Sunday, October 31, 2010


This year's costumes.

Jack was going to be a puppy, but fell in love with this skeleton costume at Kmart.  And since it was 50% off, I let him get it.  He might be the cutest skeleton ever.  He said his mask was "stinky" but wouldn't take it off. 

Matty first wanted to be the Scream ghost, then a ninja, but fell in love with this Transformer costume...evidently is Bumblebee, but I didn't know the he had ever seen Transformers and knew who Bumblebee was (am I already losing touch with my children??)

Cole wasn't going to dress up, but we convinced him to do a pirate costume.  I don't think this even looks like him.  He's such a cool kid.  (new Cole post coming soon.)

I love my dressed-up boys.  So much.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Keep Swimming...

I miss my Halloween babies.  I almost shouldn't pull up old photos because they make me cry.

Matthew -- October 2005 (5 months)

Jack -- October 2007 (6 months)

(startling how similar they looked at this age!)

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hockey Mom

I grew up in a hockey family.  My dad played Old Bucks on Friday nights.  My brothers played in high school.  I watched more Zion (Illinois) ZeeBee's hockey games my sophomore year than my own high school team.  I'm loud in the stands -- so loud, in fact, that my dad stopped sitting by me in or around 1993.  Last year, my mom bought me an LDC hockey sweatshirt for my birthday.  My first one ever.  I love it, even though it has my maiden name on it, which was a happy accident on her part, since I've primarily let my maiden name go (another post for another day...).

I needed to blog about what just happened to me.  It's significant.  Huge.  I became a Hockey Mom.  When Cory and I were dating, I told him I wanted six boys.  A hockey team.  It was a running joke for a long time among those who know us.  We have three boys, and the middle one is now starting his hockey career.

It's time consuming.

It's expensive.  (my estimate, if he plays traveling teams -- by the time he starts high school hockey, we'll have spent between $5,000 on registration fees alone, not including gear or the actual travel expenses.  And that's just one kid. If Jack plays, we're going to have to sell our cars and refinance our home. Oy.)

But it's WICKED FUN.

Seriously, watching my little boy on the ice this weekend, my eyes just teared up.  He's decent on skates, but there's no way to know what his ability will be.  So long as he enjoys playing, I'll spend the time and the money.  There is no comparison to sitting on those bleachers, watching my boy handle a stick for the first time.  I can't even imagine how it's going to feel when he plays a game. 

I am a Hockey Mom.  An answered prayer, one I had completely forgotten about.  Gratitude.

(Now I just gotta figure out a system to air out hockey gear.  Ick.)

Sharing the Love: Meatloaf Pie

I wish I had a photo of this's so good.  I'm putting it on my menu for this week!

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/2 tsp sage leaves*
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 (1 lb 8 oz) pkg refrigerated mashed potatoes**
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c diced tomato, optional
2 slices precooked bacon, chopped, optional***
2 medium green onions, chopped, optional

Mix beef, onion, breadcrumbs, sage, salt, and egg until well blended. Press in bottom of 8" square ungreased baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over top. Sprinkly evenly with cheese (I added the cheese at the 30 minute mark instead).

Bake uncovered at 350 for about an hour (the recipe says 50 minutes, but my meatloaf was still a little pink then). Meat thermometer should read 160 degrees in the center of beef mixture.

Sprinkle with tomato, bacon, and onions.

*I always skip the sage
**I usually use sour cream/chive potatoes, and I'm partial to Bob Evan's brand.
***Two slices is for wusses.  Put at least four. 


Friday, October 15, 2010

Plymouth Fire Department 50th Anniversary

This year, we are celebrating the Plymouth Fire Department's 50th Anniversary.  I am proud to be part of such a great organization.  Thankful for Chief Kline's acknowledgment of firefighter spouses who stand behind those who work hard and commit to such an unstructured (and sometimes inconvenient) job.  It meant a lot to me, and likely to the other spouses in attendance.

The highlight of the evening was a "Panel Discussion" but should have been called "Reminisce" or similar.  Two retired firefighters, Chuck Scharlau and Butch Evenson joined two current firefighters, Rick Luth and Tom Evenson in a heart-warming, hilarious, and completely charming series of stories -- some sad, some happy -- of their experiences over the years.  It's good to listen to the old-timers.  I wish someone had videotaped their accounts, because it was as much the delivery as it was the content.  At the end, we gave them a much-deserved standing ovation for their years of service. 

The light was terrible, this was the best shot I could get.

It was a great night with friends.  I am sorry I didn't take more photos of everyone out in their finest, but it just was a quiet night for my shutter.  I do, however, have it forever imprinted on my heart.  Gratitude.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sharing the Love: Farmer's Strata

This is one of my favorite breakfast dishes.  I made it for the first time for a bridal shower when I lived in Arizona and have made it countless times in thirteen years since (wow!  has it been thirteen years?!).  We made too much, so my sweet friend Peg ate it for days afterwards.  (Miss you, Peg.)

Additionally, it's our Christmas morning and Easter morning breakfast.  You make it the day before, so it's easy peasy on holiday mornings!

(ugh. i am not a food photgrapher!)

1 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 c chopped ham
1 small onion
10 slices white bread, cubed
1 c cubed cooked potatoes
3 c shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
3 c milk
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
salt & pepper

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp, add ham and onion.  Cook and stir until onion is tender; drain.  In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, layer half the bread cubes, potatoes and cheese.  Top with all of the bacon mixture.  Repeat layers of bread, potatoes, and cheese.  In a bowl, beat the eggs; add milk, Worstershire, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour over all.

Cover and chill overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 65 - 70 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. 

My notes:

*I use other ingredients sometimes.  Feel free to add green pepper, mushrooms, sausage (spicy breakfast sausage is Cory's fave), or substitute swiss (Gruy√®re, Andy?) for cheddar.  Make it your own. That's the beauty of a brunch strata!

*frozen hash browns work great for the potatoes.

*Crusty bread is better that regular white bread.  French bread, or my absolute fave: asiago cheese loaf.  YUM.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Captain

My husband would never brag.  If it were up to him, he'd never even share with the general public big things that happen in his life, but he's married to me and let's face it: I would.  This post is dedicated to my husband -- the hardest working, hottest firefighter anywhere.

We spent the first couple years of our marriage formulating a plan for our life.  We are very aware that life doesn't always go according to our will, but in accordance to my character, we roughed it out anyway.  We talked about children, our careers, retirement. 

In order for Cory to advance his career as a firefighter, we knew there were a lot of things he'd have to accomplish: education, training, hard work, consistent commitment.  He's done all of that.  He obtained his fire science degree by taking two classes at a time (at the same time as working three jobs + be a parent and husband), attended additional trainings and has taken every opportunity the fire departments afforded him.  It's been a lot of hard work.  And a lot of sacrifice.

Today, for the first time, we are celebrating a major reward of that hard work: the fireslayer was promoted to the position of Captain at the airport fire department.  There were several other very qualified candidates for the position, and we wish them our best.

I have no doubt he'll do an excellent job in this position and I am so proud to be his wife.

Thank you, God, for this opportunity.  Please continue to protect him and firefighters everywhere as they serve their communities.  Give them courage and return them safely to their families.  Give Cory wisdom and humility in his new postion.  Amen.

Saturday, October 2, 2010