Monday, September 30, 2013

Baseball Wars: Strike One

We finally took Clara to her first baseball game.   

 It was NOT at Wriggly.

It was the perfect evening, weather wise.

 They had a fireworks show after the game. 

I think the Mister has won Clara's heart in the baseball-team-war.  

I am the lone Cubs fan in this house.

 (That was a dirty, dirty trick, Mister.)

(At least she loves baseball.  Even if it's the wrong team.)

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Shepard's Pie

This morning I was awoken by the wonderful aroma dogs anxiety caused explosive diarrhea....which I found all over the carpeted landing.  Just to add insult to injury he also walked up and down and all around the mess, as to make sure I had to clean the entire stairway, and not just the landing, where he decided to go.

This is the one thing about my dog I just do not understand.  He was standing right next to the door!  It's also right by our bedroom!  Why in the world would he not bark?  I would very happily get out of bed and let him outside to go potty!  At any hour and in any weather!

The Mister and I got to talking about this a while ago.  There are a lot of people who adopt animals from shelters.  (Good for you!)  There are also a lot of those people who claim that the animal they adopted had to of been abused because of the animals anxiety problems.  If we had adopted Buehrle I would 100% think he had been abused in the worst way.

We did NOT get Buehrle from a shelter.  We picked him out of the litter before he was even old enough to come home with us.  He came from a very kind and loving small scale breeder in Wheaton Illinois.

He has always been a model dog.  He is very sweet, he lets Clara do whatever to him (ex dress-up) and listens to all of our commands.  We have only been loving and sweet to him in return.  Never have he raised a hand to him.  Ever ever ever.  He has never been left outside, chained up, or idle.  Ever ever ever!  He is a part of our family and we treat him as so.

 However, despite only being treated with kindness, this dog refuses to bark.  He will not let us know if he needs anything.  He will not let us know when he is scared!   One time the city was doing work right outside our house.  They had to bust the road open to get to a channel underneath.  The machinery was so loud and the force was so strong it woke me up and was swaying my bed.  At first I thought it was thunder, but soon realized what it was.  The house was quiet so I listened to the noise for about half an hour then got up to check on Clara and Buehrle, (who sleep in the same room) one room over.

I opened the door and Buehrle darted out.  I looked down and saw that he had been in there the entire time, trying to eat his way out through the wall.  He was terrified.  I was ONE ROOM OVER!  Why didn't he just bark?  I would have comforted him!  Oh, and every time he gets anxious or scared he has crazy diarrhea spells that are very intense and NASTY.

  Every. time. he's. scared.  
Which is awesome.

There was a point when he was having episodes like this at least 6 times a day.  I would walk out of the room for two minutes and BOOM!  I would take him out for a good half hour, bring him back, turn around to hang my coat up and ..... BOOM!  But nothing seems to be the cause of his anxiety.  He gets a ton of exercise, is always around people and has never been treated badly.  His diet is consistent as are the times he's fed.  I think I am going to have to make one of those collars like the dog's in Up wear JUST so I can figure out how to make this dog happy and calm!

I know it's probably poor form to talk about your dogs incontinence problems and delicious food in the same post, but here goes anyway.  How about I break it up with a candid picture of my kid?

Aww, that's better.
(She has started dressing herself these days.  I am loving her outfit concoctions.  Such a fashionista.)

Yesterday I went on a bake-capade.  While doing so I made my favorite fall time comfort food, Shepards pie.  I think what I love most about this is how versatile it is.  You can make it vegan, dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, or meat and cheese filled with only a few extra steps.  I hope you like it too!

Shepard's Pie

Yes, I did put the pi sign on our pie.  
The look on Rhiannon's face when I do things like this is priceless.

I have made this so often I never use measurements, so all of these are just approximates.  I will start with the recipe I used last night, which is gluten and dairy free, and then add the variations after.

  • 4-6 potatoes, boiled (I add fresh garlic with them to make them extra tasty, but I like garlic more then most people do, definitely optional.)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 M onion, minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head fresh (or frozen) broccoli, chopped
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • Rosemary, oregano, thyme Chipotle chile, salt and peppar to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable broth (or chicken or beef or water)
  • Rice milk (opt.)
  1. Make your mashed potatoes to taste.
  2. While your potatoes are cooking fry your hamburger in the oil and chop up your vegetables to your liking.
  3. When your hamburger is done, transfer meat to another bowl while keeping the oil in the skillet.  
  4. Simmer the vegetables on M to MH heat in the oil and drippings as well as the vegetable broth.  (About 1/2 cup or so), for 5 minutes
  5. Mix the vegetables, meat and seasonings to taste.  You can add rice milk if you want your grazy to be more creamy.  You could also add a little bit of cornstarch mixed in with cold water if you want the sauce to be thicker.
  6. Put mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.  

  7. Top with mashed potatoes.  
  8. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

Rhiannon might kill me for posting this.


  • To make this vegan/vegetarian, omit meat.  You can add fake crumbles, if wanted.

  • My favorite way to make this is to add a can of cream of mushroom soup to the vegetables.  It makes it so thick,
    creamy and delicious!

  • If you like/can eat cheese, pour a handful of cheddar cheese on top of your pie for the last 5 minutes it is in the oven.  My favorite cheese to use was Kraft's Chipotle cheddar shreds.  (I have no idea if they even make that still.)  

  • If you want to get super fancy, omit the hamburger and use steak chunks instead.  Replace the vegetable broth with Guinness.
  • Your possibilities for this dish are endless.  Have fun and play around with it!

Have a Fantastic Weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Right Next Door

We met the local police-force welcoming committee this past weekend.  

Well, I didn't.  I was off causing lots of debauchery, swinging from the tree tops, acting like a pirate and drinking my weight in booze.

While I was away doing this I left the Mister to his own devices, with Buehrle-dog, at home.  The plan was for him to build an entertainment center, but he soon found out he needed a jig-a-ma-goo thing to do it.

 Since all of his weekend plans were shot he decided to go check out our new local watering holes.

I should stop this story right here to say this:  Drinking and driving is something that just doesn't happen over here--ever!  As adamant as the Mister is against this, you would think he is the head of M.A.D.D., when in fact he is just a very conscious and responsible citizen.

So he walked to the local bar, stayed a few hours and started walking home again.  It was pretty chilly that evening and he was wearing appropriate clothing.  (His brand new hoodie)  Also, we live on the outskirts of town.  There are no sidewalks here, so he was walking right off of the road.  A police car went by, did a u-turn, crept by him, did a u-turn and repeated the process all over again.  The Mister didn't want to get hit, so he stepped off into the grass.  This, he was told, was suspicious behavior.  The officer stopped and asked him what he was doing, the mister told him he was walking home and then the officer made him get in his car.
(He was 4 houses away).  

When they got to our home the Mister said thanks and got out. The officer then got out and questioned how he was associated with the house.  The Mister explained that this is our house a few times, thanked him again for the ride and went in through the back. He then brought Buehrle-dog out to the back yard to play fetch for a bit.  After a few minutes he heard multiple people chatting in the front yard.  He walked out there with our dog to see 4 police cars in front of our house with the flood lights on our front door and officers on out front lawn.  When they saw him walking up one of them immediately reached for their gun while asking if our dog was safe.  In case you don't remember, here is what our vicious dog looks like.....

Seeing how things were all of a sudden ridiculous, the Mister put his hands up and said "down" to Buehrle, who immediately did this.......

And then perhaps looked at the strange men like this......because they then grilled my husband about the "nature of his relationship with the homeowner" and then the nature of his relationship with the house" (what does that even mean?) for OVER A HALF OF AN HOUR!  

I don't know about you, but for me, the fact that he walked into the dark house and then came out of said house with the family dog would have been my first clue that everything was on the up and up.  
Especially since they were going to pull a gun on said mean-scary dog.  

Also, what was he going to do?  Shoot my dog?  I would have every single one of their heads if that happened.  

And what was the reason behind this?  Do they REALLY not have ANYTHING to do on a Saturday night at 2:30 in the morning?  They have to harass the new kids for walking home instead of drinking and driving?

Its a really good thing me and my temper were six hours away while this happened.  This is exactly what I was worried about when we made this move.  
(Hate hate hate small towns.)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Melt Your Heart

The Good

Clara bought her very first art pieces on Saturday.  They are done by the very talented Melvin Mcgee

You should always always always support local artists.  More likely then not they pour their heat and soul into each and every piece they make.

The Bad

Clara got in a fight at school yesterday.  Apparently it was over who was going to play with a toy first.  When we asked her about it she said 

"I pulled a knife on her."  

(That is three year old for, "She had the play knife and I tried to pull it away from her.")

The Ugly

While being reprimanded for said fight, Clara hit her teacher.  


At the very least, she feels ashamed about this.
I'm mortified.

As for Rhiannon, I haven't seen someone with such a stacked social schedule.  I think it's fair to say she has comfortably settled into her suburgatory skin.

As for me, I'm still unpacking.

Happy Humpday!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Italian Deli

When today started, it was definitely a quintessential Monday.

I rode my bike to Clara's school, dropped her off and then went to get the car towed.

Then I realized I forgot my keys.  
(face palm)

So I rode my bike all the way back to my house, played with Buehrle dog, (who looked so sad to be left alone,) grabbed my keys and biked my way back to the car.  On the way back the clouds lifted and the sun came out to play.  
It brightened my spirits.

While waiting for the tow truck I bought the nice man who helped us yesterday some cookies, chocolate covered pretzels (I sure hope he's not dieting or diabetic or something) and then found the most awesome Italian Deli EVER! Its called Rubino's  and I want to eat one of everything in there.  

Oh, and their homemade sausage is gluten free.  
That makes life so much more amazing for us!   

(It made me really miss my friend Mrs. Ritter.  We could do some serious damage with all the delicious things that are in this deli.)

I'm going to spend the rest of the day making delicious smells in my kitchen.  

Take that, Monday!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chicken Fried

Remembering today and grateful for all that I am allowed to have.
Nothing else needs to be said.

Happy Humpday!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Morning Hike

The Mister took the girls on a morning hike in the forest yesterday.  

(I did not join them.  Walking through tall grasses where snakes live and cockaburrs grow will never be something I want to wake up early to participate in.) 

However, they were incredibly excited.  

So I drank coffee and caught up on my blogs while they explored the wilderness that is now our back yard.  

They had a great time.  
Rhiannon was able to take some amazing shots with her camera!
And I enjoyed my quiet time.  

And while I do think this should become a weekly adventure for them.....I think next time there should be a little less snake handling.

I'm told they found this single yellow flowering plant in the middle of a grassy area.  Naturally they told Clara it was the secret and magical flower from her favorite movie, Tangled.

You should ask her about it sometime.  
She is pretty excited that she found the magic flower!  
In her backyard!

These last three are my favorites out of the bundle of pictures Rhiannon snapped during their hike.  

Clara being a sassy pants, I'm sure.

After stomping about, they found a trail!
(And quite a lovely looking one, if I do say so myself!)

This is my absolute favorite.  
I love how the sky looks so broken here.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Somewhere That's Green

We have been in our home for two weeks now, and we have learned some valuable lessons about ourselves.

First one:  We should never ever ever buy a fixer upper.  

Like Ever, ever.

The Mister is too busy with work and I like having a nice clean and polished looking home.  I would like to think that we could buy a little place and make it up just right for us, but reality is, we would hire someone to do all the leg work and probably get divorced in the process.

For example, last night the Mister was finally able to go up in the attic to measure where the joists and studs are in the ceiling.  (Why?  Because the chandelier in the dining room is hanging about a foot and a half next to the breakfast bar instead of over the table, where it should be.  AND IT IS DRIVING ME BAT SHIT CRAZY!)  Anyway, the attic is very......cramped to say the least.  The Mister had to frog walk from one end of the house to the other.

It. Was. Hilarious.

The whole time he kept grumbling.

"*@$#;, this is why I went to *#@$^ college.  My wife and her %;^# chandeliers.  This is ^&# disgusting.  I am going to fall to my #@% death.  That's her real plan on why she got me up here."

I have been trying to get this place in order since the first moment we stepped in.  I know exactly how I want it to look, and I want it to look that way NOW!  When we first looked at the place it was easy to tell that the last remodel was in the early to late 90's.  The house was feather painted in pastel colors, there is white tile and beige carpet as far as the eye can see and the light fixtures look like the ones I removed in this post here.  I have spent hours each day painting, going to the hardware store, pruning (the 5,000,000 hedges that are in the yard) and driving my family to all the different schools, trains etc.  I feel like I have definitely jumped in feet first in the suburban lifestyle.  I even go to drive thru Starbucks, for Christ sake.

Long story short, I am really trying to embrace our new lifestyle here.  I am trying to make our new home so the girls will be able to have the "country life" they have been asking for for over two years now.  So imagine how disheartened I was when  the oldest told me that she feels like she is living in the sitcom Suburgatory, without the funny.

She says the girls are kind of mean and all they care about is gossiping and shopping.  (Isn't that just 8th grade?  It's the age, right?)  She also says we didn't move far enough from the city, and we should have moved to a small town.
Face.  Slap.  For.  Me.

  She's trying out for Cheerleading today, and if she decides that isn't for her I am going to push her into joining some clubs, and hopefully she will feel better in her "suburgatory" skin.

Clara, on the other hand, is flourishing.  She marches into school everyday without ever looking back.  I don't plan on doing any kind of gardening until spring, but she has been begging us to use her new shovel to "dig up the flowers" since we got here.

The other day The Mister and I let her get a few supplies for her new garden.

Here I was teaching her how to dig.  
She didn't realize that you don't actually throw the dirt over your shoulder cartoon style, and is laughing at how silly she is.

Putting the flowers in the ground and realizing she likes playing with dirt clumps more then planting flowers. 

This is my favorite.

The Mister putting up her garden decoration she picked out.

(The neighbors are probably terrified we are going to become "those" people.  Actually, I think they watch us from their window and laugh at us most of the time.  I know I would.)

But she's happy and that is all that matters.

Happy Humpday!