Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Alaska Pictures

Paddling the boat
I'm "boating!"

Feeding the ducks

Feeding the ducks

Loving up Halley!

In the grass on the Flats

Sweet Corn

I brought sweet corn from Ohio - yummy!

Alaska Fun

We got to Alaska on Sunday night. The boys were very good, but it was a long flight. The flight home promises to be much worse - very badly timed! But can't think of that right now.

So we stayed home all day Monday and then went shopping today (Fred Meyers wasn't too bad for a change).

Our pirates
In Great Grandpa's hat

Boating with Grandpa

Checking out what Adam is doing!



Adam's sand castle - I thought it was nicely done!
This is a 4T - he's moving up!

Adam's log book

Adam likes to strip in the back yard (warning if you stop by!) and always neatly lines up his clothes!

Adam on the big slide.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Andrew is 27 lbs, 32 inches! He's gained 1.5 inches and 1 lb in the last three months! Big boy! Adam wasn't even that heavy at 2! At 2, Adam was 26 lbs and 34 inches...definitely different boys. The doctor, of course, has to worry about weight, but Andrew is super active and just fine, in our opinion. He's also slimmed down a TON now that's moving so much...he' just a big boy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Meeting the Teacher

We got to meet Adam's preschool teacher today. Adam went right up and hugged her - I don't think we'll have any problems! He also went potty there so again, no problems! He LOVES it there! Overall, I think it will be a great experience for him!

Adam is talking MUCH better now after several months of speech therapy...we will be retesting when the boys and I get back from AK, so we'll see how he is doing. The boys and I leave Sunday! We will be in AK three weeks!

Adam's new schedule is doing okay, but he did fall asleep in the car today! He's definitely in "adjustment," and I think preschool will tire him out, so we might have naps on those days. We'll see how it goes.

Andrew is starting to talk a of his best words is "shoes!" Meaning he wants OUTSIDE!! He LOVES they mean OUTSIDE...his favorite place! Andrew is also FEARLESS...seriously, that kid will try ANYTHING!! He will also EAT anything!

Our Vue has had hood latch issues now for several months and so we are finally giving in and replacing it. Luckily, we have an awesome mechanic...seriously...AWESOME!!! The issue with the Vue is Saturn is that means parts are getting more annoying to definitely an issue that we need to keep an eye on. But we actually got back our car today and have to drop it back off on Sunday as he'll have the part on Monday...but we need the car to get me and the boys (and our luggage) to the airport and little PePe can't manage! He can take all of us...just not all our stuff!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back at it

So Ray went back to work today full time as Kent starts next week. I started three classes today as well. I ran like a million errands today and we have speech therapy tomorrow, but then hopefully we will be home for a few days.

We are trying a "new" schedule with Adam. He is absolutely not napping, so we are trying something different. I'm not going to have him go down for a nap at all, but we are putting him to do bed much earlier. We are hoping that just having some "quiet" time - I want to do some "school" each day with him at this point - will work and he'll have to learn that this is Mommy's "work" time. So we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recent Pictures

Adam in his new preschool classroom!
Modelling Mommy's shoes - I will definitely be able to torment him later with this picture!

I think a few kids live here...

I think he has some growing to do!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Roasted Pepper Chicken Penne

We made this last week for dinner and it was really good! I don't make a lot of new red sauces because well they all seem similar, I like mine....but this was a great variation! TONS of flavor and a great use of chicken! Made it seem "lighter." This was also great because the marinade time was nothing, so it doesn't require a lot of planning, other than thawed chicken.

Roasted Pepper Chicken Penne
Modified from Simple & Delicious

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into chunks (I halved this and used one breast...not enough, I'll use 2 next time for half, so you'd probably want 4 for the full recipe)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (okay, I don't like balsamic sauces normally, but LOVED this chicken, so don't let this scare you)
1 pkg (16 oz) penne pasta (obviously, you can use whatever pasta you want)
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup oil
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (I used my own canned tomatoes and mashed them with a potato was a little runny (I needed 14 oz, so about 2 cups, FYI), so I might drain a bit next time)
1 cup julienned roasted sweet red pepper (I used the jar in water and one of the peppers...made
pepperoni puffs with the other! I only did half the recipe, though, so you'd probably use both, so the entire jar, if you did the whole thing)
1 cup chicken broth (I used bouillon)
3 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in container; add vinegar. Seal and coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Cook pasta. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes. drain and discard vinegar and add chicken to skillet. Cook until no longer pink.

Stir in tomatoes, red peppers, broth, Italian seasonings and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until heated through (and to the thickness you want).

Drain pasta, toss with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 8.


Adam will be starting preschool in the fall at Kent. The Kent CDC is supposed to be the best in the state and we like that it is a "laboratory" for the college of education. We've decided that Adam really needs interaction, on a regular basis, with kids his own age and slightly older. All our friends here have kids younger than him and he needs to see modelling from kids his own age. We also think that, being a non-day care kid (for which we are grateful for), he needs the socialization. He will just be going two days a week, for 4 hours a day this year. Overall, we think it will be really good for him and that it will really help him to grow.

We had our first parents' meeting today. Overall, I liked everything that had to say. For this age, I like the enquiry based method that is more focused on wanting to learn than specific skills, which they will pick up along the way, of course. They also take the kids outside a lot, which we think is great. Adam LOVED it, was in love with the classroom and did NOT want to leave!

We get to meet his teacher on Friday and are looking forward to that.

Our one issue is that the boys and I leave for AK on Sunday...and the first day of school is Monday! So Adam will miss the first three weeks. We didn't know when we planned this trip, so it can't be helped and this is preschool, versus kindergarden, but still, it would have been nice to have him at least start before we left. But it can't be helped and at least we get to do the "prep" stuff before we leave. I'll obviously go over this with his teacher on Friday, but so far, everyone I've talked to, doesn't seem to think it will be an issue.

Some Videos

Some fun recent videos!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crazy Here

It has been nuts here - Ray starts back to work next week and we are trying to squeeze everything in! We are trying to finish "spring" cleaning, get things ready for Adam to start preschool, me to start fall term, and me and boys ready to leave for AK!

Andrew is having teeth come in and it has been rough - a bunch, including molars, at once, is hard on a little man!

Adam is just having trouble sleeping. That boy NEEDS sleep and can't seem to manage it. He is talking MUCH better. Andrew is also starting to talk as well! I think he might be our chatterbox!
Both are overall healthy and happy though, I just wish Adam would sleep more - he would be so much better for it, but try to get that through HIS head.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011


We got a t-ball set for the boys - both of them actually use it. You can see Adam going for it!

Andrew figuring out how to set it up!

Hmm...what's wrong here? He can still hit though! He also gets a little distracted!

Downstairs Study

Ray and I "spring cleaned" the downstairs study! We bought a new entertainment unit as the old one came with the house and was HUGE. It was also starting to break (had lost a glass door, etc.). So Ray finished the job with sledgehammer and you can see what went to the curb! It is amazing how BIG the area feels now though without it!

Christmas Present for Andrew

More Borders loot...I think Andrew will get a huge kick out of this!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Messy Again...

Well, their room was clean...then they came home!

Summer Fun

Sweeping his idea why...
The train at the Akron Zoo - this is the old one that is in the play frontier village now. The "new" one runs on solar batteries and we took the boys - pretty cool! They also have a tractor to "ride" - Ray's first comment was I sure how they really disabled that or our boys will get it started!

Adam at the Akron Zoo

Andrew at the Akron Zoo

Andrew pointing out fish at the Akron Zoo

Here the boys are in a tent in the yard!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Confessions of a (reformed) Pack Rat

So if you know my mother and grandmother, you know I come by it naturally. My brother is probably worse than I am (his girlfriend was laughing at both of us last May). I am an organized pack rat, Billy is just a pack rate. So it is hard to overcome the urges, but I work on it. Moving three times in a year and a half really drove home the need to purge for me. Radical, but probably necessary.

Those of you who aren't won't get this, though. I think radical purgers (who won't keep ANYTHING) can be just as bad, as a note. I think middle ground is important!

So we are working on "spring" cleaning and I've been clearing out. I try to ask myself, "Would I love this?" when I look at something. I allow myself so many "I'm keeping just because," but I limit the times I can use that. I do have a huge book pile to go, I've done of magazine recycling plus I've taken bags to the thrift store. And I'm not done yet!

Some "tips" for those out there like me:

  • Find a method that works for you (would I move it for me)

  • Try not to ADD to the number of shelves/storage units you need in an area. If you know there is too many, set yourself a goal for how many need to go. So like upstairs, I knew I needed two shelves for Andrew's books, so I needed to weed that many books. And I did it.

  • As soon as you decide it is going, get rid of it! Don't let those donation bags hang around where you can second guess them. Make a trip to the dump/thrift store/recycling right away. I've been going once a day right now!

  • Think about alternative ways to "keep" something - for instance the reason I could easily get rid of magazines is I know most of the recipes are online now.

Friday, August 05, 2011


Yes, I know it is early (I usually won't bring it up until after turkey day), but with Borders (boo-hoo) going out of business, we've been doing some as the deals are good and the toys/games are things that don't normally go on sale. We've also bought some books for both us and the boys, of course! Some of the boys are being saved, they are getting some now, because well, they are books!

Game for Adam
The boys play with these every time we go, so I bought two (can't buy just one!) for Christmas for them. They will be thrilled!

"Spring" Cleaning

Yes, I realize it is August, but we've been working on it! Ray and the boys have been up at PaPa's, so I've been going crazy here. Ray already did his side and now I have the downstairs bathroom, downstairs storeroom, downstairs kitchen, laundry room and both boys room (plus linen closet) cleaned! I got rid of a TON of stuff to various places (trash, recycling, thrift store). I'm proud of myself!

Ebay pile Andrew's bookshelves...this means that I weeded TWO SHELVES of our books - yah, me!

Card Making

I had my card making class on Wednesday.

New Dino stamps!
My favorite card from the ones we made

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Complete Fence

Home Depot was here and it is DONE!!

Completed gate side
Completed gate

Completed fence from outside the yard

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Fresh Beans!

Yummy! From our garden!

New Glasses

So I've been putting getting new glasses, but mine broke a couple of weeks ago and forced the issue.

New glasses
New sunglasses

Lemon Pasta Salad

I made this for a party awhile back and I actually didn't mind it, but I had some issues because I put the dressing on before tasting it and it was hard to modify once it was on. So I think it was somewhat more acidic than I wanted. But I like the concept. They used some different ingredients than I did, so check that out if you don't like mine.

Lemon Pasta Salad
Modified from the Neely's

1 pound corkscrew pasta
1 pound broccoli, diced up
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse. Set aside.

Whisk together the mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and the oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Make sure to taste before putting on pasta as it is hard to add in later if you think it too much one way or the other.

Mix with cooled pasta and vegetables. Toss with tongs to coat the salad well.

Makes 4-6 main dish servings [so this is a ton...make less if it going to be a side dish unless you have a huge party].


Updated scrapbooks

Fencing Project

Home Depot is putting in new fencing for us. We did the back side two years ago and it was so terrible, we are paying someone to finish it. This is Day 1 (Monday) - they will be here on Wednesday to finish!

Old Stuff gone

Gate will go here

Here now with fencing around it
Back corner - so we did that far back piece


Side corner

Natural History Musuem

We took the boys to the Natural History Musuem in Cleveland last week and they enjoyed themselves! Live animals, fossil dinosaurs, even a kids construction area! And we didn't see it all, so we will be back.

Climbing on the dino - this is fake and allowed
Construction Adam!