my sister so rocks.

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So my (already documentedly cool) big sis did a multisport dualthlon this weekend. As I have been on the treadmill for my 4 measly mile runs this week, I have thought about her tearing through 21 miles on her bike and over 6 miles of trail running. I don’t know if I can even imagine doing that all in less than 2 1/2 hours without getting tired. She is hardcore. I decided I had to give her a shout out. She is just so cool and I am super proud of her. You rock, Pamela, seriously rock!

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Pamela and Crissy

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I really love this picture. What can I say? You rock!

i am so s-m-r-t

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I found this list on some funny guy I don’t know’s blog, and thought I wonder how many of these I have read? Instead of just counting, I decided to copy and past and share it with all of you. (After all, it has been a few days since I’ve posted anything.) As I a sure you are biting your fingernails to know, I will just get on with it.

If you’d like to play along, here’s what you do:

1) Look at the list and put an ‘X’ (and bold) after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star/asterisk/Bonds (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
5) Put a # (and italics) by those you’ve started but not finished.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X+
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X+
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X+
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X+
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X+
6 The Bible #
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X+
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X+
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X+
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare #
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier x+
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X+
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger*
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger *
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot #
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams#
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis – X+
34 Emma – Jane Austen X+
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
X+
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres *
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden X+
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X+
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding X
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel X+
52 Dune – Frank Herbert *
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons *
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X+
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens #
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – X+
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon X+
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – X
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville X
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray X
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery X+
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X+
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo#
Can I just say that Victor Hugo was a very tedious man? I don’t think 47 is too bad. But there is certainly a lot I’d like to get around to! (Like a real post sometime soon.)

dinner: fondue

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Fondue is kind of a special occasion thing at our house, though it really doesn’t have to be. The prep work isn’t too extreme, it is just takes a little finesse to get everything taken care of in the last few minutes. My awesome big sis gave me an electric fondue pot (Cuisinart) for Christmas a couple of years ago. I highly recommend it; it is so much easier to be able to make the cheese right in the pot, (not to mention not having to deal with a gel burner.)

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ingredients:

(pick your veggies, I like:)

potatoes

carrots

broccoli

cauliflower

asparagus

artisan bread, cubed

chicken

beef (I use stir-fry or stew meat to save time.)

Kid-friendly Fondue:

~6 cups grated cheese (Jarlsburg, Emmentel, Guyere, etc. Mixing these together is great!)

1 tsp. corn starch

1 tsp. flour

dash of garlic salt

~1 cup sparkling apple cider (Martinelli’s)

1 clove garlic

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directions:

1. Cut desired vegetables into bite sized pieces. I like to layer all of them in a steaming basket to cook. Put the carrots and potatoes in first, then add broccoli, cauliflower, etc. a few minutes later to prevent over cooking.

2. Cut chicken into bite sized chunks. (Or beef, whatever…)

3. Heat a large skillet and saute meat, sprinkling with garlic salt to taste.

4. Cut garlic clove in half and rub it around the inside of the fondue pot.

5. Bring apple cider to a boil in your fondue pot or a medium sauce pan.

6. Toss the grated cheese with flour and cornstarch.

7. Add the cheese in small batches, stirring vigorously. If the mix is too thin, add more cheese; too thick, add more cider.

8. Hopefully, your veggies and meat are ready, lay them out on a plate for every 2-3 people and set out with cheese mixture.

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*A friend recommends eating this meal at your coffee table so that everyone can reach easier. She says her kids think it is so fun to eat in a different location.

*If you really want to go all out, finish with fruit and angel food cake or brownie cubes dipped in ganache. Heat 2/3 cup of heavy cream to just boiling and pour over 1 cup chocolate chips and stir vigorously with a wisk. mmm…

enjoy!

let’s do lunch

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One of the super fun benefits of having Papa and Grandma Banana living so close now is that we get to go out for fun lunch dates. We always have a ball. Here is a sampling from our trip to Red Robbin on Monday.

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Scarf girls

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Checking the flair (Note Emily’s TWO cups of sauce)

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Grandma comforting a distraught Meg.

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My cute girl happy again

check out my boy

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jake1

jake2

jake3

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I had to include this because it made me laugh. The girls surprised me by getting

themselves dressed the other morning. Just in case you can’t quite tell, Emily

is trying to put on a shirt there. (Just not in the traditional manor.)

tic tac toe valentines

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Boy have I been procrastinating with what to do for Megan’s preschool Valentines. Luckily, I finally found some inspiration. If you are a procrastinator too, feel free to use these. They were super easy to put together and reasonably priced. Plus, Megan is stoked about them. We have played a few good games already.

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materials:

fun foam or cardstock hearts (I found a pack of 30 ready to go, yay!)

tube of puffy paint

2 colors, polymer clay (such as fimo)

cookie cutter (optional)

directions:

1. Use the puffy paint to put a grid (of 9) on the fun foam heart; set aside to dry.

2. Knead a chunk of the clay to soften. If you are using a cookie cutter (which I recommend for speed’s sake) Lay down a piece of plastic wrap then press clay out onto it. Roll with a rolling pin to even out. You will want to keep it fairly think, at least 1/2″.

3. Bake clay as directed.

4. Wrap it all up and add a cheesy note like, “Valentine, You are a Winner!”

hehehe. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chili and more…

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This is my Mom’s chili (with a few tweaks.) It is so good on a rainy day. (Which we have had a few of lately.) I like to serve it with crusty rolls or cornbread. The best thing about having chili, (feel free to snicker here.) ahem, the best thing about chili is that you can use it the next night or night after to make what we like to call Mexican haystacks. Which is one of my favorite dinners!

Chili

chili

ingredients:

1 lb. hamburger

1 small onion, diced

3 cans of beans (I usually use 2 chili and 1 kidney, but feel free to experiment.)

1 can diced, stewed tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

2 cans diced green chilies

1/2 tsp. Cheyenne pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1 bay leaf

2 cloves (I actually use ground clove and eyeball it. Mike hates to bite into a clove.)

directions:

1. In a large stock pot, brown hamburger and drain.

2. Add green chilies and onion and saute until onion is translucent.

3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 min- 1 hour.

4. Top with grated cheese and sour cream.

Mexican Haystacks

mexicanhaystacks

Layer:

corn chips (I highly recomend Fritos.) It is easier to eat if you crush them a little.

chili

grated cheese

diced tomatoes

avacado

sliced olives

(This is what I like, but you could also add lettuce, or salsa, or anything else that sounds good.)

top with sour cream

…oh, so good!

how cute is this?

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My super cute cousin Melissa, made snow hats for the girls. My mom made some darling scarves to go with them. How cute are these little dollies in their winter gear. It almost makes me happy that we have weeks of winter left.