Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Every year we decorate our yard. Each year we try to find something new to add. Here are some pictures of our yard this Halloween as well as pictures of the three that went out trick or treating this year.

Baby Spinach, Tomato Pita Pizza

Trying to find a more healthy pizza for Todd and I, I came up with this recipe. It is much lower in carbs for us, which is needed for Todd's diabetes and me being border line diabetic. I hope you all enjoy!

For a Recipe of Baby Spinach, Tomato Pita Pizza
please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.

Baby Spinach, Tomato Pita Pizza

English Muffin Pizza

This recipe was given to us by Joshua's Kindergarten teacher and has been one of the boys' favorite Saturday lunches.
For a Recipe of English Muffin Pizza, please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.

English Muffin Pizza

Stuffed Banana Peppers

One of our favorites is stuffed banana peppers. Last year was our first year growing banana peppers and Todd came across a recipe for stuffed banana peppers. Oh what a treat they were. We definitely had to include banana peppers as a regular in our garden because nothing is better then fresh banana peppers stuffed.
For a Recipe of Stuffed Banana Peppers please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.

Stuffed Banana Peppers

Friday, October 29, 2010

Flashback Friday 9

This week’s Friday Flashback will be of Halloween’s past, well Halloween past as long as I owned this digital camera. Unfortunately our scanner is broken and I am unable to scan all other the Halloween’s prior. Never fear I will post those as next year’s Friday Flashback.
Halloween 2006
Emily as a School Girl

Matthew as a Dark Zelda

Noah and Ethan, my Knights in shining armor

Halloween 2007

Sorry, this picture is tiny. I will look to see if I can find a larger one. Noah is the Dark Zelda this year, Ethan an Army guy, and Joshua is an adorable Mime.

Halloween 2008

My favorite year so far. Joshua as James Bond, Matthew as the Joker, Ethan as Luigi, and Noah as Mario.

Halloween 2009

Joshua as a rapper

Noah as a Ninja

Ethan as a Zombie (my personal favorite of his.)

Emily as a jungle cat

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We Won!!!!

My Department's pumpkin won the contest. It felt great being on such a creative team!

Woo Hoo and it's not even Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Contest

Halloween ranks in the top 3 holidays to me. Where I work we always have a pumpkin carving contest. Typically I am unable to participate because this is our busy season and we have temporary employees who sit near me. I am chained to my desk to assist if they need me. This year our business is very slow, even during our peak time so we did not hire temporary employees. This gave me the opportunity to be creative with some of my co-workers today and help represent our department. There were 5 of us and we had a good time.

Our masterpiece. Each department had 1 hour to carve and decorate our pumpkins. It took the 5 of us the entire hour, 5 hot glue guns and 11 bags of candy corns.

Below is another picture of our pumpkin and our competition. They will announce the winners later this week.

Wednesday Woo Hoos

This edition of Wednesday Woo Hoos is brought to you by the letter “W” because it’s WEDNESDAY.

Woo Hoo for having a job at this time. The work environment is a tough one anymore, so I do appreciate my job.

Woo Hoo for my cousin Bruce for being a sensitive guy and expressing his love. Woo Hoo for my cousin Angel for being just her. I’m so glad that I have reconnected with both.

Woo Hoo for high school friends that I have reconnected with as well. I just wish we lived closer because I would love to have a ya-ya group.

Woo Hoo for dance lessons, although we will have only 1 more class next week, I love dancing with my sweetheart. I love the time we get to be out and do something. I love the way it makes me feel as well as the laughs my husband provides for me.

Woo Hoo for me following the low sodium diet to lose weight this month. Now I need to do a better job to lower the blood pressure.

This Woo Hoo is for having prayers answered after Miranda’s last seizure.

Another Woo Hoo for the understanding that all things must pass and what I have now is a very good thing. I have a wonderful husband who loves me and is willing to do anything legal for me. ;) I have 4 good kids that may test my patience and tend to have harsh tongues but I do know they love me. I have a Mother who is willing to listen and guide me when needed. I have great in laws, I could not ask for better. I have step-daughters that are pretty neat as well. I have several new Internet friends, friends from work as well as friends in the past that I keep in touch with. As my blog title state: With a Little Help From My Friends--

Woo Hoo for my Father having a year sobriety. I only hope he continues.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Moans

Oh it’s been awhile but this Monday deserves some moans. I was a little tea pot on the stove top and I blew last week. I am feeling a little relieved but in hopes this will be the final of it and then look for my Zen. I will definitely have Wednesday Woo Hoos following this weeks Monday Moans, this will always be a requirement of mine if I am going to moan you will be hearing me woo hoo too.

This Mooooooooaaaaaan is for teams of doctors that can not figure out what is wrong with a patient, more in particular Miranda. Come on, this little baby has been poked and scanned enough, why are you unable to figure out what syndrome she has? Seriously I know I am not a doctor and I do not know maybe someone can not have more then one syndrome, but it looks like this is the case of Miranda she may be your exception. I have read that some syndromes have mild cases, could it be possible she has a mild syndrome of more then one? If so why can you not treat them? Why make this child go through so many scans and surgeries to figure it out? She is a happy little thing and deserves not to be in pain. Would you do the same for your child, leaving it unconfirmed or would you put forth a little more effort to figure out what is really going on? She keeps having the seizures and she is not gaining weight definitely there is something there, the I am not sure is getting old.

A Mooooooooaaaaaan for teenagers. Oh how you test a parent’s patience. I do not know why this generation feels that they are ‘entitled’. Is it our society? Is it the media? Yes, you have rights but you are still a dependent. You are not an adult yet and seriously, you do not know everything! Yes, I know I do not either, but trust me, on many levels of fields, I do know more then you do. You may remember things that you are being taught in school, and I may have had that knowledge when needed but if you do not use them day to day and you do not remember it, it does not qualify you as uneducated.

The next Mooooooooaaaaaan goes out to the new HealthCare Reform Act. Alright there are a few good things about you but you have so many things I just do not understand why as well as you are impacting my job big time. Due to you, my job may no longer exist after the first of the year, not only mine but several of my co-workers in my department as well as several other departments within my company. You have also hiked up the cost of insurance this year.

Mooooooooaaaaaan for getting older. I hate the fact that I am feeling older then I really am. It really stinks big time. I know part of this is my own fault by becoming so depressed and not putting me first with health and exercise.

Here is a biggie…Mooooooooaaaaaan on how my children can understand or forgive their Father, or more like not tell him off as they do me. He has the much easier role as a parent. He does not have to deal with the day to day issues of their life. He does not have to deal with guidance or discipline and because of this he is viewed as the ‘fun’ person or the ‘good’ parent. He can get away with giving them less; although they are angry about it they do not voice it to him. I am not sure if this is because they see him less and do not want to jeopardize that. I do not know if it is because they know I will always be there for them regardless, but it stinks that I have the wrath of the wicked and hurtful tongue. It does not seem quite fair maybe someday when they grow up and mature they will be able to see how unfair it really is until then, my heart will ache from time to time. I can not harden my heart to my children; I just can not do that.

A huge MOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAN to my Mother’s side of the family (with exception of one cousin. I just feel he is very genuine and not catty.) I HATE the thought how greed can over rule everything else when it comes time for a death in the family. The same amount of emphasis on this MOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAN to my Father’s side of the family (again an exception to one cousin for the same reason.) They have a plenty of skeletons and eventually the lies you weave comes back to bite you in the rear. This leads into a MOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAN for FAKE people. I have dealt with enough blood relatives as fake as can be and those who are posers as friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

For a Recipe of Meatball Sub Sandwiches, please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

My Meatloaf

I have to tell everyone right from the start, I have some picky eaters. Now most kids are to some degree and the older two have broaden their taste buds as they have grown. My youngest has always enjoyed more then any of his brothers to start and that leaves my third child as my pickiest ever. He is doing better at least with a variety of meat now. He used to eat only ham and hot dogs, occasionally a chicken nugget. I have had to doctor up so to say some recipes just to have my boys eat them. Meatloaf is one of the meals I had to cook just a little differently. I follow the recipe except with the meat mixture I add 1/3 c ketchup. Here is my recipes boys for you to be able to enjoy when you are out on your own.

For a Recipe of Meatloaf, please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Noah and Maddy sitting in a tree
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage.

After arriving home from taking Joshua to have his Senior Pictures taken and grocery shopping, my son Ethan met us in the garage with a huge smile on his face. He had to announce that he caught Noah kissing Maddy under the pine tree. He mentioned they were looking around and ducked under this huge pine tree in the back and were kissing for awhile. Oh goodness he is only in 5th grade, still in elementary.

I brought it up to Todd a little later while we were in our room and he just started to laugh and told me he has been kissing her for awhile. He too had observed them kissing under the pine tree. He was out on our porch the other day and witnessed the same thing. He told me he had to take a double look because he was not sure that he saw what he did.

I do not want to make a big deal of this because it really is not a big deal yet, but if her mother were to catch them then that would be the end of the two being friends. She grounded poor Maddy this Summer for 3 weeks when she saw them hugging.

I did talk to Noah asking him what he did. He was bright red when we talked and told me some of his friends from school caught them too and now he knows they will be teasing him at school on Monday about it too. Awh, to be young and have such minor problems in life again. he he he

All Things Must Pass

Since my Mother's accident May 2009, I have missed family. I even blogged about this in the past. I miss the old days when we all would get together for weekends as well as holidays. Things always change that is a given but it is sad at times how and why.

My Father's side: When my parents divorced my Father's side of the family started to leave us out. I know if my Grandfather was alive this would have never happened. At times I could not understand why none of my aunts would stand up for us, well one did but why they never reached out to us. This family has some very dark skeletons in the closet and tends to turn their heads to a lot of issues. I think this explains why no one stood up for us and my sister when she lived there for a few months. One of my aunts reached out to me earlier this year. She created a family tree on a website and I was beginning to get reacquainted with my some of my aunts and cousins. They then found me on facebook. I loved this because I was longing for it. I thought that this was wonderful everyone was growing up and things have changed. I was wrong. They would post pictures of weddings that none of my sisters or I was even invited to just a few months ago. There was this large family picture, my Grandmother, all of my cousins minus my older two cousins, their dad (my uncle), my father, and my sisters and I. This picture they had a caption about what a great looking picture of their entire family. They would post status about how great it is to be with one another and how everyone will be doing this or that. It was as if someone was pouring vinegar over open wounds. They had not changed one bit, difference was, now they were just rubbing it in my face.

My Mother's side: This side fell apart after my Grandfather died. My Mom was made executor and her siblings even more greedy then ever. Prior to my Grandfather dieing they always went to my Mom for help. Their real Mother died when they were young and always looked up to my Mother to help them except for money then it was my Grandparents. Just moments after my Grandfather died they stood over his body telling my Mom they want this or that. My Grandfather gave her strict instructions as to what he wanted done with everything. The house was left to my Mom to have because she took care of him while he was sick up to the last month and then finally needed help from her siblings because she had no more time to take from work. All of his possessions were to be sold at bluebook or appraised amount and then split into 1/8 and split between his children. His John Deer Stock was to be split into 1/8. He made my Mom sole beneficiary of his life insurance but told her to split it 1/8 between all of them as well. His step children were to collect money from one of them that owed him money. She was suppose to pay 1/5 of what she owed to her brothers and sisters. He did not leave them anything except for that. His lawyer told my Mom that she did not have to split the life insurance legally and if she wanted to keep it then she was entitled because the will did not speak of it, however my Mom knew what her Dad had said and split the amount between all of them. Her brothers and sisters wanted his possessions but did not want to pay as it was stated. They were mad at my Mom because she did stick to his will for that. They felt that they should have 1/8 of the house too, however because of their actions my Mom had decided to keep it all for herself. They were constantly calling her wanting all the money now. They did not want to wait until my Mom had all the bills paid for regarding his medical treatment. They did not want to wait for my Mom to file his taxes. They grew impatient and half of them went to a lawyer to see if they could do something and get more. The lawyer told them they did not have anything to stand on, that she has given them more then they were entitled to. This angered them so much. This was the last straw for my Mom, they were calling her and telling her that she was cheating them. It was this action that my Mom chose to keep the house her Father told her to have for herself. One of her brothers passed away maybe a year ago. My Mom was not allowed to even go to her own brother's funeral because of all this greed and hard feelings. My cousins felt their father was out of line, they did include my Mom in the obituary as well as made a private viewing time for my Mom to be able to say good bye to him.

This week: I do not know what snapped in my but I had enough. Family does not act like this at all! After seeing a status on facebook from one of my cousins on my Father's side I posted a comment about how can people divorce children from the family. I'm tired of them leaving us (my sisters) out. I made some family members not happy and I did not care. I'm not that 17 year old any longer. Two of my aunts and cousins de-friended me. This same status made another cousin from my Mother's side comment. She thought I was talking about my Mom's side. She asked me if I knew what was going on with my Uncle Billy. Only because of my status, I found out that my uncle's kidneys and liver had shut down and was not expected to make it through the night. I called my Mom and let her know. She and my Father went to visit him and my aunt was very pleasant to my Mom. She told her what the plans were and told her that she would not be left out of this brother's death.

Two days later Mom saw the obituary at the funeral. She was so distraught, once again she was being shut out. She was not even listed as a sibling nor was my Grandfather listed as a Step-Father. I was so angry over this that I posted a new status about hating fake people. An aunt from my father's side then snapped at me saying she knew it was about her status. I told her that it had nothing to do with her or my father's side but my Mom's and told her why. She then apologized to me and then we argued via email. Next thing I found out was that she blocked me from her status and wall information of facebook. What is with them, seriously do they think this is going to hurt me? How immature are they? Okay, maybe I did lose my temper by stating my comments but I do not see it any different then what they are doing by posting their comments. Alright I know I am suppose to be a good person, but we all have our moments.

Today was my uncles memorial. I have been upset for the last time due extended family. I do not long to be near them any more. I will keep my memories, some will still be fond but I do have a great understanding...All things must pass. No matter how much is said and done, nothing will ever be the same again. I'm actually at peace with this and I am perfectly fine. I am in a place in my life that I am very happy. I have my four boys. I have my husband. I have my Mom. I have my step daughters and sisters when they wish. I have my husband's family. I also have several friends that will always be there for me. I do not think I am missing anything.

I do have one cousin that touches my heart. She still continues to wish to stay connected. This touches my heart because I know it will put her in the middle at times and this is not what I wish to do to her. I do love all of them, I just have to look at what is best for me and their treatments is not good. I also have one male cousin, he has always had a special spot in my heart. I don't know what it was, maybe how he was picked on by his sister and mine. He has this huge heart and was truly upset when my Mom was not included with her brother's funeral the first time. It take a true man to cry over something like that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday 8

It's been a while since I have done a Flashback Friday...
I love this picture of my boys. This was Easter weekend 2007. Connie reserved two rooms for us to spend the night in Bettendorf and then to her house to celebrate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Witch's Hat Cookies

For a Recipe of Witch's Hat Cookies, please click on the link below
or go to "Recipes" at the top of my page.

Witch's Hat Cookies

Vacation 2010

This year was a little different, we did not have a "said vacation" this year. Typically Todd and I take two weeks off and do something as a family one of the week to just get away from Iowa City. This year as I said it was different. We had to replace our furnace the first week in December 2009 and we had to replace the central air unit July 2010. This was not the only reason why, Todd's job made some major changes this year and no one was to take time off at the beginning of this change which happened to be during the Summer. Todd worked for the Iowa City Emergency Communication Center (Dispatcher). Johnson County and Iowa City centers joined as one this past Summer. It was/is a huge change and for the most part will be a good one when everything is in place. This center is the first in Iowa to do this and it truly makes sense because every second counts when in an emergency event, No more transferring to the other center before responding to the emergency, just because the call was routed to the wrong center.

Due to these events we just had two family weekend vacations and Todd and I had three weekend vacations for ourselves, one to celebrate our anniversary.

Family Weekend Vacation #1
Wisconsin Dells

Since 2006, it is hard to get everyone of our children to go on vacation with us as a family. This is all part of them growing up and becoming responsible working adults. This year's first family vacation both Kera and Matthew were unable to attend. We had a good time and I think it was just what we needed with Emily. She seemed to re-bond with the boys and it was wonderful to see.

Poseidon's Rage (Large Wave Pool) I believe was the family's favorite

My family is towards the upper left waving.

Joshua and Noah after a water tube ride.

The plunge of death water slide above and below is Todd's run.

Emily and Noah after riding a water slide.

Right after Noah was told he is too short to drive the Go Kart.

Joshua starting his race.

Emily heading out of the starting block as well.

The race is on. Ethan is driving car 27.

It looks like the leader of this race is Todd.

Our Suite at Hotel Rome. We had 2 bedrooms, a living area, full kitchen, 2 baths, and a small patio.

We had a good time but we were also ready to come home, worn out and tired from all of the sun and the lines were so long. Several of us were lobsters, yours truly was the worst.

Family Weekend Vacation #2
Bettendorff, IA

I'm very fortunate that my Mother-in-law can get nice rooms for us at the Isle of Capri hotel in Bettendorff. Todd and I are so grateful to her when she does this. Most of the time it is a wonderful get away weekend for Todd and I. One weekend this Summer we planned on taking the kids with us, it ended up only being Ethan and Noah but it was a nice relaxing get away. We all went swimming and just hung out in the room. We brought the Wii for when Todd and I were on the Casino boat for a couple of hours the boys had something to do as well. After dinner the first night we all went for a walk along the Mississippi River to a little park.

Ethan and the bridge connecting Bettendorff, IA and Moline, IL

Noah and Ethan along the Mississippi River.

Some swans the boys were very interested in.

A couple of sculptures at the park along the Mississippi River.

Todd & My Weekend Vacation #1
Chicago, IL

Todd and I had some time for 'us' this Summer as well. Our first weekend get-away was to Chicago. We wanted to do something different so we surfed the Internet to find different attractions in Chicago. I came across a botanical center that happened to be giving away free tulip bulbs that day as well while they lasted. What a great combination I thought. He was into gardening so maybe he would enjoy this as well. So we set off to the Garfield Park Conservatory to enjoy. We ended up walking out with two bags full of tulip bulbs to plant this fall in our front yard. We were there for 3 hours enjoying the different types of palm trees, ferns, outdoor floors, exotic flowers and plants, and cactus. After 20 minutes being there Todd told me he was glad we came and he was enjoying this more then he thought. What a partner in life I have. He agreed to go somewhere and do something he did not think he was going to enjoy entirely, he was open minded and ended up enjoying it thoroughly. The rest of the weekend we just enjoyed different restaurants that only Chicago had to offer. Our first Chicago style pizza was delicious. Below are a few pictures that I took that weekend.

Todd & My Weekend Vacation #2
Bettendorff, IA

Every 3-4 months Todd and I have a weekend retreat to the Isle of Capri courtesy of his Mother. She has spoiled us with beautiful suites and dinner. I would say the majority of time we do not even step foot on to the boat and gamble. We end up taking movies along to watch on the lap top and a good book. It is nice just to have some quality quiet time and relaxation from our normal hussle bustle world. Our children keep us very busy with typical stages of their lives and we both work opposite time from one another these retreats are such a needed break as a couple. This time was our first to go for a walk along the Mississippi River. I had to bring my camera with us because the sun was starting to set and I wanted a picture of the bridge at sunset.

Todd & My Weekend Vacation #3
Chicago, IL

Todd and I took off to Chicago to celebrate our anniversary this year. We thought it would be nice to see the Field Museum again and plan time on the Navy Pier, one of our favorite places in Chicago. It's kind of like "Our Place" since our romantic dinner cruise on The Spirit of Chicago. The Field Museum was celebrating Sue's 10th Anniversary and had a robotic dinosaur display as well.

Navy Pier, Our favorite spot in Chicago, especially in the evening. We had a wonderful dinner at Riva and enjoyed strolling on the pier. This weekend vacation was my favorite. Next time we go to Chicago (weather permitting) I would love to see Millineium Park and some day see the "Tall Ships" exhibition at Navy Pier.

He Loves Me