Paradise

157I don’t want to post tonight. I’m pretending the weekend isn’t over, and I’m still sitting on this dock drinking iced green tea.

 

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The Ghosts of Birthdays Past

The birthdays of Tiny Chel:

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Second. (Look at all the cute! Also note the diaper on my hand. Classy).

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Five? Look at that cake my mom made! I have a feeling it was more her idea than mine at the time, but she is quite the artist. Cake Boss Kate.004

Six? This looks like a back-country birthday. My cousin Jake is wearing a helmet for some reason and whose barn is that in the background?  All I need is a cowboy hat and a glass of whiskey.

For most of my birthdays growing up, I requested that my family go up to the cabin for the weekend. Since my birthday is in the summer and so close to July 4th, most of my friends already had plans, but I didn’t mind. I loved spending my birthday in the great outdoors with just my family. What more could you ask for than a bonfire, s’mores, and swimming for five straight hours with a wacky noodle?

I do vaguely remember my mom throwing me a surprise birthday party when I was nine and inviting my two best friends at the time, Elisha and Danielle. They met for the first time that day and hated each other, both determined to be the best best friend.. It was kind of nice being fought over. MY CHEL! 😀

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Nineteen: I went to the beach with my family and won a game of water gun tag against my boyfriend and cousin. I guarantee we stopped at Cedar Crest for ice cream, and I’m certain I got a chocolate malt, because that was my favorite thing to order at Cedar Crest when I was younger. Now I’m all about the cones.

Twenty was a bad birthday. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, and my heart was in a million tiny pieces. It rained all day, my family had a subpar dinner at Grazies, and there are no pictures to be found.100_3323

Twenty one: My family and I went out to St. Brendan’s for dinner, and I ordered my first drink: a Snakebite. It was my first birthday with Dave and he made me the traditional Dowe cake: three layers with a brownie bottom and chocolate frosting. I posed creepily with the knife, and then my friend Nicole took me out on the town. I drank a lot of really bad free stuff and did not get sick. Dave’s grandma gave me a gift of money for my birthday, and I used it to adopt our fur baby Athena. Best present ever.

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My little Sugar Paws at one year old.100_4189

Twenty two: I’m pretty certain I went to Kavarna for lunch (one of my favorite GB restaurants), went to see a movie with Dave and my mom, and then went back to my grandma’s for cake.

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Twenty three: We went out for pizza at Suamico Ale House because my brother was working, and my family can’t have a proper party with one person missing. There was a two month overlap where I was living in Wisconsin and Dave was living in Illinois, so he drove up for the weekend. My mom bought a cookie cake and wrote ‘Happy Birthday Chel’ on it.

(This was the first year I got interested in eating well and exercising more–you might be able to tell between the pictures of 22 and 23–and I got married that year, too!)

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I should eat more cookie cake.024

Twenty four: Harry Potter party! My mom and I worked for days on this. I dressed up as Nymphadora Tonks and had so much fun I forgot to take pictures of all the cool stuff we made. We played a HP trivia game that ended with a bludger pinata and later had a bonfire while drinking homemade Butterbeer. It was a good birthday.

My parents gave me a grill as a gift which I lovingly named Charlie, and Dave and I use it constantly. One of my favorite birthday gifts ever.

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Twenty five: Took a long weekend with my family at the Leahy cabin in Florence, WI. We went fishing, swimming, hiking, took turns cooking, and drank plenty of beer around the bonfire. It was lovely, and I was very sad that I had to come home. In fact, I got really depressed that I was home alone on my birthday night, so Dave went and bought me a cake at the store before I bought myself one.

Twenty six: My birthday this year falls on a Tuesday, and though I usually take the day off, I decided to work this year. I’m planning on going to Taste of India with my family for my birthday dinner (I ❤ curry). Then Saturday I’m having all my best friends over for a wine & cheese party to celebrate. This way, I get to stretch out my birthday for almost a whole week!

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What was your most memorable birthday?

Awesometown Bound

I have a lot of friends. If you read this blog at all or even just look at pictures, I’m sure you know that by now. There are certain things we do in small groups and sometimes the whole gang gets together for a rip-roaring party.

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Three times, the whole group of us headed to Dan’s family’s cabin up north (lovingly dubbed Awesometown), and while we all had an amazing time, it certainly wasn’t the quiet, relaxing time you expect from being close to nature. Our group of friends keeps getting bigger and bigger, so it’s almost impossible for all of us to go on a trip away together anymore (although I have big hopes it will happen someday!).

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Thus, I was incredibly excited when my friends Dan & Emily invited Dave and I up to Awesometown for a quiet weekend away with a couple other friends: Tess & Jake. These are my friends who live furthest away and whom I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like, which makes the weekend even more special. Unfortunately, Dave won’t be coming, so I’m taking my friend Shelby as my date for the weekend.

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I am much more of an outdoorsy person than my husband is, and one of my favorite places to be is up north. I can’t wait to take it all in: the campfire, the lake, the trees, the warm sunshine, and my beautiful friends. As with most group trips, we have split up the meals, which always makes food planning less stressful and cheaper.

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Nearly all of my friends are fabulous cooks, so we always have this desire to cook something to impress the pants off each other, which usually results in less time hanging out and more dishes. That’s why we elected to go simple this year. I’m taking Saturday night dinner and making Roasted Veggie Sandwiches (inspired by Mark Bittman) and Watermelon Feta Salad. I can do a lot of the prep work before we even leave, which will leave more time for fun with the people I don’t see often enough!

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I already have the watermelon chopped, the veggies sliced, and the seasoning premixed. (Recipes to come after this weekend!) I even invented a watermelon cocktail that I will surely be sharing with you. I’m hoping to get my three mile run in Saturday morning if it’s not too warm, and I’m sincerely hoping the rain holds off this weekend. Pretty please, weather gods?

After a bit more packing, I’m headed to pick up Shelby and head to Awesometown. I do have a birthday post scheduled for tomorrow in case you’re bored and want something to read. 🙂

Catch you all on the flip side!

The Meaning of Names

I love etymology. One of my former favorite tasks at the hospital I work for was putting newborns in the computer with their brand new monikers. I found it so fascinating to know what their names meant, who they came from, or if they were simply made up by their parents. This is one of the reasons I actually kind of enjoy walking through cemeteries. I like to look at all the different names and wonder if they had some sort of effect on their life. So after laughing at the picture of me wearing three different brands of sports gear the other day, I wanted to know what each meant.

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Nike–the winged Greek goddess of victory. (In Roman, her name is Victoria). I find it really interesting that they chose a female name to headline their company when we can’t deny that most sports are male-dominated. I love that they chose this goddess to headline their company. Nike’s logo is a “swoosh” or check mark. My art history professor told us that it was based on a wing, but I have found nothing to support that fact: the designer, Carolyn Davidson, simply wanted something simple that conveyed motion and looked good on a shoe.

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About Nike’s slogan: their catchphrase “just do it” supposedly stemmed from murderer Gary Gilmore’s last words before a firing squad. Interesting, right? My friend Nicole led me to this link last year.

Another fun fact: The designer of the swoosh, Davidson, received $35 dollars for her work. She was later given stock in the company as a ‘thank you’ and is now worth over $600,000.

Reebok–the Afrikaans spelling of rhebok, a South African antelope or gazelle. One of the two founders, Joe Foster, found the name in a South African dictionary he was given for winning a race. Reebok is now a subsidiary of Adidas and has been since 2005. The original logo included the Union Jack, due to the company’s origin in England, which later changed to a side stripe-cross check, and is now just logotype.

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I completely understand the meaning of the brand name, but I find the dictionary story a little sketchy. Why was an English child given a South African dictionary for winning a race? Seems like a very strange prize….

Adidas–When I was in middle school, kids were made fun of for wearing the Adidas logo because someone started the rumor that it stood for ‘All day I dream about sex.’ (Does anyone else remember that?) As with most childhood rumors, this was not true. Adidas stems from founder Adolf (Adi) Dasler’s name.

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Adidas has several logos, all of which contain three stripes. Many believe the stripes represent Dasler’s three sons.The most popular logo features slanted stripes representing a mountain, which indicates the challenge to be faced.

Another fun fact: Adolf’s brother Randolf started the rival shoe company Puma.

There, that was a fun lesson, wasn’t it?

I learned something very important yesterday: hot weather + speed training = NO. Just no. It was my first day doing real speed training, and I tried as hard as I could, but it was just too hot to do the whole workout. I was supposed to run my “slow” intervals at 11:15-11:45 and my “fast” intervals at 9:35-9:45, but I had absolutely no idea how fast I was going and burned myself out. Here’s a snapsthot of some of my workout times:

Mile 1: 11:25

2:00 min fast: 9:02

2:00 min slow: 11:22

2:00 min fast: 8:42

2:00 min slow: 11:05

2:00 min fast: 9:46 (hey, too bad I can’t remember what that felt like, because it was on par)

2:00 min slow: 12:29 (burning out….)

Etc, etc.

Total miles: 3.36          Duration: 35:32         Pace per mile: 10:35

After I finally pressed “Stop” on my iPhone, I hit up the restroom to splash cold water on my face. I was smart enough to bring my large water bottle with some Powerade beverage enhancer mixed with water to keep my electrolytes on par, so that was a good thing. But I was sweating so much that I actually sweat completely through my capris, making it look like I peed myself. Awesome. This is why I usually only buy black bottoms.

imageI slowly ran the half mile back to the trail head and did fine. But I need to rethink my summer training plan. I just can’t do fast runs when it’s that hot outside. It’s not fun, and it’s not safe.

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It sure is pretty, though!

Whenever it’s hot and I exercise, my hunger cues seem to go like this: can’t stand the thought of food; don’t want to eat anything; not hungry, not hungry, not hungry, not hungry, oh-my-gosh-i-need-to-eat ALL THE THINGS!

Dinner:

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Whole grain saltines (they come in rounds now, too, which I like), pepper jack cheese, watermelon cubes and pickled herring.

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Cucumber slices, pickles, and olives.

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I also had a few small handfuls of Dave’s salt & vinegar chips, and I finished the night off with an ice cream bar.

Dave and I ate dinner while watching the newest season of Arrested Development, and I’m sad to say that I’m not really a fan so far. Fortunately, my expectations weren’t high, so I’m not too disappointed.

Now I want to know: What does your name mean?

My name, Chelsea, is an Old English name derived from a district in London meaning “the place where chalk and limestone meet.”

Working in Color

Question: How many garish colors can I wear at once?

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Answer: All the colors! (And three different brands, too: Reebok, Adidas, and Nike. Clearly I haven’t picked a favorite).

I used to wear almost exclusively black, starting with my regular wardrobe. Sometimes my family would all get dressed up to go out to a wedding, only to realize later that the group of us looked like we were going to a funeral instead.  We changed things up a little last weekend: Mom and Dad both wore black, as did Tyler, and my dress was black with white flowers. However, Em wore a green dress and Moriah a peach colored dress. Ty even broke out of his shell a bit with a blue undershirt. Things are getting crazy around here!

This reminds me of a post I saw regarding checking Facebook yesterday:

It’s a sign! 😀 Fortunately, Aurelia is a clean slate, and it looks like she isn’t partial to black, yet.

007My workout wardrobe has slowly shifted to include more bright and cheerful colors. Perhaps because the highlighter colors are on clearance, and I’m frugal, or perhaps because I don’t feel the need to play it safe all the time anymore.

All these colors must have affected me, because I signed up for a color run this September! On the 21st, I’ll complete a 5K at Lambeau Field (hopefully with my sister Emily). It might sound kind of weird to do a run decked out in white and get colored chalk splashed all over you, but I love “fun runs,” and I’m really looking forward to it.

Yesterday was a rest day from running, which I was grateful for. I was exhausted, and my ankle was giving me a bit of trouble the night before and needed a break. So, it was take three of Jackie Warner’s Upper Body Workout.

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The bicep workouts don’t give me any trouble at all, but those tricep workouts are killer. I must have weak ones.

After my workout, it was a whole lot of nothing.

imageAnd I liked it.

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I drank the last Banana Bread Beer.

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And reread the cheese issue of my Food Network Magazine. I’m getting excited for my wine & cheese birthday party next weekend. I can’t decide if it’s because of the friends or the cheese.

Food is getting to be slim pickin’s at home. I didn’t end up going grocery shopping last weekend and figured I would just use up what’s left in the pantry since I’m going out of town this weekend anyway.

Thus, dinner was Mashed Vegetable Curry served with a whole wheat pita pocket, cut into triangles for dipping.image

I ended my night by finishing Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, and now I want to run out and buy his newest book. I loved Fat Charlie as the protagonist because he wasn’t your usual: he was passive, embarrassed, and a bit of a pushover. When he met the brother he didn’t know he had, he and Spider fed off each other’s personalities and started to take on more and more of the other’s characteristics. Much lighter than American Gods, it was funny and warm with just a bit of darkness thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended!

Proud to Be an American

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WASHINGTON (AP) – In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

It has been a very emotional day for me today, and I’m sure most of you know why. I am so proud of my country right now. And I don’t say that very often.

My Facebook post this morning pretty much sums it up: My sister-in-law Ali has been with her wife Jaimee for longer than I’ve been with my husband. They eat meals together, just like us. They have two fur babies, just like us. They work together to make their home nice, just like us. They love each other, just like us. The only difference is that it took four years for their marriage to become legal, even though it’s always been a “real” marriage to our family. This is a momentous day, and I am happiest most of all for my sisters.

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Tears.  Happiness. Joy.

That’s all.

Just Keep Running

Yesterday’s run was not so grand. They closed part of the trail down to rip out some trees which I know is necessary in some instances, but it’s still hard to see; when you are a friend of the ents, it’s like watching a funeral. Thus, yesterday’s run was all about in-an-outs (running back and forth over the same ground instead of a loop). Even though I don’t mind them so much, I wanted to run on the shady part of the trail but instead had to run in the sun. But don’t worry, I remembered my sunscreen this time. 🙂

About a mile and a half in, I started not feelingw ell. My stomach felt like a giant boulder dropping to my knees. I had stomach cramps for no apparent reason, and they were definitely slowing me down. I had no reason to stop running, though. IAfter all, the shortest distance between two points is running.

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I started to think about my birthday weekend last year when running was giving me so much trouble. I asked my cousin Mike, a big-time runner, if he had any tips to make my runs easier. “Just keep running,” he said, and it was simple but true. Every time I feel like stopping, I think “just keep running” and every day, the point at which I want to stop is further and further. Some days I don’t even want to stop.

I ran three miles with intervals yesterday at the same time my friend Lindsay ran four miles with intervals across town, and her run didn’t go well yesterday either. Perhaps something was in the air.

Mile 1: 11:02

Mile 2: 11:22

Mile 3: 11:17

Mile 4: 10:13

Total miles: 3.74     Duration: 41:17    Pace per mile: 11:02     Fastest interval: 6:25 min/mi

For some reason, I thought my speed intervals were really slow yesterday, but I must have been in a runner’s haze and read them wrong: 6:25 min/mi is nothing to sneeze at!

After my run, I headed to De Pere to pick my friend Lindsay up. We work almost completely opposite schedules, so when we both had the afternoon free, I jumped at the chance to spend time with her.

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I have a lot of varied interests, and a friend for every one. My friend Lindsay is my exercise buddy. We don’t exercise together (because of our aforementioned opposite schedules), but she is the one I can talk to about weight lifting and P90X and yoga without annoying the rest of my friends.

Because we’ve both been pretty hardcore about running this summer, we decided to hit up Dick’s Sporting Goods for some much-needed new workout clothes. I have a confession: sometimes I wear my workout clothes more than once before washing them. I don’t have a ton, and because I wear them almost every day, I’ve been having to do small loads of laundry two to three times a week, which is a bit obnoxious. So is reusing an already-worn sports bra. Ick.

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I scored some great deals at Dick’s, particularly some new running capris, which I got on clearance for $20. Yay!

The large running water bottles were also on sale, and I scored a 22 oz one for the same size as the 9 oz one I bought earlier!

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My small water bottle is great for short runs, but because I’m been running in 80 degree humid weather, more water is now a necessity for my longer runs coming up (including a ten mile one in a few weeks–eek!).

After spending money at Dick’s, we headed to the De Pere Cinema Cafe for dinner and a movie: The Great Gatsby!

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I decided to treat Lindsay, since her birthday is this Sunday, and I’ll be out of town. The De Pere Cinema Cafe is great, because they are cheap with movie ticket prices so you can splurge on food and drinks instead of both. It was $2 Tuesday, so the two of us got in for $4.

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We also had a couple drinks with our movie: I ordered a Mike’s Hard Lemonade since I wasn’t a fan of any of the beers they had (Miller Lite, Bud Light, etc). It was a refreshing choice, but we both would have preferred a martini. 😉 I gave Lindsay full reign on the food, so we split a 12″ barbeque chicken pizza.

It was a pleasure to see the good acting again and an even greater pleasure to spend time with Lindsay. This week is going by quickly!

Six Miles? Done.

It turns out I can talk the talk, and I can run the walk.

Yesterday was bloody hot. Perhaps not for a Floridian, but for a Wisconsinite, that 83 degrees was like running in steaming bath water. But I had a mission to run six miles, and like a former president, I always accomplish my missions.

Stupidly, I made two big no-nos when I left: I forgot my sunglasses and I forgot to put on sunscreen. I try to put on sunscreen fifteen minutes before I leave the house to go running, but I still have an awkward racer’s tan that can compete with my dad’s farmer’s tan. I also have very sensitive eyes (although I have perfect vision!), and they are liable to start burning and watering if it is too bright or they are too dry.

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Maybe this is why I haven’t been invited to as many weddings this year. Tacky.

I left the house armed with Burt’s Bees and my water bottle and tried to reward myself every half mile with a drink. By the time I had run three and a half miles, I was low on fluids. Fortunately, I happened to be running through the park and filled my water bottle up from the sketchy looking faucet in the park’s bathroom. Ahh, nectar of the gods. As soon as I had that extra water, I was doing fine.

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It was not my fastest run, and I definitely lost time going to fill up my water bottle, but my goal was to finish, and I did. Not bad, because I was supposed to run between 11:15 and 11:45 minute miles, anyway. My “slow” runs are going to change to tempo runs soon, so I may as well enjoy them while I can, right?

After five miles, every step I took was uncharted territory, so it felt like an adventure.

Mile 1: 10:54

Mile 2: 10:49

Mile 3: 10:58

Mile 4: 11:46 (water break)

Mile 5: 11:26

Mile 6: 11:03

Total miles: 6.01             Duration: 1:07:01         Pace per mile: 11:09

Done!

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I was feeling a little woozy after I finished, so I sat on a bench for awhile by the trail and finished the rest of my water. Apparently I have trouble doing math when it’s hot out, too, because I had to walk over a mile and half to get home. It was nice to stretch my legs out, though, and I need the vitamin D!

When I first got home, I was too hot to eat; then suddenly, I was ravenous. Fortunately, we had a lot of leftover goodies from yesterday.

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Couscous salad. I love this stuff so much!

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A cold chicken drumstick.

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And I also made myself a pita pizza using a whole wheat pita, ricotta cheese, spinach, parmesan, and some shredded Cornish game hen from yesterday. I seasoned the pizza with a little basil, marjoram, and garlic powder, and broiled it for about eight minutes until the cheese melted.

Pita pizzas are so easy and so good. I love all the different stuff I can throw on them and call it a meal.

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Nom nom nom.

After I ate dinner, I sat on the couch with Athena and flipped through my new Food Network and Cooking Light magazines, looking for inspiration for this weekend.

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Athena didn’t help much, but I think I was successful.

Sunday Cookout

After some light cleaning and a trip to the grocery store yesterday, Dave and I had some friends and family over for a cookout. It was the first day that it was uncomfortably hot (well, not for me!) and the air conditioning went on for my cold-loving husband.

005 It was still a gorgeous day outside, so we alternated going out and coming back in to cool off. The beer helped, too.

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I love this banana bread beer! We’ve only seen it at one store in Green Bay, so I’m not sure if it’s a new beer or not, but it’s so good.

Like me, Aurelia didn’t care that it was hot. My dad and sister took her for a walk, and she had fun playing in the creek to cool off, then had to change into a dry onesie that was laughingly big on her.

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Juice is good for cooling off, too.

Whenever it’s really hot, I like to make my summer garden couscous salad. It is so light and refreshing with the raw, juicy vegetables and parsley to brighten it. I was out of oregano (horror or horrors) and used a mix of basil and thyme instead, which worked just fine.

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For the first time ever, I actually roasted the ears of corn on the grill to add to the chicken salad—I usually just use canned corn, but the smell of grilled corn is much more satisfying.

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Also on the menu: Cornish game hens and chicken drumsticks, which got a lemon thyme marinade made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic salt, pepper, and thyme.

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Dave also made his famous ribs. Hopefully I can get his recipe for you guys soon. They are just tender, juicy, fall off the bone amazing, grilled or baked–a definite crowd pleaser.

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My brother Tyler and his girlfriend Nicole brought Bloody Mary fixin’s to the party and whipped up a batch for us all.

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I am picky about my Bloody Marys, but these were delicious, very tomatoey with just the right amount of kick.

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My dad is more of a beer-and-whiskey man than a mixed-drink man, but after tasting my sister Emily’s Bloody Mary, he wanted one of his own.

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Complete with an olive, pickle, string cheese, and beef stick, they certainly made great appetizers! While we grilled outside, red wine vinegar was cooling in the freezer for Alton Brown’s Grilled Romaine.

  • 2 hearts of romaine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (the grated part is very important–if it’s shredded, it won’t stick!)

Place vinegar in shallow pan and place in the freezer. Allow the vinegar to freeze, approximately 2 hours. Once frozen, scrape with a fork to create a shaved ice texture. Return the vinegar to the freezer until ready to use.

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Cut each heart of romaine in half lengthwise so that the root keeps each piece together. Lightly brush the cut side of the romaine pieces with olive oil. Season with the pepper. Place the cheese in a shallow pan large enough to lay the romaine in and press the cheese firmly onto the cut side of the romaine until it adheres.

Cook over the grill, cheese side up, until the bottom leaves start to blacken and the cheese melts. Place the romaine, cheese side up. onto plates and sprinkle with the vinegar ice. Serve immediately.

Recipe from the Food Network

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Grilled Romaine is fun to do, because it’s such a unique side, and it’s surprisingly delicious. In Alton’s original recipe, he suggests cooking the romaine in a pan over the grill, cheese side down, but most of the reviews said the cheese stuck to the pan. I think this tastes just as good directly on the grill. Last time, we grilled the romaine with just the olive oil and pepper, then sprinkled Parmesan and red wine vinegar on afterwards, and it was also very tasty.

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Inside…

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Outside…

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Dinner. All together: couscous salad, ribs, grilled romaine, a chicken drumstick, and a couple sauteed lemon garlic mushrooms. Grill dinners are the best, and family and friends make Sundays even better.

Next weekend, Dave and I are headed up north with a few friends, and I’m very excited. But first, it’s time to get through another work week. The fun weekends we’ve been having certainly bookend them nicely.

Hope you had a great weekend as well!

 

A Summer Wedding

The second longest day of the year proved to be a beautiful day for a wedding. The weather forecasters had predicted on and off thunderstorms all day, but, as is true in most cases, they were wrong. The morning and afternoon were grey and a bit cool, but there was no rain in sight for most of the day.

My cousin Lindsay and her new husband had their ceremony at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens, and it was one of most beautiful weddings I have ever been to. Sorry to those of you who love church weddings, but to me, nothing can beat the beauty of the great outdoors.

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Before and after the ceremony, we had a great time wandering around the gardens. So many fun photo props! And can we please talk about how cute my niece Aurelia is with her pigtails?

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The most darling little moonbeam with her mama. And her juice.

012Since there was limited seating during the ceremony, I opted to stand in the back, which I actually preferred. It was nice to be in a great spot for pictures (although I didn’t use flash and made sure I was not in the photographer’s way….that’s a huge no-no).

Here comes the groom…

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And the maid of honor, my cousin Cayla….

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And the beautiful bride escorted by Uncle Dan!

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Like most brides, Lindsay looked a bit overwhelmed by all the excitement of the day, but she held herself together beautifully. It was easy to see just how happy she was, and I don’t think I ever saw Jake stop smiling.

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Her dress was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (besides mine of course 🙂 ).

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In lieu of candle-lighting, Lindsay and Jake did a tree planting ceremony, which I thought was a cool idea (and very practical!).

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Their family members added soil to the tree’s pot from a significant location, then the bride and groom watered the tree together and took the tree home to plant.

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The ceremony was short and sweet. Congrats to the newlyweds!

027My favorite picture of them. 🙂

After wandering around the gardens after the ceremony, we headed to Riverside Ballroom for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

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That’s me!045

Leinie’s Red to drink.

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And a wonderful plate of nibbles including smoked salmon. Swoon.

Lindsay and Jake said each table would have to sing a word with “love” in it to see them kiss, but I couldn’t get my table to join in. Boo. The dinner was standard Wisconsin wedding fare, served family style: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, beef tips, gravy, rolls, and coleslaw. There were two kinds of cake, and I obviously opted for the chocolate one.

043My cousin Lindsay has celiac disease, so I can’t remember if the cakes were gluten free or not, but either way, it was delicious.

Time to dance!

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What a gorgeous couple.

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The drinks and laughter were flowing, and it was a great time to catch up with the Leahy family. They are so much fun!

We also had a lot of fun with the photo booth.

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I adore photo booths at weddings. The candy bar was also a welcome presence. Gummy bears!

042I even snagged a picture with the bride and maid of honor!

056My parents had their dancing shoes on last night.

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I’m very lucky that my siblings and their significant others just happen to be some of my best friends. It always means I have friends around at family events.PicMonkey Collage 4

Dave was there, too, but didn’t make it into any of the pictures! Sneaky boy.

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All in all, we had a fabulous time at the wedding. As my cousin Mark told me last night, “I skipped out on a bachelor party tonight and told my friends ‘Sorry, but Leahy weddings are way more fun.”

Well said.

Congratulations Lindsay & Jake!