Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kara's First BBall Game

Kara had her first basketball game today and it was quite comical. They just started practice last week--some of the girls have definitely played before but some, like Kara, are just starting. In the first five minutes of the game I'm sure the ref blew the whistle about every 15-30 seconds. They had to do a little coaching at each of the whistle blows--things like no traveling, no double guarding, etc. Here are a few pics from today:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's new?

Not much. Life has continued here pretty much as normal. School is going fine for the kids although Ellie is learning her lesson about saying she isn't learning anything in math and English. She is now doing 2 lessons a day and will finish her current books soon. Hopefully the next levels will be a little more challenging for her. As for Kara, she is having a hard time grasping some English concepts so we've been looking at switching programs for her. She has a totally different learning style than Ellie.

In other news, we are expecting a baby come early to mid June. And it looks like I'm on track to gain 50 pounds with this one too. I put on 50 pounds with each pregnancy but it always comes off after thanks to Weight Watchers. I'm pretty sure my metabolism changes when I'm pregnant and any carbs I eat go straight to my hips and behind. I'm not one of those cute, skinny pregnant people who can post pictures of their bellies and look great. Don't expect any bare belly pics from me! :-)

Tomorrow is officially the first day of winter but for us that started quite awhile ago. We have plenty of snow and it snowed again today. Dan is outside right now playing with the neighbor's snowblower. He and his family left for Mexico for 3 1/2 weeks and asked if we wanted to borrow their snowblower while they were gone. Dan was thrilled although it won't convince him to buy one--he doesn't want to store it and two of our neighbors have offered to snowblow our driveway and sidewalk when necessary. I love having great neighbors!!

Ellie is currently taking tennis lessons and loving it although I can tell she isn't very competitive. She has fun with it and is learning a lot. Kara will start basketball in early January and she is really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hiking in the Smokies

Monday was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine so we decided to do a little hiking in the Smokies. One of the great things about the Smoky Mountain National Park is that the entrance is free!!! For our first hike we chose a trail that ran right next to a river the whole way. It was beautiful!

Here is what the trail looked like the whole way. The river is just to the left of the path.

There were several waterfalls along the path. Here is one of them:

Stopping for a drink:

Stopping for lunch:

While we were stopped for lunch a nice couple riding horses came by. The kids jumped up to watch them and the woman wisely surmised that they might like to pet the horses. Not only did she let them pet them, she let them ride them!! The kids were so excited!

The next couple of pics Dan snapped while I was trying to get a pebble out of my shoe. I had stopped, taken off my shoe and was trying to put it back on allthewhile maintaining my balance and not getting my sock dirty. Well, what made it more difficult was that Natalie decided she'd try to "help" by lifting up my non-shoed foot. Ummmmm. Not really helpful. But it got us all laughing. Very hard. Now imagine trying to maintain your balance and put your shoe back on while you are laughing uncontrollably. :-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Staying in tomorrow?

Seeing as how this is how my husband is looking tonight, it looks like we might be relaxing in the condo tomorrow. Now one thing you must understand--he is never cold, except when he is sick. Here he is lying in front of the fireplace trying to get warm. I did eventually find a spare blanket to put over him. And at least in this picture he doesn't have Kleenex sticking out of his nose as a dam to stop the snot runs. Not a great picture, I know. It drives me crazy when he does it. Oh well. At least he isn't running a fever. And no, he doesn't have H1N1--just a cold. Incidentally, neither one of us has had a cold since we went to Colorado two years ago. Hopefully he gets a good night of sleep tonight and feels better tomorrow (the NyQuil should help with the sleeping).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our trip to Tennessee

We finally made it down here to Pigeon Forge on Saturday. We had planned to leave Rochester by 3:30 on Friday afternoon since we had a hotel reservation in Indianapolis, IN; however, Dan wasn't able to leave work as early as he planned since he was finishing some project. So we took the time while waiting for him to try to find Ellie some hiking shoes. She has grown like a weed and so, of course, none of her shoes fit anymore. We bought her some tennis shoes a couple weeks ago but they haven't even been worn yet and she didn't want to get them dirty. So first we went to Saver's and struck out, then on to the Salvation Army--again nothing there for her. Finally we went down to Goodwill and she found a pair of New Balance tennis shoes for cheap--and they even look decent. But they are a size 9!!!!! And they fit her! I wear a size 9. Of course, she does need bigger feet to support her incredibly long legs.

Anyway, back to the trip. We finally left Rochester a little before 5pm. I packed supper since I didn't want to eat out and I knew it would just add to the time we were on the road. We finally arrived at the hotel at 2am (1am our time). I walked in and told the front desk guy that I wanted to check in, but he said our reservation wasn't in the system. So I had to go back out to the van to get the confirmation--thank goodness I actually printed it out!!!

We crawled into bed and slept for a few hours, then got back up again and hit the road. We had planned to go to the house of some of our friends that moved away last year to Lexington. We had a wonderful time (and delicious food) with them and then we were on our way again.

Here are some pics of our time with our friends:

We left their house and headed down to Tennessee. Now in this neck of the woods it has been raining A LOT!!!! Pretty much nonstop for the last week and a half. Saturday was no exception. It poured all the way from Lexington to Pigeon Forge. So it took us a little longer to get here. The roads were covered with water and we even saw several rollovers. Thankfully we arrived safely. We unpacked in the rain, ate a quick bite for supper, and went straight to bed.

Sunday we just chilled out and did a little swimming. Well, let me qualify that. The kids swam. It was too cold outside for Dan and I. They do have an indoor pool but the outdoor pool has a much better view.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Impromptu Science Lesson

After dinner one night this week the kids and I were sitting around on the deck talking about the frog they had caught earlier in the day. So we decided to dissect it. Yeah, I know, it's quite a leap going from talking about a frog to dissecting it. Don't worry, if we talk about your pet I won't immediately want to dissect it. :-)

Dan is quite squeamish so he stayed away the whole time--too bad cuz it was so much fun!! The kids got to see the frog's heart beating, his lungs, stomach, intestines, tongue, liver, etc. We even opened his stomach to see what was inside! We found several small sweat-bee-looking-bugs, a yellow jacket and parts of a beetle. One of the bugs was still moving slightly! That part was kind of gross but the kids (and I) thought that the rest of it was fascinating. I haven't pithed a frog since college and that was a long time ago.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ice Cream Recipes

I recently got a book from the library with different ice cream, sorbet and granita recipes. I wrote a few down that I wanted to try and this week we made the combination below. They are two different recipes but after they were both made, I layered them in a container so that when they were scooped they were swirled. The combo was delicious!!!

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (makes 1 quart)
1 c dried, shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened (I used regular since I didn't have any unsweetened)
1 c. whole milk (I didn't have any so I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup cream)
2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp rum

Preheat oven to 350. spread coconut on baking sheet and bake 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove when fragrant and golden brown.

In pan, warm milk, 1 cup cream, sugar, salt and add coconut. Scrape vanilla bean into warm milk, add the pod. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.

Rewarm the coconut mixture. Set mesh strainer over another saucepan and strain. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly add the warmed mixture to the eggs and return to saucepan. Stir until thickened. Mix in remaining 1 cup cream. Add vanilla or rum. Chill and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Mango Sorbet (makes 1 quart)
2 large, ripe mangoes (about 2 pounds)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
4 t. fresh lime juice
1 T dark rum
pinch salt

Peel mangoes. Cut the flesh into chunks and put them in a blender with remaining ingredients. Chill and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.

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