Thursday, April 30, 2009

Remembering Shelby 1997-2009

Shelby pranced her way into my parents life back in 1997. She was born on Easter Sunday in Jacksonville, Florida.  My dad thought she would make an excellent gift for mom... and what a sweet gift she turned out to be, for ALL of us who knew her.

I went to pick her out about 3 weeks after she was born. I looked down into the laundry basket full of wiggly Sheltie puppies and knew immediately who would be joining the family.  When she was a pup she had the cutest, light tan colored rings around her eyes. They made her look smart, like she was wearing glasses.

In the early days she would go to work with mom every day at the real estate office. She quickly became a celebrity.  My girls were little at the time and when Holly would call for Shelby it would come out sounding like Shabby. To us she will always be remembered as our sweet Shabby Dog.

Shelby was quite the doggy diva. She LOVED her cookies. You could not say the word cookie out loud without her going crazy.  Eventually she even learned to spell c-o-o-k-i-e, she was a smart girl. She would play frisbee and tug for hours with papa. She had a standing hair appointment every other Wednesday at Tailwaggers. To Shelby a ride in the car meant a whole day of pampering was ahead.  The kind folks down at Tailwaggers will miss her almost as much as we do. 

Sadly, mom and dad had to make the heart wrenching decision to let her go. She was sick and in pain.  The Vet and his staff were all very kind and made her passing as easy as possible.  I sincerely hope that the Lord will allow our beloved pets to be in heaven with us someday.  We will all miss her very much.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Puppy School Week 5

When you have an animal the size of a small horse you MUST teach him to behave. We have learned the hard way that small horses make big messes, they eat out of the garbage can, jump up on friends tearing off expensive necklaces in the process and chew on beloved stuffed animals. Since small horses can put their chins on counter tops, they can target your supper and make it their own.  Bad horsey!!!

Look at how innocent he looks. He's alert and ready to learn. Little does he know that he is about to be used AGAIN! Poor Hobbes has become the example for what NOT to do. It's that enormous amount of puppy energy he has that makes it so hard to concentrate in class. 
Augusta, the little dog in the background, is "teacher's pet". No matter how much Hobbes clowns around trying to get her attention, she is steady as a rock. 

Teacher tries to get Hobbes and Caitlin to cooperate. Hobbes decides that playing with Brewster across the way seems like more fun.

Uh Oh, looks like someone yanked his chain just the right way.
See, even the hyper ones can learn!

Hobbes says "Hey Maverick, lets ditch school and go chase squirrels".

Caitlin needs a bumper sticker that reads "My dog is class clown at Deans List Dog School"

On the way home from class the above motorcycles passed us riding all in a clump.  It was a beautiful day so we were riding with the windows down.  When the riders got just beside us, a couple of them revved their engines making a huge sound. Hobbes who was riding in the cargo area in the back of Jet Puff immediately yelped and landed smack on top of Caitlin in the back seat. What a scaredy cat!

After a hard day at school and being scared out his wits by motorcycles Hobbes needed a good long nap.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Look Into Turning 40

Lee's mom and Dad, sister Pattie and her hubby Isaac surprised him.

We took it easy on him and did not actually put 40 candles on the cake.

Hmmm.. I wonder if Pattie was trying to say something by using this particular gift bag?

Nice glasses!

Judging from the smile on his face, there must have been a little something green in that card.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Crud Crew

Cough, cough, cough, hack, hack, sniffle, sniffle, sniffle... Oh the sounds of home. Unfortunately these are all too familiar sounds around here lately.  We most love each other, because we keep passing around the same germs.  We've tried to do as much laying around in our PJs and staying home as possible lately.  No sense in spreading our crud to the rest of Virginia.

Lee and I were able to get a little alone time last week at the historic Page House Bed and Breakfast in downtown Norfolk.  It was so nice.  I loved every minute of our little getaway.

Meanwhile back in Suffolk the girls were busily putting the final details into place for Lee's surprise 40th birthday party.  They really stepped up to the challenge and pulled together a great party. Even better, they did it all without giving away the secret. They had to deal with making a 2 hour round trip across the James River Bridge (way to go Caitlin) to get Daddy his gift. They cooked and cleaned, shopped and even received out of state guests. There were a hundred little details that they had to attend to and they did them all well. I'm so proud of the way they handled themselves without mom and dad's watchful eyes.  I did have to do a few deep breathing exercises though knowing all that they'd be doing without me.  
I have been trying off and on all day to upload the slideshow that we showed at the party.  So far I cannot seem to figure out how to put it here on the blog for you to see.  Maybe it's all the cold medicine going to my head?  Anyway, it's a goal of mine to get it done soon.  I will also post some pictures we took at the party as soon as I'm thinking a little more clearly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

BG Rocks!

I've completely lost every bit of the organization that was going on here on the blog.  I guess that's what happens when husbands come home after being gone for 7 months. Plus, it may have a little something to do with the fact that I have the organizational skills of a gnat.  Just keep that in mind over the next few days when my posts are in no certain order.  
Yesterday we went to Busch Gardens for the first of many times this season.  Diana and Sami, our friends from Arizona were here to enjoy the fun with us.
Lee and I are sick with nasty colds and Diana is a roller coaster chicken, so we left the thrill riding to the kiddos. Instead, we adults ate our way through the day.  Haven't you ever heard of feed a cold, starve a fever?  We fed our colds VERY well.

Sami, Caitlin, Holly, Abbie and Baylee on the front row of the Griffon. They are about to plunge 200 feet straight down.  Meanwhile we enjoyed frozen lemonades, a turkey leg and a soft pretzel.

One of the many BEAUTIFUL Clydesdales at Busch Gardens. 

Here's some of the kiddos in the knotty tree that is in the Ireland section of the park. For lunch we ate in Italy. Canneloni Sampler, jello with cool whip, chocolate fudge cake, breadsticks, strawberries, and salad washed down with a lemonade of course.

The girls decided to take it down a notch and go for a ride on Corkscrew Hill.  The adults went over the The Smokehouse Grill with other friends to sit with them while they ate lunch. We couldn't let them eat alone so we shared a funnel cake. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My First Collage

Thanks Amy! My collage is very, let's just say "freestyle". I only spent about 3 minutes on it.  It was fun. Imagine what I could do with some effort! I'm so proud of my newly learned skill.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hobbes Gets Schooled

I've been taking a lot of guff lately over Hobbes being the only one of our dependents that has ever been to school.  HA!  Caitlin spent some time in school.  None of us cared for it much. Just as in that situation, all the learning is taking place at home during the homework process.

Here's our school boy just before class began. He has no idea what he's in for.

He got bored quickly and started day dreaming of running free and chasing squirrels.
I was beginning to wonder if we needed to put him on meds for doggy A.D.D.

Uh-Oh this is what happens when you don't pay attention to the teacher. You get called up to the front of the class and used as an example.

Who's being schooled here, Hobbes or Caitlin?

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's That Time Of Year Again

Baseball season has arrived! Woo Hoo!  I have my reasons for celebrating this occasion, but most of my reasons have nothing to do with the actual game of baseball.
I like to see my husband happy. I like to go with him  to the games and I really like munching the cotton candy, hotdogs, peanuts and washing it all down with a Diet Coke. Baseball park food is Fun!

Last Friday we went to see the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals play an exhibition game at Harbor Park in Norfolk.  The Norfolk Tides are the AAA team for the Orioles. The Orioles won this one 6-3. WooHoo for the home team.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Suppers- Part 3

Cinnamon Rolls
Scroll down for Parts 1 and 2

Once your rolls have risen they should be all puffy like this. That means they are ready to bake. Heat the oven up to 375 and slide them in for about 30 minutes.
Don't over cook them, you want the dough to stay soft.

While your rolls are cooking you need to prepare your icing. I got this recipe from the Top Secret cookbook.  I love it!! I could eat the icing all by itself! It's an identical copy of what Cinabon icing tastes like.
Whip together in a mixer:
1 Stick of butter softened
2 oz of cream cheese (don'tuse the whole pack just because I have the whole pack pictured here)
1 1/2 Cups of powdered sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
The icing will be thick. Don't be tempted to add milk to thin it out.  It's supposed to be thick.

Your baked rolls will be golden on top and light on bottom.

Spoon out your icing and spread it onto the hot, fresh out of the oven rolls.

The heat of the rolls will melt the icing and it will run all down into the nooks and crannies.
Well there you have it folks. Homemade cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Sunday Suppers- Part 2

Cinnamon Rolls
Part 1 of these scrumptious little yummies is down below.  Scroll down for the whole story.  

Once your bread machine has done its magic you should end up with a pretty lump of dough. Set the dough on a floured work surface and prepare to get a little messy.  I always end up with flour all over me.  Messy cooks are the best in my opinion!

Remember back in part 1 when I said that you had to be precise with bread dough? Well the precision ends here.  You are going to roll out your dough until it is roughly the size of a large pizza. How's that for precision?

Once your dough is rolled out you need to spread every inch of it with softened butter. I use about 4 Tablespoons because that is what is leftover from the stick that was used to make the dough. If you think it needs more then by all means add more.

After the butter is spread, go ahead and sprinkle the whole surface with white sugar. You can add brown sugar too but I happened to out of brown sugar for this batch.  They were still yummy without it.

Now generously cover the surface with ground cinnamon. Don't be stingy with the cinnamon, pour it on!

Starting on one side fold the edge over and then start rolling.

Keep rolling. The middle will be thicker than the ends so work with it to even it up just a little while you are rolling. Don't fret if it ends up crooked. The end result tastes the same.

Using a serrated knife slice the roll into about 12 pieces.  

My slices are usually about an inch to an inch and a half thick.
The trick with slicing is to let the knife do the work. Don't mush down too much while cutting.

Now lay each slice evenly spaced in a 9x13 pan.  Cover your pan with a kitchen towel and wait for them to rise.  It usually takes about 2-3 hours for them to puff up.
Stay tuned for Part 3, the finished product.  Yum-O!  You won't want to miss this.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunday Suppers-Part 1

You all are probably wondering why I am publishing Sunday Suppers on Saturday night.  That's because this is a multi step recipe. To have the DELICIOUS results on Sunday, it takes a little effort on Saturday. Now don't start getting worried.  I'm here to walk you through it step by step. Believe me, these Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are worth EVERY bit of the effort!

Let me start by saying that I am a bread machine fan. I have burned through one machine already and my current one just might be on its last leg.  If you don't happen to have a bread machine, this same dough recipe can be used and mixed by hand or mixer with a dough hook.  After you mix the ingredients and knead it for a little while let it rise for about 2 hours. The bread machine just takes all of the guess work out of the process. 
Notice that pink recipe book up there? That happens to be a copy of a copy of the original recipe book that came with my first bread machine back in the early 90's. I could not part with the best cinnamon roll recipe in the world!  I am guessing that the only paper I had on hand was pink. It's anyones guess what was happening in my house at the time. Since I spent most of the 90's pregnant or nursing a babe, you'll have to forgive the pink paper.

Bread dough is fairly unforgiving so be as precise as you can with your measurements.
Ok here we go...

First you start with an egg and 3/4 Cup of warm milk.  The milk needs to be warmer than body temp but not hot.

On top of that add exactly 3 level cups of white flour. DO NOT stir, just let the dry ingredients sit on top of the liquid at the bottom.  Spread the flour out across the surface to cover all of the liquid.

Add to the top 3 level Tablespoons of sugar.

Next pour on 1/2 level teaspoon of salt. After this take a spoon and dig out a small little hole in the middle of you flour. Be careful not to dig too far down to where the milk is. 

Into the little hole you need to pour 1 packet of active dry yeast.

In each corner place 1 Tablespoon of butter for a total of 4 Tablespoons. The butter needs to be soft but not runny.

Without stirring, place the bread pan into the bread machine and lock it into place.

Set your machine on the dough cycle and press start.  Most dough cycles take a little less than 2 hours. Stay tuned for instructions on what to do when the alarm sounds that the dough is ready.