27 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday - one of these things doesn't belong*

*there's a story here...and you'll hear it, I promise.

26 October 2010


Today it's pouring rain. Today is "Red Ribbon Week" at the elementary school. Today was "dress like what you want to be when you grow up" day so Caleb went to school as a "crazy scientist".

Today, I'm waiting for the plumber. Today, I'm hoping that the bill from the plumber won't put the finances behind for the rest of the year. Today, I've been told that the plumber will arrive "this morning"...how's that for specific? Today I was also told that the "less water you run, the better" so I'm sitting here in my sweats wondering if I'm going to need to get in the van and go to the corner gas station to use the bathroom.

Today, I'm missing our apartment complex maintenance man, Luis. Big time.

22 October 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday #10

1. Ah, another week finished. How DOES that happen? My favorite moment of the week was having coffee on Tuesday with my dear friend, Esther. Actually, I had a chocolate peanut butter freeze and it was FANTASTIC.

2. Speaking of freeze, we're in for a chilly spell. I even sent C to school in a heavy jacket. My boss says that this weather just reminds us that the next season and all it brings will come, like it or not.

3. Saturday M has a soccer tournament and then the season is done for another year. I made most of the games. He spent most of the time in the goalie box this year and he does pretty well in there. He had some incidents with jammed fingers but nothing too serious.

4. I shouldn't have to work when I have PMS. I'm way too tempted to tell that lady who tries to take advantage of our coupons and then return the merchandise the next week for full price where to stick it. She's way too condescending. Every stinking week.

5. I need a haircut. I'm totally sick of my current hairstyle but have no time to get to town to get a cut. I'm this close to calling Jon's neice to have her cut my hair.

6. Halloween hasn't even arrived and the riser shelves are full of Christmas stock at work. Not to mention the entirely full bay of Christmas candy. We started getting Christmas stock on the truck the end of September. Oy. Comes earlier and earlier I guess.

7. One more week. It better go quickly.

21 October 2010

on that day

My sister stood beside me....

His dear friend beside him...

we gathered with our family....

and I wouldn't change a thing....

Happy fifteenth anniversary, babe. I love you more than you will ever know.

18 October 2010

food, glorious food

Here are some recipes that we've either tried recently in our house or are on the "waiting" list. You know, for some day when I can just focus on "what's for dinner?" instead of that and six hundred other things when I'm lucky enough to come through the front door while it's still light out.

We had Pioneer Woman's Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce last week. Since my local store didn't have shells in stock the day I went shopping, I used manicotti. And while I think that manicotti are a pain in the neck to stuff, it was still totally worth it.

You need to try it, and soon.

She posted a Chicken Cacciatore recipe that we'll be trying soon too. Her recipes are always good, and it totally doesn't hurt that she also takes drool-worthy photos. Seriously.

My dear friend Esther does Menu Plan Monday over on her blog. While I'm totally not motivated to do something like that myself on a weekly basis, she does give me some great ideas for dinner. And her recipe for Nacho Chicken Casserole is on my list for sure.

And today's cookie recipe. I'm a sucker for cookies, as my pant size can attest.

Then there's What's for Dinner Wednesday over at Three Times the Giggles. While it's a fairly new feature, I can't wait to see the recipes that are posted. You know, while Helen is chasing triplets and gestating. She's a busy gal.

As I look outside, I can't help but notice that the clouds are getting in the way of the sun today. And it's chilly outside. And inside. Having absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I forgot to turn the heat back on last night after turning it off yesterday afternoon. Nothing.

And if I didn't already have PW's Chicken Spaghetti on the menu for tonight,- which you need to try if you haven't- I'd definitely feel the need to make beef stew. If I had the ingredients in the house, that is.

Minor detail.

But because I'm feeling generous- go with it, it IS Monday, you know- I'll give you my Mom's tried, true and totally tasty Beef Stew recipe.

And put it on the list for dinners for next week. Pronto.

Beef Stew

Here's what you'll need: 1 pound stew meat, 1 small onion (diced), 2 beef bullion cubes, salt and pepper, 1/4 t. garlic powder, 1 T worchestershire sauce, six cups water, 6 medium potatoes.
Here's what you do:
- Cut the stew meat in 1" pieces. Coat in flour and brown in oil.
-Put in large pot with water, onion, 1 T. salt and 1 t. pepper, worchestershire and garlic. Simmer three hours, adding water as needed.
Your house will smell AMAZING. Trust me.
- Add diced potatoes and cook thirty minutes.
- After thirty minutes, add a slurry of 4 T. flour dissolved in cold water and stir. Continue to simmer until potatoes are done- about thirty more minutes.

Mom sometimes added carrots to the stew, sometimes she didn't. You can add the carrots with the potatoes, if you choose. Personally, and I think she knows this, I prefer the stew without the carrots.

I know, I know, I need the veggies. I don't care; I don't like cooked carrots. And I'm the mom, so I don't have to eat them. But I will eat raw carrots in great numbers. Go figure.

Make this stew, you WON'T be sorry. And the other recipes too.

14 October 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1. I got lucky enough this week to be able to be home for cooking (and eating!) dinner every night this week. That's rare. And next school week, I'll be home at the beginning and the end; working until eight pm the three nights in between.

2. But I'm proud to say that due to the first sentence of #1 being true, there hasn't been a pizza or a hotdog spotted in the house all week!

3. We had quite a 'Project Runway' moment at work this week. As in 'one day you're in, and the next day, you're out'. Sunday evening, I worked with one assistant manager, Tiffany. I had Monday and Tuesday off and when I went to work on Wednesday, I just casually asked a co-worker who was "on" for the morning. Her response was "Mr. Douglas (the manager) and that girl who replaced Tiffany." WHAT??? Yep, here today and gone tomorrow. Transferred out just like that and immediately replaced. It took me a couple of hours to wrap my brain around all of that.

4. Caleb reminded me no less than one hundred times this week that in order for his class to take the most recent field trip, there had to be three parent volunteers. Thanks, son; not like I don't already feel guilty. (It all worked out and the trip was a total success.)

5. Matthew has taken up the saxophone. He's doing well, but finding the differences between a reed instrument and a brass instrument to be a bit more challenging than he thought. hee hee.

6. Fall has re-arrived here in Wisconsin. We were so spoiled with the gorgeous weather the last several days and now we're back to what's "normal". It just no longer allows us to live like winter will lose our Upper Midwestern address.

7. Two weeks from today begins our big anniversary getaway. Jon's getting a big kick out of the fact that I, a HUGE planner, have no idea where we're going or what we're doing and I'll just have to go with whatever it is. Don't tell him, but I'm so happy that he did the planning that I. DON'T. CARE. I'm sure it'll be WONDERFUL.

See more quick takes at conversiondiary.com

12 October 2010

and to you?

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted the following as his facebook status:

God is....

He got some of the answers he was expecting, the "standard ones", if you will.

God is GREAT. Sure.
God is love. Of course.

But that got me thinking. Not that the standard answers are wrong, because it's very true that God is great and He is love, but are they good enough?

You know the answer. Of course not.

If we don't dig deep to discover who God is to us, what's the point of relationship with Him?
He wants us to be in relationship with Him, but not the "Hey, how ya doin'?" "I'm good" and keep going kind of relationship. Rather, the "really listening, trusting, leaning on Him" kind.

Not that all of us are good at that all the time.

Things get going well and we tend to lose sight of what God means to us. Thinking that we can do things on our own. Forgetting that all we are and all we have comes from Him.

Then a crisis strikes, be it a serious health type crisis or just a run-of-the-mill "too many bills and not enough money" kind.

And we wonder where He went. All this time, it's true that we may need an adjustment in how close we are to God, but it's not because He moved.

He's there, we just have to pay attention. Get our eyes off our own issues and focus on the fact that He loves, He knows, He's in control.

We can't see, but He can. And that should be comforting, if we're in relationship with Him.

Who is He to you?

11 October 2010

do it again

Friday evening after school, M needed to get to town to meet the quizzers to leave for Saturday's meet ahead of time.

It takes almost an hour for us to get to our destination.

After we dropped him off, C and I hit a drive-thru as a "special treat", since it was just he and I for supper.

Chowing on his apple dippers in the seat behind me he says "Mom, how long till we get home?"

"About forty-five minutes", I replied.

"Oh", he said. "I waited for forty-five minutes before. I can do it again."


08 October 2010


That's the number of hours that I "twenty to twenty-five a week would be perfect, thanks" put in last week.

I covered for our senior beauty advisor so she could go to a family funeral. That wasn't a problem and I was happy to do it.

This week, after two very long, eleven to eight days, I was looking forward to being able to get away until Sunday afternoon.

I've been working eleven to eight quite a bit lately.

Until last night when as the assistant manager was about to take a phone call, he said "Don't go anywhere." Um, okay.

He gives me extra projects at work from time to time, so I just figured that he was going to give me something to do for the last two, very long hours of my shift. Uh, nope.

"Would you be able to cover So-and-so's shift on Saturday? She has a school commitment and can't be here."

Enter where my mouth responds faster than my brain can think. That happens often, sorry, Mom.

Immediately forgetting how dog-tired I was, I mentioned something about impending work for Jon and if that wasn't happening this weekend, I didn't see any reason as to why I couldn't cover the shift.

Jon didn't answer his cell the first time I tried. When I tried fifteen minutes later, I was sorta sad to be informed that the work has been put off until November.

For good reason; namely our anniversary get-away at the end of the month, but there goes my built in excuse. Lovely.

If I'd been taught to lie, I'd have been able to come up with something on the spot, you'd think. Something like Kayla's excuse about needing to help chop down a tree. While AB (assistant boss) could tell it was a totally manufactured excuse, ahem, a lie, he couldn't do anything about it. Thanks, Mom and Dad...to wrestle with my conscience wasn't really what I needed at the end of a long day. haha.

So I entered the office and said that I'd be happy to cover the shift on Saturday. And I'll do my best to be cheerful about it, at least until noon.

I sure hope they remember this.

06 October 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday- trumpets*

*Matthew and Jon's sister, Kathryn.

01 October 2010

lift me up

Tuesday night, Jon took me to dinner for my birthday. We went to Red Lobster and I throughly enjoyed a pound and a half of snow crab legs, ceasar salad and baked potato.

Who has room for dessert? I didn't.

After we finished dinner, we headed to Shopko. I was in need of new tennis shoes; I'm finding myself in them more often for work and the pair I owned were pretty worn out, aka, losing the padding inside the left shoe.

This happens about every 18 months or so.

We've gotten fortunate enough to hit a major sale every time I get to the point where "okay, I have put this off long enough, and I need new shoes NOW". The last three times we've gotten away with a good pair of shoes under forty dollars.

Jon was really helpful in finding the brand I was looking for and he helped me decide between one size or another. I decided on the seven and a half and we started to head for the checkout.

This is when I spotted the section of "wide width". That's so me.

In about 15 seconds, I spotted the shoes I needed in seven and a half wide. Jon put the first box back on the shelf.

Then, as we're wandering the store looking for a glass vase, I keep tripping. Like the floor is jumping up at me about every three steps. Jon teases me about whether my drink was spiked at dinner.

About five minutes go by and suddenly it dawns on me that my shoe is feeling like the fit is wrong. The shoes that I'd worn all night. I stop to the side of the greeting card aisle and then the light goes on.

My half-inch lift is not in my shoe. Where is it then?

I'd left it in the first pair and it was now in the shoes on the shelf.

Thankfully, Jon retrieved it for me then I put it in my shoe and we paid and left.

How weird would it have been for some other woman to find my lift when she tried on that pair of shoes? Good grief.