December 30, 2010

The Latest

It started like any other Christmas.

Jase decorated Dad's house this year.
These two miniature trees were really cute.

Then...THIS happened! The upstairs hot water heater busted.
This thing was 17 years old and sitting on bricks. Egads!

At 3:00am Sunday morning, the ceiling in the billards room collapsed. When the emergency cleanup crew arrived, they accidently tore the sheet rock, so the adjustor is allowing for the entire room to be repainted.

This is the den where Dad sits on the sofa and watches TV. Water was pouring out the light fixture. Stupid we would even turn on the lights, but even though they still work, the adjustor is allowing for new light/fan installs.

Dad's room is the lowest point of the house, so his room had the most damage, primarily to the flooring and furniture. This room also presented us with another problem. It was unsafe for Dad.

Monday morning was so chaotic and busy! We had plummers, a clean up crew, insurance adjustors, (and the yard guys showed up but at least they were outside!), and we had the home health providers out. Dad's little dog Winston was glad to be in his crate. Dad wanted to 'supervise' what was going on in his house, so we found a safe place in the corner for him to watch all the commotion.

Today is Thursday. The annoying green blowers are still on. The crew said it takes 3-5 days for the sub-flooring to completely dry out. We are on day 4...

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 13, 2010

Holiday Light Safari

Had a great time at the Denver Zoo with Danny last Saturday night.
The zoo was hosting their annual Holiday Light Safari.
Tony didn't want to go, he preferred chillin' with his friends.
Marisa went with Sam and her family.

We watched this guy sculpt ice.

Light everywhere! These were swinging from a tree.

These were on an island.

Love graceful giraffes, even in lights.

More on the prairie.

It was so incredibly cold.
Fortunately, hot chocolate with 'spirit shots' were available along the stroll.
Adding the Peppermint Schnapps was a warming touch!

December 10, 2010

Midnight Blue

This kiddo is sending me to the nut house! He decided to color his hair....AGAIN! And, like always with 'Twinkle Toes', there's a back story!

T: Mom, Can I color my hair?
Mom {that's me}: What color?
T: Black.
Mom: Why black?
T: I don't know, because.
Mom: Tony, can you wait until the summer?
T: Why?! I wanna do it now!
Mom: Why black?
Mom: How are you gonna pay for it?
T: I don't know, can I?
Mom: Let me think about it.

Next day....
T: Mom! Can I color my hair?
Me: How are you going to pay for it?
T: Me and Tom going to help Jarrod clean his mom's house and she's going to get us hair color?
Me: Seriously? You don't even clean our house for cash!
T: Mom?
Me: {Thinking that Jarrod's mom wouldn't really to this...} Whatever, Tony.

Later that same day, Tony comes home with a box of 'Midnight Blue' hair color. He's so proud as he shows me the box. I'm gonna have to call Jarrod's mom!

T: Mom! Look what I got!
Me: Really? You're not serious! {KNOWING THAT I LOST THIS ONE...} Okay, can you wait until after work tomorrow and I'll help you do it?
T: YEAH!!! {He immediately gets on the phone.}


I come home and log into facebook to see this photography! I call Tony and before I could ask if he was ready to color his hair, he told me he colored it himself.

T: It was real easy, Mom! I didn't make a mess.
Me: Great! {I lost!}

Today... I just couldn't stand that 'Midnight Blue' rat's nest any longer! Tony agreed to a hair trim to get rid of the dried ends. Okay, so we both got what we want after all! He has blue/black hair. I got it groomed.

December 9, 2010


It's official. I'm taking a leave of absence from work to help take care of Dad.

December 4, 2010

Holiday Vendor Sale

Lori's house is a happenin' place. At Lori's we scrapbook, spa, cook, and also hold the annual holiday vendor sale. This year Jewelry Junction™ was a vendor!
Here are a few pieces from my collection.

Simple and festive

Natural gems with glass beads

Swarovski crystals

A beautiful Rosary

November 29, 2010


Missing my mom and dad right now. Mom is forever in our memories. Dad is still in rehab, but getting stronger. I will be taking leave soon to care for him. We decorated for Christmas this weekend after celebrating Marisa's birthday. Got kinda sad putting out all the stuff and the ornaments on the tree. Not only was I missing my parents, I was missing when the kids were small. Remember those precious times, never take family for granted.

November 25, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Day

It all started with a turkey. Easy preparation: 1 whole turkey, salt, pepper, fresh sage, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, fresh rosemary, butter--lots of butter, chicken broth, an orange, an apple, a handful of cranberries.

Cover and grill...last hour add hickory for smoke. Done!

Made my mom's green punch: 2 pkgs lime kool-aid, 2 cups sugar, 2 quarts water, 46oz can pineapple juice, and 2 bottles ginger ale. Kids love it! Cheers! (Don't ask about the Tonster's hair. I'll tell you...he was bored, so he tried to straighten it while the rest of us prepared the meal. I think he tried to cut it, too.)

Danny got to start first.
He is serving my aunt Nell's dressing and my friend Angela's sweet potato casserole. and my babies!
Tony was sweet to put on a cap.

LOL! Of course, KC insisted on being at the table.
I call this photo 'the missing egg formation'.

Thanksgiving is very, very special to our family because Marisa's birthday follows.
This year she will celebrate her 17th on Saturday.

After our meal we took turns playing Mancala.
And of course, KC had to stick her nose in this as well.

The rest of the day will be filled with football, leftovers, slumber, and farmville.
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010


It's the day before Thanksgiving! It's that time of year we count our blessings. I am so thankful for my family most of all! I'm sad that Dad couldn't make the trip to Colorado, but I will be going to see him in a couple of weeks. Danny and I are still planning a big Thanksgiving meal! Marisa's birthday is in a couple of days. Our baby girl will be 17 years old! She wants a 'Scooby-Doo' cake and a VISA card! Is that typical for an older teen or what? I'm also thankful for all of my friends! Without you guys, life would be so boring! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

November 21, 2010

Oh Fudge!

Yea, it's been THAT kind of week!

November 14, 2010

You Had Me At 'Remote-Control'

Danny and I wanted an electric fireplace for the den, so we went shopping. Always a favorite activity for me. I wanted a big fireplace unit. Danny wanted something more durable-stocky-rugged-cabin-like, so we went to Lowe's. They had the nice, more elegant, tall, dark, wood-like electric fireplaces. And, they had the Duraflame. The sales guy and Danny were going over the features: the black textured finish, operates with and without heat, 1,350 watt heater, 4,600 BTU's per hour, adjustable thermostat, glowing log set and ember bed, adjustable dimmer, operable door, supplemental heat for up to 400 sq. ft., 1-year warranty, AND...
a multi-function remote control!

So, there you have it! I might as well be living in a cabin. Truth be told, I like it! It did keep the den warm and cozy all day. I got up early this morning to put together my Thanksgiving menu/grocery list. I started a pot of coffee, grabbed my journal for the menu/list, curled up on the sofa, then reached for the remote and clicked.

November 11, 2010

Standard Time

Since the time change I come home from work, put on my favorite plaid flannel pajamas, and crawl under the covers.

November 7, 2010

A Great Day

Danny and I spent the day at the Colorado Country Christmas craft show yesterday. We always return to our favorite booths for holiday staples as well as new findings. Danny likes t0 like the fishing or cabin-life decorations. I like the lotions, soaps, and potpourri. We both like the foods: jerkies, jellies, dips, soups, etc. We also like the cooking shows.

Today we watched Chef Keith Jones, formerly known as 'The Champagne Chef'. He made blackened salmon with Amaretto orange butter sauce. It was fantastic, easy, and great for a holiday meal. Chef says that the recipe is just the beginning. I totally get that! We bought our favorite soup bases from Plentiful Pantry: Tomato Parmesan Bisque, Cheesy Enchilada Soup, White Cheddar Potato Soup, and White Bean Chili. Sometimes I follow the directions and have a soup in minutes, other times I use the base as just that, a 'base', and change it up.

I picked up bars of these soy-based scented bars that work wonders in this dry Colorado climate. I chose the scents: christmas tree, plumeria, acai, ocean, coffee, and lavendar. I found a new booth this year with awesome comes in a round bar! They are called Lavishea. I bought lavendar, vanilla passion, and coconut lime verbena. When the kids returned home last night, I had them wash their hands and try this stuff. Loved it!

We picked up our 'once-a-year' breads: apple strudel, asiago, and walnut-cranberry. We stocked up on our favorite dip mixes from Gourmet Farms of Colorado: Southwest, Green Chile, Chipotle, Sundried Tomato, Permesan Garlic, Spinach, Cheddar Bacon, Artichoke Spinach, and Jalapeno Cheddar.

I was so incredibly tired from walking the entire mart, the crowds, the over-stimulation. When I got home there was a package on the step from BeautiControl. So I spent the rest of the evening 'spa-ing'.

Today will be laundry day. Since the time changed I'll have an extra hour to get it done. Right...

November 4, 2010

Colorado Country Christmas

One of my favorite gift shows is the Colorado Country Christmas in the Denver Merchandise Mart. It is a Christmas arts and craft show extravaganza! There are cooking demos, hundreds of exhibits, holiday gift ideas, specialty foods, candies, sauces, canned and mixed food products to sample and buy. Here is the chef schedule this year: cooking schedule. I drag Danny with me each year. I love putting together holiday gift baskets with all the goodies we find. So looking forward to spending Saturday at the mart! I'll take my camera...

November 2, 2010

All Souls Day Prayer

from part of the Mass
"[for all our departed brothers and sisters]
Merciful Father, hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in Your Son,
whom You raised from the dead,
strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters
will share in His resurrection, who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

November 1, 2010

All Saint's Day

My favorite saint is Therese of Lisieux.

One of my favorite quotes from her is:

"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."

Basically...little acts of kindness are just as 'great'. It's the little things in life that count.

October 31, 2010

Creatures Of The Night

We have so much fun dressing up for this night. Now that the kids are older and trick-or-treat by themselves (yes, they still do this), Danny and I dress up to hand out candy.

At first, Danny and I were considering Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth, but I don't have fake fingernails (truth be told, I chickened out!). So, I did my old stand-by...The Witch!

And here's Bud, the Cowboy. If we still lived in Texas, T would make a good cowboy.

Best of all! This photo! Danny dressed up as The Undead Wizard.
Marisa, well, Marisa is Marisa.
Happy Halloween (All Hallow's Eve) to all!

Happy 'All Hallow's Eve'!

Good Morning! It's Halloween!
Loved the view from my kid's bathroom window early this morning.

The leaves are so pretty right now.
This tree will be bare by tonight.

Candy is in the caulderon, ready for the first trick-or-treater!
(We'll dress up to hand out the candy, so Garza Ghoul photos will post later.)

October 28, 2010

The Insurance Game

Let's see, anyone ever have issue with insurance companies? Oh, I'm sure you have. They try to bulldoze people! Here's the deal. We used a local, in network provider last year. The provider billed the insurance for XX amount. According to our plan, we are responsible for the deductible plus 20%. Sounds easy and straight forward. But, here's the twist...

The insurance company uses a third party to manage the claims. This third party added an administrative fee OVER AND BEYOND the patient liability covered by the insurance. This means that when the insurance company cut the check to the third party, this third party then took their administrative fee out and sent the provider less money. As a result, the provider is billing us to recover the administrative fee.

We have appealed to the insurance board! In our appeal we stated that any further action for the provider to recover the amount that the third party stripped from their payment is between them and should be reconciled as such. The patient liability amount has been paid in full. We expect full support in reconciling this administration fee without any further billing from the provider.

What do you think? Is it worth the aggravation?

October 25, 2010

Hello, Miss Jeep...Meet Mr. Fence Post

Our first mishap!

Marisa doesn't remember how this happened, but showed me a fence post by where she parks at a friend's house that COULD be a possibility.

October 24, 2010

Never Fails

Every year about this time, I get sick. This season is no different! I love the Fall season, but with it comes respiratory problems for me. Asthma is something I've dealt with since I was a small child and adulthood has been no different. I've been able to manage my asthma quite well for the past few years. Working in the school setting and also with geriatric populations in skilled nursing settings has presented constant challenges.

This year I have an additional challenge...Psoriasis. I've also battled psoriasis my entire life. With every ear infection or strep throat infection came an outbreak. Most the time the psoriasis has been managable. This year has been the worst! I had a case of strep in September that was so bad, I went to the ER. That caused a psoriasis outbreak over 80% of my body. The doctor put me on the Enbrel injections twice a week for the next 3 months. Side effects of this drug are a suppressed autoimmune system and respiratory distress, not to mention liver damage, cancer, or death.

I'm 4 weeks into the Enbrel injections and I get an upper respiratory tract infection. Dangerous for my medical history. I have to stop the Enbrel and take Prednisone, also with it's side effects. So do I want spotty skin or the ability to breathe? I want to breathe! I hate having to struggle for a deep breathe. I hate being short of breath when I walk up the stairs or unload the dishwasher or get dressed in the mornings. It's miserable and scary!

Everyone...take a deep breath from me!

October 22, 2010

Good Luck, Rangers!

"Our Rangers, who art in Texas, Winners be thy name.
The Yanks will come, they will be done, in New York as they'll be in Texas.
Give us today, a series win, and forgive us our bullpen losses.
Lead us not into the off season after this series, but deliver us a Championship to Texas.
For the Rangers shall be 2010 ALDS, ALCS, and World Series champs forever & ever."

(courtesy Travis & Sara)

October 16, 2010


Here's our cropping crew: Lori, Louise, Meg, Peggy, Me, and Cindy. We have so much fun each and every time we go to the mountains. This is Louise's first time to crop with us as she is visiting Meg from Maine. We are so glad she could come with us, an instant friend. Next trip my SIL Eileen and her/our friend Ginger are coming!

We are always well fed! Tonight menu was salmon, chicken, roasted veggies, garlic mashed potatoes, and the fixin's.

Dessert is always a treat! A serious treat!
These chocolate volcano cream puffs were dessert from earlier today.

For tonight's dessert, we had pumpkin spice cake in honor of Cindy's and my birthdays. So very, very good. We walk in on Thursdays and roll out on Sundays....every time!