Thank you for all your wonderful birthday comments, texts, and emails yesterday – you made me feel the love and I felt all the virtual hugs on having my first birthday without Tony.  I saw on my Timehop that two years ago we went to Ruth’s Chris – I love Tony’s comment, this made me smile yesterday.

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I ran some errands at lunch.  Thanks to blog reader Bonnie B. who sent me a generous gift card after Tony passed away, I was able to get some new skillets – they are the green skillets and are non-stick.  I need to read up on how to take care of them, but I do like the fact that they can go straight from the top of the stove to the oven up to 600 degrees!  Note to self though, I did read in the instruction manual that you need to use an oven mitt when removing your green skillet from a 600 degree oven.  Huh – good to know!

I stopped at Noodles & Co. and got their Thais soup and 3 potstickers.  It all tasted like ass.  The broth of the soup had this weird aftertaste, and the potstickers were completely flat.  Kinda sucked because that meal cost $12.41!

PicMonkey Collage #1

I cut out of work 20 minutes early.  When I got home the kids wanted me to open their gift right away.   Remember the sign I saw in Key West that I wanted but didn’t come close to buying because of the $150 pricetag?


This is what they made me:

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The only thing they have to finish is the bike part.  I guess Jacob liked how it turned out, but Hannah didn’t so they will finish it over the weekend.  It was so thoughtful!   I ended up buying some new cutting boards for myself at Sur la Table too, got cards in the mail and my Aunt Martha sent me earrings that she bought in Key West. 

PicMonkey Collage #2

We went to Duke O’Brien’s in Crystal Lake.  Probably one of the most eclectic and extensive beer menu’s that would rival any Chicago bar.  I ended up getting the Brooklyn Lager and then a Pale Ale which I can’t remember – the second one was a bit too bitter for me, but the first one was good.  I ordered a burger with bacon and goat cheese and I love that they will cook it medium rare if you want it like that.  We also started out with tempura green beans – totally counts as a veggie, right?!

PicMonkey Collage - me and burger

We enjoyed live music too – a xylophone and base that played really interesting music!

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And later after we had gotten home and into comfy clothes, Hannah brought out a piece of sugar free Boston cream pie that our local diner sells – another tradition that Tony did for me that they kept alive.

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And I finished off the evening by watching American Idol – is anyone watching this season?  There are amazing performers this year, but so far Joey is the front runner for the girls and Clark for the boys.

SO TODAY IS THE ANNOUCEMENT FOR THE PIZZA CONTEST!  I submitted the recipe for my Cheezy Chicago Italian Beef pizza way back in October, learned I was a finalist the day after Tony died on December 3, and the winner will be announced on Facebook at noon PST.  Keep your fingers crossed for me – this Momma needs some new kitchen cabinets and $10,000 in my pocket would certainly help!

Make it a great day!