Friday, November 28, 2008

The Trip

My Grandad's funeral was last Monday in Burlington, Iowa. Here are a few shots of Burlington that I took on the way out of town.....
My kids call this the "H" bridge....I guess you can figure out why..... Gramma Ellie says the "H" stands for "HELLO". (Not sure why all of the police men are gathered)

Also, check out the big building on the top of the hill......that's where I was born. It used to be a hospital-- but now it's a fancy restaurant...go figure. Oh yes, the new library is on the right.
The kids really enjoy going to visit the Grandparents (minus the long drive). Where else can you have a yummy steak dinner with all of your animal friends?? She took a bath with those animals too.
Gramma Sue and Grandpa Phil had never seen our new pup, Minnie....I think it helped to cheer up Gramma Sue when Min fell asleep in her was good to see her smile!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Well, this Thanksgiving is quite different than past years....and it feels really weird to us...and we don't like it...but we made the best of it. My Grandfather passed away last week so we spent a few days at our parents homes in Iowa & IL--therefore, we stayed home for ourselves.

We put the kids to work early....peeling those potatoes and snapping green beans....teamwork, right??
Luke played outside in the snow and had time to make a "patrick" (from Spongebob) snowman.
Bella and Minnie just hung out together....waiting for food to drop on the floor. Please admire Minnie's new haircut...

Here's Tom Turkey
Here's the rest of the food....I forgot to get the cranberry sauce and black olives in the picture

and here's the whole crew (minus me) at Thanksgiving dinner...saying.......

Yes, the kids enjoyed drinking their mountain dew from wine glasses.....hee hee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Minnie's New Sweater

It's so cold here in Wisconsin.....don't you think I need some booties too??

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tasty Thursday--Chicken Curry Soup

I mentioned the other day that John requested Chicken Curry Soup for his birthday dinner, so I thought I would share the recipe....

Chicken Curry Soup
6 cups water
2 pounds cooked chicken breast, diced (Rotisserie chicken speeds up the recipe :) )
1/2 medium onion, chopped (I use dried minced onion)
2 or 3 carrots, chopped
1 box Uncle Ben's Quick Cook wild rice (include the seasoning packet too)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small can of evaporated milk
curry powder to taste

Boil 1st 5 ingredients. Add the chicken soup, evap. milk and curry and cook until heated.

*** I usually make the soup WITHOUT the curry for our family....John adds it to his when it is served.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Ben's Birthday Today

Happy 14th birthday Ben! We love you!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pie Eating Contest

Here are a few pictures of my hubby at the Pie Eating Contest on Friday Night (Pep Rally). Now in past years, the winner was the person who ate the most pie....John won two years ago and actually won last year too, but the students voted that the gym teacher won.... This year was different.... someone had planted 5 gummy worms in the bottom of each pie and the first one to find all five and pull them out onto the table with their teeth, would win. All coaches were forced asked to participate.....Wasn't he a good sport???? and No, he didn't win....a young (18 year old) whipper-snapper won.....we'll have to work on it.....

Did I mention that they couldn't use their hands?????

Monday, November 17, 2008

Busy Weekend

Our weekend went by so fast!! Friday night was a big pep rally at our elementary/middle school. Ben is on the eighth grade team with Dad and Andrew coaching so we all went and had a blast! Ben even won the 3 point contest!! He won a t-shirt, bag of candy, and a Ricky Weeks bobblehead doll!! Woo Hoo!!! Way to go, Benj!! We had a bunch of boys come over after the pep rally- they "hung out" in the basement until midnight!!! WOW....we hadn't stayed up that late for a long time...

Saturday night we saw our highschool's production of "Oklahoma!" We loved it!! But it ended at 10:45, so again, we didn't get to bed until midnight!!! I think we're lacking a little sleep this weekend...Oh Well, we had fun!!!

Sunday we celebrated John's birthday....he requested Chicken Curry Soup for dinner with a side of cheese bread and a salad....I was happy to make it for him :) His birthday cake wasn't actually a was apple pie....YUM! Sunday night we had a fire in the fireplace and watched Monsters Inc. (His choice). All in all, a busy, SUPER, weekend!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, John!!!

This guy is awesome! I am so blessed to have him as my hubby... Happy Birthday John!!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Ben is being pretty silly here, but he really is a unique individual. Report cards were distributed this week and I wanted to share one of the comments that was written about Ben on his report card. His 8th grade Literature teacher, who obviously knows him pretty well wrote " Ben is Ben- a deep thinker who enjoys sharing his mind thoughts."

He certainly is unique and I love that about him.....

Have a SUPER weekend!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My mother in law LOVES Carrot Cake. When it's her birthday, I make this delicious cake just for's a winner...and so is she!!! All of the credit for the recipe goes to the book above....

Carrot Cake & Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans
Flour for dusting the pans
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots (5 medium carrots)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening. Dust with flour, then shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Gently fold in the carrots, raisins, and nuts with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

3. Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert each again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow them to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. (recipe follows)

5. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

Place this cake, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Cover the cake with waxed paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving.

Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)

1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners' sugar, a bit at a time, blending with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Then add the orange juice and zest to the mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more.

2. Use at once to frost the Carrot Cake.

I realize that this isn't an easy recipe but the effort is well worth it. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

Luke decided that he wanted to have a "bowling" birthday party so we headed to the local bowling alley with the kids and bowled away! Here's the crew on lane 16....and yes, 4th graders need the bumpers up so they don't get any gutter balls!!
The "older folks" in the group that didn't feel the need for bumpers bowled in a lane close by. I want you to notice that just to the right of the yellow box.....notice the three X's. Yes, I had three strikes in a's called a "turkey" and also notice that it brought my score up to a whopping 113. I'm quite a bowler, hey?? Please don't look at John's score.... he's a ringer.
After bowling we had some pizza....3 to be exact. Cheese, pepperoni and a sausage..delightful! Some of the kids weren't very interested in the pizza and played video games instead..... (Ben)
Here's a shot of the group (well, some) eating their pizza...
After that we came home, sang to Luke, ate cake, opened presents and played in the basement..... and it was very quiet upstairs :) What a fun party with great friends!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Highlights

Just a quick note to say that we had a fabulous weekend. Saturday morning began with some Cinnamon toast crunch cereal and a game of Nertz (triple solitaire). We always enjoy a good card game. Anna is still learning the order of the cards. She kept asking..."Where does the Queen go?" Anyway, she is definitely having fun!
On Sunday, we celebrated (again) Luke's birthday by having a bowling birthday party with some of his good buddies. Here's Luke with the birthday cake of his choice....a Dairy Queen Blizzard Cake....with chocolate chip cookie dough bits on top!! YUM!!!

More birthday party details tomorrow...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snuggle Bugs......

Hey, get that dog off the couch!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tasty Thursday.... Ham Chowder

Ham Chowder
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans diced potatoes
2 cans creamed corn
2 cans of milk (use cr. of mushroom can)
leftover ham
sauteed, chopped onions

Saute onions in a soup pot. Add, to onions in soup pot, mushroom soups, creamed corn, diced potatoes, milk and ham. Cook until warm. Serves 5+

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Getaway

John and I decided to head up to our cottage on Saturday morning for a little "getaway." We shipped Anna off to some friends for the night and we let all 3 boys stay home by themselves.....with Andrew in charge. Well, before we had even left, the Wii was in our family room and hooked up to the big screen...and "Rockband" was going full force....
From what Andrew said, they ate out almost every meal and made a trip to Target and the videostore. Everything went well and John and I had a great time too. When we walked in the house, Ben said, "We should do this more often". I agreed, so we WILL do it again sometime....

While we were up at our cottage, we went to dinner at a little bar on the lake. It was a little smoky, but the food was delicious and the view was was a gorgeous night. Check out the pictures.....
Life is Good....

P.S. It took me over an hour to clean up the kitchen and living room from "the bachelors" taking over for the weekend.... :)