Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

We are headed out for fireworks and fun. Happy New Year to you all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Miniature Peanut Butter Cup Treats

Grandma B has been making these for us for many years, and they have always been a favorite. For the first time I have started making them, too. They are an incredible treat if you love chocolate and peanut butter, and they are so easy to make. I don't chill the dough, but you may find it easier to roll if you do.

Miniature Peanut Butter Cup Treats

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 42 miniature peanut butter-chocolate cups
Combine butter, sugars, egg, peanut butter and vanilla in mixing bowl; beat until smooth. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture. Cover dough and chill. When cold enough to handle easily, roll in small (walnut-sized balls); place each ball in greased miniature muffin tin. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven; gently press 1 peanut butter cup into each cookie to make depression. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool on rack. Store in cool place until serving time. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

Wii boxing

I bought a Wii for the kids tonight, and we have been having a blast with it. It's almost 1am and Sean and Bren are still boxing.

A little girl and her puppy

I took this tonight after my little girl fell asleep on my bed (with her robe still on) with Anah. She was absolutely exhausted from spending an entire day (7am-9pm) at Busch Gardens with Lars and his family. I honestly think she was asleep in less than two minutes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Villa La Paz

I do quite a bit of volunteering at three different hospitals around the Tampa area (including Shriners Hospital), and have a wonderful opportunity to get hands-on experience with patients. However, a fabulous opportunity has come my way, and I am more than excited. Dr. Lazzara, the founder of Villa La Paz in Lima, Peru, has invited those of us in the pre-med AMSA group at USF to come spend some time with him and the 30+ children that he takes care of. Unfortunately the majority of the group are not able to go, but I am, and I'm taking Sean (my oldest son) and Tony (my brother) with me. I purchased the tickets last night, and Dr. Lazzara will be providing full room and board in the same house that he and the children live while we are there. We will be working around the clock to help take care of the severely handicapped and ill children-for two weeks.

Our trip is not until this coming summer, but I am already counting down the days. Sean is just as excited as I am, and this is going to be an awesome experience for him since he, too, wants to go into medicine.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lazzara and his life's work in Lima, Peru then go to I met Dr. Lazzara a couple of months ago, and I cannot wait to be there and be a part of his "team". I have a feeling it won't be my only trip.

***Updated to add a link to my Pre-med AMSA group site where two videos of Dr. Lazzara and Villa La Paz are located.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

We had a great day. Sean was up at 8am (yuck), and managed to get Erin and Bren up, too. I was hoping for a little bit of a sleep in after being up so late playing Santa.

Brian got me a gift card to the salon and spa that does my hair and highlights. It's enough to get a massage, pedicure and my highlights. Erin got one to go, too, because she loves to get a pedicure there while I'm getting my hair done. I also got Photoshop (a photo editing software that I've wanted for a long time), an anatomy book (amazing pictures), and a new set of mugs that I love. Brian is an avid golfer, and so I got him the SkyCaddie (a gps device for golfing). Sean got his new furniture that he picked out from Ikea, new bedding, curtains, clothes, money, and gift cards. Bren scored (see below) with his own Xbox 360 (so he can play against Brian from his room), an iPod touch, clothes, Nike shoes, a tool set (he wanted his own set so that he doesn't have to use Brian's), money and gift cards. And Erin? The girl is so funny, and wanted everyone else to open their presents. She wanted to hand them out to everyone, and was so slow to open her own. It was driving me crazy. She got rollerblades, boots, a body pillow, purse, robe, makeup, gum ball machine and water dispenser, and various other things.

It was so fun watching them open their gifts, but the best was when Bren opened his Xbox. Check out the videos below. There are a few, but they are all so cute.

Monday, December 21, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

...are my THREE front (top) teeth!

A total of five missing now-three on top and two on the bottom. The two middle bottom teeth have already grown in (she's already lost a total of 7), and two more are loose. I told her that I don't know how she eats.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pam's visit

Pam arrived on Thursday, and after picking her up from the airport we headed straight up to Jacksonville. Mom B made us a fabulous spaghetti shrimp dinner to fill us up before we headed out to the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. I managed to get my hands on a pair of club seats behind the Jaguars bench, and we had a great view. It was Pam's first live NFL game, and she had a smile plastered on her face the entire time. She's a Colts fan, so to say that she was happy about the outcome of the game is an understatement.

On Friday morning we drove from Jacksonville to Anna Maria Island (about an hour south of Tampa). It was windy and a bit chilly, but still absolutely beautiful there. We stayed at a local place with the Gulf of Mexico literally feet from our sliding glass door. We had dinner at a local seafood place at the end of a pier, and then breakfast the next morning at a great local antique/breakfast place.
The view from our room.

Saturday afternoon we drove back to my house. The kids were dying to see Aunt Pam. We relaxed around the house, had dinner at Gators, and then back home to watch football. Howard Park, our favorite local beach, has been closed for over a year, but Pam and I drove out to the part of the park that is still open. We sat along the water and just talked, took pictures and relaxed some more. Earlier this evening we went to watch football and have dinner at a local pizza place just behind our house. Our neighbors and friends, Lars, Tina and LT, joined us for dinner and then came over to the house for a little bit afterwards.

Me and Pam at Howard Park.

Pam and Bren at Brick Oven (just behind our house) on Sunday evening.

Tomorrow morning I take her back to the airport, and she'll be headed back to the frozen land of Michigan. Hopefully it'll only be a couple of months before she's back, or we are headed somewhere together. I love it when she's here, and count down the months, weeks or days until we get to see one another again.

My mom and dad

Mom and dad at their Christmas party. They look so good all dressed up, don't they?
And my mom? Wow! She is beautiful.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy birthday, Jacob

On this day eight years ago my third child, my third son, was born. It's been nice to have Pam here with me today. She remembered him first thing after we were up this morning, and that was special. Normally there is no mention of him on this day from anyone except me (speaking of people around me).

Happy 8th birthday, Jacob. You are not forgotten, and never will be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A few fun days ahead

Pam arrives tomorrow morning, and then we'll head straight to Jacksonville from the airport. I scored club level tickets for the Jaguars vs. Colts game tomorrow night, and we are both so excited to go. It's her first NFL game.

On Friday morning we'll head down to Anna Maria Island. We have a room reserved right on the Gulf of Mexico. It'll give us some much needed quiet time, and the chance to just sit and talk.

Have a good weekend! I know that I will.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Erin and Santa

Brian and I took Erin to see Santa this evening. She absolutely loves him, and could not wait.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


My kitty absolutely loves Tony, and whenever he had the chance he was in Tony's room with him. His favorite spot in the house since Tony arrived has been on a blanket that Tony set out especially for him on his bed. A few days ago Tony walked into his room, and this was how Grey was laying on the bed.

Tony's last night here

For Tony's last night here we all went to Wiregrass-an outdoor mall with a great light display set to music for Christmas. We all had dinner together, did some Christmas shopping, and just walked around.
Bren and Tony

Sean's two best friends, Aspen (left) and Taylor (right) went with us. These three have been best friends for almost six years.

On the road again

Tony left earlier this afternoon, headed back to Orlando. This was him as he drove down our street.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another end

It's just the end of the fall semester for me, but I am so relieved. The combination of classes and two back surgeries really took its toll on me these past 3.5 months, and I'm ready to relax. Pam will be here in just six days, and we are going to have a great time. We will be going to the Jaguars vs. Colts game (she's a Colts fan) on 12/17, and then we are heading back down this way the next day to Anna Maria Island. We have a reservation at a gorgeous place RIGHT on the Gulf. I'm so excited that she's going to be here right before Christmas. That is the best Christmas present ever!

Monday, December 07, 2009

2009 Gingerbread House

Building a gingerbread house is an annual tradition in our house, and this year Erin decorated it completely by herself. Well, Sean did the icing and writing (HO HO HO on one side, and ERIN on the other side), and Erin decorated with candy. I think it turned out cute.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions, the more credibility you will have." -Brian Koslow

Unfortunately there are too many people in this world who do not accept responsibility for their actions (and therefore will never have any credibility), and for that they pay the price. Some people just don't realize that placing blame on others for all of their mistakes will get them absolutely nowhere.

And no, this is NOT about Brian. Unlike other people in my family he HAS taken responsibility for his actions.


While stopped at a light on my way to school one morning, this was the view up through my sunroof.

There are a group of 4-5 hot air balloons that are out several days each week on my way to school, and I always love watching them. Riding in them is on my "to do" list.