Sunday, September 14, 2008

Joey has been helping me like crazy and the new WordPress blog is up and running! WOOHOO! :) While I'm still making adjustments and tweaks, all my new posts will be at my new blog. This will be my last post here at blogger! Here's the link to my new blog - please update your favorites!! :D

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lots of Changes Happening
You'll be seeing lots of changes here on my little blog. Joey's helping me get things switched over to a new blog site; one where I'll be able to post pics a little larger and customizing it a bit easier. :)
Please don't desert me while we change it up around here!! :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
A good friend of mine gave me this recipe and it's one of my favorites. I don't make it all that often because Joe's not a big fan of cheese. Here's the recipe - I've altered it a little bit from the recipe given to me by my friend (thanks Kari!) but mostly just quantity, not ingredients. :)

8 red potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt plus salt & pepper to taste
2 1/2 tbsps butter
2 1/2 tbsps flour
2 1/2 cups milk (to make them super creamy, use 1 1/2 cups of cream and 1 cup milk)
2-2 1/2 cups shredded SHARP cheddar cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Butter a large casserole dish.
3. Layer 1/2 potato slices in bottom of pan.
4. Sprinkle half of the garlic powder over the potatoes. Then top with half the onion and half of the crumbled bacon.
5. Add the rest of the potato slices. Then top with remaining garlic powder, onion and bacon.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
7. In saucepan, melt butter over med heat. Mix in flour and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring constantly, for one minute.
8. Stir in milk. Cook until thickened.
9. Stir in cheese all at once. Stir until melted -- about 30 to 60 seconds.
10. Pour cheese over potatoes. Cover with non-stick foil. Bake 1 1/2 hours.

Tips: I use the cheapest, thinned bacon I could find, which happened to be the store brand already cooked bacon. All I had to do was microwave it. It crisps up better than thicker bacon. Make sure it's very crisp and make sure the bacon crumbles are cut up/crumbled up into super small pieces, otherwise the cheese sauce softens them and makes them kind of rubbery. You can add as little or as much bacon and onion that you want. I tend to like just a little of each - enough to give it flavor but not to overpower it.

I also put my casserole dish on a cookie sheet to prevent bake over!!


Sunday, August 31, 2008


That time is here again - school time! And this year, Nathaniel is in kindergarten! He started last Thursday and Joey went into work late so that we could all take Nate in for his big day. For anyone new to my blog, Nathaniel had been in the preschool program at the same elementary school for more than 2 years so he's not new to the school, the people there or even his kindergarten classroom. Last Feb/Mar, Nate's team felt it would be good for Nathaniel to start visiting Mrs. Miller's kindergarten class across the hall from the preschool class. So Tues-Fri, he would spend a half an hour per day in his soon to be permanent kindergarten class. He loved it and constantly talked of Mrs. Miller.

Last week, we started preparing Nate for school starting and as always, he began with a "I don't go to school!" and within a couple of days, he had adjusted to the idea. The week prior we'd actually gone in to meet Mrs. Miller and to see the classroom and tour the school. He was a bit shy while we were standing with him, but the moment Mrs. Miller took over, we were toast. He fell right back into routine of listening and following directions.

Thursday morning came around and he was extremely excited. We had the chance to walk inside to the classroom with him and see how they go in each morning and hang up their bags and then sit on their carpets. And then we were sent out! :) Pictures you say? OF COURSE!! Take a peek of our kindergartener!! Oh and this is a typical kindergarten class - not a special needs class. YAY!!

Natey in the same spot we take a picture each year! We have 2 others like this one already! Isn't he handsome?

Daddy and Nate
Mommy and Nate
Nate with Maddie & Lexi - excuse their unbrushed hair!
Natey at school once we got out of the car and started heading in!

Mrs. Miller (whom you can't see here) is holding her sign.

Although the color is odd because of being in some bright sun, I LOVE this pic. We were standing outside on the extremely crowded pavement waiting to enter the building.

Here's Natey getting ready to walk inside with his teacher (in the pink dress).
Natey hanging up his backpack and lunchbox.Natey sitting on his carpet waiting for Mrs. Miller.
A Couple More of Starsky

The woman from the selter in Puerto Rico sent a couple of more pics of Starsky along with a short note - here's what it said:


We went out yesterday and bought pretty much everything we're going to need to bring him home. And we've rearranged our living room to fit the big crate in it. :) I'll be bringing you those pics (as well as kindergarten pics) soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Guess what?! WE'RE EXPECTING!!

A puppy that is! Yeah, we're never going the kid route again - get those thoughts right out of your head!! :) We've been toying with the idea of getting another dog for a while, now that the kids are a little older. While looking around online this past week, we found Starsky. His story is sad and you can't help but fall in love with his little face. So we put in an application with the rescue and Joe did a phone interview last night and she approved us right then and there to get the pup! Here's his story taken right from the rescue's website...

Starsky's rescue was a stroke of luck and a little bit of persistence on his mothers part. Bonnie pulled over on a dump road as she always does to feed dogs and rescue what she can when a while mother emerged from the bushes. Bonnie placed food down for the starving mom, but she had other ideas. She began to walk through tall brush and Bonnie followed....there he was, Starsky! It was clear to see that "Luna", Starsky's mom had much more important things on her mind than food....she and her baby needed help! Well, they both got it and thensome and as we now begin our efforts to change their lives. Luna is undergoing heartworm treatment right now, but her baby is ready to roll Starsky is only 3 months old and weighs 15 pounds.

And without further ado, some photos from the rescue. Oh yeah, Starsky is a lab. :)

Yeah, he's gonna be trouble - you can see it in his face!
But just look at that face - how can you NOT love that?!
What a poser! :)
Starsky's on the left - don't ya just love the mango tree?
Nothing like falling asleep with your lips on the bars!!
And his mama, Luna. Apparently, she's quite the smiler. She's NOT snarling here but smiling. She's currently being treated for heartworm. Once she's done with treatment, she'll be headed to the rescue here in NH.

So what we know so far is that Starsky will be heading to NH on September 13th. He has to be quarantined for around 48 hours. Then he has to see a vet in our state and then he's free to come home!! YAY!

It's going to be a different experience for us - having a large dog, that is. They said we should expect him to get up to around 75-80 pounds. Max is only 11 lbs. We're not used to a big dog...but we're so excited to get him. Part of the reason we decided to go with a bigger dog is Nate's fear of large dogs (really any animal). We're hoping that since Starsky will be a puppy (but already weighing twice what Max does by the time we get him), he'll grow into a big dog without Nate noticing too much. LOL We're hoping it'll help Nate get over his fear.

When we mentioned to Nate that we might get a puppy, his response? "No puppy!" But then we showed him pictures and told him how much it'll be to play with the puppy, he seemed to warm up to the idea. It works out perfectly that it'll be a month or so before we can get him. It will give us plenty of time to prepare Nate by talking about the puppy every day. I'm going to print out the pics above and put them on the refrigerator so he can see them daily. Honestly, I think both (the dog AND Nate) will adjust quickly. :)

Be prepared for TONS of pictures once he joins us!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maine Vacation: Last Installment - Portland Head Lighthouse

The last place we stopped before heading home was Cape Elizabeth, Maine to take in Portland Head Lighthouse. Aside from Nubble Light (Cape Neddick), this is the prettiest lighthouse I've ever seen. What's cool about it, unlike Nubble, is that you can get right up close to it. It's awesome. The lighting (for pics with the kids anyway) was extremely harsh thus not making perfect photos and the wind was approximately 30mph constant while we were there. We will definitely be going back to this lighthouse for another visit, maybe even in the winter.

DISCLAIMER: I should've added this with the first post but almost all of the photos taken while we were on vacation were taken by the REAL photographer in the family - Joey. :)

A gorgeous shot on a gorgeous day.
A closeup.
An artsy-fartsy shot - my idea, Joe took the shot. I couldn't go crawling around on the ground with a broken foot.
Maddie looking at the lighthouse.
Lexi, Maddie, Nate
Nate, Maddie, Lexi
Maddie blowing the fuzzy dandelion - or at least trying to!
Lexi trying to blow her fuzzies!
The girls running in the open field next to the lighthouse.
Nate just taking a minute to himself.