Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Little Pumpkin Fun

Happy Halloween everyone!!  I hope you are all as excited as I am to go Trick or Treating tonight!!

Over the weekend we had Ryan, Jess, and the kids over to carve pumpkins. I don't have much do say, the pictures already say it all.

Stay safe. Stay warm. Have fun. Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What's For Dinner: Chicken Cordon Bleu

This yummy main dish reminded me of my classic chicken roll ups Cordon Bleu style.

Here's what you need:

6 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
salt and pepper to taste
12 thin slices deli ham
12 slices Swiss cheese
12 slices bacon
Toothpicks - 24 or more

Sauce - optional
10 3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 c whipping cream

Lightly salt and pepper each slice of chicken, keeping in mind that bacon and ham are salty.

I like to make an assembly line and lay out all my pieces of chicken. Place two pieces of ham on the chicken, then lay two slices of Swiss cheese on the ham.

Fold each piece of chicken in half and secure with a toothpick.

Wrap two slices of bacon around the chicken roll and secure with another toothpick.

Place the chicken in a 9x13 baking dish.

Repeat the process until all 6 Chicken Cordon Bleu's are placed in the dish.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

For the sauce, mix the cream of mushroom soup and whipping cream together and heat over medium heat until warm. Spoon over chicken when served.

My family loved this recipe but thought the sauce was okay so when I make it again I will probably omit that step.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Night with The President

Ha! Okay, not really.

But we did both stay at the same hotel Monday night.

I never did get to glimps him or Michelle (even though I told a few co-workers I ran with Michelle Tuesday morning) but on my way out of the hotel on Tuesday I did see his car getting ready to leave the hotel. And I saw the 8 billion motor-cops who would be escorting him to his speaking engagement in Del Ray Beach.

But that’s all I saw.

By the time I returned to the hotel that night they were all cleared out and the excitement was over.

Some of my co-workers were staying at the Del Ray Beach Marriott, where Romney stayed so it was fun to exchange stories on Tuesday morning.

Here are a few things I wanted to tweet or post on facebook over the last few days but I was too worried those men in black would show up at my door and zap my memory, forever stranding me in South Florida!


-          Hmm… why are there so many police at my hotel?

-          Waiting to have my car searched by a dog.

-          I count ten swat guys around my car right now.

-          Now I know what Ranger from the Stephanie Plum books looks like. Nice to meet you Ranger.

-          Ranger just told me he was hot. Okay…

-          Screened through a metal detector at the front door of the hotel

-          Screened again. Shouldn’t wear a belt on a travel day…

-          Who is staying here? Mitt? Obama? I hope it is Obama!

-          There are men in Black everywhere!!

-          Room key didn’t work. Getting new room? Not just a new key?  Hmmm…

-          Finally in my room. There are a lot of Black Suits by that room over there…

-          Going to the restaurant for some dinner and to work for a bit

-          Turkey burger was yummo! And the people watching was top notch!

-          Laptop battery died. Back in my room. No more view of the security check point. Boo.

-          Man in the elevator said it’s the Obama’s who are staying here. Keep cool.

-          Keep cool.

-          Trying to keep cool.

-          Totally freaking out! Do you think Michelle will run with me tomorrow?

-          Can no longer focus. Going for a run.

-          Had to be patted down returning from my run. Poor SWAT guy!

-          What is up with this black shutters around that room?

-          Oh! Okay, now I know where they are staying.

-          Secret Service by the ice machine. Scared the mess out of me!

-          I need some sleep. Debate is over. Good night.


-          Last night I slept in the same hotel as the President and First Lady. WOW!

-          Getting used to all the men in Black hanging around.

-          That sure is a large pile of gun cases on that cart…

-          Eating breakfast with SWAT is super fun!

-          Ack!! Just saw the Presidents car waiting for him to leave

-          I should stay here in my car until he leaves.

-          Or not. Secret Service is watching me sit here. Better go.

-          Off to work!

-          Back from work! They have all cleared out. Back to normal around here!

And that’s about it for my brush with Obama fame. It was exciting for me! I hope you enjoyed hearing about it.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh, What A Monday Part 2

Okay, so yesterday I left off telling you that I pulled up to my hotel and it’s surrounded by police.

Rewind a few weeks.

I get an email from the hotel where I plan to stay on this particular trip suggesting I find another place to stay due to the Presidential Debate scheduled for the day I arrive. The debate is down the road and there will be some road closures in the area, particularly the main roads on either side of the hotel.

I gather the info I am able to gather by exchanging emails with the hotel manager and decide that since my hotel is just down the road from my office, if I cannot get to my hotel I can’t get to my office so I am not going to the trouble to change my reservation.

I find an open entrance to the hotel and pull up to find a tent, five swat type men, and a dog. They instruct me to turn off my engine and open my hood. I explain that this is a rental car so while I can turn off the engine I am not sure how to pop the hood.

The swat guy is super nice and helps me out.

After the dog walks through my car and gives it the all clear, I am told to go ahead and pull into the lot.

I walk into the hotel door to be met by security, a metal detector, a luggage scanner, and a lot of men in black suits with white things behind their ears. I am put through a process just like the TSA at the airport and allowed to go check in.

At this point I am certain either Romney or Obama will be staying in my hotel and I am freaking out only a little bit.

After checking, parking my car, going through the screening process again, I decide to go unpack and then eat dinner in the hotel to avoid leaving until Tuesday morning when I need to go into the office.

I had a little snafu with my key which caused me to be moved to another room but that was okay because I was told “This is a better room.”

I sat in the restaurant and enjoyed a turkey burger while working for a bit. I was also watching the people coming in the front door and counting the men in black. There were way to many to count.

When my laptop battery finally died I headed back up to my room to decompress before working some more. In the elevator I struck up a conversation with a man dressed in jeans.

“Are you part of this craziness?” I asked.

“Not really, I am with NBC. Are you?” He replied.

“No, I am just here for work. My office is down the street.”

“Well, you picked a good week to come. You know the President is staying here.”

“Oh, is he? That would explain all this!” Man, I am good under pressure!

I walk down the hall to my room as all of this is hitting me.

The President of the United States of America is staying in the same hotel as me. How awesome is that?

Then I realize, not only is he staying in this hotel his room is four doors down! It’s the room with the 12 secret service agents gathered around the door!

I calmly walked into my room. Calmly called Shawn.

Then, and only then, did I let myself freak out.

How insane is this? President Obama is staying four doors down the hall. I look out my living room window and I see his window!

Do you know what that means?!


OMG. Michelle is going to be my new best friend. I just know it! 

We are totally going for a run together in the morning.

Shawn asks me what I will say when I meet him.

Well, of course I know what I will say! I will say “Wow. You are the President.”

That’s what I will say because no matter how awesome I try to be, I am an introverted nerd at heart.

I am writing this on Monday night, the debate has yet to happen. I plan to watch out my window for the Obamas to return from the big debate. But that’s another story for tomorrow. Stay tuned!!

(Please do not leave me comments with your thoughts about The Obama Family or who you are voting for or whatever other political nastiness you might feel you should share with me. This post is about me and my brush with fame. It has nothing to do with politics. Thank you.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh What A Monday Part 1

Monday morning I woke up with that dread I get when I have to travel for work. I love my job and there are many benefits to being able to travel to see my co-workers but at the same time it is extremely difficult to be away from my family. I miss my husband, I miss my daughter, I miss my pets, and I miss everything that goes along with them.

But it’s something I have to do so I try to put up with it.

Only this particular Monday I had an off feeling that I needed to deal with and I couldn’t quite figure out what was causing it.

I get up, get myself ready, and do my last minute packing. Off feeling is still hanging around.

I realize I haven’t heard from my step mom so I call to confirm the time with her. Good thing because we had our wires crossed and she had planned to come an hour later. That was fixed. Off feeling was still hanging around.

I get on the road on time only to hit major traffic causing me to get to the airport later than I wanted. Ugh, off feeling is still there!

I pull into the wrong long term parking lot simply because I was not paying attention so I exit and go back out to the right lot. If you park in Red or Blue lots you have to take the tram but if you park Yellow or Green you cross the skyway and there you are. It’s a huge time saver.

I get to the skyway and it’s closed for renovations! UGH!

I go down the three escalators to the underground walk and then back up to the back check in.

I didn’t get a seat because the plane was full. I would get that at the gate.

25 minutes in security because the express lane was not open.
Got to the gate on time and the monitors were down so I didn’t know my seat until the only agent at the gate could help me which was after everyone else boarded. Where was my Seat? Row 26B. That’s the last row, against the bathroom, middle seat. Gross.

The lady by the window was extra crabby and the poor guy on the aisle, who had to get up for me, had a bad back and was 85 years old. He ended up being a wonderful seat mate who told me stories about his family when the turbulence was so bad I couldn’t read.
I dozed off during takeoff and was awaken to a horrible citrus-chemical smell.

Then next 90 minutes were so bumpy they couldn’t turn off the seatbelt light and the flight attendant yelled (YELLED) at anyone who ventured to the bathroom.

When the light finally turned off the line to the restroom was 40 people long and every single one of them felt the need to lean into our row while they waited.

When the line finally subsided my neighbor, Vince, got up to use the rest room and we learned the identity of that smell. That’s how they cover up vomit mid-air! Fantastic!!

The second half of the flight was okay. My bag made it just fine. And my rental car is amazing.

At this point I am really hoping my day is going to turn around.  

So imagine my surprise when I pull up to my hotel and it is surrounded by police. The most amazing thing was this was the point when that off feeling finally went away.

This was it.

The hotel being surrounded by police is exactly what my intuition was trying to warn me about. Only I can’t tell you about it just yet.

I hope to be able to talk about it soon. Stay tuned!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some Sort of a Weekend Update...

This past weekend Heidi and Shawn went to a friend’s cabin to set deer stands leaving me home alone.

Thursday night they were gone it was me, my in-laws in the basement, Siri, and the cats. Cupcake was off getting spayed and would not come home until Friday afternoon. I had a moment of weakness and allowed Siri to sleep in my bed. I relocated Eddie the Cat who has been living in my room since Siri moved in down to the basement. Then I blocked Siri in the bedroom so she couldn’t wander the house at night.

It was an okay night but man, Siri is jumpy! Every time someone came up stairs during the night (which in my house is a lot) she jumped up and barked. I had to calm her down and we would fall back to sleep.

Friday after work Cupcake came home from the vet. She was well rested and wanted to play so I spent most of the night trying to keep the dogs from wrestling. The other part of the night I spent eating pizza, drinking Crispin Hard Apple Cider (may or may not have gotten tipsy), finishing the sixth Stephanie Plum book, and watching episode after episode of Extreme Couponers.  It was a very relaxing night, just want I needed. But man! What a train wreck Extreme Couponers is! I could not believe these people!

When bed time rolled around I felt guilty that I had slept in the living room the night Siri came home from being spayed so I did the same for Cupcake. It just happened that the in-laws were gone too so I was truly alone. (Minus Siri, Cupcake, Eddie the Cat, and Pete the Cat.) So the dogs and I slept on the couch.
Cupcake missing her daddy

Honey Crisp Crispin, Janet Evanovich, and Frozen Sausage and Mushroom Pizza. This is how I would roll if I was single!

That was not a very good night sleep since Cupcake had been sleeping at the vet for the last two days. She woke up at 1:30 am and decided she had enough sleep and we should all get up to play. After a quick trip outside to ensure no accidents in the house I put her on the couch next to me, flipped her on her back, and rubbed her tummy until she was snoring.

I got up Saturday morning and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned until Shawn and Heidi came home and the typical weekend craziness started up again with a house warming party for our friends who just came back from a stint in New York, two hockey practices, and an open house at my girlfriend’s house.

The weekend flew by and ended with a little family time before I had to pack and head out of town for work this week. I am in South Florida and I already have some stories so come back and see me tomorrow for a peak at some of the fun I have been having!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Random Thoughts By Kara

Hey people!

I have been living my insane life for the last few weeks and just haven't had time to post anything. I am so sorry!!  In addition to the normal insanity of work, Girl Scouts, kids, I have been fighting one heck of a cold. While it's not gone it really is better and I am hoping to be able to start running again tomorrow.

In some exciting news, I upgraded my phone last night with the help of my good friend Erin. After having a phone that never worked correctly for three years, and after two weeks of not being able to actually call anyone with it, I finally drug my self over to the T-Mobile store and picked up an HTC One S and I am smitten as a kitten!

So now I can do all this fun Social Media stuff I wasn't really able to do with my old beast of a phone! 

I am on now on Instagram - Karamae31 so come find me to see fun pictures of my pups, kitties, kids, and other random craziness!

I am also on Twitter and can actually tweet now that I can get on the Internet any time I want! Come find me @HeidiNae. Let me know you are following me and I will follow you back.

How exciting!!

On another note, Cupcake was spayed yesterday. All is well and I get to pick her up tonight.

I felt bad making Siri sleep in the living room by herself so I let her sleep in my bed.

Here's a cute picture of her hanging out while I play with my new phone.

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Warm Soup on a Fall Day? Yes Please!

I made some Potato Soup in the crock pot yesterday and while it was good it was not good enough to replace my Potato Soup. So instead of posting that recipe I am bringing back an old post and my desire to be eating this for lunch today. Enjoy!


One thing Heidi will always eat is soup and a few weeks ago, we discovered that she really like Potato Soup.  I went online to find a recipe and ended up combining the parts I liked from about four different sites.  I ended up with some of the best potato soup I have ever had! 

I made it about two weeks ago and then again over the weekend.  This time, I doubled the recipe, put it in storage containers, and froze it for easy lunches. 

A quick note about the pictures below - first, these were taken when I doubled the recipe but I am giving directions for a single batch.  A single batch will make about 6 to 8 one cup servings, the double batch made 16 one cup servings, which I froze in two cup servings because we are hearty eaters!  Second, this is my first post with the new camera.  I am still figuring it out but I am already amazing at the improvement in the pictures!

That's enough rambling, let's get started!

Here's what you need:
6 Slices Bacon, Diced
1/2 Medium Onion, Diced
2 Garlic Cloves, Diced (or more if you are really into garlic)
2 Cups Chopped or Shredded Carrots or 2 Whole Carrots, Chopped
6 Whole White Potatoes, Peeled and Chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/2 Cup Instant Mashed Potatoes
1 Cup Milk or Half and Half or a combination of both
32 Ounces Chicken Broth

For all of the items above, if you are doubling the recipe just use twice as much, with the exception of the Chicken Broth.  I would use 32 Ounces of Chicken Broth and 32 Ounces of Water but any combination totaling 64 Ounces will work, it's totally up to you!

Diced or slice the bacon.

Dice the onion.

And dice the garlic.  Please ignore that scrap of peel in the pile, I did pull it out before tossing in the pot.  And while you are at it, ignore that beat up chopping board. 

Let me tell you, this chopping board may look worse for wear but it is that best thing I have even owned.  I purchased it from Pampered Chef a number of years ago, with most of my kitchen gear.  But the reason I love this particular chopping board are the rubber edges that keep it from sliding around my counter.  It's the best and I highly recommend it. 

Toss the bacon in a stock pot and saute.

After the bacon has produced a bit of grease, toss in the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked through.

Remove the bacon, onions, and garlic from the pot and put on a plate.

I could just eat this plate of bacon, onion, and garlic and be done with it.  Try not to do that...

Add chicken broth to the now empty pot and bring to a boil.  Did you notice the broth is missing from the picture above?  Yep, it is.  I don't know where it ran off to at picture time.  Some day, I will get it right but no promises!

Wash, peel, and slice the potatoes into about 1 inch chunks.  If you are not a pro with the knife, just do your best to get the chunks to be about the same size so they cook evenly.  The smaller they are, the faster they cook.

Throw the bacon, onions, and garlic back in the pot and bring to a boil. 

Add the potatoes.  If you are just not able to wait until the broth boils and you dump in your potatoes early, I will not tell anyone.

 Add the carrots.  I cheated and used shredded carrots from a bag.  Use whatever you want but again, uniform slices are the key.

Mix it up really good and bring to a boil.

If you have a helper hanging around, have her put the potato scraps in the compost bowl.

When the pot is bubbling pour in the mashed potato flakes.  This will help the soup be thick in the end.  I know it sounds weird but trust me.

Just trust me.

Reduce to Medium heat and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from the bottom every 5 minutes or so.

When the potatoes start to get soft, mash with a potato masher.  You could use an immersion blender or a food processor as well but the potato masher will give a nice, lumpy consistency.

It will get thicker and thicker.  After about 30 minutes it will be really thick.  That's when you add the milk. (Not pictured because it's just to much for me to remember that I am supposed to be taking pictures every step of the way!)

And maybe some pepper.  Taste it.  Do you like your potato soup peppery?  I do!

At this point, you could serve it in soup bowls, topped with more bacon, cheese, sour cream, more pepper, whatever floats your boat.  Or, you can let it cool and scoop servings into gladware containers and freeze for later use.

What ever you  do, give this a try.  It is YUMMY!  I promise!!  If you make alterations, and please do, post a comment and let me know what you did!


Aw, look how young Heidi is here! I hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I am off to go see if Cupcake hacked up that hunk of wood she ate last night. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

13 is Our Lucky Year!

Yesterday Shawn and I celebrated 13 years of perfect wedded bliss.

Well, we didn't really celebrate but it was the 13th anniversary of the day I married my best friend. We will celebrate properly on Saturday with dinner at a local BBQ joint.

Yesterday was a normal day. We both went to work. Heidi had home work. I got home at 5:30. Siri jumped the fence and wound up with a family two blocks away.

See? Normal.

We did go out for dessert at the locally owned Dairy Queen in the neighborhood and that was a super win.

Heidi special ordered a banana split and the guy made it wrong not once but twice. So we went home with our order of two blizzards and a banana split plus two extra half made banana splits. Total win in our book! (We are super easy to please.)

I wanted to post a picture of us on our wedding day but I haven't gotten around to scanning it yet. See kids, when you get married in 1999 your pictures are not on your computer until you put them there.

We also took all our candids from the reception on disposable cameras placed on each table. Do they even make those any more!

Even though I got married before I was legally able to drink and even though I got married before Y2K (remember that?!) I have been happy with my decision for the last 13 years and never once thought I would have done it differently.

I am looking forward to another amazing 67 years with my perfect husband.  But right now, I am heading to the airport for yet another work trip. Have a great week everyone!