Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
- My Kindle. I am a book-loving girl. Give it to me in paperback, hardcover, magazine, electronic. I don't care. I read non-stop and love-love-love it! I also love the word games on my Kindle! It will be so fun to bring it with on our spring break trip!
- My camera. I am so fortunate to not have only one. I have a point and shoot and a digital slr, and I have time to use them! I love my cameras!
- My phone. Unfortunately....it is the greatest modern convenience of our time, isn't it? I don't care that mine is not smart, takes awful pics and has teeny tiny buttons for texting...it connects me with whomever I choose!
- My laptop...see number 3 above and add Facebook to that. How else could I stay in touch with all of my former colleagues, students, friends, family members from around the globe??
- Jewelry. I don't have fancy, expensive jewelry. Jack hates to buy it for me. But he has bought me some very special pieces that mean the world to me. These earrings have symbolic birthstones and I love them!
- My scrapbook supplies! They are my relaxation, my craft, my escape with art!
- My bed! I love my bed! It's comfy. It's cozy! It's my other escape!
What material things make you feel lucky?
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
- the biggest sports fan I have ever met... in my life! Seriously!
- the person who taught me to ride a bike
- the man who used to sing to me, "You are so beautiful to me," by Joe Cocker. And that was the song we danced to at my wedding.
- the grandpa who took Matt to a special grandparent/grandson White Sox game!
- the grandfather who took Lily to get her very first (and ONLY) American Girl doll at the American Girl Doll store!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
32 oz chicken broth or stock
3 qts water
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
2 Tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded carrot
4 cups cooked chicken ( I used leftover crockpot chicken, but rotisserie would work well too)
2 (15 oz) jars of alfredo sauce
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat over to 350*. Spray a 13x9 in. baking sheet and a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Cook spaghetti as directed in 3 qts water and chicken stock. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking stock liquid. Drain spaghetti.
3. In medium skillet melt butter over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes or until soft.
4. In large bowl, combine spaghetti, reserved liquid, mushroom mixture, chicken, Alfredo sauce, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir well. Spoon into baking dish and cover with foil (sprayed side down). Bake 25 minutes.
5. In small bowl combine panko and cheese. Uncover pasta, sprinkle cheese mixture on top. Bake 5 more minutes.
Monday, March 21, 2011
This peace lily was sprouting out of the plant this morning and really caught my eye! It's really neat that this lush green plant sprouts out these beautiful white and green lilies every few months. The more I thought about it, the more this plant is so representative of life. This plant requires more water than the others. Every other day the leaves start to droop and it "guilts" me into watering it. How could I look at droopy leaves every time I walk past? But minutes after I water it, the green leaves stand up on end and the plant looks "happy." It's kind of like tending to our own soul. When we take time to take care of ourselves, it shows in our mood, in our health and on our face. When we are run down it shows as well! This peace lily reminds me my blessings. I have the opportunity to stay home with my baby and take care of me: mentally, physically, emotionally. I am lucky!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
- put gel in your hair to make a mohawk. This is becoming a trend for you.
- refuse to get your hair cut. I guess it's related to the above comment.
- play "Need for Speed" on the Wii.
- like Math better than any other subject.
- sleep with two stuffed animals (Bluebeary and KitKat) and one real animal (Cleo).
- rollerblade around the house.
- enjoy reading joke books.
- are obsessed with the Disney movie Tangled. You saw it twice at the theater, watch clips of it on You-tube, dress up as Rapunzel while singing songs from the soundtrack.
- can't wait for your birthday party at the roller rink next month.
- enjoy reading Dr. Seuss books.
- prefer sleeping on the bottom bunk.
- don't own any denim.
- want to be a singer when you grow up.
- crave sweets!
- love McDonald's "hangers" (a.ka. hamburgers).
- eat yogurt everyday.
- like to quiz me on how my face changes with my feelings. (Show me happy, sad, angry, sleepy, surprised etc...).
- play with Lily's DS.
- enjoy "Look and Find" books.
- brush your teeth more than 3 times a day.
- like to draw and label pentagons, octagons, circles and hearts on the MagnaDoodle.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Yesterday the world lost an amazing man. My grandfather was the first artist I knew. He painted these amazing pictures that hung in his home. Some were a little creepy (those heads that he wrapped up for Christmas gifts last year), but the landscapes were amazing. I remember being little and learning how to draw the Looney Toon and Disney characters from him. He should have been a cartoonist because his pictures looked exactly like they were supposed to. He used to watch that weird painter on channel 11 with the big afro. You know who I'm talking about, but I can't remember his name. Bob something-or-another.
I used to sleep over at his house when I was little and would wake up in the morning to my grandma's home made breakfasts and would watch cartoons with my grandpa. He would make this figures out of seashells that he collected on his many fishing trips to Florida. I loved those seashell creatures. We would put together jigsaw puzzles that had thousands of pieces. It amazed me.
He was such a fine sportsman. He bowled and skeet-shooted and fished. He had so many trophies displayed in his house. I would be in awe as I sat in his old dining room, looking at the hutch containing his (and my grandma's) many awards.
He was a model husband. He met my grandma at the movies, told us the story a thousand times of how they met (and how my grandma robbed the cradle by marrying a much younger man). He loved my grandma so much. He loved her until the end of her battle with Alzheimers and beyond. It was so touching to see how much he missed her after she passed away.
He was a fantastic father. My mom and aunts have lots of cute stories about him in his younger years. He had the patience of a saint (and needed it when raising four rambunctous girls).
He was a sweet grandfather and great-grandfather. When he was around my kids he would light up and giggle at their silly kid-like antics. He loved to play with them and make jokes and smiled at them! You know how kids are usually scared of old people? My kids were never like that with Grandpa Fries. He had this really warm smile and demeanor that drew kids to him. I found that fascinating about him. The picture above was the from the last time I saw him. It was last year around this time. We visited him at his apartment in Florida. Even though we woke him up way past his bedtime to visit for a short time, he was still sweet and kind and so welcoming. He showed Matt the picture in his bedroom from when he was in the army and told Matt about it. He still played with Lily and joked with her about her face painting that was done earlier in the day at Animal Kingdom. He looked at sweet baby Zoey alseep in the stroller and commented about how small and sweet and peaceful she was.
He will be missed dearly by so many people. He was a wonderful man. I loved him very much.
God Bless you, Grandpa.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I love St. Patty's day. Even though I'm only a teeny-tiny bit Irish. The kids and I decorated the house with all of my old classroom decorations. I am dying to have some corned beef and cabbage and beer (as soon as this medical thing is resolved and I can eat solid food again!)
I also thought this St. Patty's day craft was a cute one for kids. Tell me what you are doing for St. Patty's Day.
Friday, March 11, 2011
one half red pepper, seeded and diced
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup plain, fat free yogurt
1/4 cup fat free mayo
salt, pepper and paprika
Mix all ingredients together and serve open faced on bread or between two slices of bread. Enjoy!
Roasted Red Potatoes and Artichoke side salad:
5-6 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled (I used a few spoonfuls of minced garlic)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (I only had red wine vinegar)
2 tsp EVOO
1 tsp non fat mayo
1 can black olives, chopped
Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup sliced scallions, 2 chopped hard boiled eggs, 4 cups torn romaine (to make into a green salad)
Preheat the oven to 500*. Line a baking sheet with foil.
1. Arrange potatoes and garlic on baking sheet; spray with non-stick cooking spray. Roast for 10 minutes. (The roasting really makes a big difference, rather than boiling the potatoes. The flavor is really complex and it adds a great texture!)
2. In a bowl combine cooled potatoes, artichokes and black olives.
3. To prepare dressing combine garlic (mashed to a paste), vinegar, oil, mayo, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes. If making a salad, toss with lettuce.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to give a Shout to God thanking Him for all of my blessings. Sometimes when you start thinking of all the "why me's?" and you start feeling down about all the crap that is happening in your own life, you catch a glimpse of someone who has it much worse and it makes you realize that what you are dealing with is just NOT that bad. Thank You, God, for my family, my friends, my beautiful house that keeps me warm, the clothes on our backs, the food in my fridge, and my so-called health. It can always be worse. Thank You for teaching me, the hard way, what it means to be a good parent. Thank You.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
So, then she sent me to a specialist. Yesterday he performed an endoscopy and a biopsy on my inflamed esophagus and stomach. He said he thinks that the build-up of inflammation is a result of my bile duct not doing its job, which is common in people who have no gallbladder. That darn gallbladder has caused me more trouble than anything else. And it's still causing me trouble 9 years after it was thrown in the trash! Geesh! So, I have to wait 5-10 days for the results to come back from the biopsy. They will tell us whether or not I need to have surgery on my bile duct to open it up more so the acid can drain. Argh!!!
In the meantime, I have been having a lot of trouble eating solids. The doc prescribed a pain med that works really well on the pain, but it makes me loopy (again, Jack...keep the jokes to yourself!) So, the doctor suggested that I eat a no-fat or low fat diet to minimize the pain for the next few weeks.
I dug out my old Weight Watchers "Cut the Fat" cookbook to look for some low or no fat meals. I modified this one, because I didn't have all of the ingredients, so this is my version of Broccoli Alfredo.
Makes 4 servings
Minced Garlic (several cloves)
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk (I used rice milk)
1/4 cup (about 2 oz) NONfat cream cheese
1/2 cup low fat Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
4 cups cooked whole wheat linguini
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta according to directions on box.
In a work, stir fry a couple cloves of garlic, the broccoli, carrots and onion.
In a separate saucepan over med heat add oil and 1 clove garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add flour and milk, stirring 2 minutes. Whisk in cheeses and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Combine drained pasta, veggies and sauce. Season to taste.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
1 lb. lean ground beef
a palm full of seasoned bread crumbs
about 2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
a shake or two of steak seasoning
Mix together and form into patties. Bobby Flay taught me that once you put the patties on the grill, you press your thumb into the center to make a little "well" for the grease to pool. Then, flip the burger and the juices wont escape. They will stay under that little "well" and your burgers will be juicier.
Sweet potato fries:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into long strips, like french fries
Spread sweet potatoes onto a baking pan. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of EVOO and season generously. Shake to spread salt and oil over all fries. Broil for about 5-10 minutes (Check often so you don't burn them like I did in the bottom picture).
I topped my burgers with cheese, thousand island dressing, pickles, avocado, and ketchup. Apparently that is what makes them "Cali" burgers, but my friends Jakki and Louisa, from California, will probably disagree.