Our Boys

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Culinary accomplishment of the week

I cooked dinner on Monday night to celebrate Chinese New Year. Here I am beaming with pride at my fried rice and General Tso's Chicken. Brett looked at the rice and asked if all of China was coming for dinner.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To the wonderful man in my life...

I would like to take a moment to embarrass Brett a bit. He is obviously the more private one of us as I seem to enjoy sharing all aspects of our life to anyone in the blogosphere willing to read. However he deserves a little public recognition...

Today was Brett's yearly review at work. He was a little nervous but as it turns out, it went very well. As those of you that know Brett and I personally, we have had a rocky 8 months. Brett's mom passed away very suddenly and we were thrown into survival mode. In the past 8 months Brett has managed to handle what God has handed to him with grace and humility. He has managed to remain a loyal and hardworking employee, an incredible husband and a wonderful father to the four legged kind. Brett is the kind of person that makes me step back and look at him with awe. He has certainly had his moments and his days and he is not perfect but he is the kind of man that I look up to. And, so without further embarrassment I say to him, "Congratulations!" I love you Brett! You are my rock and my very best friend!

He even fixes sinks!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where do the weekends go?

Happy Monday! It seems as though there are double digits in our future...I'm talking weather. Thank goodness because we just braved another frigid weekend!

Thanks to all my well wisher who helped me get over my weird touch of the stomach flu I had. And a special thanks to Mama Kate for prescribing the BRAT (bananas, applesauce, rice and toast diet) and for sending me to Target for some special pills. After canceling plans on Friday, I spent the night on the couch while Brett worked out. Way to go buddy!!! He has been very dedicated and has already dropped a few pounds.

Saturday was spent busying ourselves around the house. I was way behind on my domestic goddess duties and Brett's office was crying for some attention. So we were quite productive (Brett worked out on his own again since I had no energy because there was NOTHING in my stomach). Saturday night we got to see a high school friend of Brett's and his wife, Greg and Amy Adam of the Adam Family Blog who were in town for a Pom competition. They were exhausted when they finally got to our house so we had a nice quick dinner at our new favorite place, The Genghis Grill.

Ahhhh, Sunday - our favorite day of the week. We grocery shopped and then worked out and then I made a DELICIOUS dinner - Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie. The recipe came from Real Simple Magazine, but Natalie recommended it last week after she successfully made it. She is becoming quite the little housewife!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and pepper
1 9-inch store-bought piecrust, thawed if frozen

Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.Yield: Makes 6 servings

{My changes: I added a cubed potato, partially cooked, when I added the milk. I also substituted chicken broth for the wine and added some poultry seasoning in with the thyme.}

After dinner, Brett and I settled on the couch and started watching The Last Templar, a 2 part movie on NBC. What a way to close out the weekend...a cheesy movie, gingerbread cake, and two bottles of wine...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week in Review

Well, it seems like the past week has been a whirl wind but when I actually think about it it doesn't seem as if that much has happened.
Last week we got some snow and then we got some cold and then we got some more cold. By Thursday school was cancelled and it was -12 when I took Brett to the train station. Friday brought another cancellation and another dip in the temperature...-19 on the way to the station that morning.
Two extra days off did made things a little easier. Puro Clean came Thursday and after 5 hours of work, our basement is dry, the carpet is down and we could again live in our basement. Thursday night, Natalie and I helped Sam to clean her closet. I may ask her for the before and after pics to post but I am not sure if she will be willing. It was pretty bad but she has promised to keep it clean. Way to go Sam!

Friday I spent the entire day putting the house back together. Christmas presents still needed put away, the office disassembled, the entire basement cleaned, well, you get the picture. Brett came home early and we left for a long drive to Minnesota to visit our friends, the Hoolis.

Saturday was their son Brendan's 2nd birthday party. It was very fun but Brett and I just stood back taking in all the 2 year olds. As always, the boys stayed up way to late, drank way to much, and had TONS of fun! We drove home Sunday night and made it all the way without receiving any info. on the Steelers game. We recorded it and watched our Steelers win another one which means...another Super Bowl!!!

Monday, Brett and I were both off and we decided to take a mental health day. We spent all day cuddled on the couch catching up on TV we have recorded and new movies.

We are struggling a bit to keep up our workout routine and I am very dismayed that last night my sensor for my Nike iPod Sport kit would not work. Baby steps though!

I am not one to talk politics but Nina directed her readers to a post that really touched me. Yesterday I was proud to be an American as I always am, but this post makes a lot of sense. I wish Barack Obama all the success in the world as our new president because his success means success for us as a nation. We need to remember though, he is human, and he is only our president. Read for yourself!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Well, here we are. In Chicago. AND IT IS COLD. Our basement is still damp. It is still snowing. And, it is only getting colder. To sum it up, here are the first two emails I sent this morning. Yeah, I am hard at work, sitting at my desk, coat and scarf still on sipping hot coffee and trying to burn my mouth with oatmeal to feel a bit warmer.

From: Marissa
To: Natalie
Subject: Wednesday Ramblings
"Well, good snowy morning! Snow day? What? I actually woke up thinking we didn't have school because I had had a dream that I received a call. I. AM. FREEZING. Today is the day they assured me the basement would be dry. 4:00 is D Day…I may kill the people from Puro Clean. I have a present for you – movies. Brett said only you can watch them because he in no way wants to contribute to Jason’s happiness. Happy Hump Day!

From: Marissa
To: Sam

"I absolutely will not be coming to visit this morning. You would have to drag me out there on a dog sled to get me to go back outside. Hate. This. Need. Warm. Weather. Seriously, I think there is something mentally deficient with all of us who live in this god forsaken place during the winter. I mean really…how much snow is one person supposed to take. "

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Think Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everywhere you go you see various companies doing their part by producing their product in the "think pink" color. Over the Christmas holiday I was made aware of an important person in my life that was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a double mastectomy. My mom's boss, also a long time friend, was also diagnosed and is undergoing the same procedure. Well ladies, it is not, October, but I urge you to "Think Pink". Say a prayer for those you know and those you don't living with this disease. Buy something with a pink ribbon on it to do your part. Get a mammogram to protect yourself. Whatever it is---Save the Ta Tas!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A lil' of this, a lil' of that...

First, a big THANK YOU to Michael C. from Nike.com with whom I had the pleasure of having an online chat with the other day. He found my shoes in the right size AND color in Florida and Washington and explained how to order them. YEAH!!!

Second, congrats to Brett who got up at 5:20 this morning to go to the gym before court. I am so proud of him for being so motivated and having such a great attitude about his new healthy lifestyle. I on the other hand NEED HELP! I have skipped the gym the past two days because my legs hurt so bad from squats and lunges on Monday. I also broke down and made linguine with hot sausage for dinner last night. God, please grant me some self control! As you can see, the dogs have not made any changes.

Third, Lucy and Tucker would like to publicly welcome and introduce their new friend, Tux. Natalie and Jason adopted a sweet little shitzu over winter break and I think Lucy is in love....

Lastly, I did not post about New Years because Brett and I have made it a tradition to spend a quiet New Years at home each year. This year we (obviously) played a lot of guitar hero, but we also made homemade pizzas...on the skookie pans!!! We used Jiffy pizza dough mix which was so easy and then added our own toppings. They turned out fabulous!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In search of the perfect running shoe...

Brett and I have made a 2009 resolution to start leading a healthier lifestyle! We figured out that we are OK from January through May. We don't do well in the summer or in the four months leading up to Christmas....so, this year will be different! We are off to a good start and have worked out for the past three days as well as made some lifestyle changes at home. Go us!

As a jump start, Brett purchases the iPod Sport kit for me for Christmas. This handy device plugs into my iPod and a piece goes in my running shoe. It then tracks my miles, pace, calories, etc. which I can download to the computer. Awesome, right? Well, the only catch is that Apple and Nike have this little deal and the piece that goes in your shoe only fits into Nike + shoes. NO, biggie...I found the perfect new pair of running shoes, which I need anyway. My dilemma - I can not find them in the color that I want ANYWHERE!!!! Here they are:

Vomero +3 Women's Running Shoe, Color: White/ Dark Red - Metallic Silver

Style/ Color # - 318595-161

I have to wait about a half hour until I can have a live chat with someone from Nike to hopefully help me find these, but in the event any of you fab Internet shoppers know where i could find these hard to find beauties, please let me know.

In the meantime, happy healthy living!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My first trip to Heinz Field!

While we were home visiting in PA, Brett and I got to go to Heinz Field for my first Steelers game. It was a very long process for Mama to arrange the tickets/ parking pass but in the end we ended up with four tickets together. Scotty and his girlfriend, Stephanie, and Brett and I went. The day started off quite questionable. When we left Washington, it was pouring down rain and the wind was blowing it sideways. I was not optimistic but super excited! I felt like it was Christmas all over again! We stopped and bought some lunch (Brett and Scott came out with a sandwich that I think was about 3 feet long), picked up Stephanie and headed into the city. By the time we got there it was cold but the skies were blue and there was no more rain! We had no trouble getting to the stadium and after only minimum driving around found the parking garage we were supposed to park. We decided to walk to the stadium first to check everything out, including a weather check to determine how many more layers we might need. Pretty exciting! The tailgaters were already out and the party had started. I have never seen such a sea of black and gold! We found the gate we needed to go in and checked out one of the vendors where Brett was super sweet and bought me the throwback Heinz Ward jersey that I wanted! We then walked back to the parking garage where we hung out, ate, and drank and then got ready for the game. When we got into the stadium we were able to get pretty close to watch the players warm up which included Jeff Reed kicking field goals. It was pretty cool watching the guys throw the ball around and watching them start dancing when they cranked the music up. We stayed there for a while (actually until Scott was able to walk back to the car to ditch his video camera that they wouldn't let him bring in) and even got to see Brett on the Jumbotran! Then we walked through the Walk of Fame where lots of sports memorabilia is kept including all of the Lombardi trophies. It was so awesome that I want to go back on a non-game day to take a tour and get a good look at everything. Out seats were really high up but provided a PERFECT view of the field and of the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. The game was against Cleveland so it was an easy win although Big Ben got carted off the field with a concussion. The game was awesome and spending time with Scott, Brett and Stephanie was super fun too! Can't wait to cheer on my Steelers this weekend in their first playoff game against the Chargers!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Day After

So bright and early the day after Christmas we were out the door to see what kind of deals we could find.

Here's a recap:
Brett and Scott at Wal Mart with a full cart of half price Christmas "stuff".

Ben doing the Heisman pose with a rather attractive pink clutch at Macy's.
Brett hiding among the boots at Macy's

Mama Kate trying not to get her picture taken....
Brett, still looking happy, at the end of the day.

The best deal I got was a pair of Bandolino boots from Macy's. Mama put them on her Macy's card so I got an additional sale....are these not to die for?

A Brownlee/ Clancy Family Christmas!

So after the big Christmas Eve/ Mama's birthday celebration it was to bed with us all. I am like a little kid at Christmas and could not wait until the next day to open gifts. You would think it would get less exciting the older we get but, NOPE!

We woke up and it was very apparent that Santa had been good to us. Mama Kate played Santa and passed out presents and then we all took turns opening gifts!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad had surgery on his neck the Monday before Christmas. He has to wear a neck brace so we propped him up on Christmas morning and surrounded him with presents...I think he looked like another Christmas tree.
The highlight of Ben's Christmas...his Mac Book!

Scotty's Christmas...a long wooden stick! It is actually a lacrosse shaft but it looks like a stick to me.

And, Brett and I got a Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Lucy and Tucker got coordinating hoodies. Lucy's hood kept falling down and she walked around like she was blind.

When all the gifts were open we left for church and returned to quickly get ready to head to Grandma's. Upon arriving there were more presents to be opened and a delicious meal to be eaten! We got home with enough time to relax on the couch and enjoy the lights on the tree.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

My Mom's birthday is on Christmas Eve which kind of stinks for her. We used to have a tradition of going to a local hot dog place but it moved locations and it is not as good so this year Brett and I decided to cook her a yummy dinner to celebrate. We had the boys - Big Ben and Scotty - in the kitchen and we cooked all day. The dinner was reminiscent of a few meals Brett and I have cooked recently and came out just as yummy! Mom was extremely grateful and had a wonderful birthday!

There was Brett and I, the Brownlee Fam (Mama Kate, Big Ben, Scotty and Papa Ed) and my grandparents came in for dinner. We had fun hanging out, eating too much, drinking some good homemade wine, and opening gifts. Mom LOVED her calendar that we made on Snapfish for her!

Over the next few days Mom told everyone that we ran into about her dinner. She went on and on about how wonderful the food was and how no one has ever cooked her a dinner for her birthday. The funny things was that the story started like this every time, "I have the best son in law in the world. He cooked the best dinner for me for my birthday!" After about 4 days of telling the story, I eventually got credit for the cake, but that was it.If you didn't know better, you would have thought Brett did it all. He got quite a kick out of that! No one can take credit though - it was team effort. Big Ben and Scotty learned a few things about the kitchen, Brett made the turkey and I was the supervisor (although I did make that awesome coconut cake!).

Happy Birthday Mama!

(Ben enjoyed a whole turkey leg all to himself)

Playing catch up

So Brett and I are still in the office with the same set up we had about 4 months ago. We have blown up the air mattress and brought up the big TV. The only difference is that we now have a Wii and guitar hero - with TWO guitars!!!

The dehumidifier is running like crazy as well as the fans. I don't know how many there are but I was just down there and the carpet is still wet. I guess there goes all of our plans for organizing and cleaning.

I am trying to catch up on my posting, I swear. I have the pictures downloaded and Brett just said he will take over a few posts.

Hope everyone had a a fun and safe New Years Eve and a very relaxing New Years Day!
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