Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back-to-School Time!

School starts for my kids next Tuesday, but their cousins (who go to a Catholic school) started yesterday. G's sister (K) and I have started a tradition of taking our girls out for one last celebration before school starts. This is the first year that M. could go, too!

We go to a cute, quaint little restaurant in Cedarburg called Cream and Crepe. (go ahead--click over and look at the menu!)

Here's the girls:

After some yummy crepes (Creek Specialty for M & B; Tree of Life for C; Combination Star for K and Noon Day Lily for me), we took some time to wander through the cute, kitschy shops (or is that shoppes?) of Cedarburg.

K. and I decided we should open up a little shop that sells glass things, stinky candles, lawn ornaments, retro candies, and serves coffee, because there aren't nearly enough of them in Cedarburg.

We also walked past a church that I think even MY family could attend. Doesn't that look like a stained glass image of Darth Vader?
And then we headed back to Cream and Crepe for dessert. C and I had the mocha ambrosia; K and B had the mosaic, and M. had Strawberry.

And then we met the guys, who had been doing more manly pursuits (eating cheeseburgers and going bowling).

Sauteed shredded zucchini; roasted mushrooms

This is actually a meal I made several weeks ago (but I'm so behind on blogging).

In addition to the recipes I'm sharing, there's steamed broccoli, plain noodles (for M.) and simple BBQ pork chops.

Sauteed shredded zucchini

In the weeks before making this recipe, I read (in several places) about shredding and then sauteing zucchini, and serving it over pasta. A friend had given me a rather large zucchini, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Shred zucchini and squeeze out as much moisture as possible (I used a clean dishtowel for this). chop a small onion. Boil water for pasta of your choice. In the meantime, heat olive oil, butter and onion in a fry pan. When onion is tender, add drained zucchini and a clove of garlic, crushed. Saute only a matter of minutes, and then toss in cooked, drained pasta and lots of fresh ground pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, layering with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

My notes: I wasn't wowed by this recipe. Essentially, the zucchini added very little. Then again, it didn't take away from what was essentially garlicy, cheesy pasta, so that's something, too. :)

Roasted mushrooms

This is a phenomenal, simple recipe that an IRL friend passed along. It sounded too simple to be good, but OMG, is it yummy!

Clean mushrooms (I used plain white button mushrooms) and remove the stems. Distribute mushrooms (cap down) in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast in an oven with whatever else you're baking (I did about 25 minutes at 350, but my friend says it's very flexible WRT temps and just watch the time until they look done).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Pay-It-Forward Meme update

If you read my post on the Pay-It-Forward meme, you know that I've been working on some knitting.

Nikki chose this reusable grocery bag:
Delana wanted some felted bowls, which I completed:
And MamaFitz's socks are about 15% done:
This has been really fun!

I did want to let anyone know (who wanted to do this, but missed being one of the first three) that both Delana (who is a wonderfully gifted knitter) and Nikki (who has Passions stuff up for grabs, as well as coffee and tea!) have space (currently) in their memes if you want to get in! In addition, another friend is participating and SHE has space, too. Check out RawMilkStar's pay-it-forward meme here.

p.s. I did receive my PIF gift from Mo, but it's a surprise for someone else, so I won't post pics yet!

Gifts for a new baby

For the first time in a LONG time, a friend of mine had a first baby! Check out the little cutie:


I'm sending them (they used to be local, but moved away four years ago) the following care package:
It includes:

A pumpkin hat, knit roughly from any of the fruit hat patterns you can find online
A taggie, modeled after these
Decorated burp cloths (just cloth diapers with ribbon stitched down the middle)
A picture frame
Hand-made cards from my kids
A home-sewn sling, from directions from my friend Wendy. I started making slings like the Maya wrap, from these directions, but Wendy's pattern has a padded pillow and rails, so I like it a lot!

I was going to link to the directions for sewing a sling from Wendy, but the directions are not online. If you'd like them (in a WORD document), just email me (bfmomma at yahoo dot com) and I'll forward them to you.

Wendy does beautiful photos, so if you're in the metro Milwaukee/Waukesha area, be sure to give her a try. I asked if I could link here, and she said, "I could offer a special sale for anyone coming from your site. How about a mother/child photo in their sling (baby, toddler, whatever size) and/or nursing photos. I'll do a $10 sitting fee if they tell me it's a referral from you or your blog (normally $25). Prints are at my standard prices found on my website. Conditions: I travel to parks and homes for portraits. If they would like a "studio look", it must be done in my home. Expires Dec 1, 2007."

(So look at her website and tell her you came from bfmomma's spot!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Craft Meme

Snagged from Grumperina, originally from BellaKnitting, I guess.

Four choices--list crafts that you are familiar with, in the categories you'd choose:

1. Love it! This is my thing.

knitting, cooking

2. I do or have dabbled in it.

embroidery, cross-stitch, macramé, quilting, sewing, dyeing, felting, gardening, origami, rug hooking, scrap-booking, baking, cake decorating, balloon animal making, pottery painting, calligraphy, collage, photography, stenciling, acting, music (flute)

3. I'll give it a try.

card making, spinning (some day!), crochet, wood carving, pattern-writing, graphic design, music (guitar)

4. I've got absolutely no interest.

weaving, flower arranging, doll house making/decorating, etching, glass blowing, glass bead making, lace-making, mosaics, pottery throwing, soap making, basket weaving, book binding, candle-making, stamping, needlepoint, jewelry making, papier-mâché, paper-making, painting, drawing, cartooning, doll/toy making, film-making

I tag MamaFitz, RawMilkStar, PancakeGoddess, Suzee, and any others who want to play!

Vacation, Day Five (August 13)

We left my mom's early on Monday to head back home. Since it had been raining on the way up, we didn't get to take a picture with the World's Biggest Loon (in Mercer) on Thursday, so we stopped on Monday.

I guess she's actually named Claire de Loon!

Then we did our annual stop at Bay Beach in Green Bay. Pics of the kids (and G.) on rides:

And then we came home, unpacked, and crashed!

Groceries, 8-22-07

I haven't posted grocery totals for a long time. For the last few weeks, our grocery-buying has either been unusually small (going on vacation) or unusually large (going on vacation; having people over).

Anyway, I think I did well today!

Total: $76.33
Savings: $53.33
Number of Items: 61
Pick N Save

best deals:

*Keebler cookies--on sale for half price, then minus $1 coupon, doubled. Animal crackers and caramel fudge shoppe were each $0.49
*Nature's Bounty iron supplements, reg. $5.29, on sale for $2.64, minus $2 coupon ($0.64)
*GM Oatmeal Crisp cereal, reg. $3.79, on sale for $2.50, minus $1 coupon($1.50 ea.)
*Hebrew National kosher hot dogs, reg. $4.29, on sale for $3, minus $1 coupon, doubled ($1)
And they had several 50% off deals, or B1G1, and I got the $0.25 rebate for bringing my own bags

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In case you were missing all those posts about the remodeling hell...

We've had essentially four days of non-stop rain here. Sometimes it's just drizzling, but oftentimes it's POURING. Our sump pump has been running non-stop, our yard is under water, and the siding on the outside of the house (which had dried so nicely all summer in preparation for paint) is now soaking wet.

Today my friend Nicole came over to see the addition. As I was showing her the upstairs, I looked at the hallway along the stairwell and saw:

If you can't tell, those are watermarks because water is getting into the new roof and running down an inside wall. Because it hadn't rained here since the big mold disaster, we didn't know that such a leak existed.

G. climbed up on the roof and said that the flashing around the chimney had not been properly sealed. He sealed it and promises that it's fixed now.

I wish I could stop myself from wondering "what next?"

Vacation, Day Four (August 12)

We started the day with a real "country" breakfast:

That's bacon from a local butcher; the tomato we got from the neighbor's (with basil from Mom's plant), and zucchini pancakes, made from the neighbor's zucchini. YUM!

Our luck held out and the rain held off for our trip to Lake Superior. We live right near Lake Michigan, but Lake Michigan is SO much more dirty/polluted that I worry about letting the kids swim in it. So every summer when we're at Grandma's, we have a day at the "beach". Lake Superior is VERY cold (it's very deep and never really warms up), but that doesn't stop the kids! Here's some pics:
Everyone, packed in for the trip

There were HUGE waves and they kept tipping the kids off their raft and innertube.

One of the most fun things to do at Lake Superior is pick rocks. Somehow, the prettiest rocks in the world (IMO) wash up on the shore of Lake Superior!

After a trip back to my mom's for showers (those waves really carry sand into...uh...certain parts of your body), we headed back into town for supper at Mom's friend's restaurant, Pizza King Joe's.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Vacation, Day Three (August 11)

The third day of our vacation was a rainy one. It was kind of nice to relax and just hang out at my mom's house. The kids played with legos (they are SO much more fun at Grandma's house), and I read, finishing The Other Boleyn Girl (which was EXCELLENT!), and then knit some.

G. and I got a mini "date"--we went into town for coffee at the Hurley Coffee Company, and then headed to Dunham's, where G. found a Christmas present!

In the afternoon, the rain stopped briefly, so the big girls and I walked to the neighbor's place. They have a big, beautiful house, lots of land, five (I think) private ponds, and a fantastic garden! They sent us home with a tomato the size of Mira's head, some zucchini, and pickled green beans. It was fun to visit because my first babysitting job was for the girls who lived there, and the older of the two has her own baby now--who we got to meet.

And the final (and necessary) part of the day--supper--was picked up from two local favorite places--pizza from The Bell Chalet, and pasties from Joe's Pasty Shop.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

First Day of School Outfits

I don't think I've posted pics of the kids' first day of school outfits.

Since money has been a little (um...) "tight" since the addition, my mom bought the kids their first day outfits.

Here's C's:
And T's (he walked into Old Navy, picked out the shirt and shorts, and was done!):
Finally, M's--hers was a bit tougher as she's right at the in-between toddler and girl size range:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Everlasting Bagstopper explosion

I really need to stop making these bags...

While camping, I worked on one more:

And between the car ride to my mom's, free time there, and the car ride back, I finished two more:

I really need to stop... I can stop. Really, I can.

Vacation, Day Two (August 10)

I had promised the girls (C and M1) that I'd take them shopping, as M1 needed a knitting needle to finish her project and besides, is there anything more fun for 12 YO girls than shopping? :)

We headed into town and visited my mom's coworkers (it's so fun to show off the kids and how much they've grown since the last visit). Then we went out to lunch (see how visits up North are all about the food?) at one of G's favorite places: Don and GG's.

C, M1 and I took all of about 2 hours to hit EVERY store in Ironwood, MI and Hurley, WI! The girls found postcards and C. found a cute pair of gauchos.

Mom made a yummy supper of burgers on the grill (from a local butcher--O'Dovero's) (Boca for the vegetarians in the group) and grilled veggies from the recipe I'd posted here.

Due to the rain, Uncle S. (a firefighter) had the weekend off, so he brought his ATV over to give the kids rides. I even got to drive it! Here's some pictures from that:

Addicted? Who, Me? I'm not addicted

Wow. I survived internet deprivation!


For those of you who don't know, after a wonderful vacation at my mom's (very slow dialup, and therefore virtually no internet access), we came home to a very spotty internet connection here. I was worried that I'd left the modem and router on while gone and some sort of virus had gotten through, so I spent most of Tuesday (in between trying to catch up on blogging, and email, and Bloglines) cleaning the computer in every way I knew possible. By Tuesday night, however, there was no avoiding it--this was not just a virus.

I left for Knitting Club, thinking G. could spend some time trying other ways to fix the computer. When I got home, we faced the inevitable, and I called AT&T's customer service. They eventually (after running a bunch of "diagnostic tests") determined that our 5+ year old modem had died. The very-nice Tech Support guy told me that I could buy a new modem through AT&T for $50 and a 3-5 business day wait, or I could go to Best Buy and pick one up for $70-$90. Though I love my internet :) I was dragging my feet on paying $20 extra for a few days. But when the tech guy told me that sometimes the sales department will cut you a deal on modems, I decided to give it a try.

I called the Sales department at 7:00 Wednesday morning (right when they open) and was able to secure a modem for $50 and two month's credit (of $24.99) on our DSL bill (so essentially free).

After three days of running the the library to check email, I was SO happy to see the UPS guy this afternoon.

I'll snip all sorts of stories about phone calls to AT&T's tech support, and then phone calls to D-Link's tech support (the new modem wasn't working with our old router), but between G. and I, I think we were on the phone for about four hours.

And now... as of 8:30 pm on Friday night, we're back to normal! Actually, we're better than normal, as this modem seems quicker than our old one. Is that possible, or am I just hallucinating?

Now to the dozens of emails I need to reply to (I mostly only read at the library), the 285 Bloglines to read, and the Ravelry and 43Things posts to catch up on!

I hope I never have to suffer this way again ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vacation, Day One (August 9)

Once again, our big vacation for the year was a return to my hometown area. This year we took along a friend of C's--M1.

We left at 9:00 am, and after a brief detour home (forgot the gift for Grandma and headphones for the iPod), we were on the road.

It was a pretty wet ride--alternating between drizzle and downpour, with brief spots of clear skies.

We found a place outside of Wausau that sold fireworks (and was open), so we stopped and picked some up.

On the way through Woodruff, we decided to actually stop (for the first time) and visit the World's Largest Penny.

The family, with M1 instead of me:

Me, subbed in for M1:
And the plaque, describing why they put a giant penny in Woodruff, WI:

It rained the rest of the way North (my mom was very happy for this, as it hadn't rained there for MONTHS--seriously, the trees had started turning from the drought!), but wasn't too bad when we arrived in Iron Belt.

Mom cooked a fantastic supper of tenderloin and salads. After supper, the kids found some blackberries, and when it got dark, we lit half of the fireworks.

Monday, August 06, 2007

In just three month's time...

Here's a picture of the T-man three months ago:

And here he is today:
Following in his sister's footsteps, he needed glasses this summer before starting fourth grade. As G. said, I wonder what he'll look like when his hair grows out again and he's got the glasses!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


G's department organized a camping outing to Jellystone in the Dells. We had not been camping since C. was about a year and a half old, and we were excited to see how the other two enjoyed it.

We arrived Friday night and had a nice, leisurely supper with colleagues. Here's M, trying out the Dora sleeping bag with a friend: The kids enjoyed making s'mores over the campfire, even though T's first one caught on fire, causing him to run like a madman all around that wide-open field you see behind the van: I taught him the slow, gentle way to toast marshmallows and he got it right. :)

Though it took a long time for the kids to settle down, everyone eventually fell asleep in the tent. I wouldn't recommend this campground--it was right off the freeway and right near two county roads where noisy trucks seemed to drag race all night! No one slept very well.

We got up early on Saturday and headed to Devil's Lake State park for a hike. We took a two-hour hike that was almost all up or down the cliffs! yowch! Beautiful views, though!

If we didn't look so grungy, this one would be a good Xmas card photo:

Check out the walking stick on T's hat:
And here's the whole crew--except the organizer, who had gone on ahead with her son:

As soon as we finished the hike, it started raining, and did not let up. We had promised the kids a visit to the "water park" on the grounds, so we went swimming (and did the water slides) in the rain. We then tried to wait it out by visiting the outlet mall near the campground, but eventually gave up and drove home.

It really felt nice to shower and sleep in our own beds last night! I think we might try camping again, but in a more secluded place, and with friends of all the kids (T. was a bit bored at the campground).