Monday stuff

Last week when I took Eric to get his cast off Dr. Heap said he won’t be able to play football for two more weeks. Of course Eric was disappointed to learn this because that meant that basically he was out for the rest of the season. It’s actually kind of sad, because Eric’s games – although the team didn’t do too well – were always fun to watch. Now Justin only has one game left – they lost on Saturday though they did play pretty well. Justin had one fabulous tackle – I can still picture how he wrapped his arms around the opposing team’s running back’s waist, with his little legs swinging through the air reminiscent of the “airplane rides” we used to give him as a toddler. Gotta love football.

Eric is now focusing his efforts on lacrosse, although the same 2-week rule applies. As of next Monday the 11th he will finally be able to play in full gear. He is able to run & practice his cradling, which seems to be going pretty well. He’s hoping to be a defender so he can, as he puts it, “hit the heck out of people like in football”. Well I guess he’s excited about it anyway.

Christmas shopping is almost done. I am not looking forward to waiting in line with the hordes of people at the USPS, but fortunately I only have a couple of packages to send out. Still trying to figure out what to get Justin, whose wish list so far has included a PSP (just got a DS last year), a Playstation 3 (mega-expensive and impossible to find) and a sling shot (um… no.). I know he’ll love whatever we get him, I just wish he could come up with something more attainable!

I’m getting excited about our trip to Italy in March – only 3-1/2 months away! It’s my goal to do a travel log so I can share our experiences with all of you (and photos too). Wow hotel rooms aren’t cheap but we might be able to stay in a convent (yes, you heard me) for considerably less, which I’ve been told is “like staying at grandma’s”. Well I guess if your grandma is an Italian-only-speaking Nun. I did learn however that Venice is a 6-1/2 hour drive away from Rome so now I’m thinking that our time might be better spent in other parts of the Italian countryside.

We had Jim & Kathy over for chili last night – here’s my favorite stovetop recipe for it (I also have a slow cooker recipe that’s good):

Jen’s Bunkhouse Chili (adapted recipe)
Makes 6 to 8 servings (about 8 cups)

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (16 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) beer
1 cup Barbecue Sauce
2 – 3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 to 17 ounces each) light red kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 to 17 ounces each) dark red kidney beans, drained
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream

In Dutch oven or large saucepot, brown beef. Add green pepper, onion, celery and garlic; saute until tender-crisp. Stir in tomatoes, beer, barbecue sauce, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover; simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with cheese and sour cream.

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