30 June 2011

28 June 2011

Beach Time


I went to pick up the boys today from their tennis and golf lessons, and found them at the beach. This is honestly one of my favorite places to spend summer days, and I'm so happy it's finally warm enough to actually take advantage of it. It was perfect out. H spent most of the time floating. And C decided to spend his time by trying to catch minnows.

26 June 2011



Today was one of those days I absolutely love. Our house was a revolving door, and was totally great. Our friends Lora and Bill had spent the night, so we got to hang out this morning. And then Rob stopped by with his dog Marabelle. Next came Kari & Austin all the way from Birmingham, Alabama. They were in town for a wedding, and I was so excited they were able to stop by to check out the new place. Kari and I work together (still ... yet remote) -- and were going through our little moves at the same time. It was fun sharing such big life changes with someone. I sure do miss seeing her every day. While Kari was here, Scott happened to stop by -- I was so happy she got to meet him! And to top things off, I even got to join Terri on a bike ride. Full, busy, fun day.

(P.S. Here's Marabelle - Storm's new friend. C said she looked like a big meatball).


The 10th Annual Player Invitational


Yesterday morning, we loaded up the boys and the dog in the car and took them to my parents for the day. It was the big golf outing! Every year our friends Scott & Ali put on The Player Invitational -- benefitting the One Step Camp for kids with cancer and leukemia and in honor of their brother Jeffery. This was the tenth year it's been running and the Jeffery Schwebel Foundation is now the third largest donor to the camp. I always attend the dinner, and sometimes volunteer. But somehow, my friend Lora talked me into actually golfing. Here we are:


Intimidating, I know. Thank goodness for the rest of the group -- especially Bill. This may be a surprise, but I still stink at golf. Except there was this one hole where I sunk a super long putt and saved the day. It was pretty exciting. The End. I figured that might be the case, so took a picture of the hole.


We somehow managed to survive 18 holes, and honestly, it went by pretty fast! And I had fun. I think Brian did too. With me -- in the same cart. Golfing....


After golf, we had dinner -- my sister-in-law and mother-in-law came too, which was great. There's also a silent auction and live auction. I managed to score a 3-month gym membership, and Liverpool soccer tickets. Don't ask. But it does look like we are going to Liverpool with Lora and Bill. I'm still not really sure what happened because it was not discussed at all, but once the bidding started, we were somehow in the mix ... and won. But I kind of can't wait.


24 June 2011

After the Rain


Whenever our friend Ali and her little guy are in our neck of the woods, they always make a point of stopping by. This week we got to see them a few times, which frankly saved our days. We were all going a bit stir-crazy this week. The cold and rain is just not cool. And I can't even tell you how many fist fights I broke up -- boys.... Yesterday after it had stopped raining, the H & C were on our porch playing in the water. 'A' couldn't wait to get out there himself, and literally threw himself into the puddles. It was a pretty awesome sight, and they had a blast chasing each other and splashing around. (Photos courtesy of Ali).

23 June 2011

Dear Photograph

Confession: I'm a HUGE photo freak. Seriously, my photo albums are among my prized possessions. But the funny thing is, as time goes on, I'm not quite as tied to them as I used to be. It could be that I have so many pictures from over the years that I don't even know what to do with them. (I used to think they are what I'd grab in case of fire -- now it's my boys and dog -- thank goodness I have my priorities straight, right? Brian would be too busy calming me down to worry about.) Or it could be, simply, that times have changed. I look back to when H was born, and we didn't even have a digital camera. Now, I take a ton of pictures on a daily basis. While they are just as important to me, having an actual print out just doesn't seems as relevant anymore. Or priceless, really. But that being said, this Tumblr feed, featuring old time photos in today's settings, really hit a soft spot in me. (originally seen via A Cup of Jo)

22 June 2011

The Playground


It's still cold and rainy here. Last night, our entire yard was covered in water. Thank goodness for the sump pump ... that was running non-stop. It was kind of nuts. We were going a little stir-crazy today, so headed to the playground. Sad, but I realized there really are not many more playground years ahead. Not that we got that much now, but my kiddos are getting big! But they had a great time though.

21 June 2011

Golf & Tennis


Today H had golf, and C started tennis. I went to pick them up today (after two nights completely alone -- Brian was in Quebec City, and the boys stayed at the grandparents -- heavenly, but admittedly very lonely.....). They were at the driving range and even C was getting in the action. I just love it when he's excited about doing something that doesn't involve a video game. I took a few practice shots too. The big golf event is this weekend. I still stink.

19 June 2011

Father's Day


Christie, Me and Dad - Father's Day 2011

After a few hours of sleep, Brian and I came back home just so he could pack up and head back to Chicago to catch an airplane to Quebec for work. It stinks that he's gone for Father's Day -- he didn't even get to see the boys since they were at my parents for the night. (Then again, maybe that's the best present he could ask for. You never know!) In the early evening, I drove out and had Father's Day dinner with my family. It's so nice seeing each other -- being closer our families more is one of my favorite things this move. Even thought we missed Brian, it was great to get to celebrate Father's Day with my dad and my brother-in-law.

Next :: paris 1906

Last night, Brian and headed to our old stomping grounds -- Chicago -- got all dolled up and met up with the Elsmo's and Frigs for a highly anticipated dinner at Next.

Thanks to Melissa's perseverance, we scored a kitchen table for the premiere menu. In case you didn't know, you purchase tickets to Next, pay up front (including wine paring and tip), and the menu completely changes every three months. In fact, paris 1906 only has a couple more weeks running, then the curtains close until thailand 2032. I think it's such an amazing concept.

The kitchen table can only be purchased as a 6-top. In fact, it's the only table of six in the entire restaurant which is the main reason why we picked it. You also get the reserve wine paring, as well as an expanded menu. And an amazing view. Here's what we ate and drank (any items with the * appear to be the expanded menu items):

cheese puff with mornay sauce

Hors d'Oeuvres
Left to right: leeks stuffed with mushroom duxelles, pork rillette, rabbit boudin blanc, brioche with foie gras and apricot jam, quail egg with white anchovy, smoked fish in pate brisee boat

Egg custard with lemon cream and Perigord black truffles
Vincent Carré Brut Champagne


Caviare *
bilini and creme fraiche


Potage a la Tortue Claire
turtle consomme
Jacques Puffeney 'Vin Jaune'
Arbois 2002

Puree Palestine *
sunchoke puree, fresh sunchokes, fried hazelnuts and fried parsley
Olivier Merlin 'La Roche Vineuse', Macon 2008

Filet de Sole Daumont
Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon 
Macon-Milly-Lamartine Clos du Four 2006


Supremes de Poussin
butter braised cucumbers filled with chicken - chicken in a blanquette sauce
Domain Leon Barral 'Jadis'
Faugeres 2007

Carré d'agneau *
lamb with onion rings, potatoes duchesse, rillette and fried sweetbreads
Michel & Stephanie Ogier, Cote-Rotie
Rhone 2005


Caneton Rouennais a la Presse with Gratin de Pommes de Terre a la Dauphinoise
roasted and pressed duck in a reduction of cognac, red wine and jus
Domaine Brusset 'Tradition Le Grand Montmirail'
Gigondas 2000


Salade Irma
nasturtium blossom, asparagus and radish


Sorbet Sauternes
new zealand sweet wine with liquid nitrogen to form a sorbet

Bombe Ceylan
Rum and coffee ice cream with a chocolate dome, brandied cherries

Soufflé au Chocolat *
with brandied cherries, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream
Ramos Pinto 
10 year Tawny Port


beet pates de fruits, shortbread cookies, salted dark caramel, nougat and almond tuile

Five hours later we were done. And it was amazing. Honestly, it's hard to pick a favorite dish. The lamb and the sunchoke puree might be the top two. But the duck was delicious and very impressive. And Hors d'Oeuvres were incredible. The soft quail egg with anchovy. Yum. And the brioche with foie gras and apricot jam. Out of this world. Then again, the sole was divine too. See, I can't do it! Even the bilinis were awesome.

After dinner we were able to go to Aviary for a drink. Again, I've really never seen anything like it, and am really glad we made the stop. I had the Rhubarb cocktail. Brian had Ginger.


We had such a great night that we stayed up until 3:00 in the morning on the Elsmo deck, enjoying a bottle of champagne they had brought back from their recent trip out west. Such fun.

18 June 2011

An Afternoon of Racing


For the ten days, the Tour of America's Dairyland is going on - a (mostly) criterium bike race. Our friends Terri and John both were racing these events. They were hanging out in Thiensville for most of the day so the boys and I met them out there. We just missed Terri's race, where she placed top 10 -- pretty amazing. I've only been to one other criterium race, and it's exciting to watch. So we were glad we were able to see John's race. When the boys got bored, they would just walk over to the little river and throw in sunflower seeds. We also took a walk to Walgreens and I caught C and S holding hands. I didn't even get a picture -- it was just so cute I couldn't stop staring. Of course, we had to abruptly leave once H & C starting fist fighting and wouldn't stop, but it sure was a fun way to spend our day.

16 June 2011

Banana Ice Cream


I recently discovered something -- banana ice cream. Want to know how to make it?

  1. Freeze ripe bananas. (I separate them into large chunks.)
  2. Stick in food processor for about five minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides along the way. The bananas will be smooth and kind of fluffy.
  3. Eat.

Seriously, it's delicious. I've been hogging it for myself, and putting it on my overnight oatmeal in the morning once in awhile. But this week, I made for the boys for dessert. And ever since, they have been begging for it. I think we have a hit.

14 June 2011

Golf Lessons


Today H started golf lessons, and had such a great time. I drove out a little early today to get my own golf lesson. From my dad. You see, a friend somehow talked me into actually golfing in a couple weeks. And, how do I say this .... I kind of suck. Anyhow, my dad graciously offered to give me a few pointers. I have to say, it seemed to have worked a bit! I do need a little more practice, however. And a collared shirt. Anyhow, H (and my mom and C -- who were chaperoning H's golf lesson) met up with me to say hello and show off his stuff. Not bad. Look at the form! It's good (I think). They only stayed a bit before heading in for lunch, and my lesson continued. I had a couple spectators of my own. They didn't even seem to mind that I hit a few balls over their fence.


12 June 2011

Impromptu Dinner Guests


Our friends, Al and Cristin, stopped over today with their three adorable kids. Fortunately, they live just a few minutes away. Isn't it great we moved to an area where we already know a bunch of people? I sure think so. Scott & Ali came over too. I already had in dinner in the oven, and had more than enough for everyone, so we had a little impromptu dinner party. Nothing fancy, but if you ask me, those are the best.

Breakfast in Bed


Yesterday the boys treated Brian and I with breakfast in bed. H was the server. C was the chef. C woke H up at 5:30 am to start getting everything ready. Now, if they would just learn how to make coffee, it would be perfect.

11 June 2011

Grass Roots


Well, we survived our first day of summer vacation! Unfortunately, it was only in the 50s. Welcome to the Midwest. The boys also has their last day of soccer practice. They had a mini World Cup. Neither of their teams won (C was Brazil, H was Germany and they didn't get to play each other), but it looked like a blast.

09 June 2011

Last Day of School


Today was the last day of school. I can't believe it. What a crazy, wild ride this year has been. I'm so proud of my boys. They entered a new school with only five weeks left, and were so super brave. They have made friends and finished the school year strong. They are even riding the school bus without problem -- something that was very foreign to them at the beginning. It's also my first summer home with the boys, which is pretty exciting. To celebrate, we met Brian at his office. He had to stay late at work tonight, but we got to enjoy a great dinner at the newly opened Cafe Benelux with him before he went back. We looked at their report cards. And H read his autobiography, which was pretty great if you ask me. A great way to celebrate.

07 June 2011

Drive In


After the final soccer game this weekend, we took the boys to their very first drive-in restaurant -- A&W -- for root beer floats. Except for C. He had a sundae since it was Sunday. Needless to say, they were confused and excited and thought it was the coolest thing ever.