Archive for May, 2009

baked potato

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Mike doesn’t understand my latest craving for baked potatoes. Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s because it’s just about the only food that doesn’t set off a burning ring of fire in my esophagus. It all started on our way back from Florida when we stopped for dinner at Wendy’s. I opted for a baked potato instead of the usual burger and fries (that’s not to say I don’t crave burgers and fries fortnightly….aaah, who I am kidding, I crave them hourly). The tater was loaded with all the fixins’: cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and broccoli. I’m pregnant, so I can get away with all that, right? So a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that I could make my own baked potatoes at home. Since I know Mike is not a fan of baked starch, I decided that I would make them every so often for my lunch. I found a simple recipe on on baking the perfect baked potato, and I haven’t been disappointed since. Of course, it takes a little planning because of the hour long cook time. Unfortunately, I haven’t been motivated enough to make my own bacon bits, so I usually just load my taters with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and broccoli. Still yum!

We headed north again this past weekend for the Memorial Day holiday. We got to spend a good time with Grandma Minnesota, all of Mike’s siblings (less Jenni, sorry Jenni), and most of the cousins (less Katie, sorry Katie). The girls were exhausted by the end of each evening due to all the running around with their cousins. No complaints from me though. G’ma got to experience Lucy’s lack of restraint in the presence of food again when she ate half a pan of brownies cooling on the counter. The big boys, Jimmy, Paul, and Mike, didn’t seem to mind and ate around the Lucy bits. I have to admit that I even snuck a small corner on the opposite side of the dish. Luckily, G’ma had enough ingredients to make another batch of brownies. She made Mike do the dirty work as punishment for his naughty dog. It was a good time. Not just watching Mike make a replacement pan of brownies but the whole weekend.

pictures of picture books

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I finally got around to snapping some pictures of the photo books I put together of our Disney memories. I also made the girls each a 4×6 photo album that they can cherish. I didn’t go all out like the family book I made, but just printed up a bunch of 4×6’s and put them in an album. The girls love them.

Here’s the cover of the photo book. It has a nice, matte finish.

I ordered the hinge design which allows the book to lay flat. The pages are also as thick as card stock. Very durable!

A closer look at the hinged spine. This is as close as I could get with the lens on my camera. If I had a macro lens, then I could’ve gotten way closer and in focus.

And the whole cover of the book. I did the same fonts/title as the cover for the spine. Of course, I had to add my logo for the back cover.

The girls’ books are just 4×6 albums purchased from Target for around $7 each. I would’ve loved to have gotten Disney-themed albums, but I refused to pay $25+ for each just to have a themed cover.

I printed up a replica of the photo book cover and affixed it to the inside page before the first 4×6 opening.

The book has a total of 80 pictures in it. Fortunately, that’s about how many pictures I used in our photo book, so I just printed up the same pictures (give or take a few).

The best part about this project is that it’s done, and I can say that I actually finished something I said I would do:)

let’s go cubbies!

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Mike’s department at work has the wonderful tradition of treating all the families to a Cub’s game each year. The girls were invited, too, so we all made a day of it evening skipping school, if needed. The day turned out to be perfect for a baseball game. The Cubs played the San Diego Padres and left them in the dust with a final score of 11 to 1. ‘Twas fun!

The girls were very excited on the bus ride there.

Yes, we had nosebleed seats, but who wants to be down there close to the stinky players.

One of Mike’s colleagues thought it would be a good idea to get the girls some cotton candy. Mimi didn’t like it and eventually gave hers to Annie. Strange child.

The views from our seats.

We got a kick out of this. Apparently, you can purchase tickets for seats on top of these buildings across the street.

Annie really got into the “Y-M-C-A” number, but Mimi was more interested in watching everyone else.

chicken on the fence…er, whatever

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Many years ago Mike and I had a debate about the words that sung to a particular tune. The version I always knew was “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”, but Mike remembered it differently. His recollection had something to do with a chicken on a fence. I don’t know why it was such a big deal, but we did some asking around and found out that there was a version of the song “close” to Mike’s memory. It was “Turkey in the Straw”. You ask what is the point of this story. Well, Mike went off to do some turkey hunting in SD last week, and for some reason I remembered this story. So there.

Mike did his turkey hunting and shot his limit of 2 toms (I think that’s what the males are called). He was worried he wouldn’t get any because his luck didn’t change until the last couple of days. One thing that struck Mike as funny was how the turkeys sounded just like you hear in cartoons with their gobbling.

Another interesting part of Mike’s visit to SD was that he got the opportunity to do some mushroom hunting for morels. Apparently, our friends Matt and Jenny get a lot of growth on their land, and they were willing to share with Mike. Mike brought home about 3 pounds of mushrooms and decided we should have venison stroganoff with morel mushrooms for dinner on his first evening home. I was glad to oblige, and the results were really delicious. Even the girls loved it. Annie demanded seconds with extra extra mushrooms.

Here’s what the mushrooms look like uncooked. Mike froze the rest of what we didn’t need for dinner.

Sauteing the mushrooms for the meal in some butter. Mike and I each stole one out of the pan. Yum!

Mike showing us his trick for flipping the food in the pan. Also check out the look on his face. What is that?

Just about ready to eat. Can’t wait!

All served up over a bed of noodles. Delish!

Even the girls devoured it. Well, Mimi is pretending to eat, but she really did like it.

starting to feel abandoned

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Once again Mike left for an out-of-town adventure. This time he headed to South Dakota for some turkey hunting. I was really reluctant to encourage him to go because of all the time he’s already been away this month, but I figured we’ll have all summer to be together (except for the week he plans to leave right before I’m due to give birth). The one nice thing about Mike being gone this time is that he took the dog with him. Oh, the freedom of not having to lock the trash cabinet up, or not worrying about the girls’ or my food getting swiped, or being able to turn my back on the stick of butter without it getting gobbled up in mere nanoseconds, or not worrying about whether I left the toothpaste out on the counter upstairs for fear that it will get eaten, or not having to constantly tell the dog to stop licking her paws obsessively which ends up leaving big, wet spots on the furniture, and the list really does go on.

Mimi went on a field trip for school a couple of weeks ago at the local children’s museum. I tagged along and took way too many pictures. Let me share some with you.

This seems to be a common theme in all the children’s museums I’ve been to: a phone that allows conversations across the museum. I don’t think Mimi was actually talking to anyone though.

There was a little cottage with stations showing the kids how a home is built/decorated with such tasks as painting, wallpapering, shingling the roof. Mimi was happy to assist. I wish she was this willing at her own home.

Mimi is a little woodland creature with tail and all. She also now knows what it would it truly be like to live in a tree.

Why do children love to get themselves and their parents wet? This water area was fraught with that situation, including Mimi and me.

Do I sense some musical interest and talent from my little angel?

Mimi then got to see what it’s like to be a farmer. Milking a cow, brushing a horse, driving a tractor, and picking corn (something that may actually apply to her since we’ve got “our” cornfield in back).

Of course, we couldn’t pass up the daycare center where they had anatomically correct babies. However, it seemed as though it was a daycare for only girls.

This was my favorite part of the journey, Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop (which only made me crave their delicious sandwiches). Mimi, on the other hand, was not as pleased to become the sandwich girl. I guess this means I can’t expect my 16-year-old daughter to bring home free sandwiches from her deli job some day. She did seem to enjoy the position of cashier but only because she was trying to take money from the till. I did finally get her to make me a sandwich after much bargaining. I think I owe her a pony or something.

There was also a grocery store, but it was apparently the popular place to be with a long line each time we passed by. I made the executive decision to skip it.

The museum had a face-painting station that allowed children to just have at it on their own. I decided I would take over for Mimi for fear of what mess Mimi would make. I know, I’m a horrible mother for not letting my child explore the experience of painting her own face. Look how much cuter she looks though with a mom-made lady bug and butterfly. I think Mimi was much happier with the results, too.

Do you remember in the 80’s visiting Spencer Gifts and playing with that object that had pins in it where you could make an impression of your hand or face? Well, this is what that is only life size. The kids loved it. Here’s Mimi making an impression of her face/body.

The last section we visited was the veterinary office. I think this rated #1 or #2 as Mimi’s favorite place in the museum. She got to wear a real lab coat and take care of a puppy with medicine, a shot, look at x-rays, and use a stethoscope. It was so cute watching her really getting into it.

As you can see we had a busy and exciting day. Mimi was still rarin’ to go on the bus ride home. I, on the other hand, was purely exhausted and needed a nap. I may have to take the girls back this summer.

disney book: part 2

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they can’t view the slideshow link I posted in my previous post, so I went ahead and used the slideshow software that I use for my photo shoots to make a slideshow of the Disney book. Here’s the link:

The slideshow tends to run a little fast, so you can use the “+” and “-” buttons to go the next/previous pictures, and clicking those will stop the slideshow. If you’re still not able to view it, then I just don’t know what to tell you:/

disney book

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I’m having a photo book made of our time at Disney World. I had to order it by Friday because the company I purchased it from was offering a 25% discount. It was a lot of work to get it done by then, but I prevailed. Here’s a slideshow, so you can see what it will look like. I’m totally kicking myself though because I noticed that I forgot to include a page in the book, a page with the girls meeting Minnie Mouse while wearing their Minnie Mouse t-shirts. I worked really hard on that page:( Also disregard the numerous typos in the journaling sections. I thought I caught them all, but I guess not. Anyway, here’s the link to the slideshow. Enjoy and let me know what you think:

I’ve officially gotten to the point where I can no longer fit into most of my regular clothes. This means it was time to give in and get some maternity clothing. Saturday turned out to be the perfect day to do this since I was picking up Mike from O’Hare, and we’d be passing by a mall that had a maternity store. I only wanted to get a few things to get through me through the next few months of summer. When I was pregnant both times there were only two styles to the way pants fit: a high-waisted over-the-belly fit and under-the-belly fit. Both styles usually were made of a cotton/spandex blend. I found that the high-waisted pants were typically too baggy for me, so I’d end up getting the under belly style. However, they were usually not that comfortable, and I kept having to hike them up. Well, the maternity clothing industry has come up with a new style that has completely revolutionized the way the pants fit. This new style is high-waisted but is made of a soft, thin, microfiber material that fits kind of like pantyhose (but much more comfortable). They are absolutely divine. Now I wish that they also made non-maternity pants this way because they are that comfortable. I ended up purchasing 2 pairs of capris, a pair of jeans, and 3 shirts. Let me tell you, I actually felt comfortable in my clothing yesterday which hasn’t happened in a couple of months.

gone and back and sick again

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Sorry the sabbatical this past week. Mike was out of town, sick kids, and I had a special project that needed to get done by Friday which I’ll post about tomorrow.

Mike decided he loved Orlando so much that he went back a second time in the same month. Actually, he had an endodontics conference to attend and went from Tuesday through Saturday. Mike made it home safely, and there are no more catastrophes to report such as broken limbs.

Luck never seems to be on my side though when Mike goes away for any length of time because the girls and I all ended up sick. Annie was the first victim and puked all over my freshly made and laundered bed. I kept her home from school that day, but she insisted on going back the next day since she had only horked the one time and had no fever. However, the school called me around 1:00 p.m. to say Annie was having digestive issues all day and should probably come home. It was on that same day that Mimi was complaining of a belly ache and asked to take a nap after declining lunch which is so unlike her to turn down a meal. Fortunately, the only issues that each child had was a little bit of the runs until the next day, but they both were still out of sorts physically. Everyone is back to normal now except that I do have some kind of sniffly and sneezy thing going on.

I never posted pictures from Mike’s trip to Miami (or the trip which left me with a broken foot), so I figured now is as good a time as any. His buddy Matt was there with him, so they hung out the whole time together. It sounds like they did very little in the way of work.

I was so jealous when I found out that the guys got to go to to Joe’s Stone Crabs and eat stone crabs for dinner. In recent years I have found out that I’m allergic to them, and they make me quite sick. I sued to just eat them anyway, but Mike said I shouldn’t anymore because I could actually die:(

This is what excites Mike, finding an abandoned Tab can.

I hope don’t offend anyone with this picture. Mike was intrigued by how much more endowed the Miami mannequins are than the midwestern mannequins.

Here is Matt preparing to give his presentation. I asked Mike why there aren’t any pictures of him giving his presentation, and he said that Matt has some on his camera. I asked if it would’ve made more sense to trade cameras during presentation time…hmmm.

And finally here are Mike and Matt together on the beach. My guess is that they did a lot of frolicking and hand holding.