It's Official

Friday, May 30, 2008

The girls softball team had their first game last night....and we tied! Yep, in this league, ties at the end of the game are okay. And we're okay with that too. The girls played hard last night and had a lot of fun doing it. Lots of great hits, caught fly balls, and aggressive base running. We were able come back from 4 runs down and then hold the home team off for 2 innings to earn the tie.

It also looks like we're going to live up to our name too - the Rebels. We had a minor meltdown during one inning. A lot of extra throws to bases - wild throws - that allowed some runs to score all during one play. During this 2 minute time span, a few of our girls were upset because there was some talking being done by the other team, somebody got stepped on, and someone else thought she was slapped when a girl was going around her on the base. Let's just say my girls aren't total girly-girls. Just last week during our first scrimmage game you can imagine my surprise when I hear "Everyone spit on the field for good luck." Well, you can probably guess a couple of girls were not happy about the situation last night and wanted to retaliate. During our meeting on the mound after the craziness, we talked about letting things go and concentrating on getting an out. To this one of the girls replied, "Yeah, besides, we can take them in the parking lot."

That's my team.

You can't help but like them.

It's going to be a great summer.

(Oh, and don't worry. There were no altercations during the game or in the parking lot, but they did do cartwheels in the outfield after the game.)

Favorite Recipe Friday

Well this recipe is stolen from Stephanie, actually. Looking for something super easy for supper? This is it and it only has three ingredients.

Take a thawed chicken breast. Spread softened cream cheese on the top. I'm a fan of cream cheese so I like to have a nice thick layer. Wrap bacon around the chicken and cream cheese. I usually use about 2 slices on each chicken breast. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

It's one of my favorites and...Ron loves bacon, so I guess we both win!

Happy Birthday Melissa!
Happy Birthday to the middle Cook lil' sis!

She's going to kill me for putting this photo on the blog, but hey....she looks good! It was quite the evening at the World's Toughest Rodeo a few years ago and after-hours was even better.

Lunch Scenery

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Heading off to the "field" for work isn't too bad. In fact, we get to check out a lot of fun and cool places around the state. Not to mention beautiful places too. In fact, we can often time our day trips so we can stop for lunch and enjoy the scenery.

After trudging through some firewood dealers, industrial parks, and pallet recyclers, its always nice to be able to have traps at or near a park. For instance...Kickapoo State Park near Danville.

There's lots of pretty places to sit and enjoy the view and also cast your fishing line.........maybe we'll have to bring the fishing poles along one of these days.

Yesterday, we spent time in southeastern Illinois. Olney, to be more precise. Do you know what Olney's claim to fame is? WHITE SQUIRRELS....yep, you heard me right, white squirrels. Unfortunately, we didn't see any white squirrels yesterday, but I did share one of my potato chips with this little guy.

We spent today on the road as well. Nothing too exciting, but I have to share this photo with you. I'm probably the only one who gets a laugh from this (maybe AJ too), but have you ever seen anyone fishing from a boat onshore?

work, work, work
It's getting warm out - finally - and we've been working in the field this week. Ron got the rest of his trials (except the sweet corn trials) done and in the ground. He's headed to Monmouth with the crew today to do stand counts.

I've been on the road finishing getting our bark beetle traps out. These are called lindgren funnel traps. We hang lures on the sides of the trap to draw the bark beetles in and they get into the trap and "funnel" down to the catch container at the bottom.

The locations where these traps go vary quite a bit. The survey is targeting invasive beetles that could be potentially brought into the U.S. from another country and also looking to see what beetles could already be here in Illinois. Samples sites include pallet recycling businesses, warehouse distribution centers, industrial parks, green waste recycling, and firewood dealers, just to name a few.

Here is one of my locations - they have green waste recycling and also take pallets, crates, and other wooden shipping containers. We're off today to do collections here and get a few more traps out.

Three Day Weekend

Monday, May 26, 2008

The three day weekend is coming to a close.....oh how I wish I had another day to spend at home! I'm feeling pretty lazy today, not ready to go back to work tomorrow. This weekend was jammed packed so I'm definitely wanting another day to relax.

Friday night we celebrated both Leslie's and Mary's (of Rob & Mary) birthdays. Our evening started with a cookout at Paul and Mary's. It was definitely a good thing that the tent they had reserved for graduation was put up already. A little rain didn't put a damper on the evening, but it definitely put a chill in the air. We ended the evening with friends celebrating Mary's birthday -- it was great to see everyone and spend some time catching up.

Saturday morning was spent running errands - those never seem to decrease. Maybe one of these days, we'll be caught up on errands. The fast pitch team I'm coaching had their first scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. I think we've made a lot of progress in the two weeks we've been practicing, but I wish we had a little more time before out first game on Thursday. All in all, it went pretty well. I think the game situations will definitely help get us ready for competition. And on the plus side, our pitchers got to face live batters. We ended Sunday with "date night" - dinner at Red Lobster - one of my favorites!

Sunday was Leslie's high school graduation. After church in the morning, we had the graduation ceremony in the afternoon followed by the party in the evening.

Kelly, Leslie, and Ron

Leslie and Emmett

Ron and Kayla at the graduation party

Now it's Monday, and to be honest, I haven't done a lot today. And it feels pretty good. Some cleaning and some laundry were accomplished and I spent some time reading while Ron watched a couple of movies. Its steaks and potatoes on the grill tonight and back to work tomorrow.

A little catching up

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wow--it's been awhile since I've let you all in on the happenings at the Estes' household. As always, we've been on the go and busy, busy, busy. I promise I'll get a catch up post in here somewhere....of course it will be more of the same from last week -- in the field, lots of softball, and working in the yard/on the house.

Happy Birthday to...
To our niece Leslie --- who's 18 today

And to our friend Mary

Favorite Recipe Friday

Looking for something easy for the Memorial Day picnic? How about a salad?

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup mayo
2 Tbsp vinegar
bacon bits

Mix sugar, mayo, vinegar in small bowl. Add to cauliflower and broccoli. Top with bacon bits.

Just A Little Editting

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pardon the mess, I'm trying a few new things out..

Time Warp Tuesday

Me and Dad

Favorite Recipe Friday

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grandma and Madison made pumpkin bread this week....maybe you'd like to too.

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 c. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 c. each raisins and nuts (optional)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing well.

Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 1/2 x 5 1/4-inch loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.

Time Warp Tuesday

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday AJ!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sending birthday wishes to former roommate, husband of one of my best friends, and all around good guy-AJ!

Here's David and AJ from last November......maybe he'll have to have an irish car bomb for his birthday too.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We love you!

Favorite Recipe Friday

Friday, May 9, 2008

Looking for something to make your mom this weekend? Here is one of my mom's favorites she used to make us. Yum!

Caramelick Bars
1 white cake mix
1/2 c. cooking oil
1 (12 oz.) jar caramel topping
2 eggs
2 T. water
1 c. chopped nuts
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. oleo

Mix together until well blended: cake mix, eggs, oil, 3/4 c. topping, water, and nuts. Spread on well-greased, 12x18 cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Mix powdered sugar, oleo, and remaining caramel topping. Spread on cake while it is still warm.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

See, I told you that you guys were like therapy You're saving me tons of money by listening to my problems, sharing in my joys, and by just reading whatever I feel like putting up on the web. Seriously though, there are some great blogs out there sharing life stories, giving good advice and tips, and inspiring others to do more. Others are just plain fun and make you laugh. That's the beauty of blogging - you can make your blog into whatever you like.

Time Warp Tuesday

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In honor of prom season, I thought I'd share a photo of my mom. Most girls loved to get dressed up and even though this isn't necessarily a prom photo, isn't she looking good?

Softball Season: Week 3

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Mixed Nuts have redeemed themselves and put another game in the win column. I'll spare you the details, but stringing some hits together and playing defense will definitely help you win some games. The in-the-park home runs by Keith and AJ helped too. Hopefully we'll continue our winning ways next week against the WCIA 3 team.

Sunday Stroll

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The weather was much better on Sunday so we took Abbey on long walk through the park. Quite a few people in the neighborhood were out enjoying the weather too.

This couple on rollerblades passed us on the way down the hill to the park...there was some amazing acrobatics just before this photo was taken - luckily neither fell down.

We stopped by the pond to check out the fish......sorry for the crappy photo

There were lots of beautiful flowers....that smelled pretty good too

But there were lots of things to see when we finally got to the park

Our puppy was pretty happy.....

Softball and Shutters
A little catching up to do....another busy weekend. On Saturday, we held the first practice of the 14 and under girls fastpitch team I'm coaching. It was a cold and windy day to practice, but 9 of the 11 girls made it out. I think this is going to be a lot fun...and a lot of work. We have girls ranging in age from 11 to 14, so there's varying skill levels. There's a whole bunch of potential there. Stay tuned to how the team progresses.

While I was off at practice, Ron put the shutters up on the house. I know this doesn't mean a lot to most of you, but I love them! The house remodeling is still progressing...

Favorite Recipe Friday

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chicken Tortellini

1 1/2 can chicken
1 can corn
2 pints whipping cream
1 lb bag of cheese tortellini
1 bag Italian mix cheeses
1 Tbs. butter

Heat the whipping cream, butter, and cheese. Add garlic salt, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir mixture until cheese is runny. Boil the tortellini until cooked. Add tortellini, cheese mixture, chicken, and corn into 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

....Bring May Flowers

Thursday, May 1, 2008

April showers bring May flowers and.....more showers. May is here already. Can you believe it? Flowers are blooming everywhere, despite the record low temperatures this week. The grass is green and growing. In fact, we're mowing the yard for the first time this spring. Yep, spring is definitely here to stay.

On this first day of May, Ron and I are also celebrating 5 months of marriage. Five months (Not that I didn't think we would make it). It just seems a lot longer than that. We've had a jammed packed couple of months. Hopefully we'll be able to take some time to smell those flowers in the next couple of months...