31 March 2012

10th Birthday Party

hbdayparty1-0312 hbdayparty5-0312 hbdayparty3-0312 hbdayparty6-0312 I have no idea how this happened, but our baby boy turns 10 this week. Double digets. He thinks that's cool, but I think it's absolutely insane. Last night, he had a bowling birthday party with eight of his friends (plus his brother). The kids had a great time, and when I asked H if he had fun, all he said was, "Amazing." hbdayparty4-0312

27 March 2012

Around the House :: Original


Our house was built in 1957 -- smack dab in the middle of the prime mid-century modern era, if you ask me. We are the third owners, and the last ones lived here for only a couple years. So much of our house is original yet, and we plan on keeping it that way. Most of it really good (hello, built-ins, sliding shoji screens and much more). A few things are quite bad (like the toilets, cough cough). But throughout our home are these amazing little vintage gems. Let's just hope the window levers don't break. We have searched, and have no idea where we would find these parts.

25 March 2012

Wonderful Guests


Our friends Jen and Samir from Oak Park were traveling north to Door County for the weekend with their kids, and fortunately for us, decided to start their journey a bit early and visit us for the night! It's been way too long, and we had such an amazing time. It was one of those nights that you can hear yourself saying "I need to go to bed" at 11:30, than the next thing you know, it's 3:00 in the morning and you are wondering where the time went. They are so much fun to be with -- funny, happy and kind with just a great outlook on life -- people I'm super glad to know. The next day, we wanted to show them a bit of the area, so took a little walk to the beach. It was foggy and absolutely beautiful. The boys got soaking wet, of course, but didn't seem phased in the littlest bit. And of course, no inaugural visit is complete without a visit to Kopps. Sadly, that afternoon it was time for them to continue their journey. We already are looking forward to the next visit.

23 March 2012



(He asked that I post this photograph on the blog.)

21 March 2012

Inspiration Files :: Old Garage Space

Once again, my weakness for loft spaces and courtyards is showing. This former garage in Atlanta had been abandoned for seven years before it was turned into a 1000 sf studio, and 850 sf living area. Amazing. (Villa de Murph by Brian Bell and David Yoachim of bldgs, via Desire to Inspire).

20 March 2012

Women's Day -- Revisited

Since I didn't take any pictures myself, here's a few photos of Ray's Women's Weekend from their Flickr stream.

19 March 2012

Art by C :: Wood Carvings


C said he was going to wake up in the middle of the night and deliver presents to us, just like Santa Claus. We did notice he had them tucked in his bed when we were putting him to sleep, but didn't think he'd actually do it. Sure enough, at 3 a.m. Brian woke up after hearing someone walking around and stepped right on our gifts. This morning we were able to open them. It's hard to see, but he made us little wood carvings -- on tae kwon do boards. They are him, and us, and a little conversation clouds with red hearts inside. Mine is the big one. Naturally.



Yesterday, we headed over to the State Fair grounds to watch our niece play volleyball in the Badger Region Volleyball tournament. Mackenzie played really well - her serves are amazing. The tournament was huge and crazy -- very fun to watch.

17 March 2012

Happy Birthday Brian!


Today is Brian's birthday, and we were so excited to actually get to spend it with him! Last year, he was in Milwaukee and we were in Chicago. The two years before that, he was in Taipei for work. We woke up this morning and went to Tae Kwon Do. Right after that, Brian took his motorcycle out and met up with some friends at the Frozen Snot Ride. Of course, it was beautiful warm weather -- not too many frozen snotty noses this year! Later in the afternoon, we went to watch H's soccer game. But right after we got home, H ditched us for a sleep-over birthday party. So it was a pretty low-key night -- just the three of us. Of course I made corned beef and cabbage. It's kind of a tradition around here (except for when Brian isn't home!). And actually, it turned out that C didn't even eat with us. H was invited to a sleepover birthday party, and C kind of lost it because he really missed his big brother. Honestly, besides the school sleepover, this is the first time H been away from us. Eventually C came out, ate and joined us for dessert (a delicious chocolate hazelnut meringue cake). It turned out to be a pretty nice evening. Happy birthday to an amazing man. We are happy you are ours (especially me).

Family Night at Ray's


Last night after Brian got home from work, we went over to Ray's MTB to ride around a bit. I was happy to get a chance to practice everything I had learned the week before. I was definitely comfortable cruising around, unlike other times I've been there. (Although, I do seem to be falling apart. Over the course of the week, I have aquired a really sore back and the newest addition to the pain -- a groin pull. I don't mind getting older, really, but this kind of stuff stinks.) Anyhow, it was super fun to be able to ride around with the family. The park wasn't too crowded, and I even attempted the pump track. (P.S. The pump track = not for me).

14 March 2012



The year was 1993. I went with my friends to see a popular local band, where I have to admit, the percussion player caught my eye. After a concert one night, we talked ... and then parted ways. Honestly, I never thought anything would come of it. The next week I ended up going to Madison -- more for a little road trip than anything -- to see the same band play. That night, the same percussion player came up and talked to me more. Funny thing was, I could not talk! Seriously, I barely said a word to him -- which if you know me, is really very strange. To say I was smitten is an understatement, I guess. Thank goodness he finally asked my friend if he could get my phone number from her. He called me a couple days later, thankfully I was able to talk, and the rest is history. Yes, that percussion player is Brian.

Before the Madison concert, Brian and I both had the same random hippie man give us amethysts. I can't remember exactly what he told us it meant, but supposedly "The Greeks believed that the wearers of this gem would be blessed with happiness and unending love and affection..." (it goes on to say "and enjoy protection from excessive dangers from indulgences like intoxication..." -- which may have been a bit relevant back in the day too). As far as I know, no one else we knew got the gems. I'm sure Brian has no idea where his is -- but I kept mine and store it in the wedding party gift I got from Pam & Matt (Brian's sister and brother-in-law).

13 March 2012


A few months back, I hopped on the Pinterest bandwagen. Personally, I don't use it to browse very much. Although, I can definitely see spending a lot of time doing that if I let myself -- there's some really great stuff. What I mainly use it for is organizing things I like. It's definitely more user friendly than "starring" items in my Reader (which I still do too, by the way). I think it's really interesting to see which items other people like too. Here's my top repins so far:

DIY Monogrammed Mason Jars || via Southern Weddings 

Surprise Party Balls || via Paper Crane

(By the way, you can follow me here.)

12 March 2012

The Rug


Last time we visited Brian's mom, she gave him a Denver Broncos rug that she made. It was meant to be a joke .... you see, she started it for him when he was around H's age when the Broncos were his favorite football team. His taste has clearly changed since he was 10 years old, so it won't be in our room. But H snatched it up right away and absolutely loves it.

11 March 2012

Good Times


Our friends Chris & Penny visited this weekend with their girls. As always, it just feels so great getting to hang out with them. Unfortunately, I was really bad at taking any pictures, but I promise -- we did lots of fun stuff. Friday morning we met up at Ray's MTB, where Penny and I took part in their annual women's day. The boys have ridden quite a bit there, but truth be known, I'm a big fat chicken, and I usually spend my time running after C or watching. Totally lame. So the last time The Frigs visited, we were at the park, found out about women's day and signed up. It is a day of women coaches, who instructed women of all levels. And while I still have most of the park to master, I'm definitely comfortable riding some really fun loops now. Let's put it this way .... I cannot wait to go back.

That night, we headed back home, the boys took a little run and afterwards, we all went out for dinner. Our plan was to go out for a fish fry, but it didn't work out so we went out for hibachi, which the kids loved -- perfect. The next day we took them to tae kwon do with us, where M got to join us in a class. Unfortunately, she was not feeling well at all and had a fever, so couldn't finish. But I think she had fun at least a little bit. The rest of the day, Penny and I relaxed with the kids while the boys rode at Rays. Then later, Scott, Ali and A stopped by. Before you knew it, we all decided to go to dinner before the Frigs headed back to Chicago. Eric & Karen met up with us too! Nothing better than impromptu evenings with friends.

07 March 2012

Laundry Detergent


Awhile back, a friend on Facebook posted a link to homemade laundry detergent. I have to admit, at first I thought she might be a bit crazy. But then, I was intrigued. I know I'm not alone, but I do an absolute ton of laundry each week. And supposedly, this stuff gets your laundry really clean, is relatively inexpensive to make (about a $25 plus an initial investment of the container I bought), you use only a tablespoon per load, and it lasts forever (about 9 months to a year). I've only used it a couple times, but so far so good! Here's how you do it:

1 - 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz)
1 - 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg)
1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap or pink Zote soap
2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) optional (I added it into mine)

Grate the Fels-Naptha soap just like cheese. You can use a food processor or just use your hand held grater (NOTE: some people recommended putting the grated soap in the food processor again once it's grated -- next time, I will probably do this. I do find a random soap grating now and then).

Toss all ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag. Once everything is mixed store soap however you like (I bought a large glass airtight jar). I used the scoop that come in the Oxy Clean, but a coffee scoop would be perfect.

This detergent is safe for HE washers and should be added to the barrel instead of the dispenser.

(And by the way, it really didn't take much time at all to make.)

(via Being Creative to Keep my Sanity)

06 March 2012

02 March 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I wish it wasn't so, but I really don't have any patience when it comes to working in the kitchen with my kids. Terrible, I know! Especially since they really love cooking and baking. But today, I let them loose and we made some chocolate cookies. Delicious.

01 March 2012

Dr. Seuss


Sheesh, it's been a crazy week. One of those really busy ones spent just moving along in order to stay afloat, but with no new stories to tell. And today was fine, but one when nothing really went exactly right. Somehow everything needed at least a little fixing. The boys also got out of school early and have tomorrow off. I wish we had something fun planned, but besides a birthday party for H later in the day, they get to sit around the house while I work. Anyhow, in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel's birthday tomorrow, C came home with this picture of himself. And that, makes me very happy.