Our Boys

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Tuesdy night at home...

Last night I was feeling a bit blah which I attributing entirely to the weather. I went to target after work to get some much needed items for around the house and then grabbed a few things for dinner. I had made the executive decision that we were not going to the gym but rather would take the dogs for a long walk after dinner. Well, the weather didn't cooperate with that as it rained most of the evening and the dogs would have blown away , the wind was blowing so hard. I did however try out a new recipe which turned out quite tasty.

Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic (I am currently in the process of thinking of a more interesting and appealing name for it)


4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
20 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Light Caesar Dressing
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

HEAT large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 4 min., turning chicken after 2 min.
STIR in broth and dressing; cover skillet with lid. Cook chicken 3 to 5 min. on each side or until done (165ºF). I had to cook mine much longer to reduce the sauce.
SPRINKLE with Parmesan; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 min.

I served with roasted veggies (brussel spouts, red pepper, shallot, and baby red potatoes)which came out very tasty except for the brussel pouts. I don't know why but they were awful and tasted nothing like the last time I made them. Not sure if it was me or the sprouts that went wrong.

After dinner, we splurged on some sweets for the b-day celebration. Brett had sorbet, I had fat free ice cream with strawberries and a Graham cracker crumbled on top, and the pups each had a birthday Bon Bon. The beer didn't go over to well, but the Bon Bons sure did!

The pups enjoying their Bon Bons...

After today, I only have one more day of school with kids and one more day without and then it is SPRING BREAK!!!!! I mentioned before I am going to see my dear friend Julie in Phili from Sunday to Wednesday (just found out her daughter has made big plans for us - Build A Bear and Toys R Us...should be interesting for someone who doesn't have kids yet). Brett and I have dinner plans on Saturday night before I leave and when I get back we are going to the Art Institute Thursday nigh ( free admission). Friday and Saturday are up in the air and if the weather cooperates Sunday we may be going to a big flea market. So, nothing major panned, but a little R & R that should do me some good.
Hope the rest of the week treats you well!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucy Belle!!!

Our little girl is 3 today...

Remember when...

We brought her home...

And she only weighed 4 lbs.

And she went to Kindergarten, and didn't learn much.

She sure makes us laugh though.

Tucker says Happy Birthday, too!

And we love her even more now that she weighs 30 lbs! Here she is very excited for her birthday this morning. OK, so she doesn't get excited about much at 6 am. She's like her Mama in that respect!

Happy Birthday Lucy!!!
(She gets to enjoy her treats and presents tonight. Puppy Bon Bons for her and Tucker, new toys, and Doggy beer since this would be her 21st birthday in people years!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

This weekend was full of Springtime activities. Saturday spent the day Spring cleaning. It feels so nice to have the house back together and almost entirely clean. Sunday morning we went to the church and then went to a local coffee shop, La Spiaza to spend some quiet time together. I still participate in the childhood belief that if you "give it up for Lent, you can have it on Sundays"! Hee-hee! So, I had a carmello late...YUMMY! We chatted for a while about a little bit of everything, mainly which direction we want to go with our house. We love our house, we really do, but there are some things that we have decided that we "need", mainly a bigger kitchen and another bedroom. When we got home ( Brett decided at the end of church that working in the yard could count for going to gym), we got straight to work. We raked up the remainder of the leaves that were still lingering, cleaned out my flower bed, and I planted some seeds (idea from Barefoot in The Park) in egg cartoons so that I could get a jump start on my basil and oregano.
Spending time outside was wonderful and makes me that much more antsy for the weather to permanently be nice. I noticed the following signs of spring:

Live Forevers



Something my mom planted that I don't remember what it is, but I will know when I find the map she drew :-)

Balloon Flower
Don't rememebr what it is but I know I planted it

For dinner, I made "Your Spaghetti". Basically it's penne, a jar of sauce, ground turkey, and whatever else I decide to add. Brett calls it my spaghetti because he thinks it's funny that I refer to penne noodles as spaghetti when there is clearly a HUGE difference. Just another silly little joke that only we find funny! Anyway, it turned out super good because I sauteed 2 tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, some chopped onion, spinach, and spices before adding it to the jar of sauce. Delicious!

Have a fabulous week!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Morning Ramblings

Good morning! Here I sit, again, supervising Saturday detention. The kids are a little restless this morning because my asking them to be quiet is competing with the fact that the Kiwanis Club is having a pancake breakfast right down the hall. Torture? or Justice? HAHAHAHA!!!

Last Saturday Brett and I went shopping for a little present for me - a small, light weight vacuum for my hardwood floors and kitchen. We found one and I think I am in love! We ended up choosing the Dirt Devil Vibe Quick Vac. Although it is bright purple and I don't love that, it was only $50 at Target and does exactly what I wanted which is to suck up dog hair. Love it!

My Dad left Friday morning and I was quite sad. He did so much work for us! In addition to installing the TWO sump pumps, he installed a new kitchen faucet, replaced our refrigerator water filter, replaced this thing under our kitchen cabinets, fixed a small leak in our downstairs shower, and waxed our kitchen cabinets. I feel like he did some other things too, but I can't remember right now! Brett and I were laughing at how motivating it is to have him around. We were working on projects that we had either wanted to do for a while or started and hadn't finished. I just can't wait until the weather gets nice to start working in the yard! Brett and I really don't know how to thank him for everything he did. My Dad is tough to shop for but we really want to show our appreciation for flying out on such short notice to help. I think even the dogs miss him!

Tuesday night, I made Reuben Pizza for dinner to celebrate St. Patty's Day. I had made It before and although it tasted good, it was laughable. This time, it turned out restaurant quality!

Lucy, Brett and Tucker with their St. Patty's Day beads on....

Last night, the girls and I went out to celebrate Natalie's birthday. We tried a new Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda in Naperville. It was too cute inside. Nat loved her presents - a basket of all her favorite candy, cuts and tea from Sam, the Sound of music DVD from Jess and a bottle of wine and gardening stuff from me. If you have read previous posts about Natalie, you may remember she is the greatest person in the world to give a gift to!

So not, too much going on the rest of the weekend. We still have lots of work to do to get the house back in order, but I'm sure we'll have fun in the process!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Well, first off Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope everyone has done a little something Irish today!

As I mentioned I got to stay home and what a day! 70 degree weather - PERFECT! My Dad arrived safely this morning. After we got home and got quite the laugh out of the tools he brought in his checked luggage, the boys got right to work. Brett was really excited to use the heavy duty drill to go through the concrete. Before I knew it, there was big whole in the floor and the sump was in. They are actually putting in two, so they are still down there working. Me? Well, I cleaned up a little but then I sat outside to read and get some sun. Hey, I offered to get them drinks!

Here are the guys working...

And relaxing...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, Monday!

I know it's Monday but I can't help feel so much excitement because I don't have to work tomorrow or Wednesday...yeah!!!! My Dad arrives at the airport at 6:50 am tomorrow morning, so it will be a long day, but a nice one since he will be here AND our basement will be taken care of AND did I mention, I don't have to go to work. Brett is taking the day off too so it will be nice to be home with him as well.

We had a really great weekend, especially since the weather was so pleasant. Friday night we just relaxed. I cooked cracker crusted cod and roasted veggies. Brett is so funny about veggies - he ate them, but reluctantly. I took a picture but only after I ate half...HAHAHAHA!

Saturday I supervised Saturday detention...really? Only 13 out of 35 kids showed up! Punks! HAHAHA! Brett went to the office to catch up on some work. In the afternoon we took the pups for a long walk...it was so great to be outside and feel a little warmth. Saturday evening we watched the last of the Godfather movies. Sunday was quite productive! Church in the morning then to the gym where I had a decent 4 mile run and home to catch up with the drying guys. Still not done, but getting there. We worked in the yard, cleaned up a bit and relaxed with a glass of wine before bed.


Friday, March 13, 2009

There has never been a better Friday!

I am not sure I have ever been this glad for it to be Friday!

Presentation: done and went fabulous!

Parent Teacher Conferences: Almost over...tick, tock, tick, tock...is it noon yet?

Basement: In the process of drying.

I am SOOO looking forward to two days of nothing! Well, almost nothing. I have Saturday detention supervision tomorrow and we NEED to work out both days. Congrats to Brett who is down in pounds again! And my goal is that we are going shopping to find some sort of small vacuum for hard wood floors that is great for dog hair. Any suggestions?

I still haven't uncovered my camera so there are no photos to share, but I was looking at some old ones and I have always loved this picture from when Brett and I were in Maine visiting his family a few summers ago. What a beautiful place!

I also have fun news to report - I bought a plane ticket to go to visit my very best friend, Julie, In Philadelphia for the first few days of spring break. I am so excited to see her and her precious little girl. These were taken at my wedding shower, she was our flower girl. She calls me Mimi! Is that not precious?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thanks Friends! and a basement update!

Thanks to all the well wishes, via the blog, Facebook, email, calls etc. We are blessed to have such great friends willing to offer so much support. Look what was on my desk this morning:

{This is where a picture of a Hershey bar filled with caramel, a bag of M&Ms, a bag of peach rings, and a tin of Blue Diamond Soy and Wasabi Almonds in a black and white bag with a hilarious card SHOULD be but I keep forgetting my camera because it is buried in the mess in the basement}

Thanks Natalie! You made my day...now we will see how long it takes to eat all this candy!!!

My Dad has booked a flight and arrives next Tuesday morning and is staying until Friday morning! How exciting is that?!?! He is actually going to check some tools at the airport so he will have what he needs. He is going to install 1, maybe 2, sump pumps, and our fingers are crossed that it works. If it does that is a lot of $$$ still in our wallets! The company came this morning to begin the drying process so we are officially (again) living only in the upstairs of our house. That part really stinks!

On another note, I can tell I am reaching my breaking point. I yelled, no maybe flipped out is the better description, at a student this morning. Although it was not entirely unwarranted, that is SO unlike me. In addition, I am giving a presentation to a group of regular ed. teachers tomorrow on student with Asperger's Syndrome. I created and gave this presentation last year, but it has been since then that I have done anything with ti. With everything on my mind, I can't seem to run through the whole thing. I keep practicing bits and pieces so I am really getting anxious.

On a more positive note, the insurance cancellation is not effective until May 12, so there is a chance we might be covered for something. And, I downloaded my runs this morning to nikeplus.com and the runs I thought I had lost magically reappeared. So I have 11 runs logged. Yeah!

Well, God never gives us more than we can't handle. Although, I feel ready to crack, we are hanging in there!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Wet Weekend

What a much needed lazy weekend! Here's the recap, but a warning, it DOES NOT END WELL!!!

Friday after work, I met up with the girls for some much needed gossip and beverages. I totally lost track of time because it was so nice to be outside chatting that I did not have time to swing by to get the Cod for dinner. If I had I would have left Brett standing at the train station and by this point it was pretty cold and rainy. Fortunately, my husband is wonderful and laughed it off and was fine with wheat pasta and marinara sauce (no meat, it was Friday!).

Saturday I woke up to rain, rain, and more rain. I quietly snuck out of the house to do some grocery shopping before Brett was even awake. I came home with a surprise from Starbuck's for him - a grande non fat extra hot caramel machiatto!!! I get bonus points because not only was it a great surprise, I gave up coffee for Lent and couldn't have one, just in case I haven't told you that 100 times yet :-) Still smiling. We then made a bad decision to stay in PJs all day and watch TV. After watching the Godfather part I (ummm, do you know how long that movie is?) it was time to get ready for the CEC dance...now this was the greatest part of the weekend! We had a decent turnout from both high school's in our district and the kids had the BEST time dancing the night away. Brett and i also snuck some snacks from the goodie table(bad, bad us!).

So, it's Sunday, still a rainy weekend and again we make a bad decision to not leave the house. Brett cooks breakfast ( the rest of that WONDERFUL waffle batter from last weekend) and we settle in to watch the Godfather Part II (umm, this one is two discs!). So we decide to run out for 45 minutes, no more. Here's where we go terribly wrong. After coming home, I went to the laundry room to get Brett a large Ziploc bag to marinate our pork chops in and when I open the door...there it is...water everywhere! We spent the rest of the evening sucking up water and tearing back carpet. Now this has happened before, in fact two other times since September and it stinks. But this time it is worse. Why? Because on Saturday, yes the day before yesterday we got a letter in the mail from our insurance company explaining that they will no longer cover our water issues. Really? Why do we pay you for insurance then? Anyway, after calling my Dad, pretty much bawling, he talked t Brett and I and is flying here next week to help us install a sump pump. (Yes, I know that is the problem, but our house is old and we got an estimate and do you know how much it costs? A LOT!) OK, I could really go on and on about how much this stinks, but I need to gain some perspective, and here it is:

When Brett and I sat down to dinner last night and I looked across the table and I saw someone that through something as crappy as this still makes me smile, everything will be OK. If this is the worst we are dealt right now, so be it, because I have something in my life that a lot of people search for and never find. Brett and I, we're pretty good together. Our basement on the other hand....ummmmm, anyone interested in buying a charming little house???

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a great way to start the day...

Well, this Friday already can't get much better. I walked downtown this morning with one of my assitants and a student who has been doing a great job lately. It is a GORGEOUS day outside. The sun is shining, people are out with their babies and dogs and i didn't even need a coat! We went to Einstein to use our free bagel coupons and I splurged on a chai tea. Oh, so good, but not good for me at all. They have become my coffee replacement and that is a bad habit I need to break. Don't I look content in my windowless cubby of an office....

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday Ramblings...

I am so happy it's Friday and can't wait to get this weekend started. We don't have anything huge planned but still should be lots of fun. I'm hanging out with the girls after work and Brett is coming with me to a special ed dance tomorrow night. Other than that we are expecting some warm weather so we'll be able to get out with the dogs and we'll head to the gym and do a bit of cooking. It was mid 50s yesterday so we were able to walk the dogs for about an hour! They loved it and the fresh air felt great!

I recently finished a book my Mom recommended and I would definitely pass on that recommendation if you are a dog lover. The title is "the art of racing in the rain" by Garth Stein. The book is written about a dog's life from his perspective. Warning: have tissues close by. Speaking of reading, Jodi Picoult has a new book out this week. I am on the waiting list at the library but who knows how long that will take. I plan on going to her signing when she is here. March 15 in Oak Brook or the 16th in Naperville. The Naperville event sounds like it may be a bit more in depth. And, I am still waiting for May when Jen Lancaster's new book is out. For now I stick to her blog which provides lots of laughs!

Well today is the second Friday of Lent and I have yet to drink a cup of coffee! Yeah! I have however had my fair share of tea lately. Tonight I have a yummy Cod recipe planned for dinner. There was a chef cooking at Whole Foods last week and I am going to mimic his recipe. Seems pretty easy- basically Cod fillets topped with crushed Ritz crackers. We'll see how it turns out!

Conrats to Brett! Although he did not lose nay weight last week and I know he is bummed, he is down 9 lbs. Good for you buddy!

So, we obviously have been trying to eat much healthier lately and have been doing OK. It is just hard when you have down right ridiculous cravings for sugar, carbs, chocolate, grease, pretty much anything that you shouldn't have. I caved yesterday and had a handful (OK 2) of M and Ms and 3 reduced fat Oreos. Now I know this sounds almost comical because what is the big deal, but it seems that as soon as I eat something like that I crave it the rest of the day. So, for the rest of the night I was wracking my brain for what else I could eat. Ugggg! It didn't help that Brett kept teasing me about not being a team player and telling me how he didn't eat M&Ms and Oreos ( well, you ate a peanut butter egg a few days ago!). Anyway, we really have been trying. I have switched to soy milk in my oatmeal and I have been trying buy more organic produce. I found an interesting article listing "The Dirty Dozen". Basically they are the top 12 fruits and veggies that you should NEVER buy unless they are organic because of the very high level of pesticide residue found on them even after they are washed. Here's the list: Apples, Cherries, Grapes (imported from Chili), Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bell peppers, Celery, Potatoes, and Spinach. Here's the list of things they say it is OK to buy if it is not organic: Bananas, Kiwi, Mangos, Papaya, Pineapples, Asparagus, Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn, Onions, Peas. I found this all quite interesting am going to try a little harder now to buy organic. For more information, check this out. And, if you need some inspiration, there's a blog Lesley...Living Life with some good stuff. Lesley seems pretty cool and I love all the pictures of what she and her husband eat. One more if you want some yummy sounding healthy recipes: Oh She Glows.

Lastly, I cooked dinner on Wednesday because Brett worked late so our usual PB and J at the gym didn't happen. It turned out delicious except that I was so hungry there is no picture, BUT, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Turkey pie

1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1 egg
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
2 tomatoes, half green pepper, half red pepper, half onion all coarsely chopped and mix with Oregano, basil, garlic salt to taste

1. Mix the first three ingredients together and press into deep dish pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. You want to press the meat mixture up the sides to form a “crust”.
2. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce in crust and top with cheese. Place in oven on 400 for about 10 minutes.
3. While pie is baking, sauté veggies in pan until hot and partially cooked.
4. Remove pie from oven and top with veggies. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where did the weekend go?

It's seems like it was only a few minutes ago that Brett and I were sitting at the table eating a fabulous dinner on Friday nigh prepared by me! I cooked Salmon with mango and pineapple chutney and brown rice with red pepper, pineapples, ad red onions. Brett's opinion, "This is awesome!". I just love it when I make something that good. I also made some homemade salsa that turned out "awesome" as well.

Saturday, Brett went in to work and I did chores around the house. After lunch we went to the gym and then Brett's sister, Cari, came over to come to church with us. I was so happy to have her come with us. Saturday evening, the rest of Brett's family came over to celebrate the many birthdays in February and March. Cari loved her collectible cow that we got her from Cow Parade. We ordered pizza and I made a cake. Brett and I sampled the new natural pizza from Pizza Hut. After doing some research I found that there isn't a lot of difference, mainly just that the crust is whole wheat. We opted for ham and pineapple instead of usual (and very greasy) sausage and actually, the pizza was wonderful!

On Sunday Brett attended a golf show that was little disappointing and I spent a quiet day at home. I did, after some encouragement from Cari on Saturday night, get my knitting out and sorted all my yarn. I also finished a project for someone (who reads this blog so shall remain nameless) that I started quite a while ago. After Brett got home, he made me breakfast for dinner as promised: gingerbread waffles and sausage. All I can say is, "Oh! My! Gosh!". They were amazing and I absolutely stuffed myself. It was a Racheal Ray recipe found online that Brett followed to a tee! He is the waffle maker of the house and they are always extra fun to eat because the waffle maker we have makes them in circus shapes. How fun is that?!

Well, I hope everyone have a wonderful week! Stay warm and think Spring!
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