Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My brothers

During Thanksgiving visiting I got to meet my two newest nephews.

There is Caleb who is six months old.
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And there is Trace who is one month old.
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And then there are my brothers. Very hands on Dads. I like it!

Tony. Notice how he is feeding Caleb? That's how they have to do it because of his whole throat issues when he was born. They just have to hold him up a little instead of laying him down. And the extra piece on the bottle is the "special needs" part that helps regulate the flow.
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Tony and Dave are great and neither of them are the kind of dad that is afraid to be at home with the kids without another adult there. They can handle it. They are involved in with their little families.

And there is Matt...
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He is 19 and his current life goal is to never change a diaper. But I am sure that when the time comes he will be an awesome dad too. Jason loves Matt and always gets super excited to visit with him.

My brothers are good guys.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's a family thing.

Since my post about sticking the knife in the tub of butter when I am done I've decided to do a little family study. I was at my parent's for Thanksgiving and a few of my siblings were around as well. I had bought some bagels at Panera Bread to bring along and we had them for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. I also brought two tubs of Panera's cream cheese and this is what we ended up with...


So I started asking around. Here's the rundown...

Linda... does not stab the butter.
Me... you all know that I do stab the butter.
Tony... stabs the butter.
Dave... does not stab the butter.
Lisa... stabs the butter.
Matt... stabs the butter but don't you dare use your own knife for the butter or keep the butter knife after you are done. :)

Mom... stabs the butter.
Dad... leaves the knife wherever it is convenient. That was his answer anyways.

That's it. We've just kind of always done it.

6 out of 8 stab the butter.

It's a family thing.

I wonder if Mom's mom stabbed the butter??

Remember Caleb?

When my nephew Caleb was born his esophagus wasn't connected. He had to be fed through an IV (or something... the details are a bit foggy in my mind.) And when he was a week old he had surgery to correct it. He was sedated for a few days and wasn't aloud to be held. But then he recovered well and got stronger and stronger every day.

Many of you prayed for him and my family is so grateful for all those prayers!!

Caleb is now 6 months old!
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And he is doing fabulously well!
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He does need to eat out of a special needs bottle... nothing complicated... the nipple just has a system to help regulate the flow of liquid coming out because he chokes a bit more easily.
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He'll be needing to wear a helmet for two months to help reshape his head. It's a little odd in the back from laying on his back in the hospital for his first month of life. Say a prayer that that goes well.
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And the docs say he will probably need to be on pureed baby food until he is two years old. Other than that though no one will ever know that he was born with a few complications.
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Caleb is one cool kid!

Not really a surprise since cool runs in our blood. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kraynak's Christmas Store

It's been a tradition in Mike's family for a long time now and we've been joining in the past few years. We take the hour drive and go out for dinner (Golden Coral! Yum!) and then head to Kraynak's Christmas store.

We went pretty early this year. I think it was the day before Halloween. A little early for me but at the same time it was nice because there were no crowds and we could take our time.

The kids love Kraynak's. There is a long hallway that is decorated with all things Christmas. There are themed displays and it is one after another. (Pardon my poor pictures. I just took my little point and shoot and low light with no tripod = not great pictures.)

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Liza got pretty excited when she saw Dora.
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Liza and Jason stopped to pet the little zebra.
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There are plenty of Christmas decorations for the Steelers fans.
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Kraynak's has a gazillion different ornaments for every occasion and tinsel in every color you can imagine.
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And every size, shape and color snowman.
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There is a fun selection of toys and Mike and I got some Christmas shopping done. While we were doing that Papa and the kids found the train sets.
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We had a hard time getting Jason away from the trains. He loves trains and bridges. Good thing he is getting one for Christmas!

Kraynak's makes for a fun  night out. I think we will keep it as part of our traditions too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

# Recipe: Easy Parmesan Chicken

Here is another easy, delicious recipe for the crockpot.


8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, cut in thin wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar (26 ounces) pasta sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Hot cooked spaghetti

1. Place mushrooms and onion in slow cooker.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly brown chicken on both sides. Place chicken in slow cooker. Pour pasta sauce over chicken; add herbs. Cover; cook on LOW 6-7 hours or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove and discard bay leaf.

3. Sprinkle chicken with cheeses. Cook, uncovered, on LOW 15 to 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Serve over spaghetti.

NOTE: Other vegetables, such as sliced zucchini, cubed eggplant or broccoli florets can be substituted for the mushroom slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Friday, November 26, 2010

VeggieTales Giveaway Winner


The winner of The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's is...


Congratulations Genelle!

Email me your address so I have it handy and I will send it out to you early next week. 

Thanksgiving with friends.

Two weeks ago we had our first "Thanksgiving Dinner." Mike and I love to have a bunch of our friends over and eat and have fun. I invited all the girls from my last Bible study to come and bring their families. The deal was that we would cook the turkey and I asked them all to bring a side. I don't know that I am ready yet to be cooking for 15 people. Maybe in a few years.

We had to rearrange our house a bit to fit everyone and everything in. Jason's room became the beverage room.
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We had coffee, tea, hot chocolate and hot cider. I didn't have enough mugs for everyone so I went to some thrift shops and got them cheap. And then told everyone to take their mug home as their party favor. Nothing big but it was simple and fun. I attached a tag to each mug with a quote or scripture about gratitude and then one of those were chosen to win a small gift.
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We had this out for people to guess at while they were waiting. One person had a guess that was only one off but it was over and the "rules" stated that the winner was closest without going over.
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And then dinner was served and it was delicious!
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The kid table. :)
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We visited.
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The kids did a craft.
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We played Hot Potato. (Cuz that's how I roll.)
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And then we played Catch Phrase for a while and everyone kept forgetting whose team they were on and giving answers for the other team.
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The kids both insisted on sitting on me so this is how I played the games...
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I forgot to get a picture with all my friends until the end of the night and some had already left. I love these girls!
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By the end of the night Jason was pretty tired. I guess that is what having a lot of fun will do to you.
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We had a really great time. There isn't much better than good food and great friends!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Candy Dance

What is your favorite thing about parades?

For kids... I'm pretty sure it's the candy.

I see kids with large bags just waiting for the candy to be thrown their way. And while at the Veteran's Day Parade a few weeks ago I got to observe up close the candy dance.

Here's how it goes...

1. Watch and wait.
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2. Anticipate.
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The kids were crazy for the candy... but I know I used to be crazy about the candy too.

We will be watching the parade today on tv, in the comfort and warmth of the home I grew up in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zoo Day

Not too long ago we had a gorgeous day so I decided we needed to go to the zoo. We hadn't been there for a while. It was still pretty cold in the morning (about 40 degrees) but we like to bundle up in layers and do the inside things first. Basically we do the zoo backwards. It's empty that way and we hit the reptile house and the aquarium when they are still pretty empty. By lunch time it was closer to 60 degrees... plenty warm to eat outside and then go check out the outside animals.

We woke up early, ate breakfast and hit the road. We go to the Pittsburgh Zoo but it isn't really IN the city so I don't mind driving to it. It's pretty much a straight shot from here and it's really hard to get lost.

However, there was construction.. right. at. my exit. I couldn't GO where I NEEDED to go. So I had to just follow the road and it was a road I didn't need to be on and I didn't know where it went. Panic. I found a sign for the road I was on and figured if I could just turn around and get going north on it instead of south I could find a way to the zoo. Maybe. I had no idea where I was and I rounded a bend and OH CRAP! That is the city in the distance! I'm going to the city. I don't drive in the city. Please don't take me to the city! Panicpanicpanic. I gotta get off this road!

Problem is that last time I missed my zoo exit I got off the next one and there was no way to get going the other direction so I had to get back on the WRONG direction again. I was afraid this would happen this time too. I got off the next exit and didn't see any signs for getting back on. Panic. But after following the road a little bit we found out how to get turned around and we did and we found the zoo and I was able to relax... with a headache. ugh.

But it turned out just fine. We had a really lovely day at the zoo. A lot of the animals were out and we hardly saw anyone else there for the first two hours. We had the reptile house all to ourselves!

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We never get a good look at the meerkats but they were just basking in the sun this time.
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My sister-in-law and her husband came with us.
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Why I like to take people with us. :) Hey! They got in free!
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We had parts of the aquarium completely to ourselves. It was soooo nice... especially when you compare it to the busy days when you are completely surrounded by crazy kids.
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I love the elephants and could watch them all day!
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And that's it. I always prefer to go on a weekday when it's colder out. It's much more enjoyable that way! And I want to go again already! Maybe without the kids next time.

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