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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crock pot Beef Casserole

Today starts day 1 of my new diet and exercise regimen (click here to connect to that blog) and I did really good so far! For dinner I made a recipe from a frugal mom website and it was de-lish! We are definitely adding it to our book of Laufer Family Favorites!

Crock pot Beef Casserole

519 calories/2o.6 grams fat/3 grams fiber= 11 WW points (so filling, you could eat half of this!)
  • 2 lbs beef chuck short ribs (cut into stew meat sized bits- about 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 10 1/2 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine
Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Stir together well. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Serve over egg noodles (used 1/2 bag, 8 oz dry).
Serves 6

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Message From God?

A Message From God?
Lately I have been really doing some soul seeking. I have become more and more interested in how to get to know God better. I really enjoy going to church now and more and more, I feel myself being drawn to it all, wanting to learn more and live the way I should as a Christian. Today, on my lunch break, I was Googling the meaning of becoming a "born again" Christian. I wanted to learn how to become one myself...what I needed to know, what I needed to do, what I needed to learn, and how to get around people that would try to talk me down from this- saying they didn't want me to become some kind of 'super religious prude' or something.
Here is where it gets interesting....as soon as I got back from my lunch break and logged back onto my computer, I recieved this email from the pastor at my church....
Gmail

Pastor Scott

Scott Cain
Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:07 AM
To: shawnalaufer

Shawna: The Lord put you on my heart, and here is what I have to say to you (and don’t ask me why)…”Stay the course, don’t give up!” Phil 4:13

There you go…I’ll be interested to find out what’s going on in your life that you need this word…later!…chow wSc



How surreal is that? Reading that caught my breath, made my heart skip a beat, and brought tears to my eyes. They say that God works in mysterious ways and thru others. Everyday people are waiting for a sign from God that He exist. This email was my sign. My pastor said that the Lord more or less spoke thru him to tell me not to give up and stay the course without him really knowing what was going on in my life! Pastor Scott had no idea that I was looking into all this, sure I came to his sermons but I haven't even talked to him except on my first visit, and that was just to tell him that I really liked the church and saw myself coming back again, but that was it! True, last Sunday Pastor Scott was talking about Paul and Saul and how we should all stay the course and not give up...but what made him single me out to remind me to do so? It may sound silly to say that my sign from God was thru the internet, but who is to say it isn't???

Philippians 4:13-I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Reward

One of the things I planned to reward myself when I quit smoking was to have my teeth whitened. Unfortunately, its been two years (and a day, hehe) since I last put out that last butt but never did the whitening. Money had been a big factor in that as professional whitening is expensive! But luckily, Crest has made these new at home whitening strips, Crest Whitestrips Advance Seal which guarantees whitening in three days. You simply wear them for 30 minutes a day. I even have a $10 coupon to try them out so I hope to buy a pack soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2009 Family Portraits

Yippy! We finally got our family portraits taken! I have been meaning to get them done last Mother's Day. We managed to get a few good ones even though Shaylee was too busy being silly and uncooperative (typical of her age according to the photographer). Still a small selection to pick from is better than no selection and we decided on the following two prints. We even ordered a print for Nils' parents, sister, and grandparents (so you can all be on the lookout for these in the mail!). We picked out the ones on the left for y'all. Doesn't my husband look so damn good in that one?! He must have thought so too because he said it was his favorite, LOL. He looks proud in that one, I think. The other I ordered for myself because Shaylee had such a perfect grin, I couldn't resist.

That's the trouble with getting portraits taken of Shaylee- she is too darn adorable! I did however noticed that I have gained quite a bit of weight lately! Some of the pics were of us seated on the floor with me leaning back into Nils and man, oh, man- it was not flattering. It pushed my pooch out and I looked pregnant!!!! Guess it's time to get serious about working out and cutting back on the unhealthy foods again!

Two Years and Going Strong!




I am proud to report that it has been exactly two years (TWO YEARS!) since I quit smoking! Hurray!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Circus Sarasota


Circus Sarasota is Florida's only not-for-profit resident circus who's mission is to "pay homage to an extraordinary circus legacy by broadening the artistic contribution to the circus through education and human service outreach programming" and fulfill their mission by "enriching, educating, and entertaining audiences of all ages". With its unique comprehensive care program of "Humor Therapy", Circus Sarasota's Laughter Unlimited provides professional clowns, trained volunteers and entertainers to visit residents in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care centers on a regular basis. They improve the quality of life, bringing joy, wonder, laughter, and hope to those that need it most. After all, where do you think the phrase "Laughter is the best medicine" originated from? Studies have shown that laughter reduces stress, decreases pain perception, and has a positive, lasting effect on the body's immune system, heart and brain. Laughter Unlimited's "Humor Therapy" runs amut form one-on-one bedside visitation and conversations to engaging patients and residents in physical activities, and individual and group memory stimulation.

Another facet to Laughter Unlimited is Memories...Lost and Found, therapeutic program for the memory impaired serving mid to late stage Alzheimer patients. What's unusual is that this circus came into Ft Myers on March 6...my grandfather passed away from Alzheimer's on March 7th. And his funeral was March 15th, and I just so happened to score, not one, but three free tickets (valued at $96) on March 18th. Coincidence? Weird!

This is the 11th Annual winter production for Circus Sarasota and they welcome Bello Nock, a circus superstar and world renowned comic daredevil. While performing here in Ft Myers, Laughter Unlimited will begin an ongoing program that will benefit the SW FL Children's Hospital, the Senior Center and the Cancer Center at lee Memorial Healthpark. In 2008, their professional and trained volunteer clowns spent more than 2000 hours serving the community.

"The circus is the only ageless delight that you can buy for money. Everything else is suppose to be bad for you. But the circus is good for you. It is the only spectacle I know that, while you watch it, gives the quality of a truly happy dream."- Ernest Hemmingway





BLOG ACOSTED!!

So, I know everyone hears from Shawna on here, but since I am home today, and this is the Laufer Family Blog...I suppose its not really that treasonous of an act if I make a post. This is Nils, and I just wanted to pop on and say hi! We are planning a nice family trip to the Circus tonight, courtesy of Comcast. Circus Sarasota is here in Fort Myers at the Gulf Coast Town Center through the end of March, and Comcast held an all-team meeting under the circus tent yesterday morning. While the meeting was a typical corporate affair with lots of catchy phrases and slogans aimed at motivating the work force, at least we were able to get free tickets for Shawna, Shaylee and I to attend the circus tonight. If pictures are allowed, you can probably expect to see some on here by Sunday, depending on how hectic our schedules end up being this weekend. Well, this laundry isn't going to fold itself, so this is it for now, but you may here from me again in the near future! Shh, don't tell Shawna!


Nils!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Angelfood Pickup

Next Saturday I finally get to pick up my long-awaited March Angelfood Ministries food box!!! I placed my order weeks ago and already got the March Food Ministry Menu I subscribed to from Menus4Moms.com.
My $30 standard box contains the following:

1.5 lb rib eye steaks (4 x 6oz)
3 lbs split chicken breast
1.5 lb country fried steak patties (6 x 4oz)
1 lb pkg ground beef
1 lb fully cooked meatballs
1 lb mild italian sausage
12 oz deli sliced ham
1 lb California blend mixed vegetables
1 lb green beans
20 oz shoestring fries
1 lb pasta
28 oz marinara sauce
21 oz condensed soup
1 lb pinto beans
32 oz 2% shelf stable (dry) milk
dozen eggs
and a dessert


We also ordered the March Special 7 lb assorted meat box for an additional $22 which includes:

2 lbs New York strip steaks (4 x 8z)
2 lbs thick cut pork chops (4 x 8oz)
1.5 lb baby back ribs
1.5 lb bratwurst with cheese


The Food Ministry menu from Menus4Moms has lots of great ideas to use all the ingredients in the box. Since its just Nils, Shaylee and I, many of the meals can even be halved which will make our inventory stretch even further (most of the Menus4Moms menus are for families of 4). The Food Ministry menu gives variety too, giving you two different menu plans to choose from. The first menu plan has 8 meals and the second plan has 9 meals. It also has bonus recipes that just so happen to include items from the March Special meat assortment box too. I decided to go with the meals from the second menu plan not only because there was more meals but the ones listed sounded better. Since I am sure there is some kind of copyright law on these recipes, I can't share all of them but to give you an idea of the types of recipes Menus4Moms has, I will list the meals off. Its such a great deal and having Menus4Moms give such great recipes, I know the AngelFood Ministry food box is stretched to its full meal potential!

Meal Plan 2 from Menus4Moms.com Food Ministry Menu Subscription

Meal 1- Crockpot Beef stew (uses rib eye steaks) and White bread (although I will not be making my own bread, its cool for those with a bread machine who want to try it out! Uses milk and eggs from box)
Meal2- Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore (used chicken breast and pasta) and green beans (from box) I love that they provide Crockpot recipes- its less time I have to fuss with dinner!
Meal 3- Country Fried Steak Patties (from box) w/ French-fried potato casserole (milk and shoestring fries) and California style veggies (from box)
Meal 4- Sloppy Joes (used ground beef from box) and soup (from box)
Meal 5- BBQ Meatballs (from box) with mashed potatoes (uses milk from box) served with broccoli and dessert (from box)
Meal 6- Sausage and Peppers over Pasta (uses sausage and marinara sauce from box) served with garlic bread
Meal 7- Cheesy Ham Tortillas (uses ham from box) served with a green salad
Meal 8- Smoked Sausage with baked Crockpot beans (uses pinto beans from box- although I have a better recipe I will be substituting and sharing later) served with cornbread muffins (uses milk- although its cheaper for me to just buy a box of Jiffy muffins)
Meal 9- Golden Rod Eggs (uses eggs from box) and sliced strawberries

They even include a shopping list with an estimated grocery bill total for all the items that are not included in the AngelFood box. For Meal Plan 2 ( excluding the items most people keep on hand in their pantry such as staples like flour, condiments, etc.) totaled only $34! Wow- 9 meals for $64 for a family of 4! Not bad!

The bonus recipes include:
Crockpot Porkchop (uses porkchops from March Special box#1)
Sticky BBQ Robs (used baby back ribs from March Special box #1)
Baked Bratwurst and Vegetables (uses bratwurst with cheese from March Special box #1)

Meal Plan 1 from Menus4Moms.com Food Ministry Menu Subscription (which I may or may not swap a meal out or two)

Meal 1- Steak Fajitas (uses steak from box) with refried beans (uses pinto beans from box) served with rice
Meal2- Broccoli, Chicken and Rice bake (uses chicken breast from box)
Meal 3- Country Fried Steak Patties (from box), mashed potatoes, green beans (from box) and dessert
Meal 4- Apple Meatloaf (uses ground beef from box) served with California blend veggies (from box) and shoestring fries (from box)
Meal 5- Sweet and Sour meatballs (from box) served with rice and sugar snap peas
Meal 6- Italian Sausage Spaghetti (uses sausage, marinara and pasta from box) served with steamed zucchini
Meal 7- Spinach and Egg Casserole (uses ham and eggs from box- I think I will use this one even if I have to buy extra eggs and ham!) served with homemade buttermilk biscuits
Meal 8- Soup (from box) and BLT salad

Total food bill for additional ingredients not included in AngelFood box or pantry staples = $37.00 (a total of 8 meals for $67 for a family of 4)

See what I mean? Tasty (and super easy) recipes for next to nothing! Frugal living at its very, very best! Menus4Moms.com also has Busy Mom menus and frugal living menu subscriptions (although I what could be more frugal than this? LOL!) I can see why most people order two basic boxes and one of the monthly special boxes- they stock up for the whole month and get to use ALL the Menus4Mom's recipes!

Although it is too late to order the March AngelFood Ministry box, I seen that they just posted the April menu and there is lots to choose from! To find an AngelFood Ministry host near you please visit their website. Keep in mind that all monthly special boxes are available only with the purchase of a Basic Box, Allergen Free or Senior Box.

April Basic Box $30.00

1.5 lb. New York Strip Steak(4 x 6 oz.)
2 lb. Chicken Breast Stir Fry(Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast Chunks)
2 lb. Breaded Breast Fillet
1 lb. Steak Fajita Strips
20 oz. Supreme Pizza
28 oz. Jumbo Beef Patties With Gravy
1 lb. All Meat Hot Dogs
10 oz. Individually-Wrapped Cheese (16 slice)
1 lb. Mixed Vegetables
2 lb. French Fries
12 ct. White Corn Tortillas
1 lb. Rice
15 oz. Peach Halves
6 oz. Pancake Mix
32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk
Dozen Eggs
Dessert


APRIL SPECIAL #1 <-- I think we might be getting this one, yum! 6 lb. Assorted Meat Box $22.00 1.5 lb. T-Bone Steaks (2 x 12 oz.) 2 lb. Lean All-Beef Hamburger Steaks (4 x 8 oz.) 1.5 lb. Boneless Pork Roast 1 lb. Mild Italian Sausage with Cheese APRIL SPECIAL #2 4.5 lb. Meat Combo $21.00 3 lb. Ribeye Steaks (6 x 8 oz.) 1.5 lb. Bacon-Wrapped Pork Fillet (4 x 6 oz.) APRIL SPECIAL #3 5 lb. Steak and Pork Combo $21.00 1.5 lb. Kansas City Strip (2 x 12 oz.) 1.5 lb. Bone-In Ribeye (2 x 12 oz.) 2 lb. Thick-Cut Boston Butt Chops (4 x 8 oz.) APRIL SPECIAL #4 <-- thats just over $2 a pound! Chicken Breast Fillet Box $21.00 10 lb. IQF Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast APRIL SPECIAL #5 6 lb. Hamburger Steak Box $18.00 Just In Time for Grill Season! 6 lb. Lean All-Beef Hamburger Steaks (12 x 8 oz.) APRIL SPECIAL #6 Fresh Fruit and Veggie Box $22.00 3 lb. No. 1 Premium Idaho Baking Potatoes 3 lb. No. 1 Premium North Carolina Sweet Potatoes 1 pkg. Wiley’s Sweet Potato and Yam Seasoning 1 head Premium Green Cabbage 1 lb. No. 1 Premium California Baby Whole Peeled Carrots 2 Premium 1015 Jumbo Sweet Onions 1 each Premium Red, Yellow, Orange & Green Bell Peppers 2 Premium California Lemons 1 head Premium California Iceberg Lettuce 4 Washington State Premium Bosc Pears 4 Washington State Premium Red Delicious Apples 1 Premium Golden Ripe Pineapple 1 Premium Sweet Cantaloupe April Fruit and Veggie Recipe Sheet APRIL SPECIAL #7 Valencia Orange Box $14.00 Sweet and Juicy — Peak of the Season! 2/5 Bushel Tree-Ripened Valencia Oranges (approximately 40-50 oranges per box) ALLERGEN-FREE BOX $25.00 Processed to eliminate the eight top serious allergens: Peanuts, Soybeans, Milk, Eggs, Fish, Crustacea, Tree Nuts and Gluten (wheat, rye and barley). Great for children and adults! 1 lb. Breaded Chicken Tenders 1 lb. Breaded Chicken Breast Chunk (Boneless Wing) 1 lb. Breaded Chicken Nuggets 1 lb. Breaded Chicken Patties 1 lb. Breaded Steak Fingers Battered with water, white rice, brown rice, modified tapioca starch, flax seed, sugar, salt, spices, dehydrated garlic, spice extractives and oleoresin paprika. Breaded with white rice, brown rice, modified tapioca starch, flax seed, sugar, dextrose, salt, spices, dehydrated garlic, spice extractives and oleoresin paprika. Breading is pre-browned in Canola oil. New!! FISH & SHRIMP SEAFOOD BOX $35.00 The Long-Awaited Seafood Box is Here! 2 lb. Alaskan Salmon Fillets (8 x 4 oz. vacuum-pack) 2 lb. IQF Whiting Fillets (4 oz.-6 oz. fillets) 2 lb. IQF Large Shrimp (26-30 per lb.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kate Gosselin, I Got Your Hair Cut

You might remember me mentioning that I want Kate Gosselin's of TLC's "Jon and Kate Plus 8" haircut. Well, I got it! Actually, I should say "I've had it" since I actually got it cut sometime ago; its just taken me forever to post the pics. So here you go, as promised... the "Super Mom" haircut for 2009!




Monday, March 16, 2009

Eternal Reefs

I know at my age, being only 27 years old, healthy and active, thinking of how I would like my own funeral to be seems like such a silly notion. But I learned that tomorrow isn't certain. Life takes unexpected turns.

So...

I want to be cremated and my ashes sent out to sea but not in the traditional fashion of simply tossing the ashes out on the surface of the ocean. I want my ashes to be preserved in an Eternal Reef. An Eternal Reef is an urn that is constructed in a concrete mold systems developed to create reefs that closely mimic natural coral reef formations in the ocean. Special design features are included to make it easy for sea life to attach and grow on these designed reef structures. In other words, my passing would bring life and help protect and restore these fragile eco-systems.

The Eternal Reef package has a Dedication ceremony in which I would like white orchids and white dendrobium leis to be tossed out to sea after my Eternal Reef has been lowered. I would like Israel Kamakawiwo'ole 's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What A Wonderful World" to be played.

I would like my funeral to be a celebration of my life. I want a service that shows photos of my life- all the happiest times like my birth, moments in my childhood, my graduation, my wedding, the birth of my daughter- all the moments in my life that made me happy and made my life what it is. I want funny photos and photos that would make my friends and family smile.

Well, I know this was a silly blog but I just thought it would be nice to have it documented somewhere, because you never know what tomorrow brings.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery...but today is a gift. That's why it's called the 'present' ".

My Grandfather's Funeral

I am relieved to report that my grandfather's funeral went well. It was a nice service complete with a photo montage, music, and memories. I got to see a glimpse of my grandfather when we first arrived as they had not yet closed the casket and he looked so peaceful. A woman that worked with my aunt even read a prayer in Portuguese since that was were my grandfather was from. He even had a Portuguese flag on his casket which was later placed in the casket with him. It was nice to honor his native language and birthplace. He would have liked that.

They mentioned his Donald Duck impression which made me smile. They spoke of how he never complained, even through all his treatments, he never complained. That is why, my aunt thinks, we never knew how fast he was leaving us because he never complained. They mentioned his love of fishing and the ocean and of the summers my dad spent with him on their lobster boat.

My aunt Tina, who is the youngest of my grandfather's children, and the one that probably spent most of the time with my grandpa in the nursing home and hospital, picked a very special song that described him time so perfectly. Its a song by Crystal Shawanda called "You Can Let Go Now Daddy" so I am posting the lyrics here so you can see what I mean. Its as if the song was written just for her about him. He was the one that taught her so much and walked her down the aisle and was she was there for him during the last days of his life, which she says felt like he knew it was his time but didn't want to go until he knew she was okay which she said to him the last night she saw him alive. How more perfect could this song be?

wind blowin in my face, sidewalk flyin beneath my bike
a five year olds first taste, of what freedoms really like
he was runnin right beside me, his hand on the seat
i took a breath and hollered, as i headed for the street
*chorus*
you can let go now daddy, you can let go
oh i think im ready, to do this on my own
its still a little bit scary, but i want you to know
i'll be okay now daddy, you can let go

i was standin at the alter, between the two loves of my life
to one i'd been a daughter, to one i soon would be a wife
when the preecher asked "who gives this girl?" daddy's eyes welled with tears
he held tightly to my arm, till i whispered in his ear

*chorus*
you can let go now daddy, you can let go
oh i think im ready, to do this on my own
its still a little bit scary, but i want you to know
i'll be okay now daddy, you can let go

it was killin me to see, the strongest man i ever knew
waistin away to nothin, in his hospital room
"you know he's only holdin on for you" thats what the night nurse said
me voice and heart were breaking, as i crawled into his bed
and said
you can let go now daddy, you can let go
your little girl is ready, to do this on her own
it will be a little bit scary, but i want you to know
ill be okay now daddy, you can let go
you can let go

If you wanna get all choked up you can hear the song here. Warning: do not listen without a box of tissues!

Shaylee was a complete angel through the whole thing. We were seated behind my parents who were in the first row so she was able to watch the photo montage which entertained her. At one point in the service, she stood up behind my father and patted him on the shoulder. It's as if she knew he was hurting and she wanted to comfort him even if she didn't understand what was going on. It was really sweet. After the service, my grandmother stayed in the lobby with Shaylee and entertained her so that Nils and I could join my family at the grave site. The family was seated under a tent and waited for the hearse to arrive. My aunts and cousins all got white long stem roses to place on the casket. My dad, uncles, brother, and male cousins were pallbearers. Everyone was dresses very nice and behaved themselves, even my grandmother...well, at the funeral at least.

One thing that kinda surprised me was how sentimental my younger brother can be. He is a very mellow guy, who shows very little emotion. In my entire life, I have never seen him lose his temper and as a teenager/adult have never seen him cry. I don't know if he teared up at the funeral or not but my mom told me something that choked me up, since it was so sentimental and sweet- my mom noticed my brother had a watch on and she asked him where he got it since he doesn't own a watch that we knew of. He said that our grandfather had given it to him when he first got sick. So my mom asked what time it was knowing that after the service we would be going to my aunts for dinner. He said "I don't know, it doesn't work." So she asked why he was wearing a watch that couldn't tell time and he said, "Cuz it was grandpa's." It was a quiet way to show that he cared. No one would have known had my mom not asked. That's so like my brother. He is not one that seeks out attention and I thought that the fact that he wore a broken watch just because it was something my grandfather had given him was very touching.

My grandmother was decent during the funeral services. When we returned to my aunt's house for dinner, she only made one remark that pissed everyone off and that was to say "Well, he is finally dead and buried." I would say this was shocking but coming from her this was normal. When she said this, everyone around her did exactly the opposite of what she was probably expecting. She probably expected everyone to make a big deal about it, to put the attention back on herself. But today was not her day. She WOULD NOT get the satisfaction to gain the attention she was after- today was for grandpa. So my cousin casually got up and went to talk with her fiance in the kitchen, everyone's conversation gravitated to happy memories of grandpa and my grandmother was left sitting there in her own self pity. We were all pleasant to her, as we respectfully should be to any widow, but we did not make a big deal reacting to her words or talking about her behavior-past and present.

Later that night, some family and our neighbors came over to our house to chat and have a few drinks. They sipped on Portuguese wine and moonshine that they called "Portuguese Bang Bang" or Bam Bam or whatever it was called. We all did a toast to my grandfather- honoring what a good man he was and the strength he had. It sealed the night and gave us all a feeling that he was in a better place and we could move on. The drama with my grandmother will probably continue but we jokingly and affectionately toasted my grandfather saying he was the lucky one that finally got away from it all!

Here's to you grandpa- I am sorry if we were not able to be closer but you will always have a special place in my heart.
Eu Te Amo
(Protuguese for "I Love You"
)



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Race for the Cure 2009

Today was the 2009 Southwest Florida Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure and this year Nils and Shaylee participated too. Shaylee even had her own race day shirt! The excitement even her up and running, just like a real racer. She would alternate between riding in the stroller and running (walking was not in her list of options...if she was out of the stroller she was running- her choice, I promise!)



She looked mighty cute running in her race! She thought she was really racing (even though we were in the very back of the race and finished the 3 mile walk in a little over an hour). Here is some cute pics we got:


Over 8, 000 participants this year! Wow!



Donations Are Being Accepting in His Memory

For anyone interested:
My grandfather's funeral is being held at 3pm tomorrow, March 15th, at the Lee Memorial Park Funeral Home at 12777 State Road 82, Ft.Myers FL. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.

Donations are being requested in place of flowers. They may be sent to:

Hope Hospice
9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort
Myers, FL 33908

or

The Alvin A Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center
10051 McGregor Boulevard
Suite 101
Ft. Myers, FL 33919

Friday, March 13, 2009

Busy Day: Funeral Preperations

Today was a busy day. I had to go to JoAnn Fabrics to buy a black ribbon sash for Shaylee's taupe dress that she will be wearing to the funeral; and to Babies R Us to buy black tights to complete her outfit (I already bought her a black hairbow and she had black maryjanes so she is set). I bought Nils a nice black dress shirt on Wednesday to wear with a pair of dress khakis and he has black loafers so he will look very nice. I am wearing a black and white blouse with black trousers and heels, paired with pearl accessories. I think its the classiest outfit I own and will be appropriate.

We also had to get the ingredients for the Guiness BBQ Little Smokies recipe I am making as an appetizer for the get together after the funeral. I will be posting this recipe later. I tend to adjust recipes and doctor up the ones I find online so I will post it once I know how much of what I am putting in there. I think it will be really tasty- I am using real Guiness beer too!

Tonight we will be having dinner at my aunt Tina's. My dad has a cousin that is coming down for the funeral so its a good chance for all the family to get together before the funeral. I had the pictures of my grandfather dancing with my neighbor (see last post) printed up as the family is putting together a college to display at the funeral as well. I think from the description, it will be really nice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Thoughts of Grandpa

Happy Memories of Grandpa:

Although there are far too few memories I have of my grandfather since I didn't really spend much time with him, there are a few that come to mind.

1. The smile on his face as he spun our neighbor, Lisa, on the dance floor at my wedding. You could tell he thought of himself as quite the ladies man to be dancing with such a pretty younger woman. It was the first time I had seen him truly enjoying himself since being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. That is my favorite memory and the one that stands out the most.



2. How he used to talk like Donald Duck "boy oh boy oh boy" to make us laugh. He could do it so well. My dad can do it to but not like Grandpa!

3. Him whistling to his cockatiel. My grandparents didn't have a dog or a cat but man, did he like his bird.

4. Watching him run his laps around his swimming pool to keep in shape.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Letting It All Out- My Anger Towards My Grandmother

Sorry it has been so long since my last post- or at least one that had any substance to it. With Shaylee getting over her ear infection, conjunctivitis, and upper respiratory infection; the drama and death of my grandfather; and now with a middle ear infection and cold that is kicking my butt, I just haven't found much time to blog (I was lucky to have had a few minutes to put up a new layout that I had been working on a week ago). That and my mind has been completely too preoccupied and after reading this post, which I apologize in advance for, you might understand.

So here we go...

My grandfather's funeral is this Sunday. He was 72 years old and died at Hope Hospice. The reason I stated there was drama in the death of my grandfather, is due to the issues we are having with my grandmother, Lisa. Her daughters and my dad are quite furious with her. My aunts are upset that she rushed him into a home, but they are mostly furious with her behavior. My grandmother Lisa is very selfish, self centered, childish, and always manages to say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times and is completely oblivious to it all. She is completely delusional. I don't speak of her negatively like that out of hate or anything like that (although I strongly dislike her)...but for the simple fact, she really, truly, is delusional.

She has been delusional for years now, completely convinced that her doctor and her are involved in a romantic relationship. She has gone so far as to pack a suitcase and carry it around in the trunk of her car for weeks at a time, convinced she and "the doctor" were going on a cruise together/moving in together/etc...since it changed each time you talked to her. One who did not know her would assume she was having an affair except she does not even know his name...he is simply referred to as "the doctor" or her "young man". This "love affair" has been going on for so many years, had it been a real affair, we would have seen him by now-especially since she isn't hiding anything apparently. She would go on to say how "the doctor" was upset at her for "not noticing him when he drove by, so he bought a Jaguar" so she would notice his flashy car. She would say how "the doctor" wanted her to leave my grandfather so he could have her all to himself and wanted to buy her all these diamond and jewelry but didn't because my grandfather would get mad. For such a heated romance, you would expect to have some kind of proof it exist, yet oddly enough there is none.

The way she described him, it sounds like a preteen girl making up an imaginary boyfriend to impress her friends. Except her fairytale man enrages her family. The day after my grandfather passed away she wanted to go shoe shopping (my mother took her to have her out of the hair of the other kids so they could grieve) and she had the nerve to say "well I guess the doctor is going to move in". Completely and utterly cold. My grandfather just died the day before! It took my mom, who is normally very respectful of her mother-in-law to snap at her "well if he has all this money then why aren't you moving in with him?! Why would he want to move into your house?!" I don't know what type of mental disease she has, but it is quite evident that she has something (I Googled her "symptoms" and came across Erotomania disorder which fits her to the bill) or something and it has completely destroyed her relationship not only with her children but her grandchildren as well. I want to brush off her bad behavior and blame it on mental disease but but her confabulation of life isn't her only fault that has her whole family to the point of not speaking to her....

My aunts were over last night, gathering any photos of my grandfather they could find for a memorial montage that would be played during the service. My aunt Tina was telling us of when my grandparents were buying their burial plot and such about eight years ago, my grandfather picked a plague that read "Together Forever" to be placed on their graves. My grandmother had the audacity to say "well, if I decided to be cremated instead, could we cash it in?" Here this man is, picking out a loving and symbolic plaque and she is thinking about the money?! Could she trade it in?! This is NOT a used car we are talking about here!

I also remember a Christmas where she pouted when she didn't get the jewelry she asked for. She got jewelry but apparently it wasn't the one she wanted (or the diamonds weren't big enough). Just like a child, sitting there with her bottom lip out and her arms crossed. My grandfather has always given her everything she wanted- cruises, jewelry...and she has always treated him like crap. My mom said in the 30 some odd years she has known my grandmother (my mom and dad have been together since they were 17), my grandmother has never been much of a mother or parent but more like one of the children herself. It was my grandfather that taught the kids how to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and played the parental role.

My grandmother is also very dramatic and starves for attention. The day my grandfather passed away, it was several hours until my father was able to say goodbye to him in the hospital as he was out on the water and it took some time to get back to shore, pull the boat out of the water and head back. My grandfather had already been gone for about three hours when my father got there. As my father was looking at him, quietly weeping, my grandmother came in and completely put on a show- leaning over my grandfather's body, crying out "Open your eyes, just open your eyes Manny!" It was completely unnecessary and inappropriate. Something you would see on a soap opera or dramatic movie. She knew very well he had passed and when her own son is saying his goodbyes she has to act like that. She even said "Well, he is never going to go fishing with you again". Even her grandchildren have been emotionally hurt by her.

My cousin Taylor is young, not even a preteen yet-maybe 8 years of age or so, and she walked up to her and said "Your grandpa is never going to be able to play ball with you ever again" when she was already quite upset. People are grieving- they do not need a heartless hag reminding them just how much he is going to be missed. Thank. You. Very. Much. My grandmother says and does hurtful things since she knows it turns the attention back on her.

Before my grandfather's death, when the Chaplin was talking with my grandfather, she even turned to him and said "If you only knew the things he did to me...I should be laughing right now." WHAT!!! The Chaplin only said "Well, thank God we have Forgiveness." I am sure he was speaking more to her than acknowledging what she had said about my grandfather. How could someone say that about their spouse-or anyone for that matter, knowing they are dying? That they should be laughing?!

I am sorry to have made this whole post all about bashing my grandmother Lisa. I really shouldn't but with the whole family upset and nervous on how this woman is going to behave at his funeral, it's just me getting out the frustrations I have. I never really had much of a relationship with my father's parents and I think it was my grandmother's rudeness and negativity (she was always saying something bad about somebody) that turned me and my brother- even my father- from spending anymore time with them than necessary.

I guess I feel guilty that my grandfather passed away and I never really got to be much in his life all because of my dislike for my grandmother. It wasn't fair to him to be so shut out of his grandchildren's lives. It wasn't fair that he had to live with her negativity for so many years, you could tell he was unhappy and embarrassed by her. I know I must 'show respect for my elders' and my batty grandmother is no exception, 'she is still family', 'blah, blah blah'...but I swear... if she says one bad thing about him at his funeral...I , and probably numerous people there-including her own daughters and son, are really going to lay into her! Everyone is so upset with her right now, I doubt anyone would think it inappropriate of me.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

As you can see, my blog is getting yet another makeover. Its going to be quite a work in progress so please pardon the construction! LOL!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sad News for My Family

My grandfather (paternal) has passes away Saturday afternoon. His death was a result of Alzheimer disease. Funeral arrangements are being made. More on this later.

Shaylee is Sick- Doctor Appt

Well, the doctor confirmed that Shaylee does have conjunctivitis...but also an upper respiratory infection and an ear infection. She was prescribed a 5 day amoxicillin dosage course and this is only the second day and she is already looking much, much, much better!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Shaylee is Sick

Wow- it's been a week since my last post! Well, lets see...what to catch you all up on?
Saturday the 28th- Shaylee got her hair cut and it looks super cute. I love how the hairstylist "stacked" the back and made it angled a little bit...shorter in the back, longer as it tapers to the front. She looks so much older...where did my baby go?! That night Nils and I had a date night (even though our friend Steve came with us) and attended a Hollywood Undead concert in St Petersburg. It rocked! They are so awesome live!
Sunday, March 1st- Shaylee did really well in the children's area at church. No tears! And I am becoming more and more comfortable being there.
Okay, now that you are up to speed a bit...
Shaylee is sick. She was burning up with fever the last two night so neither her nor I slept well. She kept talking in her sleep and sounded so stuffed up. I kept waking up with every little move she made, constantly feeling her forehead. Oh yeah, in case you have not figured it out- Shaylee is not really sleeping in her new bed. She will go and lay in it to watch her little portable DVD player and sometimes fall asleep but come 1 am she is always back in bed with Nils and I. Nils and I are taking her to the walk in clinic tomorrow morning because we think she has conjunctivitis. She has bright yellow-ish green gunk coming out of one eye and its swollen. Poor baby, she looks awful. :(
So other her being sick, here is an update on Shaylee:
She is getting so big! I already have to go through her closet again and get rid of all the 24 months clothing. She will be three in June and is already into a 3 toddler, sometimes 4. I bought her two new pairs of jeans and some new sneakers because she outgrew every pair I had. And a new winter coat. The weather is kinda crazy right now. Its really cold in the morning (some mornings we had frost on our windshield) but fairly nice in the afternoons and cool in the evenings. Its light blue and reversible and is a size Small 6 in little girls so its pretty big but she will get plenty of wear out of it.

Talk about personality! Shaylee is strong willed, impatient, stubborn and sharp as a tack. She has a memory like an elephant, I swear! And when she talks to you, you would swear she is older than she is. She has a great vocabulary and carries on quite a conversation. I like when she uses the phrases "Well, kind of" and "Hmmm, let me think. Think, think, think" while she taps her cheek with one finger. She makes up songs and has a vivid imagination. In the tub she has some plastic Easter eggs, than she has pretended was "good coffee" and "carrot juice" when filled with bath water. And an old cosmetic brush and an empty container filled with body wash has become "nail polish" and "paint" in the tub as well.
She has never been really attached to any one toy unlike me and my "bunny"- a stuffed brown rabbit that I used to rub it's red ribbon in my fingers over and over until it became frayed and had to be replaced. She will be attached to a stuffed animal for a few weeks at a time and then will switch to another. First there was "Benny" the Leapfrog singing tad pole, then came "Charlie" the learning puppy, then "Blackie"-a black lab floppy dog, then "Buddy" the brown sugar puppy from Build-A-Bear Workshop was a favorite at one time. "Buddy" was replaced with "Ballerina Bunny"- another Build-A-Bear creation, then came her Mickey Mouse, then Stitch from our Magic Kingdom trip. Now the current favorite is "Lizard"- an old chameleon Beanie Baby that used to be my brother's. "Lizard" sleeps with us and "he's so cute" and "her is real" according to Shaylee. Apparently "Lizard" is a sex changing, rather than color changing, chameleon, LOL!
Shaylee has also pretended she is a cat for several days now. Usually she becomes a kitty when I am dropping her off or picking her up from my grandmother's on days I have to work. She continues to meow over and over...you ask her a question, you get meowed at in response. Its that imagination again!
Favorite foods at this time are Spagetti-O's, canned mandarin oranges, and "puddin". And yes, that is how she pronounces "pudding". Very Southern sounding, LOL. She HATES getting her hair brushed (another reason for the recent haircut) but is still really good about brushing her teeth. Potty training, since my grandmother's knee surgery, has fizzled out some but we hope when it gets warmer out that we can go back to it. She was better at using the potty when she was able to run around bottomless but the cooler weather has made it difficult.
Other than that, it's one day at a time with a toddler! Some days she is an angel, helpful and cuddly and others she is cranky and ornery!
Today I really feel like Nils and I are starting to get ahead in our lives as responsible adults. I know that sounds funny considering that we are both pushing thirty (hee hee, Nils hates when I say that!), but we are finally starting to climb out of our financial hole. Today we not only got four brand new (high quality, almost top of the line) tires on our car, but we also paid off our payday advance we have been stretching over about five or six months. We took a payday advance to make ends meet and have not had the extra funds available to pay it off and still be able to afford everything else we needed to pay for. My tax refund saved us and made it possible to finally be able to put that $59.99 fee in our savings and not pay to extend the loan. Ah! Sigh of relief! Plus Nils recently got a 4.5% raise! He is still pushing for the next supervisor possible to open up, but this raise will help us be able to have more money directly deposited into our house savings. My yearly review is right around the corner so I am hoping mine will be good too!
Here is another recipe we will be adding to the Laufer Family favorites! It started as a recipe on the Menus4Moms.com website but I altered it (as I often do to most recipes) to make it my own. I have to say, this soup is filling! Its perfect for these cooler evenings.
Cheeseburger Soup
  • 1 lb. browned ground beef
  • 3/4 C. chopped onion
  • 1/4 C. diced dill pickle (or dill relish)
  • 3 T. butter or oil
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 4 C. diced potatoes
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese
  • 1 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. sour cream
  • salt and pepper

Saute onion in butter in large soup pot about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and add broth, potatoes and beef. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. Serve.