Monday, September 16, 2019

50!

It has been quite a full few days around these parts.

On Thursday evening we had an away football game.  Sadly we lost again.  I am holding out hope that we win this coming Friday.  I feel bad for the players but I guess it's good character building.
(Dan's 53rd birthday was on Thursday.)

My FIFTIETH birthday was on Friday.  I still can not wrap my mind around the fact that I am FIFTY.  That's so old!!  How can I be 50 when I still feel like I'm in my twenties?

Dan got me the sweetest little cross necklace and card and had my morning coffee all set up for me.




Mom and I spent the morning at Target, Kohls, Ulta, and Homegoods.  Then she treated me to a delicious lunch at Firebirds.

Salmon, broccoli and fried spinach!  So good!

Firebirds surprised us with a little birthday cheesecake.



On Friday the kids hustled home from school, changed their clothes and then we headed to Dan's work and picked him up and then headed to the Wake Forest/UNC Carolina game.  It started at 6:00 but thankfully we made it in plenty of time.

It looked like it was going to rain the entire time but it never did!

Flyover before the game!


Sraah was pulling for UNC but the rest of us were pulling for the home team!
At halftime, Peter ditched us and went to sit with a bunch of his friends from school and then met us at the car after the game.  He was thrilled that Wake won!

On Saturday, Peter hijacked the tv again and watched football all day. My bestie Jennifer dropped off my birthday gift which included these beautiful flowers!



Peter managed to tear himself away from the tv on Saturday evening and we went to Christo's for wings!

On Sunday, after Mass, we met my mom, my brother, my uncle and a friend of my mom's at Three Bulls where my uncle treated us to a celebratory birthday/anniversary lunch.  Once again I got salmon and once again, it was delicious. 

And the restaurant brought Dan and I birthday desserts.  It was Moravian sugar bread cake from Dewey's with cinnamon ice cream. Oh my goodness!  It was so good.  The table split the two desserts.


And then, we headed back to my uncle's house where we had this beautiful almond cake.  We love to have almond flavored wedding cake on our anniversary because it reminds us our our wedding cake flavor.


I guess being 50 isn't that bad after all!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Football and an adorable kitten...

To say Peter is obsessed with football is an understatement.

Last week he had a JV game on Wednesday (his final one and he was very glad!) He came home from football practice on Thursday and watched the NFL game.  He had his varsity game on Friday night and then immediately upon getting out of bed on Saturday morning proceeded to watch college football. All. Day.

Then on Sunday, he watched his Panthers and afterwards the other football games that were on.  And then of course, on Monday we watched more NFL football.

He can't get enough.  I've probably had enough.  And the season is only beginning!  Luckily we have more than one tv!  :)

This Friday night, our football game was supposed to be at home BUT due to possible rain AND the fact that our normal reschedule days of Saturday and Monday are unavailable for some reason, we now play on Thursday night AWAY.

BOO to all of this! 

And Peter has mentioned that since we aren't going to be at his football game then maybe we could do to the Wake/Carolina game on Friday night instead.  Not sure if we are going to do that yet or not.  I did check StubHub and there are tickets available.

And speaking of Peter, we are currently in the process of scheduling some college visits.  We've got one scheduled so far.  And that was hard enough to pin down between Peter's school and football schedule and Dan's work schedule and just general availability at the university.  Apparently these tours fill up pretty quickly.  The next tour will have to wait until after Christmas.

 And look at this cutie that my brother rescued from his work.  Isn't she just the prettiest thing??  She is very sweet.  She  had an upper respiratory infection but luckily was AIDS and Feline Leukemia free so he is able to keep her!  Sarah goes to visit her and hopefully hat will take care of her desire for me to get her a cat.

Monday, September 9, 2019

19 and counting!!!!

Today is our 19th anniversary!!



We celebrated on Saturday night by going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Greensboro.  It was delicious!

When we got to our table they had rose petals and confetti sprinkled on the tablecloth and a card!

I got the fresh mozzarella and tomato salad and Dan got the chicken and barley soup to start.  We both had fillets (he had the 11 oz and I had the 8oz).  They were cooked to perfection and literally melted in our mouths.  No steak sauce necessary on such a nice cut of beef!  We both also got the loaded baked potatoes which were large and stuffed full of sour cream, bacon, cheddar, and chives. 

And for dessert they surprised us with a complementary strawberry shortcake.

The food was delicious and the time spent with Dan was perfect.

And then on Sunday, mom made us this delicious cake for Sunday dessert.  Isn't it beautiful??



And for posterity, here's a pic of us on our wedding day:

I thank God every day for sending me this man.  I couldn't imagine doing life with anyone else.  


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipe!

I thought I would share the recipe for that delicious chocolate cake that I made for Sunday dessert.

I found the recipe at The Nonpareil Baker.  Here it is the way she wrote it and I made a couple of notes in red :

Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Hershey's

2 cups sugar
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (such as Hershey's)
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Spray each pan again and coat with a thin layer of flour.

2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the boiling water; the batter will be very thin.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Make the cream cheese filling and chocolate buttercream (see recipes below). When you're ready to assemble the cake, remove the layers from the refrigerator. If needed, level each layer with a serrated knife or cake leveler.

5. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Evenly spread about 3/4 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake, leaving about 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Top with the second layer and repeat. Finally, top with the third layer. Apply a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This is only a crumb coat, so it doesn't need to be perfect. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes.

6. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of chocolate buttercream, as well as any desired embellishments.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup (6 oz) butter (I used only 6 tablespoons and not 3/4 cup.  I will make it like this next time too)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups (24 oz) powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Add the vanilla and beat one minute more. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup (8 oz) butter
1 & 3/4 cups (5 oz) natural or dutch-processed cocoa powder
6 cups (24 oz) powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the sugar/cocoa mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. Halfway through this process, add the milk and vanilla. Once all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Note: Each of these recipes makes quite a bit of frosting! You could probably get away with half the amount of each (just halve all of the ingredients, and follow the same process), but I usually err on the side of having too much rather than too little. You can always freeze any leftover frosting in an airtight container!  (I made the exact recipe and we have been snacking on the leftover frosting.  I always prefer to err on the side of too much frosting!)

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Why yes, this past weekend was practically identical to the last...

Happy TUESDAY!  And you know what a "short" week means for me, right?  It means I will be confused every day as to what day it actually is and the "short" week will somehow feel oddly longer.

Last Thursday Peter played in his second junior varsity football game and while the team lost, they played better.  Peter played almost the entire game and even got an INTERCEPTION!!! 

Last Friday night Peter played in his second varsity football game and while the team lost, they played better.  Peter only played a few minutes in this game but still played well while he was in and is still having a great time playing.

This is a picture (taken by a professional obviously) from the JV game.  Peter is 77 on the JV and 22 on  varsity. 


That's Peter behind the guy from the other team - his face is blocked by the other guys helmet.  (But a mama always knows her baby!)
There's #77!!
On Saturday I made a chocolate cake from scratch and it was delicious!



Yes it was lopsided but nobody seemed to mind!!

On Sunday we attended Mass, had lunch at my mom's, and then Dan and I tried a new spot for our Sunday night beer.  And then it was Monday and we had no plans.  Peter had football practice and Sarah had a lot of homework so we just stayed at home and were extremely lazy. We did grill out hamburgers when Peter got home from practice but that was it. It was pretty boring but sometimes we just need to stay at home and do nothing.

Sarah starts her high school prep swimming practices tonight and now there is no denying that it is September.  All the stores have their fall decorations out but I'm just not ready to decorate for fall yet.  It's still warm outside and I'm enjoying that so I'll pull out the pumpkins in a few weeks if I feel like it. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

So tired because I'm old and I don't like to stay up late!

It's been a busy few days around here!  Last Thursday was the kids first day of school.  In addition to all of that excitement, it was Peter's first ever football game!

Even though he is in the 11th grade, because our school is small and he has no previous football experience, he is going to have to play several JV games.  The rule in NC is that if you are in the 11th and 12th grades and have never played JV football, you can play on the JV team BUT once you have played in 8 quarters of Varsity football, you are no longer eligible to play JV.

It was a non-conference game and we played a school twice our size and sadly we lost but it was good experience for Peter.  He played for most of the game!



Peter is number 77.  As an older player, he was one of the captains and got to go out for the coin toss!


Friday nightwe we played at home and sadly lost to the varsity squad of the same school.  Peter was on the kick off return team so he went in three times for that and he got to play in the final minute on regular teams.  He ended up playing in 3 quarters so he is hoping he has only 5 quarters left to play at the JV level but he is nervous/worried that his coach is going to keep him longer on the JV team (limit his varsity time) because our JV team is small.

Peter's varsity number is 22.

Stellar photography on my part!  But he's out there on the field as part of the kick off return team.


I guess we will see what this week holds as he has another JV game on Thursday and another V game on Friday.

This past Friday, the weather was bad and we had a very long delay due to lightening.  We ended up not getting home from the game until after midnight.

Sarah had a sleepover with a group of her besties in Greensboro so that meant I was out the door on Saturday  morning to drive 45 minute to go pick her up.  I told Dan that I felt like I was hungover.  That's what going to bed at 12:30 versus 10:30 will do to an almost 50-year-old woman!

On our way home from the sleepover, we stopped at Walmart to pick up some things for school that her teachers told her she needed.  It was a madhouse in there because all the area public schools start back today and everyone was in the school supply section trying to get all of their supplies.

I came home and made dessert for Sunday lunch:

This deliciousness is Ooey Gooey Butter Cake with chocolate chips.  YUM!!!

My brother was having a housewarming party and only men were invited so I had a girl's night with my mom, Sarah, and my bestie Jennifer and her girls.  We went to Hakka Chow for dinner.


On Sunday we headed to Mass, lunch at my mom's house, and then Dan and I took Sarah to Advance to work on a project for school.  We dropped her off and had a mini date night. 

Then we came home and watched some Beachfront Bargain Hunt and then headed to bed.  This will be the first full week of school for the kids but at least we have a long weekend to look forward to and I'm hopeful can catch up on my sleep then!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

First Day of School!

11th grade for Peter and 10th grade for Sarah! Praying for a great year for my kiddos.




Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday.

Things are pretty quiet around here but I always feel guilty if I don't post something each week.  I envision my kids reading this blog when they are 50 and I'm dead and wondering why some weeks (way back in my early blogging days) there were funny stories and lots of daily life details and then nothing. Blog silence.


Well, guys, let me just tell you - there are lots of things I could write but the kids (who will be 50 and wondering why I didn't write anything) don't currently want me posting a lot of details about their lives because it's "embarrassing" and "what if their friends read it"? 

So, in order to keep my current kids happy (even though when they are 50 they will probably want help remembering what they were doing when they were 15 and 16 but alas it won't be on here so I hope you kids kept your own diaries) let me just do a basic/boring rundown of our week.

One kid has their summer work done.  One kid does not.  The kid that does not has assured me that it will get done and that my constant nagging is only making said kid angry. 

Peter's football is going well.  He's had two scrimmage/jamborees this week and he is enjoying it. 

I'm so glad he's enjoying it but would you like to know what I don't enjoy about football? 

THE STENCH OF HIS CLOTHES WHEN HE WALKS IN THE DOOR.

His clothes literally smell like a dead animal that has been left to rot on the side of the rot in the 92 degree weather we've been having.  I'm surprised vultures aren't circling him.

I was attempting not to vomit as I was tossing them in the wash when he got home last night and Dan, who had just ridden in the car with him for an hour, said, "I had to ride home with him. You should smell my car."

NOPE. 

But, all the stinky laundry is worth it because he is having the best time.  The coach cancelled practice today so Peter and some of the other boys are going over to a friend's house to watch film and go over plays.  

Sarah spent the night at a friend's house last night with 4 other girls and I will be picking her up soon and taking her to get her school haircut.  It will still be long but she wants more layers cut into it.

Everyone was gone last night so I made myself a batch of wings.  They were delicious.

 


Most of our sunflowers have died but a few are just finally opening and look lovely...


 And that friends is pretty much all we've been up to around here.  

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Random.

Two weeks from today and the kids will be back in school!  And I have not even gotten into my summer rhythm yet.  But at this point, what's the point?  Ha!  In two weeks I will be in school mode and my rhythm will be set. Here's a quick list of things that have been happening over here lately...

1. Peter is still enjoying football even though they now have pads and are tackling and it is very hot.  I am very glad about this.  I'm not going to lie - I thought as soon as it got hard, he would want to quit but nope - he seems to be loving it even more.  He goes to practice early, I don't have to remind him about anything football relate, there's no cajoling like there was with swim practice or even track practice this last season.  (I'm still praying on the daily that he doesn't get hurt...)

2. The kids got their schedules last week and Sarah freaked out a bit when none of her besties were in her lunch period or in her pottery class (they were planning to all take it together).  But some people have made some schedule changes due to other issues and one of her friends is in pottery with her now and another friend is in her lunch so things are looking up.  Peter didn't mention a thing about his schedule so I'm assuming he's happy with it.  Or most likely since he's a boy didn't bother texting all his friends to see who had what lunch or what class.

3. Dan was in Ireland last week and made it back on Saturday evening without having to drive home from Newark this time!  I love it when air travel works like it's supposed to work.

4.I've been making a chicken, pepper and onion stir-fry dish lately that everyone has been enjoying.  When I made it last week  Peter suggested that it should have a white sauce with it like they serve at the Japanese streak houses.  So, when I made it this week, I whipped up this white sauce.  It was really good!  The only thing I did differently from this recipe was to add a dash of salt.  Now whenever I do the stir-fry I will be making this to go with it.

5.Last night for dinner I made the Pioneer Woman's Pork Carnitas.  It is very similar to the street tacos I've been making but it uses pork instead of beef.  Her recipe calls for pork shoulder but I could only find pork butt so that's what I used.  They were really good and I will make these again.  I did do the browning step that she did but I may not do that next time - the browning took a long time and I'm not sure it added that much extra flavor.  The meat was really tender and Dan, who doesn't typically like pork said, "These are good even though I don't usually like pork."  So, there's that!

6. A couple of weeks ago three tornadoes touched down on  Cape Cod.  I think only two or three other times in recorded history a tornado has hit on the Cape prior to this. One of them was very near our house. Luckily our little house  sustained no damage other than some broken tree limbs.

7. Dan's sunflowers got off to a slow start this year but are the tallest they've ever been...


8.  Our garden is still producing tomatoes and I will be making another batch of spaghetti sauce this morning.

9.  I took Sarah shopping yesterday for school pants and we got lucky at the first store.  Still looking for shoes though.  She has two specific pairs in mind and we were only able to find one.  The other pair we will order online since we were able to try the shoe on in the wrong color so at least we will know the correct size to order.

10.  I still need to get Peter to the store to shop for his new shoes.  That will be like pulling teeth.

11.  Neither one of the kids is done with their summer work yet and did I mention, school starts in two weeks?  Neither one of them is too concerned so I guess I shouldn't be either.  I, after all, have completed both the 10th and 11th grades so....

12. In other exciting news, I descaled the Kuerig this week after Dan said that his coffee wasn't tasting as strong as normal.  After I descaled it, the flow was much thicker.  He never commented if it tasted better or not but at least the coffee maker is clean now.

13.  Sarah wanted a chair in her room.  I know I've mentioned before how tiny the kids rooms are and there was really no space for a chair.  But I agreed that something needed to be done in that room.  The book shelf was too big for the room so that got moved out and she never used the desk that was in there.  It was basically acting as a junk holder.  You know how people get treadmills and put them in their bedrooms and never use them so they become landing spots for junk and hanging spots for clothes?  Well, that's what had happened to Sarah's desk. Junk just kept getting piled up on it.  So out that went.  And it felt so much better in there - just bygetting rid of two pieces of furniture that really weren't serving their purpose.

Then we went to Home Goods and found the cutest pink chair.  Now we just need to get a rug for the room and she is all set.  The room feels bigger and more open (even though it is tiny) and she feels less claustrophobic due to all the stacks of stuff being out of there.  The walls are light pink even though they look white in this picture and her bedspread is navy and the other accents around the room are gold. We are both happy with how it turned out.


We were in Home Goods on Sunday to look for this chair and Dan is actually the one that found it.  After we agreed that it was the perfect chair, he stood beside it while Sarah and I shopped for that cute little gold side table.  Apparently someone came up while he was standing there and was interested in it and he had to tell them NOPE!  As soon as he told me that, I grabbed an employee and we got the thing up to the front and paid for it.  Didn't want to risk losing this chair!  :)

And with that, it's time to process some tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.  I can't guarantee when I'll post again but I can guarantee that when I do, it will also be a bunch of random just like this list...:)