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Monday, December 27, 2010

Out with the Tree - Seafood Lovers Pizza and Motorhome Exercise Day!

On Sunday, we ran up to dad's cabin and had a nice visit with him.  He was happy to see us and we brought him some holiday treats.  The dogs came along so they could give his cat Issiah a tough time.   The cat loves to tease them and makes sure they know he is the King of the House.

 It was a pleasant drive up to his place
 and we got back in time for the kickoff on the big Packer / Giants game (which they won!)

Our fresh cut Blue Spruce has not fared too well.  I watered it daily, but it just kept losing needles.  Normally I like to keep our tree up till after New Years.  This time we figured we better take it out before it becomes a fire hazard.....  we took it apart during the Packer game (during the commercials)     just LOOK at all the needles that fell just from taking off the ornaments and lights!

It took four times dumping the vac cleaner canister to get up all of these danged needles!

Once that was done, it was time for supper... .a while back I saw this great idea on the noon tv segment Mr. Food for a Seafood Lovers Pizza.   Here is the recipe from their website:

Homemade Seafood Lover's Pizza 

Homemade Seafood Lover's Pizza delivers a creamy cheese spread topped with fresh seafood that bakes up in no time to impress your guests as an appetizer or your family as a light dinner.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (12-inch round) prepared pizza shell
6 ounces flaked crabmeat
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (see Notes)
1/4 pound medium-sized cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese, and pepper; beat with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth.

Spread mixture evenly over pizza shell. Sprinkle with crabmeat and cheese then top with shrimp.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until crust is crisp and brown, and cheese is melted.

Makes 6 to 8 slices.

This was a good night to make it, so I snapped pics step by step.

I bought these thick crust Mama Mary's unbaked pizza crusts.  They come two to a pack, and if you only use one, they thoughtfully include an extra bag to store the other one till you need it for the next time.

Some bags of shredded parmesan, montery jack and mozzarella, a can of real crab meat, some cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, italian spices and 12 jumbo shrimp.

I didn't have any pesto sauce on hand, so I made my own from garlic and spices and mushed it up with the cream cheese and sour cream.  (next time I will use less and spread more thinly)

I drained the can of flaked crab meat in a strainer and carefully scattered it around on the pizza

Now I added a blend of all three shredded cheeses, the 12 shrimp and sprinkled with Italian Seasoning

Baked it up till golden.. yummmmmmmmmmm  what a mouthwatering treat! 

(next time we will use low fat cheeses and less sauce)

Soooo for Monday, dear Steveio was off work.  It's a *Furlough Day* for all the state workers.  Ya know, those days they make all of the state employees take off, with NO pay, to think that might just balance the State's horrendous budget.  Ya...  right.  He has to take 8 of them again this year.  Sigh.   And finds twice as much work when he gets back.  Did ya know some of the 24 hour jobs like prison guards and power plant guys all rake in double time and overtime pay for working to cover for the guys who had to take off.  Now THAT makes sense?  It really doesn't help the state's budget and really only hurts the worker's budgets!   Okay, off the soapbox.

But since the sun was shining and the roads were dry,  we decided to do our monthly exercise of our motorhome.  Yes, each month it should be started, and run for more than 20 miles to get the transmission up to a good temp.  Steve puts an additive in our diesel fuel to prevent gelling in the cold temps.   It fired right up in the driveway in 18 degree temps.  That Cat engine purred like a kitten!

We fired up the generator too, and plugged in two electric heaters to take out the chill, plus the dash heat and the LP furnace.  Then we added the dogs, and the baby seat.  Yes, we had Chelsea the granddaughter today and she needs to get a ride in our motorhome too.   Steveio is in his glory when he is behind the wheel.

We drove about 15 miles up the side of the Bay to North Bayshore County Park.  They plow out the parking lot all winter to allow the ice fishermen to come and go from the parking area out onto the frozen waters of Green Bay.   We saw two of them fishing right on the channel at the boat landing.

The sun was shining and we were comfy cozy in our rig.  We discussed our upcoming trip and made some lists of things to take or do or work on before we leave in February.   We kept the genny running while I cooked up some lunch in the microwave.  Then we shut that down and just used the battery power and inverter to watch some tv and settle in the baby for a nap.

 What a gorgeous parking spot in the sunshine on a frosty cold winter day!
(see me n Chelsea waving out the windshield as Steve took the pic?)

We all dozed off for a nap in the afternoon sunshine, and it was such a nice way to spend the afternoon.  About 2:30 we headed on home, with no mishaps.  The rig ran great and all was well. 

It sure was hard on us to back it into the yard.... we wanted to keep on going!~! 


We had a wonderful three days jam packed with family and fun and laughter....

Christmas Eve was at daughter Erin and husband Mark's lovely home, all decorated up for the season.

 They have two woodburning fireplaces, one in the livingroom and one in the diningroom.  
But the house was so warm with all the baking and people, no fires were needed, that is for sure! 

Our daughter Heather and husband Jesse brought son Jameson too for an overnight.  
Mark's mom Rose came, along with granddaughter Kylee for the evening (on the right below)

So we ended up with a lot of kids to cuddle and play with.  Grandparent Heaven! 

Erin cooked up a ham and all the fixens, Heather brought all the veggies and dips, we brought 8 pounds of crab legs and desserts!   What a feast!   Steveio steamed the crab legs outdoors in the propane burner so the smell was kept out there.  Some presents were shared with family, and the kiddos were sent off to beddybye with visions of sugarplums in their tiny heads.  Steve enjoyed late night cards with the kids, and they managed to finish off a whole bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label!   (not me, I sipped some wine and read stories to the kids)

Playing cards way into the night has been a Christmas Eve tradition since our kids were teens.
It is something they look forward to every year.  Jameson even helped to play for a while.....

But then it was time for him to head up to bed.... waiting for Santa Claus is really hard when you are 2.

This Granmuddah drove a tipsy Granfaddah home 5 miles to our house and into bed.  The kids called us at 7am and said that it was time for Santa presents. Needless to say, Steveio missed out on joining us, as his head was not in shape.   Nuff said.

The kids had a blast.... and Santa brought them many things to explore, delight and wonder about.

 Chelsea totally enjoyed her bongo drum and shared it with her cousin too...

 Jameson's favorite toy seemed to be a set of juggling balls 
He is fascinated with learning and mastering at the age of two!

Once all the presents were opened, Erin made up a nice big breakfast.  It was so nice to have our kids carry on the holiday hosting at their homes.  We will just come and visit .. heh heh

Now it was time to load up for the next party, pick up that hungover Granfaddah and trek on down 100 miles to Waupaca to Steve's brother Mark and wife Shirley's new home.  They gave us the grand tour of their new digs, high up on a hill overlooking the area.  Our son Dan and Heather, along with little Allegra joined us, as did brother Pete, the folks, niece Faith, and later niece Heather and her husband Dave.  What a nice gathering!  Little Allegra was the darling of the party, and was chasing around the labradoodle, Charlie, for all it's worth.   Round and round and round.

Allegra is getting really good at gift opening... and playing with the boxes! 

Gift giving and treats all around.... 

We got to be part of a new special announcement for the Pfundtner Clan....  

Yes, our son Dan and his darling wife, Heather are bringing a new baby into the world next August.  Little Allegra will have a new brother or sister by fall... and one more wee baby to add to next year's Christmas Celebration!   That was our most super duper gift of the whole holiday weekend!!!!!

We trekked on home again after dark (gosh I HATE driving at night)  and snuggled into bed, with happy smiles and thankfulness in our hearts about the love of family.  We sure have had our fill of sickness, surgeries and mishaps this year.  But also we have had new babies, love and laughter too.  So much to be thankful for.

And that, dear blog readers, was our Christmas.......   no motorhomes, no fibers.... just family!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the Night BEFORE the Night Before Christmas!~

And all through the house are the scents of BAKING!!!!

Ahhh the house is smelling great!  I have two pumpkin pies baking, and an apple/cherry crisp, and then a newly invented pumpkin crisp because I had leftover pumpkin pie filling.  So I made up a recipe to use it up. LOL   The tree lights are on and Steveio is laughing at the tv.  The Grinch Whole Stole Christmas is on.  First the classic old cartoon, and now the Jim Carey one.  It adds to the ambiance, I guess?

So much illness has been in our family this year, but everyone seems to be on the mend, and things are looking up for the Pfundtner Clan.  (more on that the day AFTER Christmas)

I snapped a few pics in our yard this morning after the most recent snow.. this one is really interesting.. Check out the snow along the edge of the deck railing!   The big grey squirrels hop hop hopped along the railing at perfect intervals, and the snow softly formed into perfect waves!

I guess Mother Nature does some pretty fancy decorating for the holidays, too! 

I hadn't filled this bird feeder with any seeds, so they didn't even bother to go check it for food.  
The snow on that part of the railing is still smooth and straight. 

I snapped these pics around the yard during the first morning light.  
The snow was piled up so high and light and fluffy on everything.
It was so calm with no winds, so it stayed mounded up on even the tiniest of tree branches. 

Remember those pretty birch trees where I took pictures of the grandkids in the fall?   Brrrrrr

I was ready to run to Green Bay and happened to have the camera along, 
so I snapped a pic of the house before I drove away... all covered in snow and looking so festive! 

The plows had just gone through, and Steve had already snowblown the driveway that morning at 4:30am.  There were a couple of additional inches that fell since he left, you can see the car tracks in the driveway. 
The poor motorhome is looking pretty sad and forlorn.  It needs to get out and exercise a day sometime soon, but perhaps when we have dry pavement roads so we don't get salt all over the undercarriage.  We take it out and run the generator too and go for a nice ride.  Then sometimes we grab some take-out food and eat it while sitting in the parking lot by the bay.... watching the ice fishermen come and go. 

As I was heading down to Green Bay, I still had the camera laying on the seat.  So I grabbed a pic of this familiar site for Wisconsin... following a plow truck as it spreads back the banks, and sprinkles road salt all over from that tube on the left ... it goes PING PING PING on the car if you follow too closely.  LOL 

I got all of my errands run while in Green Bay.  Heather watched Chelsea for me so I could get them all done without hauling an 11 month old in and out and in and out of stores and post office and such places.
She got to play with her big cousin Jameson, so she was happy as a lark.  We both came home and took a nice nap. 

Ahhh the pies are done now, time to get them out.  

The presents are wrapped. The food is ready.  
The family is healthy and we are going to have a great Christmas Holiday in Wisconsin.  



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Update on Lowell for Wednesday

 Here is the latest on my dad, Lowell.

Three cardiologists when over all the tests... there is some blockage in the heart, but they are not going to operate yet at this time..  I guess from what mom said he still has some *flow* so they are sending him home on drugs (3 different kinds plus nitro for his pocket)  and check him again in 4 weeks...  

He will have a major overhaul on his diet and hope to keep his ticker ticking by careful monitoring and drugs and diet. 

They said they are glad he came in now on his own, instead of on a stretcher after have a heart attack

They wanted to keep him in the hospital yet tonight to make sure he does not react to any of the drugs negatively, but instead they opted to keep him all afternoon and have him meet with the team of docs and the pharmacy staff to teach him about the drugs.  And then lecture him (teach him and mom) hahaha  on new diets and methods of cooking for low cholesterol and heart healthy stuff...   And once they are satisfied they are done with all that, they will let mom drive him home and make him rest tonight.

She said they did take a few walking laps around the halls together to get him up and around.  

What a change this will be for them, as they do like their fried foods and desserts.  LOL 

Mom said they appreciate all the prayers and good wishes... I copied and pasted a bunch to her in an email to show her all the kind support from everyone. 

Thank you guys all so much!   

He is the world to her and she would be so lost without him!  We love you so much, Lowell! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Update on Lowell

UPDATE.. for those of you asking... 

Our dad Lowell (we don't use the term *steps* in our family)
is in the VA hospital in Gainesville FL.  Mom said they did a 
bunch of tests today, and tomorrow he is getting a camera --- 
and I am thinking some sort of angioplasty   --- 
up into the heart. 

They figure there are possible blockages. Won't know till they 
get in there. She said it might be surgery if fully blocked, 
or it might be just partial blockages. 

He got to eat tonight, and is in good spirits. 
He has wayyyy too many projects for this to slow him down! 
Prayers are appreciated.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! See the Christmas Monkeys????

(My dad Lowell is in the hospital... he was not feeling well for a week, so he finally went in to Urgent Care in Gainsville, Florida.  They immediately put him in the hospital due to high blood pressure, chest pains and are going to do tests and keep him for observation. They immediately gave him nytro and aspirin, and we are waiting to hear from Mom.  Prayers are appreciated)

I know for you non-snow folks, this may be boring.  
But it's about all we got going on here in Wisconsin is SNOW!

I woke up to this soft Sugar Snow coming down this morning.  
It's 4:30 a.m. and I snapped a few pics out the patio door to see
the flakes reflecting in the lights from the deck.

THIS is the kind of snow they show in the movies... 
It's like a Winter Fairyland out there, soft--- floating--- sparkly---  just like in a snow globe.   

Yes, it's feeling like Christmas.   
(not the wind whipping, driving, blasting, horrible blizzard stuff we had last week)

We are due to get about 7-10" today of the soft fluffy snow.  I am sitting by the light of the Christmas tree, working on my Christmas cards which SHOULD get out by today.   I had everything else done, the gift wrapping and shopping, most of the baking, and lots and lots of last minute sock orders for folks.  I had to wait to do my cards because I wanted a "special photo" to put in them.

See....I needed to get THIS photo..... 
Trying to wrangle them and get them all to sit in one spot was a feat, to be sure!

(Granfaddah picked out the jammies... they look like little Prisoners!)

We are doing a tradition here of giving our grandkids new jammies each year to wear on Christmas Eve. We all got together on Sunday at our son Dan's house to share some fun, family, laughter and let the kids open some presents to each other.   Here are our little Christmas Monkeys---  yes Monkeys!    Trying on their jammies that they can wear on Christmas Eve --- when they pop into bed with dreams of sugarplums dancing in their heads???

They were only glum for the picture posing.  The rest of the time they were squealing in delight, 
eating pizza, running around and having a darned good time. 

This was our only time that all three of our kid's families could meet in one place, due to family obligations with their spouses' families too.   We will see Erin/Mark/Chelsea on Christmas Eve and then Heather/Jesse/Jameson will join up with us there later and they will stay overnight.  We will drive back over to Erin and Mark's on Christmas morning to be with all of them.  Then about 10 am on Christmas Day, we have to pack up and head out to Steve's folks gathering in Waupaca, WI about 100 miles from here to have a celebration with Steve's siblings and parents.  There Dan/Heather/Allegra will meet up with us.  So we will get to see all of our kids and grandkids on Christmas, just not all at the same time!

We ate pizzas, watched the Packer Game (they lost) and enjoying the decorations at Dan and Heather's home. It sure was great to be all together and enjoy the family. 

Santa had sent along some special little snow globes that were really rubber bouncy balls.  
Boy oh boy, those were a HIT with the wee ones.  

But I got in my Grandkid time, even if we had to pin them down for a photo!
They are in constant motion and on the move, too busy for picture posing nowadays. 

Last weekend, Steveio must have been pining away for a campfire.  He decided to light up a big brush pile he had stacked up during the summer of downed branches and a few small trees we lost from storms. That is a tall column of sparks floating up 30 feet over his head.  Yes, he needed a campfire.  I think he was trying to heat up the outdoors. LOL

I tried to get a shot of the moon, but mostly got reflection on our trees. 

I guess I better get these cards done, the printer is finished with the annual holiday letter, complete with the new pic of our Little Christmas Monkeys.  I got the envelopes addressed, the stamps bought, the cards ready, and now can get them in the mail before the holiday.  Sipping my coffee from a special blue mug from my friend Juanita.

Thinking of my family and holding them in my heart. Hope to hear from Mom soon.