Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Day After the Day After Tomorrow

We leave the day after, the day after tomorrow!!! Can you tell I am a little excited to leave for spring break? We are so looking forward to soaking in the sunshine and just relaxing.

I ran some more errands this afternoon and came home a few minutes after Jake got home from school. Immediately when I walked in the door he asked me if I would take him to the mall- he wanted to get a new hat to bring on vacation. So back out we went. (I just got home from the mall :0) Jake ended up getting a Wisconsin hat and two Wisconsin t-shirts. Here is Jake modeling his purchases.

Here is cute picture of Drew reading. He has been rereading all of the Harry Potter books and he has just been devouring them.

Pete and I went out to dinner and then the last Wild game of the season (that we have tickets for). It was a nice night. When we got home I was tucking Drew into bed and noticed his Zamboni collection all lined up. He thought I should get a picture. So cute.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Busy and Blessed

It was a busy day today! I was running from 9:30am to 9pm!! And I am tired now. I had a hair appointment this morning and then did a bunch of errands in the afternoon. I came home and then took the boys to get their haircut.

Then came home and made a nummy dinner. This is the first time I have made this- but will definitely be making it again. It is so quick and simple- and has a ton of flavor.

This recipe came from my mom- who is an awesome cook!

Pasta alla Puttanesca

12 ounces pasta noodles
Olive oil
4 garlic cloves – minced
Two 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes-undrained
6 tablespoons capers – drained
½-teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces kalamata olives – roughly chopped
4 tablespoons parsley – chopped
Anchovy paste (optional)
Parmesan cheese – grated (optional)

Heat water for noodles (do not salt). Add the noodles. Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat oil. Add garlic (and anchovy paste) and sauté. Add tomatoes and cook for about 8minutes. Add capers, olives and red pepper flakes. Drain pasta and add to sauce mixture. Top with parsley and grated parmesan cheese.

And then I left for a 7pm meeting at the high school about college scholarships... I am really starting to feel old :0) - thinking that my oldest son is talking colleges already--how can this be??? It seems like just yesterday he was in kindergarten...

But the best part of the day was when I got home from the meeting Tyler and I chatted until 11pm. Drew had gone to bed, Pete and Jake were at Jake's hockey and Ty and I just chatted and chatted...and chatted. He (and me too)seems to love that evening time- when the house is quiet and it is just the two of us. We talked about everything from school, to politics, to friends, to God and everything in between. Boy- he is such a great 'kid' with such a great head on his shoulders. It is amazing to see him blossoming and turning into such a fine man. What a blessing!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Restful Day

Another restful day--- we slept in, made a nice breakfast, read the Sunday newspaper and watched CBS Sunday Morning (a favorite show of Pete, Drew and me). It was a very relaxing morning! Later in the afternoon, I ran to go tanning (I know, I know- I shouldn't be doing this- but we are leaving on vacation on Friday and I really don't want to burn when we are on the cruise!!!) Then I went to Target to get some stuff we needed for vacation and some groceries.

When I got home Pete and I took Bella for a long walk. It was absolutely perfect walking weather- 45 and sunny!!! I guess I was lucky to get out and enjoy this weather because they are talking about a snowstorm Tuesday!! Only in Minnesota, can we have such beautiful weather one day and snow the next!!

For dinner we grilled some pork chops with the best marinade- --Lawry's Caribbean Jerk.

Our whole family absolutely loves this and it is so easy. We use this marinade alot when we grill pork and chicken! At dinner tonight, Jake said this is what he wants for his birthday dinner! That's how much we like it!

And maybe we are getting in the mood for our Caribbean vacation a little bit too :0)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nothing on the Calendar

Today was a great day! With nothing on the calendar- we got to sleep in- which is definitely a special treat. Then I just putzed around the house most of the morning doing laundry and playing on the computer. But one of the best things that happened this morning was that Drew decided to clean his room!!!!!!!!! He even got rid of his old candy--- from Halloween and the past 2 Valentine's days! Yuck!

I so wish I had a before picture of his room---but I do have an after picture.

This afternoon, Pete and I headed over to Mall of America to do a little shopping for our vacation. Pete need to get some new Tevas, a couple pair of shorts and some shirts. I found a cute white denim jacket and a couple of t-shirts. We stopped for a nice lunch at Twin Cities Grill- I had the best french dip sandwich! We were walking thought the mall and saw a store that I didn't even know was at the mall- one I visited 2 times in London and once in Paris....

I love this store! Lush! I seriously could spend a lot of money here... but today I just looked. But now that I know we have one so close... I will be back :0)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Girl Scout Samoas

I found this recipe on the internet and I so need to try it!!! These are my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie. I only dare order a box (or maybe two :0) because I can not stop with just one!!!

Homemade Samoas Bars

Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Shoes

Drew suggested that I blog about this....

Drew needed new shoes before we leave for our cruise next week. I knew his shoes were getting small-- but I had no idea how badly he did need new shoes! Yesterday, I picked Drew up from school and we headed to Famous Footwear to start our shopping. I measured his foot and it was a size 9!!! His old shoes were size 7!!! Boy- I felt like a bad mom :0) He tried a few pairs of shoes on- but was not completely sure and wanted to look a little more.

So we got in the car and headed to Dick's Sporting Goods to check out the shoes there. Now these stores are only maybe 5 miles apart- so in theory this should be a quick trip- but this road has "300" stop lights on it. So what should be a few minute drive turns into a good 20 minutes!!!

We are getting out of the car at Dick's and Drew says; "Where's my hat?" We look all over the car with no luck. We realize he must have left it on the bench back at Famous Footwear. Argh!!!

We go into Dick's to see what they have- but Drew really doesn't see anything that he likes better than what he saw at Famous Footwear. We get back in the car- and head back the 20 minute drive to FF to get the hat and look at the shoes again.

Lucky for us- Drew finds his hat....and finds some shoes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Infirmary

Just call our house the infirmary... This is totally how I have felt lately. Tyler was sick/in the hospital all of last week with meningitis. Just when he starts feeling better Drew comes down with high fever and sore throat on Saturday. He is home from school Monday and Tuesday. He is ready to go back today (Wednesday)---when Jake wakes up this morning with the same high fever and sore throat!!! I am beginning to feel like we are running an infirmary and that you should just call me 'Nurse Kathie'.

A funny story on this same subject: my neighbor had called to see how the boys were doing and she said she accidentaly called her doctors office instead of my phone number....Yup- this is feelng exactly like a doctors office.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Science Fair

Drew has been working on a project for the school science fair for the past couple of months. He worked so hard on his project: "What Type of Bridge Design Can Withstand the Most Weight?" and it turned out great!
These first two pictures of Drew building the popsicle stick bridges.

Drew testing his bridges.

Here are all the bridges Drew tested.

And finally--- the science fair.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

This is from an old email- I just totally loved it.

Today is the first day of spring! I got to thinking about all the work we put into our yard and garden in order to get them spiffed up for a glorious spring and summer.

The heather is fluffed up in all the right places and my daffodils clump together with their mouths open like quartets singing big round letter Os. The tulips aren't
up yet but I'm sure they are in the last stages of hard labor. The maple trees that line our drive-way have another week before they burst out with new leaves. It was while walking around the yard that it hit me what a miracle this thing called spring is!

What if we had to pay for it?

I imagined my husband saying,

"With the economy the way it is right now, we just don't have the money to pay for a full blown spring. So you're gonna have to make some decisions about what you absolutely have to have bloom as far as your roses go and we REALLY have a tree dilemma!"

"A tree dilemma? What d'ya mean?"

"I mean you're gonna have to pick which ones you want to leaf out and which ones we can leave bare. We can't afford to pay for them all. I know how much you love the walnut tree, but do you have any idea how many leaves have to go on just that one tree to fill it out? And then there are the birds."

"What about the birds?"

"We just can't afford to bring 'em all in this year. Do you realize how much it costs to travel these days? So again, you need to decide which birds you can do without. You can choose ONE. Pick a bird."

"Pick a bird?"

"That's what I said."

"But I need my Rufuses, and the robins and the finches and the chickadees and my quail and my crows -oh and I have to have my blue birds!"

"I wish we could afford all of 'em, Honey, but just take those blue birds for example, they ship from 3,000 miles away! And as much as you love the robins, the cost of feathers (especially red ones) has gone up 150% in the last year. Oh and those humming birds you love so much are energy guzzlers and we just can't afford to have them this year. Pick a bird."

When I came out of my fantasy dialogue I was filled with gratitude! Spring is FREE! ALL my trees get to leaf, ALL my roses get to bloom, ALL my birds get to come, ALL my chipmunks, squirrels, pheasants, and deer, will be enjoying a very free spring right along with me.

Thank you God!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Good to Be Home

These past 5 days have been such a whirlwind and it seems like it has been 5 weeks (not days)!!

Tyler had not been feeling well since Friday- during the day he was real tired and then that evening he started getting a bad headache. He went to bed thinking that he would be feeling better in the morning- but Saturday his head was feeling even worse.

By Sunday afternoon, Tyler said that he thought he should go to the Dr. I totally jumped at that- this is not something he would ever say- so I knew he was feeling really bad. When your big 17 year old son says he needs to go to the doctor--you go!!

Pete took Ty to urgent care. His white blood count was 11,000. High is 7,000. They told Pete to take him to the emergency room so they could do some more tests. I was at a year end hockey party with Drew. I found a ride home for Drew and left to meet Ty and Pete at the ER.

At the ER, they took more blood, did a CT scan and then did a spinal tap. The results of the spinal tap was 400 (which I think was white blood cells found in the fluid) and normal is up to 4. So they told us he had meningitis but they weren't sure yet if it was bacterial (very bad) or viral.

So they were going to admit him, get his pain under control, stop the nausua and start treatment like it was bacterial- giving him IV antibiotics.

Ty was so sick and in a lot of pain... as a mother you feel so helpless when one of your 'babies' get so sick - even if your baby is a big 17 year old boy.

Here are a couple of picture I took times he was feeling a little better.
This first picture is Tyler with the balloon and stuffed animal the Kuriscak family sent.

One of the nights at the hospital he was working on his basketball picks for the March Madness basketball pool he is in. He thought it would be pretty humorous if he ended up winning...

A joke between Grandma and Tyler- something about the door never getting closed and if Ty asked for something from the nurses he could hit the button 'that was easy'...

By Wednesday, Tyler was very anxious to get out of the hospital. When the Dr. gave the discharge orders- the doctor had no sooner walked out of the room and Tyler had his hospital gown off, clothes and shoes on, and was ready to go...even though we still had to get the papers and his IV taken out.

On the way home I asked Tyler what he wanted to do first...He said take a shower and then have a peanut butter sandwich (his all time favorite food!!)...

It is good to be home!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Great Grandpa Fred

Here is one more tribute to Grandpa- this is a paper Jake wrote for school before Grandpa got sick. My Dad included this in the beautiful eulogy he gave at Grandpa's funeral. I thought this paper was so sweet and so touching written by a then 12 year old boy.

Great Grandpa Fred
By Jake

If I told you the funniest man I know is an eighty-seven year old great-grandfather would you believe me? Even if you don’t, that doesn’t change the fact that my great-grandpa Fred is the funniest guy I know. Fred lives in an assisted living apartment in Eagan. When you go into room 321 and open up the door, you would see an old man with light gray hair and he is as tall as I want to be some day. His veins pop out and he has very soft hands. Sometimes he is a little forgetful, but when you look into his eyes, behind his glasses, you see how much he’s been through. Bravely, he fought in WWII, and he did such a good job he was awarded the bronze star. My great-grandpa loves his country very much, and that is why I admire him.

In his life he didn’t just fight in a war, he had other amazing achievements too. He got married to a lady named Margaret and had three kids: James, John, and Monnie. (James is my grandfather). Everyday he worked very hard to keep food on the table. My great-grandfather didn’t make a huge income as a magazine distributor, but their family always had the necessities. There was never a day where he didn’t work hard. His soft, quiet voice can sometimes be hard to hear, but his message is so important. He is the best storyteller I know.

I think when my great-grandpa fought in WWII he learned something about himself. He would much rather help someone than be helped. Today he still hates when people help him. The problem is sometimes he will forget to eat. When we were going to move him into an assisted living apartment, he did everything he could to stay in his old apartment. Reluctantly, he finally moved to the new apartment. Even in his new apartment he does some of his normal activities. Every Sunday he watches the Packers with my grandpa, and Culvers is still his favorite restaurant by far.

My great-grandpa enjoys staying in his room, so he doesn’t go out very often. The few times he does go out he makes a huge impression on who he meets. At first when people look at him they see a sweet old man. When they talk to him he gives them different words to describe him. People who talk to him would call him vivacious and hysterical. My great-grandpa is shy, but when he opens his shell he is an extremely interesting person.

Saying my grandpa is interesting is an understatement to all the wonderful accomplishments he has completed. There are no words in the English dictionary that would describe how special he is to me. My great-grandpa Fred is one of the greatest men I know.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Gift of Time

My grandfather passed away just a little over a year ago from a devastating disease- Alzeimers. He taught us so much about the important things in life: faith in God, the importance of family and friendship, and love.

I was really trying to get this post done for that year date (March 7th) but just couldn't get it all put together by then. These are some thoughts I had written down last year when I was given a most beautiful gift- the gift of time to spend with my Grandpa.

• Sitting at lunch at the Masonic Home dining hall--- he looked over at me and so kindly said; “you know that I know who you are- I can’t always remember your name- but I know who you are.” Grandpa said this because all the nurses, aids, and therapists kept asking him who was with him & he would look at me with such loving eyes and would try to come up with the right words. He would sometimes say ‘my daughter-in-law’ or sometimes ‘my granddaughter’. Sometimes he would say Kath or Kathie. I told him I knew it gets confusing sometimes with my mom’s name & my name being the same.

• At the hospital the second time—Uncle John asked Grandpa if he knew who I was. "Grandpa looked at me with such loving eyes and nodded his head. He couldn’t say anything, but I could tell just by looking in his eyes that he knew me. I said; “you know who I am don’t you Grandpa?” and he nodded again.

• Grandpa telling me about his war buddies— "If you saw one of them you saw the other ones. Good friends are what get you through."

• Telling me about him being the baby in the family, his dad dying when he was 7 or 8. He went out in his car and it had just snowed, his sister left for work and found his car in a ditch not far from their home. He went everywhere with his mother, church, cards. They never had a lot of money, but they had what they needed. As soon as they were old enough they had to pay room and board.

• He was not drafted when he was 18 because he had a dependent- his mother. But when he was 19, he was drafted because then it didn’t matter if you had dependents or not.

• He was in the army for over 3 years. He had met Margaret before going to war, and they fell in love writing letters back and forth.

• I told him that I wish I had gotten to know Margaret & he said: "I wish you did too."

• Grandpa giving us the gift of time to say good-bye to him.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Birthday Blessings

Today is my sister Kim's birthday. I am so lucky to have her in my life- I feel so blessed because we are sister's and also friends. I feel so fortunate that we live close enough that we are able to easily share our lives. I also feel so blessed that our families are able to spend so much time together and my boys are growing up with such special cousins in their lives.

I was trying to find a really old picture of us- but the oldest one I have scanned and already on the computer is from high school...hmmm- I guess that was along time ago--20 some years !!! But- I think I need to try to scan in some more old family photos from even earlier...Here we are in my old room at my parents old house. (I love those fluffy light blue curtains :0)

And a more recent picture~

Happy Birthday Kim!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mascot Magnet

Last night, Pete and Drew braved the cold and the icy roads to go see a Wild game. I think this first picture is so funny- because wherever Drew goes the mascots seem to find him. I call him a "mascot magnet." (This gives me an idea for a future post- to find all the pictures we have of Drew with various mascots:0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Takes a Village to Light a Tree :0)

Another story from Christmas 2008....

I was so happy- we had gotten our “pre-lit” Christmas tree up and decorated fairly early this year- and it looked great (if I don’t say so myself). Ha! That is until the top part of the tree lights went out.

Pete (and Drew) tried his hardest to get those darn lights lit again- but no luck. I really was dreading undecorating, putting up more lights, and redecorating the tree.

I was telling my mom about our light malfunction and a few days later she called me to tell me of an article she had seen in the newspaper of a handy gadget that helps you fix Christmas lights. So I grabbed our paper and cut out the article of the “Lightkeeper Pro”.

Pete and I each checked a bunch of stores over the next few days, but we had no luck in finding one in stock. So Pete decides to call his Sister who works at Lowe’s in Owatanna to see if they might have one- but they are sold out. She however is able to track one down at the Lowe’s in Rochester (where Father-in-law lives). So Pete calls Rochester Lowe’s and orders one, and Father-in-law picks it up, and ships it to us. It arrives the next day and Dear Husband works on repairing our tree. It took quite a while- but it looks soooo much better!!!

So- it seems that it takes a village to light a (our) Christmas tree. (Or at least a Mother, me, a Sister-in-law, a Father-in-law, a son and a Dear Husband.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Memories of my 40th Birthday

I celebrated my 40th Birthday this past November and I wanted to share some memories of my perfect day.

The day started out with this...

and breakfast (coffee, juice, and a newspaper) in bed. I knew it was going to be a great day!!!

We have a tradition in our house that we all gather in our bed so the birthday person can open presents first thing in the morning. (This worked a little easier when the boys were much littler :0)

I got some great presents from Pete and the boys: an IHome, UGG boots, a Dept 56 house and some spending money.

Here are some beautiful roses from my friend Deb.

This is the card Drew made for me and the Reese's treat he gave me (he knows what my favorite candy is :0)

And here he is serenading me with his trumpet- playing 'Happy Birthday!'

Pete and I met for lunch at Panera Bread and then went over to Barnes and Noble to browse and get a few books. I absolutely love just poking around Barnes and Noble. Pete bought me a stack of books and also a Starbucks!!!

Then, later in the day- around 4pm I get an Email from Pete:

Kathie's Special Dinner
Kathie, I have a reservation for 5:30pm. We will leave our house at 5:15.
I have spoken with Tyler, he will meet us there.


So, we get in the car and Pete tells me we have to make a quick stop first. We drive around a little bit (I think to throw me off) and then he pulls into Bucca parking lot. I know something is going on at this point... We walk in and...

Here is all my family and a couple of friends helping me celebrate my 40th. Starting on the left: my friends Kyle and Deb , niece Sophia, me, my Mom, my sister Kim, brother-in-law Ron, niece Mary, my Dad, nephew Thomas, Jake, Drew, Pete and Tyler.

My parents gave me this beautiful Pandora charm bracelet.

And here is a nice picture of me, my mom and my sister.

It was an absolute perfect day!!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Look Up

Job 22:25-26

The Almighty himself will be your treasure.
He will be your precious silver!

“Then you will take delight in the Almighty
and look up to God

The challenge is to take photos that represent the theme for the week. Week one of the photo challenge was 'Look up'. Here are my pictures from the week...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Home and Garden Show.... and Drew's Last Game

Pete and I went to the Home and Garden Show today. I love walking around and seeing all the fun ideas and beautiful products for your home- but my favorite part is the garden area! I loved all the flowers and the beautiful landscaping. It sure gets you in the mood for spring!! Here are some pictures I took at the show.

And then later- Drew had his final hockey game of the season tonight. He is now a Pee-wee...so now he can 'officially' start checking. :0) Here are a couple of pictures of the last game.

You have to look close- but that is Drew in the penalty box...

And leaving the rink...

He looks a little sad... is it because the season is over...or because they lost their last game....or maybe a little of both??