Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One More

Here's one more photo from the holidays that Joe took. Adyson and I were chillin' on the couch probably after eating way too much food. Her outfit is courtesy of Uncle Joe and Aunt Amy.

Say it isn't so

It's New Year's Eve and we have no plans. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Nothing.

In recent years, we've gone to dinner or a show. But I think tonight we're going to be low-key and take it easy. Maybe tomorrow we'll catch a movie. Joe is sick and I think some time at home, on the couch, sounds like a good plan for us.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is 2009. I haven't even begun to think of any resolutions and I probably won't. My friend Laura posted about ditching resolutions and instead making a list of things you'd like to do. Great idea! Read it here.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Christmas Angel

I did a bad job at documenting Christmas but here's one of Adyson opening one of her gifts. She did a pretty good job but by the time we opened our gifts that evening she'd already had a long, full day. When she started sleepily, stumbling around we had to put her down for a nap and we all resumed with our gift opening. I think some of her favorite gifts were Little People. She's also really into "tricks" and doing what she can (when she's not sleepy) to make people laugh. One of her tricks is to shake her head, grimace and curl her arms under like a muscle man. I have no idea where she came up with this but it had us rolling.

Menu Plan Monday

Whenever we are out of town we kennel our dogs which is anything but cheap. So I was especially pleased today when I went to the grocery store and spent a record low amount. And New Year's Eve is this week but I'm not sure what it will bring. No plans so far. It's likely we will just be at home snacking and watching movies.

Monday: leftovers (beef polenta pie)
Tuesday: out (Joe's friends visiting)
Wednesday: New Years Eve?
Thursday: lemon chicken with rice
Friday: pizza
Saturday: quiche
Sunday: veggie pasta primavera

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My mom and I both woke up on the day of Lea's service, in the wee hours of the morning, with a stomach virus. Mom's seemed to be much, much more severe and confined her to bed but by the time of the service my symptoms had subsided so I was feeling well enough to go. I'm sure I contaminated all sorts of people but since I was feeling better I just couldn't not go. I was sad to miss the family luncheon but knew there was no way I could eat and Joe wasn't feeling great himself so we made the long trip home before he was totally sick, too. I seemed to get a little worse during the drive but after sleeping about twelve hours last night I think I'm on the mend...still not eating more than crackers yet. I think EVERYONE has had this bug.


Christmas was hard. We all seemed to go through the motions but were still in shock from Lea's passing. It's been a hard week on everyone. I've been thinking nonstop about my cousin. She put on such a brave face that I think none of us really knew how sick she was. My heart and my gut told me she wasn't well but I don't think I knew it was so dire.

I could share so many memories about her that I wouldn't know where to stop but here are just a few: Growing up, I named one of my favorite dolls SueLea after my cousins, Sue and Lea. Lea refused to call my doll by her given name and instead chose to call her LeaSue so that she could get top-billing. One of my favorite memories is of us taking her car to get traded in when we were both much younger and we found out that an entire mouse nest had been living under her driver's seat. I still get chills thinking about it! She made the best mashed potatoes out of anyone I knew. And I don't think she ever called me by my first name alone. She always called me, "Amy Jean" every time she saw me. She was bubbly and happy and beyond generous. She loved life and really enjoyed herself. Her passing leaves a huge void. Life surely won't be the same.

Friday night, I spent some time at my parent's house looking through old photo albums and found some great pictures of us as kids. I hope to scan a few and would like to post them sometime.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I think the hardest part about blogging is opening yourself up when you don't want to. It's sharing the bad times instead of all the good, fun, happy times. But it doesn't seem fair to leave out the things that really matter. How can you just go about your business as if nothing is wrong and nothing bad has happened?

Today my cousin Lea died. She was 36. She had breast cancer. She leaves behind a husband, two boys and a family that loved her very much. She was loud, outgoing, energetic and vibrant. She had more friends than just about anyone. And I will miss her very, very much. Beyond that, I'm not sure what else to say.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A lucky day

With the slumping economy, seems like everyone is tightening their belts these days. We have cut back on a lot of the extras and one of them is eating out. Tonight we made an exception and went to a local Chinese restaurant. When we got our bill our waiter brought us a box of tea and said, "Merry Christmas" or maybe it was, "Happy Holidays" but either way it was totally unexpected and very nice. Then while we were paying our check he brought back a fancy red envelope. He explained that inside was a gift card for $20. No strings attached. Just another way that the restaurant was wishing their patrons well during the holidays. Wow. Joe and I were both stunned. And maybe they're on to something. With so many cutting back on things like eating out, what a great way to get people to come back or to think of them first when they do go out to eat.

But that's not all. Just before we left the house tonight, Joe opened our gas bill and found we had been credited for $700. Seems that since he has lived here he's been overpaying each month. This is due to the fact that our meter is inside and he's always away at work when they come to read it, so they estimate. Now that I'm home, the meter man/lady can come anytime. So we don't have a gas bill for a few months. And Joe called just to double check that it wasn't a mistake. Needless to say, we felt like our luck had turned even if it was just for the evening. In fact, we stopped to buy a couple lottery tickets. Something we NEVER do. But maybe this is our lucky day...or maybe it was just a good day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Many of you have already been checking in with me to ask about my mom's test results. Mom received her test results today and it was thyroid cancer. So she'll be traveling a lot in the coming weeks for more tests, scans and treatment. Please keep her and my dad in your prayers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sloppy Joe's on French Bread
Tuesday: Quinoa and Black Beans
Wednesday: Poppyseed Chicken (Nichole's recipe)
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Homemade Pizza Margherita

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mom update

We had to be at the hospital early this morning for mom's surgery. After they got started, we made the decision to have all of her thyroid removed instead of half; the masses were pretty large. And in retrospect, we made a good decision. They suspect she'll be here for two nights. It was so comforting to have many friends check in on me and to see familiar faces. Also comforting were my friends who work at the hospital, especially those from church. Makes you feel good to know the people who will be helping to take care of someone you love. Thanks for all the text messages, calls, prayers and thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My mom is having surgery on Friday to remove half of her thyroid. I'll be traveling to Columbia to stay with her while she's in the hospital for her surgery and recovery. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu. I'll be going out of town (again!) this week so it's a short menu. Likely, Joe will eat pizza every single day while I'm gone and I'm not even kidding.

Monday: Zesty Italian Casserole
Tuesday: chicken and dumplings
Wednesday: tikka masala

Zesty Italian Casserole
1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. sour cream
1/3 c. parmeasan grated cheese
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 chopped onion
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz) can crescent rolls
2 T. melted butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large skillet brown beef, onion and garlic; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and heat thoroughly. In medium bow, stir together mozzarella cheese and sour cream. Pour meat mixture into a 2 qt. baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over meat. Unroll crescent roll dough and spread over cheese mixture. Sprinkle parmeasan cheese and butter evenly on top. Bake 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the spirit

There are days where I just want to wallow in my own self pity. I hate being jobless. I hate thinking about the economy. And if I really let it, it will get the best of me. So while I seem to be trapped in my own Groundhog Day, I try my best to keep moving. So in between the job searching and other household duties, I decided today to make our home festive for the holidays.

Last year I got rid of my old artificial tree and didn't even bother with one. I vowed to buy a nice one this year. But this year there's no way we're spending money on a nice, new artificial tree so I went out to the garage today to dig out Joe's tree. I actually love it. It's vintage-looking and super cute. I also put out a few decorations and tonight I'm baking Christmas cookies. Just a few things to get into the holiday spirit. And honestly, it helps. Now if I just had a little hot coco and some Bing Crosby I'd be set.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Our quilt

Joe's Aunt Judy made a beautiful quilt for us so I had to share it. (She's a master quilter. Check out her blog.)(That's Judy and Devin with Joe and me. And don't forget Milo who is front and center.)

Also, I was able to see a quilt that Joe's grandmother made years ago using old neckties belonging to his dad and grandfather. Beautiful!


Thursday morning we made the long trip to the Puget Sound to see Joe's family. I'll have to say that being a midwestern girl it seems like you've left the country by the time you finally reach the Pacific Northwest. We got up at 4 am, left the house around 5 am and got to the airport around 6 am. We boarded our four and a half hour flight and finally arrived at SeaTac. We then took a shuttle from the airport to the ferry at Mukilteo, took a 15 minute ferry ride and finally arrived on Whidbey Island with another 40-45 minutes to Joe's Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim's house.

I'm not a big fan of all of the travel but the trip itself was great and so worth it. We had a wonderful time seeing Joe's dad and Lynn, Joe's Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim, Cousin Devin and Grandma Dorothy. We ate (too much!), enjoyed the company and scenery, played games and watched movies.

Yesterday we traveled for eleven hours before making it home. Joe and I got on the plane and we were both in a rather good mood. While we prepared for take-off we were flipping through the SkyMall magazine and ocassionally commenting on the unusual items we saw. Just after we took off the girl in front of us slammed her seat back into Joe's legs and then turned around and in the rudest possible way basically told us to shut up. I was dumbfounded. First of all, we weren't being loud. The alternative was for us to not talk at all. Second of all, we just took off. I could understand her frustration (maybe) if we were still being chatty 3 hours into the flight...but 5-10 minutes? And thirdly, if she would have waited a few more minutes before being rude to us, she would have just been able to use her iPod and the problem would have been solved. They announced you were free to use electronic devices moments later and she did. I guess my point is, I don't understand why people are so hateful and rude. If we were really bothering her she could have talked to us politely and maturely. I have never ever wished for a screaming child in my lap until that very moment. Needless to say, the rest of the flight was interesting. I now can see how people get thrown off airplanes and get into brawls over no good reason.

Okay...I'm stepping off my soapbox now. Enjoy the photos!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We've been traveling (and will be on the road later today) so I haven't had much time to think about meals for this week. It will likely be quick and easy cooking while we get laundry and the house back in order.

Monday: traveling all day
Tuesday: pizza
Wednesday: tuna noodle casserole (Strangely, I've been craving this.)
Thursday: pork chops and peas
Friday: pierogi

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