~my thoughts about life~

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's For Dinner?

French Onion Soup is what's for dinner! Last night was the first time I made this recipe and I want to declare that it's a keeper! It was featured on Paula Deen (whom I love) and I knew I had to try it. I had been wanting a good French Onion Soup recipe for quite some time. This is it. I did cut down on the onions, however. I used about 3/4 of a very large sweet onion. I can't imagine using 8 onions! I also wanted to mention that I served the soup in my crème brulée ramekins. It tasted so heavenly! I will be having leftovers for lunch today!

French Onion Soup
1/3 C oil
8 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T flour
8 C beef stock
1/4 C dry white wine
1/2 t dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
1 loaf French bread
2 C grated Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese

Sauté onions in oil over low heat until tender and golden yellow. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook a few minutes more, browning the flour well. Add stock and wine and bring to a boil, add garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, slice French bread into 3/4" slices and butter both sides. Toast slices on griddle until golden brown. Ladle soup into an ovenproof bowl, add toasted bread and cover with cheese. Place ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 350 degrees or 5 minutes under a hot broiler. Servings: 4-6 bowls of soup

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Week...

Day 4 of Staycation included a backyard campfire. We have a fabulous setup with a fire ring inside a circle of plastic lawn chairs. Our favorite thing to make is campfire pizzas. You spray a campfire pie iron with Pam, place a slice of bread on each side, and fill it with pizza sauce, a slice of mozzarella, and whatever toppings you prefer. Follow that with Son #2's perfectly roasted marshmallows....a perfect finish to a perfect evening!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Week...

Day 3 - The First Day of School
Son #1 started Jr. High, which really makes me feel old. He's attending the same school I attended at his age and that brought back so many memories. Son #2 is now the big man on campus in elementary. Sis, of course, always does well. She's an experienced first grader now.
So, the kids are at school, hubby is golfing, and I'm home alone with Baby Girl. The quiet is practically mesmerizing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Week...

Day 2 of Staycation was the last day before school started. We enjoyed the day at the county fair. From the sounds of the carousel to the smells of funnel cakes, it was truly a most enjoyable day!

My Week...

Day 1 of Staycation included Hubby's oral surgery and a baby shower for a sweet new baby girl. The baby shower was the more fun of the two. Pink cupcakes make any day better!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Windows Open

It's a Windows Open day here. Hope you're having a beautiful Thursday wherever you may be.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Hubby is off work all week but we will be staying home for an inexpensive staycation. It will be filled with things like oral surgery, baby showers, cracked windshield repair, new back door installation, and the first day of school. So even though I will not be relaxing by the tranquil lake in this picture, I may not be around to share my thoughts with you in cyberspace. Hopefully I will capture some interesting photos to share with you upon my return.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Harvest Time

My sweet children spent the day with their Great Aunt yesterday. They brought home this bountiful basket of garden vegetables for me! Now if I could just figure out what to do with all that healthy food. They love to pick it but certainly won't taste it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What My Day Looks Like...

This is unfortunately what my kitchen sink looks like today. And the rest of my house isn't much better. So I'm turning to Harry, Frank, and Michael to help me through this day (Connick, Jr., Sinatra, and Buble', that is).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Made Me Laugh...

We were outlet shopping when we stumbled upon this minivan in a parking lot. I was pleased I had my camera with me as this was a great photo opportunity. The boys got a kick out of it too. I'm pretty sick of hearing about LeBron but had to snicker at this sight. In case you can't see it properly, written on his headband is the word "TRAITOR."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's For Dinner?

This is one of my I-don't-have-anything-to-make-for-dinner-tonight Dinners. It has ingredients that are always on-hand in my pantry and my family eats it somewhat well. This is the amount I make for my family which would probably feed 3 to 4 adults. Add more or less of any of the ingredients depending on your taste.

Chicken Bowtie Pasta in Cream Sauce
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4T frozen Birdseye peppers & onion stirfry mix
Salt & Pepper
3T flour
3T butter
2 C+ milk
3/4 Box Bowtie Pasta

In large skillet, brown chicken and peppers & onions in butter with salt and pepper.

In the same pan, scoot chicken to the side and make a roux with flour and butter. Slowly add milk or half & half until desired thickness is reached. Simmer until ready to serve. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more milk. Serve over al dente pasta.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Family Tradition

In this family, we have a passion for eating good sweet corn. This is the heart of the Midwest, after all! Since good sweet corn only grows here in late summer through early fall, we have to prepare for the rest of the year. So my grandfather freezes a huge supply every summer. I took the kiddos up this year to witness this part of their heritage. They love eating the corn so they need to know how it gets here! I hope we made a memory they will carry with them throughout their lives.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pathetic Parenting

I've recently discovered a fantastic new talent that I posses. I am great at criticizing other parents! Isn't that a wonderful skill to have? Yes, I am being sarcastic right now but I honestly look at so many parents and wonder What are they thinking??? So I am thrilled to introduce a new blog segment called "Pathetic Parenting." Who knows, maybe you'll get a laugh or two.

One of my many pet peeves is Facebook. Yes, I am an avid reader of FB but only an occasional poster. I am worn out reading about everyone's mundane daily life. Yes, you have a headache. It's a part of life. Why are you telling this to all 456 of your "friends?" Even though I enjoy keeping up with high school friends, college buddies, and family from out of state, I have learned far too much about some people through Facebook.

A "friend" of mine recently posted her Senior pictures. They were very nicely done. But several shots featured not only the high school Senior, but her boyfriend too. Dumb! Why would you allow your daughter's boyfriend to pose in her Senior pictures with her? And guess what? A month later, they've broken up. Surprise, surprise. She's 17. Did you think this was going to be a forever romance? Now you get to look at that dude's pictures in your daughter's portfolio for many years to come.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lovin' Shutterfly!

I just ordered my fourth digital scrapbook from shutterfly.com! I think I am addicted to this website! I made a book once from Snapfish that couldn't compare to my Shutterfly books. I won't use that website ever again.

The first book I made was to commemorate an awesome day trip we took as a family. It was small and had a cardboard cover but I still loved it. So I started making hard cover books to document my memories. I decided to make one every summer because we usually do so many fun things. Also, all my kids' birthdays are in the summer. I also made one of Baby Girl's first year instead of a flimsy scrapbook like her siblings have (which are falling apart). My next project is to make one book that spans several Christmases. I love this activity because there is NO MESS! This is definitely my niche!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still Running...

I hit a milestone last night....a 2 mile run without stopping! I am so proud of myself that I must toot my own horn! If you knew me personally, you'd understand. First of all, I hate to run. Secondly, I haven't run in 15 years. And lastly, I struggled to run a quarter mile a month or so ago. So, to see this much progress is so exciting to me! I think I'll make my marathon leg after all! I think it's all due to the darling new kicks I got over the weekend! Pink makes all things better!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekend Fun

I know it's Tuesday but we had a very fun weekend this past week! We had a couple different events which were outside. I love outdoors in the summer but can't stand mosquito bites! They are drawn to me for some reason. I have two bites it very bad places: one on my face and one on my behind. (How is that even possible anyway???) The one on my face just looks like a zit but the one on my posterior is quite embarrassing in public!

This is a picture of something I find to be a summer necessity! It's Benadryl itch stopping gel. I really think it works well! This is actually our second bottle. It's not great for sunburn, in my opinion, but it works amazingly well on those pesky, itchy bug bites! If you hate mosquitoes as much as me, this might be a product you would find helpful. Happy summer!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Corn & 'Maters

Nothing says a summer supper like fresh sweet corn on the cob and homegrown tomatoes! I love making a meal out of corn and tomatoes in the last days of summer! Or corn and tomatoes with a salad. Or corn, tomatoes, salad, and bread. Well, you get my drift.

And no, I did not grow these tomatoes. My grandfather did. But thanks for the vote of confidence!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Is Fall in the Air?

As I was checking on my tomato plants today, I spotted this solitary auburn leaf standing out alone amongst its green companions. Is this a sign that autumn is on its way? I must say that I'm not quite ready. Anyone else wondering where summer went?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Are We There Yet?"

The title of this post has absolutely nothing to do with its content. But it's the most annoying question I could think of asked by kids all over the world. My kids don't ask that question too often. The annoying question around here is, "Are we going somewhere?" I know that doesn't sound like it would rub you the wrong way, but you need the back story.

I am neither a homebody nor someone who must leave the house in seek of excitement every day. I fall somewhere in the middle. But every time my kids see me getting dressed in the morning, they ask, "Mom, are we going somewhere?" I usually reply, "No, I'm just getting dressed." Now I must confess to you that I am a person who OCCASIONALLY stays in my pajamas all day. But that's usually only if I'm not feeling well or if I'm having a marathon cleaning day. So there's no need to ask the question every time I get dressed for the day.

Today, my oldest son asked The Question when he saw that I was ironing a shirt to wear. "No, I'm just getting dressed," I replied. My middle son asked The Question when he saw me brushing my teeth. "NO!" I answered a bit more forcefully. "Can't I brush my teeth without you thinking we're going somewhere???" But here's the kicker. I was pulling the vacuum out of the front closet and Sis asked me, "Mom, are we going somewhere?" Now why in the world would vacuuming the carpet lead a person to think they were about to embark on a journey? I just don't get it.

Anyone else willing to share parenting pet peeves to make me feel more normal??? And no, I'm not going anywhere!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

School Shopping

The big day is soon approaching...the day of new shoes that still smell like the store, clean backpacks that still hold that boxy shape, and meticulously pressed clothes with no pizza sauce stains or ink pen marks. I love the weeks prior to the first day of school and I love shopping for all the new stuff!

We had some good luck this week with school shopping. The boys got several new shirts from Gap for $5. I just love a good deal! Yesterday we got Old Navy jeans for $10! I only buy jeans once a year and I buy enough to last. The little girl needs clothes like she needs a hole in her head. We are very thankful to have hand-me-downs from some pretty snazzy dressers! But she got a backpack ($9 at Old Navy), a lunch box ($5 at Old Navy), and the most adorable pink sparkly shoes. All that's left is to hit the Nike outlet for gym shoes.

They will be back in school before I know it and the house will be quiet again! Well, not exactly quiet. I still have Baby Girl home for a few more years. Maybe it will be quiet here in 2025!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Running Update

Well, I felt like I was going to die but I finally ran 1.25 miles last night! AND it was over 80 degrees outside! The first time I ran, I only made it .25 mile before stopping. The second time out, I made it .75 mile. Tonight was my third official run, not counting using the elliptical. So I am very proud of my increase!

OK, enough bragging for now...! 8 weeks to go!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My First Tomato

I ate my first tomato today. Not my first tomato ever, but the my first homegrown tomato of the season. Yes, I know I'm quite a bit behind others but I have never claimed to have a green thumb. I didn't get my plants in the ground early enough (it kept frosting here!) and they're not in a fully sunny location. But I picked a ripe one a couple days ago and finally indulged today. The flavor was outstanding and so unlike anything from the grocery store! I sadly did not photograph it before devouring it so I took a picture of the next few to ripen and consume. Yum!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I hate to admit this publicly, but I love Glee. I just started watching the musical series because I wasn't captured by it at its birth along with the rest of America. I decided to see what all the hype was about and turned on an episode. I was immediately taken and haven't missed an episode since. I am so happy that they're starting at the beginning over the summer. Things I didn't understand before finally make sense. So if you haven't jumped on the wagon yet, give in and join the rest of us "losers." You'll be glad you did!