275/365 - Chicken - It's What's for Dinner

Tonight's dinner - a copy cat version of TGIFriday's Bruschetta Chicken Pasta:

Our Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

"General" recipe:
Grill up a couple of chicken breasts. You can season with your favorite grill seasoning or plain old salt and pepper.
Cut on the bias.

Coarsely chop 5-6 cloves of garlic. Don't skimp!
Heat 2TB EVOO in pan, but not too hot. Lower heat Med-low
Add the garlic and cook gently until soft - don't let it get brown. You want it to be soft and sweet, not brown and burnt.
Add one 15oz can of diced tomatoes. You can turn the heat up now to medium.
Add splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Add 1/2C tomato sauce (I use spaghetti sauce)

Cook 12oz of angel hair pasta.
Toss pasta with sauce, add chicken, add some Parmesan cheese.

[Between me and the kids, we ate the entire contents of the pan shown - no leftovers for Scott tomorrow!]


POTD - Signs of the Harvest

Golden stalks of corn swaying in the wind. Yellow soybeans withered in the fields. Combines and grain trucks in the road. Signs of the impending harvest.

As I drove down this country road, I marveled at the blue sky, cottony clouds and golden fields.
Harvest Time


POTD - Old Shoes, New Shoes [contrast]

At last, fall arrives along with a huge bounty of boots at the shoe store. I decided to replace my 3 year old daily shoes with new ones today and thought the subjects fit this week's POTD theme of "Contrast".

Old Shoes

New Shoes

Loving the new shoes - really comfortable! Sing with me now:

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late,
And I dont need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.

New Shoes by Paolo Nutini


274/365 - Lunch Hour Mission

Now that the cooler weather has settled in, I embarked on a lunch hour mission - purchasing new jeans for the kiddos. I work very (too) close to an outlet mall, making this task quite easy. I stopped in at the Old Navy and within 15 minutes had accomplished my mission - 2 pairs of jeans for each kid.

My speedy execution meant I had time to walk around to some of the other stores. This normally causes trouble! See my favorite store here:
Retail Therapy Alley

I avoided temptation by not even looking into the Coach store. No looky, no spendy money! I ended up at the Bass Outlet where I bought ankle boots - two pairs for less than $60! I call that a productive lunch break.


273/365 - Good Gravy, a Giant Gourd!

The kids had the day off from school and Brian went to a local farm with George and his family. They brought home these very interesting gourds.

Gourd Collection

But wait - let's get another shot of the green, zucchini-looking gourd:
Good Gravy, Giant Gourd

Yes, that's one giant gourd!


Best Shot Monday - The Original World Wide Web?

Or just the web between the rails of the bridge over the little slough that runs through our neighborhood.

Original Web

Check out the other Best Shot Monday entries here. And share your best shot today!


272/365 - Family Tree Project

OK, so I am cheating a little bit. The picture was taken late on Thursday, after I had already posted the pictures of Rascal. But Brian did such a great job on his Family Tree Project, I had to feature it somehow! Today is as good as Thursday....

I dug out a Family Tree scrapbook page out of my CM stash - this was so much nicer than the photo copied black and white worksheet the teacher gave out. Brian filled out the names and proceeded to decorate the page with additional stickers (again from my CM supply stash - lots of discontinued flower / bug stickers used up!).

Family Tree Project

Brian is big into this "bucktooth" thing (the smiley face with buck teeth next to his name). His front teeth were pretty "bucky" last year, but they look great now, so I'm wondering when the "bucktooth" signature will fade away. Probably never, knowing these kids!


271/365 - Little Michael

I met with my friend, Nancy, and her cute little boy, Michael. He was full of energy and smiles.

Here are some of my favorites - Michael running down the path:
Dancing Down the Path

And hanging out by the flowers:
All Smiles


SOOC Saturday - Arboretum Visit

I spent some time at the local arboretum and botanical gardens this afternoon. I took these pictures while waiting for my friend, Nancy and her little boy.

Tree Line

Cannas and Trees

The flowers are all clearly marked, but I didn't write down the species information (nor do I remember!). The blooms reminded me of fireworks, and that's what drew me to them.

Blooming Fireworks


270/365 - Party Down

Brian's birthday party started out at the local pizza palace, complete with games and prize tickets.

Birthday Boy

Tokens are used to earn tickets:
Tickets to Redeem

The tickets are redeemed for prizes:
Prize Selection

The boys collected over 1400 tickets, enough for lots of little trinkets and the "big prize" behind "Door #1":
Ticket Redemption

Back at home, the boys played Ghosts in the Graveyard, opened presents, ate cake, popcorn and watched a movie before hunkering down for the sleeping portion of the sleep over party. A fun time, for sure!


POTD - Steam Alley

Another photo from work - a road way between two process buildings, with steam pouring out of a trench. The steam leak is not normal - it will be fixed tomorrow when the process is shut down for 12 hours.

Steam Leak
The colors on the pipes designate the contents inside - nitrogen, hydrogen or natural gas, for example. That streaky brown color? That would be rust (something we don't like to see and needs to be fixed, too - always something to fix at work!).


269/365 - Rascal Relaxes

I give so much more screen time to Hannah, so today's pictures are of our other cat, Rascal. Rascal is over 15 years old now and was our "family starter kit". She adopted us while we lived in West Virginia (aka - she was a stray that showed up on our doorstop).

She still looks pretty good for an old kitty, relaxing in the grass:
Rascal in the Grass
[the hair on the top of her hair is matted down after drinking from our pond's waterfall - her favorite drinking spot]

I wonder what she was looking at in this picture - perhaps a bird or the neighbor dog.
Rascal Profile

Ah, the stresses of cat-life!


POTD - Sign of Fall

Maple Leaves from the backyard:

Tangible Sign of Fall


268/365 - Too Buggy

Because of the cool, wet summer, we have a bumper crop of soybean aphids, aka, gnats / tsetse flies / dang bugs. You know it's bad when the local news starts to report on these annoying swarms of minuscule bugs.

Case in point - the truck was freshly washed before I drove Erica to horse riding lessons, maybe 15 miles round trip. After this short trip, the windshield was covered with bug snot. Check out the side view mirror:
Too Buggy

Hope the bugs die off soon.


POTD - First Day of Fall [secret hideouts]

A fitting day for a lonely picnic bench at the local forest preserve.
First Day of Fall


267/365 - Tale of Two Propane Tanks

The reason to have two propane tanks?
So when the tank you are using runs out of propane, you have a full tank waiting in the wings, ready to slap into use.

Too bad I forgot to fill that second tank "waiting in the wings".

Now I have two empty propane tanks and a cold grill.

Tale of Two Propane Tanks

This could only happen on the first day of Fall.


POTD - Hidden From View [secret hideouts]

The farthest east corner of the plant - a place where very few people venture to, unless one is moving a railcar or inspecting some of the process piping. I only found this area last week and liked all the yellow wild flowers in bloom.

So why the railcar in the background? Because it was there today and it serves as a reminder of the workplace, even amidst the prairie grasses.

Hidden From View


266/365 - 10 Candles

How can my "baby" be 10 years old today?

10 Years Old

I remember 10 years ago, a crisp fall day with a stiff breeze. At 11:00, I decided to clean the windows in the house, including taking out all the screens and washing them outside with the hose. Brian was born three hours later, a scant 20 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Yeah, no time for drugs.

I haven't cleaned windows since.

Happy birthday, Brian!!


Best Shot Monday - Floating Away

Give a crowd little vials of "bubble juice" with instructions to "wait for the Bride and Groom" and what do you get? Some "troublemakers" who want to play with their new toy while waiting.

However, I appreciated their "not following the instructions", because a couple rouge bubbles created a scene I felt compelled to capture.

Floating Away


POTD - Centerpiece [places, things]

The beautiful centerpiece at the wedding reception:
Calla Lily in Water

As a bonus, we were picked to take our table's centerpiece home, where I proceeded to take more pictures of it:
Calla Lily2


265/365 - Newest Bionicle

We let Brian open a couple of his birthday presents early - including this mongo Lego Bionicle. He put it together all by himself, even though he thought he might need help.

Newest Bionicle

Look familiar? It's in the upper right corner of the magazine, from last week's 12 on 12:
Birthday Wants


POTD - Wedding Decor [places, things]

Pretty candles adorned the aisles in the church where Steve and Michelle were married today.

Let Your Light Shine


264/265 - 3 and 0

Erica's soccer team played against a team of all 8th graders today - a really good match ensued, but "Team Green" prevailed, 2-1 and their record improved to 3 and 0.


I am really proud of Erica and her accomplishments as a first time player.


263/365 - At the Fall-la-po-looza

Lots of fun at Brian's school tonight - ring toss, candy land, silent auctions and inflatables.

Mini Claw Machine

The boys took a break to watch the kids playing basketball. Actually, they were waiting for me to finish looking at the silent auction items!

Waiting and Watching


POTD - By the Firebox [people, places, things]

The place - the North lot at work.

The people - a group of engineers and office personnel. Oh, and one trained fireman.

The thing - that 4x4 box of gas / water / some pink liquid set on fire.
Dangerous 4x4 Box

Our mission - extinguish the burning fire using the supplied fire extinguishers.
Fire Extinguisher Training
Dave did a great job.


262/365 - Last Sprinkler Run?

Could this be the last opportunity for sprinkler action this season? Perhaps not, as the lack of rain these past weeks has required us to water the lawn. But the cooler temperatures could served as a deterrent.

Last Sprinkler Run?

Then again, maybe not.


POTD - Down the Alley [places]

This scene is from my workplace (a chemical plant). Safety showers are placed throughout the facility. Fortunately, I have never seen one used.

Down the Alley


261/365 - Another Day at Work

A quick shot of the Raw Materials area at work. I don't have direct responsibility in this area, but the area is pretty cool with all the spheres and the rail cars coming and going. Yeah, I'm a geek.

Raw Materials


260/365 - Balance Beam?

Not really - Brian and George are walking along what used to be George's play set, newly dismantled from a big structure into pile of wooden pieces.

Balance Beam?

Why is it so much fun to take things apart?
All Smiles


259/365 - Fall-la-po-looza Prep

My task - separate the roll of tickets into strips of 22. The tickets will be sold during Brian's school's big Fall Festival Fundraiser and used to enter the inflatables, participate in games and other fun activities.

The task was easiest accomplished by folding the roll into sections of 11 and separating at every other fold. Looks like a fan:
Ticket Fan

Folded Edges
One roll down, another one to go. I didn't even get a paper cut!


Best Shot Monday - Wildflowers

Some wildflowers from our trip to Colorado


Check out today's other BSM entries here. And share yours today, too!


258/365 - Record This

Erica actually requested that I take her picture this afternoon. These requests are so few and far between, I had to jump at the opportunity.
Really, she just wanted her picture with Hannah, but heck, I'll take it!

Hanging Together


POTD - Roadside [beauty]

I felt silly taking pictures of the weeds along the road this evening, with several autos passing by. I wonder what they were thinking..... [at least no one honked!]

Weed at Dusk


12 on September 12

Time for my 12 pictures taken throughout my day. First of all, Scott and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary today! Nothing special planned, though - just a normal day - we'll take some time out in the next coming weeks to do something together by ourselves (like play a round of golf)

We had to get up early this morning - I hit the pavement at 7:30:
Time to Hit the Pavement
In my new-ish running shoes:
I Got my New Shoes On
I ran 6+ miles this morning. I felt good, too - like the first time in several weeks.

And when I got back home, Scott was back from the gym with some treats!
Saturday Morning Ritual

We all enjoyed breakfast.
Dig Right In

Brian's birthday is coming up, so he reviewed his birthday list with us:
Birthday Wants

We headed out to the pitch at 9:30 for Erica's soccer game:
Focused on the Field

Brian took the above picture and several more:
Budding photog
He insisted that I put on the lens hood - because he knows it helps reduce flare in sunny conditions. My budding photographer.

Erica's team looked great and won the game. Only 10 girls showed up for the game, which meant only one available sub during the game. They were worn out by the end!

Back at home, we had to run the sprinkler for the first time this year. Something you don't expect for September, but today was fairly warm, and the lawn is looking crispy.
Summer in September

I went to the grocery store, armed with the week's menu and shopping list:
This Week's Specials

Back from the store, I tried my hand at replicating Domino's Lava Crunch Cake (read here for the back story from a couple days ago) by making Molten Chocolate Cake - a recipe off The Pioneer Woman's website.
Homemade Molten Chocolate Cake
I managed to burn the edges of the cake slightly, but they were tasty. Very comparable - I'll try a few adjustments to the recipe to make them less cake-y and more chewy.

This evening, Scott and Brian will attend the Fighting Illini's Home opener game against Illinois State. Scott will watch the game while Brian eats junk food. [He did eat a decent dinner before heading out, though]
Evening Activity

Finally, the latest song Erica downloaded off iTunes yesterday - this BoomBoomPow "song" [note I have the word song in quotes - because, how in the world can this be considered to be a song?].
Latest Music
We heard the Black Eyed Peas perform this selection during Thursday night's NFL opener, and Scott and I thought it was ridiculous. Of course, Erica likes the "song". And so, it is official - Scott and I are Old. We admit it without reservation.



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