Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend = Awesome

What a great weekend! I think it is essential that I start doing my school plans on Saturday; it makes for a much more relaxing Sunday...

We didn't do a whole lot this weekend which is a beautiful thing in itself. Friday night was a family night. We made tacos and 'vegged' on the couch all night. We had some vino, caught up on our week's DVR bank, and played 'Frogger' on the XBox (yes, it's the frogger you are thinking of). We ended the night sleeping in a pile (Where the Wild Things Are), flannel sheets on the bed and all...

Saturday, I slept in (until 7:00), then went and worked at school. Beau went to help his dad at the shop, so I had an excuse to stay at school and get some work done. Christmas music and pumpkin spice coffee helped made the morning almost pleasant.

Saturday afternoon I BAKED! Turtle corn, cornbread, chicken tortilla soup, and chocolate cherry cake created wonderful smells and a pile of not-so-wonderful dishes. Cooking and baking is my 'zen,' and I realized how much I missed it from my life.
On Sunday, I realized it was important to find someone to help EAT all the food (not to mention Beau decided to break out the smoker and make some ribs). The fam came over mid-afternoon and we continued to 'veg' with football, ribs, soup, and sweets.

...and Christmas music...
...and apple cider...

Awesome Apple Cider:
2 quarts apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice (whole)
pinch ground nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
orange peel
pinch salt
Simmer in a crockpot on low until warm

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"inside all of us is a wild thing..."


Where the Wild Things Are


Love Fall Nights

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

a day away...

During the school year, Sundays can tend to get a little depressing. They start off great: sleeping past 5:30, church with Beau, a cup of hot tea or great coffee. Then, as lunch ends and Beau settles in on the basement couch for some football, I settle in my chair for a long afternoon of school work: grading papers, writing lesson plans, planning presentations, completing homework for my masters classes...the list goes on and on. It's usually this time each week that I long for an 8-5 job, one that ends the minute the work day is over; one that allows me a life on the weekends.

Today, was definitely not one of those Sundays. Since the Bears played the night game tonight, Beau and I decided to take off on a road trip to Northeast Iowa. As a little girl, my family would take these day trips once a year to see the leaves. We'd drive through small towns, take walks and pictures at Pike's Peak, pack a picnic lunch, and stop at the Cannery and Starks in Prairie Du Chene. Even as a little girl, I remember really embracing these days. I remember sitting in the back seat of the gray van with little Taylor, playing little 'car games' on the 'long' car ride. I remember running and kicking through the crispy leaves at Pike's Peak, piling up leaves and throwing the football with Dad (or I guess I should say watching Dad throw the football to Jordan). I remember tasting the different slices of apples at the orchard, sipping the samples of apple cider and begging Mom to buy some of the different apple goodies. Although it was a small venture, it was a exciting getaway for me...a vacation and an opportunity to explore and embrace the changing seasons.

Today was exactly what I needed. We had no agenda; in fact, we didn't enter directions into Sir TomTom until we got in the car. It was a gorgeous day, 60s and sunny, and the leaves were supposed to be at 75% peak. When we got to McGregor, we decided to stop at Eagles' Landing Winery. Not only were they doing free wine tasting, but they had a German buffet of samples to try after trying the wine. Blueberry and Mr. Sippi wine, hot German potato salad, slow-cooked pork, and homemade pretzels were the perfect start to our day.

Later, we met up with Mom and Dad and 'explored' with them for awhile. We ate at the marina's 'brats and beer' joint, bought some pumpkins and apples at Shihata's Apple Orchard, and browsed through the pretty Cannery store. Our last stop included a stroll through Pikes Peak. It was gorgeous! The sun was shining through the trees, adding a dimension of color to the bright golds, reds, and greens of the leaves. It was perfect therapy for a Sunday afternoon.

Other highlights of the day...

-stopping at the fish 'log' house that Jordan and Kelli RAVED about! The smoked salmon and 'tits' on a spritz may have been good, but the smell was TERRIBLE!
-finding my favorite wine (among other things) at Starks for about HALF the price I can get it in CF
-finding a pretty valance at the Cannery (and mom got a clock for her living room)
-pretty leaf pictures at Pikes Peak
-just having a car ride to talk with Beau...this doesn't happen as much as it should :)

Here are some pictures to highlight the day...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby Ty

I remember when Beau and I started dating, we used to embrace spontaneity all the time. Late night trips for milkshakes at Perkins, Sunday 'fundays,' Scrabble nights at the laundromat, and five course dinner nights with tabs way larger than we could afford were all part of our rich dating history. We were in college and being spontaneous was easy...we stayed up late and didn't think about being tired the next day; we charged restaurant tabs unconcerned with paying them back later; we watched movies instead of studied because a test was just a test.

I am so thankful for those days. And even though it is harder to come by these days with a house payment, demanding job, and plans to start a family, I still see glimpses of it every now and then.

Last Sunday, I decided on a whim to go to Madison and visit Sarah and Levi. I've been missing Sarah so much lately and missing having chances to talk to my husband without the distractions of paper grading, television watching, or house cleaning. So...Sunday morning, Beau and I left Waterloo to go see Sarah, Levi, and baby Ty. Ty, Sarah and Levi's first baby is just about three months old, and I couldn't wait to snuggle up with him for an entire day.

The three hour drive went unbelievably fast. Beau and I had so much to talk about! We also invested in our very first 'tomtom' to help us navigate through Northeast Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin. I've decided that now that we have a tomtom, it is important that we get our money's worth and travel to undiscovered places a lot!

Sarah, Levi, and Ty were excited to see us! Levi and Beau quickly settled into the Bears game (Beau was excited to talk football with a fellow Bears fan), and Sarah and I talked and talked and talked! I gave Ty a bottle, had tummy time with him, and rocked him to sleep before we took off. What a precious little boy!

I need to practice being spontaneous more often. 6 hours in the car talking with myhubby, snuggling up with a baby, and sharing gossip and laughter with a best friend was the perfect therapy!

P.S. Watch out all you distant relatives/friends!


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