Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This last Sunday night was a little chilly and the light sprinkles coming down didn't really excite too many people. But that's not the reason we lost. We lost because we had a terrible umpire. I'm just not saying that either. We had a couple of questionable calls, and of course, none went our way. The most important was a play at home in the bottom of the last inning. These early season games are never really defensive battles and we'd been on a scoring seesaw since the first inning. While we were done by a couple runs in the last inning, we had been steadily scoring a few runs each inning, putting us back on top. Well, needless to say there was a play at home where umpire called one of players out, then realized the catcher dropped the ball, called her safe, and then the other team began to argue which ended in a "but she didn't touch the plate" and the ump called her out again. We've been playing this game long enough, that if given the opportunity to cross home plate, we make sure we touch it.
Anyway, the game was over and we left a little bit miffed. On to next week, where the Mixed Nuts will be playing "For the Fun of It" --- I'm sure you can't wait.
Ron wasn't in the stands this week to give out a spirit award, so I guess you'll have to wait until next week for that too.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Cheesy Potato Soup
6 1/2 c. milk
2 sticks butter
1 heaping c. flour
1/2 to 1 medium onion
10-12 medium potatoes
sliced American cheese (*I use velveeta)
1/2 c. finely chopped carrots
1/4 lb. cubed ham
Heat milk to hot in large pan. Melt butter, add flour, stir until think. Add cheese, stir occassionally. Cube potatoes, carrots, onion; cook until tender, drain. Add to soup mixture. Add cubed ham. Heat until hot-ready to eat!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This week I've also started my stint as a fastpitch softball coach for a girls softball team in town. I've got a team of eleven girls ranging in age from 11 to 14. This could be quite interesting as well. I inherited a team that went undefeated last season - only 4 players are returning, but the team did get 4 of the top 5 girls in the draft this spring. Looks like expectations may be high again. I'm sure it will be fun, its just been quite awhile since I've coached young girls. Practice starts next Saturday and we'll be meeting 3 times a week until the Bruins (that's us) make our debut at the end of May.
That's not the only season that's in full swing. Planting season is here too. Ron's been on the road getting trials out. After a long day in Monmouth yesterday, he got home after 1 am and then started again this morning in Urbana. The rain we got tonight may put a hitch in his plans for tomorrow, but I'm sure they'll be heading out again next week.
I too, have been on the road this week. Traps have been going up for our exotic woodborer and bark beetle survey. (I'll save those photos for another post.) I've also squeezed a few meetings in this week. I think we're both pretty excited tomorrow is finally Friday. The weekend can't get here soon enough!
You Are a Lemon Cake
Strong, sexy, and overpowering.
You know who you are, and you're not afraid to show the world your fabulous self.
You're confident, charming, and extremely popular.
It says I'm lemon cake..........what???? Strong, sexy, and overpowering? And I don't even eat lemon cake. Give it a try and let me know what you are.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
First, congrats to Dan and Jennifer Shike on the birth of Hunter James Shike on Thursday, April 17. Big sister Olivia is very excited!
Next, congrats to Eric and Kate Brucker who will be welcoming baby #2 in November. I'm sure Olivia will be glad to share her big sister wisdom with Alyson when the time comes.
And finally, Stephanie's younger brother Aaron, got engaged to girlfriend Kelly this weekend.
What great news for everyone!
Ron worked all day Saturday. He spent the morning at his uncle's house calibrating his new planter. Then it was off to the university to work on getting trials ready. We ended the evening with dinner with his mom and a quick shopping trip to get a bridal shower gift and some ammo (great combination, huh -- just so you know, we didn't buy them at the same store!)
As usual, Sunday morning church and we hustled home. I hurried out the door for skills assessment for the Jr. and Intermediate girls fastpitch league here in Champaign. I found out last night that I'd be the head coach of the Bruins intermediate team. I thought I'd be helping out on team, not necessarily be in charge. Oh well, it should be fun! Ron went to LeRoy while I was drafting girls onto teams. He met up with Doug and Nathan to do some shooting.
We ended up the day with my softball game last night. The "Mixed Nuts" made their season debut and I have to say, we played much better than I thought we would. Many of us had not dug our softball things out since last fall. Good news --- we did win and in pretty dominating fashion. I can't remember the exact score, but I think we won by at least 10. Ron would like to give out the "spirit award" to Stephanie Tautkus - she was an animal last night!
Friday, April 18, 2008
span style="font-weight:bold;">Delicious Bars
2 sticks butter or margarine
2 c. sugar
1½ c. flour
4 Tb. Cocoa
Pinch of salt
Small jar marshmallow crème
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
2½ c. rice krispies
Melt butter. Add sugar. Stir in eggs, flour, cocoa, salt.
Bake 20 minutes @ 350° in greased pan.
While still warm, spread marshmallow crème over cake. (Can warm 20-30 seconds if needed.)
Melt peanut butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. Add rice krispies. Spread on top of marshmallow crème layer.
Ready in <30 minutes. Will go straight to your hips.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
One the menu Saturday night: fried chicken (of course), homemade chicken and noodles, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, salad, coleslaw, applesauce, and of course pies. We spent a greater part of our Saturday helping out where ever we could - cooking, dishing up food, cleaning. The dinner was a huge success for the church- we served around 150 people. We actually ran out of most of the food. Even the homemade chicken and noodles I was hoping to have. We did manage to bring home a couple of pieces of chicken. Don't worry, I managed 2 pieces of pie for dinner instead.
Friday, April 11, 2008
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
3 rotten bananas
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
To egg, add sugar gradually while beating constantly, add melted shortening and mashed bananas. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add nuts if desired. Add this with your egg and banana mixture. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees in a loaf pan or 10 to 15 minutes in muffin tins with cupcake papers. Test with toothpick before removing from oven.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Ron coordinates the Insect Management Trials for the Department of Crop Sciences at the university of Illinois. He works with ag companies to conduct sponsored research on products that different companies sell as well as other entomology research products. Bottom line right now -- Ron's getting his different trials set up, protocols entered, and waiting for the last of the seed and chemicals to come in. All with the help of his trusty comrades Nick and Josh -- luckily though, both Hannah and Caitlin are there to keep all three of them in line. While it's still early in the season, but the end of the year, all their hard work ends up in the annual program report: on Target.
I, on the other hand, coordinate surveys for invasive pests. I work with the department of agriculture and USDA to conduct surveys for insects, weeds, and plant pathogens that are a threat to Illinois agriculture and natural resources. The tricky thing for me - we're surveying for pests that aren't here yet (most of the time) or determining the range of the pest that has been discovered. Right, now I'm contacting cooperators for our exotic bark beetle and wood borer survey. Then its on to working on an invasive plant survey and publication and a soybean survey. All lot of people still don't have a good idea of what I really do. Hopefully as I keep you updated this summer, that will change. My website for work is slowly taking shape, but it still has a long way to go, but go ahead and learn more about the Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey.
We both end up traveling all over the state, but while Ron and crew are trekking through corn and soybean fields, I'll be making my way through parks, soybean fields, pallet recycling places, industrial areas, and all sorts of odd businesses. Want to come along?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
And if you're interested in finding out what's on Kayla's mind, check out her blog
Sunday, April 6, 2008
What a warm, wonderful weekend! We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday working outside in our yard. It's spring cleanup in Champaign, which means the city is picking up all lawn waste for free. Saturday was devoted to the front yard, and I have to say, its looking pretty nice after getting raked. Our trees in the front yard are always dropping limbs and branches - it was in desperate need of picking up after the winter. After getting some of the old, dead grass out, Ron put some more grass seed on it, and hopefully, it will fill in nicely. We have a rather shady yard, and growing anything is turning out to be quite a task. This afternoon we started to tackle the backyard. We live in a neighborhood that has quite a few pine trees. There's four in our back yard and four others on our neighbors side of the fence. So, in addition to being rather shady, we also have quite a few pine needles to clean up. We used up all the yard bags we had, and we have more than half of the backyard to go yet. Let's hope next weekend is this nice too! Until then, we'll be soaking some sore muscles. Raking and dethatching our yard has definitely used some muscles that haven't been used in awhile!
Friday, April 4, 2008
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup ground walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Cream together the butter and the sugars. Mix in the oil and the flour. Add in oatmeal, crispy rice cereal, coconut, nuts, vanilla, salt, baking soda, eggs and chocolate chips. Mix until well blended.
2. Drop by teaspoons or tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 - 15 minutes.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Now that I'm older, I do enjoy hearing about everyone else's misfortunes on April Fools Day. I haven't really heard too much yet today, but did see this article. Funny, but I haven't heard any "laugh so hard I cry jokes." I guess the day is only half done ....