Recently

…my pretty, sleepy baby has been stealing my heart (better than “melting my heart” Brody?)

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…we were lame and did nothing remotely patriotic for the 4th of July. We did eat corn on the cob – does that count?

…Moose got a Thundershirt, and it works!

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…Brody, his mom (who is visiting from Ohio), Finley, and I ate at Stalzy’s, and I finally tried their corned beef Reuben – so amazing and incredibly buttery.

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…(speaking of food) Brody grilled some yummy sausages, including green chorizo, from Underground Meat. Such an awesome butcher shop!

…I need coffee but not too much since I’m nursing.

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…I have realized I NEED a nap almost every day. I didn’t have the chance to nap Friday or Saturday, and let’s just say I was a big old hot mess Saturday night.

Question:
What’s something you’ve been up to recently?

Ten Facts About My Life Recently

I can’t believe break is almost over. Even with those two extra days, it has flown by. Good thing I’ve got a couple big things to look forward to!

Today I have lots of random thoughts and pictures to share.

1. We had a nice Christmas with my mom, my sister, her boyfriend, and Brody’s mom. It was pretty low-key and we barely left the couch or kitchen table. Brody cooked two rib roasts (long story) Christmas Eve. We opened gifts Christmas morning while eating Sara Lee butter streusel coffee cake.
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After presents, my family (except me) went to church, and we spent the afternoon watching movies. Oh, and we ate – a lot and often. ‘Tis the season!

2. Brody got me a fabulous gift: a babymoon! Over my Spring Break in March, we are going to New York for four days!!! We’re staying in Soho, and the only thing set in stone as of now is we’re going to see The Book of Mormon. Any restaurant recommendations?

3. Moose and Frankie have been loving the snow. Those first few days were hard on their paws, though. Snow packs easily between their pads, so every few minutes, they are licking at them (which only makes it worse). Both dogs also LOVED the bull pizzle (aka bully stick aka bull penis). Unfortunately their stomachs didn’t love the pizzle, and we’ve been dealing with some nasty bathroom issues. To let everything work its way out, we switched the dogs over to rice and boiled chicken.
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Frankie was not happy about his rice breakfast.

4. Our friends, Barret and Kelly, parents of Owen, sent us our first official piece of baby clothing: a Blackhawks onesie!
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It is so adorable – even Brody said so with a big smile on his face. Whether this kid is a boy or girl, it is already determined he/she will play hockey and will be a Blackhawks fan.

5. Real Simple failed me. I know – I am still in shock.
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Normally their recipes are great, but this one (pasta with sausage, arugula, and bread crumbs) missed the mark. Brody thought the arugula was too strong, but I tasted lots of thyme from the toasted bread crumbs. We both didn’t even finish our meals. I had a small bowl of Cedar Crest vanilla ice cream and Brody made nachos. Healthy alternatives around here.

6. I went to yoga yesterday! It was my second class at Bliss Flow Yoga on University Ave. Groupon had a deal a while back: $20 for 20 classes. Even if I only make it a few more times before it expires in April, that’s still a good deal. I felt comfortable doing just about everything as my belly isn’t getting in the way yet.

7. Post yoga, I met Brody for lunch. We went to Gates & Brovi, a newer restaurant on Monroe St. We both started with soup: roasted cauliflower for me and clam chowder for Brody.
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For the main course, I chose the chick pea tuna sandwich. Obviously it had tuna and chick peas but also included slices of hard boiled eggs, pepperocini, capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. It was salty and delicious.
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Brody had a classic burger and was very happy with it. Besides the good food, the decor is very inviting and casual with lots of reclaimed looking wood and high ceilings.

8. Real cream in coffee is SO much better than milk or flavored creamer. I bought half and half for the mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve (which you need to have with a roast), and there is at least half a container left. Yum!

9. It hasn’t all been eating and relaxing around here. I made it to work for four hours on Thursday and got lots of work done. My teaching license is set to expire in June, and in order to renew it, I need to finish my PDP (professional development plan) and submit it to DPI (Department of Public Instruction). Sidenote: The number of acronyms in education is incredible. I worked on my PDP for two hours and then planned lessons and emailed parents for the last two. At home I finished lots of grading on my two snow days and then yesterday I began grading research papers my juniors wrote. My goal for today is to finish one class, which has only seven papers left. I can do it!

10. My weekend plans involve the dog park (of course), the gym, Best Buy (to pick up a camera, a new point and shoot, Brody and I ordered), grading, watching a video about Huck Finn, seeing Django Unchained, and definitely some couch time.

Have a fabulous Saturday!

Questions:
What was your favorite gift? The best gift you gave?
What good restaurant have you been to recently?
What do you have planned for the weekend?

My Coffee Addiction

For the last year, I had been all about the iced coffee. I’d make a big pot, let it cool, and then keep it in an old juice container in the fridge. This was convenient and cheap, but my love for iced coffee has disappeared with the warm temps and leaves on the trees.

Now all I want is good coffee. Professional coffee. Beans ‘N Cream coffee.

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Again, darn you Instagram for not saving the pictures I take with you in my camera roll. Grrr…

For $2.64, I get a large cup of happiness. They always have at least five different kinds or flavors available, and they often match the season: pumpkin spice, cranberry, jingle bells, vanilla creme brûlée, and I know a mint chocolate is coming up soon.

Beans ‘N Cream is right on my drive out of Sun Prairie, so it takes me two minutes to park, order (which the guy now just hands me the cup), pour my coffee, and get back in my car.
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It’s a little scary how much joy their coffee brings me, but I literally wake up looking forward to it. However, because I have my mother’s frugal streak, I can’t justify going every day. Therefore I have decided to stop two to three days a week. Considering I never go out for lunch, I have given myself permission. Now I just have to be better about keeping cash on hand so I don’t have to take money out of Brody’s wallet.

Questions:
Do you support a local coffee shop?
What little thing brings you lots of joy?

What I am Loving this Summer

For today, this beautiful Friday, I have compiled a list of things I am LOVING so far this summer. Some are not surprising at all and some are shocking even me.

1) Black coffee

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Who am I? I never thought this day would come, but this morning, one of the boys I nanny polished off the milk before I had a chance to use it for my coffee. At first I was sad, but after trying the hazelnut on its own, I was pleased. Don’t think I will be giving up cream or milk in my coffee from now on, but at least I know I don’t have to deprive myself of caffeine if neither is available.

2) The pool

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In the past two weeks, I have been to the pool four times already. While I know I should wear sunscreen to avoid wrinkles later in life, there is still that eighth grader in me who wants to lather myself with oil and get as tan as possible. Yesterday I sunscreened everything but my face and stomach; I felt guilty afterwards but luckily did not burn.

3) Cherries

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I cannot get enough of these! I probably have eaten at least two servings each day for the last five days. Fellow Wisconsinite and blogger, Sarah, has also been pining over these sweet rubies of deliciousness. I hope they stay on sale for the whole summer!

4) Rest
Here I thought I was going to go crazy not running. Turns out I loved the rest! I gave my body an entire week of no physical activity besides walking. It took until Saturday, six days after the marathon, for my legs, especially the ligaments behind my knees, to feel normal again. In the past I think I depended on working out to feel “good” about myself, and this week has shown me that I can be more gentle to my body and life won’t go to hell in a hand basket.

5) Reading
I plowed through The Forest of Hands and Teeth in two days and Sarah’s Key in four, enjoying them both immensely. As you saw from the cherry picture, I am reading Midwives, which is very interesting. I would like to read or re-read a couple classics this summer, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Slaughterhouse Five.

6) Eating less carbs
I don’t really love this but it hasn’t been that hard to cut out some carbs. I haven’t gone as hardcore as Ridgey but I have greatly reduced them by avoiding bread (except for last night for BLTs), pasta, crackers, and granola bars. It has forced me to be a little more creative with my food choices, and that’s never a bad thing. For example, today for lunch was spaghetti sauce with ground turkey over a bed of spinach (which wilted eventually).

7) Patterned shorts

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These shorts in particular are what I am loving. The blue and white pattern is fun and they have a draw string waist without looking too casual. Plaid shirts similar to these are also in my summer wardrobe.

Question:
What are you LOVING this summer?

Stumptown Coffee Should Come to Madison

Greetings boys and girls!

First off…your daily dose of my photography.

April Photo a Day: something you don’t like

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As mentioned before (multiple times), I dislike doing the dishes. Tonight I made a fairly involved dinner and dirtied lots of dishes. Pans, cutting boards, and utensils, oh my. I put a dent in this after taking the photo; I plan to finish them tomorrow. As long as the dishes are below the countertop level, I can pretend like they aren’t there.

Speaking of dinner, I took my friend Mel’s advice and made Gina’s edamame fried rice. Like Mel, I added more protein: chicken for Brody and shrimp for me. This recipe turned out really well and would freeze well. Just be prepared to do some dishes.

Let’s talk coffee for a bit.

I love me some iced coffee in the morning, especially after a nice, sweaty treadmill run. Before I saw the light and started making my own iced coffee, I made a small pot every morning and drank it hot or stopped at a local coffee shop I drive past on my way to work, Beans N’ Cream. Now I make full pot (6 heaping tbsp of coffee and 8 cups of water), let it cool, put it in this massive pitcher from Target, and repeat.

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No sugar or sweetener for me – just a little milk (cow, soy, almond…I don’t discriminate). I often finish my iced deliciousness on my drive to work, and then I pout a little because it is gone.

Being somewhat frugal like my mother, I don’t spend a ton on coffee but I do prefer whole beans and avoid brands like Maxwell House and Folger’s. I currently have two bags from Target, two bags from Costa Rica (fundraiser for my coworker’s daughter), and this gem.

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Stumptown = BEST COFFEE EVER!

Unfortunately, they are only located in Portland and New York, and of course they haven’t expanded to Madison. One day, maybe we’ll have Stumptown, Yogurtland, and In N’ Out Burger. A girl can dream…

Back to this coffee though. Brody’s buddy, Dan, who lives in Portland is a self-professed coffee snob and gets this coffee almost every day. When he came to visit us a couple years ago, he brought coffee as a gift, and I fell in love. When Brody saw him this weekend in Vegas, he brought coffee to Vegas for Brody to bring home to me. So sweet! Thank you Dan!

I am already looking forward to the iced coffee I’ll be drinking in nine hours which may be washing down French toast. It’s nice to have a good breakfast to look forward to.

G’night!

Questions:
What is your least favorite chore? How do you motivate yourself to just get it done?
How do you like your coffee?