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Celebrating in the Rain

You know what the best thing is about getting into the office on a Monday morning?

When that Monday is really a Tuesday. But you still need coffee!!

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What a fabulous long weekend. Aren’t Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends just fantastic? I never take a Monday off unless it’s a holiday… but now I’m re-thinking that because no work on Monday is plain awesomeness!

Our fun weekend shenanigans began on Thursday though with a dinner out with my family. We checked out a restaurant my brothers had never been to and got there early enough to snag a great table by the window (too sunny for pictures but great for viewing). I was dying for broasted chicken which came with a delicious salad. nom nom

009 010On the way home it began to rain. This is quite common around Memorial Day weekend. One of the suburbs of Green Bay has all kinds of concerts and festivities throughout the weekend and the joke is that it always rains and turns the festival grounds into a muddy pit.

014 015Saturday morning I got going fairly early because I wanted to get in a 4mile walk before it got too hot out. Last week I walked 3 miles and thought I was going to fall over, so I got up earlier and it worked out pretty well. I’m breaking in my new shoes but I’m still battling really wet feet. I usually put baby powder in my socks before a long walk, which helps, but doesn’t completely solve the issue with hot points on the balls of my feet, so still working on that issue. There was more rain Saturday evening so we stuck inside.

On Sunday our day was jam-packed. We were celebrating my dad’s birthday and I volunteered to tackle the cake baking. A couple years ago Dad requested a lemon cake – which turned into a dismal failure – so I decided to try making one myself. I ended up combining two different recipes to make a lemon cake with raspberry filling topped with a lemon meringue frosting.

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I’ve always loved how silly my family is. <3 Here’s dad – ice cream scoop in one had and cake cutter in the other!

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The cake turned out really, really well. I’m not sure I personally am a big meringue frosting fan (plus, it was a pain to cook) but Ben really loved it because it wasn’t as sweet as other frostings. The raspberry definitely made the cake! Delicious and bursting with intense lemon flavor. Mmm-mmm

We had a delicious dinner of Texas taco bake and followed it up with Cranium. I also inhaled mom’s flowers – lilacs and lily of the valley are soooo beautiful and smell insane. I want both at our house!

032 033 031 030It rained most of Sunday so we skipped the evening fireworks. Monday morning we went down in the drizzle to watch the parade. Alex just put in his notice and is starting a new job soon, so this was his last parade. Too bad because it’s nice having someone on the inside to chuck the good candy towards me. :)

038 039Happy Memorial Day!

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And what parade would be complete without a random photo of the ground… and my foot?
042It drizzled through most of the parade but there was never enough rain that it was worrisome. We left the parade to tackle some Memorial Day sales at the furniture store. It’s time we removed Ben’s falling apart furniture from the basement!

It felt like we were constantly on the move all weekend and yet there’s a pile of dirty clothes begging to be washed and a very dirty kitchen that still needs cleaning. I guess that’s my job for tonight!

A Quick Skip to Milwaukee

Happy Friday!

I’m not sure exactly where this week went but I’ve done a poor job of blogging, that’s for sure! I definitely wanted to give you a recap of our Milwaukee adventures because it was a great trip.

Usually around April/May of each year Ben and I take a day off of work and go to Madison to putz around. We get a fun hotel room somewhere, do some light shopping, and enjoy the Spring bustle of activity. This year I found a Living Social deal (like a Groupon) for a fancy room near Milwaukee. It was a great deal for a room that had all kinds of crazy things: big hot tub, steam room, massage chair. It actually sounded pretty perfect. Ben’s back hasn’t been good and I thought the massage chair and hot tub jets might be good for him. Meanwhile my skin is terribly dry and I was excited to try the steam room!

Our coupon was good for a Sun-Thurs night stay so we pre-packed the night before and dashed off as soon as we got home from work on Thursday. After an overcast but uneventful drive, we arrived. Check out this room:

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Mirrors everywhere and yes, that is some sort of mirror thing above the bed. Okay, a little weird. lol Actually a lot weird. The whole mirror above the bed thing isn’t exactly how I want to sleep but you could flip a light and the mirror had all these stars light up on it, so it actually looked like you were outside, which ended up being kind of cool.

But, honestly I was most excited about this:

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14 beautifully delectable chocolate-covered strawberries. Gimme, Gimme!

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I’m all about the chocolate, baby!

We dropped our bags off in the room and then drove around in search of dinner. I did a quick GPS search and found a restaurant with plenty of menu options that would appeal to both me and Ben.

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As I expected, Ben was all over their chicken mac & cheese. He’s the only adult I know who will eat macaroni and cheese when fine dining. :)

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With the reminder of my choco-berries waiting for my return, I chose a low carb option and went with their chicken fajitas and skipped the rice, beans, and tortillas.

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It was delicious and there was a TON of food so I ended up not wasting all the tortillas by making Ben a fajita too. It started down pouring just as we were leaving the restaurant so we dashed back into the car and drove back to the room. Ironically my best bud called and we sat and talked for almost two hours! I was pretty tired but it was great to catch up.

A couple funny stories:

– I decided to try the steam room and went to turn on the steam… which ended up being actual water faucets. I was immediately drenched (and fully dressed). Whoops

– At 2am we heard a car alarm go off. The parking lots are sectioned off so the car could only have been ours or the neighbor next door. With a 50/50 chance it was ours, I hastily dressed and dashed out in the pouring rain. Wasn’t our car. Try getting back to sleep after an adrenaline rush like that and my now-creepy starry mirror sky overhead. Then I began hearing a tap-tap-tap noise… over and over and OVER. So I peeked out of the room again, called out a timid “hello” and the girl in the room next door appeared. Keep in mind that these room suites have them own outside door access so this wasn’t an inside hallway. Evidently she locked herself out of her room and her mother wasn’t answering the door. Mother? In one of these suite rooms? Okay. I let her use my phone.

So the quality of overnight sleep that night wasn’t great. Plus every time our dear neighbor and her “mother” were smoking, we could smell it in our room. I was tired the next morning and we got off to a late start.

After all the interruptions from our annoying neighbors, I noticed something that would have remedied ALL of that hour+ of door banging. So we decided to use it and then jump in the car and dash off.

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Yes, that is a doorbell. Yes, Mom and daughter pre-printed a do-not-disturb sign on their door. Yes, we are rebels and rang their bell at 9:15am.

Leaving all that behind, we ventured in search of an epic breakfast. I directed Ben to a cute little breakfast nook with a gigantic menu of every breakfast combination imaginable.

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I thought the ceiling here was so much fun!

We gave thumbs up on the coffee, which has the power to make or break a breakfast experience and put in our orders. Ben got a banana pecan waffle with two scrambled eggs. I have been trying to watch carbs overall, with only a certain number for breakfast and then less for lunch and dinner. So I was excited about a single slice of French toast with eggs and enough meat to split with Ben. I left happily stuffed!

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We had two stops planned for the day. I went to a local running store to get a new pair of running shoes. I love it when the owner who fits you is a runner because I feel like they know more about fit and support. This guy has been running for more than 30 years and actually qualified for the Olympic trials back in the 80s! He’s done full marathons in under 2:10. It was amazing talking to him. His walls on his store have ledges that were piled full of trophies, plaques, and medals. Amazing!

I wanted to go to a shoe store in Milwaukee because I have both large and wide feet and it’s hard to find much of a selection locally. Unfortunately, there was NO selection there (boo!!!) and he ended up fitting me in a very comfortable and VERY manly-looking pair of blue and silver Saucony shoes.

347206_366_45Double-boo. I was hoping for something to replace my old Asics that I could buy several more pairs of online… Oh well.
(Ben says I need to suck it up and get over wearing the guy shoes.)

After the shoe purchase, we dropped more $$$ at Trader Joe’s. I had printed out the list of “Most Popular Items at Trader Joes” so we could see if there was anything fun we wanted to try. Our cart was loaded with organic canned beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc…), frozen mac & cheese for Ben, triple ginger cookies, liquid stevia (so cheap here!!), more beer for Ben, almond butter, coconut oil spray, pasta sauce, a couple funky marinades… I must be forgetting a bunch of stuff because our cart was overflowing and my wallet was a LOT lighter when we left, but it was so much fun. I really wish we had a place like this closer!

We popped the cold stuff into the cooler and then started the drive back home. It’s funny how just one day feels so good. It’s a nice break from the norm but you still get home with plenty of time for all the usual to-dos. It was just the thing we needed. Now we have a pantry bursting with interesting new things and I need to do some organizing bigtime!

We’re definitely looking forward to the long holiday weekend. It’s shaping up to be decent weather so I’m going to make the most of it!

Have a FABULOUS weekend!!

Races, Flowers, and a lotta Ice!

Whoa, what a weekend! We jam-packed a bunch of stuff into a fun-filled long weekend. It was one of those weekends where we struck a perfect chord with R&R, exercise, and work. When it’s going so well, it makes a Monday back at work that much harder!

Ben got home a little early Thursday night and we ventured out for a one-night vacation. I’ll give you a subtle hint as to the city:

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This will probably need it’s own blog post, so I’ll skip past Thurs/Friday and get to Saturday.

It’s Spring and the weather is nice so I’m back trying out the run/walk thing once more. I’ve noticed my shin splints are crazy/awful and I just am not able to get in any kind of jogging (even 30 seconds) without a lot of pain. I’ve been hobbling around the neighborhood hoping a little time will help and then I purchased some compression sleeves to see how that would feel.

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I’ve read a lot of good things about compression sleeves. I’ve now worn then immediately after a walk and during a walk. That makes me a pro and able to share my expert knowledge with you (ha!).

Fit is crucial. I have very, very wide calves which means I’m in Men’s sizes… however men are generally taller than women so the length of the sleeve is a bit long on me. While this is fine when I’m tottering around the house, it rubs up in the back of my knee when I walk. Plus, it’s pretty warm wearing it under pants. I think it’s too early to know if it’s making much of a difference but it can’t hurt so I’ll keep using them.

What I decided to do was ditch the running altogether and just work on walking. When I run/walk, I burn out quickly and my walks are short (20-30min), so I’d like to focus more on a decent walking pace and slowly increase duration each week. Saturday I was scheduled for a 3 mile walk and after a quick look outside (looked overcast and a perfect 56 degrees), I took off! About 10 minutes in I was in full sunshine and realized it was really humid out. I was dying, lol.

Still, I finished the 3 miles in impressively slow time (49min) and proceeded to drink half my weight in water. Mission accomplished. :)

I spent Saturday afternoon enjoying the sunshine, reading books on the front porch, and breathing as deeply as I could all the fragrant scents from my trees.

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We’ve established I’m seriously crazy about crab apples, right?

That night we were invited over to an arcade party with a bunch of friends. It was a smorgasbord of food and I ate way, way too much. It was so good!

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We didn’t stay too late though because we needed to be up early to cheer Alex in the Green Bay Half marathon. Alarms went off at 6:30am and we raced to be on the road by 6:45. After hectic map research and careful navigation around the blocked-off roads, we were situated and ready to cheer at 7:02. It was a little windy and still felt a bit humid but there was a nice stretch winding through older neighborhoods with plenty of tree cover.

061And then they would turn by us into a little more sun…

060We were waiting a little past mile 2 and I was expecting the elite runners around 7:12 and Alex around 7:16. At 7:20 we called my Dad because we hadn’t seen ANYONE.

Hello runners, where are you?

Turns out the FULL marathon started at 7 and the Half started at 8am (queue the face smack). D’oh! First year they had them separated. That meant time to go fill up on gasoline and get some coffees.

an hour later, right on track

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I didn’t get any pictures of Alex. This time I just focused on finding him, getting high-5’s, and cheering loudly. My camera phone doesn’t do well with action shots. We found some great places for cheering and weaved in and out to hit him in as many spots as we could.

We do not obey signs :p

064Alex did great, as usual, and was only a bit off his PR. He’s beginning to realize the more races under his belt the harder it’s going to be to PR each time!! But he finished with a 7:23 pace time (compare that to my 16:30 pace during my 3 mile walk – oh boy). #rockstar

We left the race and went to get some breakfast and plan our grocery list. I went with a veggie omelet and whole wheat toast:

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After we got home I began having a lot of knee pain, which is unusual for me. That meant elevation and an ice pack!

057Ben was sweet enough to sit with me and keep me company.

071My knee is feeling good today, so hopefully it was a fluke.

I had planned to work on the garden, but it looked ominous so I kept putting it off… finally, when we decided it wasn’t going to rain after all, we began grilling outside (and of course, the rain started). I grabbed my flip flops and Ben and I hauled the hot grill around the house and in front of the garage. Crisis averted! Rain time grill’in and more wet tree pics.

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A delicious dinner of bratwurst and grilled veggies:

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It was a great weekend. I definitely owe you an update on our mini trip though. Lots of good stories to share! Hope you had an equally amazing weekend!!

My Thirst for Crab Apple Trees

minion thursday …and Fridays are the best day of the week! :)

It’s been B.A.U. around here but that’s fine with me. After last week’s amazing weather, this week has been much colder with frost each of the last two nights! Yesterday I was out walking and when I left the house it felt pretty good outside but by the short time later when I got home, it felt freezing. Brrr

We’re in the middle of my favorite week of the entire year. The crab apple trees are so lovely, fragrant, and glorious. If only (ONLY) we could get the blooms to last longer!!! It’s such a fleeting treat and with these colder/windy/dreary days, I’m not maximizing my “sit outside and sniff” time. So, I’m just grabbing pictures every where I go.

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Plus plenty of ominous looking weather and gorgeous sunsets…

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This weekend and beyond looks to be “safe” for frost, so I’m going to weed the rest of the garden and then get planting my zucchini and yellow squash. I still haven’t decided if I want to try green beans again but we have one 4×4′ plot that will get something fun planted in it. I just need to decide what.

I’ve mentioned one of our projects this year was to replace the faded shutters on the front of the house. Ben successfully switched two on the first level but we’re a bit puzzled about how to remove the ones on the second floor… Luckily the heavy winds helped us out:

002Ironic? Kind of scary too. Those shutters have been on there (sturdily) for 20 years! I was sitting in front of the computer and heard a repeated clanking but didn’t think too much about it until I pulled out of the driveway the following morning. Well, I guess that’s one we don’t have to remove on our own!

We have a jam-packed weekend planned. We’re heading to Milwaukee for a day trip tomorrow and will be home in time for our standing Friday get-together with friends. Sat night we’ll be at another friend’s house, and Sunday morning we’re cheering Alex on in the Green Bay Half Marathon! Should be a lot of fun things and good memories.

Hoping your weekend cruises to a lovely conclusion…

The First Blooms

Here we are, garden pictures at long last!

This is the first year where I have not clipped garlic steaks to my flowers, or sprinkled blood meal, or sprayed nasty-smelling urine mist all over my flowers… and so far, they’ve remained un-chewed. There are definitely two rabbits prancing around the yard but so far (knock on wood) they stay away from my flowers!!

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These rabbits aren’t interested in the usual carrots or leaf lettuce so I think we are going to try apples next and see how that goes. Where there are two rabbits, there are 20. Need to help curb that now!

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Meanwhile I’m SO enjoying my blossoming buds without them smelling like pee or looking like they are covered in red sawdust. Simple pleasures. ;)

IMG_0798 IMG_0794 IMG_0792 IMG_0787Want to hear something fun? Here’s a flower that just started to bloom and it’s NEVER bloomed the past two years I’ve been in the house!

IMG_0790Yay daffodil!!! I didn’t think rabbits chewed those but actually, the soil is so tough and the flower bed is just jam-packed that I wonder if some flowers don’t bloom because of that. Heck, my two bleeding hearts are taking over everything (even some tulips!!!)

IMG_0788 IMG_0789 IMG_0796I had a tiny purple flower (another surprise/new blossom) but it died within the day so I didn’t get a picture. I see all kinds of stuff popping up and I’m wondering why I’ve never seen some of these blooms before. It’s really bizarre!

We’re still toying with the idea of removing shrubs and extending that flower bed. I’d love to give the flowers more space and also to be able to see them from the road without the large shrubs blocking them from view.

On the home front – Ben’s getting an MRI tomorrow. He’s been battling back pain for the past couple months and stopped going to the gym to see if that would help (It didn’t). He’s been doing chiropractic 2x/week which temporarily helps but lately I’ve been tying his shoes in the morning because it hurts him too much to bend over. Poor guy. We’re hoping we can find the problem and then find a good way of addressing it. Back pain is the worst.

The buds on the crabapple trees are starting to open up. This might be my favorite week of the year. The air is already fragrant and I just can’t get enough!!! Now we just need a couple days of warmer weather and sunshine for me to sit out and enjoy it!!!

Have a great Tuesday! Take time to stop and smell the tulips. ;)

A Happy Day for all the Mothers

Hello on the evening of what’s turned out to be a cold and windy Mother’s Day! Although we have a day dedicated to thinking about and honoring our mothers, I think I speak for us all on the year-round impact mom’s have on all of us. I’ve been fortunate enough to know many wonderful moms. I fondly remember the retired lady that lived across the street from us growing up. She had never had children but she possessed a tenderness, compassion, and love that, in my young years, I attributed to motherly affection. She also made the best lemonade icebox cookies. :)

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To all those that bandage our knees, amuse us on rainy days, lend wisdom and encouragement, and clean up our messes… Happy Mother’s Day to you

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And especially to my own mom. <3 you!

Cinco de Horseo

How was your Cinco de Mayo? Did you celebrate with a plate of sizzling fajitas, don a sassy sombrero, or blare Mexican cabana music on your car radio?

Or maybe, you just wore a horse head and called things “Cinco de Horseo”

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Cause that’s how we roll.

Actually Ben’s office had a Cinco de Mayo event asking people to wear hats. Ben didn’t have a sombrero or anything looking even remotely Mexican, so he slapped his Mexican vacation hat on top of his horse head. Boom. Done.

We decided to go out for Mexican and drove to the small place a couple miles from home. It was PACKED so we went back to the new Mexican restaurant instead. Every time we’ve been there it’s been pretty dead. I don’t know if it’s location or what but the menu is crazy big (love that), the prices are good, and I’m hoping they don’t go out of business like the other 5 restaurants before them.

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There is something so fun about Mexican restaurants though. I love the flare, décor, and music!!

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Ben just loves the $5 jumbo margaritas! Too many carbs for this lady – water for me.

028My dinner was delicious. I got the grilled chicken breasts topped with grilled veggies. Delightful! No rice, beans, or tortillas and it was a diet dream. (Plus food you don’t have to make yourself ALWAYS tastes better)

029We had another guy swing by to give us as estimate for some landscaping curbing in the front of our house. They want us to go around the entire house but I think that’s going to be way more $$$ than we want to spend. Plus, who sees the backyard anyway besides us? I’d rather spend the money elsewhere and just spruce up the front yard, so we’ll see what his estimate comes back with. Hopefully I get it soon so we can make a decision!

How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Any fancy eats??

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