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After the Olympics

Good morning everyone. I hope your week is off to a tremendous start! I have been engrossed in the Olympics and now that they are over I feel like I am catching up on all the things I neglected so that I could literally come home, make dinner, prep next-day lunch, and then sit on the couch and veg all evening. Not bad, at all, but highly unproductive!

The Olympic coverage was terrible. I don’t know if it’s always been that way and I just noticed it this time around? It seemed like half of gymnastics was always on so late that I couldn’t stay up to watch it. I wanted to see Mo Farah in the 10,000m and was glued to the screen waiting for the excitement of the moves only have them cut to commercial. Once the coverage resumed, Mo was at the front of the pack. They missed the entire breakaway! Same thing happened watching the marathon. One minute Galen Rupp was tight with the other two lead runners – commercial break – he’s 8 seconds behind. What happened!!?? Argh, so frustrating. I heard a lot of people say NBC was trying to appeal to women and their desire to learn more about the athlete’s stories then see the actual events. Huh? That confuses me.

But I got in a really decent amount of viewing time. Maybe too much.šŸ™‚ I watched Usain Bolt get his three gold medals, I watched way too much swimming (it seemed like it never ended and I actually was yearning for track and field towards the end of those events), I hit the women’s relay, 100m, 400m and 1500m. I watched hurdles, diving, rowing, shot-put, high jump, and the teensy bit of the decathlon that they aired. I saw a meager amount of rhythmic gymnastics, 5 minutes of volleyball, and overall did a good job finding the sports I was interested in and avoiding the ones that weren’t my cup o tea.

We finally found some relief from the heat and humidity and the weekend weather brought much needed rain to our brown and crispy lawn. We’re the only people on the block actively watering our lawn and we also have the most brown lawn of anyone on the block. I am not sure how that happened.

I have been taking Fridays off this month because I need the mental break from work and also because I have way too much PTO and need to burn some. I went down to Wausau to meet my friend Jeff and catch up. It was rainy in the morning but cleared up and was a pretty day.

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We found a really amazing new restaurant that used local food ingredients. It was eclectic and had a fun industrial vibe too it. It’s fun to find restaurants that aren’t the typical chains because you get such a different dining experience.

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Jeff selected fish tacos with crispy fried avocado on top. Unless I’m starving on an island with nothing but a fishing rod, I don’t see myself becoming a fish eater but I did snag a piece of his avocado. It was absolutely amazing! I’m laughing a little as I write this because it wasn’t so long ago that I wouldn’t be caught dead eating nasty avocado and now I love it. Then again, avocado doesn’t smell like fish. Ha Ha

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I chose a crispy “clucker” salad with local chicken with some baby kale and homemade wonton pieces. The chicken was a bit drier than I would have liked but overall the salad was really good.

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No Wausau get-together would be complete without a trip to Starbucks. I tried their new iced coconut milk mocha macchiato. It wasn’t my favorite thing. I probably wouldn’t get it again. Starbucks doesn’t like to mix their drinks so you spend a lot of time stirring it around and still end up with a super sweet first sip and a barely sweet final sip.

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I’ve been pretty nervous this week because I have a really important all-day meeting today at work. I’m not sleeping the greatest because I’m nervous about how it will go. Fingers crossed! I also had another round of tests with the Dr. It’s such a long and expensive process to figure out what’s wrong. In the meantime I’ve been upping certain vitamins and looking into some other possible remedies.

Time to get going. Did any of you watch the Olympics? What did you think of the coverage and what was your favorite event of the Games?

~Ali

More Restaurant Week

Ok, I have more fun food pics for you today but first – something that’s been WEIGHING on my mind terribly these past couple of days…

Are you guys watching the Olympics? I’ve been seriously glued to the TV from 6pm till 10pm ish and I’m already exhausted from the lack of sleep. Plus who knows what my house will look like by the end of the week since the coverage sucks up all my evening time.šŸ™‚

Anyway – I NEED to know. Why on earth are the swimmers wearing earrings? You could argue that when they put their caps on it covers their earlobes except that it doesn’t. I’ve seen that on multiple people. This is a sport where fractions of a second are so important that the athletes shave off all of their hair so there’s absolutely the least amount of drag possible. I don’t know about you but chunky studs seem more troublesome than a little dusting of hair on my arm. I’m just saying. I don’t professionally swim (ok I don’t swim) but if I was going to go to great lengths, I’d probably ditch the earrings during the events.

</end of confusion>

Ok the next restaurant I want to show you is another first-time dining experience. We went to one of the restaurants inside a hotel. It’s dressed up like a lodge with lots of pretty woodwork inside.

The service was dismal. Soooo bad. There were just two other tables of people and it took more than 30 minutes for the waitress to take our orders. Then we watched it just sit up on the heating bench for more than 15 minutes after it was prepared before she picked it up and delivered it to us. The whole meal from start to finish was more than 3 hours. Yikes

But the food was good, albeit a little cold. We had wonton mozzarella sticks for our appetizers. Definitely more crunchy – I loved it – but almost deadly. We were dining with friends and a couple of us bit into the sticks and felt sharp jabs from the wrappers.

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Cheeseburger with applewood bacon, onion ringsĀ and a bourbon BBQ sauce

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For dessert we split a chocolate chip cookie pan pie. Mmm

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What’s interesting is that this restaurant didn’t event participate in restaurant week this year. I wonder if the feedback was so terrible that they opted out. Weird

The final restaurant is a cute little eclectic spot called A’Bravo. It’s pretty popular so you have to reserveĀ your little table in advance. It’s trendy and has a fun vibe but it also has smaller plates (more tapas style) at premium prices.

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Our appetizers weren’t really large enough to share. Ben had a decent portion of bruschetta with basil, tomatoes and a healthy drizzle of balsamic, but my strawberry balsamic crostini were sooooo tiny that they were single bites. Tasty though!

 

Ben selected a turkey pesto pasta with cranberries and pine nuts. Another small plate for an entrƩe.

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I went with the shaved tenderloin with red onions, Monterey jack, and fire roasted tomatoes on a toasted roll. It ended up being mostly bread, onions, and cheese with not a lot of meat on the half-sandwich sized portion.

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Desserts were also majorly tiny but super delicious. Ben selected their triple berry cheesecake while I went for the decadent chocolate fudge cake. Small pieces but enough that we could each sample a bite of both. They were both really good too!

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So that’s restaurant week. It’s a week of eating way too much food and gaining several pounds in the middle of summer. Ben says that Appleton has a restaurant week coming up next month – but I’ll have to see if my waistline recovers enough to check that out.šŸ™‚

Ok, time to scoot off to work. Have a great day!

 

Restaurant Week Flashback

Happy Friday!

Is anyone else excited for the opening ceremonies tonight? For some reason I thought they were on last night and I was giddy all day only to be let down hunting through channels not able to find them. #FAIL. It should be an interesting Games for sure and I’m hoping the athletes aren’t jeopardized by the unhealthy / unsafe conditions in Rio. Honestly, I had no idea things were so bad there until stories started to surface about the city’s preparation (or lack thereof) for the Olympics. Sheesh

One of my favorite weeks of the year is something called “Restaurant Week” in Green Bay. Tons of nearby restaurants put together 3 course offerings for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner at various price points ($10, $20, $30) and it’s been a fun way for Ben and me to try out some new places.

As I was looking at pictures from the places we hit this year, I saw I really never posted all the fun eats from last year’s Restaurant Week shenanigans… so here we go!

The first place we went to was an ale house on the outskirts of our town. It was pretty new at the time and I ended up going there for lunch with some of my co-workers. We arrived a little early which worked perfectly because our food arrived quickly (which is important during a mid-week lunch)

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My first course was a small side salad.

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It was followed with a turkey sandwich on ciabatta bread.

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Dessert was a decadent molten chocolate lava cake.

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This was DIVINE. I don’t usually eat that much for lunch and we were bursting at the seams but did our best to devour every last morsel of chocolate goodness.

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Ben scoured the menu trios and selected Nicky’s Tavern for our first dinner. It’s in one of the older (historic) buildings in the city and they had filet on their $20 dinner menu. You can’t beat that (or the fun lighted trees).

I went with cheesy spinach artichoke dip and Ben selected olive tapenade. It was a little too olive-y for us. Not something we would normally order but this is the time to try new things and get a little adventurous!

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Our meals were delicious steaks with unnecessary bread sticks, french fries, and mediocre veggies.

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Dessert was pretty good though. Ben let me have a few bites of his carrot cake but I was pretty absorbed in intense chocolate fudgy goodness. Oh chocolate, how I love thee!

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Restaurant week is definitely a time of gluttonous eating! We quickly began realizing that this was just too much food and started packing some up and/or just taking the desserts home to eat later.

Another new restaurant for us was a small German place called the Lorelei. Ben’s German and was in love with the vast array of German beers. I could have left him there for days exploring the new suds, lol.

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Loreli was a dud. We got soup for our appetizers and they were so incredibly salty we sent them back. Ben tried sauerbraten (first time!) and it was really heavy on the vinegar. Yowza! I had a steal that was pretty dry and bland. Overall ho-hum

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We both went with bread pudding for dessert and it was mushy and one-noted. We won’t go back unless Ben just wants to pop in for another Warsteiner beer.

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Ben’s calling me… I guess the opening ceremonies are starting. Time to wrap this up! More food coming your way soon.šŸ™‚

When it’s NOT the bunnies…

Hey there – if I told you next week would be the start of August, would you believe me? Hmm not sure I’d believe me! We’re hanging in there with the July humidity that makes me cringe. I put up with -10 degrees in January because I don’t like sweat trickling down my back during a short walk down the driveway to get the mail. Unfortunately WI is home to both freezing winters AND humid summers. At least we have brilliant spring/autumn weather. That’s somethingšŸ™‚

We’ve been doing an OK job keeping up with rabbits this year so I was really upset when my lilies were beheaded just before blooming yet again.

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I almost thought it was a kid playing a trick because normally the rabbits chew down the sides of the plant first and then make their way up to the top flowers. This time it looked like everything was clear-cut right across the top and the sides were left unscathed.

I was puzzling this for several weeks until one morning when I went out to my garden…

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Immediately I noticed something seemed wrong but I couldn’t tell exactly what that was. Then I spotted the back fence looking a little beat up – like something pressed right up against it and stretched it out of place.

Upon closer inspection – something devoured the tops of my beans and pea plants! Oh no!

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All the tops were chewed right off. There can be only one culprit: deer. We’ve seen random deer wander through the front of our yard only in the dead of Winter so this is surprising. I’ve never had deer problems before. Honestly, if it isn’t rabbits, slugs, ants, black bugs, clear worms, or Japanese beetles… I *really* don’t want to have to layer pesticides over everything but I’m just not sure what to do next.

I picked at a few raspberries and found the tiny clear worms in several of them – which makes me leery about opening and inspecting every one before I eat it. Our strawberries were watery and super tiny. I’m thinking of hanging up my berry hat and sticking to the veggies, which I have better luck growing.

The peppers are plugging away nicely. I don’t think this will be a bumper crop like the last couple of years but I’m hoping for enough to make some diced up bags for freezing. (That’s so wonderful during the winter). Too early to tell if these will rebound but so far, they just look so tiny.

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Did I tell you about my squash faux-pas? I planted just two zucchini seeds in one section and two yellow squash seeds in another – and then forgot which was which. Normally that wouldn’t have been an issue except one bed had both seeds sprout and the other had zero! I couldn’t determine which was which so I planted two of each back in the first bed. Now I know, the zucchini didn’t take on the first try. The squash are already producing though, so maybe this will work out because I’ll have more staggered crops.

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You can see how much smaller the second attempt plants are in comparison:

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Oh! I’m growing a bumper crop of weeds this year too. The dirt we bought was just teaming with weeds and it’s been a painstaking job to rip them out and keep up with them. Not only are there TONS of pricker plants (my favoritešŸ˜¦ ) but lots of these guys:

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One of my friends posted on Facebook that these are edible… Hmm, naw I think I’ll just yank and discard!

Because the deer ripped off the tops of my peas, they don’t have their little vines to wrap around the top of my trellis. The result is that we needed to tie them back up so they wouldn’t flop on down into the ground.

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The beans are coming back- but slowly. Since a ton of the flowers were eaten, I’m not sure what we’ll get for a crop. I’m wondering if it’s too late in the year to try another planting…

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One thing doing really well is my cantaloupe plant. It’s crazy! Now I’m just hoping I get lots of fruit off it.

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Looks like we might get a nice-sized storm today/tonight which will help the lawn and my garden. I’ve been toting buckets of water every day but with the high heat, I’m probably not giving them as much as I should be.

Ben’s off to an after-work event tonight for one of the vendors he works with so maybe I can putz around in the garden. If it’s raining, then just picture me in front of HGTV with iced tea and a partially-crocheted baby blanket in hand. I’m SO exciting.šŸ˜‰

Have a great day!

Hiking Around the Third Ward

Hello on this beautiful summer night! The heat is just around the corner but right now I have all the windows open, a glass of iced tea in my hand, and am enjoying both the breeze and the fact that it’s after 8pm and light outside. Summer just is amazing.

A fun spur-of-the-moment mini vacation was to take a day and drive down to Madison followed by a drive over and day in Milwaukee. The premise was to just get away and enjoy a change of scenery. We hunted for some decent hotel prices and were on our way.

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Madison was our first spot and we drove right to the capital to walk around and work on a “banner mission”. I’ve mentioned before about Ingress, the GPS game Ben and I play. One thing that we’re enjoying about the game is how different cities have missions – meaning you visit different locations in certain orders and collect badges. When the badges are strung together they make a unique picture that gets stored on your game page for everyone to see. Here is the one for the capitol called “Hack the Loop”:

hack the loop

From the map information this looked like it would be really quick to complete but we were sidelined by tons of road construction and, as luck would have it, a day when the capitol was swarming with people getting early seats to a concert that night. Chaos!

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There was a lot more walking around then we had planned on and by the time we were done it was after 8pm. Long day of driving and walking!

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Walking ALL over and around the capitol… tons of weird intersections but a mountain of fun shops, little niche restaurants, food carts, and people.

018Ben began driving back towards our hotel while I searched my phone for a decent dinner option. I wasn’t really hungry at that point but I was THIRSTY! We settled on the Great Dane Brewing Co forĀ beer (Ben), root beer (me), and a half chicken wrap with a bowl of potato soup. Delicious! Added bonus: the Brewer game was on TV so we scrunched into the same side of the booth and sat and watched while we ate. I think that’s one of the best things about vacation (or weekends too) – time just doesn’t matter. You can stay out late because you don’t have to be anywhere the next morning.

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We had the gnarliest hotel ever in Madison. Take it from me, if you’re ever in Madison, DO NOT stay at the Microtel. It was beyond hideous. When we arrived to check in there was no running water or working phones (huh?) but since it was early afternoon we didn’t really care and left right away for the capitol. When we got back and really inspected the room, it was heinous. I will spare you all the details except to say that I slept IN my clothes, threw all their pillows off the bed, made Ben purchase bottled water so I could brush my teeth in the sink, and I opted NOT to take a shower the next morning. Yeah.Had we gotten back to the room earlier I think we would have just left. Looking back, Ben says we won’t make that mistake again despite how late it is. Lessons you learn!šŸ™‚

The next day we had planned another mission badge that started by the capitol and ended all the way over in Mt Horeb:

planet trek

You can argue that this game is somewhat pointless but for people who really don’t get out much, it gives a sense of purpose, is so inexpensive, and lets us discover all kinds of random areas, parks, beaches, cities. I love it. We wound our way through quaint little city blocks in MadisonĀ with old homes on tiny streets that were amazingly well-kept and so full of charm. We stopped in Verona for lunch at burger joint. I love being able to get quick reviews on my phone. I don’t know how I lived with a “dumb” phone for so long.

This place was a tapĀ house and they had all kinds of fancy beers that made Ben almost gleeful… and a little hoity-toity for such a down to earth establishment. Ha

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The “wall”

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I think you all know I’m not a beer girl but boy did I have some wonderful root beers on this trip. Holy cow. They were ice cold, with deep vanilla and caramel notes. Mmmm amazing stuff.

I rolled with a California burger which came with cheese and guacamole. I’ve never tried that combo on a burger and it was really tasty.

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We arrived in MilwaukeeĀ in the late afternoon and fully inspected our hotel. It passed with flying colors – and not just because they had freshly made oatmeal blueberry white chocolate cookies. I NEED to try and replicate this recipe!

It was early enough that we decided to head down to the Historic Third Ward. It’s an area of downtown Milwaukee that is, well, historic. I’d never been there and since the weather was perfect for walking (especially after a day in the car), we thought we’d complete another banner, get some exercise, see the sights, and find a quaint place to eat dinner too.

We remembered too late that Summerfest (the local summer music festival) was going on so parking anywhere was crazy-expensive. We settled on the parking ramp right outside the Ward and they wanted to charge us $25. Yikes.

A quick back story: when we were in Madison, there was no parking ramp and poor Ben was running back and forth putting money into the meter because we kept running out of time and everything was taking longer than planned. It was a bit of a mess and we didn’t want to deal with that again. We explained we just wanted to walk around and got a weird looking ticket before parking the car.

The Third Ward didn’t disappoint. It was just beautiful: full of huge brick buildings that look so well maintained and yet “old”. You can tell there was so much history and change and yet the buildings are still there. There were little shops all over, seating areas, and a park with twinkle lights wrapped all around the trees.

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It was a little overcast and we were concerned about rain but luckily only a few errant sprinkles cropped up as we wove up and down the street. We finished this banner really quickly but I don’t think it’s as pretty. It looks like it needs an additional line to complete the picture:

the third ward

While we were playing, a local game player (opposing team) spotted us in-game and was super friendly. He offered up some great dinner suggestions in the area. We ended up at a pizzeria in one of those beautiful brick buildings.

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We ordered a pizza with pancetta and it came in little rosettes. Also, one of the quirks to an old building – the bathroom was downstairs! You had to walk down these creepy stairs and then down an equally creepy stairwell to get to the bathroom. That alone was an experience!

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The sprinkling was getting a touch worse when we left the restaurant and when we drove up to pay in the parking garage our total came to: $4. FOUR dollars!!! What a deal! I think we must have fed almost $15 into the meter at Madison and I was expecting the $25 Summerfest fee. It doesn’t take much to make my day, hee hee

We woke up the next morning and decided we were done with the game and ready to just do something random – so we drove another half hour to the outlet malls in Pleasant Prairie. I have friends who RAVE about the mall so we decided to finally make the trip. They had a couple stores that aren’t at the outlet mall in Oshkosh but nothing that I would make a specific trip down there for. we found some deals on exercise shirts (Adidas and Under Armour outlets), I may or may not have bought another unnecessary and totally beautiful purse, and we took it pretty easy overall because I was feeling really dizzy that morning.

While we were paying for a pair of swim trunks at the Eddie Bauer outlet, the store employee told us to check out the “cheese castle” because it was a fun touristy place and had great sandwiches for lunch. Sold!

The “castle”:

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It was definitely a tourist trap. I actually didn’t think the food was great and we could have done without the trip there. I guess it felt a bit cheezy (cheezy, get it?) after all the more rustic places we’ve seen.

I mean we’re comparing sites like this:

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to stuff like this:

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variety!

We got a start on the road right after lunch and ended up hitting all the 4th of July traffic heading into Milwaukee. The road was at a complete standstill and we ended up taking the first offramp and driving down the frontage roads so we could make some headway. A lot of other people had the same idea so it was slow going but even at 35mph we were FLYING compared to the interstate. It took us almost double the time to get home.

It was a wonderful trip though with lots of fun memories. We’re already looking at the map for more missions to see were we should go to next. A little R&R is good for the heart, mind, body, and soul.ā¤

 

 

 

 

The Vacation To-Do List

Hi everyone!

What a great week we had off. I think Ben would admit that he would have liked a little more relaxation in our vacation but neither of us can deny that we accomplished quite a bit.

I made a rather impressive and ambitious list of projects that we’ve been putting off or forgetting because we’re tired/stressed/don’t feel like it. But I didn’t want this past week to fly by without having anything done so we listed out what we wanted to do each day and blended in the play with the work.

I mentioned that one of my projects was to organize the pantry. It’s not a great configuration – it’s dark and hard to see what’s in the back. Plus, it’s just too full and things are falling out (which means stuff gets piled onto the counter).

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This is also one of those projects that get worse before it gets better. In order to see what you have, you really need to take everything out. That means piling all over the counters and floor. Big mess!

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And then you find things that make you grimace – and laugh too:

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Evidently at 4 different times I felt I needed coconut. I threw one bag out, gave one to my mom for her granola, and now have just two bags. Hello more spacešŸ˜‰

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It looks pretty good now. I have things organized by shelf and all the older stuff is thrown away. It only took me part of two days to finish this. Whoops

The family came over to help with a shrub removal/tree pruning afternoon and we made a TON of headway! I didn’t do a good job (read: forgot) getting before and after photos but I do have one of the lilacs in front of our back porch. They needed a severe trimming because they would be in the way if/when we re-stain the deck but they also were starting to encroach on the walkway into the yard.

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Most of the leaves were removed in the pruning process because these guys had to be cut back so far. We just need to do a better job each year of keeping ahead of the crazy growth! A funny thing: I couldn’t believe how much brighter it was in the kitchen once these guys were chopped back. Amazing difference!

Something sweet arrived… (Always a major part of my summer)

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We had our well inspected as part of a 5 year town permit requirement. We both had relaxing massages, saw a new movie at the theater, and made it out for Hibachi, and I made it through step one of getting my name changed. We honeymooned right after the wedding so I didn’t want to mess with getting a new passport… then we vacationed in February and I figured it would make sense to just do it all before my birthday this comingĀ month (when my drivers license expires). Of course, I said that knowing I had months to do it and here we are, just a few weeks before I NEED to have it done.

Funny story. I went to the SS office to submit the paperwork to change my name. I combed my hair (which is not mandatory when you’re on vacation) and put on a nice shirt so I could stroll over to the DMV and get my license right away afterwards… I filled out the paperwork wrong and was in the process of filling out another one when the security guard came out and told us there was a bomb threat and they were closing for the day! (Keep in mind, this is at 10:30am) Apparently someone wrote “bomb the system” in spray paint on the building overnight and they thought everything should be closed 90 minutes after they opened. O-kay. Another trip later and I have a new name. I haven’t changed it anywhere else yet – DMV might be this coming week – so I’m taking it in baby steps. Ha ha

The deck stain company is sending us some buckets of new stain. It’ll mean a lot of work to strip the old stuff and start over and I don’t think we’re looking to begin that project soon, but at least we have something to try.

I also had an unexpected trip to the Doctor. Over the past 3 months or so, I’ve been noticing increased random bouts of dizziness. I get lightheaded even when sitting down. Last week Monday I noticed severe weakness in my right hand. It felt like everything was swollen even though it looked fine and I barely had the energy to hold my hand up long enough to scrub my hair. It scared me so I went in to get some blood work done. While I was there the Dr told me that it sounds like I could have the beginning stages of MS. I had a head MRI completed late last week and I’m waiting now on all the results. Oddly, I’m not worried. It’s crazy because I am such a worrier! I’m giving it some prayer, letting it be, and waiting to hear. Heck, I haven’t even researched anything about MS. I’m trying not to get myself worked up if I don’t have to. So, we’ll see what happens soon.

Ben and I also got away from town for two days. I have fun pictures and stories about that trip but it’s getting late so I’ll fill you in on that this week.

It’s thick, hot, and humid this week so we are working on staying cool in the house. I’m not made for this kind of weather. I’m melting already.

Ok, time to get dinner prepped before bed time. good night!

 

Chillaxing on the Fourth

Happy 4th of July! What an amazingly beautiful weekend! Ben and I are starting some MUCH NEEDED R&R and made the most of the terrific temperatures and sunshine. Right now I have the bed made up with fresh sheets hung on the line and I’m listening to the cracking and popping of the neighborhood fireworks. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, err Monday night.

We really haven’t had any vacation yet this year – our original plans were halted with Matt’s surgery – and now we’re feeling the effects of so many months without a decent break. You go a little (ok a lot) nuts. Maybe more me than Ben thoughšŸ™‚ There’s nothing quite like aĀ Monday that feels like a Sunday except you don’t have to go back to work the next day. Ahhhh yes.

I’ve mentioned before that Ben and I play a global geocaching-esque game and one of the things we’ve been doing more of us visiting nearby towns to complete “day missions” where you drive around visiting various landmarks and gain badges that make little pictures. It’s been a fun way to find new parks, walking trails, and other interesting historical features around the area.

We started with the obvious ones though…

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This weekend we grabbed Mom and Matt and went to an adorable little town slightly north of Green Bay called Algoma. It’s on the bay and has amazing views of the water.

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I told Ben we should move. Ha Ha

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Seriously though, I wouldn’t get sick of seeing that every morning (except maybe it wouldn’t have the same effect in January?).

Ben and I picked up a small box of fireworks and the folks picked up some as well so we spent yesterday launching half of them off the dock. Dad has to work tomorrow so we figured it was better than rushing things tonight. Now we still have the other half for this coming weekend too. Spreads out the fun.

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Now that we’ve done a little relaxing, it’s time to get down to business tomorrow. WeĀ realized our to-do list is getting increasingly long. When we get home from work at night, we’re both tired and that’s been the same story for quite a while. So this week I have quite the lengthy and probably overly ambitious list of chores I’d like to do. We’re going to try for a day or two away doing something fun, but I really wanted to knock some things off the chore front. It’s kind of amazing how much time some of these seemingly little things take to complete.

Like last year’s project of re-painting the deck. We spent hundreds of dollars on stain remover, renting power washers and sanders, buying a sander and all the papers and equipment, plus the TEN gallons of paint stain guaranteed to last 20 years. It was a killer project that ended up being what we think contributed to all of Ben’s back issues but the saving grace was that at least we wouldn’t have to do it again for a couple decades…

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That’s the unfortunate story around the entire deck. It was a super-thick application that was almost rubbery once applied and we had such high hopes. Not even a year later and it’s all cracking and flaking right up. I guess we were supposed to apply for the warranty within 60 days of purchase (and we didn’t) but we have the store receipts and all the empty buckets so we’re going to try calling the company and seeing if there’s anything that can be done.

Another “fun” project is organizing my pantry. We’ve had things beginning to be stacked in the bar room and in the kitchen because there simply is no room left for anything. Time to sort, toss, and take inventory of what we have. I hate these kinds of projects but I know it needs to be done.

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Now that our lilacs are done blooming, I really need to cut back the bushes. Not only are they ridiculously overgrown but they are hindering my ability to walk out into the backyard.

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The big storm from last week seemed to cause branches on our larger trees to sag and we really need to do some serious pruning. This may require a call to my folks – it’s likely more than Ben and I can tackle with a hand pruner.

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My garden is a cesspool of weeds, my driver’s license expires next month (I still haven’t gotten around to changing my last name!), we have to have our well inspected and tested before the end of this month, more shrubs need removing and flowers need planting. I have a Dr’s appointment, a massage for me, and facial for Ben scheduled. Oh, and our dishwasher just broke. It’s 22 years old so probably time to shop for a new one.

I’m tired just looking at this list. We’ll see how I do over this week. HOT temps on the way so probably some indoor stuff for the early part of the week at least.

Wish me luck.

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