Monday, August 25, 2008

I am an auntie again!

Pictured here is my brother-in-law, Robb, my sister-in-law, Julie (Tom's sis) and precious new bundle from heaven...Claire Anne (notice with an "e")! Go here to see more beautiful pictures and better yet leave a comment of congrats!

Friday, August 22, 2008

big boy

just sweet

...the unplanned moments of life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

summer baking

Okay, I know it's probably too hot for some of you to even want to attempt turning on the oven, but around here we've had delightful weather. After reading the "moneysavingmom" write about making a peach pie in which her preschool daughter cut shapes to create the top layer, I was inspired to try baking a peach pie. I tried linking to this post--it was part of her "making your home a haven" series on her other blog--but I am getting a virus alert every time I go there. Josiah was actually my helper when we baked and he wanted to try the lattice as he's done lattice work in art class and thought it was quite cool to see it done on a pie. I've baked pies for quite a while but I really haven't made summer pies, utilizing any of the fresh fruits of the season. Well, this one turned out so well I decided to share. And by the way, what ever happened to the sharing of recipes?? Last year, when I began blogging it seemed like a lot of people were sharing the goods. Lately, I haven't seen any. Just wanted to say...I for one, love getting new ideas, especially from friends I know are awesome cooks but I live too far away from you all to ever swap ideas. I decided to label my recipe posts so that it will be easier to find them later.

My mother-in-law's never fail pie crust
She is one of the greatest cooks of ALL time!...I'm always grateful for her recipes and all the memories we've made cooking together throughout the years.

2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. shortening

Crump with pastry blender. Put in 1/2 c. cold water, enough to moisten.

Peach Pie
taken from the Joy of Cooking, a gift from my mom last Christmas that I continually use

2 and a half pound of peaches ( I used 5-6 c.)
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. flour
3 T. lemon juice
(1/4 t. almond extract)

Pour filling into crust and dot with 2-3 T. butter.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes then down to 350 for 40 minutes~your oven may be different, basically bake until crust is browned to your liking and until the juices bubble through the lattice.

Sears--a good place for back to school shopping?

Tom is out west this week working with his Dad (we tried to squeeze in the suitcases but with 4 kids it was a little snug). Well, the boys spent a night at Aunt Amy's in downtown Chicago this week. Yesterday Maddie, Isaac and I rode the train in to pick them up. What a blessing that turned out to be as we made it in SO quickly with no worries about traffic. Our only "problem" was that Cole's sandal totally split apart on the way home (I know, the story many, many mothers of boys could tell). Seeing as the public Metra is definitely NOT the place you want to have your son go barefoot, he made it home quite fine with his sole flopping in the breeze. We even stopped to play at a new park (Bowen Park on Sheridan in Waukegan) that I highly recommend to all my local friends--so fun for both younger and older kids! But I digress, as I drove home I realized that even though we were a bit wearisome I really had to stop and find Cole some shoes as those were the ONLY pair he had. Then a lightbulb went off in my head...hadn't we bought those at Sears? And come to think of it, yes, I even had the receipt. You see the beauty of Sears is that if you are a Kidvantage member (free club that earns you discount coupons) you can return any defective item for a replacement item. In the winter, Josiah's coat zipper broke twice within the same season (boys....*smile*) and they happily replaced it both times, without a receipt. Now with the sandals, we are at the end of the season and so they were sold out, but they gave me a full refund of the original price which ended up with us being able to purchase new athletic shoes for the fall without paying a dime.

So, if you don't already think about shopping at Sears...and you also have active little might just pay off in the future.

Monday, August 11, 2008

make new friends, but keep the old...

The day before we left for New Jersey, I was so excited to be able to meet up with my old B-hall buddy from HSBC, Michelle. Ah, the stories I could tell (but definitely won't because she could definitely return the "favor")... How is it we can be so close and then~boom~11 years has gone by since we've seen each other?! All I can say is, as I drove home that night (yep, you guessed it I got caught in traffic AGAIN...stay away from 94 through the city at all costs) I had a lot of time to think, and just couldn't help but pause and give thanks for wonderful friendships. We don't live down the hall from each other anymore; and I am horrible at writing & calling but what a joy to pick up where you left off...yes, even after 11 years!

Thank you so much Steve & Michelle for treating Maddie and I to lunch at the Cheesecake factory. Thanks to your sweet kiddos for giving up time from their family vacation. Thanks to Steve for not just putting up with our chatter, but "seemingly" enjoying it as well. It was such a privilege to spend time with you all again.

a new bargain find...

This week at Walgreens the Premium Comfort Stretch diapers are on sale buy 1, get 1 50% off and there is a $5/2 in the August monthly easysaver catalog. Which means you will be able to purchase a Jumbo pack of diapers for $3.50.

I tried these diapers right before we went camping (because of another great sale I had stumbled upon that week) and I have been surprised by how well they have held up. If diapers can make it through camping (or any trip for that matter) they pass the test in my book.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Our family with our friends, Jill & Rod, and their 4 boys who are all born in relative close proximity to our own kids. Our families are friends in every sense of the word...everybody always has a buddy (though some are more talkative than others!) when we are together.
"Just sitting here thinkin' with myself." (an old family joke)
Little boys who loooooove to do dishes.

Besides the fact Isaac appears to be pulling his diaper out (??) I love this picture. Jill took this picture and is making me laugh at something. A reminder to me of how joyful family times and friendships are if we only take the time to learn to laugh together.
Tom & Rod, planning a trek.
Jill & Jen
Jill playing Uno by lantern light with a LOT of children.
Defending their castles from the evil marauders (i.e. the crazy babies).

Besides the fact we had rain (which is a big "besides"), our weather was actually quite beautiful. Cold enough for sweatshirts (which doubled as an extra defense against the mosquitos) at night but warm enough to swim in the day. The kids were a delight to see them frolic in the waves...and a few adults even turned into kids again as well.
Crazy but super sweet! Isaac is at a very hard stage to photograph...especially with a digital camera (the added delay is just enough time for him to turn away, bend down, or completely run out of the picture). I actually love this picture better than the one I was trying to get, though.
In times of charades!
"Me thinks me spys a pirate ship!"

Each day as I feel the bumps (many!) left by our darling mosquitos, they only bring a smile to my face at the many memories we made camping this year. Could we wish for better weather, less mosquitos...for sure, but good memories are always waiting to happen regardless of our situation. It's the quest for perfection that always drives a camping trip into the ground. Tom has taught me that one over the years. And in most cases, what goes wrong camping is usually the thing that will crack you up the most later on (sometimes much later)!

reading with Andy

Josiah really, really wants a dog. He was delighted to participate in a "canine capers" reading program at the library this morning. You can't really hear on this video but my camera is on the blitz and wouldn't take a still photo either.


the case of the missing rice krispies

the evidence...
the obvious guilty party...

where was mom?
good question...