Monday, December 27, 2010


We took Joe's mom and stepdad to the airport this morning and I'm staring down laundry, house-cleaning and a Christmas tree to take apart. I wonder how long I can procrastinate? Some highlights of our Chicago Christmas included some very good food, two excellent movies (True Grit and The King's Speech), going to the Christkindlmarket and seeing A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre. If ever you are in Chicago around this time of year, this is a must-see production. It's quite a tradition around here and now I know why. I am afraid I'll never be able to see it anywhere else ever again or I'll be very let down. Now to the procrastination...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas ramblings

I think I am in denial that Christmas is actually this week. Maybe that's because I did my shopping so early? For the first time ever, we are staying home. We are trying to get the house ready for Joe's mom and stepdad to visit us but still have a lot to do around here and it seems that we're suddenly running out of time. And as unpredictable as the weather is at this time of year, we're hoping that they can arrive and depart without any travel complications. This is also the first time ever that I haven't spent Christmas day with my family - we celebrated with them over Thanksgiving. After thinking about it, I realized that I haven't slept in my own bed or not traveled somewhere for a Christmas or Thanksgiving since I was still living at home during college. Joe has spent very few of those holidays at home, too. So we are looking forward to cooking together, opening stockings at home for the first time and seeing what a Chicago Christmas looks like for us - Merry Christmas, friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tis the Season

The department where I volunteer had their holiday party today and invited me to participate in the festivities. Afterwards we volunteered for a few hours at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Tomorrow is Joe's holiday party so I am baking...and baking...and baking. Last batch of cookies are in the oven. Celebrating is hard work!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

About me

Who would have thought that a kidney stone only 2.5mm in size would cause such an ordeal? But Tuesday - after numerous doctors' visits and lab tests, three CT scans, two ultrasounds and one set of xrays later - I had my first-ever surgery.  Although I still have more doctors' appointments and possibly another proceedure in the future, I'm hoping that life quiets down a little.

I will say that I am actually very blessed that this is all I've had to deal with thus far (knock on wood!) and am also so blessed that Joe has a fantastic insurance plan. I know that so many people have much more severe medical problems and also have to go into debt or deplete savings accounts just to get the care they need. So that is going to be what I'm thankful for this holiday season.

I also managed to finish my finals this week so I'm going to cherish some much needed quiet time for a few weeks until school starts again. I predict there's going to be some holiday baking in my near future.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Around here...

  • Joe has been sick. Twice to the doctor (today and a few days ago) and even was off work a day this week which almost never happens.
  • I have been deeply emersed in exam, final paper/presentation. The end is in sight! I will finally be finished with economics but have another accounting class to endure in January. Sigh.
  • Joe brought home an early Christmas present for me - a Tempur-pedic pillow. He insisted I have it right now because he knows how much I toss and turn at night, never quite comfortable with my neck. I'm in love! (With Joe and my new pillow.)
  • The first real snow has hit. It's beautiful outside but reminds me all the reasons why I love curling up inside in the winter - cozy blankets, hot coco and soup.
  • Found out that our new favorite tv show may get cancelled and that makes me incredibly sad. It's an extremely smart and well-written show. Why isn't anyone watching?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Joe and I got home last night after celebrating Thanksgiving/Christmas with my family for a couple days. Here are some of the highlights.

A 2010 family picture

Adyson couldn't get enough of Amyjoe (yes, we're just one word around her)

Brylea and Adyson in matching pjs from Aunt Amy & Uncle Joe

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas question

I have a Christmas question: how do you display your Christmas cards or do you? Back in the day, when I lived in an apartment, I would always tape my cards to the back of my door and display them throughout the month. Now, in our current space, I am not really sure that is appropriate. I hate the idea of getting all these great cards and photos from friends and family members and then not doing anything with them.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Happy birthday to Joe! He is working all day and teaching ESL tonight so we spent the weekend as he'd like...saw Megamind and ate Indian food one night and last night celebrated with Chicago deep dish pizza.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Back in the saddle

I have a new job! Okay, it's not a REAL job but I am volunteering in the marketing department of a local hospital. I decided to offer up my services and expertise as a way to meet people, network, sharpen my skills, etc. Anyway, I went in today to officially get my badge and meet the staff. I know part of the job will just be grunt work but I think I'm really going to like it. It's funny how things can change; I used to interview our volunteers, help oversee them, give them odd jobs to do, etc, and now the tables have turned. Anyway, it felt really nice to get up this morning, dress in my professional clothes (I almost couldn't find them hidden in my closet) and be around an environment that felt familiar (even though I'd never stepped foot in that actual office before).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Muppet time!

Joe is still on vacation (although he has "worked" or gone to meetings every day) so today we went to see the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. We got to see Miss Piggy, Kermit, Rolph, Bert and Ernie and some other puppets. My biggest complaint is that I wish we'd gotten to see more puppets but even still it was a very interesting exhibit and I especially enjoyed seeing some of Henson's sketches and screenprinting from his college days.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

R & R at the B & B

Joe and I (along with my kidney stone because we're cool like that) spent the weekend at an amazing bed and breakfast. We had a great time and can't wait to go back again some day. The inn features: a spa, theatre room, hot tub, fresh homemade cookies in each room, gourmet breakfasts, walking trails...why would we want to go home when we could stay there? But, alas, we missed our dogs so back to the real world today.

Over the weekend, we also visited the Anderson Japanese Gardens. The gardens were a bit barren this time of year with just a hint of fall colors left. We'd love to go back again in spring, summer or early fall to catch all the great colors and greenery but we still enjoyed our first visit very much. Also, on this brisk November day, the place was pretty deserted so, in a way, it was neat to feel like we had the place all to ourselves. It's truly an amazing little place!

Our bed and breakfast. We highly recommend it!

One of our views at the Japanese Gardens. It was such a serene place to visit!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What a week

It has been quite a week. It started first thing Monday morning for me with some very intense pain that I have never felt before (and hope to never feel again). Joe took me to urgent care when I told him matter-of-factly that I did not need to go to the emergency room. Well, I got my very first ambulance ride on Monday when the urgent care clinic around the corner from where we live, sent me straight to the hospital. Hearing the sirens as the ambulance pulled up and knowing that it was there for me was not a good feeling. After I got to the ER, I had a few tests done, including a CT scan, which confirmed that I had a kidney stone. The scariest part was not knowing what was wrong so when Joe and I got the news "kidney stone," I think we were both very relieved and happy to hear it. (Yes, happy, as weird as that sounds.) After lots of really powerful medicine, I was sent home to wait it out...where I am still waiting it out. Sigh.

On election night we found out that an issue Joe had been working on for several months had passed. What a relief after so many months of hard work!

We were hoping to go away somewhere this weekend just to regroup after being so busy lately but I have a feeling we may be having a staycation instead depending on how I'm feeling...stay tuned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We only had a few trick-or-treaters tonight and finally I turned our light out when I had two sets of kids come to the door back-to-back who were clearly too old to be going door-to-door for candy and they were NOT wearing costumes. I gave them the candy (hey, I didn't want them to come back and egg my house later) but it made me feel like a grinch so I turned the light out. Two of the kids were so old that Joe actually thought I was at the door talking to parents! Anyway, my mom sent pictures tonight so I wouldn't miss out on what was happening in Missouri.

Amber (one of my BFFs) with Baby Jacob and my sister, Cathy and Baby Brylea.

Adyson the little devil! ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Better late than never

The first year that Joe and I were married, I looked for Christmas stockings and couldn't find any that I liked. Last year, I found a couple of stockings that I loved and Joe actually agreed on (believe it or not, he actually cares what his stocking looks like) and when I went to order them they were sold out. I was crushed. So as Christmas number three is approaching, the search is finally over. I found two stockings that I liked which were also endorsed by Joe. They just arrived a couple days ago!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I always look forward to playing bunco once a month but am feeling guilty tonight. We give out prizes for the most wins, least wins and most buncos. We also do a little grab bag game (just for fun) with everyone. The rule is that you can't "steal" or have any more than 3 gifts from the grab bag game. I have left before completely empty handed...well I won a prize for most wins and three prizes from the swap. I just got home with:

  • a $10 iTunes gift card
  • a $10 Starbucks gift card
  • another $10 Starbucks gift card and Longaberger travel mug
  • Halloween cupcake stencils and decorating supplies from Williams Sonoma

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wedding time!

This past weekend I traveled to the Kansas City-area to celebrate Meggan and Mark's wedding. It was a beautiful event and I enjoyed so much seeing my Missouri friends and my family along the way.

Me with the beautiful bride
All the girls (minus Meera who ended up in a group shot on someone else's camera) - Breanne, Amy, Meggan and Monica

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My phone is a lemon

My phone is a lemon but I have known that for quite some time. Most commonly, when I miss a call, my phone has a habit of erasing the number of the call I missed. So I see that I have missed a call and when I go to look at the number (and person's name) all of that information has magically disappeared leaving me with no idea of who has tried to call me. Also, it erases emails out of my inbox on a regular basis. And now, apparently, I have not been getting text messages. I was supposed to meet someone for lunch today and turns out her kids have been sick. She texted me last night and again this morning. When I never replied, she finally called me. Never got any of the text messages. So the moral of this story is that if you text me and I don't respond, you may want to call or email me...I then may or may not get the message.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I made a fantastic breakfast yesterday that will definitely be a favorite in our household. The recipe came from Food Network Magazine.

Sourdough Strata with Tomatoes and Greens
8 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups whole milk
8 large eggs
10 ounces Italian fontina cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1-pound loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
4 cups chopped greens, such as kale, spinash or arugula

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the tomatoes with the thyme, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes are slightly dried and browned in spots, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool completely.

2. Whisk the milk, eggs, fontina, 3/4 cup parmesan, the cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and greens and toss to coat. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish, then top with the roasted tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the strata with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and almost set, about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, but keep the strata inside 10 minutes before serving.

City fun

We had visitors this weekend - Joe's dad and stepmom. Friday night we enjoyed dinner at a local German restaurant. Saturday we went to Wheaton College to see their museum of artifacts from British authors including CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Afterwards we visited the Museum of Contemporary Photography which I would highly recommend. It's a very high-caliber free museum and they change their exhibits quarterly. Next we walked over to Buckingham Fountain - my favorite spot in the city - and from there we went to Hyde Park. In Hyde Park we had pizza and visited a couple of bookstores. Today we spent a few hours at the arboretum taking in all the colors of fall before Mike and Lynn had to leave. What a fun and busy weekend!

Here I am at the Wade Center standing in front of CS Lewis' wardrobe which was the inspiration for The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.

Mike and Lynn at Buckingham Fountain.

Joe and I pose at my favorite spot in the city.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Today Miss Adyson turned three years old and my mom sent me this picture from her Hello Kitty party. She looks so excited to be three and celebrating!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Out of England 2

We saw Ricky Gervais perform tonight at The Chicago Theatre which was recorded for an upcoming HBO special; the air date is Dec 18. Very funny when I wasn't having a frequent deer-in-the-headlights-oh-my-goodness-did-he-really-just-say-that-moment. I think that might officially make me old. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

The year was 1998 and I had a brand-new favorite tv show - Felicity. (Yes, I used to watch Dawson's Creek, too.) I loved this tv show...couldn't miss it. And when it ended? I was devastated.

When the show started, I was still in college. When it ended, I was living in an apartment on my own, in a new city and had my first professional job. I kind of feel like Felicity and I both did some growing up together. I remember getting together with my girlfriends to watch episodes and debating over who Felicity should end up with - Ben or Noel.

Fast-forward eight years after the series ended and I'm on break in between summer and fall quarters. I hadn't realized just how much time I had on my hands without classes and homework. And then one day, on a whim, I decided to watch an episode of Felicity. Then another. Another. And another. No, I'm not proud that I have managed to spend my break watching four years worth of television but I am so glad to finally revisit Felicity, Ben and Noel. And now that I got that out of the way, I probably won't have to do it again for about another decade.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby Brylea

I haven't seen Baby Brylea since she was a week old but my mom has done a great job of sending me pictures. Here's one I got yesterday of sleeping beauty.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quite a day

Early this afternoon, Joe and I went downtown to see Rock of Ages. Our tickets to this 80s jukebox rock musical were my birthday present from Joe and I've been looking forward to it for months. We had such a great time! I mean, what other musical have you been to before where you get "lighters" on your way in so you can sway along to the ballads? And, even though I am not an American Idol fan, I am now a fan of Constantine Maroulis - he was great! It was so much fun to sing-a-long to all of my favorites and if you love hair bands (I do!) than this is the show for you.

Afterwards, we saw the documentary, Catfish. I have been completely intrigued by this one since I saw my first preview. And it didn't disappoint; it was so suspenseful! I highly recommend it. Both of us have put it on our short-list of the greatest movies we've seen so far in 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Sadly, I am sitting in front of the television on a Friday night watching a CBS drama only because my all-time "boy" band crush is starring in it. (Um, Donnie Wahlberg. Hello.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

More SLC and Park City

Saturday we visited the downtown Salt Lake City farmer's market which was wonderful and full of great art and delicious smells. We also checked out the local public library. Might not sound like a trip-worthy experience but check out this picture. You can even walk to the rooftop and see views of the entire city (which we did). After the library visit we went to Gilgal sculpture garden. From the garden we headed to Park City for hours of shopping and dining to finish out our day. What a wonderful ski resort town. Loved it!!  Sunday we had brunch, did some shopping and finally headed to the airport - what a great weekend!*

One of the views at the sculpture garden.
Another picture from the sculpture garden. Can you pick out the head, torso, foot, legs and arm? 
Here I am with a new friend in Park City, Utah

*Minor incident (because no trip would be complete without one) we checked our bags with our hotel on Sunday morning while we were out and about once we checked out. We came back to retrieve our bags before heading to the airport and they had mistakenly given one of our suitcases to someone else...who had already packed it in their car and left the hotel. Gulp. Some real panic set in but the hotel was able to contact the people who turned around, came back and the suitcase was, once again, ours. Whew!

SLC and 33

On Friday, Joe and I traveled to Salt Lake City to visit Joe's brother, Tommy and his mom who was also meeting us there; it was also my birthday (the big, uneventful 33). On day one of our trip we spent a lot of time checking out the city and taking in Temple Square.  

We had lunch at the Red Iguana. You may have seen it on the Food Network on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Yum!

Joe, Jo Ann and Tommy in Temple Square

The Mormon Temple. This photo doesn't show its vastness but I could never get far enough away to get the full effect.

My mother-in-law, JoAnn and me sitting at a fountain in Temple Square
We also visited the Utah State Capitol where Joe's brother, Tommy works.

Monday, September 06, 2010

It feels like fall!

It feels like fall here which couldn't make me any happier. And my friend, Monica came to Chicagoland over the weekend to visit with four groups of friends - including me - so that has been an extra treat. Last night we went to see Jailbait. I will say it is truly one of the best plays that I have ever seen; I can't stop thinking about it. We also spent some time shopping yesterday and took in some nature this morning at the Arboretum.  Of course, my husband is spending his Labor Day at the office working but hopefully not for the entire day. Maybe a bike ride is in our future?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A girl needs to dream, right?

I am looking for a sponsor. Someone to fund my spot on the NKOTB cruise who would also like to accompany me - anyone?? I am pretty sure when I mentioned it to my husband he paused long enough to roll his eyes and then went back to what he was already doing. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Undercover agents

Joe and I have been on a secret mission for the last few weeks as "secret shoppers" for a local restaurant company. I know it sounds like everyone's dream job but I will say that it is actually a bit more stressful than I had envisioned. We have to visit certain restaurants on certain weeks and certain days of the week. Our hectic schedule has made it sometimes difficult to fit in our meal on a scheduled night and then we have an hour of paperwork to do afterwards. During the meal we have so much to think about and focus on that I am not sure we actually relax. So far, it has been an eye-opener and I am certain my dining experiences will never be the same. Since we each have to order three courses it's definitely not waistline friendly either but I am happy to experience what will probably be my one and only crack at being a professional food critic!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Galveston - Day Three

My last day in Galveston, Kate and I played a very competitive round of mini golf before I had to head to the airport. (Have I mentioned before that I love mini golf? I do!!) We had a really great time and the fact that there was an ocean view was even better. Thank you, Boone and Kate for a wonderful mini vacation!

Kate with our new friend

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Galveston - Day Two

Day two in Galveston we took a ferry ride to Bolivar as Kate assured me we'd see dolphins. In fact, we saw so many that I completely lost track - they were everywhere! After the ferry ride, we did more shopping, had lunch at a great little cafe and eventually made our way to an old fashioned soda shop and candy store. Also on the agenda was a trip to the local fish market where we picked up fresh shrimp so Boone could make us some creole for dinner - yum!

Watching dolphins on the ferry
My tour guide, Kate

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Galveston - Day One

Monday morning I headed to Galveston, Texas for a little fun in the sun with my friends Boone & Kate. (The kiddos, Jackson and Everett, were off visiting their grandparents.) I last saw Kate almost three years ago when we celebrated my birthday in Vegas. I, on the other hand, had been promising to come to Galveston for about four know how life gets...anyway, I finished my classes last week so it was the perfect way to celebrate a little break between quarters. And now that I am ready for summer, it's almost time for fall!

Kanye West has nothing on us!
Boone and Kate. Boone was a good sport about having two obnoxious girls around. Thankfully he found solace in the xBox for most of my visit.
You can see the water line from Hurricane Ike behind me. What's even crazier is that I am already standing on a pretty big curb that you can't see in the picture.
We basically think we are too cool to do stupid things...prim and proper all the time.  

After a little shopping on The Strand, Kate and I enjoyed the ocean view for a bit. From here we went on to eat a fabulous fresh seafood meal.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Date night

Took Joe to his very first John Mayer concert last night. I am not saying he is a convert but dare I say that he didn't hate it? We went with another couple I know from church who just so happened to have tickets in the row in front of us and live near us so we all rode together. After synching his Kindle to his iPhone Joe started out the evening trying to ever so casually "read" without drawing too much attention. After about the second song, he put away his phone for good and seemed genuinely interested. I think he was much more impressed by JM's band that he'd expected. Especially once he realized he had seen one of the guys perform before - with Paul McCartney. He may not be begging to go again but I'm going to consider his first John Mayer show a win.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Dog Whisperer

Joe and I had a dog trainer come to our house today to work with Crumley. Crumley seems to think he owns the neighborhood so we have had problems walking him in the near vicinity of another dog without him totally freaking out; it's extremely embarrassing and makes him a bit of a problem. This is also why we don't take him to the dog park.

Our trainer was amazing. He showed up and immediately took control of Crumley. First he took him out on a walk alone and then later he had Joe and I go with him after he'd made his own assessments. We got lucky and saw several other dogs outside today. The first few times Crumley totally freaked out, as predicted, whenever we'd see another dog. By the end of our hour with the trainer, Crumley was walking right past other dogs and not even turning his head to look at them - wow. I had him at the end during those times while Joe and the trainer just stood back and watched. I almost wanted to cry because I was so proud of him! What a totally different labradoodle! So we'll see if we can keep it up. Right now, we need to walk both dogs seperately and do some "work" with Crumley inside...and Iris, too. And the trainer gave us some tips on how to teach the dogs to not freak out every time someone is at the door. That will be for a whole other day. But we are trying to change Crumley's way of thinking. He was in the routine, especially with me, that his job was to be the protector and now we are teaching him that his job is to just be a dog and we'll let him know if we need anything else from him.

We have to change other "little" things, too. Like no more sitting on us. Joe and I both think it's adorable for our big dog to come sit on our lap whenever we're on the floor but that's a no-no. And no more feeding the dogs breakfast or dinner until after we've eaten first. Just subtle changes that will hopefully add up to a little more dog obedience. This might prove to be the best money we've ever spent. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Lincoln home

When I was in middle school, I believe in the sixth grade, I did all the "Lincoln stuff" with my parents and sister. Now, as an adult, I keep thinking that I should revisit some of those sites as I drive through Springfield each time I travel to and from Missouri. Sunday, Joe and I decided to stop at the Lincoln Home. Turns out, the tour had about a two hour wait so we didn't go in but we had fun looking around and plan on eventually visiting each of the historical sites in the area.

The final rose goes to...

My favorite guilty pleasure is now a video game. Never mind that I am married and almost 33, I am secretly a little intrigued. However, since I am not 14, I don't think I can justify playing...being an adult is hard sometimes.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Joe and I traveled to Missouri on Friday to meet our new niece and visit my family. It was a short trip as we left Sunday morning to come back but we had a nice time. Saturday we were able to go visit my grandma and took her to the "Old Settlers" parade which turned out to be a lot more fun than I had anticipated. (To clarify, I thought spending time with my grandma would be fun but had doubts about the parade.) While at the parade, Joe had his first ever deep fried Twinkie - it was love at first bite.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Today marks our second wedding anniversary. It's kind of hard to believe! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Something totally new

I have been going to a new yoga class over the past several weeks which pairs students with mentors. My mentor is a therapeutic touch professional and offered me a free session today. I wasn't sure what to expect. I will say I partially believe and am partially a skeptic if that makes any sense but was definitely open to the experience. Without really touching me at all she used a crystal, and her hands inches away from my body, to assess the energy in my chakras before clearing any blocked energy and redirecting my energy flow. It was definitely interesting and she invited me back again next week...we'll see.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New friends

I am so proud of Joe. In the very little spare time he has, Joe has started volunteering by teaching English as a Second Language. Through this opportunity he is teaching ESL once a week for several hours to a refugee student. Tonight we were invited to his student's house to have dinner with him and his family. They were amazingly gracious people from Iraq and so very interesting. They fed us and fed us and fed us until we couldn't eat another thing. And I was even given a hand knitted black and white scarf as a gift. I feel like since I have been living here, I've been opened up to all sorts of new friendships and relationships whether it be like this one through Joe's ESL teaching or through my church. I feel so incredibly blessed by the many people I have met.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A big sigh

Take away the good news of having a healthy niece born yesterday and I have had one of the most stressful weeks (Joe, too) that I can recall in a long while...I will elaborate only by saying it had to do with neighbors and dogs. I was supposed to meet up with some hometown friends tonight but the weather kept me from that so hopefully I can see them tomorrow morning barring any more thunderstorms. In addition, I have a church volunteer meeting, a romantic dinner out with my husband and the movie Salt to look forward to the rest of the weekend. Here's to hoping a bubble bath helps ease some stress, I can get a good night's sleep and my weekend can be as uneventful as possible!


My niece finally has a name - Brylea Jean. Brylea is a combination of Bryon (her dad) and Lea (my late cousin). Jean is my middle name, my mom's middle name and my grandmother's middle name.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meet my new niece

I have a brand new niece! As I write this post, she STILL does not have a name but she was born at 1:41 pm today (July 22) and weighed in at 8lbs 2oz and was 20 inches long. Today would have also been the birthday of my great grandmother on my mother's side which is also very neat.  

My sister Cathy and her new baby girl
My brother-in-law Bryon and proud big sister Adyson

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meet Hurley

Joe and I have been doing some dog-sitting for this guy. He is so adorable!! He is about 25 lbs of pure fluffy cuteness.


Take me out to the ballgame...

While B was here we also went to Wrigley to watch the Cubs play the Phillies. Despite my tshirt - which actually belongs to Joe - I am from Missouri. That means I can't quite let myself root for the Cubs. But I was curious about Wrigley, too, and the game was a lot of fun. Cubs won and we got to experience a truly historical ballpark on a beautiful but hot day.


Breanne came for the weekend to visit so that we could go to Lilith Fair together. The lineup varies from venue to venue but we got to see Kate Nash, The Court Yard Hounds (two of the Dixie Chicks), Heart, Mary J. Blige and Sarah McLachlan. There was a time in the late 90s when I completely wore out my copy of Mirrorball so hearing Sarah McLachlan sing, "I Will Remember You" live was especially gratifying. Lilith also signified an event we'd always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do until its resurgence this year. So much girl power!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where is Cesar Milan when you need him?

I have posted before about my dog Crumley's high energy level. It also seems that in the process of all his rambunctiousness, he is constantly whacking his head on things and usually just remains completely unfazed. In fact, a few days ago, he knocked his head into my shin as we were both walking up the stairs (well, I was walking and he was running). Anyway, I have an ugly bruise on my leg from that incident. Today, I bent over to pick up his leash and he got so excited about the possibility of going outside that he jumped up at the same time I was bending over and whacked me in the head. I seriously thought for a split second I was going to pass out. I sat down immediately and clutched my head in my hands when I realized I was actually bleeding. A trip to the bathroom confirmed instant swelling and now I am icing and praying for no black eye. Meanwhile, he is napping.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Field Museum

Yesterday Joe and I spent the day at the Field Museum. I am not sure what I was expecting but who knew that so many dead animals could fit inside one museum - wow. Aside from the T. Rex Sue, I especially enjoyed the mummy exhibit and a look at all the many precious gemstones. We had a wonderful time and spent several hours there. You can find more pictures and a video of our experience at Joe's blog.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Today's Friday adventure

Today's Friday adventure took us to Wicker Park to eat at my favorite Chicago pizza establishment. (Confession: I do not like deep dish pizza so living here is not all that it's cracked up to be when it comes to Amy/Pizza.) After the thin crust pizza love, we went to our favorite independent movie theatre which we get to all too rarely because it's a bit of a jaunt for us; today we saw Cyrus. I loved it and especially liked Jonah Hill in this dark comedy. Last night we saw Winter's Bone which is set in Missouri. It might be the best movie I have seen so far of 2010. Toy Story 3, of course, is not far behind.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

So easy, so good

I have been wanting to make this Barefoot Contessa pasta dish for awhile...I'd say maybe a year and a half or more but it has actually taken me that long to find truffle butter - seriously. Our local Whole Foods has now started stocking it and so we had this super simple meal tonight with garlic rolls and salad. Joe proclaimed it to be the best pasta he's had in the last year so I thought it would be blog-worthy.

Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white truffle butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8.82-ounce) package Cipriani tagliarelle dried pasta or other egg fettuccine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with vegetable peeler

Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, exactly. (If you're not using Cipriani pasta, follow the directions on the package.) When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan and toss it with the truffle cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserved cooking water as necessary to keep the pasta very creamy.

Serve the pasta with chives and shaved Parmesan.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Our day off

Joe and I had a lot of fun today taking the Chicago Film Tour. We were able to see all sorts of famous movie landmarks and other not-so-famous movie landmarks that were just as interesting. We saw clips of many movie scenes while on the tour that I had no idea took place in Chicago or I had forgotten the specifics. We also saw Hugh Hefner's original Playboy mansion and I particularly enjoyed the drive by Oz Park - I must get back there sometime! And while we were out and about, we also saw film crews set up to shoot scenes for Vince Vaughn's new movie. I would recommend this tour for any movie buff.

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