Monday, May 28, 2012

Sick & more STAINING

Well that 'thing' that I was hoping was just allergies has turned into a full blown sinus infection.  The stuff that is coming out of my head is pure disgusting.  I want to scratch my eyes out because they itch so much.  Yesterday I felt that I owed it to my family to write my own obituary.  That bad.  There is nothing worse than a spring/summer cold.  There is SO much to do outside and sitting inside just doesn't work for me.  I ended up getting on the mower hopped up on cold medicine and my box of puffs was on my lap.  No shit.  Can't keep me down. No, no pics of that one!  I have been using the Vitamix and making smoothies at night.  Today was carrot, apple, strawberry & kale.  YUMMMMMY!!!!

Today I felt somewhat better and blew up the kids pool so at least they could have some fun.  It was well worth the $30 at Walmart.  They LOVED IT.  D2 was crawling in and out of the thing, too cute.  The water was filthy by the time it was time to get out but I just dumped it and hosed it off... WALA!

During nap I continued to work on staining the swing set.  I WILL finish this this week!  UGGHH!  I will say that I LOVE The color.  Its Cabot's Australian Timber oil in Jarrah Brown.  Its taking forever but it looks AWESOME.

Also wanted to share photos of my guest this morning.  I walked out to the pool to turn on the pump and this is what I walked back to 2 feet from my door.  I HAD to have walked right past it on the way out!  OMG!  I looked him up and apparently he is a black rat snake.  Ewwww!!  Crazy thing was D1 wanted to touch it!!!  She CAN'T be my child!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pond plants & Veggie Rotini

Today started with a late wake up.  Last night I didn't feel GREAT. Half of me thinks that my allergies are flaring up because I have a snotty nose in the morning and at night.  During the day I'm fine.  Now Im starting to wonder.  I was pretty stuffy all day dispute the 50mg of Benedryl I took last night and my allergy meds I took today.  I figured a bit more sleep wouldn't hurt.

I got the kiddos up and fed and I knew a friend from Columbus was going to be in the area so I wanted to get my errands done early.  I had to head down to get the stain for the swing set.  I also wanted to stop at a pool store to look for salt wanter test strips.  The place I went to didn't have any.  UUGGHH.  I was on the complete opposite side of the world than MY pool store and I know that walmart carries them but was not nearby there either.  Oh well... there's always tomorrow!  I had mentioned going to get some new pond plants and D1 jumped all over it.  She asked if she could get 'more fishies'.  We have plenty of room, so I map quested the 2 places I normally go and headed in the quickest direction.

We ended up leaving the store with new black Taro, a green Taro, 2 fish, some parrots feather and some duckweed.  I had an interesting conversation with the shop owner about salt in the pond and have since done some research.  Interesting stuff.  I would have never known to put salt in a fresh pond.  D1 LOVED the store.  They have several turtles and she was just amazed.  Tomorrow I will head up to the other store to get my tropical lilly of the year as well as some salt and some more duckweed (her 'serving' was QUITE small).  D1 should love that place too.  Tricker's is one of the oldest water garden shops in the country.  Its apparently world renouned.  They have a HUGE mail order catalog business but since its only about 20 minutes away I obviously go there.  I will take some pics tomorrow.

We released the fish and had lunch.  Hubby was up and motivated so I could spend some time relaxing before he had to go to work.  My friend and her family later stopped by but unfortunately I had to put the kiddos down for their naps before they could get here.  It was nice to catch up.  They didn't get to stay long as their little one was also due for a nap.

The tractor guy dropped off our mower and said that the blades weren't the least bit sharp... oops.  Glad he got they set up then.  Can't wait to get some of this clover stuff taken care of! Can't wait until its GONE.  I have to take a trip to the landscape supply place to get some weed & feed to get rid of all this broadleaf & clover.  I WANT GRASS!!!!

I was able to get a bit of the fort stained.  I got the deck surface and some of the rail before D2 woke up.  I said before, I think that this is going to be an entire weekend job.  I don't mind in the least, its quiet productive time.

Then it was dinner time.  I decided that since its now summer in my book I would break out the summer veggie menu.  This is one of my favorites that I have adapted from several I have tried over the years.  It always hits the spot.... kids love it.... its colorful, healthy and low fat/calorie.  YUM.

Veggie Tri-Colored Rotini

  • 2 TB Olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  cups  chopped sweet onion
  • 2  cups  fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1  (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • 12  ounce box  uncooked tri colored rotini
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  red (or green) bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • grated parmesan


1. Prepare pasta as recommended on box.  Drain and put in large bowl
2. Heat olive oil & butter in large skillet.
3. Cook onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Tomatoes and bell pepper and cook for 1 additional minute.   
4. While cooking veggies; in small bowl mix vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and Lemon juice.   
5. Add to pasta in large bowl Add cooked veggies to pasta mixture and toss.  
    6. Garnish with parmesan

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life around here & Spaghetti Carbonara

Life around here is GREAT.  Weather is cooperating (my new grass isn't liking it though!) and we are now on somewhat of a schedule which suits me perfectly.  The kiddos drive me CRAZY daily but I guess that's what its all about.  D1 and I are now done with mommy & me preschool but we have started swimming lessons.  She begs me not to take her every week and wails the entire time but its getting better.  I just wish I would have started earlier.  D2 doesn't have a choice!

The pool is up and running.  I am still tweaking the chemical balance but I will be there soon!  I have to send hubby to get some salt test strips and I will have my final answer.  We decided to do the saltwater thing this year and I think we are a bit low.  We didn't want to go overboard because draining water is the only way to correct high salt.  Low salt is easy... add more!  We also bought a 1600GPH pump that didn't do much... I am returning it and we just got the 2600GPH pump and that thing will take your arm off... WHOA!  Definitely moving water much better so its a keeper.  We have been in a couple of times but it still pretty cold so the solar cover is on.  Hoping it will warm up in a day or so and be a bit more tolerable!  I also built the frame or our new (used) ladder.  The ladder that came with the pool was PRETTY flimsy to say the least so I got a heavy duty one on Freecycle.  It was missing a frame piece and after some research and refusal to purchase a new one (they wouldn't just sell the piece... you had to buy a whole new ladder) I MADE ONE.  Works like a charm!  Score for mommy!

The last few weeks I realized that my pond was losing water.  Last year I had redone my waterfall and it leaked slightly.  Not sure what happened between then and now but I had a full on leak that had to be addressed.  I had always used the waterfall foam.  I hated the look but it did the job and kept the water flowing where fit should.  This time I wanted to try the natural route.  I took a butter knife in and took out all of the foam on the leaking side and tried to reorganize everything so it flowed where it should.  So far its been over 24 hours and all seems great WITHOUT foam.  Its such a better look & sound going the natural route.  I will continue to tweak things but I think we will be ok.

Hubby was out with his brother a few weeks ago and was clearing more of the ravine.  They cut some of the small trees down with a chainsaw but left some nubs.  The other day I happened to find one of these small stumps with the mower :(  Scared the bejesus out of me.  I was immediately stopped, the motor choked and I smelled smoke.  I jumped off of that mower so fast!  It still works but it skips about a 2" line when I mow.  I'm sure the blade is toast.  I called a repairman and he picked the tractor up tonight... should be back in business tomorrow.  Fingers crossed, I got mowing to do!

Tonight I thought I would have a relaxing night on the porch.  I took the dogs out front to do their biweekly grooming.  Luey needed de-haired.  I bought a FURMINATOR and this is the BEST tool EVER.  I have tried everything.  I used to use a shedding blade and moved to the Dyson Groom late last year.  I was impressed for the first few weeks and then I stumbled onto the furminator. OMG.  AMAZING.  I would have paid $100 for this thing in hindsight!  I have raised & rescued Rottweilers for YEARS and never knew about this thing.  SOOoooooo glad I have now.  ANY DOG with a shedding issue should have this tool.  They have shorthair (which I use on Luey) model and a longhair version as well.  Bubba hates but too but she deals with it.  I also got their nails done... always a chore but done.  Bubba HEARS the work nails and runs so I know its always a battle.  After all this was done I wanted to relax with my laptop, baby monitor, and a glass of wine.  I was all comfy on our front porch couch when a swarm of bugs found my monitor.  Damn.  Guess another time.  I retreated quickly!

This weekend will be low key.  Hubby works all weekend so I will be with children.  My plan is it start staining the playset during naps.  Hoping I can get it all done over the weekend.

I have posted this pic of Facebook and have gotten requests for the recipe.  A friend posted that she had made and awesome dish Spaghetti Carbonara.  She referred me to the Italian cooking bible Silver Spoon.  Here is the recipe.

generous ½ cup pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove
12oz spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
½cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
½cup pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan, add the pancetta and garlic and cook until the garlic turns brown. Remove and discard the garlic.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain and add to the pancetta.
Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the eggs, add half the Parmesan and half the pecorino and season with pepper. Mix well so that the egg coats the spaghetti.
Add the remaining cheese, mix again and serve.

It was really good!  The kids LOVED it.  I did the math in my body media fit calculator and based on 5 servings it was about 400 calories which is NOT bad!!  I even drained SOME of the grease so mine was a bit drier but less calories which is FINE with me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Half & Pool setup

Pre Race (notice the smile)
A friend emailed me tonight how the Half was and I just had to copy my response because it was completely a "me" response and Im too tired to write more...

She had asked me if I was disappointed that she wasn't at the finish with balloons.....

THANK you.  I didn't expect any balloons... maybe a helicopter and IV fluids... but not balloons.

Today was rough... REALLY rough.

Partly I think its because I haven't done much in the last 3 weeks since the 10 miler.... so that is my (and my schedule's fault).  After mile 4 I was SO stinking HOT.  Then I got pissed at mile 6 & 8 because they were running out of cups for water and in between those miles I was thirsty.  I don't run with water.. I always know that every 2 miles it will be there.  I just hate the bouncing bottles on my hip.  One girl seriously came up to me and asked me to trade her a packet of my GU (an energy type gel) for her iPod nano because she was so in need of liquid... I gave it to her without hesitation and she really tried to give me her iPod!

I walked a bunch.  Probably 3 miles.  I was just tired, pissed and hot.  I had hoped for an under 3 hour half and I got a 3:05 mile half so I guess considering my degree of Pissyness, Hotness and Tiredness I cant complain.  Just glad I did not require CPR nor did I shit myself.  Guess its a good day???

Took me 30 mins to compose myself to drive home... Once I plopped my ass down it was hard to get up but I was achey and sore and wanted to sit.  Tonight I ate like a pig, took a steamy epsom salt bath, 600g of motrin, and had 3 beers.  Hoping I will be rejuvenated in the morning.  At least my garmin said that I burned 1600 calories!

I completed one of my goals.... run a half marathon within a year after having D2.  I don't think long distance running will be in my future.. but I keep getting told that its like childbirth... you forget the pain.  Guess we will see!

After my epsom bath I got the pool up and running.... hooked up the new filter and salt water system and sat back to drink my beer.  The sand filter is barely pumping so I have to call tomorrow to do some troubleshooting.  I'm just completely over it right now I can't look at it anymore.  We dumped in the required salt so in a few days we should be in business.... YAHOO!!!

Post race + Beer... notice the smile???

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Half is here & Crazy times

I've been a crazy busy mama the last few days.. I say it all the time but I just do NOT know where time goes.  The last 2 days I have been dealing with some issues with the build next door.  Without going into great detail; there is a boundary issue.  I spent the latter half of the day yesterday and this morning making phone calls to resolve it.  Fingers crossed that it just goes away.  Humph.

The swing set was installed without fail.  Its AMAZING.  We are so incredibly happy.  Ultrabuilt is AWESOME.  The installers were here for 6 hours!!!  Initially I had them line it up one way and they very graciously changed it for me much later than they should have.  I am SO happy they did!!!!  It's amazing and D1 LOVES it.  D2 is loving her infant swing so everyone is happy.  I just have to stain that puppy next week and we will be in business!

Then I had been filling up the pool and noticed 24 hours into it that we had a leak.  I couldn't tell the location and swore it was in the lower sidewall but alas.. I FOUND IT!!!  I had drained it to about 6 inches and lifted it up and there it was... in the bottom.. so I will be stopping to get a pool repair kit tomorrow.  Refilling will RESUME promptly after filling BECAUSE I will be jumping into it no matter WHAT after my half marathon on Sunday.  Yes, it's here.  Never thought it would come as fast as it has... but it's here.  Am I ready? Probably not... but I'm as ready as I will be so I'm just looking to put it behind me.  I have my 13.1 sticker ready to go onto my car!  I looked at the course map before and it seems longer now!  I also looked at the elevation chart and it takes a pretty steep climb from 10-11 miles in... UUGGHHH.  Not sure how I'm gonna pull this off, but I will.  I've been SEMI-joking with friends the last several days that the 90 year olds will be in front of me, and they think I am joking!!!  NOPE!
Water.... OUTSIDE the pool :(
I just loaded the option to watch/post my split times on Facebook.  Hoping that the runners that I am friends with don't laugh at me... but moreso the NON runners get inspired.  This is all VERY new to me and I hope that it helps one person make that commitment.  In this journey I have also lost 27.2 pounds and counting.  I have not weighed my current weight in probably 4 years.  No kidding.  It IS possible.  Trust me!

Crazy times are coming up in my life.... Not to get too personal but my dad is coming to live with us in about a month.  I have a feeling that my life will be upside down but I am looking forward to it.  At the worst, it will be an extra set of hands... the best case is my kids will have their Pop Pop here with them to watch them grow.  I am also taking over the presidency of my mothers club.  It don't seem like too much of a big deal, but it's something I take great pride in.  Our club is 74 years old and I don't want to be the one to screw things up.  We've come a LONG way and I hope to further it along during my year in charge.  I have an EXCELLENT executive board and I am excited about all the changes we plan to bring to this organization.  It is just going to take more time.  I know I have it in me... I do.

Wanted to take a few more pics around to show how everything is blooming... I just LOVE IT!!  I will take more as the summer progresses and my garden sprouts!
Ice plant

My pond...

Lastly,  Hubby has decided that he wants to have a lake dug.  A few weeks ago he had the Soil & Water conservation people here and they gave him 5 thumbs up that we had a perfect area for it.  Today the excavator came and said the same.  We have a perfect situation in our back lot.  I'm trying to wrap my head around it still, but Hubby is full steam ahead. The bugger even had the permits already printed!  I've been in contact with a friend that has a lake as well as the neighbor across the street that has one.... they both LOVE them.  So we may be seeing Lake Pepera in the near future!

I also threw together a few things and it tasted great!!


3 chicken breasts boiled until soft
15 oz jar salsa
15 oz can kidney beans, drained
You could easily add a can of chilies or jalapeños if you like it hot!
salt & pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar

I boiled the chicken and shredded it into a large pan.... I added the salsa and beans until warm and chicken was soaking up salsa.  Top with cheese and cover until melted.  Salt & Pepper to taste.  I served over rice!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shopping & Summer is HERE!

So I have told a few friends today that I think Hubby was abducted by aliens.  He took D1 shopping to Costco this morning to get things for his OH SO FAMOUS GAZPACHO and came home telling me that he now thinks it is a great idea to buy MORE patio furniture.  WHAT??!?!?  REALLY?!??!??!  WHO ARE YOU?????  He said that after this year we may not be able to find a match to the set we bought for the front porch.  Mind you, my husband does NOT know what the word MATCH means.  Then he suggested that I go out ALONE shopping.  He knows that I have beed stressing because I needed a dress for my mother's club Spring Tea.  I had 3 glorious hours shopping ALONE with no phone calls asking me to be back or how to do something kid related.  Aliens.... MUST be aliens.

Summer is in full swing here in Ohio.  The weather has been great, the flowers are blooming and we decided that today was the day to break out the Intex pool.  We are quite excited this year because last year on clearance we bought a saltwater system/pump.  Hubby has been hounding me to get a saltwater pool and I have always poo-poo'd it because I am not a saltwater fan.  Then I did some research and found that the 'saltwater' used in a pool is about the salinity of a tear.  Not bad at all.  So I'll give it a try!  I want NO maintenance.  This seems like the ticket.  You dump in salt for the year (or you MAY have to top off) and DONE.  Today I also went online and bought the sand filter so that we don't have to continue changing those annoying cartridges anymore... ONE more step to maintenance free!

I got all my plants in the ground that I bought for myself on mother's day.  Everything looks FABULOUS.  Photos to come.  I just love when everything is in and blooming.  I'm one of those crazy people that goes out every day and waters all my plants and pulls the weeds as they come in.  I know.... crazy.  Thats me!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Market & Bounce House

Today was my BIL's first market day of the year.  He has decided to put all of his eggs in one basket so to  say and chose Howe Meadow in Peninsula.  I am SO HAPPY for him.  The traffic was amazing and when I arrived at 11:30 (its open 9-12 on Saturdays) he had 1 order of shiitake mushrooms left.  He sold 50 orders!!!  AWESOME.  So happy for him.  My MIL was beaming.  The kids got a few minutes to hang out before pack up time.  We then swung by their house on the way home and had lunch.

Then it was the sacred nap time.  The time I live for all day.  Sometimes I feel bad thinking that way but I am getting over it, quickly.  I get SO much done!  Today I trimmed my pussy willow shrub, put together my new composter stand, pulled weeds, and prepped dinner.  I saw that my bearded iris's were blooming so I did shoot a photo of that!
I planted them to hide the well head.
My iris

I had decided that I was going to head up to the rec center to pick up the blowers to the bounce houses that I picked up last week.  A friend called and I invited her and her kiddos to dinner.  I got to the rec, and was back home in no time.  I made dinner for everyone.  It was Turkey Stuffing burgers which is from a friend from the club.  They were VERY yummy.  I'll post the recipe below but  forgot to take a photo. Oh well.  I was so excited to finish to set up the bounce house!

Our club owns 2 bounce houses and we have decided to rent them out to our members.  I wanted to set them up in a backyard environment (they are used primarily in a gym) to see how they would fair.  Setup took all of 5 minutes and we were in business.  The kids had a BLAST!  We had 2 toddlers and a 13 year old jumping continuously.  They had a blast!  Needless to say I didn't think bedtime would be any issue!  I have a feeling that we will be using these a lot!

TURKEY STUFFING BURGERS (I half this recipe)

3 lbs Ground Turkey
3 or 4 tblsp butter
2 Celery Stalks diced
1 Small Onion diced
1 C (or more) Chicken Broth
1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing
2 eggs 
Olive oil for cooking

Melt a couple of tblsp butter and saute celery and onion until soft. Add to stuffing mixture and then add chicken stock until moist. Let sit until soft then add to turkey mix and add the two eggs. Form hand size burgers and cook in pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil until done.

Serve on toasted Kayser buns and cranberry mayo

Cranberry Mayo: 1 c. Helman's low fat mayo and 1/2 c. cranberry sauce (in the can. Mix well, chill after use.

Okay.... gotta get to bed... I have a 5K in the morning!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Better day & Treadmill time

Today was a better day.  I woke up early to get on the treadmill but D2 did too so my plan was a bust.  We went to music class and came right home.  It was a dreary rainy day, but it saved me from having to water the new grass seed, plants and trees.  Guess it was a good thing then because I didn't want to do any of it.  We played for awhile, watched a movie and did lunch.  During nap time it became treadmill time.  My new shoes felt like a dream.  I really think I am going to email Reebok as I swear that there is some kind of thread knot behind my foot that should not be there.  Anyways, I got 2 miles in before D2 woke up... UUGGHHH.  Does this kid ever sleep??  Hubby texted me earlier in the day and said that he wished that we could have a peaceful quiet evening when he got home (apparently he had a bad say at work too).... so I asked "what time do I start drugging the kids".  HA!

Tonight I made Mexican Polenta Scramble.  I think it was from Vegetarian Times magazine.... but Im unsure.  Its a hit here, I make it with green peppers and served it with cauliflower.  Here's the recipe!

Mexican Polenta Scramble

Note: Pepitas, olive-green-hulled pumpkin seeds, are commonly used in Mexican cooking and are a perfect snack when roasted and lightly salted. I find them in the produce section of Giant Eagle. Make it a Meal: For supper, serve with a side of black beans; for brunch, with eggs and corn tortillas.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 poblanos or 2 green bell peppers, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce tube prepared plain polenta, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, preferably sharp
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons pepitas, toasted (see Tip, below)
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir
in tomatoes, cumin and salt; cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes start to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble polenta slices into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in scallions, cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Serve the scramble topped with diced avocado and toasted pepitas.
Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each.
Per serving: 315 calories; 20 g fat (6 g sat, 8 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 6 g fiber; 600 mg sodium; 645 mg potassium.
Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Crabby & Feta Shrimp

I was a total crab-ass today.  The last 2 days the bulldozer as been clearing topsoil next door.  We knew it was coming but today I was awoken by the beep beep beeping of heavy machinery.  The dogs heard it first and started barking.... which woke me up... and then woke D2 up.  I was a bit upset to say the least.  This occurred at 0730.  Yes, 730am.  Grrrrrrrr.  We were the new guys not that long ago but our land sits so far back that I DON'T THINK we interrupted anyones lives.  This is across the field.  I know, poor me, but we have really gotten used to the dark quiet back here and its making us crazy.  Hubby is constantly out there eyeing up the property line... planning how he can block everything out with trees and we both harp on the fact that life will change.  They recently marked out their septic system about 8 feet (our measurement) from the line... the law states that it has to be 10 away so we have been nuts trying to decide if we fork out the cash to have the line resurveyed or do we figure that we are 2 feet off.  IT'S INSANE.


Once the whole family woke up I decided to go for a run because I HAD to get out of the house. I also have not run sine the 10 miler a week ago.  My plan was 5 miles but I could feel the back of my right foot rubbing at about 2.5 miles. By 3 miles I had to stop.  No sense in hurting myself when I only have 2 weeks to the half.  I tucked my shoe back down and started walking back.  I did try and run another half mile with my shoe back down but it really was just uncomfortable.  I had bought a backup pair if the same shoes (reebok real flex) in a different color a few weeks ago so I may trade them out.  The current pair has given me some blister problems on that right foot a few times now.  I may try the new ones a few miles on the treadmill in the morning to break them in.  The training program winds down the mileage now anyway so I think I will still be okay.... I have said before that I would be fine going at a crawl for the half, just so I do it and just so I finish.  I do not care about times.

During nap in between throwing dirty glares at the construction men I got some yard work done.  I got my raised beds cleaned out and ready for some veggies.  I would like to get some sweet peat picked up Wednesday so that I can be in business.  I haven't decided what I am going to plant yet.  I have to talk to my BIL to see what he has grown for us.  He is an organic farmer and always grows a TON of extra plants to give to us and to sell.  We get the majority of our produce from him but I do like to have a few of the basics here for us to grow and enjoy.  Besides, I think D1 gets a kick out of watching everything grow.  This year I will do 2 double raised beds and next year we will go to four if all goes well.

I am also starting the composter up again.  2 Years ago I did a compost pile and it was strategically challenging.  We put the garden on the outside of the fence so watering was a chore... The compost pile was next to it (which also needs water).  Carrying our rotten food to this back area just wasn't ideal.  On the flip side, I didn't want a compost pile next to the house in the yard.  My MIL picked up a compost tumbler a few years ago at a yard sale.  About that time she asked me if I wanted it but I declined because I had started the pile.  Last year I was preggo and/or just gave birth so I had no time.  This year I took the MIL up on the offer and the BIL dropped it off.  Its rusty.  It needs some love.  The axle was broken so I called the company and after further inspection I ordered a whole new base and new hinges.  I will have that thing good as new by weeks end.  We are placing it next to the raised beds which is right off of the patio.  This means that it will be convenient to water, fill and empty onto the garden.  Can't wait to get started!  Pics to come!

I also got to make  a few phone calls for mom's club.  I'm really starting to get excited but VERY nervous.  I still have about 8 board positions I need to fill and I'm just not getting the responses I'd like to have.  I like to think the I am still ahead of the game time wise.  I am actively searching out a possible new meeting space and some churches were recommended.  I called one of them and got an awesome response.  They will give us the meeting space for FREE.  How awesome is that???  We spend a ton of our budget on a meeting location.  We are a MOMS CLUB.  We are a nonprofit entity that would much rather donate to a worthy cause than to pay for meeting space.  We will go on a site tour hopefully next week!  FINGERS ARE CROSSED.

Lastly, I made one of my favorite dishes.  Its from Ina Garten.  Its her Feta Shrimp.  Ohhhhh how yummy.  Not sure if I posted the recipe before but its incredibly easy and doubly fabulous..... I PROMISE.

4 tablespoons good olive oil, divided            
1½ cups medium-diced fennel
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
¼ cup dry white wine
1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Pernod
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¼-1.5 pounds (16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
5 ounces good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (see note)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10- or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato -mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp. 
Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bunco & Bathing Suits

Well last night was bunco.  It was a success.  I started prepping at 10am.  First was the grocery store than I got home and chopped everything I had bought.  I then cleaned a bit and set everything up outside.  It was 1pm.  There were so many hours until party time I thought I had tons of time.  Let me tell you how fast time flew.  Next thing I knew it was 5:30.  Everyone arrived shorty after 6:30.  I started cooking.  One of the fondue pots wasn't getting hot enough so I started nuking things.  Then I realized I had made a mistake.  The recipe stated '2/3 cheddar/swiss mixture'.  I took it as 2/3 cup.  No..... it was 5 cups!  2 cheddar 3 swiss.  DAMN.  I quickly improvised with bags of cheese I had in the fridge.  It ended up being on the watery side (the base was beer) but it was good nonetheless.  When I was setting up I quickly realized that I had not thought this event out strategically.  When you eat at Melting Pot you are all sitting around a hotplate and can dip/cook things as you wished.  A my house, I had set everything up at one table.  I got nervous that it wouldn't work out.  I warned a few of the early people that we were just going to have to roll with it.
I painted some sticks in chalkboard pain to label the food 

All set up

The drink table!


Enjoying and chatting!

Here was my menu:
Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue
Sam Adams Boston Lager Cheddar Cheese Fondue
Coq au Vin cooking style served with chicken, sirloin and shrimp
Benihana's ginger dipping sauce
Melting Pot's Green Goddess dipping sauce
Rye & Sourdough breads

The cheese started to bubble and the Coq au Vin was simmering.  Everyone started eating.  At first it was a traffic jam but it settled down and seemed to be working.  I was running in 20 different directions but at least I managed to drink a beer, a glass of wine and I finally poured myself a strawberry vodka lemonade. OH MY.... it was fabulous.  It was chilly out.  I had forgotten to hook up the patio heater so that quickly became priority.  I handed out a few jackets to keep everyone comfortable.  We had 14 people show up.  I think our prior max was 11 so it seemed to be going very well.  I started the chocolate fountain while everyone was eating even though we 'do' dessert at half-time.  I just didn't want to be delayed as I was with dinner.

The 1st 2 rounds of bunco went fast... there were tons of buncos and there was a ton of movement with all the people present.  It was pretty awesome.  It was now half time.  I broke out the Chocolate Peanut Butter fountain.  OMG.... Sooooooo yummy if I do say so myself.  I served it with marshmallows, mini brownies, strawberries and I had made browned butter salted rice krispie treats.  YUM.  That was a total SCORE.  The chocolate quickly disappeared.  The end of the game came and a few people stayed and we chatted under the super moon until 1am.  Great friends, great times.  Love girls night.

Today was catch up.  I had quite a headache when I woke up and had to do some residual cleaning.  D1 had her first sleep over at Grammie's house so Hubby picked her up.  I was so busy with things all night but I did miss her so.  She's never stayed away before so it was weird waking up and her room empty.  I was happy to have her home.  We played downstairs and it quickly became nap time.  I worked outside and planted the petunias I had bought yesterday and started planting some of the plants I bought at Klyn's nursery.  We have a TON of flowers.  Last year I was big, fat and preggo and really didn't get time or energy to do much outside.  This year I am making up for it.  I want color everywhere!!!  I want tons of plants.  I will start posting photos once things start blooming.  I have my focus now on the outside.  We'll see how much I can get done.

I am one of those people who weigh themselves every day.  Diet wise, I have been doing really well lately.  I am back to wearing the bodymedia Fit band which I love.  I count all my calories and I think I am pretty darn accurate.  I have lost almost 26 pounds since the end of last year.  I felt that it was time to go bathing suit shopping. I had been looking at a few online and decided to head out to Macy's.  I took D1 with me to free up Hubby (and she likes to shop!).  So cute, I try on a suit I LOVED on the hangar... my fat ass was hanging out terribly and D1 says... "that's beautiful mommy".  LOVE HER.  I tried on 3 and just was disgusted with myself.  Looks like I will wear what I have until I venture out again.  Maybe at the 40# mark.  We stopped at Earthfare for dinner and stopped at Menchie's for frozen yogurt.... Probably didn't help me go back to trying suits on again but, hey.... it was good.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ready & a good day!

Today was a great day.  I cleaned up a bit this morning and then it was time to head to school.  Grammie came over to watch D2 and we headed out.  D1 was in an extra good mood which was awesome.  We had a nice time at school and headed home.  Lunch & then nap.  Somehow I have now gotten both girls to nap at the same time.  I LIVE for 2pm!!!

I had gotten some yard work done and prepped my list AGAIN for the grocery, I am SO EXCITED.  D1 and I went on a short shopping trip.  Its always nice to be 1:1 with a kiddo.  D1 loves shopping.  We hit Costco, Target & Kohls before it got so late that I HAD to get home for dinner.  After getting both kids to sleep Hubby & I got everything set up for tomorrow, all the pots washed and I am ready to go!!

Tomorrow D1 will spend the night at Grammie's house for the 1st time.  This will help with having a'girls night' here for both hubby & I.  This way we really don't have to worry about interruptions, YEAH!!!

I will post a ton of photos.  I got a few cute themed things that I can't wait to post photos of.  YEAH FOR BUNCO!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting ready & Lazy

The last 2 days were consumed with making lists, cleaning and shopping for my upcoming Bunco night.  I always do this to myself...I get all hyped up for parties.  I have to make sure that every square inch of my house in clean, can't miss an ingredient, or else I get crazy.  It's my OCD.  Really.  I know no one else cares, but I do.  This time I have tried a new approach.... early planning.  I am the biggest procrastinator and I have decided that this time WILL be different.  It's Thursday and the house is clean.  I know that I will have to vacuum, do the windows and mop again Saturday, but its clean. I've even enlisted my landscaper into my craziness.  He knows about the party and has been by the house 2 times (and is coming again tomorrow) to resend the patio.  There is always settling with stone so he wants to to look good so he keeps coming, checking, and sanding.  Love him. 

I made my ingredient list today.  The menu is FONDUE.  I have never had a fondue party and what better time than on girls night.  Men just don't get fondue.  Hubby said that he would never pay 'that much' to cook his own food when I asked him to go to the Melting Pot.  Ha!

Themes.  I have always been a theme person when it comes to parties and this one is no different.  Saturday's theme is "April showers bring May flowers'.  I will be totally posting photos.  CAN NOT WAIT.  One more trip to the grocery store on Saturday morning for the 'fresh' stuff and I'll be done.  Lots of prep work and lots of fondue pots Saturday afternoon.  Hoping I can pull it all off!!!  I got recipes from Melting Pot so I am praying that they don't let me down.  PLEASE!?!?!??!?!?!?

Considering that my life has been consumed with this party, and the kiddos, I have not been out for a run since the 10 miler.  I have been LAZY.  Not in the sense that I have gotten more than10 minutes to sit on my rump, but just that I have not gotten to run.  I TRIED to get onto the treadmill today but I just couldn't make it work.  Too much to do!  Next week... there is always next week, right?  The half is in 2.5 weeks.  UUGGHH.  Good news is that I wore shorts today that I haven't fit into in 2 years... and they were big.  Guess I will be starting a Goodwill pile :)

Ok.... I will post photos of before and after Bunco.  My toes are crossed that all goes as planned!!!!

Oh... and here is a funny.  D1 has renamed Purple Bunny to Brother.  She walks around the house randomly asking where her Brother is.  Needless to say I about choked on my water when I heard this.  I explained to her that she doesn't have a brother and will NEVER EVER EVER have a brother.  All I can do is cringe at the thought.  WHERE DOES SHE GET THIS STUFF!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Sometimes I think we get so caught up on schedules, what we want, and just life in general.  Today was a busy day.  Hubby had the day off so we had planned to take a site tour of a playground 'place' as we wanted to get one for D1 for her birthday.  We wanted to let her play and see what she liked/didn't like, etc. We had an uneventful morning and we were at said place by 11:30.  I had already been in contact with a salesperson so I had a few things in mind.  These playsets are pretty complex!  There are a million add ons, a million configurations, and a million accessories!!!  I knew we wanted 4 swings (2 for the kids and 2 for friends) and I ADORE tires swings.  I personally think that they are the epitome of childhood.  Well we walked out of there with books, fliers and a wealth of information.  Of course, we walked in thinking we would spend one amount and that was blown out of the water. We still left happy.  ALL of us.

We discussed our options and had a solid choice later today.   I ordered it.  D1 will get her playset 5/16.  We went with Ultrabuilt.  We felt that they had the perfect warranty, quality and maintenance for our family.  D1 had a blast on the swings, slides and tire swing!  She even fell asleep on the way home! Ahhhhh! If this thing can tire her out even one day a week, its worth it!  I will post pics then!

We arrived home to see that our patio was done.  Grass seed was laid and we can now enjoy it.  Tonight Hubby and I sat outside (even after a horrible rain storm) and discussed life.  We are truly happy and thankful for all that we have.  We talked about how we don't always feel appreciated and its always nice to feel like we are on the same team.  I love that we can communicate.  2 Cold beers and this girl is ready for bed!

Flowerbed now edged


Playset will be here!

New look!

Flowerbed up close

Lots of grass planted