Sunday, February 28, 2010

Playing Around With My Blog

I've been seeing some neat things on other people's blogs and decided to play around and try some of them.  I may keep them, may decide that I don't like them, we'll see.  But I wanted to let everyone know to please bear with me as I play around with my blog.  I promise not to change the content of what I write, just the style of the blog itself.  I might try to add a few new pages or maybe try to merge my other blogs with this one.  We shall see what I can come up with.  But in the meantime, I don't want to lose any of my readers, so I thought I'd warn you of what may come. :) Please stick around !!

I've been blogging for almost 4 years now and a lot has changed since I first started, so I'm just trying to keep up with it all.  I love blogging and sharing my life and stories, recipes and crafts with everyone.  It's been alot of fun and I've "met" alot of great people along the way.   Thanks for following and keeping up with my family's adventures!!

* What a pain in the rear making these pages has turned out to be....Someone please tell me it gets easier! LOL! I'll have to play around with it some more later, as I'm working this afternoon.  Thanks for sticking with me! And all the new followers, I'll get back to you later too.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ya Know Sometimes....

It really sucks being addicted to something such as Facebook! I've been trying to log on for over two hours, maybe longer (it feels like an eternity) and I keep getting this site maintenance thing. It's making me crazy to not be able to log on. I hope they aren't changing the damn thing again. That's the other thing, I've been on Facebook for about two years now and they keep changing it...Why mess with a good thing, it's beyond me! I suppose I should find something to do in the meantime, like say - clean my house or fold some laundry. Or I could just go turn the tv on and watch some shows that I dvr'd this week.....Hmmm, what to do? What to do?!

Another Friday Follow

Friday Follow

I missed this last week, since I wasn't feeling well and I'm hoping to make up for it by getting even more followers and readers and of course comments too. If you haven't heard about this yet, here's how it works......Friday Follow is hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades! They invite you to join them every Friday to get more blog followers and to follow other interesting blogs. It is all about sharing and having fun.

Here's how YOU can join the celebration:
* Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops.
* Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.
* Follow as many blogs as you like
* Comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow
* Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow
The Blog Hop is the same at each of our three hosts blogs so you do not have to add your blog at each site. Just one - but you can follow each blog. Follow a few or follow them all.

And don't forget to follow via Networked Blogs as well...I'll return that favor and follow you there too! Have fun!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jello Poke Cake

This is a dessert that I remember my grandmother making many years ago. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and it tasted sooo good. Making this cake brings back memories of standing in Grandma's kitchen watching her poke holes into a perfectly good cake. And then begging for seconds after devouring the first piece. Much like my children did tonight after getting their first taste of this cake. I love those memories and I can only hope that my children will have such great, wonderful memories of me in the kitchen making them yummy treats.


1 white or yellow cake mix
1 3 oz pkg of jello (any flavor, I used Strawberry)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 container of Cool Whip (thawed)

Prepare the cake as directed on the box. Bake at 350* 30 to 35 mins. Cool in the pan for about 15 mins. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake. Dissolve the jello in the boiling water, add the cold water and pour over the cake. Chill for 3-4 hours. Spread with Cool Whip

3 Simple Ingredients
Cake after being "poked"
Cake with the jello poured over it
Jello Poke Cake

Beef Stroganoff

I thought I'd post my recipe for anyone that's interested. I quadruple the sauce, because the noodles really soak it up. This recipe serves 16 (big family and all that). If you don't have a big family, then you can cut the recipe in half (which would still be doubling the sauce).


2 pounds of beef tenderloin steak or sirloin steak
8 TBS all purpose flour
2 16 ounce cartons of sour cream
8 tsps of beef bouillon granules (I use the cubes)
8 TBS of butter (divided)
1 tsp of pepper
2 cups of water
4 cups of fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pkg of 12 oz noodles (cooked and drained)

Partially freeze the beef (It makes it easier to cut it). Slice the beef into bite size strips or pieces. Heat 4 TBS of butter in a skillet and add the beef.

While that's cooking, Combine flour, sour cream, beef granules, water and pepper. Whisk it until it's smooth. Set aside.

In another skillet or stock pot (which is what I use), heat the rest of the butter. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic.

Cook until the onion is tender. When the beef is finished cooking, add it to the vegetables.

Then, add the sour cream mixture to the meat and vegetables.

Cook and stir until it's hot and bubbly. Cook and stir for another minute. Pour the mixture over the cooked noodles

And stir it all together....Yum!

Charlene's Beef Stroganoff

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stupid Crap That Makes Me Nuts

People that wear shorts and t shirts in the middle of winter, with no coat. It's Pennsylvania people, not Florida! Go put some clothes on....and a coat!

People that walk on the wrong side of the street when it's dark outside. It's a basic rule that we all learned in elementary school....You walk FACING traffic...that way people driving cars can see you. It's even worse when you wear dark colored clothes and do it!

People who ask if my husband is "babysitting" the kids.......No, he's not babysitting, they're his kids too. It's not called babysitting when the kids are with me!

People who block the middle of the aisles in grocery stores and then look at you like you are annoying them, when you ask them to please let you through. Seriously folks, let's all play nice with each's not that hard to be polite!

People who let their kids run wild in stores. Hey, if I can manage to control 6 kids in a store...You can manage one! Yesterday, in Target this woman's kids were running up and down the aisles screaming their heads off and she wasn't anywhere near them. Then when she couldn't find her youngest child, she yelled at the oldest (who was probably 5) for not watching her little brother. I had to walk away or I was going to slap the idiot!

I realize we all have our days....but come on, use some common sense and don't blame your 5 year old when she's doing your job.

Climbing down from my soap box now.....Peace Out!

Ok, So I'm Gonna Beg Now......Please Vote For Me!!!

I'm Soooo Excited!!

I received an email this past week from, an online food encyclopedia. They have tons of recipes and you can also link your recipes to their site. My Eggplant Parmesan Recipe came up when they were googling for recipes using eggplant.

And I'm now in a contest for their blogger cookbook....How cool is that?! All I'm asking of you, is to go and vote for me. Just click on the link below. You can vote as many times as you like.

Charlene's Eggplant Parmesan

Don't forget to Vote, Vote, Vote!!!
Thanks for your support!

So Grown Up Looking....


Somebody needs to tell them to stop it!!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Puffy Tissue Paper Heart

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I know the title is kinda stupid, but for lack of a better one...we'll just go with it. It's that dreaded end of the month time here at the ol' homestead, where groceries and money are getting thin (too bad it doesn't work on me, you know the getting thin part). At any rate, I hate when this happens. I stand in front the fridge and cupboards for hours thinking about what I can pull out and throw together for dinner. No matter how much planning ahead and menu planning I come up with I always fall short around this time.

Last night as I was staring at the cupboards and pantry shelves, I saw about 20 cans of tuna and 10 cans of chicken and 10 more cans of salmon. I also saw a can of chicken gravy and some instant mashed potatoes (Rich likes to stock up on stuff, if you didn't already know that and he likes keeping those potato buds for when Amanda makes dinner on nights that I'm working). I also remembered that I had some refrigerator biscuits in the fridge and I also had some Bisquick (that I could use to make biscuits, if I needed to). So there it was Chicken and Biscuits with Mashed Potatoes and Peas for dinner. I had enough for leftovers too.

See, I used to always look at this time and dread it, because I hated trying to come up with something at the last minute. It drove me nuts. But last night, something inside just clicked and I thought "I can do this. I can pull something together with what I already have and not have to spend alot at the store to make it." All I needed was some more gravy. It might not have been the big dinners that I like to make at times, but it was somewhat creative and cheap. It was fun challenging myself to use what I already had in the pantry and I was pretty darn proud of myself.

I also used a recipe that a friend had given me for dessert. I had everything I needed to make it as well, except for the bananas, so another cheap and yummy thing to make. This dessert came out really well and the kids loved it. It was super easy to make too...Gotta love that!

Black Bottom Banana Bars

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar (I used 3/4 c.)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 med. ripe bananas
1-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in bananas. Combine flour, b. powder, b. soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Divide batter in half. Add cocoa to half; spread into greased 9x13. Spoon remaining batter on top and swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350* for 25 mins. or toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Pure Yummy Deliciousness....I'm telling you. Tasted like banana bread (with chocolate), but it had a cake-like texture. A must try dessert!

Monday, February 22, 2010

911....What's Your Emergency?

As I was going through old photographs recently, I came across some pretty funny/not to mention really old pics of some fire fighters that came to our house. Why were they posing in front of their truck, in front of our house? Well, there's a really good explanation for that, really there is....

It all happened about 14 years or so ago, while we were living at our old house and involves a little kitty cat named Josie. Josie loved climbing up things. It took me forever to train her not to climb up on the kitchen counters (squirt guns work wonders when training cats, by the way). Josie would climb up the Christmas tree and knock it over and then innocently cuddle on the couch looking oh so cute, while I yelled at Amanda and Anthony who were around 2 and 3 at the time, for playing with the tree. She also loved being outside.

So, now that I'm pretty sure you know where I'm going with this, departments.....Let's just skip ahead to the climax of the story, shall we. Josie climbed up a tree in our yard. A tree that was well over 40 feet high (I'm guessing). And proceeded to get stuck in said tree. Everyone walking down the street could hear her meowing. This tree went straight up, there weren't any low branches to grab ahold and climb. And she went up so high that our little 10 foot ladder couldn't even begin to reach her. As the meowing got louder and the kids crying for their cat got louder, I starting looking in the phone book for a phone number for the fire department. Hey, it works on tv and in cartoons...Right?

Only problem is we live in a small town with volunteer fire fighters. They aren't on duty all the time and there isn't any way to just call them. My only option was to dial 911. I know what you're thinking...Oh my God, she called 911 to get a cat out of the tree.... Oh yes, I did. What else was I going to do?

So the guys came to our house with their big ladder truck, climbed up and got Josie out of the tree and of course I just had to take some pictures of the big event, you know to further embarrass myself......Did I mention that our old house was across the street from the fire department? Or the fact that Rich went to school with a couple of the guys? Yeah, that Rich married a real ditzy blonde one, didn't he....Lucky boy! I guess the beauty of living in a small town is that gossip only lasts until the next good bit comes around, at least I didn't have to live that one down for long.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Sickies.....

I should be knocking on wood, or my head as Grandma Juliani always did when she said that phrase, because my kids have only been sick once so far this winter (even after having gone through the night with no heat in freezing temps). They have extremely strong immunities. I am the weak link in this house. I get sick quite a bit. Every year I get bronchitis, I suffer through sinus infections, name it.

I think I'm like this for two reasons...1. I work in a nursing home and there is always something going around in there. Despite religiously washing my hands, wearing gloves and slathering hand sanitizer on til my skin literally burns, I'm still a magnet for whatever ails those folks. And 2. I have asthma. My doctor actually at one point said that I have COPD (from the bronchitis and prolonged exposure from cigarettes---I have NEVER once smoked. My father did and Rich does). But then the doctor said it wasn't COPD, it was just REALLY BAD asthma. The kind that if I lost weight, still wouldn't go away. I also have hyperthyroidism. So I think my immunity system just takes a beating every year. Some people with asthma have problems in extreme heat...mine is more affected by the cold. When it's really cold outside, I can feel it go straight to my chest. I'm a bad girl too, because I add to my problems by not taking my meds regularly. I'm lucky I can remember my name half the time, let alone what medicine I have to take.

So, I count myself lucky that my kids don't ever really get sick. I can count one time so far this year that three out of the six kids had the stomach flu, the other three didn't get it. That's been the only thing that they runny noses, colds or coughs. It's been a pretty easy year.

But then again, after all the other problems they/we have faced over the years, I think we were due for a break. Meaning, Nicholas' health issues with his heart, kidneys, tonsils and adenoids. I think that right there added up to a life time of relief from the sickies, don't you?

This past week, I was so sick...spent two days with the stomach bug (ironically, well not so ironic, it happened right after having worked a few days before). Then right after dealing with my tummy issues, I ended up with a 2 day migraine. I get migraines every month, right when I'm about to begin my period. The migraine thing started around the time I got my tubes tied after giving birth to Nathan. I never really had that problem before. I guess you can chalk it up to getting older (?) I don't know. If I catch them coming I can prevent the migraines from getting too bad. But if I don't then I spend a day or two in agony, which is what happened. So then, why not just keep track of when I'm going to start? Because that's the other problem, since the tubal. My periods are so wacky. I can't time them. One month, I won't get one and the next I get two. It makes me nuts. I'm only 37 and I better not be going through the "change" at this age. I just better not! I'm really NOT ready for that blow in my life.

Now that you all know my little intimate crap, more info than you wanted, I'm sure. LOL! (And where I've been hiding for the past few days). I'll just continue to cross my fingers and knock on wood that my kids are healthy and pray that they stay that way. Believe me, I do enough whining of my own when I'm sick, I don't need theirs to add to it.

Last Night's Wrestling Match

Nicholas had a wrestling match last night. This was his third match, he really loves it. I have to admit for as boring as I find it sitting there (you all know how much I love sports, it is always nice watching my kids do "their" thing. I also have to share how proud I am of Nicholas. He really behaves himself while he is there. He doesn't run around like other kids do (he sits and watches the matches). He never throws a fit when he loses, he takes it in stride. He never boasts when he wins, just smiles to himself like it was no big deal. He shakes the other coach's hand, shakes his opponent's hand (like he was taught). He listens to his coaches. It just makes me really proud to say he's my kid.

The First Match...the one that he won. The guy in red is one of the assistant coaches.

The second match, the one that he lost, but he put up a good fight. From the way people talked, during his second match and the way the other kid wrestled, it looked like he was a 2 or 3 year wrestler (Nicholas is a first year wrestler), which is probably why he lost. But, like I said, he gave it a good shot.

I didn't get as many shots, because it didn't last very long - lol poor kid!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Wrap Up

Our Heart Shaped Pancakes (of which I didn't get any)

Our Strawberry Pink Heart Shaped Cake (also didn't get any, oh well, like I really needed the calories anyway lol)

Nicholas and Nathan's Craft Project (that Sarah helped them do)

Nathan's Snack for Story Hour today