Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Technologically Disconnected

I went completely unplugged over the holiday. I didn't get on the Internet. I didn't check my email. I never logged into Facebook. I didn't blog.

It was nice to live in the moment and truly enjoy the holiday at home with my family.
I did however watch way too much Noggin with Moose and Zee

as well as the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse--can't get the songs out of my head...

Food Glorious Food

Rob and I are fans of the Food Network Show, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" hosted by Guy Fieri. We like this show because it goes to our kind of place--the neighborhood joint with some great food and lots of unique characteristics. The show features out-of-the-way places that serve comfort food, traditional American fare and just plain good eats. Most featured restaurants are known by word-of-mouth and the "regulars". The show does not spotlight 5 star, white linen table cloth restaurants with Maitre D's.

Anyway, there were some tapings done in and around Pittsburgh and the restaurants are starting to show up in the episodes. Rob and I visited one this past Saturday. Nadine's is nothing fancy, just a bar that serves food. It is in the southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This is a popular section of the city (and the model for Mr. Roger's Neighborhood) with lots of restaurants and bars--so to stand out they must be serving some good grub.

I ordered a delicious Fried Bologna sandwich. It was scrumptious. Anyone who has never had such a delicacy is missing out. My dad used to make these when I was little. Of course, it was a rare occasion for me to have one since I literally lived on grilled cheese for most of my childhood. I ate grilled cheese for breakfast and lunch most days. It was a great dinner with tomato soup too. I noticed on Nadine's website that they also serve Grilled Cheese. I told Rob we're going back for that.

While we're on the subject of sandwiches, one of my other favorites is Bologna and peanut butter. I know it might sound odd, but it is really very good, try it. It's fabulous. This was another one of my father's creations. The man thinks that anything tastes better with peanut butter, and he's usually right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Work It, Work It

Right after Thanksgiving, we dressed Bobby in his Christmas outfit (I love the velcro tie!) to get a holiday photo. Given Bobby's energy level, we have approximately a 15-second window to snap the right photo before he is off and running...Here were the top 2 contenders:
1) Rob's choice for our cards:
and 2) my choice, and eventual winner: (So GQ, don't ya think?)
Of course, these were both taken before he pushed the tree over thus permanently damaging the top portion of our artificial tree so that it cannot be affixed to the upper pole area. We now have a Christmas shrub: Ahhh memories. We'll be buying a new tree the day after Christmas.

A not-so-fun milestone...

Just one week shy of the 19-month mark and Bobby is sick for the first time. It started with a slightly runny nose which progressed to a cough. He just didn't seem himself, and lost the "sparkle in his eyes". He continued to sleep through the night and didn't show any real signs of an ear infection, but with the holidays coming up, I decided to err on the side of caution, so I took him to the Doctor yesterday. Poor guy has 2 ear infections and is on antibiotics for the first time. I was not totally surprised. He was having a snack before his doctor's appointment and took the 2 pretzel rods and was trying to shove them into his ears...

I previously wrote about his affinity for Tylenol (or "nana" as he calls it). Figuring he takes his Nana so well and even asks for it by name, I was pretty confident he'd have no problem with the medicine. Boy was I wrong. My mom has had to hold his arms and legs while I struggle to shove the syringe in his mouth whenever he starts wailing. I'm going to consider these twice daily wrestling matches my exercise for the next 10 days.Medicine

I figured last night would be a rough one and I went to bed early thinking I may be up with him in the recliner all night. Bobby slept all night though. I didn't, but he did. I expected him to be up, so of course when he wasn't I had to make sure nothing was wrong. I was up checking on him pretty regularly between 2am and 5 am. I wouldn't have it any other way though. I'm glad he was able to sleep and hopefully that will help him get better faster. I'm tired all the time anyway, what's another night of losing sleep to me?

I also learned, when the Dr. was figuring out the proper dosage of antibiotics for him, that Bobby at 19 mo. is the size of an average 3 year old. I only hope he's somewhat athletic, unlike me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yahootie, Jr.

I wrote about the "Elf on the Shelf" here. We named ours Yahootie in honor of the elf my grandparents had. Here is the original Yahootie:
and here's the present-day version: There is definitely a family resemblance!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Aloha Friday

It's Aloha Friday. You know the drill.

Today's question is:

How old were you when stopped believing in Santa?

I believed for a really long time. The last year I believed was 5th grade. So I was 10 or 11 years old. I loved Santa but was terrified of him. Even now, I feel some anxiety when I see him. I guess that terror from my childhood is ingrained in my brain synapses or something. I always had to go see him though, and through lots of tears I managed to tell him my wishes.

I took Bobby to see Santa before Thanksgiving--I like to beat the rush. He was "that kid". Blood-curdling screams. Mall walkers stopping to see who was being subjected to horrific torture. The tears started flowing and there was no way he was going to sit on that man's lap, so I stepped in and sat next to Santa and held Bobby for the picture. Unfortunately, I think Bobby has inherited my "kringlephobia".

Check out Kailani at islandlife808.com for more Aloha Friday fun.

Memories...of the way we were...

My brother-in-law posted a picture from his wedding on Facebook today. I think it's a great picture of me and Rob, and I had never seen it before:
This was taken in May 2005, about a month before our 1st wedding anniversary.

Two things struck me when I saw it. First, I remember feeling fat getting into my bridesmaid dress. 3 years and one pregnancy later and I'd LOVE to be at the weight I was then. Funny how looking back I know I should have been happy about the way I looked.

Second, I love my hair in the photo and only wish it could look like that every day when I do it myself as opposed to having it done at the salon. I'm currently growing my hair out for the umpteenth time in my life. I grow it, get sick of it, cut it, then grow it out. A vicious cycle.
If only I could have a stylist at my disposal...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tis the Season...

It's that Time of Year again. Time to Make the Candy Cane Cookies.

These cookies are my dad's favorite. His mother was an excellent baker and would make him these cookies every year. When she died (over 30 years ago), my dad remarked to my mother that he'd never get any candy cane cookies again. Even though my mom does not like making these, to her credit, not a single year has gone by that my dad hasn't enjoyed these cookies! When I was old enough, I started to help. Unfortunately, my grandmother (Mom-Mom) never shared the secret to how to roll/shape these cookies without becoming totally frustrated. The recipe is easy enough:

1 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

Mix first 6 ingredients together well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Add food coloring to 1 portion. Blend well.

Roll 1 teaspoon of each color dough into ropes and 5-1/2-inches long. Lay them side by side. Pinch ends together. Twist to form a spiral. Lay on ungreased baking sheet. Shape to form canes. (This sounds pretty basic. But just try it, it's easier said than done.)
Bake in a 350-deg. F. oven for about 10 minutes until pale gold. Cool on sheet for 2 to 3 minutes then remove. Makes about 4-1/2 dozen. (This is a total lie. We are lucky if we get 2 dozen!!!!).
Over the years, we've tried lots of different tricks to get these shaped just right. My mother always tells me how perfect Mom-Mom made them. So delicate and tiny. Perfectly twisted and shaped. I can't say that about ours. I have gotten better at shaping them, and some do turn out decent, but the majority look sad and pathetic. Ours belong on the Island of Misfit Cookies!

I like to bake and I like to think I got a lot of my grandma's talent in that respect, but I do wish every year that I would have been old enough before she died for her to show me how to make these darn cookies. One year we tried to skimp and we took all the dough, put it into one big log and cut circles out. We justified this by saying that they were peppermint candy cookies. It didn't work. We returned to the candy cane making.
It is a labor of love to make these cookies, and I know my dad appreciates them. No matter what they look like, they taste delicious--they are made with love. And it's one tradition that we'll keep up every year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meet Yahootie

I'm trying to get started on some new Christmas traditions with Bobby now that he's getting older and more active. I have such fond memories of my childhood Christmases. I believed in Santa way too long. I still love the "magic" of Christmas.

I heard about the "Elf on the Shelf" and decided I wanted to get this and start the fun with Bobby. The Elf comes with a book which I read to Bobby. It explains how the scout elf reports back to Santa and gives the rules (ie. you can talk to the elf, but you can't touch him). Each night I move the elf to a new location. Once Bobby gets a little older, I think it will be fun to put the elf in different hiding places and have him find him. One of the first tasks to do with the elf is to "adopt" him and give him a name. I was thinking of waiting on this for a year or two until Bobby could help pick out a name.

However, on Saturday, my parents popped in to see our Christmas decorations and I was showing the elf to my mom. She kept saying he looked familiar and thought maybe she had seen something like that before. I told her that it's supposed to look "retro", and I just think it's so cute.My dad looked at the elf and said it looked like one that his dad (the original Pap-Pap)used to have that sat near his chair. My parents called me last night to tell me they think that Pap-Pap's elf was named Yahootie. That is what I'm naming our elf. Yahootie.