Monday, January 31, 2011

Superbowl Party Ideas

I normally love the Superbowl, but this year, I don't really care about either of the teams (although I am cheering for Green Bay).  Anyways, Phil and I are attending a Superbowl Sunday party at our friends, Bret and Leanne's, house.  They asked if we could bring over side dish or two to supplement the usual football food: sub sandwiches, wings, nachos, etc. 

I thought it would be cute to do something football themed, so I started to google for some ideas...here are some of my favorites:

Chocolate Rice Krispie footballs

Snack Stadium

Bourbon (foot)Balls

Cheese Ball

Devilled Eggs

Cracker Sandwiches, with footballs shaped cheese

 Overall, there were some really cute ideas.  But THEN I thought, wouldn't it be even CUTER if I did 2 regional dishes: one from Pittsburgh, and one from Green Bay?!?!??!

It was easy to find food ideas from Pittsburgh... the most popular being the "Devonshire Sandwich."  It's a hot, open-faced turkey sandwich, which sounds eerily similar to the Kentucky Hot Brown.... just saying... Steelers...  

Anyways, finding regional food from Green Bay wasn't quite as easy.  Apparently, GB doesn't really have anything unique to their city.  Other than cheese, deep fried cheese, and deep-fried vegetables and cheese, I didn't find too many ideas.  However, in almost every website I found, the authors noted the heavy German and Polish influence in Wisconsin.  When I started searching about that, I finally found some interesting recipes... like Wurst Soup and Norwegian Meatballs.  

I'd love to hear back.... what are YOUR Superbowl Sunday plans?! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Natural Born Killers

And I'm not talkin' about the movie.  I'm talking about:

Lions

Hippos

Gators

Phelps

Ever since she was a puppy, Phelps has been on the "hunt" for something.  If there is a kitten hidding in a bush or a squirel up a tree, she is chasing it.  She constantly trys to catch fish at the beach.  And of course, there is the duck that used to live in the canal out back.... bless his heart...



But none is worse than the opossum.  If there is an opossum within a 5 mile radius of our house, she knows. She has trapped at least half a dozen of them on the dock out back. And yesterday, she escaped from Phil during our walk and chased a monster one down the causeway into a heep of rocks on the water.... about 50 yards away from a major highway (sigh). Thankfully, she was so focused on finding the now *terrified and upset* opossum, she was realitively easy for Phil to catch.  And, luckily, never made it anywhere near the road.  Way to give me a heart attack.  There were a few minutes when I thought for sure that we were down to one dog...

Maybe one day, she will learn to chill out like her brother.  But until then, I have accepted her hunting instincts and hope she never catches anything too cute and cuddly....like the neighbor's cat.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cheers!

For the past three + weeks, my husband has been working hard on his latest DIY project.  I have never seen him so motivated....his work so meticulous.  He even followed the product directions to a tee, which, if you know Phil, is an accomplishment on it's own. 

And, last night he finished his project!  I don't know the process start to finish, nor do I care, but I am very thankful I got to enjoy the final product!



BEER!!!
I got him a Cooper's home microbrewery kit for Christmas... the gift that keeps on giving.  :) 

He was a very serious home-brewer.  Measuring and monitoring EVERYTHING from the ingredients to the room temperature.  Anyways, he must have done something right because the first batch came out PERFECT!!!  It was light and crisp with a slightly fruity flavor.   DEEE-licious!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gentle Leaders

Our pups LOVE our nightly walks on the Causeway.  Phil and I.... don't.  Well, not toally true.  We like walking together, talking about the day, etc.  Plus, walking along the water is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. 




What ruins walk time for us, is trying to control our pulling, barking, bucking, maniac dogs on the leash.  Phelps is super strong and fast.  She pulls/comando crawls non-stop from the second we leave the house, until the second we are back in it. 

Lochte, on the other hand, is slow and calm.  He will walk/prance right beside you.... that is, until we pass another dog.  Then, he turns into a growling, bucking bronco and is almost impossible to control.  I don't understand his behavior on the leash because he absolutely LOVES other dogs!  I think it's his way of being protective of us... but still, totally annoying.

Bottom line: we have two dogs with two very different, but equally bad walking manners.  So, this lead me to purchase Gentle Leaders.  There is a strap around the nose and right behind the ears... same philosophy as a using a halter on a horse.


As expected, Lochte could care less about wearing it.  Phelps HATES it.  She nuzzles and paws to get it off her face.  She was so mad at us the first few times we put it on her-- and would hardly come close enough to us to accept "training treats."  But, after a week of training-- she has finally forgiven us... and it appears to be working!   The pulling has not been eliminated, but is very manageable now.  Which makes for two, very happy owners!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dexter

For Christmas, my parents got me a new laptop complete with a ton of movies, tv series, music already downloaded.  I love it!!  It's sooooo much nicer than the ultra-slow, virus-ridden, over-sized desktop computer that I've had since 2001.    

But, it has also given me my latest obsession: 


Dexter is a television program on Showtime (which we don't get), about a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro by day, serial killer by night.  His victims always come with an evil past... they are usually guilty of some crime/murder but were never convicted. 

It may be a little dark and twisted, but it is so addicting!   I've watched 5 entire seasons in 3 weeks.  Yes, 3 weeks.  It is that good.

Changes

Ben left in early November to start his new job in TX, which left Kerri (and her friends...) to pack up all of their stuff to get ready for the cross-country move to Dallas.   These pics are from one of our last nights together at the condo where we spent oh-so-many hours and have of-so-many memories... 

Me, Dan and Eli

Kerri and her little man
The boys
We miss them so much.  But, life keeps going.  As one chapter ends, another one begins....

Just about the time that we "lost" our dear friends, Ben and Kerri, Phil's old boss (and good friend), Eric, his wife, Kelly, and their 2 little boys, Brody and Beckett, moved back to Clearwater!!!! 

Funny how things work out... we are so looking forward to reconnecting with them!

mint.com

I absolutely LOVE this website: http://www.mint.com/

You can organize all of your accounts/credit cards/loans/assets/investments, etc. onto one very easy to manage page.  And, it sends you email alerts when your bills are due, etc. etc. 

It's a GREAT website for budgeting...  just one of the tools I'm using to help me keep my New Year's Resolution!  :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

(Belated) New Year's Resolutions

I know, I know.  I'm a little late for this, but I have decided to make some goals for 2012.  Hopefully by sharing these, I will hold myself a little more accountable... 


1.  Be a good mom and wife. 


2.  Loose the baby weight.  I am making slow progress in this area.  I was only up about 5 lbs before the holidays, but added several pounds over the last few weeks.  Darn holiday cookies!  I currently have about 10 pesky pounds to loose...


3.  Keep my house clean (er).  With a baby running around, I want it to be as germ-free as possible (although, with two dogs, I'll settle for "not completely disgusting"!).  Keeping things clean has been very easy during my maternity leave, but I imagine it will get much harder when I go back to work... and even harder as Trey becomes more mobile. 

4.  Save money.  This was a big one in 2011.  I think we did a good job, but now we have another person and less income coming in, so I felt the need to include it in this years' goals, as well.  Extremne couponing, anyone?


5.  Stay in touch with family and friends.  I'm not the best phone-caller, texter, emailer.  Blogging is my best attempt to keep people up to date on my life, but I want to do a better job knowing what is going on in your life.  Expect more phone calls in 2012!

6.  The ever annoying-- exercise more.  I've been saying it for years, but I am desperately wanting to get back in shape.  I've gone through fitness spurts, but haven't consistently worked out since my college swimming days.  I'm looking to make a lifestyle change in 2012.  I want to set a good example for my son and teach him the importance of good health and exercise.  I'm super motivated right now, so hopefully that will continue on...


7.  Cook more at home, eat out less.   Again, a repeat from 2011.  I did well with this last year and have been doing very well with this so far in 2012.  Cooking is not my favorite, but eating is!  And I'm happy to say, I'm getting much better at making yummy, healthy meals for my family!


8.  Volunteer/Give back.  Growing up, I always used to volunteer with my church at the HOPE Center for the homeless and participate in mission projects, such as habitat for humanity.  It was such a rewarding experience.  I'm ashamed at how little I've done to give back in recent years...  I'm very fortunate and need to make time to give to others.  I'm looking into a couple organizations, but feel free to make some recommendations!  My goal is to do some sort of community service at least once a month...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

FAMILY FUED

The theme of this weekend in sports: Family Fued. 

TODAY, was the bowl game today-  my UK team vs. Tad's Pitt team, which I just lost... Just glad Tad didn't rub it in too bad.  I'm sure I would have been worse if UK had pulled off the V.  Anyways, prior to the game, Tad sent me a really funny "Family Fued" clip...



TOMORROW is NFL playoffs-  our Eagles vs. my sister/brother-in-law, Chad's, GB Packers.  My dad does his best to treat everyone equally.  He always supports the teams we like, as long as they aren't playing the St. Louis Cardinals...

This morning, he sent the following email to Phil and Chad:

"What a predicament I find myself in this weekend. My two favorite (I only have two so do not get too excited) son in laws and their favorite teams going head to head in the playoffs. Who to root for, what a dilemma I find myself in here. I have to admit I like Aaron Rodgers more than Michael Vick (but I like both of them more than Brett Favre the former Packer QB) so that is probably a wash. I think I like Andy Reid more than McCarthy due to his oversized presence as a kid on the Punt Pass and Kick competition (Just so you know I am a former PPK champion in the very first year of the competition) but then I like the Packer history with Lombardi and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field so again that is probably a wash. No comments about my winning the first PPK local competition from anyone. I could really take Phil to task for his Christmas gloating on the signing of Cliff Lee and his prediction of 130 regular season wins for the Phillies and I also think he secretly believes that Ryan Howard is a better first basemen than Albert Pujols, but then I have an overwhelming concern that Chad may direct my grand daughter Allison Ann (Double A for short) to be some sort of misguided Detroit Tiger Fan so again I am facing a tough situation where I may not be able to come up with a reason to root for one team over the other. One thing I thought of was to take offers (bribes) from each of you to gain my support but I think Cathy would shoot that idea down as being too Republican but I thought that had some real possibilities.

Bottom Line is that I will enjoy (that is not the word I want but it will do) that each of you will be tormenting with the ebbs and flow of the game, paraphrasing from the late Jim McKay, the ecstasy of winning and the agony of defeat. Whoever wins I will enjoy your victory and whoever loses I will feel your pain, but it in the end it will not matter as I predict the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl in a surprise run through the playoffs."

To which Chad responded:

"What a journey in thought ending exactly... well.... nowhere. I quite enjoyed it. However, I feel you left a huge part of the equation out: 4th and 26 in '03. Freddie Mitchell? Really? I am still tormented by that play.

Whatever our favorite father-in-law decides, Phil, I feel quite confident that the best man will win. Take that how you will."

To which Phil responded:

"If today's bowl game results (Pitt v uk) are any indication of what will happen in tomorrows game, I fell pretty good!  Go team Z!"

Looks like things could be getting ugly....  GO EAGLES!!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Game Day

Tomorrow is a big day in University of Kentucky sports.  Kicking it off at noon is the UK vs. Pitt football game immediately followed by the UK SEC opener basketball game against Georgia.

I always watch and support UK football... but everyone knows that basketball season is what really counts in the bluegrass state.  However, this year I am taking a special interest in the bowl game.  See, my brother-in-law, Tad, is a Pitt alum.   So the stakes are raised.

Both teams have had their share of d.r.a.m.a. lately.  Pitt's head coach resigned right before the game, their new hire was let go shortly after secondary to domestic violence allegations, and the old coach is refusing to coach in the bowl game.  UK has a head coach... but, no quarterback.  He is sitting this one out thanks to a public intox display. 

Tad and I are both die-hard supporters of our alma maters, and therefore, decided to make a friendly wager... Tad found this "Two Teams, One Game" shirt online:



Isn't that a horrible slogan?!  Anyways, loser of this game has to buy the shirt and wear it for a day during our summer vacation to Hilton Head.... All I can say is...



LET'S GO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolutions

2010 has come and gone.  Three years ago, NYE night, is when Phil and I got engaged. Has it really been three years???  Is it just me or as the older you get, the faster time goes??  I swear I catch myself saying, "Fifteen years ago, I was...." and "2000 seems like just the other day." 

Anyways, 2010 was a good year.  Lots of changes.  Phil got a promotion at the hotel, my grandma passed in April, we adopted Lochte in May, our niece, Allison, was born in July, some of our best friends moved to TX in November, and my Papa turned 90 in December.

Going along with New Years tradition, I made some NY Resolutions for the upcoming year.  Of course there's the usual stuff that goes without saying--  exercise more, lose weight, eat better, yada yada yada.   But, what I really want to do, is save money.  Eat out less, cook at home more.  Go out less, stay in more.  Shop less for the little stuff, so we can afford some of the nice bigger stuff (like, a new car for me!). 

Sounds easy, right?  Resolutions always sound easy.  I make them every year, and I've only really kept one.  1999.  I vowed not to eat chocolate for a year.  And, I honestly did it.  I don't think I could do it again if I tried.  It was much harder than it seems.  There is chocolate in EVERYTHING.  Everything good, at least.  Anyways, I digress.  I really want to make this one stick.  So, friends, be prepared-- we may not be traveling as much this year.  We may not be spending as much time out at bars.  Get ready for a lot of game nights, rented movies, and beach days.  I think I must be getting old, because this seems like a welcomed change for us.

Wishing all of my family and friends a wonderful and healthy 2011!