Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls, Snow and Christmas Letters...

So, it's back to work tomorrow. It's been nice to have the time off but it goes by so quickly!!

I made these cinnamon rolls for breakfast yesterday with the leftover dough from the rolls I made at Thanksgiving. They turned out pretty good! Next time I'll make a half batch of the dough and it will be enough for both rolls and cinnamon rolls without so many left over! The leftover dough made two pans. One pan too many.



I took my pups to the park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Today we made it just before the rain came in. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day. One out of 5, that's all we get. And we had snow on Friday. I tried to take pics but it was a pretty light snow, didn't stick to anything, just flurries. It's coming though, oh it's coming!

I got some funny pictures of the pups yesterday. They were so full of energy. Jumping and twisting all over the place.

Today I did some more online shopping and I think I'm just about finished up. All I have left are some stocking stuffers to buy and then wait for all the things I ordered to come in the mail, delivered right to my door!! How easy can it get?

I guess soon I'll have to start decorating the inside of the house. H and Scott got the lights put up on the outside. The sun was out yesterday so it was a good day for outside work. Maybe next weekend I'll feel like starting on the inside. Maybe. Too bad we aren't going to Hawaii again and skipping Christmas. I wouldn't mind that at all.

I also worked on my annual Christmas letter. H informed me that it was kind of boring but other than a couple big news items, there wasn't all that much to talk about. We didn't do that much after our fabulous Hawaii trip!

It's gonna be a slow news week or two or three. We are supposed to have some snow later this week. The sticking kind. Now that's some exciting news, for these parts anyway! Have a great week!

I'll leave you with this exciting video of the pups playing frisbee! I'm not too good at throwing and filming at the same time so bear with me! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I'm sure I'm not the only one stopping today to think about all the things in my life I have to be thankful for. I know many people are much busier than me today so it might be easier for me to think about these things since it's just H, me and Scott for Thanksgiving this year. I started out the morning quite ambitious with my list of things to do but lost my momentum shortly after I put the turkey in the oven. I'm not feeling 100% today but I will muddle through.

I am thankful for my family's health. Truly without your health, life is hard to enjoy. I know it sounds strange to say I'm thankful for my health when I'm not feeling so well but sometimes that's what it takes to make you realize you are thankful for it when you have it and I know this crummy feeling will pass soon. The rest of the family each has one thing or another they have to deal with but everyone is still relatively well or at least can manage their condition and live a full life.

I am thankful for my lovely home. We've worked hard over the years to have a home we can be proud of and love returning to. There are some days I don't even want to leave it and I'm happy to just stay here in my little comfort zone. So many people have either lost their homes or had to give them up. I am very thankful that hasn't happened to us.

I am thankful that H and I both have our jobs. Oh sure, we might complain and threaten to quit from time to time but at least we have jobs. Living here in Michigan we are reminded every day of all the people who are unemployed and then unable to obtain another job. We have been there too over the years but right now we are in a good place and happy to have them.

Here he is, even working on Thanksgiving. Seriously, he never stops.

I am thankful for my wonderful children who are all but grown up now. Each is unique in their own way and I love that about them. The thing they have in common is that they are all good people. They love their parents and we feel that every day. I miss the ones who can't be here today but know I will be with them soon and I have that to look forward to. The one I am with today (Scott) has stopped to give me a few hugs and I know in a few hours he will thank me for the meal I have cooked.

Here is the Master, showing his son how it's done!
That means something to me. My son-in-law Andy is included in this group now and it does feel like he is one of ours too. He and Amber are very happy and love each other very much and are such good people. They will have a wonderful blessing of their own soon and I have no doubt they will be wonderful parents too. You never know how much you can love someone until you have your first child. That will be a wonderful discovery for both of them.

I am thankful for my dear husband of 35 years. We have had many ups and down over the years but have stayed true to the promises we made many years ago to try to work things out and stick with it. I hope we both live long enough to enjoy all the hard work we have put into this life. Many people I know haven't been as fortunate, either through divorce or the early death of their loved one.

Here he is peeling the potatoes for mashing! So helpful!

I am thankful for my extended family. With my parents both gone now I am thankful I still have my Auntie and Uncle. I don't get to see them enough but I keep up with the life and know what they're up to. Their son Glen is the only cousin I'm in touch with but he's really the only one I knew growing up. Happy Birthday Glen!

I am thankful for my many friends. With everyone so busy I don't get to see them as often as I would like. Today I spent an hour and a half on the phone with my dear friend, Claire, who I haven't talked to in a couple months. We probably could have talked for another hour but we both needed to get some things done! I also have my Bunco girls, my bowling friends and friends from school. All make my life richer in one way or another.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my fur kids, my little pups, my babies.

I realize they are just "dogs" but they give me such unconditional love and devotion that would be hard to enjoy life without. H complains loudly and often about their ability to shed hair but no one's perfect. We all have our faults. If a little hair is the worst thing about them, I don't think that's so bad.

All I have to do is look down and one or both of them is somewhere near my feet. If I get up and leave the room it won't be long before one or both of them will come to see where I've gone. They hang on my every word, watch my every move. Who or what else can show that much love all the time? Only a dog, that's who. Even Andy isn't that devoted, much to Amber's relief!! (Just kidding Andy!! Love ya) Just wanted to make sure you really were reading this thing because I know I'll hear from you about it!

I am also thankful that I can look forward to this time next year when we will have our first grandchild to love and yes, spoil!! I've heard people say that you think nothing can surpass the love you have for your own children until you have a grandchild! Very soon we will test that and see if it's really true. I'll let you know next Thanksgiving when I remember all the things I have to be thankful for.

And now for the menu:

Cheeseball (my mother's recipe) made by H this year. Yummy!!

Turkey breast

Cornbread stuffing

Mashed potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Home made rolls (yummy)



They were great!!

Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Cheesecake (which I probably overcooked, oops, forgot the oven was still on instead of cooling down)

No one really wanted any veggies, other than the potatoes or sweet potatoes. We had green beans last night and nothing else sounded that appetizing. Maybe I'll break out the baby carrots so we can at least say we had a veggie. Everything will be either white, yellow or orange! And red cranberry sauce!!

Well, since I started writing this I had to stop as the turkey was finally ready so we stopped to eat. The turkey breast was great, nice and moist. I always worry that it will be dry. Everything else turned out fine too. The only thing we haven't tried yet is the cheesecake. We'll have to wait a couple hours to have room for that.

The rest of the weekend will be spent preparing for Christmas. I don't think I'll be putting the tree up just yet but I'll be thinking about and maybe starting my Christmas letter, thinking about getting some cards started and maybe wrapping a few of the gifts I've already bought. I also have a little shopping to do, all online, my favorite kind! I bought a few things yesterday but happily there just isn't that much I have to go out for as the rest of the stuff I want is all available on line and will be shipped directly to my door! I love the internet! What did we ever do without it?

Happy Thanksgiving and have a safe and restful weekend everyone, except for those crazy people who will be up at 4:00 a.m., ready to battle other holiday shoppers. Ya'll just be safe!! I'll be thinking of ya from the comfort of my lovely home!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slow Time...

Things are slow right now, not much is goin' on. Mostly I'm looking forward to a short week and 5 days in a row off!! We have half days with students on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is a Developmental Day for teachers but non-mandatory for me so I'm taking it off!

I spent the weekend around the house, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. Fun stuff. I made pot stickers for dinner Saturday night. I saw the recipe on someone's blog and decided to give them a try. They were labor intensive but not hard to make. We had them for dinner and then I had enough to freeze for another meal. I also baked bread on Saturday, a nice big loaf in my Dutch Oven. Then I used the Dutch Oven to soak some organic black beans I bought last weekend at the Farmer's Market. Today I cooked those up and had enough for 5 16oz. bags to put in the freezer. After that I cooked up a big batch of doggie chow for the freezer too. This batch was ground turkey, wheat pasta, lentils, green beans and peas. Zoe and Charlie spent most of the afternoon hanging around the kitchen. After that I decided to make a "Busy Day" chocolate cake. I found the recipe in Everyday Food. I had all the ingredients on hand so it was pretty simple. This recipe called for a teaspoon of vinegar. I've never heard of that before.

Earlier this week I found out that I was going to be able to get another plot in the share garden. I went down to the township office and payed and picked out my new plot. Luckily for me the plot right next to my first plot was available so next Spring I'll have a 10x20 space to garden in! H and I went out there today to mix some manure into the new plot but we were happily surprised to find out that it had already been prepared for us.

I took the pups to the high school field on Saturday and Sunday and boy were they happy. They played and ran after the frisbee until they were both wheezing! The weather was cool but not bad. Yesterday was supposed to be cloudy all day and it was mostly sunny. Today was supposed to be sunny and we never did see the sun! Typical weather forecasting for Michigan. The forecast for this week is calling for some snow flurries on Thanksgiving Day. We'll see if the predictions are on track or not later this week.

The birds were happy I filled up the feeders this weekend.

I put out this suet yesterday and was surprised to see it still hanging this morning instead of in the woods where the racoons usually leave it. Guess they haven't discovered it yet.

I miss summer. So does this Hydrangea.

Zoe was enjoying some time on the deck, checking out the neighbor dogs.

"Yea, so? That Golden is a cutie!!"

Charlie found himself a leaf on the deck and promptly ate it.

"So I need a little roughage? Is that a crime?"

Tyler has booked his tickets to come home for Christmas. He'll be getting in a couple days before Christmas and staying until mid-January. After a month in this cold he'll be so happy to get back to Hawaii! Can't wait to see you again Ty! Bring warm clothes, the few you have!

Speaking of tickets, I also booked our tickets to fly to Virginia to meet our new Granddaughter in January. Things are falling into place, plans are being made, schedules are being coordinated. It's not going to be so slow from here on out.

The Mitchells In Michigan are wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indian Summer Weekend

We have finally been rewarded by Mother Nature for the last month of crappy weekends by a beautiful, warm Indian Summer weekend. To top it off, Amber has been home with us since Thursday night. She didn't get home until after 10:00 but H and I both took Friday off so we would have plenty of time to spend with her. This was the first day I've taken off work since this time last year so I didn't feel guilty at all. I made sure I had someone in to work for me so I didn't have that to feel guilty about either.

Before I get into our lovely weekend though I have to brag, just a little. Wednesday night is obedience class for Charlie.

He's one of the older dogs in the class but there are several who have been to class before, like he has. One in particular is a woman at work who has a Goldendoodle who's about a year or so old and very obedient. She can put Charlie to shame in many areas. Wednesday night the instructor decided to put us all into a little competition on heel and then when we stopped the dog had to sit, immediately. First you could tell the dog to sit and give them a jerk on the coller. The next time we could only say sit. Then finally you just had to stop and wait for your dog to sit. In the past I have trained Charlie to sit if I snap my fingers which gave me an added advantage that night. After several rounds and many dogs being eliminated it was down to just Charlie and the Goldendoodle, Emmy. I was dreading this final round because I thought for sure Emmy had it in the bag. We walked, heeling, we were told to halt and I snapped. Charlie sat and Emmy threw a little fit so Charlie won the competition, the give-away leash and we both got a lovely round of applause!! Charlie, the pup who never took the spotlight in obedience class finally won something! What a moment! This week we've been working on stay and recall. He's very weak in this area and at the last obedience class he was the worst in the class at sit-stay. I don't really expect to win but I would at least like him to be able to do it!

Anyway, back to the weekend. Friday Amber had to work for a while so we didn't really get started until after noon. First we went to a nice deli for lunch and then we hit the mall for a little shopping. I bought the baby a couple board books, a towel and wash cloth and some cute little socks. By the time we finished shopping no one felt like cooking so we just got a hot 'n ready pizza for dinner.

Saturday morning we got moving and headed north toward Frankenmuth. Our first stop was Bronners, known world-wide for their selection of Christmas decorations. The place was a mad house. After looking around for a few minutes we noticed the check-out line which was at least 20 people deep in each line and decided nothing we purchased would be worth standing in that line and headed back to the car. From there we headed to an area with lots of small shops and within walking distance to main street where more shops were waiting for us. One place I always enjoy stopping is Bead Haven. This is one of the largest bead shops I have ever been to and if you need a bead of some type and can't find it there, it probably doesn't exist.

This was the first thing we cane upon after Bronners and eventhough we only had 3 people (I was taking the picture) we couldn't resist it.

We tried to get into Tiffany's for lunch but the place was packed and there was an hour long wait so instead we decided to head back to the car and find some place faster to eat. We drove toward Birch Run, a huge outlet mall, and spotted an Arby's and decided that would be a fine place for lunch. From there we hit a few outlet stores. Amber found the cribskirt she had been lookng for at the Pottery Barn outlet so that made the trip worthwhile. I also scored some Clinique eyeliner at the make-up outlet, another worthwhile purchase. Howard got some shoes and a new sweater and Scott got a sweater and new shirt. Everyone went home happy. We couldn't stay too late as Scott had to be at work at 5:00 p.m. We decided on Chinese takeout for dinner since everyone was worn out from all that shopping!

Today was another beautiful, warm sunshiny day. Around 12:30 H and I headed out to our garden plot. They had manure delivered yesterday and requested everyone come out either this weekend or next and put some fertilizer on their plot before it's put to bed for the winter. We were in luck as the manure was right in the plot next to mine so all we had to do was dig a trench, put the maunure in and cover it up. We also lucked out that the coordinator for the garden was out there so I could inquire about next year. I wasn't too sure that she would let me have a plot for next year since I didn't quite reach my required hours this year. She gave me a plot for next year and even said I could have an extra one if I wanted. I told her if she had an extra plot I would love to have one. Howard turned the soil and I shoveled the manure. It should be good and fertile for next Spring!

Amber and I managed to take the pups up to the high school both yesterday and today. The weather was so nice and they had such a good time. Amber took some pictures for me and got some really good shots.

Trick shot! Zoe caught this one with her back feet!! (Not really)

Charlie's doin' the Moon Walk in this one! (Not really)

Amber & Charlie

I love this shot! You can really see how they move!

Look how nicely they take turns! Zoe's turn

Charlie's turn

Zoe and Charlie love it when Amber comes home and follow her all around. It will be interesting to see how they do next year, after she has the baby. What will they do? What will they think of having a baby around? They've never really spent much time with kids, let alone babies!

Andy's been sick all weekend and then some. After several days of R&R we hear he's starting to feel better again. Sorry Amber wasn't home to take care of you Andy. But at least maybe she missed out on getting whatever it was that you had! I think you need to start taking some vitamins or something Andy! Amber's bringing you home a surprise that will make you feel much better!

We had a wonderful weekend! Hope you did too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween, Rain, Wind and other news...

I made it through another week. Kids are dropping like flies at school with either some type of flu or strep throat. Rumors are running rampant about the flu being the H1N1 but nothing has been confirmed, that I'm aware of. Kids are getting a bad headache, fever and staying out of school from 2 to 5 days! Fingers crossed, so far most of the teachers and other staff are staying well. I'm taking my Vitamin D, washing my hands at every chance and have used a whole bottle of hand sanitizer!

On Tuesday I took Zoe to the vet for her yearly check-up. She had to have blood taken for her heartworm test and get one shot. She was quite brave for both. Her weight is still good and the Dr. didn't seem too concerned about her tooth problems. There was a Rottweiler mix there, huge, and she just wanted to get at him. Crazy girl!!

Wednesday night was Charlie's obedience class. They were practicing sit-stays. The instructor was calling random people and having them have their dogs sit, stay and then calling them to them. She called 4 or 5 people and I was just praying she didn't get to me. Thankfully, by divine intervention, or the fact that the woman can't stop talking for more than 10 minutes, she jumped on to some other random thought and we were done with that activity before Charlie had a chance to show his stuff, or lack thereof. One of his weakest skills at obedience class has always been recall. He probably could have done the sit, stay but on the recall he would have run up to some other dog or something, not to me.

Friday was the day to unveil Special Ed's "surprise" costume theme. We were characters from Alice in Wonderland. I chose a talking/singing flower. It seemed fairly easy and wasn't too expensive and most of the more popular costumes were already taken. It rained all day Friday so the kids were good and crazy by the time the parties started! It got up to almost 70 degrees on Friday!

Friday night we had bowling. It was just H, Judy and me. Bill had to work. We managed to take 3 points and I bowled a 193 the second game! My average will definitely be going up next time.

Friday night the winds really started howling and pretty much blew all the leaves that were left off of the trees. It was windy and chilly Saturday night too for the Trick or Treaters. We didn't have nearly as many as we have in past years. The ones we did have were mostly older kids, junior high and even high school age. We both sat on the front porch and brought Charlie out with us. He was really being good, just watching everyone. He only barked at one person, some older kid. I thought for sure he would bark at the kid dressed like a Werewolf but he didn't. After the trick or treating was over we enjoyed a nice bowl of homemade chili that had been simmering all afternoon.

The sun finally came out today. It wasn't really that warm but if you sat in the sun long enough you could eventually get warmed up. Scott and H put away the patio furniture today. That's when you know winter is just around the corner. Scott also blew most of the leaves back into the woods.

This afternoon I took the pups to the park. They were so excited to get out. It had been a whole week since they were able to run and play outside.

Charlie really stretched out for this one!

Doesn't Zoe look so happy here?

It looks like she's biting his foot in this one! She wasn't.

They really had a good time.

Tonight we had turkey for dinner and I made these rolls. I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. This dough was pretty old. It was bread dough that I had in the freezer for at least a year, maybe longer. It still tasted pretty good though. One little step I forgot was to grease the pan. Only the small pan stuck though. You form the dough into small balls, let it rise, then butter the tops with melted butter, sprinkle on Rosemary and salt and then bake. And I made an apple pie for dessert!

The weekend just flies by. Even with the time change and getting an extra hour, it still doesn't seem like enough time. This week we really have something to look forward to. On Thursday evening Amber is coming home for a quick visit! This will be the last time she can travel so far from home before the baby is due. We are hoping the weather cooperates so we can do something fun next weekend. I can't wait to see her and feel the baby move, finally! The last time they were here, in September, she was moving but I couldn't feel it.

Time to go get a piece of that apple pie. It's calling me, a little slice anyway.

Have a good week!