Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Friends, Good Wine

Marv and Candi came for dinner the other night. They brought me my favorite wine--Moscato. They also brought something called "ChocoVine: The taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine." I had a good chuckle when I saw it. It looks rather like chocolate milk. But, hey, I'm game for anything containing chocolate, so why not?

It did indeed have the consistency of chocolate milk. It was like chocolate milk with a kick! It reminded me of kahlua and cream but without the coffee flavor, which suits me just fine since I don't like coffee. It was quite delightful, to be honest.

After our yummy lasagne dinner (if I do say so myself!), Morgan talked Marv into playing Batman on the Wii. He made a good Robin to Morgan's Batman!

And we rounded out our fun evening with some games. We started with a rousing game of "Spoons." If you've never played spoons, you're missing out: the first person to get four of a kind grabs a spoon and everyone else scrambles to get one also. There's one less spoon than people to make it exciting!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Tunes

Praire Elementary School
Christmas Concert, 2011

Ellea is in the front row in the black dress. Her fifth grade class sang a few tunes at the beginning of the concert and played their band instruments at the end of the concert.

Morgan was all smiles and big booming voice for his 1st grade performance.

My little trumpeter--third from right.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Miracle Bottle Opener

I know a lot of people already own these fancy wine bottle openers. But, I hadn't invested the money into one yet.

This was Glenn's gift at the Poxleitner gift exchange. Actually, it was the gift I bought and would've wanted, except the picnic basket looked too fabulous to pass up! So Glenn nabbed it instead. We used it on my 14 Hands Hot to Trot wine on Christmas day. More on that in a minute.

This bottle opener is nothing short of miraculous! There's no struggling to crank the twisty thing into the bottle. You just push it down and pull out the cork. Amazing, I'm telling you! If you don't already own one, you must run--don't walk--to your nearest wine-bottle-opener-selling-store and buy one. You must. I insist! If you don't drink wine, you might want to hold off.

Now, about the wine. It was yummy. For a red wine. I'm still partial to a slightly sweet (okay, really sweet) white wine, but I'm trying to grow up! I do love that there are horses on the label. I think that adds greatly to the experience.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


A friend from High School stopped by on his way home to Sandpoint from visiting his sister in Boise. I hadn't seen Matthew in about 3 years. It was great getting to catch up with him. He even brought along his dog, "Little Bear." She fit in nicely with our animals, although Ellea's cat, Vandal, decided to stalk her while she was minding her own business in the kitchen!

I invited to him to stay overnight, but warned him we had plans to have a "few" friends over. Little did he know, that meant there'd be 27 of us (and 5 dogs!!!)! He was a very good sport and fit in nicely with this crazy crew!

Somehow the guys got started drinking their beers in shot glasses. Guess that way they could say they had 50 shots and were still standing! Silly boys!

I needed a picture to commemorate his visit (and for my blog!). Zoey didn't want to be left out!

Isn't it great catching up with old friends?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pizza, Ice Cream and Lights, Oh My!

Glenn's sister, Donna, joined us last week for some pizza at Fazarri's, our favorite pizza joint in Lewiston.

After dinner, she treated us to ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Glenn joined the girls at the little kid table.

Then Donna took us to the most decorated house in town. These people have filled up their own yard and spilled over into the neighbor's! There's a ferris wheel, all kinds of blow up ornaments and everything you can imagine (and then some!). It's a little obnoxious, frankly, but very festive! What's odd is there are a couple different sources of music playing simultaneously. Sensory overload, for sure!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Much to Glenn's dismay, we always open our presents Christmas morning. He grew up opening gifts Christmas Eve. Then they'd go to midnight Mass and Santa came while they were gone! He has suggested to his kids that we should open all our gifts Christmas Eve.

It pleases me to no end that they refuse!! I agree with them that if we opened them all Christmas eve, what would we do Christmas morning? You'd lose that anticipation! And getting up early-- that's my favorite! It's the only day of the year that I do it without grumbling!

Every year I talk about not overdoing it with the Christmas presents, but somehow they fill half the living room!!

But these darling kids deserve every last gift they get. They're the best.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Poxleitner Party--music and gifts

Early on in the afternoon at the annual Poxleitner Christmas-fest, the Kaufman's entertained us with some music. All four of the Kaufman brothers are talented musicians and I never tire of listening to them. Fred even played a few Christmas tunes. Jeff had learned the new country song, "Red Solo Cup" just for us! If you haven't heard the song, it's pretty funny, and accurate too. If you've never partied with a red Solo Cup in hand, then you must put down your wine glass and give it a go!

Steve, Fred, Phil and Joe Kaufman jamming in my living room!

After dinner, it was time for the big event of the evening--the gift exchange. Now, this isn't the type of gift exchange where you bring prank gifts that no one wants. The idea is to bring the most fabulous gift you can find (within the price range) and everyone fights over it! That's right, there's stealing involved! It's very festive!

The kids aren't included in the gift exchange, but they enjoy helping with the satisfying ripping of paper!

I came away with this beautiful picnic set, thanks to Jen Kaufman! I personally think she may have gone over her spending limit, but I won't report her to the authorities. I was only able to keep it because it had already been "stolen" once before I took it (sorry, Christina!) and the third person to have possession gets to keep their loot! Love that rule!

I've heard fabulous things about this 14 Hands "Hot to Trot" red blend wine. I think it will go nicely with the Prime Rib we bought for Christmas dinner. I promise to report back.

Merry Christmas! May you know love and peace on this very special day. God bless.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poxleitner Party Games

The Minute to Win It games went over so well at Ellea's birthday party the night before, that we thought we'd give them a go at the Poxleitner party. They didn't disappoint!

Glenn's sister, Donna, went head-to-head with her Godson, Morgan, in the noodle race. Morgan won; she's a good Godmother!

Look at that pregnant mama squat! I'm impressed that at 8 months pregnant, Christina would even think about playing this game. She was the only female finalist, so she didn't let that baby bump slow her down!

The Peanut-Butter Ping Pong was also a big hit. Nothing says Merry Christmas like throwing a small white ball at a sticky piece of bread!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Poxleitner Party--cookies

We started out the Poxleitner family christmas party with cutting out sugar cookies. This is on of Glenn's specialties. He learned to make these cookies at his mom's side, so I leave it to him. Besides, there's no chocolate involved, so I'm not inspired to make them! They're fun to cut out and decorate though! And don't get me wrong, when there's no chocolate desserts calling my name, I'll happilly eat one of these!

Ellea was grateful that baby Ben sat still in her lap for a few minutes of cookie-making. That boy doesn't sit still very often!

Morgan and Sam don't sit still a whole lot, but they enjoyed some cookie-making for a few minutes before they were off to bigger and better things!

The boy who stuck with the cookie-making the longest was Ben's daddy, Steve! He was all about maximizing the economy of space. Just how closely can you get the cookies together?! I get it, it's just a tough thing to explain to kids. They seem to want to get them as far apart as possible!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Birthday Fun

A couple of Ellea's friends came home with her last Friday for a birthday sleepover. I found a couple "Minute to Win It" games online that were a big hit. If you don't know, Minute to Win It is a game show where contestants play a series of 60 second games to win money. There was no money involved here, just bragging rights.

What 11 year old out there wouldn't be thrilled to be able to say they were the best at picking up Rigatoni noodles with a spaghetti noodle in their mouth?! I love how Ellea's friend, Hope, is really cheering Ellea on!

Or that they were the champion at throwing a ping pong ball and getting it to stick to a peanut-butter covered bread? These are good games, people. And harder than you might imagine. Feel free to go try them out.

I'll wait.

You aren't going to pull out your pasta and give these games a go?

Your loss.

After games and gifts (and lasagne dinner) we indulged in this yummylicious Baskin-Robbins birthday cake: chocolate cake and cookies & cream ice cream. The chocolate drizzles and stars on the cake were a nice touch. Ellea's not a chocoholic like her mom, but this was the cake she picked. I secretly did a happy dance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

11 Years Ago

Eleven years ago, I received the best Christmas gift--baby Ellea! After four weeks of bedrest and one overnight stay in the hospital, I was happy to have my newest little bundle of joy (Nicole was 19 months old)! She was born three weeks early, but was perfect in every way.

We celebrated her 11th birthday all day long on Monday. We went to Grangeville and hung out with grandma for the morning. We went to Subway (Ellea's favorite!) for lunch and had cake and ice cream at grandma's house. In the afternoon, we went to Lewiston. We went bowling first and then met the Mangini's for dinner.

Nicole wanted to know why bowling shoes are so ugly. They're not as ugly as I recall them from my childhood. I told her maybe it was to discourage people from stealing them. I sure wasn't tempted. Not that stealing is something that tempts me typically. It's just if I was the stealing sort, I'd not be tempted to steal these puppies. Just saying.

After dinner it was off to the Locomotive Park that is decorated with thousands of lights every year. It's beautiful. My favorite part of the park is the propane fireplace. The temperature was in the 30's, so the fireplace was my friend!

All the cousins--ages 7 through 13--in the igloo. We took a "silly" picture because Sophia (bottom left) seemed stuck on this zombie-like expression. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

There was some heated debate (arguing, actually) between my kids over where they were going to stand for this picture. We got it all sorted out. Nothin' says Merry Christmas better than an argument between siblings!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dog Bed

So nice of Glenn to set up this nice "dog bed" for Zoey, don't you think?!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Full House

Glenn and I hosted or annual Poxleitner Christmas Party on Saturday.  We were honored that every single member of the Poxleitner family showed up.  That's Glenn's 4 siblings, their spouses, children and grandchildren.  And one foreign exchange student. 

We sat 30 people in our overly large, but useful-once-a-year dinning area.  The chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles was well received, as always! 

And I was exhausted on Sunday!  But it was well worth it. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fencepost Fun

The girls and I helped Glenn split fenceposts last weekend.

Here's how it goes: Glenn drags and pushes a big 6 foot log up on to the splitter all by his lonesome. He's big and tough. He can do it. When they're too big for him to manhandle, he gets brother-in-law, Hal, to help him.

Then someone in the tractor runs the hydraulic lever which operates the splitting mechanism and splits that puppy in half. Repeat until posts are desired sizes. I had the honored job of piling the finished product. It wasn't so bad. I just had one complaint.

This used to be MY job. I would sit comfortably in the tractor. Heater on. Radio going. What's up with that? Now my girls are taking turns doing it? (And getting paid for their time, I might add.)

All the while, I'm bundled up against the cold stacking 6ft posts. They're not that heavy. I think the girls would have no problem doing this job.

I'm not certain, but I think I just got demoted.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cheese Face

That little Ben Kaufman is too funny! You pull out the camera and out comes the cheese face!

Wrinkled nose, squinty eyes, open mouth. He's got it down! Ellea can't get enough of this kid. We'll see him this today for the annual Poxleitner Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Christmas Party at our house. We're all excited that Ben will be a big brother in a month or so. Ellea would like to move in with them so she could do some full-time baby lovin', but she wants me to move in with her!!

Joe and his birthday cake. I didn't count, but there must've been the proper number (31) of candles on that puppy. It was bright! Not as bright as my cake would be, but that's for another day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hug the Snowman

As we left Joe and Jen's house after the birthday party, Nicole was inspired to hug the blow-up snowman on their lawn.

I was inspired to take a picture. Imagine that!

And of course, that lead to a group photo.

Why do my children put up with my camera-happy ways?

I'll never know, but I sure am glad they do!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

We were invited to help celebrate nephew Joe's 31st birthday last weekend. After some family Christmas shopping, we ate yummy Kaufman lasagne and Ellea enjoyed some Baby Ben time.

Joe and Jen's boy Sam is a big fan of Hide and Seek, apparently. Morgan and Ellea got in on the action. Here, Morgan and Sam are counting. Steve's keeping it fair!

Ellea and Ben hid under the covers. Sam couldn't resist a little dog-pile action! Found you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shopping Date

Hubby and I went on a date last night! We also did some shopping for a few Christmas gifts. First stop was a Whopper for Glenn to tide him over until dinner! I tried to post to my blog from Glenn's smart phone, but couldn't get the picture to post so I gave up!

It's tricky to take a self-portrait with a camera phone because there's no shutter-release button to feel with your finger. It's just an icon on the screen. It took three tries, but we managed!

The best part of the night was our dinner date with our dear friends, Marv and Candi. We always have so much fun with them. Aren't great friends the best?

We ate at our all time favorite restaurant, Bo-Jack's. And Glenn still owed me a dinner on his employer's dime as my "payment" for helping with his customer appreciation dinner this year. It was great: good company, good food, and someone else foots the bill (at one of the spendier places in town)!!

Sharp Tooth

Nicole's new horse, Zeus, had the treat of getting his teath "floated" yesterday. Not sure why it's called that. Floating is when the vet files down any rough, sharp edges on their teeth.

As horses get older they tend to need to have their teeth floated every year of two. When their teeth get sharp, it can cut the insides of their mouths and prevent them from chewing up their food properly. Zeus was still skinnier than he should be after several months of the all-you-can-eat "buffet" we have the horses on, so hopefully this will help him put on a few more pounds.

He was mostly cooperative, but was given drugs to relax him. The contraption on his head holds his mouth open and shines a light in there. The vet is using a 14 volt cordless drill with a long extension that has a file on the end. (They used to use a big flat rasp and lots of muscle. That had to be fun! Thank goodness for power tools.) The assistant supports his head and holds his tongue out of the way.

Lucky for him, horses don't have nerve endings in their teeth. Wouldn't trips to the dentist be much easier if it weren't for those darn nerve endings?!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tree for the Kitty

Vandal really seems to appreciate that we brought a fir tree into the house for his personal enjoyment. I've been surprised that he hasn't torn it apart, but there's still time for that. He seems content to lay on the tree skirt and pretend he's in the great outdoors.

Here, he looks like he's considering which ornament he will attack first.

A little education for you: when we did the cow eye dissection in Ellea's science class, we saw the back of the eye which just like a cat's eye has this reflective surface called the Tapetum. That's why cows', cats', deer and horses' eyes glow when you see them in your headlights. Fascinating.

Makes you want to go dissect a cow eyeball right now, doesn't it?

Okay, maybe not. But, I bet you're glad I brought up the cow eye dissection again. I hope to refer back to it often.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

The kids begged their dad to find time to find a tree together this week. I like it just fine when Glenn brings one home and voila, we're done, but family time is nice too. So, we bundled up after school one day and went tree hunting. It was hard to find a tree that pleased all 5 of us. We're not looking at groomed trees, after all. They all have flaws.

Ellea begged me to dig out Zip's sweater. I usally refuse because I doubt he likes wearing it. Maybe once a year at tree hunting time he can be a good sport. The last time he wore it, a few years ago, he got it caught on a barbed-wire fence and it came off. Dog clothes aren't designed for country livin'!

This time, he did just fine with it. It hardly bothered him at all, until he got it caught on a stick and it half fell off. Ellea took pity and removed it.
Glenn being the logger at heart, likes to find trees that are growing in groups and thin them. I get it--the trees left behind will grow better. But it's the trees growing out in the middle of nowhere all by their little selves that have the best chance to grow in a uniform Christmas tree way.

It was getting darkish by the time we found our tree. I had all but given up hope. And I was cold. I was so proud that I found one in a group that looked like a good candidate. It occurred to me that since it was mostly dark, it could be a terrible tree and we wouldn't know it until we got it in the house, but I was cold. I was willing to take my chances.

As you can see, it was a little on the tall side, but after chopping off the bottom 4 feet or so, it was a pretty decent specimen.

Now, hurry up and cut that puppy down so I can go back home to my warm house!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Job--Again!

Big news around here: I have (another) new job!

After working as a tutor at the high school for about a month, I was offered a position as the Site Coordinator of a federal grant called Gear Up.

This job--
1. Pays substantially more.

2. Is guaranteed for 6 years (the length of the grant). The tutor position funds look like they might dry up next year.

3. Is still at the Junior/Senior High School.

4. Allows me to work with Nicole's 7th grade class. Her class and the year below her will be the beneficiaries of this grant. It's designed to help them better prepare for college. This year, we'll take them on a field trip to a college, offer tutoring, teach them a little about saving for college and scholarships among other things.

5. Is still only 20 hours a week which makes me happy because-- a) I'm lazy and b) I don't think I could work full-time, keep my house any where close to clean (not my forte' anyway--see (a)) and keep my family well-fed. I have so much respect for those moms who do work full time.

5. Allows me to work with Glenn's sister, Nancy, for the remainder of this school year. She is the previous site coordinator of the same grant. She's had enough of the bureaucracy and frustration involved with this position. That fact gave me pause in accepting the position, but we decided I'd give it a go and walk away if it wasn't a good fit.

6. Will send me to New York City in February for a National Gear Up conference. We will be staying at the Hilton. Hmm. That will be tough. The furthest north I've ever been is Chicago, so it'll be fun. There's a chance Nancy may even join me which will increase the fun exponentially, I'm sure!

7. Makes use of my degree. This is the first job I've ever had that actually requires a degree. Luckily, they don't care what the degree is, so long as I have one. Feels good to finally have a use for that thing!

So, now the learning curve begins. Next week, I need to sketch out the plans for the year, draft a budget, book my flight, and register for the conference all while continuing to do a little tutoring. Should be fun! Guess I'll just buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Gingerbread Santa

Morgan had a homework project to decorate a construction paper gingerbread man. He decided to make him look like Santa Claus. We had procrastinated doing this project until the night before it was due, so to speed things along, I helped. A lot.

I should've let Morgan do 90% of the work, but I didn't. I will point out, however, that I tried to argue for black mittens instead of white. Morgan was adamant that white was the right color, and I told him it was his decision. He went with white. It about killed me, but I didn't say another word about it. I'm mature like that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


We took the kids up to Moscow last weekend to visit my brother and his family. The first order of business on Saturday was dinner. We ate at a yummy Italian joint called, "Gambino's." We all rolled out of there fat and happy, just like a person should at a good Italian place!

The kids got a kick out of the revolving doors. We don't have such things around Cottonwood! I felt a little better about it when the staff told us we were the first customers to take a picture of it!

Sunday was all about seeing The Muppet Movie. I am a big Muppet fan. I think I was more excited about this movie than my kids were! It was a decent movie, but unless you're desperate to see it ASAP, I'd wait for the DVD. It is fun to see The Muppets in action again for those of us who grew up on them!

When Tony's oldest, Emily (age 13--and then some!), asked me to french braid her hair, I took it as a compliment. This girl takes her hair very seriously. I don't braid much (funny, my girls never ask me to do it), so it took me awhile, but I was pleased with the results. I assume since Emily didn't take it out, it passed her standards as well!