Friday, November 21, 2008

Healing and Savoring

While my little man heals, I savor my time at home with him.

He's getting better slowly. Here he is enjoying a hand-me-down from Bella. He seems to have taken to is as well as she did. He is always playing with it. Go Baby Leapfrog!

He's finally down for a nap. I have checked for any work items and now I think I have the time to make some more cookies. I made peanut butter cookies and some more chocolate chip with walnuts. I figured; I have the time, why not? Plus, uncle Dave is flying in this afternoon, perhaps he would enjoy a cookie or two. The peanut butter may go better with a beer than the chocolate chip... We actually have had a couple of freezes down here this early in the season. I had to cover my ivy and my fig for two days. I uncovered them today so that they could get some light in. Still looking happy.
I have done some research on starting a garden and I think I will get started on prepping my area outside. I have until around Feb or March (6 weeks before last frost) to plant anything really. That gives me plenty of time to save and plan. Did I say plan? I am going to do this with baby steps so I don't get too far ahead of myself time wise or money wise. I want this to help save us money and provide good food. With the economy in the state it is and is going I have no idea what to expect next (especially with me). I think being able to sustain ourselves just a bit has to help right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm so sick & tired of being so sick & tired.

Yes, I am so tired of all the coughing, sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. I'm also tired of mommy checking my temp, giving me medicine, giving me eye drops, cleaning my nose and that awful breathing machine.

Another bad cold. Mom stayed home with me today and we will be hanging together again tomorrow. Even though I feel rough, I still get in to everything!

So yes. I forgot all about daycare and the first two years. Bella was the same way. Sick, sick sick. When you have a few little babies playing together swapping toys, binkies, spit and goobers...what do you expect? He gets better here at home only to catch it again in a week from another goober-sniffling monster. It's endless it seems. This time is back on the nebulizer, has an ear infection and is on antibiotics. I do so love being home with him. Just wish it were under circumstances when he was not feeling ill.
Since I had the benefit of being home I was able to make a dish with more thought and time. One of my sides was one of my ultimate favorites. Butter beans with olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh parsley, fresh basil, salt & pepper. Yummy.

For my kale side dish I browned some potatoe cubes in olive oil for a bit and then added them in with my kale at the end. I could have just eaten the potatoes as is with a little ketchup!

Here's my delish kale dish. Kale, pancetta, olive oil, bit of broth and it's done. I love it and Chris seems to dig it too. Bella....well maybe later. She just wants the pancetta!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cleaning out my pantry

So last night I made another healthy and delish meal. All healthy for the exception of the broth I used - once I noticed the lovely label of ingredients. I used to closely monitor and read the labels of what I brought home. When I started buying just anything I could on sale, buy-one-get-one free, coupons and such, I just bought to fill the pantry for less and neglected to care about what it really was.

Beef broth(at least it's the first ingredient, should have been the only one),
salt, Monosodium Glutimate (flavor enhancer), hydrolyzed corn protein (flavor enhancer), hydrolyzed soy protein (flavor enhancer), hydrolyzed wheat protein (flavor enchancer), dextrose (sweetener), onion powder, autolyzed yeast extract (food additive), caramel color (food coloring), partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), natural flavor (?? I probably don't want to know), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin b1), disodium inosinate (food additive), disodium guanylate (food additive, flavor enhancer).

This is beef broth people! Why so many unnatural additives and enhancers? Why are there trans fats in a broth? I guess the consumer is so troubled that it may not be brown enough in color so they have to add the caramel color? Unbelievable. Then you wonder why we are sickly all the time. I guess I need to make my own broth too if I want to know exactly what I am ingesting! Now I think I am confusing myself with a mom with plenty of time....

Here is the dish though. It was cabbage with cubed ham, carrots and onions sauteed in olive oil and a tad of butter. I added some dried herbs, salt, pepper, and that broth! I know I am being dramatic. It was really yummy and I will bring some in for lunch at work. I just need to eat the things in my pantry and get them out of there! Start over again with a new way to save on food, just a healthier way. Now I just need to figure out what way that is!

I served it over cooked quinoa. Quinoa is great and is the one of best sources of dietary fiber and is a good source of protein. It's easy to make. One cup uncooked quinoa to two cups water. Put both water and quinoa in pot and bring to a boil, then let simmer with lid on for 4-5 mins or until liquid is gone. Like you would cook white rice.

*Let me stop for a moment to say that I am truly blessed with the life I have.*
I am indeed grateful for all I do have. Even those demons in my pantry. I have food to eat, my husband is my best friend-my everything, I have two beautiful children, I have a nice home and I feel so loved. I have recently had a rumble in my financial stability. Something I have been taking for granted all these years because it has always seemed to be safe and constant. Nothing horrible, all will be okay I am told. So I will continue on and not worry about what I can't control. What is most important to me is that we are together as a family. I will do all I can to fight my inner pessimist and try to see that if change happens, it could be a good thing.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas will actually hit me more in the heart than those in the past. If I just stop and look around I do see how good I really do have it. That's something I think people forget to do often and I admit I don't reflect enough. I don't really want anything for Christmas this year. I just want to see my daughter's bright eyes when she opens her presents from Santa and want to just sit and watch her help her brother open his.
Right now I want to think of those who have lost their jobs during this economy and hope they find a way to get back up and fight for their families. I want to think of all the children who will be growing up in this world and I hope that we can change our ways, clean up the planet and better our economy for their sake. I have brought mine into the world and I want them to have the opportunity to dream and do whatever they want and I will do whatever I can to help make it happen for them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting back to basics.

Finally I was able to make a dish I had not made in a while. Getting back to real food again instead of the boxed, just add water chemical cocktail. Food like what our grandparents used to make from scratch. Chris's grandmother used to make the best homemade biscuits and I loved her beef stroganoff. My Nanna used to make all her food from the garden, corner vegetable market and right from the sea. This dish was super easy, really yummy and healthy too. Just some concoction I threw together about a year ago and just modify it. This is one of those good dishes that does not take a long time to make. This time I added some leftover pork tenderloin we grilled on Saturday and just cubed it up in there. I love to saute' different vegetable blends. Add some broth, herbs, salt, pepper and Braggs and you can't fail. I love Braggs and I use it all the time. I like to use it in place of soy sauce in some dishes as well.

Chris didn't really used to care for brussel sprouts before. But I have successfully converted him I think. He loves to eat them this way and likes to eat them when I drop them into vegetable soup.
I guess I will call this my Brussel Sprout Saute'. I have made it with just vegetables or you can add cubed ham, pork, beef, chicken or extra firm tofu. (It's great with the tofu because it absorbs all that flavor!)

1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper (any color)
3 chopped summer squash
2 lbs brussel sprouts cut in halves or quarters depending on size.
1 cup vegetable, beef or chicken broth
salt pepper to taste
handful of fresh sage, oregano and parsley chopped or teaspoon of dried Italian mix
1/4 cup of Braggs or 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce.
1 cup cooked penne, spiral, bowtie pasta
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, walnuts or pecans

Cook pasta al dente and strain. With olive oil cook peppers and onions until onions are clear, add brussel sprouts, meat (if you have it) and saute for 5 mins. Add broth and herbs, salt and pepper and stir. Then add your Braggs or soy sauce and let cook a couple of minutes. Add pasta and summer squash, simmer 5 more minutes. You want some liquid but can cook it longer to reduce if you prefer. Remove from heat, toss in toasted nuts and serve. Yummers!

The cool thing is you can add or remove whatever vegetable you like. You can add garlic, serve over rice, quinoa, polenta or as a side dish with meat.

We got these orchids to help add some greenery to our back patio area without the clutter of too many potted plants. They seem to love it back there and Chris has taken to them and has them under his care. They are looking very happy. Last night they slept on the dining room table due to the freeze we had! They don't dig the cold!

Looking puffy and tired but I am in one of my favorite places. Home and cuddling with my little man.

So wide awake, so close to bedtime! It's a bit early for the Christmas jammies but these were one of many donated jammies we got from a friend this past summer. If it fits now, wear it! Actually, these are kind of snug and may not fit by Christmas. She's growing like a weed man! I love all donated clothes and I love to pass mine on to others. As much as I love nice clothes, when it comes to school and play time the kids either grow out of them too fast or destroy them in no time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making the time.

Number one on my lists of things to correct about me: Time management and making the time work for me. You know the phrase and you've heard it a million times "Make the time".

I am again on the roller coaster for another attempt at a healthier lifestyle. I am convinced that the higher powers in this country are together on keeping us all unhealthy. I mean the big pesticide companies that own the seeds that are grown (genetically modified in a lot of cases), the mass meat producers that hide the truth, the prepackaged foods that contain more additives and chemicals than a science project and the pharmaceutical companies that love how we all require their drugs to combat our high blood pressure and high cholesterol (I am one of those high cholesterol people). I believe they are all connected. That's just me. Educate yourself and believe what you want.

I notice during these trying times that it's better on my grocery budget to purchase the packaged foods than to get the organic meats fruits and veggies. Duh. No wonder the poor have such horrid health problems. They can't afford to eat healthy! I went off my grocery plan that was working so well saving me money and stopped by the vegetable stand and purchased loads of vegetables and greens in an attempt to out the prepackaged crap I was purchasing to save money.

I spent almost $30 dollars at the vegetable stand and still too much at the grocery store. If I had the time; let me rephrase that, if I made the time I would be making Kristjan's food for school and home verses buying all these tubs of Gerber foods at over $1 a pop. I can cook carrots and cube them up damn it! I need to get a garden going. I don't think I can manage one large enough to keep me from buying totally, but I think I can get enough in to cut costs in half.

Then there's my lack of self discipline. Getting off my arce to exercise every day would be my number one problem. I think I am just lazy. Simple as that. Those hard core exercise folks out there always say "make the time". It's true and it's that simple. I just don't make the time. Then there is consistency with eating healthy food. I am a sucker for a juicy burger or a cream based pasta dish and there are many times the salad takes a back seat to the heart attack platter.

I have a long way to go, but I have to do it. I would like to be around for my kid's weddings and even to see my own grandchildren. If that's the path they take. Heck, I hope to still be around, old and crusty with Chris just rockin on a porch one day. I signed up for a 5K in January for peet sakes! If I don't get off my bottom now, I'll be on the sidelines giving out water or lying flat on the concrete needing medical attention!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deep Thoughts...

As I was walking into the kitchen, I noticed Bella enjoying her strawberry toast. She was also looking outside. Not just outside, but where I like to go. Far away to a land of many thoughts and dreams. A land of accomplished deeds and imaginary places. I had to capture it. You know the place.

Busted! He's pulling up and if it's within reach, he's at it. Two almost retired balloons with string are not a cool toy for a teething, chew anything critter. Out they go...

No, it's not Laim Gallagher, it's Kristjan during his balloon bust. I love his hair. I am going to see how far we can go before I have to trim it.

Then there's Bambi. Kristjan really has taken to him. He usually just goes butt up on the living room floor for nap time. This time he decided Bambi made a good pillow buddy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It passes in a flash...

I have always heard the phrase from my elders concerning time and how fast it passes. I never really noticed in the past or it seemed back when I was younger to pass so slowly. Now I have realized how crazy it is. It goes by so fast and I still find myself busy doing daily things as if the earth will implode if I don't get them done. Meanwhile my little angel is now six and spelling words and my tiny infant boy is standing and turning one soon. I just stumbled upon this picture of Bella from when she was around two years old and I wish I could just rewind time for a minute and sit down next to her and play with her and throw some "b-balls" for while. B-ball is what Bella used to say for ball. We used to roll and kick her balls back and forth on the back porch all the time.

All I can do is just try to train and retrain myself (which is a constant process for me) to just chill and not worry with all the daily chores, and events and just focus on the now. Kind of like some of the philosophies from the Tao Te Ching. The dishes aren't going anywhere right? They will still be there waiting for us after we get back from having fun throwing around our b-balls.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembering the sun outside my window...

There is a large bush right outside our office door that has these beautiful yellow flowers. I am not sure what it is, but it seems to like the shade of the large oak trees that surround our building. It's around 80 degrees and sunny out today. I wish I could escape from my office and spend the day out there.

Here's my work space. I have my little shrine of family pictures and my little flat screen. I face the wall which is probably a good thing for productivity sake.

Behind me I have a huge wall of glass that goes from the floor to the ceiling. The glass even covers the wall all the way around my office almost. When I am swamped or frustrated with work, I just turn around and take a look at the outside world for a moment. Like I said, if I were facing these windows I would be in la la land all day.

Bella gave this Bambi to Kristjan and he has really taken to him. He also loves to chew on his poor nose. Bambi doesn't stand a chance against a teething creature like that.

Oh no! See what happens when cool objects get too close to this curious creature? I was under attack. Lukily I was able to escape unharmed. I relocated him to his high chair so that he could enjoy some cheerios. Objects of interest were again safe for a while...

Someday I may get in trouble for taking this picture, but for now I think I can get away with it. When Bella falls asleep...she's out man. Now that's stress free sleeping folks. There isn't a pillow in our house that hasn't been blessed with a little Bella drool.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Her favorite subject.

Bella is my little art lover. If she is not stalking in the jungle with her dinosaurs or teasing her brother, she is either on the coffee table or kitchen table coloring. This is a habit I hope she never decides to end. It helps when we limit the tv and video game time too. This painting is one of my favorites. Looks to me like a French fine cheese with grapes.
I have saved every single piece of art that she has ever done so far. This includes all infant finger painting projects as well. I have a huge Rubbermaid bin under our bed filled to the top and overflowing full of her stuff. I am already saving the finger and foot paintings from Kristjan.
I am not a pack rat buy any means. I do purge on a regular basis. If I don't use it, lose it is what I say. The toys that pile up and lay there not being played with get donated, outgrown clothes get donated, housewares that we don't use go in the garage sale. I can't stand clutter. I don't like to just keep things I don't use for the sake of keeping it just in case I may need it someday. The kids memorabilia I do have a problem with letting go. Mom was the same way with my stuff. Maybe not to the extreme as me, but she did save quite a bit of my school work and letters.
So I think I will share Bella's art on here on a regular basis. I have tons of it and she is always making more. If I tell her I am posting them, she may go nuts and paint even more! Perhaps if I get the time to fiddle with the paint brush or pencil I'll share those too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I had to do it...

My original blog name just wasn't working for me. I know it's petty, but it was eating at me. Just was not sitting well at all. My new name seems to fit me more. What is soup? Soup is generally a combination of ingredients mixed together to make a dish. That's my view of what's going on in my life. There's of course my #1 which is my family. Then there are my dreams, my love of food, projects, duties, and my interests. Oh, and of course the trials of life will be included in that. That's my soup.

I love hot breakfast for dinner. I always resort to some breakfast idea when time is short and people are hungry for quick comfort food. I am always in the mood for comfort food! This scramble was just cubed potatoes, green pepper, onions and ham with egg. Can't get any easier than that. I'm a bad guy and like to shred sharp chedder on mine while Chris likes to wrap his up in a burrito with some Crystal sprinkled in it. I need to work on my photo skills or get more light in my kitchen, this photo does not do it justice.

Someone likes to attack my pantry whenever he hears the door slide open. He has a victim within his grasp.

Victim has been neutralized.

I had the time, so I did it.

There was an opening, so I grabbed it. I got home from work yesterday, I had no backpacks to go through, no lunches to make, no laundry to start, Chris did not have to work the next day so I knew we could eat dinner a little later and he also had an upset tummy so I just made tossed salads for dinner. With all those chores pushed back I had a little time to squeeze in those cookies I was wanting to bake. They are just Nestle Toll house cookies with some chopped walnuts included. Made from scratch, not from the chilled cookie dough log. I know it's an elementary item for most baking pros out there, but it's a start for me! Anyway, I love these little buggers to death and have to control myself when they are around! With some time and practice maybe I too can be a decent baker.

I still have those truffles to make with Bella. I would like to get some other delights made for the holidays. I am thinking of making treats and bagging them up for baskets I can give for gifts this year. I usually have this idea in my head every year but don't actually act upon it. I need to find out what the cost of the baskets, wrapping, bows, and ingredients for all the treats are. Just seems like it would be fun to make them and see others enjoy them. That's what I am talking about! That's why I love to cook mostly. I love to give some one the opportunity to enjoy a meal. I wish I had more time and money to focus more on the fancy smancy stuff I like to make. I know that will return in time. Right now I will focus on baby steps, just like Kristjan. Then one day we can just go with it!

What's your favorite position?

Kristjan seems to prefer the butt up approach. Seems to be his favorite position. Even when he's tired and just rolling around he will get in this position to rest. So very cute. Why do they have to grow up so fast?

This is a rare photo of two children crashed at the same time BEFORE bedtime on our living room floor. Friday night Bella spread out the blanket and threw around some pillows to play and cuddle and before we knew it they were both asleep. Chris and I left them there while we enjoyed a movie and some quiet time.

Here's a few pictures of my little soccer pro. Her team is called the Lime Turtles. Not sure if I would associate soccer with a slow moving animal like a turtle, but it makes them happy enough. As you can see she takes her job pretty seriously. Just needs more practice for scoring. She is having fun and making new friends and that's what is important. We will have her participate as long as she is enjoying herself.

Keeping them involved in positive activities is what I am thinking. Not keeping them on a crazy schedule, but keeping them involved with activities at home, and with the community (boy that sounds corny for me to say that). I also seem to have this mindset that if I do what I can to keep them involved in activities they enjoy and with other kids that are active and articulate perhaps I can avoid them being lured into the wrong path of boredom, drugs, skipping school, etc. I can only show them the way right? Isn't that my purpose here?

Monday, November 10, 2008

I plan on making a list of my plans...

So yes, I have a couple of herbs at home. Some rosemary, lavender, oregano and some soon to retire thyme. I need more now. I really need to get more herbs planted so that I can actually use them more in cooking. I had a basil plant that I used for a long while, but it has passed on. That's the herb I use most. For what I like to cook, I need a lot of herbs! I have three pepper plants. One jalapeno, one cubanella, and one serrano. Now that the dogs are no longer digging up all of my plants out back, I think I need to focus on planting a garden. Not the conventional square garden with rows, but planting the vegetables and herbs right in to the landscaping out back. I have two areas I can use. One for the single standing varieties like tomatoes, peppers and herbs and way back I can plant the vine vegetables like squash.

That's what I would like to do. All of this takes money and time of course. If I go at it a little at a time, I am sure it can be done. Not a huge garden that I can't manage, but enough that will help out on our grocery bill every week! I am sure Bella would help because she loves the dirt and plants and once Kristjan gets walking, perhaps he would like to roam around the back yard and get into a little trouble too.

I love to make plans, ideas, and lists. It's one of my biggest faults. I guess I'm heading to hell in a hand basket with all of my good intentions that lead now where at times. Do I get results from these plans? Maybe half of the time. Most of my plans are essential for the household while others are my little wants that I think we need. Like the garden for example.

I am currently needing to organize my organizer (like that?). I have doctor's appointments, window shopping dates, visitors, special days off (Nutcracker) and trips to keep track of. I'll stand you up if I don't right it down - assured! I have a list of important things to do like get our Will done, get passports, etc. Then I have my list of what to cook this week and what to get for next week. A list for the chores and organizing plans I have in my head for the household. Oh, and the always important Christmas list that I write down to help give me ideas for what to get whom. I'm a wish I was organized mess.

Good news on the health front! My little man Kristjan is back at school today and feeling much better. He still has a little congestion and we are still using the nebulizer but his congestion is less than before. He was bright eyed and smiling at me this morning! I wanted to stay home and play so bad, but off to work we go...

Bella played great soccer on Saturday. No goals, but she was in there with the boys kicking and blocking that ball. We did take some pictures of our Neon Turtle and I shall post them tomorrow.

Let's see if I can even get a list started today. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Were did he go?

I am home with my little man today. The day is passing very fast. Not as fast as his little hands and knees! He can scoot on his little butt or crawl like nobody's business! Look away, and he's gone!

Time flies when you want it to pass slowly... He's doing better. Still that cough and congestion. Takes time to clear that up.

Here's Isabella with her award and bumper sticker. We had a great breakfast and she was happy to receive her award. I have a feeling we may be back again for another award one day. She seems to dig the positive attention. You know, when I was younger I said I would never put one of those ridiculous bumper stickers on my car. Well, it's on there already. Things change when it's your child and you are so proud. Plus....are you gonna say "no" to her when she asks if we are going to stick it on? I don't think so. All I am missing now is my magnet soccer ball...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am not in my physical space.

I am not here mentally that is. I am at the above location. I woke up at dawn and watched the dear come out to graze. Then I made my eggs and potatoes cooked on an iron skillet and ate them on my front porch. After a short hike in the mountains I came back and took a little nap on my hammock out back. Then early in the afternoon I took the kids to the wheat fields to run and play before supper.....then I woke up and found myself back at work.

Tomorrow I shall be at home with my little man again to help nurse him back to good health before Monday. I am so looking forward to spending another whole day with my little man to play, heal and get some little laughs in. Even though he's sick, I treasure these times I have alone with him at home.

In the morning we will be attending Bella's Student of the Month breakfast. I am so proud to attend and happy to be there for her. Her little brother will be there too to cheer her on. Let me say I will remember my camera on this trip!

I plan on making some of these babies this weekend. Getting ready for the holidays and I want to make homemade treats this year. They are called Simply Sensational Truffles.

2 1/2 pkg (20 squares) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate divided
1 pkg (8oz) Philly Cream cheese

Melt 8 chocolate squares. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy; stir in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm. Then shape into 36 balls. Place on wax paper-covered tray. Melt remaining chocolate. Use fork to dip truffles; return to tray. Decorate, then refrigerate 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers. Can decorate with powdered sugar, nuts, cocoa powder, candy sprinkles, etc.

I'll let you know how it goes. I plan on getting Bella involved on this. Chris should have a small heart attack when he sees the mess we will make! Try it too....seems easy enough!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

That helpless feeling

If you are a parent, you know the feeling. I hate it. That total helpless feeling you get when your little ones are ill. My little man is sick and I wish I could just make it all go away from him and give it to me. He has an upper respiratory infection bordering on bronchitis with a stuffy nose and one ear is infected again. He had a temp all day yesterday. Today so far he has not had a high temperature. When he had this last he was only around 4 months old. Now that he's 11 months (That's 11 months today in fact!) he fights when it's time for the nebulizer. I hate giving him the treatments but it is necessary for his chest congestion. He has been away from school since Monday and Chris and I plan on figuring out a way to keep him home until next week. He's in good spirits though and still loves to just be on floor with you and his toys so he can climb on you and play.

I do love being home with him and totally soak in all the time he spends napping on me. I get to hang with my little man, get the house picked up, some laundry done, little home projects done and dinner going. I would totally love the stay at home mom thing.

I do have class tonight and I have to go because I have an assignment to turn in and the lecture prior to exam next week. Oh well, can't be a total home body today, but there will be others!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Proud Mama Here!

Okay, first things first. I must show all the wonderful awards Isabella brought home with her last night! She's October student of the month!!!! I am so proud of her! She seems to love school so far and we can tell!

She also had these awards to show us too! This is awesome! Go Bella!



Whew! Now I do have some Halloween pictures to share. So here we go:

Kristjan as Tigger. He was only in it for a little while. It was way to warm to keep him in it for too long!

Here's my little witch. The camera was not cooperating so we did not really get a good shot. She did have here orange and black stripped stockings and black shoes. She's too cute to be a wicked witch.

Her creative side. Bella loves to color, draw, paint and build. She was working hard on her pumpkin until she realized that cleaning one out was gross and a lot of work! Daddy finished it up for her.

Her smile is as big as theirs!

Who needs pumkins, candy and dressing up when I have a tasty biscuit like this? Kristjan is still fighting his cold. His eye procedure has been pushed back to January. We have our fingers crossed that they will clear up on their own and not need the procedure done. Now to just get him over this nasty chest cold so we can all breathe a little easier.

Monday, November 3, 2008

First cold snap + daycare & school = children with colds.

First off, I do have Halloween pictures to post. They are still sitting on Chris's camera. I promise you will see my critters before the Thanksgiving turkey emerges from the oven! Bella had a great time even though 1/3 of our neighborhood was participating in Halloween this year. Not many houses to trick or treat, but we did end up at our friend's house last where all the kids gathered and played while the parents drank a couple of cold ones before heading home. Next year Chris or I will stay home and give out candy while the other takes the kids around.

Kristjan on Friday had started coughing and sniffling so he stayed indoors with Nanna while Bella went out gathering goodies. His cough has gotten worse and now I think starting this afternoon, I am going to have to give him some breathing treatments because of that familiar crackling sound I can hear again. Needless to say, his appointment at the surgery center this Wednesday for getting his tear ducts flushed will be rescheduled for another time since he has a cold. Bella also has the rotten cough too. Any day now, I expect Chris or I will start feeling the bug. Hopefully we can get this funk out of our system before Uncle Dave comes to visit in a couple of weeks!

Bella went to Animal Kingdom on Saturday with Nanna & Nannu. She loved the dinosaur areas and then fell in love with the T-Rex Restaurant. She brought back a stuffed Bambi for Kristjan and a snow globe with Dinosaurs in it for herself. She had a great time and loved seeing all the animated dinosaurs.

Chris and I voted on Saturday. We were able to take advantage of the early voting ability here. Glad I got it over with! Now for all of you.....remember to GET OUT AND VOTE tomorrow!