Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shelby's Birthday

Danielle has been my best friend since, oh... about 7th or 8th grade. We have remained friends all these years, sometimes closer than others, but I have still always considered her my best friend. We are opposites in terms of personalities, but I think that only adds to our friendship. She is very outgoing and outspoken and shy is never a word you would associate with Danielle. :)

Her daughter just celebrated her 9th birthday.

Lots of family and friends came to help her celebrate her last year in the single digits.

She appears to be trying to lick the icing off her cake - guess Danielle wasn't being quick enough to get her a piece of it!

That boy standing behind her? That is her big brother Cole. He is a good big brother and I foresee her future boyfriends having to answer to him.

It was pretty hard to get pictures of Shelby because she was a blur - looking in every direction, talking, opening her gifts. Full of energy. Ahhh to be young again.

Cole stood behind her and read all of the cards out loud for her. She was reading them too, just her voice wasn't loud enough so he thought he would help out.

Aren't they cute?
I think Cole is going to have his hands full with this one. Happy Birthday Shelby! :) There are more party pictures at my photo site. The one I posted about at the bottom of the camping post.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Isn't it funny how music can bring back memories so easily? I have 6 presets on my radio in my car - 3 are set to classic rock stations, 2 to country music stations, and one to a pop station. There are so many different kinds of music that I like, it really all depends on what mood I'm in. If there isn't anything playing on those 6 stations, I scan through the other stations until I find something I'm in the mood to listen to. The other day I heard Pure Prairie League - Amy and while I remember that song from when I was really young, the memory it brought back was a little more recent.

Back in the days when we had a lot of fun where I work, we all gathered in my boss's office one day close to Christmas and he had his guitar. We called random people at our corporate offices and sang that song. But, instead of "Amy" we substituted the name of the person we were calling. We laughed a lot, and the people we called also did as well.

The next song that came on that radio station was Kool and the Gang - Celebration - and I don't ever think I could hear that song without remembering the skating ring when I was young. I remember we used to go to the skating rink on Sunday after having lunch at my grandma's house. All the young kids would go - and when I hear this song, I can see us all skating to it like it was yesterday. Andy and Pete were the best skaters - I was always in awe of their skating abilities.

While I haven't gone out and downloaded these songs to my iPod, I do like listening to them occasionally. I love the memories that they conjure up. :)

Are there any songs that you can think of that bring back good, fun memories? I've only listed two because they were recent, but there are so many that remind me of so much.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boys Night Out

The boys packed up and went camping Sunday night (July 13th). I was unable to go because I had to work the next day. They didn't have any sites available on the weekend so we will all have to go another time. Jeff forgot a few things at the house - his shaving kit with his deodorant (can't be smelling bad out in the woods now, you never know what that would attract to you!), tooth brushes and paste, and other things. So, I got my camera and took it over to them and spent a little time there before going home to my empty house.

I liked this picture, so I converted it to black and white. I like em both!

Conor got to take his brand new fishing pole and try it out.

Here's the front of the mini-cabin they got to stay in.

And the view from the side. It has a nice little deck attached that is probably as big as the inside.

There is a double bed,

a bunk bed,

and a loft inside the cabin.

The loft is just a small place for sleeping, though. Can't even stand up when you are up there.

Jeff and Conor laid down in the loft for a picture.

Then we fished off of the deck.

They also took Teddy with them. Mr. I'm-afraid-of-water-and-avoid-it-at-any-cost was dragging sticks out of the water. Very hesitantly at first, but he eventually swam out for some.
Dogs have to be kept on a leash at all times, so Jeff tied a rope to it as well so he would have some running room.
Here's a black and white of Conor throwing sticks into the river.

The small slope down to the river was steep and after getting wet... a bit muddy. It took Conor a few attempts to get back up.

Then he tried to give me a hug goodbye! I avoided the mud for the most part... but he did get it in my hair when he put his hands on the back of my head.
They had a lot of fun. They were supposed to canoe down the river on Monday morning, but because of all the rain we have had recently, they closed the river to canoes. We will be all going canoeing soon though.
You can see all of the pictures from the camp site, and some other pictures and videos that I have on my blog all here. There is a guest password. It is my last name, all lower case. Some of them have not been posted here. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Light headed

OK, so I have (or had) long, thick hair that I can't do anything with. I went to get it highlighted and cut, and I asked her to cut it a lot, but ... she didn't. I don't know what it is about the people I have gone to - they are afraid to cut my hair or something. Well, I finally found someone. Although my getting in to see her was a fluke - I happened to call at the right time I guess. She is usually booked 3 months in advance, and I'm very spontaneous about my hair. When I decide to do something to it, I usually decide I want it done right then.

So, on Tuesday I decided to find someone new to cut my hair. I was accepting of the fact that I would have to make an appointment and I might not get it done that day. I called my sister to find out who does hers and she gave me the name and number. I called and asked to get an appointment with her. But she was on vacation and they asked me if I would like someone else. Sure, why not? When did I want the appointment? Any evening this week would do, or whenever they had an opening 5:30 or later.

They had two people available that night at 5:30 and asked if I had a preference. No, whoever - I don't know either one, so just put me with one. Well, I lucked out. I got one of the prior owners who had been there 23 years. She had recently got out of the business part and was just doing the stylist part. And I swear - in all the years that I have been getting my hair cut - not one person prior to her took the time and care that she did. She went and got magazines for us both to look at to see what I was looking for, and to show me what she thought would work for me. Then she CUT ALL MY HAIR OFF.

OK, not really all. But a lot. Really. I feel like I don't have any hair left. She walked me out, gave me a little bag of goodies to use, gave me her phone number so I could call her to let her know if I liked it or not (I was a bit in shock, k? I just lost all my hair and it was no longer weighing down my head and I was feeling light headed).

I called Jeff to prepare him for the shock.

"Uh, just so you know... my hair is kinda short."

"Are you kidding?"

"No. She wasn't afraid to cut my hair."

"I'm moving out if you look like a tard." Such a nice guy, eh? lol but I knew as soon as he said it I was gonna put it on my blog. I also knew he didn't mean it.

"Well, start packing then, I'll be home soon."

I walked in and he looked at it and said, "I like it, it looks good."

"I'm not sure what I think about it yet."

The next morning, I washed my hair in the shower and I will be definitely saving money on shampoo now. It didn't take that much at all.

I went to work. No one noticed. But... since I work with a bunch of males and the only other female is on vacation this week, I didn't expect them to notice. They aren't really observant like that.

My friends noticed (female) right away when I met them for volleyball Thursday night. And my cousin, who happened to be there. They were all "OMG, you cut your hair off! It looks good!"

I happen to believe if it looks bad, they aren't going to tell me anyway.

So, by Friday, I had gotten used to it and I like the freedom of it. I don't have to do anything to it and it looks OK. I didn't do much to my long hair either, but it always looked bad. Frizzy mess. Natural curls. They don't always work out.

My boss walked up to my desk.

"You got your hair cut."

I didn't say anything...

"Didn't you? It looks shorter."

Cracked me up.

"Uhhh, yeah - I got it cut on Tuesday. You are so very observant, you should be a detective."

"Yeah, that's what my wife complains about too.. "


On Saturday, Jeff looked at me and said, "I really like your hair like that." There are a few other people who have said that as well. My mom was one of them.

No, I don't have any pictures. I'm not used to it yet. I don't know if I like it yet. It's easier, for sure. It now takes me like... 5 seconds to "brush" my hair (I use a pik. Or is it a pic? Or pick? I don't know... but that is why I put quotes around brush). It took a good 5 minutes before... to get the tangles out.

So, for those of you who read this who know me? Let's just see if you notice the next time you see me. ;) For some, it may have all grown out by the time you see me again... unless I get used to it and keep it like this.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

15 years ago today...

** Sorry it took me a little bit of time to put this together so it was not posted on July 6th as it should have been. Thanks to blogger, though, I can back date. :)

15 years ago today I had my baby girl. I remember a lot about that day, but not much about the morning. In the afternoon, her dad had decided that he wanted to go fishing at a pay lake in Monroe so I took him and dropped him off since he did not have a car.

On the way to the pay lake, I felt some tightening in my stomach, but having never had a baby before, I didn’t know if it was labor or not. I had been given 2 different due dates – July 1st, and July 3rd, both of which had past. I had also had some false labor and so I had no clue what was going on. I told him that I thought I might be having contractions but I wasn’t sure. I dropped him off anyway.

I had no plans for that evening and so I met his parents at the Bingo hall they went to and played Bingo with his dad. His mom worked there, so she wasn’t playing. About 45 minutes into playing I knew I was in labor, but my contractions were not very close together. So, yes, I finished out the half. I told his parents that I was in labor and that I had to go. I was able to get a refund for the second half of Bingo that I didn’t get to stay and play. They don’t usually do that, but they made an exception for me.
I drove home (which was my mom’s house at that time) and called my sister – who was my Lamaze coach. Well, kinda anyway. We kinda skipped a few classes to go shopping. It was about 7:30 pm or so, I don’t remember the exact time, and I sat on the edge of my bed waiting for my sister. I remember thinking, “I am NOT ready for this. I can’t do this.”

I remember I shared that thought with my mom. Her response? “It’s a little late for that, you have to do it.” True. But. Ummm. I was scared as hell.
Anyway, Molly came over and we all went to the hospital. I had paged her dad to let him know that I was in labor, but he had no way to get there. So, my sister’s friend (Tammy) offered to go and pick him up to bring him to the hospital.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, my contractions were one minute apart. I remember being in the wheelchair and being wheeled to the labor-delivery room. Now, as my Lamaze coach, Molly was supposed to help me breathe. And, when they attached a monitor to let her know when the contractions were coming – she was supposed to tell me that they were coming. Well, I think that is more for the people who have epidurals or something. Because you know what? I could FEEL them coming. I already knew when they were starting. And Molly telling me? Well, that just got on my nerves really quick.

She said, “You’re having a contraction.”
I growled through clenched teeth, “I already know that – I can feel them you know.” I think I scared her. She left me.
At some point, Tammy and Kevin (Allie’s dad’s name, I don’t know why I avoided using it before) arrived at the hospital, and they asked if Tammy could stay. Sure, why not? So, in my delivery room I had my mom, my sister, my sister’s friend, and her father.

I remember them getting on my nerves at some point because someone turned the TV on and I think it was MTV. Anyway, they all left to get a snack or something and my mom was the only one there with me. I was glad for the quiet.
The contractions were less than a minute apart, and I chose to have natural childbirth (no way was I having a needle stuck in my back for the duration of the childbirth), so I can say that the pain? It hurts. A lot. It made the whole remembering anything part hard because all I can remember mostly is how exhausted I was in between the contractions. How much I wanted to sleep, but couldn’t.

A nurse finally came in to check on me and I told her that I felt like pushing… so she checked and sure enough, it was time to push.
My labor was only a few hours. I don’t have any horror stories about 2 days in labor or anything like that. The few hours I had were enough, thank you very much. I also don’t know how long I pushed, but it wasn’t very long. What I remember about pushing was the doctor telling me to push for 10 seconds. I would start pushing and he would start counting. One, two, three, come on, you’re doing good… four, five, just a few more seconds, keep pushing..


Eventually, my baby came out. And she was a girl. And oh, my gosh, I didn’t pick out any names for a girl. I was SURE it was a boy. (They were unable to tell from the ultrasound I had and they didn’t do more than one back then.) I don’t know why I was so sure, but I was. I had a boy name picked, and had not even thought about a girl name. So, I was a bit panicked because, in my mind, I had to name her RIGHT THEN. I couldn’t think about it and leave her without a name for hours or days. They said I could wait – that it just had to be done before leaving the hospital. But I wasn’t going to do that.

So, I named her after my mom (Alice, I just lengthened it to Allison) and my Grandma (Elizabeth). I love the name Elizabeth anyway; it was the name of one of the characters in a book series I read when I was growing up. And it was my grandma’s name as well, so it was perfect.

And thus began my life with my new name. Mommy. Then Mom. Lately it has been just “hey.”

I took a picture of Allie with Poppy, but it was blurry.

So, I took another one... and they weren't looking at me! So, I'm posting both.

And this just wouldn't be a proper birthday post for my little girl if I didn't get a picture of her putting food in her mouth. heehee See how dressed up the girls got for the party? Well, it wasn't much of a party since everyone was on vacation!

Happy Birthday Allie! Next year she will be driving. Dang.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Apple Pie

My grandma makes the best apple pies, in my opinion, and I only try to imitate hers when I make mine. I've gotten a lot of tips throughout the years from various sources. The crust I make is out of the Betty Crocker cookbook that my mom had when I was a teenager. I still use it. For the crust you will need:

2 C Sifted Flour
1 Teaspoon salt
3/4 C Shortening (I use Crisco)
5-7 Tablespoons of cold water

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt and the shortening. Use a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the flour. It should look about like this when you are done:

Next I put 8 Tablespoons of water into a glass and pour a little at a time into the flour mixture, mixing with a fork until it forms into small dough balls. It is better to use too much water than not enough because you will be rolling it out on a floured surface. This is what mine looked like:

Using your hands, form it into a ball. Split that ball equally into two smaller balls.

Spread flour all around the area you will be using to roll it out. Take one of the balls and using the side of your hand, make 3 vertical indentations in it.

Then make 3 horizontal indentations in it. It helps it to start into a circular shape.

Then, turn it over, making sure the surface under it still has flour.

And roll it into a circular shape that is bigger than the pie plate you are using.

An easy way to transfer the dough into the pie plate is to fold it in half, then into a triangular shape, like so:

Then you put it into the pie plate,

And unfold it.
Next you take a butter knife and cut the excess dough flush with the edge.
Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork, and sprinkle some flour and sugar on the bottom.

Why? Because Grandma says so. And she is the expert around here. ;) It helps to keep the bottom of the crust flaky and not mushy.
For the filling you will need:
3 Granny Smith sized apples (if they are smaller, use more)
1/2 C Sugar + a little more
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
Cut up about 1 1/2 apples - maybe more, depending on the size of the apple. I used to use Jonathan apples because that is what my Grandma uses, but I can't find them much anymore, so I began using different types. Here I used Granny Smith, so I used a bit more sugar than usual because they are not really sweet apples. Jonathan apples are a bit more sweet, so I would use less sugar for them. This is the first time I have actually measured the sugar, I usually just put whatever looks right to me.
Put the 1 1/2 cut up apples into the crust and take 1/2 TBSP of the butter or margarine, and cut it into 4 parts and place on top of the apples.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the sugar over the apples, and sprinkle some cinnamon on.

Now, repeat. Cut up the other 1 1/2 apples, put in the pie plate along with the other 1/2 TBSP of butter or margarine (cut up), cover with 1/4 cup of sugar and sprinkle on some cinnamon.

Now, get the second ball of dough and roll it out the way I showed above. Fold it into a triangle too, and place it on top of the apples. Use your hands and form it over the apples.

Now cut the excess dough off of the edges with a butter knife - flush with the edge again.
See these scraps? Don't throw them away! I'll show you what to do with them in a second.

Let's finish the pie first. Take the top crust and fold it under the edge of the bottom crust.

All the way around.
It will look like this:Then take your fingers and pinch the edge all the way around so it looks pretty:

Next, poke holes in the crust with a fork so it can release some steam. I think. I really don't know why, that is just how Grandma does it. I have even used a knife before and cut words into the crust. Like "Happy Father's Day" and "Happy Birthday" and things like that.
You will also want to pour a little bit of milk into a glass and stick your fingers into the milk and pat the milk all over the top. It makes it brown nicely.

Now sprinkle some sugar over the top:

And put it into a 350 degree (F) oven to bake for 1 hour. No, I don't put anything around the edges to keep the crust from burning. I've never had a problem with that.
OK, now, back to those scraps of dough you cut off the edges.
Form them into a ball and roll them into a rectangular form, like so:
Now take some soft butter and spread it all over the dough.

Now take sugar and cover it with sugar, and then sprinkle a bunch of cinnamon on it.

Now take one of the long edges and fold it over.

And roll the dough into a log form.
Take a butter knife and cut the roll into little cinnamon rolls! They are yummy.

Now, put them onto a baking sheet and put them in the oven with the pie. They don't take as long as the pie to cook, though. I usually leave them in for about 30-35 minutes. While they are cooking, the butter will melt and get all over the sheet and burn. It's really ugly. But that doesn't matter, they still taste good. Trust me.
See? Ugly.

But if you pull them off the sheet right away, the bottoms will be safe. See? I've even forgotten about them before and they have burnt. And they are still good! If you don't like the burnt part, you can just cut it off. These little rolls go quickly at my house. The kids come and grab em before they are cool. And they are my mom's favorite. I once made a whole batch of dough into these things for her. And yeah, they are a bit dry, so have some milk or coffee or something with them. Yummm.

Now here is the pie after an hour. Some of the juices leaked out onto the top, but that's OK.

Now cut it, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you have it (we did not) and enjoy! :)