This post is long overdue, but better late than never. I tend to write my posts on a train or as a passenger on a longer car ride. I’m currently heading back from Chicago, more on that in another post.
My sister Erin joined a kickboxing gym in the Spring of 2017 and she really loved it! In November they had a referral contest and a cash prize award for the winner. After months of begging me to give it a try I finally did.
I really enjoyed how it was a very different type of workout and needed something to keep me active during the winter months. Despite have to drive 40 minutes one way I took the plunge and joined. I figured I would get to see Erin at class and meet some new people too.
My goal was three times a week and for many months I did just that. Bad weather only kept me away a few times, much to my surprise.
I found muscles I didn’t know I still had and enjoyed hitting and kicking that bag every single time!
We had some friends join us to give kickboxing a try! And managed to make it to class after many nights of wine and Jingle Juice!!
As spring approached and travels for business and pleasure kept me away for almost a month it became harder to keep up my three days a week. My commute to and from class became longer and longer each time due to the ridiculous amount of construction on the interstate and my 1 hour class started turning in to an all evening production.
I totally went into this while thing expecting to hate it, get sick of it by month two and be stuck paying this huge monthly bill for my membership, But that wasn’t the case! I mostly had those thoughts because I hated group fitness classes. The thought of everyone “staring” at me was freighting. I quickly got over that fear and realized no one cared what I looked like!
So while my time at kickboxing is coming to an end (my membership runs out soon) I really enjoyed my experience! That 60 minute class kept my booty moving, I met some awesome people and I got to try something new. How else would I have learned to do a wall sit, planks, kicks and punches?!
Should a studio ever open up MUCH closer to home, I’ll be there ready to get back on that mat! 🥊
Last year for spring break we took a trip to the East Coast to visit my cousin and her husband and watch our future brother-in-law and his father run the Boston Marathon. We somewhat invited ourselves to Easter 2018 at their future home in Colorado. To which my cousins hoped we would actually come! Just a fair warning, this is a long blog, but there’s plenty of pictures!
We began our trip at 3:00 pm after I picked my husband up from school and on our way we went! We drove six hours to Des Moines where I found a hotel online one hour before we arrived. I was nervous about such a great deal, but it was 8pm on a Thursday in the middle of Iowa.
We had a 10 hour drive ahead of us and hit no traffic until we hit Denver en route to Colorado Springs. I took a short nap only to be woken up by the brakes being used and I saw mountains! I was quite amazed! We reached our destination shortly after 5:30pm Mountain time. We shortly turned around to pick up my older sister at the Denver Airport.
We woke up and had breakfast then went on a walk while the two runners and Penny, the dog, went for a run. A walk at altitude was more than a workout for us!! After lunch we took a trip to the US Air Force Academy where my cousin attended college. He told us so many interesting stories about what life was like in college and the history of the buildings.
We finally changed into regular clothes and hit a Wisconsin bar to watch the Loyla basketball game. My sister is an alum as she attended for graduate school. They sadly lost, but we enjoyed our time.
We ate dinner at Bingo Burger. The burgers were huge and the fries were delicious! I loved the Cranberry BBQ Sauce. The burgers had Peublo Chilies mixed it which added some kick. Complete with locally made Root Beer!
On our walk my cousins pointed out Tasty Freeze but weren’t sure if it was open. We stopped by after dinner to which they were excited to see an OPEN sign. I love soft serve ice cream AND sprinkles. They had the coolest machine to apply sprinkles to the ice cream cones.
The evening was capped off with making The Prinsis carrot cake- a recipe we developed back in 2008 or so and watching Back to the Future.
HAPPY EASTER!! A delicious brunch with the best Lemon Sticky Rolls was followed by church.
We took a trip to see the Garden of the Gods. Very fitting on Easter to see the beauty! It was very busy.
We went up Cheyenne Mountain where my fear of heights was solidified! Maybe it was the windy, skinny roads or the altitude, but it was high! We were able to see the city down below and the beautiful sights.
Our time in Colorado Springs came to an end. My cousins had to go back to work and my sister needed her ride to the airport. We would then be spending time with my other cousin and her husband who live outside of Denver. We took a drive into the mountains and stopped to eat and try some beer at Tommy Knockers.
Dillon Dam Brewery was stop two on our day’s adventure.
We had to take a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater. My cousins only live about 10 minutes from it. I thought it was pretty cool that the CCC helped to build this. They earned $1 per day and only kept $5 a month and sent the rest to their families back home.
We set off early for Voodoo Doughnuts. We found it interesting that they are open 24/7 and take cash only, but do have an ATM inside. If you haven’t figured out that I LOVE donuts, I’m not quite sure what to say!! I gave up donuts for lent. I had two on Mardi Gras, which feels like forever ago!! My excitement level was through the roof!! Yes, I wore my donut attire!!
We killed some time in Downtown Denver at Union Station and walking around until it was time to taste some beer. We started at Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s first brewpub. I have an affinity for milk stouts so I went with that. My husband on the other hand was dying to try Rocky Mountain Oysters (RMO), see: bull testicles. He had a beer that had RMO brewed in it. The bartender noticed my donut short and asked if I liked donuts. I enthusiastically said yes, to which she explained that they have a beer brewed with 1000 donuts and espresso. She gave us a sample of the Bad Habit. Then she said they have Badder Habit, which is the same beer brewed in whiskey barrels. These beers were tasty. Thanks to that shirt we would have never even tried them as they weren’t on the beer menu!
Food was a necessity so we stopped at a Wisconsin fave that’s also located in Denver, Ian’s Pizza.
Our time to leave Colorado arrived. We enjoyed our time there so much! We made a last-minute decision to head back to Colorado Springs and visit the US Olympic Training Center. I recently posted about my love for the Olympics if you need the background story. I was so excited to visit and walk in the very location of decorated Olympian’s and talented athletes.
We departed and made our way across the also boring state of Kansas to arrive in Kansas City, MO for our next stop. I had made a hotel reservation months ago and we arrived late to our hotel. We were given our room and keys and we headed to the room. We opened the door and there was a suitcase and an unmade bed. We had been given a room that was already occupied!!! I had heard of this happening to others but I’m unsure how this happens!! We were given a new upgraded room.
We slept in! I rarely sleep in but the hotel room was the darkest room I’ve slept in since we left home! We had breakfast at the hotel and made our way on foot to LaMar’s Donuts. We were completely overwhelmed with all of the choices so we settled on 6 donuts. We took advantage of the buy 2 get 1 free specialty donut, which is anything without a hole in the middle.
These donuts were so delicious! Soft on the inside, just the right crispness on the outside, not oily at all!
We headed to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. We had trouble figuring out where the entrance was as we walked from our hotel and the sidewalk was closed. It was a very interesting museum with great interactive pieces and videos.
The Hallmark Visitor Center was a short walk away and a stop I wanted to make. We learned about how JC Hall started what we know as Hallmark.
Our next stop was the Harry S Truman Library and Museum. This is my third Presidential library. I enjoy them because they provide such a vast amount of information from various areas. Every where you turned there was some type of interactive activity.
We took a short trip to Truman’s home. My dad told us to stop as he made the same stop in 1973.
We came to Kansas City and we wanted some great BBQ!! I had read a bunch of blogs and websites about where the best BBQ in the Kansas City area. The consensus was that Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was the #1 spot to go. They have quiet the interesting history on how they began. Check out the hyperlink above! Because of that I wanted to check out the original spot- in a gas station!
The BBQ sauce had just the right amount of heat, the smoke on the meat was perfect! I could’ve eaten two full dinners it was so good!!!
We had quite the busy day and wanted to just have a relaxing evening before our final trek home the next day, so we just chilled out and watched some movies.
We had a very uneventful drive home. A little bit of snow, some very cold weather. I managed to watch 3.5 movies thanks to being able to watch certain Netflix movies being downloaded. We arrived home to a new kitchen sink and new hallway lights and a desire to just chill out!!
We had a busy week away from home, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Now to see where next year’s spring break will lead us….
True confession time, I’m a huge Hunger Games fan! I started reading the books when I was in my previous job waking up in different hotels every week. It was the perfect escape from the monotony. I read through the series quickly!
With every new movie release that I would grab my sisters and head to the theater. I loved Katniss, THE GIRL ON FIRE (said in a Caesar Flickerman voice). Then about five years ago I became the actual girl on fire when there was a small accident with a gas fireplace. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and things could have been much worse. I became airborne as I flew across the room with the hair that famed my face ignited. It was traumatic but, The nickname Girl on Fire stuck.
I loved the cowl that Katniss has in the movies. I wanted one so bad! I even put it on a Christmas list, but all I received was a gift card to purchase yarn to make it! There was NO way I’d ever be able to knit that! I only knew how to knit square things.
But after my non-square project, my first hat, I was feeling brave. I figured it would take me months to do, but it didn’t take nearly long at all. I’m sure i could have completed the cowl much sooner but I’m not a knit til it’s done person. I knit them out it down, come back a week later, etc.
Cake decorating isn’t something new to me. I grew up with some of the coolest cakes then I “graduated” to helping my mom to eventually making them on my own. I’ve wanted to attend cake decorating classes so I could learn some fundamentals!
I attended two classes in February and learned some cool new tips and tricks!
Birthday season in my family will be here soon! I’m excited to try some of the things I learned on the many cakes we will be making.
I learned to knit in college and crochet some time after that. I’ve done a ton of different projects, but aside from the few pairs of slippers I’ve only ever knitted things that were square or rectangles. Blankets, scarves more blankets.
I’ve wanted to venture out and try new things but never found the time or guts to do so. With the urging of my boss who made her first pair of mittens, which look so cool, I decided to attempt my first hat! With a few minor lessons, including double pointed needles, after work I was able to finish it and it’s not something I want to throw away!
I wanted a hat with an open top because by the end of my work day my hair is usually up (Hairnet hair isn’t something I can recover from!).
My first attempt at knitting was pretty pathetic but I’ve come along way in eight years as it was during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when I first attempted to knit. I’ve started my next adventurous project, cross your fingers it turns out and you’ll see it on a future blog!
Three years ago, there was a Big Read in town. The book was Fahrenheit 451 and available at the library. I rode my bike to the library after work on a warm summer day and picked up the last copy they had at my local branch. I was excited for all of the activities they had involving the book. I started reading the book and I couldn’t get through it. I tried more than once to finish it and never managed to get far enough. So I never went to any of the activities because I had no clue what happened in the book.
I had read in the paper back in January that there would be another Big Read but this time the book was Station Eleven. The book sounded interesting so my husband graciously volunteered to go pick up the book at our local branch. They had to go get the last copy on the bookmobile. We must have great timing to have received the last copies at the library two Big Reads in a row.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would like the book. A post-apocalyptic novel about life after a flu pandemic wiped out most of the world’s population didn’t really seem up my alley. But, I read the book in a week and a half and I couldn’t put it down.
On Valentine’s Day my husband and I went to a talk on flu epidemics and the media. As someone who loves science it was right up my alley and I learned quite a few things.
The following evening I attended the opening talk with the author, Emily St. John Mandel. I struck up a conversation with two women behind me before it began. It was so interesting to hear the author’s reasoning for why certain things are in the book.
There was a book signing event after the talk, which is always cool!
There are tons of other activities left with the Big Read. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to attend anything else, but I’m happy that I was able to read the book and meet the author. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of an NEA Big Read, do it! If I had to sum it up in one phrase, it’s one giant community “book club”!
Before Christmas, my coworker asked the ladies at work if we wanted to do a stained glass class. She was the only one who had done it but thought we’d really enjoy the experience. So wrapped up for Christmas s was an invite to the class that wouldn’t occur until February.
The week before the class my coworker told us to plan what we wanted to make with only three pieces of glass. So my mind got to thinking. Could I make a mustache? Maybe in lime green! Then I thought well what if I need something thicker in the middle so it wouldn’t break? How about a donut? How would I make it look like a donut instead of a circle with a hole in the middle? A cupcake came to mind, or a popsicle. I printed a template so I was ready to go.
The night before our class on Super Bowl Sunday we got a dumping of snow and the snow continued into the morning but we all made it!
We practiced cutting glass with different cutters, had to draw our template, after some explanation of what you can and cannot do. Straight cuts are weak, there goes my popsicle idea. Tiny curves are a challenge. So long mustache. I decided I’d make the cupcake. Once I had my pattern drawn, and a drawer I am not, I had to create a copy. And cut out the second pattern so the shape could be traced on the glass.
Then on to find the perfect glass for my cupcake. I found a cool blue and a brown like a cupcake liner but something was missing. No lime green! Someone found a green and it was the PERFECT sized piece that I needed. It felt like it was coming together. Cutting glass is not easy when you’re trying to create an actual object. After I cut my three pieces I was mortified that they didn’t even touch! The instructor looked at it and said they looked great. I thought she was losing her mind! Only because I didn’t understand the next step. We grounded our pieces down on a grinder that has water in the bottom and a sponge to wet the grinder. I don’t know how else to describe it. With a couple tweaks by the instructor I had three pieces that fit together. If I could just remember how they went. That’s where the second pattern came into play.
We had to put the copper foil around the edges and smooth it out. We placed them together and started the soldering.
From paper template to finished product it was such a fun time! There were only a few moments when I had to hold my breath! I had a great time and look forward to doing it again some day!
With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games just beginning, the Opening Ceremony isn’t until tomorrow but there were already some events that started today, I felt it necessary to share my love of the Olympics with all of you. For those that know me, even just a bit, you know that I have a love for the Olympics that’s pretty intense. You may be wondering how did this 28-year-old come to love them so much?
Here’s where the story begins…
It’s the Summer of 1996, I had just turned 7 years old. My parents told us to pack our bags, or maybe they packed for us, because we were going on vacation. They claimed they didn’t know our destination, we were just going to get in the car and drive and see where we ended up. I find this hard to believe as an adult, but that’s what they told us. So the next day we hopped in the Suburban and started driving. We drove until dark and we stopped at a hotel, I believe in Kentucky. My mom and sisters got out to “see if they had a room for us” and I decided to stay in the car and park it with my dad. We pulled up next to a red Jeep Grand Cherokee. I made a comment how my Uncle had the same type vehicle and it had Illinois plates. Of course my dad explained that there are lots of vehicles that are the same and it was just a coincidence. As we walked towards the entrance there was a man and young girl standing in the window at the end of an upper floor of the hotel. I tried to tell my dad I thought it was them but he told me they were people who looked similar or something to that effect. The two figures as we came to find out were that of my uncle and cousin.WHAT A COINCIDENCE! After discovering that we were at the same hotel, it was decided that my older sister would stay in their room.
The next morning we all went to breakfast and hopped back in the car. My mom hands us a movie, Babe Pig in the City, and asks if we want to know where we are going. I’m sure we pierced their ears with our little girl screeches, but they told us we were heading to Atlanta to stay with Nana and Papa and go to the Olympics! I can close my eyes 22 years later and put myself back in the car with the warm sun shining and that VHS.
There were a lot of behind the scenes details we didn’t know at the time, but it was a somewhat spur of the moment decision to go to the Olympics. My mom was on the phone purchasing tickets the night of the opening ceremony as we were downstairs watching in awe. My grandparents lived in a suburb of Atlanta at the time so we had a place to stay. It was a no brainer! For those who remember, there was a bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park. This happened the night we were at the hotel. There was a phone conversation between the adults and my grandparents the next morning on whether or not we would still be coming. The decision was we weren’t going to let that stop us! I’m SO thankful we still went!!!!
There are moments of our Olympic adventure that I remember vividly.
Waiting in line for security checks, which I’m sure are much less than they are now.
Eating lunch at Wendy’s one day and cooling off with some ‘scream.
Taking the shuttles to and from the games. There is a funny home video of one of these trips.
Seeing the giant red torch (yes I just googled a picture because I remembered it being red, but it’s been 22 years!)
Watching field hockey and wondering what the heck it was any way! Using binoculars to see the rest of our family across the stadium.
Watching a baseball game. I believe Japan was playing.
Hearing other languages as people walked past us
Watching the track and field events on TV with Nana and Papa as our parents watched in person.
Playing in the fountains at Centennial Olympic Park
Finding our brick in the park. If you ever get down there go look for it.
I suppose someone could poo-poo this and say it’s just a bunch of sporting events, but until you experience it it’s just not the same. I’d say this was my first glimpse into the world. At 7 I’m not sure if you really get the whole other countries and people living there yet.
I suppose you could say that the torch lighting was my own torch lighting for my Olympics love. Whether of not my parents know it, this was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, and there have been a lot in my lifetime. I’m sure it was stressful with three small children and all of those people, but no one got lost, maybe just lost in the moment.
The US Speed Skating Long Track Trials were held at the Petit Center in Milwaukee this past January. Luckily we had another day off before we went back to work and were able to experience a new sport in person and an Olympic Trial.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling very OLYMPIC today! Go for Gold, Team USA!!!!
To say 2017 was an exciting year would be a major understatement.
We started off the year purchasing our first home together
My husband graduated with his Master’s degree.
We sold my husband’s first home.
My husband decided to go back to school to earn his teaching certification.
We took our first cross country (well 1/2 country) road trip and Canada together.
We had the excitement of my younger sister’s engagement. I had my graduation from college with my master’s degree Then I had two more months before I was officially finished!
We had two foot surgeries and recoveries, one currently.
We celebrated our first year of marriage running around Chicago cheering on our sister Elisabeth in the marathon. The day of her first marathon was when my husband first gave me his phone number, so we enjoyed his company this time in person.
We hosted our first holiday, my favorite, THANKSGIVING.
We had many laughs, we’ve had to tough it out and work hard to get the end results, we’ve had disappointment and pain, we’ve had much happiness and celebration.
I am ready to turn the page and discover what the year has in store. A fresh start, despite writing 2017 til about March (it happens every year!).
Here’s to 2018, let’s laugh louder, love deeper, speak kinder, walk slower, and live happier.
In October, my older sister started planning our sibling trip to Chicago. We knew it would be a bit dicey with my husband in a boot and a week and a half after surgery but it’s always fun when we all hang out so we forged ahead with our plans. We ate, drank and were merry. Enjoy some pictures from our weekend!
Dinner at Quartino
Brunch at Corridor Brewery & Provisions
White Christmas at the Music Box Theater complete with a sing a long