take you there. 


The recipe calls for 2 (14.5oz) cans stewed tomatoes, but like I said I have a bunch of tomatoes.  So I first blanched and peeled the tomatoes which I read about on which has all sorts of canning tips and recipes.  I’ve never blanched before, but it was super easy and kind of slimy! 


I have a small food processor, so I had to make it in three batches.  For the last batch I added in a jalapeƱo from the garden (my only pepper this year).  I kept the seeds out thinking it would be too hot, but actually I really can’t tell the difference between the one with and the two without.


It tastes so fresh and light and just what I wanted my salsa to taste like.  All together the three batches is about 9 cups so I’m not sure if it would be worth actually canning.  If I do I’ll be sure to blog about it since I’ve never canned anything before.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Garden beds

This past Labor Day weekend we decided to be laborious and landscape our garden beds.  The garden beds were already in place when we moved in, but they were bordered with some ugly 4x4s which were also rotting.


Before we started I built a contraption to keep my tomato plants inside the beds.  This involved some long molding that we removed from a bathroom a while back, some chicken wire, a sawzall and a staple gun.  Charlie was supervising since he remembers what happened last time I used a staple gun.


We placed an order with Menards for 100 retaining wall bricks, 50 caps, 25 flat pavers, 25 bags of paver base, 2 bags of interlocking paving sand and 15 bags of mulch.  It all arrived on Friday afternoon just in time for the weekend.


We were also adding some flat paver stones in between the beds.  So first up, we needed to remove the lovely bricks I laid down when I first moved in.


Then Jamie & Jake dug up the grass and dirt between the beds and I hauled it off.  Unfortunately there was a big storm that came through that morning making the dirt very heavy.


Next up was adding the paver base.  Jamie overestimated how deep the hole needed to be and Jamie ended up going to the local True Value for 12 more bags of paver base. 

The next morning Jake was ready to go!  I just had to convince him to get out of his pjs.006

Jamie rented a compactor and compacted the paver base before laying the flat paver stones.  It turned out that we needed 9 more flat paver stones, so I jumped in the car and headed back to Menards.


The paver stones were in so next up was the retaining walls around the beds.  It took us about an hour before we realized we needed more paver base, so this time I went to True Value for 8 more bags.

That day we finished the longest retaining wall in the front of the house and I continued into the dark getting the ground ready for the next two smaller beds. That day I had also put down mulch in the big flat beds towards the street but I quickly realized I didn’t order near enough mulch and Jamie also realized we were going to need more bricks and caps for the retaining walls.  So, the next morning we gathered all our bricks and figured out how many more we needed and then I went back to Menards again for 9 more bricks, 7 more caps and 14 more bags of mulch.

Jake was promoted to Supervisor that day until Grandma came and took him to her house.  Let’s just say that Jake was not a fan of our landscaping plans by the third day.300760_231779430206278_100001226689791_738288_3200881_n

We worked all day and finished the job by 5pm.  While the weather was hot, humid and rainy the first day we couldn’t have asked for better weather on the second and third day.  It was strenuous, long and tiring, but in the end it looks so much better! 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sips n Strokes

Last Monday Mom and I went to a painting class at Sips n Strokes where you “bring your favorite beverage and paint a picture along with an instructor as they show you step-by-step how to paint a beautiful masterpiece that you will take home at the end of the evening”.  Mom sent me a link to their business a while back and shortly after there was a Groupon for 2 classes for $35.  While the name is quite strange I was intrigued so I bought a Groupon and I took Mom for her birthday. 

Mom and I looked at the calendar for August and agreed on the Poppies painting.  We arrived about 15 minutes early, put on an apron, got paint on our pallets and popped open a bottle of wine.  Unfortunately, the state of WI doesn’t allow you to bring in alcohol, but they have it for sale and I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t charge much more than retail price. 


Mom and I were enjoying our wine and waiting for the class to begin.  Before we took one brush stroke the bottle was already 1/2 gone.  This was going to be fun!

First thing to do was to paint the canvas black and use a hairdryer to dry it before continuing:



Next up, paint grass and leaves with green/yellow mix of paint and add some yellow and white accents:


Then make four red blobs so they are touching and paint the middles black:


Add some white accents and then sign it:


Mom and I had a ton of fun and we are looking forward to going back again.  There was one woman in our class that must be a real painter and she followed her own rules for the painting.


Here are some up-coming paintings that are on special or only for a limited time:

$30 for all Halloween paintings (I like this cute one):


$35 for the baseball and football paintings:


$35 and bring a friend for $10 for this peacock painting (Sept 14th):


$25 for this Red Dress painting, one of my favorites (Sept 8th):

red dress