Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Verti-cutters, chocolate chip cookies and finger stitches

I realize that, once again, I'm doing my weekend recaps on Tuesdays, but the procrastinator in me just can't get it together to get one of these up the day after the weekend is over.

This weekend we kept it pretty low-key, well, for the most part, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Friday I was my usual boring homebody self. We made dinner, vegged in front of the TV, and then made a trip to Target to look at camping supplies. For the record I'm not a fan of camping, but N wants to try it, so I'm keeping an open mind. While we didn't find a vast array of camping gear at Target (go figure), we did find an area rug for our family room. For the longest time I've been obsessing over this rug from Overstock, but the one at Target was half the price and has a little color in it, so in the cart it went.

Saturday morning started off with some Kodiak Cake's protein pancakes and then my first ever barre class. The pancakes were delish (go buy some of the mix at Target and make 'em yourself!) and the class was challenging, but fun. After a quick shower for myself and a bath for the dogs, I ran up to KC to grab lunch with an old coworker followed by a trip to Costco. Costco had awesome prices on grass seed and flowers, so I of course over-bought (who doesn't there?), and on my return to the house we started on yard work. To reward ourselves for making progress on the yard,  we walked over to the local brewery which is just a block away from our house to grab dinner. Froyo immediately followed after, and then it was more relaxing before bed.
Now Sunday is where N really kept things exciting with a trip to the ER Urgent Care. We started off the day renting a Verti-cutter from Home Depot so we could re-seed the yard. Instead of getting the self-propelled version, we made the mistake of getting the push version, so N was forced to push around a 200lb + machine around the yard for over an hour. Super fun on his part.

Even though he was exhausted after, he still had the neighbor's kids over to work in the garage on the woodworking projects they were wanting to complete. I took the liberty of making chocolate chip cookies during this time, and with my first dozen in the oven N comes in with a paper towel over his finger with the color draining out of his face. He runs the faucet and there's a nice gash going across his index finger, deep enough to warrant an assessment from my mom who's a RN. She deems it Urgent Care-worthy, so in the car they go. The doctor there assesses that he's cut the tendon in his finger, but hasn't cut through it, so while he won't need anything more than some stitches, it'll hurt like a B until it heals. 5 stitches later he's back just in time for dinner, and then some relaxing (with Advil) before bed.

This guy always knows how to keep me on my toes.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Skiing, S'mores and Selfies

 If I could re-live last week over and over again, I would. Our skiing trip was amazing. I relished every run and every minute with my family.

It all started when we left last Saturday and made the 9 hour car ride to Copper Mountain. I forced my older brother to drive half of the trip, and since he hadn't listened to Serial yet, we put that on and almost went through all twelve episodes just on the way there. If you've never listened to this podcast - do. it. now. It's so interesting and it hooks you from the first episode. While my brother and N were listening to the podcast up front, my nephew and I of course rode in the back and took selfies.

We made it to Copper safe and sound in the afternoon. Before we checked into our condo for the week, we had to hit up the rental shop before it closed so everyone could get their rentals. My little brother and I, having our own skis, decided to hit up the local bar that was just around the corner instead and get a celebratory beer (a much better use of time if you ask me). The owner/bartender at Double Diamond Bar and Grill was not only incredibly friendly but hilarious. We chatted with him as we downed our beers, and then went to go check up on the fam. Everyone's equipment was in order, so we unloaded at the condo, grabbed some food at Endo's and then ran into the nearby town for some groceries.

We were at Copper for 5 days total, and skied 4 of them. The first 3 days there was no fresh snow and the temps in the afternoon hit a sweltering 50 degrees, but we still enjoyed every run. N and I invested in a DSLR camera this year, and one day we all went to one of the lifts at the top of the mountain so we could all take a picture together.

Our clan

After going to the top, we cut our way over to the terrain parks so I could snap some pictures of my brothers and nephew going off of some of the jumps.

Little man getting some air

The lifts close at 3:30 pm every day, so once we were all down the mountain we'd clean up and then explore Center Village (the shopping/dining area at the base of the mountain) or one of the nearby towns. In the village there's Adirondack chairs everywhere you go, and at least 3 or 4 areas where you can sit next to a warm fire. My favorite night we all went down Center Village, grabbed all the necessary ingredients to make s'mores and warmed up by the fire with a beer and some sweet treats. It was a great time to sit back, relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Checking out one of the bigger chairs
With mom and dad

The fire was really warm so he kept his distance!
The day that we didn't ski, we took advantage of Copper's free guided snow shoe tours and set out to see some wildlife. In actuality, we saw 0 wildlife, but it was a nice way to enjoy another activity with the fam and it was something new we had never done before. I also managed to get a few photos of N and I together since he had been playing cameraman this whole trip.

Like vacations usually go, the time went by in the blink of an eye. Our last day on the mountain came too soon, but we left on a high note. I pushed myself to do some harder bump runs (moguls), and we had 4 inches of fresh powder to ski on. I was sad to leave, as I always am, but we already are planning our next trip to Colorado for some summer hiking. I'll be back before I know it!


Monday, March 23, 2015

New Neighbors

Hola! Sorry for the brief hiatus, I was vacationing last week in beautiful Colorado with my fam and husband. I'll post a recap later this week with lots and lots of pics.

For today though, can I just say how much I am loving Spring already? Yes, I know we're on like the 3rd day of it, but I already have day lillies coming up randomly all over our back yard and I'm ready to start our garden.  I think this weekend I might have to break out the athletic shorts and do some yard work. This spring we'll be getting more than fresh fruits and veggies, we'll also be getting 2 new sets of neighbors! With the spring market hoppin' (Easter pun, I know, awful) two of our neighbors have put their homes on the market.

N and I live on a dead-end street where our neighbors are nice, but not close-knit by any means. While this is fine, N and I were hoping for a little community when we moved in, rather than a bunch of strangers all living on the same street.

Case in point, the couple two doors down from us had a generic "Welcome Home" sign in their front door area forever and we could not for the life of us figure out what it meant. Every time N and I walked by their house we speculated. Was a relative coming back to live with them? Did the husband join the army and was away at basic? Nope, turns out they had a baby. As in, she grew a human in 9 months and brought a baby home, unbeknownst to the entire neighborhood. We only figured this out when they were walking the tiny human in a stroller this weekend. I'm the first person to buy a package of diapers and a Starbuck's card for neighbors/friends when they have a baby, but this is the first place we lived where I have a feeling it would be a little....uhm....awkward? Like hi, we don't ever talk, but I noticed you had a tiny human so here's a little gift from your random neighbors? 

So yea, I'm more than a little excited at the prospect of getting two new neighbors. I'm probably more invested in these people selling their homes than they even are, and every time we see an unfamiliar car park in the driveway of one of the two houses N and I like to scope it out. If I was just a tidge crazier than I am, I'd create a wanted ad that would look something like this:

WANTED: Two new sets of neighbors for well-established neighborhood with proximity to two adorable kid-friendly pugs. Must be outgoing, friendly, and like baked goods. Mid-twenties to mid-thirties a plus, but not required. Dog-haters, beer-haters and fun-haters need not apply.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Five

Oh thank you glorious Friday! You're finally here! I feel like this week went at a snail's pace, but it was offset with having gorgeous weather. 70 degrees and sunny everyday? I'll take it. Here's what got me through another week.

1. Deluso pre-made salads. Usually when I'm in KC I grab a couple of my favorite Trader Joe's salads (the low-fat Asian Chicken one is my favorite) for easy lunches to bring to work. Since we don't go up there every weekend, I took a chance on a pre-made salad from Hy-Vee. I got an almond berry chicken salad, and it was delish. Well done, Hy-Vee, well done.
Another poor attempt at food photography - but trust me, it was tasty!
2. Walks with the pigs. I wish I could say I took advantage of this beautiful weather every night, but I only made it outside a couple times due to late work nights and other evening shenanigans. Last night I decided to go on a long run/walk minus the dogs (they're good for a mile walk max before their little legs give up), and I felt a tad guilty about it. When I got home they were all wound up, and since the library book drop off is only a couple blocks away from our house, I grabbed the book I just finished and leashed the pugs for a quick little stroll. I know it sounds silly, but it always seems like they're smiling when they're being walked. Seeing those two crazy little pug nuggets happy makes me happy.
From the dog park this past week - only Daisy wanted to pose for the photo.  Max is hidden behind the bench.
3. Everything St. Patty's day related. I live for an excuse to be festive, so this week I've been pinning and looking up fun ideas for St. Patrick's day. Since I'll be with my nephew, I was thinking on making these fun Lucky Charms Rice Krispy Treats for him, or  maybe these Lucky Charms Leprechaun Bars. I'm also planning on raiding the Target dollar spot for some fun wearables/decorations (cue eye roll from N).

4. Bridget Jone's Diary on Netflix. N wasn't home until late last night, so I took the liberty of watching chick flicks in his absence. Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) is such a babe, and delivers the best one-liner in any romcom ever in my opinion.

5. Ridiculous conversations with my friends.I feel like at any time 90% of our conversations consist of food, and I giggle like a little girl the whole time. Take for example the convo I had yesterday with my friend D over snacks (undoubtedly one of my favorite topics).

D: I have been staring at this bag of chips at my desk trying to decide whether I should eat them or not.
A. What kind of chips?
D: Kettle cooked, the delicious kind.
A: Mmm...wait until 4pm. You'll appreciate it more then.
D. Oh I forgot to mention I have a cookie sitting here as well.
A: Need important details - what kind of cookie?
D: Snicker Doodle. And it's rather large.
A: I say you either dig into both snacks at the same time and get you that sweet n' salty combo, or you save one for 4pm. 4pm is the universal snacking hour.
D: I know, that's my favorite time to snack. I may do the chips now and maybe save the cookie for the drive home.
A: Solid choice.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Finally Friday

One week down, one week closer to vacation! I have mere days left until some seriously needed time with my family and the mountains. Here's what got me that much closer to vacation, and through this week:

 This kid. I love him.

Ayden with N and mine's fur babies.

Yesterday I was exhausted, frustrated and just overall in a crappy mood. To get my mind right (and to work off a couple doughnuts I had for breakfast/lunch), I hit the gym. I was still in kind of a crappy mood when I got a call from my older brother, which wasn't really my brother but my 9 year old nephew. Him calling me instantly lifted my mood, and after I hit the gym I popped over there for a quick hello. The instant he saw me he hugged me and started telling me told me about how school was going, and overall was so excited to see me. It was 110% what I needed to shake my negative mindset.

New gear for our ski trip coming up doesn't hurt either. I've mentioned this before, but I've been on the lookout for a new ski coat and new mittens. The coat I use now  I purchased 5 years ago and decided at the time white was a smart color choice. Wrong. I found a jacket and mittens I loved, but wasn't looking to spend that much on the jacket. I ordered the mittens, and lo and behold, N orders the jacket for me behind my back and it shows up 3 days later at our doorstep.That guy. The even better part of it? Today I saw the jacket went on sale, so we're getting refunded the difference between what we bought it for and the new price. I love it when things come together.

Modeling my new coat to send a picture to N while he was in Chicago

N was out of town this week for a training, so the nights this week have just consisted of me and the pigs hanging out. Since we don't have cable now (we cut cable and just use internet with Hulu/Netflix) my TV options have been dwindling. Luckily I found a new show to be obsessive about. My dad (being a big motorcycle person) told me about Gangland Undercover and 5 minutes into watching the first episode I was officially hooked. It's seriously SO good, and I love that it's based on a true story. A bonus, the main actor is pretty easy on the eyes ;).

What got you through this week?


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's On My Mind Wednesday

I'm pretty sure 99% of my blog titles have some sort of alliteration in them and/or include a list (sorry not sorry), but here's what's on my mind lately:

1. When did balsamic glaze become the new "it" thing to put on food? I feel like everywhere I turn there's a recipe for balsamic glaze pork chops or brussel sprouts or fancy cocktails. Me, I'm not a fan. I'll just have a plan ol' good seasoned side of meat with some plain roasted veggies ( with maybe some garlic), thankyouverymuch.

2. Am I a bad person for almost falling asleep in Book of Mormon? I mean, it was funny, but the theater was literally 85 degrees and once it hit my usual bed time I was straight up struggling to keep my eyes open. The only reason I stayed awake was the fear of being judged by my fellow audience members, and the guy sitting to the right of me was like, um, really into it. I guess I'm just not a classy gal. 

3. A little fact about me - I'll eat all the sweets, but I'm not a fan of bacon. At. All. Every once in awhile I'll get a craving for a BLT and enjoy one, but I'll pick it off salads and will never order it as a side with breakfast. It's a good thing I enjoy 99.9999% of other unhealthy foods to make up for this (ha).

4. I think the coolest stores are ones where the owner brings their dog in and the dog just chills in different spots around the store all day. N and I went to a ski shop in KC last weekend when we were doing our Costco trip (because a family of 2 really needs a Costco membership), and the owner has a goldendoodle that just chills in the store all day. Why yes, I'd like to look at that ski coat while I pet your pup. 

5. Normally I love my in-laws, but lately.....they've been taxing my patience (I never share this blog so I'm dubbing this as a "safe zone"). Between texts at 10:30 at night about catalog orders for school fundraisers, one step-sibling that never wants to be apart of anything family related but pitches a fit about not feeling included (which they always are, and continue to come up with last minute excuses) and another sibling that has pretty much shut everyone out, I'm over it. In my family, if you have an issue, you discuss it and it gets resolved immediately.  N's family, not so much. Crossing my fingers I make it out alive when we host family dinner this Sunday. 


Monday, March 2, 2015

15 Things Check-in

Is it just me or did February feel like in came and went in the blink of an eye? Truth be told, I'm super excited for March to be here, for a number of reasons. Daylight savings, warmer weather, and spring just seem within reach. To top it off we have vacation coming up in a couple of weeks. A full 6 days in the mountains skiing is going to be amazing, and the weekend we get back we have a quick trip scheduled to go to St. Louis for a Halloween Haunt show. Yes, you heard that right, it's an expo just about Halloween. Stay tuned for a whole recap when that time comes around, but first, a check-in on how I'm doing on my 15 Things for 2015!
  1. Try 6 new recipes that aren't desserts (and post the review/recipe on here). This may sound simple, but while I love baking I loathe cooking. Three down, over halfway there! You can find two recipe reviews here and here. The other recipe I made, which was uh-mazing was How Sweet Eat's Creamy Chicken and Buttermilk Dumplings. Seriously, make this now. 
  2. Read 5 new books. I officially tabled Yes Please but I did finish Tina Fey's Bossypants this month and am currently almost done with Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? After I finish that I'm planning on switching over to a novel. Any suggestions?
  3. Try something that takes me out of my comfort zone. I'm thinking I want this to be ski-related. I'm not much of a mogul/bump run person, but I've always wanted to be. Maybe tackling a couple mogul runs is the perfect way to do something I've always wanted to do while going out of my comfort zone? We'll see. 
  4. Take pictures for at least 4 family functions. Nephew's birthday photos have still not been posted, but I'll work on it!
  5. Hang pictures of family/friends on the walls (this sounds simple, but our home has had nearly bare walls...for almost 2 years). Yes!!! After dragging our feet for 2 years we finally put up some photos. This is the photo wall we now have above our couch in the living room. Love it!
  6. Send a birthday card in the mail to 3 friends/family members. I'd like to up this goal to 6 after sending a friend a b-day card last month and another a Valentine's day card. Sending snail mail is so much fun and both recipients loved the cards! 
  7. Do an act of kindness. Not yet!
  8. Visit 3 places I've never been before. Trip to North Carolina in June is set, and I'm hoping to make it to NYC this fall to visit a friend. I also have a trip coming up in April for work where I'm going to Puerto Rico, Barbados and Trinidad (all places I haven't been) so I'm contemplating counting that....or not.
  9. Follow a clean eating or whole 30 plan for a week (hopefully longer, but baby steps, right?)Trying to work up to this, but I have to admit this is a tad intimidating. I placed a hold on It Starts With Food at the library, so when a copy comes available I'll get to read it and thus (hopefully) be motivated. 
  10. Work back up to running a 5k again, straight through. Since the half-marathon we did 2 years ago (yeesh, time flies) I took a hiatus from running, and have never quite gotten back in the groove. Better late than never, right? I started off so well starting the couch to 5k program, but after 2 weeks I really slacked last week. Hoping to pick it back up this month.
  11. Blog at least 24 times. Truth be told I suck at this, but maybe 2015 will be the year to be more consistent! The only resolution I'm currently over-achieving! 14 posts down including this one. 
  12. Clean out/organize all of the closets in our house. Hall and spare bedroom #1 closet down, 500 4 closets to go 
  13. Surprise my husband in some way. N surprised me last night by ordering me a Patagonia ski coat I wanted but couldn't bear to spend the money on, and it makes me want to repay him back 1000x over. Any suggestions?
  14. Do a house project. Thinking the backyard could use some love, but the temp will have to warm up a bit before that happens. 
  15. Go visit a friend that lives in another state. Settling in a college town means that the majority of our friends over the years have moved, and seeing them is long overdue.  I'm thinking NYC needs to happen, and it just so happens that a good friend that moved away is living there :)
Overall, not too shabby for having the majority of the year left! Looking forward to crossing more of these off my list.