Thursday, November 19, 2009


This thing that is painted on my train platform is probably supposed to make me think of our society. Instead, it makes me think of the bad guy on the Care Bears Movie.

Care Bear STARE!

Check this out...

I usually think the concept of a videographer at a wedding is kind of dumb (I guess I've seen alot of bad wedding videos), but holy CRAP this video is amazing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Well, I've been thoroughly ignoring this tiny corner of the internet... my family's 30th birthday post was so amazing that I wanted to keep it up as long as possible! I was so surprised! My husband was able to guess my password, and I kept asking him if he did it and he kept denying it. Finally I got him to fess up, which is cool. I don't care if he has my password, at least for the blog!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to:
  • New recipe November is still going on. Last week on Friday, we had pork chops with garlic and herbs with sweet potato fries (one of my standbys) and roasted asparagus. The week before we had parmesan-encrusted pork chops with hot crash potatoes and green beans. Monday Mike was still here because of Michigan state holiday, so I made an adapted version of this chicken parmesan recipe (didn't bread the chicken) and served it over spaghetti squash instead of noodles. I thought it was super yummy - I think the boy got a bit freaked out by the squash. Oh well, can't win them all! Oh, and for my bday celebrations we made gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes and car bomb cupcakes. No reason for the gluten-free other than I got a good recommendation on the recipe. Hoo boy were they both good! We've been making so much food that this Friday I think I'm going to take a little respite and just make tacos! Need a break from dirtying my kitchen.
  • We went to the Black and White Ball for the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago a couple weeks ago, and had a big group of about 20 people. It was SUCH a great time! And we bid on and won a silent auction item - for someone from our group to sing on stage with the band. Of course we made Jay do it, and he did a spectacular job! Here is a link to the video, it's awesome: Jay's Singalong
  • On the day of the actual birthday Mike and I went to Flemings. Surf and Turf for me, giant steak for Mike. And he insisted upon us both ordering our own chocolate lava cakes. Totally didn't make a dent in mine, but oh well.
  • This weekend we celebrated my birthday with dinner at Tango Sur and then hit up Hye bar with some friends. Again, another great time! I love seeing my friends and was so glad that they could make it out.
  • My birthday present came last week! I've been saving for months for a new Nikon camera (the D300S), and I finally pulled the trigger with the influx of birthday funds. Even not knowing how to use it, it takes MUCH better pictures than my old DSLR. I am officially in love.
  • With the birthday and the hunting holiday, I've had a lot of Mike time lately. More Mike time next week, which I'm very excited about. It all makes me realize how much I miss the big lug!
  • This week I am super busy, with taking pictures of a friend's baby for Christmas cards, prayer meeting with the same friend, Top Chef night with Beth tonight (hopefully I'll get in a workout too!) and tomorrow I'm hitting a new grilled-cheese restaurant with my friend Amy. Woo! After all this I am totally staying home on Friday and cleaning our wreck-of-a-condo and snuggling with that dog!

Monday, November 09, 2009


Today, November 10th, 2009, is April's 30th birthday. Yep, you read that right...the BIG THREE - OH. Thirty. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my! Thirty!

This is April

In honor of this incredibly special day for an incredibly special person, her family has hijacked her very own blog and taken it upon ourselves to post the TOP 10 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT APRIL. She does these sorts of things for us on our special days, so it's the least we can do to return the favor. Without further adieu...

From Dad...

I like it that the look I got from April in my favorite picture EVER is the same look I see nearly every time we meet.

I like the fact that April is still the only person who I think has always thought I was the man I always wanted to be. I Love you, daughter, you are as awesome at 30 years as you were at 30 seconds!!

From Mom.....

You can always count on April. I always describe my kids by saying that when they were in elementary school if April said there was a program at school tonight at 7:00 you better go whether you thought it was that night or not. Katie might say it’s next week and Jay wouldn’t tell you about it at all. But if April said it was tonight you could count on that. And if she tells you she’ll do something then you know it will get done.

April has THE BEST sense of humor. It doesn’t matter whether we’re chatting on the phone or reading her blog, she always cracks me up. We’ve been having interesting adult-like conversations since we were floating on inner tubes at Larks Lake when she was 4 yrs old.

From Jay...

April always has an Excel spreadsheet for everything.

April has never excluded her little brother from anything, rides to and from band practices, groups of friends, and beer runs in college.

From Katie...

I love April because she is the coolest big sis… tagging along to frat parties, Seven jeans, prom dress shopping in Chicago, loaning your car for several months… with nothing expected in return. I love April because when she packs to visit her family she remembers to pack a few outfits for her little sister.

I love April because she drunk dials her family at all times of the day and night! I love April because she is the best doggy mom I’ve ever known.

From Mike.,..

She makes me laugh. No matter how bad of a mood I'm in (and there are some bad ones!), she knows the exact words, facial expressions and comedic timing to use to cheer me up. And if that doesn't work, she'll just break out the party pooper song and taunt me until I give up.

She loves people and puts conscious effort into her relationships. She calls and emails her friends and family approximately 100 times as often as I do. I have no idea how she keeps up and still manages a successful career, a dirty husband, a dirtier dog and keeps house like she does. It makes me tired just thinking about it. As a specific example, today is her birthday...and she made cupcakes for her coworkers. Very impressive, dear. I freaking love you!

That's 10...BUT WAIT!! THERE'S MORE!!!

From April's beloved IU bottle jersey coozy...

I love that April carries me around in her purse approximately 97.92% of the time, just on the off chance that there may be an opportunity to drink outside.

I love that April bought a dozen of my identical twin brothers to give to her girlfriends, so that they may also have an IU bottle jersey coozy with them on the off chance that there is an opportunity to drink outside.

Tailgating...with Herman G (G for gnome) Wells. In case you haven't met April, this may be her favorite activity.

From Milly...

Aroooooooooooooo! (You didn't think the dog actually contributed, did you?)

That's it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, APRIL! We love you fiercely.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Best cupcakes ever

I found this recipe on the internet somewhere, lord only knows where because I copied it into a work document forever ago and promptly forgot where I found it. Whoever posted it said it was gluten-free and she know that sounded odd but the cupcakes were to die for. She was right, these were so freaking good that they were worth tracking down gluten-free flour in the hippy section of the grocery store.

I left out the pecans and raisins, you totally don't need them!

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp molasse
s1 Tbsp honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin purée
2 cups Red Mill’s gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder1
teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest)
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup chopped pecans1 cup raisins

Frosting ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature1/4 cup maple syrup1 cup confectioner’s powdered sugar, sifted
*Note to make your own buttermilk, combine 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let stand 10 minutes before using.

1 Preheat oven to 350°F, and place rack in the center of the oven.
2 Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses and honey, until as light and fluffy as it will be, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin purée and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
3 In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
4 Add the pecans and raisins. Mix in by hand.
5 Set paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, close to the top of the cups. Bake approximately 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

6 Using an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar and mix to combine. Once cupcakes have cooled, apply frosting.

Makes 16 cupcakes.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween fun

With the colder weather, our friend group gets a lot more social. We're all around more, so that lends itself to a lot more gatherings! We kicked off the winter fun season with Halloween. As we did last year, we had a few people over to pregame before heading out to another party a friend threw at a bar. Mike hates to dress up for Halloween, so we never do a couples costume. This year I went as a superhero with my friend Stacy. Go superheroes!
I put out the drinking chess set this year again and it didn't get used! So sad. It was a huge hit last year! Here is a pics of me and Hubs at the bar. His friend dressed as Santa and had all kinds of fun stuff in his gift bag to give away. This, he gave to Hubs since he didn't have a costume. hahah!

Here is one of me and my friend Em, who dressed as a cute cowgirl :)

We've got a fun couple of weeks planned, and I'm looking forward to November. Friday nights are Hubs and Me nights, and Saturday we have social events planned. No travelling until Thanksgiving, which I'm VERY thankful for! Last week I made a chicken, rice and beans recipe on Friday that we LOVED, and this week for Friday dinner I've got something that should be equally delish. I am looking forward to trying new recipes on Fridays for November, and I'll let you know how they turn out. But I am TELLING YOU, make that rice and beans recipe TODAY.