Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chop, Chop...and down comes the tree!

Yesterday we decided to take full advantage of the beautiful day and go hunting for our Christmas tree. Seems kind of weird to go chop down your tree when it's almost 50 degrees, but least we weren't freezing our butts off...though, if that were the case, I may have stayed out a bit longer! ;0) Ahhhh, if only it were THAT easy!

Anyway...we got up and Barry took the kids in to gymnastics while I got the laundry started and then headed to the kennel to pick up Scout. By the time they got back, I was showered, had lunch started and was ready to roll. After we ate, we headed to a local tree farm that donates 30% of their proceeds to the local Catholic school that a lot of the kids' friends attend. We were really impressed with how many good-sized trees they had! In years past, we've been to tree farms where all the trees were WAAAAYYY too big, or they were shaped so badly that not even Charlie Brown would have taken them. But yesterday was our LUCKY DAY! Barry really wanted to try a Canaan fir this year, and I was on board...why not? As long as it doesn't have prickly needles, I'm good.

Oh yeah, and obviously, I don't do fake trees either. Just seems weird to me. Plus, I hate having to store things!!! Shoot, I've got enough stuff already...just ask my mom!
Getting ready to hunt for our tree

We found one! It's perfect! And Barry had it down before I could whip out my camera...

Come with us, little tree...we'll give you a good home!


Now this morning, Barry got up to go hunting, so the kiddos and I decorated the tree. It's almost finished...just needs a few more things and I need to clean up the great room before I take a picture. I'll try to post it tonight, or maybe tomorrow!

Have you been decorating like a crazy person this weekend? Just wondering....

Have a great Sunday, peeps!

Thanksgiving...3 days, 3 celebrations!!

Thanksgiving is always hectic for us...even more so than Christmas. Kendall doesn't have school the Wednesday before, so as soon as Barry gets home (he only works 1/2 day), we get the car loaded up, drop Scout off at the kennel, and hit the road! This year, we headed to my Dad's first for dinner and a sleep-over. Kendall had asked if we could take the Wii, and we thought that would be just fine, since there are no other kids and my dad has a kick-ass projection TV. Let's just say that things got competitive once my dad and Taffy started bowling. We bowled until 11:30 Wednesday night! Thankfully, my dad finally beat Taffy, so we could stop and watch a movie.On Thursday, we hung out, had lunch, and waited for my brother to arrive. We didn't want to leave before he got there, since it would be our only opportunity to see him. See, he and my dad go hunting the day after Thanksgiving, so he wouldn't make it to my mom's on Friday. Anyway, he finally made it and not long after, Kendall roped him into playing Wii with her. Of course, he talked a bunch of smack about how he was so good at video games, but Kendall beat him in everything they played. I'm sure he had a lot of good excuses to hand out...and I'm equally as sure she wasn't buyin' it.After she whipped his butt at Wii, the "guys", Noah included, headed into the gun room to "talk guns". Noah was very pleased to be included in this, and quickly made himself busy with the duck calls, coyote calls, and deer grunts. He was not impressed with the guns though. When the guys headed out to shoot, Noah asked to come inside because it was "too woud".

Soon after, we had to head out to Barry's dad's. I was in charge of dessert and made a pumpkin cheesecake (no pics, sorry! But it was a sight to behold, I tell you!!!). And of course, I made my own whipped guys know how I feel about Cool-Whip. YUCK!!

We had lots of yummy food, but here was our second Thanksgiving feast, and we'd still not had any TURKEY!!! Ham, ham, and more ham. I was getting a little stressed, I have to admit. All of the kids played really well together, and Aunt Amy had organized a game of Win, Lose, or Draw for them, which they played for a really long time.Then it was off to my Mom's, where we basically went right to bed. It was late, and we'd had a long day already. Friday morning was spent playing with the kids, preparing for the guests, and getting all of us showered and dressed. Oh yeah, and Jessie did what we all SHOULD have done..And guess what else? WE HAD TURKEY!!! I was so happy...turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, rolls, pumpkin name it, we had it. WE let the kiddos play for a while more while the adults sat around talking and then we headed out. It was so good to be home. I don't know what it is about getting older, but I rarely sleep good when I'm not at home anymore. Just more evidence of me becoming a hermit, I suppose.

Hope you all had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! I know we all have so many things to be thankful for, and just so you are all near the top of my list!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Food for Chilly Weather

A few of you requested the recipe for the Chicken Pot Pie I made this past weekend. Due to the fact that I got it straight out of this book, I didn't feel comfortable just posting it out here...are you allowed to do that? I don't anyway, if you want the recipe, feel free to email me at and I will email it to you. Also, Claire asked what the name of the cookbook was that I got it out of. It's one of my favorites... a gem of a book that my friend Sarah sent me. It's pictured above and I've never seen any of the series in the States. But I can tell you this...I haven't made a thing out of it yet that wasn't A-MAZING!! (That's for you, T!!!)

So, I've really been on a cooking craze here lately, in case you haven't noticed! And, yes, it happens every year about this time, when the weather starts getting colder. I LOVE cold weather, warm-your-belly, stick-to-your-ribs food!!! So tonight, I used these...
plus some chicken broth and onions to make some tasty minestrone! Of course, I doubled the zucchini and also toasted some italian bread, buttered it and sprinkled it with garlic salt. It was quite tasty. Soup is so good on a cold day!!!Are you all staying warm? I'm tired of the cold already. And unfortunately, we've got a whole lotta winter to get through yet. So, I guess what I'm saying prepared for lots of cooking from me!!!! Have a good night, peeps!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Recap

So our date night was a lot of fun. We headed downtown to the arena district, and had dinner at Ted's Montana Grill. We both had the filet, salads, veggies, wine, and dessert. With bellies full, we walked over to the Arena Grand theatre to see what was playing. Nothing really tripped our trigger, but since we tend to pick comedy, we decided on Zack and Miri Make A Porno. As it turned out though, we didn't make it. It was an hour until the movie started, and Barry and I just decided that with our full bellies and the wine, we didn't want to just hang out for an hour. We had a few errands we had to run, and besided that, we don't see my mom that we wanted to go home and sit and talk with her. That was a good decision on our part, because it seemed like we didn't get much time to talk other than that!

Anyway, even though we were headed out to dinner that night, I made a nice hearty meal for Mom and the kiddos. Can you guess what it is before you get to the last picture?

Mushrooms & potatoes...
Carrots, celery, and chicken
Chicken broth, milk, flour & butter
And what does all of this come together as???? Go ahead and guess....

Chicken Pot Pie!!
Can I just tell you that I have NEVER made this before? In fact, I don't remember ever even EATING it as an adult...only as a kid. But I have this wonderful little cookbook that my Candian friend Sarah sent me for Christmas last year, and I have not made a thing out of it doesn't turn out AMAZING. So I decided to give it a go. Boy was it worth it...and so easy! Too bad it's gone, cause it sure sounds good on a blustery day like today!

After watching the kids at gymnastics on Saturday morning, we headed to meet Jessie for brunch, and then to Best Buy to pick up the Wii. Yes, Kendall has finally saved her half...I can't believe it! That girl saved like crazy! So you can only imagine the excitement in the car as we headed to the store! We picked it up and headed home so I could get to my massage on time.

My massage was EXCELLENT. I only booked an hour, but she worked on me for an hour and a half...and DIDN'T charge me for the extra! Woo hoo!! And even better...we are going to work out a trade so we can both get more frequent work done! I am so excited!!! And she's right in town, too. That is so cool, I can't even begin to express it to you!

Mom left a couple of hours later, and we were all bummed that she was leaving already...but we understood that she wanted to get home to get some things done. After she left, Barry and I went to town, hanging all of the things I've collected to decorate Noah's room...and with any luck, I'll get to post the pictures this week. I still have to polyurethane the window trim and get the blinds hung. But soon, peeps...bear with me. I'm almost done!

Then we spent all of Sunday cleaning out the basement, throwing things out and listing things on Criag's List. I listed 12 items yesterday! Shoot, I'll tell ya...that takes a long time to do! And of course, we took some time to play the Wii. Kendall and Noah are having so much fun!

In short, we packed a lot into the weekend, and were able to cross a lot of things off our to-do list. But here's my question...why does it seem like my list isn't any shorter????

Friday, November 14, 2008


Ok sorry I've been a little lackadaisical about updating lately. Things have been unbelievably busy around here and I am having trouble getting all the little stuff accomplished. I haven't even taken any pictures lately...GASP!!!

I've been working on my holiday promotion, which is a special where for every 90 minute massage you purchase, you receive a FREE 30 minute gift certificate to either keep for yourself or to give as a gift. Wow! Now my clients can "do their Christmas shopping" while they're getting a massage. I want one...where do I sign up??? Too bad I can't clone myself and give myself a massage, eh? Believe me, I think that ALL THE TIME. So anyway, I've been printing flyers, folding, addressing, and mailing. Going through client files, sorting,'s so. much. fun. Bring on the busy-ness of the holidays!!!

My mom is coming tonight!!! She called last week to ask what we had going on this weekend, and said she was thinking about coming for a visit. And then guess what she said??? C'mon, just guess!!!! She said, "Why don't you and Barry plan to go out and I'll stay with the kids?" !!!!!!

Ex-squeeze me???? Baking powder??? Hell yeah, we'll plan to go out!! WOOOO HOOOO!!!!! So, we are headed downtown tonight, peeps! Barry found a deal on for a $25 gift certificate to Ted's Montana Grill for $4...(can you say BISON STEAK??? Mmmm...)! Your total bill has to be $50 to be able to use the gift certificate, but hey, when it's all said and done, we will have spent a total of $29 for a $50 meal. Does that make sense? I know it sounds confusing...but you'll just have to trust me that it's a good deal!

And then, I have 2 free movie passes to the Arena Grand theatre right in the same area, so we may even hit a movie! OMG, I don't even know what's out, it's been so long since I've been to the movies. The last movie I saw in the theater was Talledega Nights!!!

So, Barry and I will have a date night tonight...and it will be cheap. About $30 when it's all said and done...and I don't have to pay a babysitter either. Holy cow...I can hardly believe it! Oh yeah, and one more thing...she's going to stay with the kiddos Saturday afternoon so I can go get a massage too!!! I think I just peed my pants in my excitement over that statement...


Friday, November 07, 2008

Update and What to do with Pumpkins...

So for those of you who were wondering how the house looks now with it's new coat of stain, here you go...that hubby of mine does nice work, doesn't he?I'd take a picture of the back so you could see the deck and rails that Sheri and I slaved away on, but it's raining outside today...yuck. Maybe this weekend, if you're still interested!

So anyway, what are Noah and I up to on this rainy Friday? Well, we had planned to go out running various errands that I have so aptly been procrastinating doing. BUT, then it started raining. And you know what? I'd really rather be home than running around in the rain. So I started thinking,"What could we do here?" DUH...plenty! I saw these guys, who have been sitting and taunting me for 2 weeks now...I decided it was time to make the Pumpkin Puree I've been dreaming about since I saw it on The Pioneer Woman's website. I decided to tackle the small orange pumpkins first. We cut them up, scooped out the seeds and stringy stuff, and roasted them...Then we scooped the flesh out of the shells and put it in the food processor so Noah could puree it. Really, he could care less about the actual puree-ing. He just wants to push the buttons and watch it spin...We scooped 1 cup of vitamin-filled pumpkin into each bag, sealed 'em up and labeled 'em. I can't wait to pull these out in the dead of winter to do some festive baking!Of course, we rinsed the seeds and now they are drying out. Tomorrow we will make Pepitas!!! The kiddos are in for a treat! And I still have those 3 big pie pumpkins in the picture as well as our 7 jack-o-lantern pumpkins that we never got to carve (whoops!). I see many pepitas and much more pumpkin puree on the horizon!!!

Have a great day today!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A New Project

When we bought our property, it was with the idea that:

a.) We wanted to know what would be on all sides of us...that is, we wanted to be sure no one was going to snatch up our neighboring property to build a strip mall or apartment complex!

b.) We wanted a lot space for the kids to explore and learn about the outdoors.

c.) We were looking at possibly having a barn and some livestock in the future...and no, we weren't exactly thinking chickens way back then...more like steers, or horses or goats. But I like my chickens just the same! ;0)

d.) We knew we'd have to find a way to make our property work for us...that is, to generate some sort of income. Whether it be growing hay for neighboring farmers, renting it out for farmland, selling veggies, beef, or eggs...we didn't know. But you get the idea, right?

Well, we started with some chickens. No barn yet, so no big animals...but all in due time. We have plenty of space that the kids really enjoy exploring and they are definitely learning about nature. We know exactly what will be on all sides of us for as long as we live here. But how to make the land work for us?

We grew hay on the front part of our property and sold it to one of our friends this summer. That was about as far as we had gotten on that...except you can never be quite sure, because Barry's mind is always workin' on a plan, if you catch my drift. He had been working with Soil and Conservation to work up a plan to put some of our property into a conservation program. Basically, they came out and tested our soil to see what parts of the property could be used for wetlands in a program called CREP. Then they drew up some plans and submitted them to us for approval. Turns out, they wanted to build three wetlands...two in the front and one in the back. COOL! This is great folks, because this is a cost-share plan where we pay half and the government pays half to create these wetlands and plant trees and tall grasses, thereby "protecting environmentally sensitive land, decreasing erosion, restoring wildlife habitat, and safeguarding ground and surface water." So in very simple terms, after the construction is finished and the trees and grasses are planted, they pay us to leave it alone and let the wild take over. This will be in effect for 10-15 years, at which time we can reasses.

Last week, the construction began! The backhoe and the bulldozer were out here all week, and the kids couldn't have been more giddy...

I can't even imagine what it will look like when all of the grasses and trees start getting some growth on them. Wow, in 15 years, this place will be PERFECT!!! I really WILL be a hermit by then! LOL!

The Perils of Log Home Living, Volume 2

Whatever could it be, you ask? What on earth could be as perilous as the dreaded Dusting of the Beams??? Well, I'll tell you...

STAINING. And plenty of it.

This weekend, we were stainiacs...we spent our entire Saturday staining. Well, ok, actually we raked leaves at Sheri's from 9:30-11:30, then we came out here and she helped me stain all the rails on our deck. WHAT A JOB! Thank goodness Sheri is such an amazing friend...who in their right mind would volunteer for this kind of work???The truth is, she takes pity on me. She knows how difficult this job would be without a partner, and if she doesn't volunteer...well, let's just say I'd be one pitiful individual. And I'm no fun when I'm pitiful. Sheri likes me better when I'm fun. And since I'm so thankful for her help, I don't even ask her to do the side where you have to be on the big ladder the whole time...While Sheri and I worked the deck, Barry finally finished up staining the entire outside of the house...SCORE!!! Let me tell you how happy he is to finally have that "little" project finished! Can you tell by the big smile on his face?We had big plans for dinner after the work was done...Sheri and I were brainstorming a wonderful meal while we worked. But guess what?

Pizza sounds REALLY good after you've been staining for 5 hours!!!

Oh yeah! Can I get any volunteers for next time around??? ;0)
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