Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Fall, Y'all

Just a few pics of the fall decor around here. 

My personal favorite is the jack-o'-lantern on the candlestick (picture 5).  I've had both the jack-o'-lantern and the candlestick for at least 10 years, but I've never thought to put them together that way until this year!  It actually faces the sink, but because of the lighting, I had to flip it for the picture.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Stop and Think Moment

You know how sometimes you have those moments that make you stop and think?  Yesterday was one of those moments after hearing about the unexpected death of a former co-worker.  This gentleman had been in charge of Risk Management at the hospital where I used to work; he was an easy-going guy who offered to lend his impressive credentials as one of my professional references when I was job-hunting in 2005.  Although we hadn't done a good job of keeping in touch, I know that he was in the middle of making some major professional and personal changes in his life. 

Maybe it is because he was just starting this new chapter of his life, or maybe it is the fact that his death came the day after his 55th birthday, but it made me think about how quickly life can change. 

"...for you do not know what a day may bring forth."  Psalms 27:1

Monday, September 26, 2011

Completely Unplanned

This past weekend, we were planning on going to my friend Amber's in Lafayette for a cookout, but she had to cancel at the last minute when her daughter got sick.  In a weird sort of "What-should-we-do-now-I-don't-know-what-do-you-want-to-do-well-we-were-packed-anyway" kind of scramble, we set out for South Bend, IN.

<Blink blink>  Why South Bend?

I'm still not totally sure. 

After a drive that was made remarkably short by a happy toddler and Destroyer on the Ipad (for me, not him), we arrived to a crisp fall afternoon in Northern Indiana. 

Our first stop was the zoo.  Their zoo was a bit bigger and better maintained than the zoo here in town, and there was hardly anyone else there which was great, since Jacob was more into pushing his stroller than riding.

We saw some cool animals,

and watched a couple of other animals play in the water.

It started raining again after the zoo, so we hit up the mall.  For as happy as this made me, we only stayed about half an hour.  It was crowded, and the guys weren't into it.  At all.

We ended up at a local Italian place for dinner.  Restaurant selection is one area where Frank and I have some interesting discussions.  He loves the hole in the wall, non-chain places, and while I like those places, too, I usually pull for places more on the beaten path.  Taking a toddler to a restaurant is difficult enough, but when you don't know the atmosphere of the place (i.e. quiet?), or if they will have toddler-friendly food, and/or someplace other than the floor for a diaper change, it adds a whole new level of stress.  So that's my philosophy.  But this place ended up being fine! :)

The next morning, we visited with some friends of Frank's family who live about half an hour south of South Bend.  They were lovely people, and it was fun to hear stories about Frank as a little kid.

For a completely unplanned trip, it ended up being a great getaway!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lawn Care Public Service Announcement

Jacob would like to remind you that proper lawn care is important, even during the fall months.

This message brought to you by Jacob's mom, who might have a little too much time on her hands.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


  • I've totally been in the mood for some fall desserts-- anything with apple, pumpkin, banana, caramel or brown sugar.   I haven't made anything, though, because I would probably be eating it by myself.  Frank's idea of a good dessert involves chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.  He would eat a 'courtesy helping' of my non-chocolate dessert, but I don't think he understands why I would want an apple crisp just because the weather is chilly. 

  • Any good recommendations for fall TV shows?  We haven't caught any new shows.  Actually, we're hooked on the "Dallas" re-runs that are available through TNT.  We both remember our parents watching it and remember bits and pieces about the show, so it's fun to watch the old episodes now as an adult.

  • My closet shelf is still broken.

  • Jacob has been very into giving his stuffed animals a personality.  He wants them to do exactly what he does, and thinks it's hysterical when they "cry." 

  • I'm still hoping to pick up some additional classes.  I am now in Week 6 of what was supposed to be a 3-5 week credentialing process for the second university.  The person in charge of the process isn't responding to my emails, either, so I'm getting pretty impatient.  I've also applied for an adjunct online position at a third university, although I think this position is probably a longshot. 

  • That's about all I know for today!



Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin Parade

On Saturday, we went to the Morton Pumpkin Festival.  Apparently, this is a MUCH BIGGER DEAL than I would have anticipated, because the town was packed.  I'm talking Disney World-type crowds.  I've never seen anything like it. 

The highlight of the festival for us was watching the parade.  For 45 minutes, Jacob was mesmerized.  Frank and I took turns holding him so he could see.

The fire engines and police cars were big hits, and since Saturday he's been making a 'siren' sound.  (Picture him screaming in a shrill little voice, "Eeeeeee!")

Even though it was too crowded to spend much time there, it was worth the drive if only for the parade. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

S'More Fun

Since we've lived in this house, Frank has wanted a fire pit, and last week, his dream came true- we finally bought a fire pit!  Friday night was perfect weather for sitting by the fire, as it was chilly but not cold. 

Using some dry juniper as kindling, Frank got the fire started in no time. 

(I know this probably should be on concrete somewhere, but we don't have room!  We did wet the mulch underneath in case there were any stray sparks.)

We did a little marshmallow roasting

and a little marshmallow burning.

The s'mores were delicious!

Surprisingly, Jacob wasn't a fan of the s'mores, but he did like eating the graham crackers.

We were outside until Jacob's bedtime, and then I caught him,

Nooo bedtime!

put him to bed, and went back outside with Frank to enjoy the last of the fire.  It was a fun evening, and we can't wait to to it... s'more!  (haha, I couldn't resist!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooler Weather and Tuscan Pot Pie

While I'm definitely more of a spring/summer girl, I am enjoying the cooler weather.  It's pretty nice to be able to go outside in jeans and not break a sweat.  It's also nice to be able to include some heartier dishes in my weekly rotation.  While the grill remains one of my best friends, I'm looking forward to some soups and casseroles. 

Last week, I made Tuscan Pot Pie.  We are a house divided when it comes to pot pies.  I LOVE them, but Frank, not so much.  Since this one had sausage, I thought he might like it more than some of the others I've made. 

Tuscan Pot Pie
You can bake this in an ovenproof skillet or a pie pan.
Prep and Cook time is 30 Minutes total.

3/4 lb sweet or Italian sausage (you can also make this with vegetarian sausage)
1 jar (24-28oz) spaghetti sauce (I usually use chunky garden to get more vegetables in there)
1 can (19oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups (6oz) shredded mozzarella
1 package (8oz) refrigerated crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 425. Brown and crumble sausage in a skillet. Drain.
2. Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes.
3. Add spaghetti sauce, beans, and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
4. Pour mixture into a pie pan.
5. Unroll crescent dough; divide into triangles. Arrange on top of mixture in spiral with points toward center. Cover mixture completely. Bake 12 minutes or until crust is brown

Okay, so did you catch that in this recipe, there is only a top crust?  Until I was actually assembling my ingredients, I didn't notice that.  I decided to make a change on the fly, because we love crust.  I used a storebought pie crust that I happened to have in the freezer for a bottom crust and then used the crescent rolls as a top crust.  Since the storebought bottom crust was smaller, I couldn't arrange the crescents in a spiral, so it wasn't very pretty and I didn't use all of the crescents.  But what it lacked in presentation it made up for in taste! 

This was really delicious. 

We liked having a top crust and bottom crust, but I would like to think of a way to make this look prettier next time.  Maybe use a puff pastry sheet instead of the crescents?  I'll have to think of something because this one is a definite "make again!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Caleb is 1

Do I like my birthday cake? 
I do!  I do!
I scream!  I shake!

I want to eat it with my hands.
I want to eat it like a man.

I like to throw it in my hair;
I like to throw it everywhere!

So I'm no Dr. Seuss, but that poem has been running through my head all morning!  Caleb had a Cat in the Hat birthday party, complete with a Cat-in-the-Hat cake that Sarah had baked.  It's safe to say Caleb liked it!

Caleb was much more mellow than Jacob was at his first birthday party.  He pretty much just went with the flow.

Oooh, look... balloons!
He got lots of cool presents, and then we played outside for a while until naptime.  And when's ready for his nap- he's ready!  Don't even try to take one last picture!

Happy First Birthday Caleb!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The One About Hair

I'm a bit obsessed with my hair.  Not obsessed as in, "Wow, my hair always looks so awesome," but obsessed as in, "Hmmm... I wonder if people think my hair looks wierd today."  That kind of obsessed. 

So when I found this cute little blog called It's the Small Things, I was seriously jealous over Kate's hair skillz.  Granted, she is a professional, but I would give my right arm to be able to do my hair like hers.



She calls this style the Bouncy Curled Under and even gives a tutorial! It looks easy, but something tells me she and I would not end up with the same result, though! 

How about this one?


A-dorable!  Again, this style has a video tutorial. 

How funny would it be if I brought my laptop into the salon so my stylist could watch these videos?  I might actually do it!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Pictures That Would Have Been

We went to Frank's parents' over Labor Day weekend.  We had a great time, and I took lots of great pictures which I planned on posting here until I discovered they had been deleted by a naughty little 21 month old. 

So, this post will tell you about the pictures that would have been....

*  The first picture would have been one of Jacob and his cousin Brett playing in the grass at the high school football game on Friday night.  Brett had given Jaocb a little Bearcats t-shirt, so they were both in school shirts.  It didn't matter that Jacob doesn't talk much; they communicated in the language of boys:  wrestling, running, and rolling the grass.  As I watched those two under the lights of the football field, I couldn't help but think that soon, they would probably be on the other side of the fence as high school football players.

*  The next pictures would be some great family pictures from Bennie's, the Italian restaurant we went to on Saturday night to celebrate Anna's birthday.  It's difficult to catch that many people in a good pose, so I'm especially sad about losing these.  The restaurant was very family-friendly, and we had a great time. 

*  The next picture would have been of Anna's red, white, and blue birthday cake.  It was pretty. And tasty.

*  The next picture would have been on Frank and me, sitting on the back deck at my sister-in-law Rachael's sister Bobbi's house.  (Did you follow that?)  After we put Jacob to bed, we headed over there to meet Rachael and Garett, Rachael's two sisters and cousin and their husbands, along with two other couples. There was a bonfire, kids making s'mores, and tons of food.  I so enjoyed hanging out with everyone and found myself wishing that we lived closer so we could do it more often.  (Disclaimer:  I didn't actually bring my camera here, but while I'm recreating pictures, let's just pretend I did.)

*  The next picture would have been of Jacob riding rides at the DuQuoin State Fair.  This is the first time he's ever ridden a real ride, other than a carousel or a ride at the mall!  I was a little nervous strapping him in, but he LOVED it!  Jenna and Brett took turns riding with him, too, so that made me feel better.  There were only three rides that Jacob could ride since he is under 36 inches tall, but he rode them to death!  Here's a little video link of the kids at the fair...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Feeding Time

If you know Jacob at all, you know that he's a terrible eater.  His eating- or lack thereof- is a subject that deserves at least one entire post, but it's also a subject that consumes so much of my day that I hate thinking about any more than I have to. 

I did think of a couple of new tricks this week.  I bought him a new plate and silverware with the Cars 2 characters, that so far (knock on wood), keeps him a bit more interested in his food.  We've also been "feeding" his stuffed animals, which he totally enjoys. 

Much as this subject annoys/stresses me out, this picture of him feeding his stuffed dolphin is seriously adorable.