Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Santa's gifts


I will post lots more about our trip back to PA later - but for now...here is what Santa left in OH for us for when we came home!!! The kids love them!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ice Storm and Playgroup Party

Last night we got a wicked icing across all the roads and surfaces - just in time for our annual Holiday Party for the kids. Lucky for me, the party was just across the street at Angie's - but nonetheless, I still had a difficult time getting both kids over there. First, our deck and driveway were both slick with ice so neither was a good way out of the house. We chose the driveway and seriously just slid on our feet to the grass. Then I had to take Evie across while Gavin waited, come back for him, come back for the food - it was crazy! It makes you truly appreciate what a beast Mother Nature can be.

Once we were there I am glad to report that everyone else made it safely. One family had to back out because of a delayed start for school, and another family still had a sick kiddo - but otherwise everyone showed up who was involved with the pollyanna. ***Side bar - I found out last year that the word "pollyanna" is a made up Philly term (The word "pollyanna" may also denote a holiday gift exchange more typically known as Secret Santa. This term is used in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. It can instead mean a gift exchange rotation in which several families each give gifts to one other family in the "pollyanna" each year. This is often done when siblings in a large family begin to have children of their own. - wikipedia) I was devestated when I found that out*** Anyway, we all brought food, the kids did great waiting until everyone had their present to open at the same time, and everyone played nicely! Another great tradition here in Columbus!!!! Check out http://picasaweb.google.com/kellybull/KidsHolidayParty?authkey=3ck6uHOmYDc# for all the pics!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornament Exchange

Every year a bunch of the girls here do an ornament exchange party. Nancy Reed usually hosts, but she just had a little baby boy - so we had it at Heidi Kovack's house instead. Mary Elliott was in charge of the games/prizes and everyone chipped in and made/brought goodies to eat and drink. There were 10 of us there this year and it was a great time as usual. I am not sure what is so alluring about this annual event, but to many of it, it is one of the most anticipates of the year. There is something about sharing a tradition with these ladies during this time of our lives, talking about favorite memories from home, creating new memories to last. We always play some Christmas themed games...this year was a christmas carole quiz and christmas carole pictionary. I also introduced the "Hide the Pickle" game. My mom started this with us a few years ago - where she hides a pickle-like ornament (it blends in with the tree because of the color) and the first to find it wins a special prize. Mom always has GOOD prizes - so it makes it even more fun...but the competition is fun too! I got some Roche Chocolates (yummy)! But - this game works better on a real tree - and Heidi's was fake - but it was still fun! Nancy won (after a minute or two of searching) and I think some of the girls may start the tradition in their own homes!!! After the games, we go in a circle and talk about favorite holiday memories or traditions and things we are grateful for this time of year. Some get weepy, others laugh - but mostly it helps us feel a little closer to home even when we are far away. I love this event - and I hope it continues here (and wherever I may go) for a long time to come!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winner Winner - Chicken Dinner!

Today, Patrick's office he is currently working at (Foot and Ankle) held their annual cooking contest. There were 5 categories (appetizers, main course, side, dessert and Christmas themed) and the winner of each category won an IPod Nano 8GB. Patrick was really excited about this and wanted me to enter something. For anyone knowing me PP (pre-Patrick) knows that I couldn't even make grilled cheese. So it should tell you how far I have come along since we have been together that he would even suggest I make something that other people will actually have to eat!

My friend, Jen Johnson, made me this fabulous white chicken chili when I had Evelyn and I instantly fell in love with the recipe. She generously shared it - and now it is a staple in our house! I have made it for friends and family and everyone else has the same reaction that I did...They want the recipe!!!! So I knew it was the best chance that we had of winning.

Patrick cam home and told me that some broccoli dish won. I was so disappointed - mostly because I wanted Patrick to be proud of me. And because I knew how badly he wanted that IPod. I really thought he was tricking me - but he let it drop and nothing more was said. He thanked me for trying and said it was a close call. Well, he was tricking me... and had my friend Lisa call and say her husband (who works with Patrick) needed the award winning recipe. She said it must have been great to win first place! So Patrick started laughing and took the IPod out to show it off. It is even engraved on the back - so we have proof that I can actually cook!!!

Of course I am happy that we won such a cool prize - but I am even happier when I hear Patrick tell the story of how everyone thought it was so good and asked for the recipe. He was really proud and made sure to give me props for cooking it. It is actually a simple recipe - and I hope Jen knows how happy it has made us to have it!!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

First school party

Gavin got invited to his first party for a friend at school. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful and close knit friends here in Columbus, but I know that school friends are important too. Since Gavin had just started school when his birthday was here (and because we had 70 people) we did not invite anyone from school. Well, today we went to his friend Luke's house. There were 4 other kids invited from his class as well as 2 or 3 neighborhood friends. He had a blast! They did a fire truck theme - and played lots of games, and activities, and just had fun playing outside of school. It reminded me of when you start choosing your own friends instead of having them thrust upon you because of your parents are friends with their parents (although some of my lifelong friends are from our parents being friends). It was another realization that my baby boy is growing up - faster than I would like!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Last night we had Winterfest at Gavin's school. I am on the PTO so I was involved with the process so it was great to see such a wonderful turnout. Over the whole night, we estimate that there were over 250 people through the halls! We had Santa there (the biggest hit of the night) and you could bring your own cameras to get pictures! We also had games (all preschool oriented), desserts (free), the Alton Darby Elementary Choir and a silent auction. I was co-chair of the silent auction and we raised over $700 to go towards Adopt-A-Families and other important needs at the school! The biggest hit were the priceless works of art that each classroom made on canvases. I won Gavin's room (the one with the hand prints)!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Santa...

The prep....

The list...

Long time - no blog...again!

It has been quite busy around here. Mostly my fault with making some scrapbooks and cards, etc. Not a lot of time for blogging. Plus, my obsession with facebook was getting in the way! Anyway - I am jumping right to Thanksgiving and the following weekend.

We were lucky enough to have great friends, Sarah and Greg (and Josh and Grant - their kids) who invited us over for Thanksgiving. Sarah and I went to elementary school through high school together - and her parents were in town also - so it felt a little bit closer to being at home. Both she and Greg went to Penn State so the conversation was always flowing between Patrick and them. Anyway, Gavin absolutely LOVES Josh (and all his toys) so they were like angels the whole night. Evelyn was also quite occupied...which led to all of us being able to sit and relax and eat without being interrupted! It was great!!! The food was fabulous and the company was great too! We had a little melt down when it was time to leave - but overall it was quite relaxing!

The next day was Patrick's birthday - and black friday! I got up at 4 something and went with Angie to Walmart, Old Navy and Target. We were home by 6:20am...it was great! I didn't get much - but it was still fun to go. The rest of the day was really nice. We ordered Papa John's pizza and drank our most expensive bottle of wine (per Patrick's birthday dinner wish). Then he kicked my butt in Mexican Train Dominos! The next morning, we all went shopping together, bought a Christmas tree (where we ran into our neighbors) and started decorating. We decided to go to the WildLights at the Zoo too. It was sunny and warmer - so we thought it would be fun! Sarah had recommended going early so we got there by 5:30...just at dusk. There were a lot of people - but not a ton! So it was great. The weather was not too cold and there was not really a line for anything. The Christensens also joined us - so it made it even more fun! By the time we left - there was a line of cars out the parking lot and more than 2 miles down the main road!!!! CraZY! I am so glad we listened to Sarah and went at 5:30...if anyone else plans on going, that is the way to do it!!!

Today we decorated the house and tree. Patrick likes colored lights - so I gave in again and did a colored tree. Gavin helped with the ornaments -and so far no one has pulled it down yet (knock on wood). It really was a great family weekend!!! Except Patrick just got called into surgery - but at least I can watch Desperate Housewives in peace!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Super Dad

As if learning to become an orthopedic surgeon was not enough...Patrick also took on some flying lessons! Yes, that's right folks - someone trusted him behind the wheel of a plane. Actually, it was my Christmas gift I got him last year. We try to get each other life adventures instead of just "things" so I figured this was one he should try! Here is a video from arrival to take off. The kids and I did not stick around for the landing - but he DID land safely!!! I am trying to post video - more later...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another one

Another Yummy Crock Pot Recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer OR CHICKEN BROTH
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)

  1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slow cooking!

I love the winter/fall for one reason -SLOW COOKER MEALS!

Here is a favorite of mine...I challenge all my blog friends to post a comment or blog with your favorite slow cooker recipe!

Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (browned and drainer)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp season salt
dry onion soup mix packet
6 cups boiling hot water
8 oz tomato sauce
1 TB soy sauce
1 cup carrots
1 cup celery

Cook on slow 8-10 hours. During the last 1/2 hour, add 1 cup elbow macaroni noodles. (This may sop up all the juice - so I add another 1-2 cups water or chicken broth to make it "soupy" again).

Serve with bread and butter!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Healthy Eating

My friend, Leah, always posts yummy healthy pictures of what her kids eat on her blog. She has inspired me to feed my kids healthier! So I went and bought a plate with dividers for Evie and make sure that I put at least one fruit and veggie on there as well as the main course.

In these pictures, the main course was not done yet but she was starving!!!!

Playgroup pictures

Here are some cute pictures from the past 2 weeks playgroup. The first one was at Great Harvest Bread Company and the 2nd was my house!

Alotta catching up on the blog

The first picture is this year of Patrick chasing Gavin through the corn maze...the second shot is me last year chasing him - He has grown soooooooooooo much!

Evie picks her pumpkin!

Daddy and Gavin patiently choose their pumpkins while Mommy and Evie search the entire field!

Our little pumpkin!

Daddy with his Klingy Kids

Daddy and his girl on the tractor ride to the pumpkin patch

my favorite picture! g chasing e through the corn maze - the weather was great and the lighting was perfect for this shot!

Daddy reading to his kids

All Evie wanted was the water ice sno cones!!!

Mommy helping Gavin make a scare crow!!!

Riding his horse!

Gavin participating in a Big Wheel race!

Gavin and Nathan aboard the train ride!

Another chance at driving a fire truck!

I blame Facebook - my newest addition, but I have noticed I have been slacking on the blogs. So here are some pictures to recap the past week or two...