Category Archives: Random

December 24


 How cute are my boys in their matching Christmas Eve jammies…DSC_0011


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Meet Miss Holly

The time has come and there she was listed in the paper for mom to find her.  Meet Holly!  Mom’s new black and tan miniature dachshund puppy.  She was nine weeks old and weighed a little less than three pounds.  So sweet and tiny.

12.25.2012 439 12.25.2012 440

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My Date With Curtis Stone

In 2005, I was 29 weeks pregnant with Davy and all of a sudden one day I just wasn’t feeling so good. About half way through the day I ran into my very good friend Debbie and at the time colleague (which being an outside sales rep was completely random) and I asked her about the horrible stomach pains I was having in which she replies, “That’s not normal at all! You should go straight to your OB and call them while you are on your way.”  I am so thankful for her that day because I was in the process of going into premature labor and was having contractions.  I probably wouldn’t have called or gone in when I did, I mean after all when you are pregnant all kinds of crazy things are going on (and it was my first baby) so I never expected this at week 29. I had a positive FFN test, meaning that there was a 60% chance that I would go into full preterm labor within 48 hours to 2 weeks.  Needless to say, I was placed on strict bed rest for the next five weeks. I moved from the bed to the couch and then back to the bed. I watched a lot of movies and TV, two shows in particular “A Baby Story” and “Take Home Chef”.  I loved this show, watched it whenever I could, and dreamed of having Curtis Stone come to our house to cook dinner. I even made poor Andy watch this show. Anyone who knows me knows that I love cooking, food shows, and Curtis Stone.

About a month ago, I received an email from the Rolling Pin,, saying that he was coming to Florida, making this his only stop, launching his new cookware line, and doing a cookbook signing. I immediately called mom to see if she wanted to go with me and of course she did, so I went on-line and booked our tickets. This 50 person event sold out in less than an hour and a half. Squealing with delight I called Andy while he was at bible study (something that I never do), I tell him about the two tickets and he says, “Awesome! When are we going?…”. The crickets started chirping and after about 10 seconds or so I say, “Well…you aren’t, I asked my mom.”  I could tell he was disappointed, but happy for her and I.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been talking about how I can’t wait for my date with Curtis, mind you it doesn’t bother me at all that there will be 49 other people there (including my mother).  This is the closest I’ll ever get to it!!…

Earlier in the week Andy says, “Wait a second… Isn’t he in your top five?”  Now we don’t really have a top five, nor could I even come up with five people, but it’s still funny. He says, “But I don’t look anything like him.”  In which I reply, “Yeah so, and I don’t look anything like Ivanka Trump. What’s your point?”

Mom and I met for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and around 12:30 made our way over to the Rolling Pin.  Surprisingly to me, the place was very calm.  They really did a great job getting prepared for this.  We were checked in at the door and the place settings were assigned based on when you ordered your tickets.  Ha!  We were at the kitchen bar, directly in front of him!!!  We were so happy.



He originally intended on doing around a 10 minute cooking demonstration, but it turned out to be more like 30.  He made a shrimp stir-fry demonstrating his new cookware.  The cookware line idea came up after he was done with the TV show “Take Home Chef”, and he says the thing that most anyone will tell you is that they wish cooking equipment was more user-friendly.  For example, the mixing bowls in the picture above have a handle: easy to mix, even easier to pour.  I completely agree with that!  My own personal experience of a large mixing bowl filled with pound cake batter and then trying to lift, tip, and pour or scrape it out is really hard (I bought these bowls!!!Yay).  I’m gonna share the rest in interview format…I think that it will be easier.  Some of the pictures are blurry and the lighting wasn’t the best…but I don’t care!  We had fun and I love him!

How did you decide that cooking was going to be your thing?  Most people are either a cooker or a baker, and well my mother was a baker.  She really was a terrible cook.  My best friend however was Italian and I used to eat at his house all the time.  I loved the food and also, I love to eat!

Tell us about your cooking journey.  I started off in a Culinary school in Australia, where I’m from.  From there I went to Melbourne and worked for the Savoy Hotel, they had a 3 year program.  Next, I went to Europe and worked for a guy named Marco Pierre White.  We worked together for about 8 years.  After that I returned to Australia and hosted a few cooking shows like Surfing the Menu.  Shortly after that I got a call from the Discovery Channel wanting me to come to the states and do a show called Take Home Chef and I’ve been here ever since and live in LA.

Tell me a little more about how Take Home Chef came about.  Well, like I said Discovery Channel called and pitched the idea to me.  They said you are young, good-looking, and can cook…here’s what we’d like to do.  My response was, “Ok, so if I am understanding you right you only want to target young attractive-looking women because they are the target demographic, I’m supposed to just walk up to them in a supermarket and ask if I can go home with them, and then cook this beautiful girl dinner for her and her mate?”  They said, “Yep, that sounds about right.”  I called my dad to run it by him and he says, “What?  Are you an idiot?  You are going to go home with these women and cook?  Don’t you know that over in the states those people have a lot of guns!”  We taped a lot of shows, but never made it to Florida.  I wish you had of… 🙂

In all of your traveling, is there one thing that Americans do that is the same?  No, it’s all different that’s why it’s called the United States.  Every state and everyone is different from cultures to family values.  And the food is different here, I had never heard of meatloaf before.  Someone was trying to explain it to me and I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around the idea of a loaf of all meat.

Of all the places that you have traveled, where is your favorite?  Most memorable?  It would have to be Thailand.  Cat Cora and I were there and we had a little extra time so we went to an elephant refuge.  We got to help with elephants and that was a really neat experience.  I also like Buenos Aires.

Of the latest food trends that are out, what is your favorite and what is your least favorite?  My most favorite would have to be Mexican food.  You see it all the time now, it’s everywhere, but we didn’t have it in Australia so it was completely new to me and I just love latin cuisine.  I would have to say my least favorite is molecular cooking.  The best way I can describe it is, you know how you go to a fashion show and there are some really outrageous outfits that come down the runway and nobody could actually wear them day-to-day, that’s how I think of this.  It keeps it entertaining and has to be done and I do go to places like Fat Duck and try the food…it’s just not my thing.  Food should be about love and the people you love.

What is your favorite comfort food?  Ohhh, it would have to be a roast.  It doesn’t even matter if it is chicken, lamb, or pork, just walking into a home and it smells of chicken, garlic, and onions…that’s comfort food to me.

About this time, they wrapped him up and set up for the cookbook signing.  A few of things that we picked up were the mixing bowl set, a woket (he says it is a cross between a wok and a skillet), and what he calls a bump and grind (a mortar and pestle) which I had signed as well.  One of the neatest products that he is launching is bakeware where the bottom is made of silicone so that you can pop out your food versus scraping, lifting, and shaking.  They were handing out individual baking cups just for showing up today…so fun!  We had a great time, were photographed by Creative Loafing, and I still want him to come home with me to cook….  🙂



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A Summer Evening Party

I finally locked in a date with Rochelle and Melissa to host a joint 31 and NYR party.  The invitations went out, the menu was set, and the RSVP’s started coming in.  We were very excited.  Little did I know that Tropical Storm Debbie was inviting herself too.  We decided not to cancel and through the tornado warnings, power outages, the crazy amounts of flooding, terrible rains and winds 11 of my beautiful friends still came on over.  We drank Champagne while Melissa gave us facials, browsed through the 31 catalog, and just had a wonderful evening spending time together.  The big food hit of the evening was the Cookie Dough Dip, be on the lookout for recipe to follow….

Melissa setting up for facials!

Cookie Dough Dip w Chocolate Graham Crackers

Catie getting a hand scrub…

Rochelle, Amanda, and Karen

Erica and Jenn

Johanna looking at the 31 catalog

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Davy Rides His Bike!!!

After months and months of trying to help Davy learn to ride his bike, and what seemed like every different type of method under the sun….Andy finally found the solution and within 45 minutes he was up and running and the rest is history.  So now you are asking yourself what finally worked???, well a YouTube video Learn to ride a bike in 5 simple steps.  They watched it a few times and then he was ready.  In fact the whole thing happened so quickly that I missed the first time he went gliding and pedaling down the driveway. 

Here are the steps:

1. Take off pedals

2. Walk around while on the bike

3. Glide using a slight down hill

4. Put pedals back on

5. Glide and pedal…ride the bike!

He was so excited and we are so proud of him.

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My New Job

Well, after seven and a half years I have decided to hang up the sample bag and stay home.  My new job is “CEO of the Zahn house!”  This is such a big moment in our life that it must be documented on our family blog!  So many people have asked, “what happened?” or “why” and really the answer is…it was just time.  Although this position was considered part-time, it really wasn’t and it just seemed as if it was taking up more and more time, and becoming more and more stressful.  So, last Thursday after I received an email and a text requesting yet another meeting, we decided enough was enough.   My favorite boss was promoted and he moved on, summer bonuses were just deposited, and in less than 24 hours Davy was getting out of school for the summer.  Timing was perfect!

The two biggest changes were having to get a car and health insurance.  So my beautiful husband traded in his truck and we get two new Camry’s.  Mom and Brian both have one as well…we could be the Camry family and do a commercial!  I know it is a step down for him, but it is a step up for me.  My company car was small!  Andy signed us up on his companies health insurance plan and we were all set.  Now, I am just waiting for people to come and pick a few things up.  All done, just like that!


So what does that mean for all of you faithful followers, more blog posts!  Mostly, I’ll be playing catch up for things that have already passed and have had no time to post, but there will be new things too:  recipes, summer adventures, and crafts!


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Blueberry Picking For Muffins

I have decided that for Easter we need  blueberry muffins.  It is officially blueberry picking season, so I load the boys up in the truck and take them over to Blue Youth Berry Farms.  The berries are huge this year and I know that I had better pick a lot because Andy will be all in the bag trying to eat them once I bring them home :)…

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Little Matty Bear Breaks His Arm

It is the end of the evening for the Carother’s family going away party and Andy comes out the front door with little Matty bear laying in his arms and he says to me, “He hurt himself.”  He sat him on my lap for a few minutes and Matty didn’t even move, he just held onto his arm and it hurt.  He couldn’t tell us where it hurt, just that it hurt all over and if you tried to move his arm he would begin to violently shake.  Deep down, we both knew that he broke it.  So, we told all our neighbors that we needed to go and they quickly helped us pack everything up.  Jenni and David were here and we laid Matty down on Papa’s lap while we got ready to go and he fell asleep.  We found this really strange because it wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet.

We decided to take him to Pediatric Afterhours over in Palm Harbor.  Even though they weren’t crowded, we still ended up being there a couple of hours.  They x-rayed his arm a half-dozen different ways, but they couldn’t find the break.  They even x-rayed Bruce.  The only indication that it was broken, was that the fat pads around the elbow were inflamed.  This told us where the injury was, just not how bad it was.  Now we also understood why Matty couldn’t tell us exactly where it hurt.  He would point above his elbow, below his elbow, and in general all around the middle of his arm.  They splinted him up and sent us on our way.  Matty slept with us that night and every night for the next week. 😦

The next morning I called into Pediatric Orthopedics affiliated with All Children’s and St. Joes, and lucky for us they were able to squeeze us in at the Tampa location right before lunch.  At the appointment, they removed the splint and took him for another x-ray.  This time they only needed to do one.  There it was, right through the elbow.  You can see it in the middle of the x-ray, it looks like a gray shaded upside down hockey stick.  The fat pads are also still visible.

Off we went into the casting room.  Of course we paid for the waterproof one.  Matty picked green as his color.  No surprise there.  He didn’t cry when they wrapped him up, you could tell though that he was uncomfortable with them touching it.

Matty smiling because they are all done.

That night we are at home and Emma is wanting to play.  The doctor told Matty no playgrounds, parks, running, sandbox, beach, etc.  He got upset and cried.  Well, when he cries he always covers his face with his hands and the cast scraped the skin right off.  Bad day for our little buddy.

Three weeks pass by and we head back in for our follow-up.  Although Matty never complained about his cast, he was a really good sport about it, you can’t fake the happiness that he showed when the man was cutting it off.  They took another x-ray and gave us the all clear to go thumbs up!  The doctor told us to expect him to be stiff and sore for at least a week, but that we should just give him Tylenol for the pain and it would work itself out.  He has to wait a week before he can play on the playground….but that doesn’t mean we can’t go to the beach!

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Little Matty Gets Tubes

After many months of debating whether or not to get tubes in Matty’s ears, we finally decided it was time.  One to many infections and one to many antibiotics….  So at 6:40 am we pulled into University Community Hospital’s One Day Surgery Center so we could help Matty get better.  Andy had to take Davy to school, so he didn’t arrive until right after Matty went in.  Here is Matty sitting in triage wearing his little hospital gown with Tigers on it.

We didn’t have to wait to long, only about 30 minutes, and then Dr. Patel comes out into the waiting room to get us.  He said that he also removed his adenoids; they were very inflamed which was also preventing the ears from draining and the antibiotic from penetrating the infections in the ear.  He has really high hopes that things are going to improve greatly.

There was a chair directly next to his bed and we both thought that it would be best if Andy was sitting there when Matty woke up so he would be the first thing that Matty saw, afterall…Andy is his favorite.  When Matty finally woke, he looked around, saw Andy and scowled.  Although he never cried, he was outright mad at him.  So mad it was funny to us because Andy didn’t do anything at all and I was the one who brought him here.  He looked at him, looked at me, and then threw his arms out and said, “MAMA!”  So sweet.

We stayed about an hour after he woke up, and then we headed for home.  I stopped to get him his pain medicine…but couldn’t wait to get him in bed with me to snuggle up.  I hope you feel better soon little Matty Bear!!!….




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Davy Loses His First Tooth

For months now Davy has had three wiggly teeth and we have been patiently waiting for one of his teeth to fall out.  One by one his friends were losing their teeth and we just knew that it was going to be his turn some time this summer.  We even went out and bought a plastic tooth that opens up and on one side it holds his lost tooth and on the other side it holds the money that the Tooth Fairy leaves behind.

On Wednesday morning, after I dropped Davy off at summer camp, I receive a phone call from one of the Kindergarten teachers at the camp.  Now, it is never a good feeling when your phone rings and you look down only to see that it is the school calling.  She immediately starts off by saying, “Davy is fine!  But I wanted to call you and let you know that Davy had an accident on the playground.  He was on the monkey bars, he fell off, and lost one of his front bottom teeth.  I took him to the school nurse and she looked in his mouth.  We think that the tooth that he lost was probably already loose and she pulled on the tooth next to it and it also is really loose, so we suspect that it will also fall out pretty quickly.  But don’t worry his mouth is fine.”

Since I already knew that these two bottom teeth were super wiggly, I wasn’t really concerned.  In fact, his adult teeth have already started coming in behind his baby teeth and we knew that they were being pushed out.  What I was concerned about was the lost tooth!  I asked her if they found the tooth and she said “No, but we did look for it and that they just couldn’t find it in the mulch”.  Oh, No!!!  She said that he cried a little bit and explained that this happens all the time and that children just have to write the Tooth Fairy a letter, she understands.  My heart was so broken for him.

Soooo, today I parked my car and went in to pick him up versus waiting in the car line and he was so excited when he saw me that all my fears went away.  He actually loved the idea of writing the Tooth Fairy a letter….so that is what we did.  We also took a picture of Davy and his big smile with the missing tooth, printed it, and left it on the bunk bed so she had proof of his lost tooth.


The Tooth Fairy came to visit Davy and brought him $5.00….  He was so happy!

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