Monday, June 29, 2009

Eventful Weekend

Our current landlord is trying to sell our house which means that not only does it need to be clean but Joe, Crumley, Iris and I need to be gone while he's showing it. He showed it several times over the weekend and we had company! I hope it sells sooner rather than later because the thought of packing and keeping my house clean at the same time is already stressing me out.

Also this weekend, my parents came to visit. I think the drive stressed my mom out a little but they arrived and we spent most of the weekend just hanging out. Saturday night we went to Terrie and Kirk's house for dinner and had a wonderful visit. They are always so hospitable.

(Back row: Joe, Amy, Kirk, Declan. Front row: Dad, Mom and Terrie. Adam was our photographer.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'll Be Loving You Forever

Friday night, Kamilah and I went to see NKOTB. I was, once again, transported back to the late 80s and I loved every minute of it. Don't tell my husband but I think I not-so-secretly want to follow the boys around the country from show to show. Is it possible that my school girl crush for this boy band could still be going strong after all this time?
Donnie - the original "bad boy" and my favorite New Kid.
One of the main differences between then and now is that the wardrobe now is so much better...but the synchronized dancing? It only gets better with time.

Kamilah and I before the show. The girls in front of us were squealing about how they have been loving the "boys" since they were 4-years-old. Four years? Really...geesh! We are still old ladies loving them since we were in middle school.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cranberry scones

Decided to make cranberry scones today. This is my first attempt at scones and I'm pleased to report, they don't look or taste half bad.

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup cream
1 egg, beaten
1 cup cranberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Stir in cranberries and mix until well blended. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Roll dough out about one half inch thick and cut into biscuit-sized rounds. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

Menu Plan Monday

With such busy schedules these days, our meals together at home continue to be few and far between but this weekend we're having company so that also means homemade quiche, butterscotch rolls and I'm going to try out a new fig and olive tapenade.

Monday: Joe working late
Tuesday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas
Wednesday/Thursday: Joe at class
Friday: lasagna, salad and garlic bread

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wedding Weekend - Day Two

Wild flowers, homemade apple butter, fried chicken, fresh pies and sangria - Saturday was Natalie's wedding in New Haven, MO.

Natalie (or Natterbug as I like to say) and Ben dancing their first dance.

Me and Nat. Was I crying or just sweaty? I'll never tell!

One of the many homemade pies her mother made for the big day.

Last summer, Natalie, Ben and her family went to Kentucky to make and can apple butter. Every guest received their very own jar made with love.

The top of every jar featured an embroidered "L"

Our self-portrait

More pies
Three fantastic musical acts but the main band featured Motown hits and they were awesome!!

Wedding Weekend - Day One

I dubbed this as the wedding weekend because Joe and I headed to Missouri for two weddings. First was Sara's wedding on Friday night.

The bride and me

My friend Amber and I strike a pose

Sara and Doug cutting the cake

My husband and I pose for a snapshot

A Slice of Pi

Most of you know by now that my husband is a pizza fanatic and an embarrassing amount of meals are spent eating this food. So when our Chicagoan President announced that his favorite deep dish pizza wasn't actually from Chicago but from St. Louis, my husband knew immediately that he had to investigate for himself. So today, coming home from our trip to Missouri, we stopped in St. Louis to try it for ourselves. I'm not a huge fan of deep dish and prefer thin crust but I'll have to say that I found the toppings and taste of the crust to be a refreshing variation. I think it's safe to say, we'll be back again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few thoughts about creativity

One of the things Joe and I have found very interesting about where we live are all the local businesses, much of which are very unique. For instance, there are only a hand full of typewriter repair shops left in the entire country and one of them is in Chicago. We have actually seen multiple acordian repair shops and I recently read a story about the hatmaker who made the hats for the new "Public Enemies" movie. This store is just a few miles from where we live and one of the last traditional hat stores in the world.

There are so many unique talents out there and, at the same time, so many lost/dying arts. When I was growing up, it seemed like there were lots of moms making clothes for their kids (my mom included) but that isn't so common anymore. I know just a few people my age who can actually sew. And, yes, often times it seems much easier and less expensive to just buy something rather than make it. But I often wish I had some sort of creative talent. Something to hold onto. A creative skill. A trade. I think I've mentioned it before but Joe's Aunt Judy is an expert quiltmaker and his Uncle Jim does amazing woodwork and is also a glassmaker. Wow. I admire the talent and the art. And usually when I see Cristin's work, whatever it may be, I'm just blown away by the process, the detail and the ability. It's really something to admire.

No, I don't think I'll join the world of hatmaking or become a repair woman anytime soon but, at the same time, there is something very appealing about making or fixing something with your own two hands. Maybe this is why I have enjoyed cooking so much. I like creating something and seeing the end result. And, yes, I guess I have felt that way about marketing, too, when I can stand back and see what I've helped to create or shape. Anyway, just wanted to share. Feeling almost like I need to explore a new hobby! Until then, I will keep reading Martha Stewart and keep dreaming.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lunch Date

I got to have lunch with Jan today! Jan is a former Columbian who now lives in Nashville and was in town on business just for the day. It's fun to live in such a "hot spot"!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I hardly call this a menu plan for the week but we're going to be out of town this week so there's not much cooking to do.

Monday: blackened salmon, corn on the cob and salad
Tuesday: linguine with fresh tomato sauce, salad and bread
Wednesday/Thursday: Joe at class
Friday-Sunday: Out of town

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Joe and I signed a lease today on a townhouse about two miles from his job. We move in around August 1. I really like the area so I'm excited about the move. We will officially be suburbanites! We also went to the nearby dogpark to check things out for Crumley and Iris. I think they are going to love it. Now, we just have lots of packing to start on and about a million other things!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Granola Girl

After last week's cake, I decided maybe I should try my hand at something a little healthier so yesterday I made granola bars. The recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa's latest book. They were a little hard for me to cut into bars without falling apart (maybe I should have let them set longer) but they are very good!

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8x12 inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers (or spoon!) and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I'm back! Joe has class on Wednesday and Thursday nights so we don't really have a planned meal on those nights as he basically goes straight from work to class. Here's what we're having the rest of the week.

Monday: Vegetable Moussaka
Tuesday: Nichole's Indian Butter Chicken and rice
Wednesday & Thursday: Joe's at class
Friday: Cheese Ravioli and sauce
Saturday/Sunday: Crockpot chicken with potatoes, peas and cream sauce

Sick as a Dog

Warning: This post may not be for sensitive stomaches.

I'm a fairly new dog-mom and I have a sick "child." We noticed Crumley was having some bathroom issues a couple days ago and then we woke up at 4 am to a lot of vomitting and a little blood. I sat with him at the vet's office this morning for over an hour and a half waiting on test results. His vitals seemed okay. We did a stool sample and that was okay, too, despite more blood. Then we did x-rays. Nothing. So finally a whole lotta blood work. That all seemed normal, too. So Crumley got a shot and now we're home with a special prescription dog food and three different kinds of meds. He's not to eat or drink anything at all today so I can't disquise the pills in food. I have crammed my little hand down his throat so many times and every time I think the pill has surely made it's way all the way down, he spits it out. I'm not sure what to do. Crumley is exhausted. I'm exhausted. And I hope our little big guy is okay.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Marla and Tony

Our friends Marla and Tony were in town this weekend from Columbia for the World Cup qualifiers. (Tony is the one who introduced Joe and me.) Fortunately we were able to all get together tonight for dinner. I had such a great time seeing them!

Saturday, June 06, 2009


I've barely seen my husband this week. His new job, combined with a commute, and classes two nights a week has keep him very busy. But last night we planned a date - we saw Mary Poppins! It was a fun show. Mostly, I was impressed by the amazing sets, beautiful costumes and the stunts. Today we get back to the busy routine. Joe has a lot of homework and I have a very messy closet to clean out. Yuck.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Cookies and Cream Kind of Day

My friend Laura recently made this cake. It looked so good so I decided that it would be my very first DH project (DH = Deseperate Housewife). It's far from perfect. The top layer was a little too crumbly and I ran out of frosting as I was icing the sides but it still looks okay and if it tastes okay - even better! Here's the recipe.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Right up my alley

My Last Day

Well, I finally made it! Today was my last day at work...I mostly just feel relieved but it was still a little weird to leave for the last time knowing I wouldn't be back. All the signs have been there that I have made the right decision. (Call me crazy but I think what I will miss the most are the girls at the train station Starbucks who always knew what I wanted before I even ordered.) Next up, house/apartment/condo hunting in the western suburbs. And until the right fit comes along, I will have cooking to do, desserts to master, games of Scrabble to play and eventually a house to pack.

Monday, June 01, 2009


My husband started HIS new job today but he brought ME home a box of Godiva chocolates. *swoon*

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