Homeward Bound

I know why people say, “Home is where the heart is.” Hearts are like horcruxes. Every time you move, your heart splits into another piece and leaves it behind, and it’s impossible for all pieces to be in the same place at the same time.

I squooshed my four days to work last week Monday to Thursday so I could take Friday off and have a long weekend. Though it pained me to leave Davy at one of my homes considering I hadn’t seen him much last week, I was on a mission. Even though I had Friday off, I woke up uncharacteristically early which gave me time to do some chores around the house and snuggle with the kitties.

007

 

They never ever both cuddle with me at the same time (unless I’m asleep), so I had to snap a picture. Maybe because it was Friday the 13th!

Around 11:00, I drove straight to Manitowoc to spend the day working with my mom at the new shop she’s managing.

018

011

She was busy with customers, so she put me to work tagging tea, popcorn, and working on a few displays. They weren’t even technically open yet, so it was amazing how busy it was.

012I also got to put a fairy garden together!

010

 

013

014

The time flew by and soon it was time to meet my friend Amanda’s parents for dinner.

We walked over the river to one of my mom’s favorite Manitowoc restaurants: 8th and York.

015

016

017

Mom and I got there a little early, so we ordered a bottle of wine to split.

019

020The atmosphere of the restaurant was very unique, as it was inside of an old national bank.

022

024

Someone please explain why there is a couch in the bathroom. Is it for gal pals who go in groups?

Mom ordered us spring rolls to start; she said they were amazing here, and she was right!

021

The cilantro dipping sauce really made the spring roll.

As for the menu, they had an interesting combination of food, an upscale American-Asian-Mexican fusion. I ordered the fish tacos, which were described as “two flour tortillas filled with sweet flaky whitefish, and topped with pico de gallo spicy remoulade, shredded lettuce and sour cream.” I chose a salad as my side with balsamic vinaigrette.

026

It was a nice mixture of lettuces instead of all-iceberg, which was refreshing.

027

My fish tacos were delicious. The whitefish was perfectly cooked, but I especially loved the spicy remoulade. It had a nice kick that paired nicely with the sour cream.

025

Dave and I don’t go out to eat very often, so it was fun to have a night out on the town again. The honey moon acted as a flashlight for me on my drive home….the home my parents live in, that is.

028

 

The next morning I was up bright and early to have coffee with my parents. They have a very different routine when it comes to coffee. It is consumed on lawn chairs as the sun comes up, and you only drink a half cup at a time, refilling it for an hour or two until it’s time to start the day. After coffee, I took a little road trip with Dad to the landfill and then came back and got ready for the day…..then took a bunch of pictures of my mom’s pretty garden.

031

 

I was really excited to see a bumble bee–it’s been ages.033

I had plans to meet my friend Nicole for coffee at noon, so I decided to go visit my friend Shelby for a little bit first. As it was still early and she was not yet showered, I didn’t take any pictures, even though she looked as beautiful as always. 🙂

I went to my grandma’s house to visit for a little bit, but was surprised to find that everyone was still asleep at 11:00. Instead of hanging around there, I made a quick pit stop at Gordman’s and snagged a $10 swimsuit-cover-up to wear as a dress to the play. I had mine all layed out with a sweater and belt and left it hanging on the door at home. (!!!!)

I decided to park at my grandma’s house and walk to meet Nicole to get a little sun and exercise.

038

039

040

 

The Locktender’s house just opened on the river as a little cafe, and I was itching to try it. My dad’s friend owns it, and it is being run by my favorite coffee shop in Green Bay: Kavarna.

041

042

The server was working on the menu, so I wasn’t able to see what they had. I ordered an iced coffee and veggies with hummus once he assured me those were available, and Nicole and I headed out to the river to chat and take in the beautiful day.

044

045

It was so good to see Nicole again! She and I used to be as close as peas and carrots, but life happened. We had a lovely time catching up, and we stayed outside so long that I completely forgot that I was getting roasted by the sun.

It was beautiful, but I had to go back to get my birthday present of dinner and a show; Mom and Emily bought me a ticket to see The Phantom of the Opera!

Mom and I picked up her friend Debbie and headed to Appleton to enjoy dinner at Good Company before the show.

046

There was a 45 minute wait, so we sat at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail.

049

048

Look at my lovely sunburn. That will teach me to go out without sunscreen.

Eventually, it started getting so late that we were worried about getting to the show in time. We asked if we could just eat at the bar, and the bartender said, “Or you could sit at the open table behind you. Those reserved seats are just for people drinking at the bar.” (Um…..why didn’t you say that an hour ago?)

051

I was famished having only eaten veggies and hummus all day, so I dug into the bread as soon as they brought it out.

Mom, Debbie, and I were having so much fun talking–those girls are a hoot!

050

052

I ordered the Veggie Ruben with french fries, and ate it in approximately 3 minutes, both due to hunger and anticipation of getting to the play on time.

054It was good, but it would have been better if I didn’t have to hoover it.

We made it to the play with plenty of time to spare.

059

I’m not sure why they use this full mask on their programs, since The Phantom only ever seems to have a half mask on. Curious.

The show itself was just……incredible. Just like every time I see a musical, I remember that I want to learn to sing and dance and become a stage actress.

055

056

Even working backstage would be wonderful. It is amazing what they can do now with scenery. This was my first time seeing the play, and all I could think about on the way home was how much I want to see the movie now. It was a wonderful birthday present, and I’m so glad I got to go.

Mom and I got home late, and I was up early again the next day for Father’s Day. After our coffee routine, I picked up my sister Emily and my niece Aurelia, and we headed to my grandparent’s house so my dad could wish his dad a ‘Happy Father’s Day.’

062

I haven’t been to my grandparent’s house in awhile, so we had fun playing with all the toys in their garage.

063

067

069064

This is my grandma’s new dog Toby, who I met for the first time: he’s part Pomeranian and part Terrier.

076

We stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s for an hour or so and then headed to the park with some groceries to cook out.

079

080

085

We were at the park for less than an hour when a strong gale wind came whipping through, and rain threatened overhead. The rain definitely thwarted our cookout plan, so we drove over to my brother’s apartment instead. Luckily, the sun came out, and the wind died down.

089

090

091

Linner was a veggie dog, broccoli salad, potato salad, pita chips with hummus and some chips, after which I convinced my family to take a group picture for Father’s Day.

092

We definitely need some work.

094

That’s a little better.

The day flew by, and soon I was in the car again, homeward bound to Davy.

Couples’ Weekend

Hey, guys! How was your weekend?

Last week was long and stressful, so Dave and I were more than eager to let loose with some of our best friends. In fact, I had so much fun welcoming Tess and Jake on Friday night that I didn’t take any pictures!  We sat around the bonfire with cocktails and s’mores for as long as we could before calling it a night.

Saturday, we had plenty to do. First we convened at Em and Dan’s for a walk to the market.

001

Unlike our sad little lilac bush whose blooms have already disappeared, Em and Dan had some in a jar on their kitchen table. Is there a better scent in the world (besides old books and pipe tobacco and freshly cut grass and lavender)?

Breakfast at the market: spring rolls with peanut sauce.

002

 

Dave couldn’t pass up the beautiful asparagus, so we bought two big bunches.

003

We stopped at the bike shop to look around and decided to split a root beer.

004

Old school machine with a $1 deposit on the bottle.

006

The lovely soda model.

We knew it was supposed to storm and wanted to take advantage of the day as best we could, so we headed to the beach early in the day to catch some sun. My friend Amanda and her boyfriend Tyler (who happens to be my brother and also one of my best friends…phew!) came to join us just in time.

008

009

010

Four pairs of couples: so fun!

013

Dan & Em.

014Tess & Jake.

015Ty & Amanda.

008

Plus, Davy and me!

012

And the best beach towel ever.

We got a little over an hour of beach time in before the rain started coming down. We chose to make a run for it.

016

Others didn’t seem to mind so much.

After a change of clothes, we reconvened. The gentlemen had their pipes.

020

And the ladies had their knitting.

022

I….took pictures.

Next up was a trip to the grocery store for dinner supplies, and then a visit to Great Northern Distillery. This is our third time there in a couple months–we’re starting to be regulars!

023

Since we had such a large group, we took up temporary residence at the giant log table.

024

026

027

028

029

It’s a cool idea, even if it is a little hard to interact with people across the logs.

025

My drink was delicious and refreshing, albeit a little sweet for my taste. I hope they decide to make a martini soon!

After the distillery, we headed back to Dan and Em’s to cook dinner. Dan was in charge of two racks of rosemary ribs and potatoes with onion, Dave seared a tuna steak, and I have no idea who took care of the asparagus.

037

041

(Please note how Dave’s hands are as pink as the tuna! That boy does not tan).

I do know that dinner was incredibly delicious.

042

It’s been awhile since I’ve had ribs, and it’s been even longer since I’ve had tuna steak.

Fortunately, the rain had stopped in time for us to grill out and then head back outside for a fire.

043

Christmas is finally over. Burn it!

Sunday, we dropped off Dave’s car to be fixed and did a little grocery shopping before joining together again to lounge and have a lazy Sunday.

045

047

052

053

For lunch, we had sandwiches and vegetable chips.

044

Mine was piled high with hummus, guacamole, pickles, spinach, horseradish cheddar, jalapeno yogurt cheese, ham, turkey, pepperoni, and a little mustard on rosemary bread. Much better than any sandwich we could have bought pre-made for lunch.

Unfortunately, the day had to end and with it, the weekend.

Oh, What a Beautiful Day

It was such a beautiful weekend, in every sense of the phrase. Not only was I surrounded by family and friends (friends that are family), but the weather was gorgeous: sunny, in the low 70s, with just a hint of a breeze

Due to varied arrival times on Friday, Dave and I decided to do a European Dinner Night for ease: smoked salmon and whitefish, sausage, pickles, a cheese plate, veggies with ranch dip, homemade crackers and bread, and onion dip (which my friend Dan made–it was so good). I love snack dinners.

By the way, did I tell you that Dave’s been teaching me to bake bread? He wants an heir, but I’m content to leave him the throne for now. Although, damn, that bread was pretty delicious.

001

On Saturday morning Mom and Dad were up early. By the time I was up, they had already gone to get coffee and doughnuts. (As a point of reference, I slept until 8:00am….weirdos).

003Looking at doughnuts makes me happy. Unfortunately, eating doughnuts doesn’t make my stomach too happy, so I savored half of one and called it good. Oh, cream filling, how I hate to love you. Love to hate you? Eh, whatever.

Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I walked downtown and then swooped around back to a plant sale where Mom bought me three new perennials to plant. Now I just need some garden tools!

005(I wonder if there’s a plant sale?)

When we got home, we picked up the rest of the gang: my brother, Tyler, my sister, Moriah, Dave, and our friends Dan, Emily, and Amanda, and headed to the Market on Strongs for some goodies for dinner. We walked back to drop off the frozen food and then walked back into town to eat. We wanted to go to Emy J’s, but it was packed, so we settled on Erbert and Gerbert’s.

010

I really wanted this picture to turn out.

012At least this one did. Wait a minute, I’ve seen this expression before…
PicMonkey CollageThat little nose! It kills me.

009We made it easy and ordered four Jacob Bluefingers on honey wheat. I was the difficult one who subbed mustard for mayo. Dad also ordered a pickle, but it got boggarted by the moonbeam. “Papa, pickle? Pickle?” How could he say no to this face?

010

She could sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady in white gloves.

We walked back past our house and made it to the Stevens Point Brewery just in time for the tour I booked earlier in the week. My Dad has been drinking Point since I was little, so I knew it would be the perfect place to go to celebrate his birthday.

015

028

They look kind of similar, don’t you think?

017

018

019

020

021

022

023

 

024

025

The tour was really informative and when it ended, we were given three sample tickets to sample the beers, hard ciders, or sodas of our choice. I even won an extra sample ticket for remembering our tour guide’s name.

026

027

It’s still a little weird to me that I’m living in the place where my dad’s favorite beer lives. I vaguely remember driving through Stevens Point on a family visit and thinking, “This is a pretty town. It would be cool to live here someday.” And now I am!

The Moonbeam was so good during the tour, and we took her to the park to play afterwards. It was pretty barren given how beautiful it was outside, so Dad, Em, Mom, and I got to join in on the fun.

PicMonkey Collage 2055PicMonkey CollageMy dad may be 55, but he’s a kid at heart.

After a quick dip of our toes in the water, we went back to the house for a bonfire and cookout.

057

On the menu: marinated chicken, andouille sausages and bison brats from the Market, baked beans, and potatoes. With chips as our appetizer, it was really a classic American cookout. We had so much food for the grill that my brother Ty built a mini grill in the firepit to cook the brats.

058

059

060

066

Look! She’s going to be a harmonica player!

We stayed up late around the fire, because….well, it’s so easy get sucked into the magic of the fire and lose track of time.

010And look at the beautiful benches my dad brought for me!

004

Love, love, love.

The next day was Sunday: Mother’s Day, Dad’s birthday, and Amanda’s birthday. What a trifecta of fun! We enjoyed coffee and presents outside (after washing dishes from the night before).

072073082I had a mini photoshoot with Aurelia.

PicMonkey Collage 3With this many pictures of my niece, I can only imagine how many pictures I’ll take of my own children. Unless they’re ugly. Then I’ll keep photographing Aurelia. Those eyes! That silky hair! That button nose! Those boots! Gaaaaah!

After coffee, we headed over to the Co-op where we picked up noshes for lunch.

084

Picnic at the park with cheese, crackers, dolmas, fruit, veggie chips, and cookies. We also shared various beverages: mine was Dandelion and Burdock and was really delicious, despite the strange ingredients.

083

We went to Belt’s for birthday ice cream, and it started to pour just as we got our ice cream. We had to say a quick car goodbye before I finally headed home to my lair to rest. It was quite a weekend, and I was so glad I got to spend it with some of my favorite people.

Birthday Weekend

My brother turned the big 2-8 this weekend, and he drove all the way to Point to celebrate it with me!

025

Okay, there’s a slight chance he wanted to see others besides me, but it sure was nice spending my brother’s birthday with him after missing my sisters’ last month.

It was a nice little weekend with food, friends, movies, and board games. Together, Ty and I even convinced Dave to make some of his delicious bread Friday night.

007

008

010

012

013

For Ty’s birthday dinner, we made One Pot Pasta with Mussels, and Dave made some amazing Cheesy Polenta with Jalapenos.

014

021

Ty doesn’t like regular cake, so I made (hem, assembled) him an ice cream cake for his birthday. So easy and so good!

Layer ice cream sandwiches.

001

 

Cool whip.

002

 

Fudge topping or chocolate syrup.

003

 

And crushed Oreos.

004

 

Repeat, cover with foil, and freeze.

005

 

It has been such a long time since I’ve made pretzels that I felt the compulsion to do so this weekend. The compulsion was heightened by a Valentine’s Day picture I saw of a Bloody Mary with a heart shaped pretzel garnishing it.

030

 

Okay, you can laugh at how my hearts turned out.

029

 

The poppers turned out wonderfully, though, and made an excellent addition to Sunday Bloody Sunday served alongside mustard, horseradish, and salsa con queso.

Then came everyone’s least favorite part of Sunday: the part where we say goodbye to each other and the weekend and prepare ourselves for the forthcoming week (which, in my case, generally involves laundry).

It was another wonderful weekend. Happy Birthday, Ty!  You are the best big brother and friend a girl could ask for.

Next weekend, Dave and I made a pact to do absolutely nothing but spend time together, which I am naturally looking forward to very much.

023

Three Days

That’s how long all weekends should be, don’t you think? Sure, a fourth day would have been nice, but the three I had off were quite lovely.

Saturday was concert day, so after running a few errands and doing dishes, we packed our bags and headed to Madison. Naturally, Dave drove; for one, because he hates being a passenger and for another, because I hate city driving with a fiery passion. I was surprised that the drive to Madison wasn’t that bad at all, even right in the city. Must be because the hipsters love walking. Good for them!

Dave found this gem of a hotel called Hotel Ruby Marie, and I fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the door.

018 I requested a room with a king size bed and a fireplace, and it was just lovely from the comfy armchairs to the pull-chain toilet and jacuzzi jet tub.

021After the snowy drive, it was nice settling down in our comfy room in front of the fireplace.

020We will definitely come back here if we’re ever in Madison again.

023

031

Happy hour started in our room as our friends arrived and then we headed down to the hotel’s attached bar to redeem our free drink voucher that was given to us upon our arrival. After a drink, we headed past our hotel to their attached German restaurant, Essen Haus.

068 Obviously, we had to order a few boots of beer for the table.

035

040

046

I wasn’t terribly hungry but I hadn’t eaten much that day and knew I needed something besides beer in my system. I ordered the Veggie Reuben with the Deutsch Salad.

039

The Deutsch salad consisted of marinated kidney beans, carrots, beets, and coleslaw. I only picked at the salad, since the marinated vegetables were a bit sweet for my taste.

I had no trouble polishing off my delicious reuben, though.

041

 

Mmmm, sauerkraut.

042

At our friend JD’s suggestion, we hopped a bus to take to the Barrymore Theatre where Cloud Cult was playing. I think we startled the normal bus patrons as our group stormed the public transportation. There weren’t enough seats, so many of us grabbed on to the handle bars. and as I struggled to keep myself upright as we lurched and turned, I couldn’t help but think of The Knight Bus: “Take it away, Ernie!”

Cloud Cult had no opening band, they simply played themselves for two sets: one acoustic and one electric. As they played, two of the band members drew pictures that would be auctioned off at the end of the show. It was wonderful being so close to the stage–the lead singer, Craig, was so cute! There is no other way to describe his dimpled face.

050

On our way out, our friend Nicole tried to get us a cab while Shelby and I got our picture taken with a polar bear advertising for…something.

061The Madison cab was apparently going to take at least a half hour to pick us up. A half hour? In Madison? Shouldn’t they have a bevy of taxis?

So we started to walk. Two miles. In the freezing cold. I stayed positive, but I don’t think anybody else wanted to try that hard.The night ended much later than I wanted it to, and Dave and I got fewer than six hours of sleep in our comfy, king-sized bed before I woke up and took myself to the jacuzzi-jet bath with my book.

After checkout, we walked to the hotel’s breakfast place, Come Back In, to redeem our breakfast vouchers.

069 I was expecting the menu to be simple: eggs, toast, and hashbrowns, but they had a wide array of delicious-sounding breakfast items. I ordered the Veggie Benedict, which was chock-full of veggies seasoned with curry and served with breakfast potatoes.

072

It was so good, I wished I was hungrier.  Dave and I split so he could go home with Dan & Em, and I could drive to Green Bay to see my family for an Oscar party.

It’s always so funny when I don’t see my family for awhile, because when we’re all together, we just talk over each other and it’s really chaotic. Adding a toddler to the bunch didn’t help with the volume–that girl has got lungs on her!

We headed to the store to get groceries for our Oscar night. On the menu: Champagne (of course), White Chicken Chili, Brie en Croute, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Tuna Topped Wonton Crisps, Veggies & Dip, and Cheese & Crackers.

076

These Tuna-Topped Wonton Crisps that Mom made were a recipe from Hungry Girl made a really tasty appetizer.

  • 12 square wonton wrappers
  • 2 pouches Starkist Tuna Creations Sweet & Spicy
  • 1 cup bagged broccoli cole slaw, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lowfat sesame ginger dressing (Newman’s is great)
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray, and lay the wrappers on the baking sheets. Bake until edges have browned, about five minutes.

Remove from sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, flake tuna with a fork in a medium bowl. Add chopped broccoli slaw and dressing and mix well.

Top wonton crisps with tuna mixture and sprinkle scallions on top.

Recipe can be found here.

*****

As usual, we printed off our Oscar sheets, made our votes, sat back and waited for the stars to dazzle us while munching on delicious food and enjoying champagne.

080

074

073

075The highlights of the event included the hostess Ellen (love her!) ordering pizza and passing it out amongst the crowd (the delivery guy got a huge tip that night), Jared Leto looking like a Hot Jesus with his long unkempt hair, Benedict Cumberbatch being Benedict Cumberbatch, and Aurelia singing and dancing along to the songs.

Well, when she wasn’t sitting in a box.

078

It was so fun watching it with my family, which included my mom, my sisters Emily and Moriah, my aunt Dina, my grandma, my uncle Howie, and Aurelia. Needless to say, it was a little loud. I insisted Dina get a hearing aid after she said, “Who won?!” for the hundredth time.

I lost spectacularly, guessing only 9 of the 24 categories correctly. Moriah won with 19, the little cheater. The injustice of it all! At least I guessed Best Picture (12 Years a Slave) and Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) correctly.

After putting ourselves to bed, the next day we woke up with coffee and pretty much rewatched the Oscars as it was being rehashed on the morning TV shows.

The gang of us (minus Emily who had to work) went to Nicolet for brunch. It’s in a new building now in De Pere, but before that, nearly all of us had worked there before. Oh, how I miss the days of food service….

084

I had to order an old favorite: A seaburger with all the fixings and french fries.

083

 

The food is definitely not as good as the old Nicolet, but at least the taste of nostalgia is still sweet.

I said my goodbyes to my family soon after lunch and started the drive home to Stevens Point after my three day weekend, eager to see Dave, Athena, and Artemis again. There’s always something to look forward to, isn’t there?

Shelby for a Weekend

Hey guys! I hope you had a good weekend.

Mine was splendid but, as usual, was over far too quickly. The visit that had been put off far to long was finally here.

003

Artwork by C. Morgan

 

SHELBY’S COMING TO POINT!!!

I was off-the-wall excited for Shelby’s visit. I hadn’t seen her since the day after Thanksgiving, which is far too long to be away from one of your best friends. It’s amazing how close we have become in such a short period of time, and I can’t imagine where Dave and I would be without our Shelbster.

Friday we had a pretty low-key night. We stayed in, had some beverages, ordered out, and watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

We were in bed pretty early Friday night, which left us all day Saturday for bumming around. We started our morning with coffee and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and took turns showering before we started prepping for dinner.

004

 

Dave sauteed some onions for French onion rolls and for a Potato Tian that he put Shelby and I to work on.

006

 

Shelby loved that she got to mix the potatoes with the oil and spices by hand.

007

 

I’ve never made a tian before, but it was gorgeous. I was especially glad that I finally got to use the casserole dish I got thrifting the day after Thanksgiving.

With the potatoes prepped and the bread dough rising, we decided to do a little thrifting ourselves.

008

 

This was our first time at Nice As New, a resale shop sporting mostly clothing. We each ended up with a few things, including a new sweater for Dave that I was most excited about.

We needed a pick-me-up and something to nosh, so we headed to Emy J’s.

012

 

 

I ordered one of my favorites: a Matcha Latte with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.011

 

Because friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.009

 

I wanted something light, so I ordered a Greek salad with whole wheat toast and balsamic dressing on the side.

010

 

Emy J’s has really delicious wraps and sandwiches and while this salad was really good, I was kind of surprised that it was the same price as a wrap. For $8, you should get a salad the size of your plate. Still, it was the perfect amount of food.

We headed back home for a little bit to beat down the dough and let it rise a second time. You really have to babysit bread! Dave is better at babysitting than I am; that’s why he’s the baker.

We wanted to fill our growlers for that night, so we headed to O’so Tap House.

013 And of course we had to have a beer (or two) while we were there…

014

 

I tried a Sweet Lady Stout for the first time, which was rich and smoky with a hint of sweetness. It was good, but not as good as Night Train, which I chose to fill one of the growlers with.

For the second round, we all ordered Holy Wah, which ended up filling our second growler.

020

 

Shel and Chel at O’sos! Notice how we’re wearing matching shirts. Most of my friends and I get our clothes at thrift stores or Target, so we have quite a few of the same tops. I guess I don’t really have original style…

When we left O’sos, we were all hungry but dinner was far off, so I made a snack plate to tide us over while the roast, potato tian, brussels sprouts, and rolls cooked.

022

 

Toast points made from the rest of Dave’s homemade rye bread, carrots, celery, pickled brussels sprouts, pickles, cheese curds and homemade ranch dip with Greek yogurt.

032

 

024

 

026

033

 

I love these people so much.

At long last, dinner.

028

 

Everything was so delicious. The brine that Dave used for the roast was amazing; the same one that he uses for his ribs. Unfortunately, the potatoes were a little undercooked and crunchy, but the caramelized onions and mushrooms underneath the dish evened that out.

027

 

As did the crunchy cheese on top.

Wine + food coma = sleepy Chel. I was in bed before midnight again, which resulted in me waking up early to finish the rest of Allegiant. I haven’t really been impressed with the last few book series I’ve read. Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: they all seem to start out really strong, but the second book is weaker, and the third weaker still.

My conclusion: there is no next Harry Potter series.

So we started Sunday morning with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

After showers and a quick trip to the store for vodka, we headed over to Dan and Em’s for Sunday Bloody Sunday. Dave wore his new striped sweater.

048

So handsome.

Game of the day: Pass the Pigs.

056

This was a housewarming gift from our friend Jake, and this was our first opportunity to play it since we received it.

The game is pretty simple: throw the pigs like dice and earn points (or lose points) depending on how they land.

055

So simple, yet so fun.

For a late lunch, Dan and Em promised us curry, so we chopped, stirred, and sauteed our way through the afternoon.

057

Dan bought most of the ingredients for the Chicken and Mushroom Curry from a local vietnamese market, including this 20 lb bag of Basmati rice.

058

059

060

Heavenly. I’m definitely going to be making my own curry more often, although I made Dave promise to make some naan to dip in it.

We finally had to say goodbye to Shelby and send her on her merry way, as much as I didn’t want to. I distracted myself with knitting before Dave and I watched the final episode of Sherlock season 3.

AAAAAGGGH! Is how I felt after I watched it. And how I felt when the weekend was over.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Gosh, what is there to say about Thanksgiving? It was loud. It was wonderful. Aurelia is a friggin’ doll. My family cooks awesome food. Wine is delicious. So is beer. My family is super fun. I made three pans of roasted broccoli, and it all got eaten. #winning (Happy, Ty?)

PicMonkey Collage

 

PicMonkey Collage3

 

PicMonkey Collage2

 

I stayed over at my parent’s house on Thanksgiving night, and we tried to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol but fell asleep soon into the show and decided to call it a night.

The next morning, I woke to coffee and Aurelia in pajamas. Holidays are way more fun with a kid around.

069

 

071

 

My family and I are not Black Friday shoppers, but we love thrifting, so we decided to make a day of it. My aunt Dina, Mom, her friend Debbie, my friend Shelby and I headed to Sheboygan to scope out as many resale shops as we could find. My mom’s friend Debbie knows where every resale shop in Wisconsin is, so we followed her lead and discovered some great finds.

072

 

079

 

080

 

For lunch, we headed to Qdoba, a Mexican grill similar to Subway, where they make the food in front of you and it’s ready in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

075

 

I ordered a Naked Vegetarian Taco Salad with corn salsa, pico, cheese, beans, guacamole and sour cream. It was really tasty and incredibly filling. Cheap, too! And I loved that they weren’t stingy with the guacamole, which is always the best part.

076

 

We also shared some house-made chips made with lime juice and salt.

After we’d been to six or so places and I’d scored circular knitting needles, a cool casserole dish, and some cute clothes, we headed to Manitowoc for a coffee. We decided on a place called Wrap It Up, a place my mom frequents sometimes for lunch with delicious wraps and paninis.

082

 

083

 

I ordered a Peppermint Mocha, which was hot, sweet, and delicious.085

 

Mmmm…peppermint.

084

 

We had such a fun day. It was way better than standing in line at a Walmart for a flat screen TV.

I made the two hour drive back home and was really excited when I remembered it was only Friday. Four day weekends are the best.

Hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving!

Adventures of the House Hunters

For the first time possibly ever, the weekend feels longer than normal. Saturday was like two days rolled into one.

Our adventures started Friday afternoon when I raced home from work, hopped in Dave’s car with him and a couple overnight bags, and sailed to Appleton for a drug test for my new job.

Passed with flying colors! I’ve never had a urine drug test before, only a hair test, so it certainly was an adventure. We hopped back on the highway and made the trek (for the five hundredth time) to Stevens Point.

Emily had a meeting with her co-workers at a local bar, so we met Dan there and had a couple drinks while they talked music (Em is a music teacher). Afterwards, we headed to Schmeekle Reserve for an evening walk.

004

I plan to make this my running trail.

006

The rest of the night was spent at Dan and Em’s house doing our fabulous foursome thing.

Saturday morning we awaited the arrival of Dan’s mom Ceci so we could all go to the market together.

011

Guess what? It’s boot season!

010

The market is still going strong! I really wanted to pick up some bread from the market, and we were in luck. Both the Amish and the French baker were there.

012

Just look at that beautiful bread. We bought a sourdough bulle and a French baguette from the (obviously) French bakery and a loaf of Rosemary Garlic bread from the Amish family. Dave and I only stayed at the market a little while, because we had an appointment at 11:30 to meet at an office regarding a duplex we thought we were interested in. Key word: thought.

016

This was the “office.”

017

This was the landlord’s house next to the “office,” pigeon coop and all.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the duplex. Pros: nothing. Cons: EVERYTHING. It was in the sketchiest part of town, and the duplex was completely ripped up despite the fact that it was “move-in-ready” two weeks ago. The toilet, which was perched on top of the sink instead of on the floor, threatened syphilis if we ever sat upon it. We took all of five minutes looking at the place, before Dave checked his phone and said, “Oh, honey, we better get going so we can get to our next appointment at noon.” True love.

We were five feet outside the door when I said, “Is it too soon to start laughing?”

It was not. We laughed our way all to Graffiti’s, where we promptly ordered Bloody Marys.

021

018

Dave said, “I would rather sleep in a tent than live in that duplex.” My husband is not an outdoorsy person, and sleeping in a tent is one of his versions of hell. That’s how bad the duplex was.

Dan, Em, and Ceci met us back at Graffiti’s and we shared some appetizers while we waited for our next appointment (which was actually at one).

023

Crab roll-ups.

024

And cheese curds.

Then we made our trek to look at a small house for rent. Pros: good neighborhood, inexpensive, has a yard (with a garden for Chel!) and a fire pit, and has a guest bedroom. Cons: the house needs a little love (hem, work), it’s not very attractive on the outside, and the inside is set up a little wonky.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time to keep looking, so we decided to apply for the house. I’m more excited than Dave is, but maybe that’s because I have a big imagination. I did not have a big enough imagination for that duplex. *shudder*

Stevens Points has a lot of really great antique shops, and we had fun looking at all the treasures.

033

042

031

028

029

 

038

 

And trying on hats.

035

 

I love hats!

043

 

After a few hours of antiquing, we started to head back to Em & Dan’s house, but first we stopped for ice cream.

044

 

Ice cream within walking distance? Win.

045

 

I ordered a small chocolate malt.

047

 

When I worked at Nicolet Restaurant in high school as a toast girl and runner, the waitresses hated making malts and shakes, so they’d pay me $2 to do it.

We brought our ice cream back to the house and chatted for a few more minutes before making the drive back home.

My friend Shelby and her mom came over for a visit, then Tyler.

049

 

We shared a few Harvest Moon beers, pointed out plot holes in Beauty and the Beast, and made sandwiches for dinner.

052

 

Tofurkey, swiss cheese, muenster cheese, pickles, romaine, tomatoes and creamy caper dill mustard on rosemary garlic bread. A perfect sandwich.

I was falling asleep on the couch and finally put myself to bed.

Ren Faire Weekend

We were still bundled up indoors while the snow flew when Dave turned to me and said, “I want to go to the Ren Faire again this year, and I want to wear a kilt.”

Me: (loooooong pause) “What?! Okay!”

003

I love dressing up, but my husband has never been a fan. He doesn’t like Halloween and is much more comfortable wearing his own clothes than the strange costumes I’ve encouraged him to wear for all the themed parties my family throws. Needless to say, I was ecstatic that he wanted to return to the faire in costume. I guess he felt out of place the last time we went.

045

Not this year!

We got a late start Saturday morning, but eventually met up with a group of friends to eat, drink, and be merry.

070

Woohoo, sexy Scotsman!

020

It never gets old. I could keep looking at this picture and smile forever.

We didn’t visit too many vendors this time, which was probably good for our wallet, but we had plenty of food, mead, and shows to entertain us.

011

I was really hungry when we first arrived and immediately bought a small bowl of mushrooms, which came with a breadstick for dipping. So juicy and flavorful. I always forget to make just mushrooms as a side, but they’re so good.

009

Look, a camel! Of course you’ve probably heard me say before that I’m not entirely comfortable with bringing animals into a strange environment for our amusement. Still, it was cool to see a camel. 🙂

012

Whoa. This girl must have crazy upper body strength.

015

Like a quarter of the women there, Michelle and I rocked corsets. How awesome does she look?!

052

Shelby also pulled it off splendidly. It was her first (and maybe last) time wearing a corset.

It was wenches weekend at the faire, and there was certainly no shortage of cleavage. Some women were scantily clad in chain mail bikinis that perhaps should not have been, but kudos to them for not being self conscious. Goes both ways, I guess.

019

Some women, like my friend Tess, chose to wore more practical chain mail. I just love seeing people in costume. People watching at the faire is fabulous.

049

And it’s even more fun to see friends dressed up than strangers.006

008

We met Shelby’s friend Brittyn (hope I spelled that right) for the first time yesterday, and he worked hard the night before to make a costume from his drapes. He won big points for that.

022

My friend Em’s best friend Jimmy is one of three very talented artists (Small, Medium, and Large) in the Barely Balanced act. Like last time we visited the faire, he was wonderful and provided four of us with free tickets. Thanks, Jimmy!

024

The Barely Balanced show was amazing. My friend Dan helped Medium (Cameron) onto the stage on his stilts as the show began, and then we watched them do all sorts of crazy stunts that could easily end badly but never did.

PicMonkey Collage

I know from Emily’s stories that these three practice a lot, so I wasn’t too nervous watching the show, except when a volunteer from the audience put one of the balance boards on crooked. Fortunately, everyone survived the show with smiles, and we got our picture with the extremely talented bunch.

PicMonkey Collage2

047

Another snack: a Monkey Tail (aka frozen chocolate covered banana on a stick). Yes, I realize how weird it looks, but it was good!

058

After the fire show, we finally headed back to the car to remove our corsets and head to our friend Tess’ apartment. My ribs were very happy to be in a regular shirt afterwards.

055

Right at the exit, Dave surprised me with a single red rose.

088

Somebody loves me!

After arriving at Tess’, it was a lovely night of eating snacks, drinking beer, and playing Jenga.

PicMonkey Collage1

This morning, we went to a lovely cafe in Wauwatosa called The City Market for breakfast. My phone was dead at that point, so no pictures. I wasn’t too hungry and only ate half of my bowl of Greek yogurt and granola. We hung out for a little bit more back at the apartment before it was time to hit the road.

We were only about 15 minutes away from our apartment in Green Bay when my car started making a strange rattling noise, and we had to pull over at a gas station. Now my car is sitting in the parking lot to hopefully be fixed by the auto service shop across the street. Sigh. It was a lovely weekend with a not-so-great ending, but I’m trying not to be too worried about my car problems. Just keep your fingers crossed I don’t have to drain my savings account to pay for it.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Clean & Rest

Dave and I made tentative plans to go out for brunch yesterday morning, but after I still couldn’t rouse him at noon, it became clear that it was going to be a rest day. I left the apartment for a bit to drive my friends Dan and Emily over to his parents’ house, dropped my friend Cory’s hard drive back at his and Shelby’s place so he could have a Game of Thrones marathon, and headed home to battle my apartment.

070

 

Don’t worry, I won. I was actually really surprised at how clean the apartment was. Besides two dishwasher cycles, most of my time was spent rearranging furniture and replacing candles with picture frames. We really are getting older!

I took a break for a lunch snack at some point.

002Crackers, rye chips, and baby carrots with truffled hummus. Leftover salmon with capers. And a few pieces of delicious cheese.

After cleaning for a few hours, Dave finally woke up. My poor baby was battling the hangover of a century. Dave never gets hangovers, but even he couldn’t win against the wine.

008It was clear that hangover food was needed for dinner.

005

 

First up: Vegetarian Deluxe pizza from Rosati’s with a double dough crust. Dare I say, there was almost a little too much ooey, gooey cheese on here? I loved the crust, though. Thick and chewy, my favorite.

006

 

Breaded mushrooms with marinara sauce.

007

 

And jalapeno poppers with ranch.

I think people sometimes get the impression that I only eat healthy, homemade and/or gourmet food. (Someone was shocked to see frozen pizza on my blog last week). It’s true, I try to, 80% of the time. But I’m only human, and sometimes humans need to feed their souls, not just their bodies.

Thus, Sunday dinner:

004

 

Dave and I cuddled on the couch while watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls (I’m almost done with Season 7, and then I’ll have to start something new!), and then I headed to bed.

I really would like another Sunday, thankyouverymuch. One just isn’t enough.

Hope you all had an absolutely smashing weekend! I know I did.