26 February 2016
It was a little quiet around here this week. On Friday, I started getting the worst cold I have had in years, and felt like a walking zombie Saturday through Monday. It was terrible, and I'm so glad to be on the upswing. Speaking of Friday, last weekend was the Mama Tried show. Brian was in North Carolina for the day, but the boys and I met him for Flat Out Friday. Indoor motorcycle on a Dr. Pepper soaked floor to make it sticky. Pretty awesome.
I cannot even believe how excited I am about these new shoes. Vans! With fringe! I seriously adore them. I'm a teenage boy a heart, I think. Oh, and Gretel is in the picture too, just because she's so cute.
19 February 2016
Brian and I in New Orleans on Valentine's Day.
Up to no good again. Every time I buy daffodils, Gretel treats it like her own little candy dish. She's a flower killer.
Not one, but both of my boys were Student of the Month in Academics for February! We are so proud of them. H and I were at his conferences, and I got to read the nice words from their teachers. They are good students with good grades, but both were completely surprised by this recognition. It just goes to show how important always hard work, helping others, and good character is. You can't ask for anything more.
18 February 2016
Our last day in New Orleans happened to be Valentine's Day. We started out with a fabulous brunch at Atchafalaya. Shrimp and grits for Brian, and duck confit with poached eggs, mango and blackberries for me. And, an amazing bloody mary bar with homemade pickled vegetables, bloody mary mix and green tomato juice. So good. Afterwards, we took an Uber to City Park, and spent a good share of our time walking around the gorgeous sculpture garden. Unfortunately, Brian hadn't been feeling 100% the entire trip, so he decided to rest while I walked up and down Magazine again. I picked up a Louisiana hot sausage & fries from Dat Dog before heading to the airport and home. What a great city. I can't wait to go back. There really is nothing like it.
17 February 2016
Breakfast on day three was at the highly recommended, Elizabeth, in the Bywater area. Of course, we had to try the praline bacon (omg). I had the "Redneck Eggs" which was fried green tomatoes, poached eggs and hollandaise. And grits, of course. I seriously cannot get enough of those things! Brian had the Bayou Breakfast, which was catfish and eggs. Both were so good. Afterwards, we walked along the river to the French Quarter, and had bloody mary's from the Organic Banana. When Maria sends you a text saying to try something and not to ask ask questions, you do it. Known for daiquiris, the bloody mary wasn't something I would normally order there, but she was right -- it was amazing. Next, we walked to Cochon Butcher, and split a muffuletta sandwich and marinated brussels sprouts. Then, we walked all the way up Magazine. Both directions. It was another 12 mile day. At least. That evening, we met up with Wes & Melinda. Wes and Brian have been roommates on the past two Pablove Across American rides Brian rode on, and it was so great to finally meet them. We first went to Bouligny for cocktails, then Dick & Jenny's for an amazing creole dinner. One of the highlights was a special that night -- crawfish cheesecake. It was crazy good. Such a fun evening. Unfortunately, when we were coming home that night, Brian went to put in the key and the entire lock came out! We had to call a locksmith to get us in. Thank goodness for that man. It was no small feat. 1.5 hours later, we were in. Thank goodness!
16 February 2016
It's probably no surprise that our days were full in New Orleans. The weather was pretty much perfect, so we walked at least 11 miles a day -- Brian wore his Garmin so this is a fact. But we also ate and drank our way through the city, so it was the least we could do to balance things out. We started the day by walking around Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District. Nerd alert -- thanks to Frommer's I printed out a couple walking tours, which turned out to be really fun. It would have been fine just walking around and take in the beautiful homes but this was a really great way to do it, if you ask me. We realized we hadn't even eaten by this point (!!!!) so took an Uber to the French Quarter. What a crazy place! And that was during the day. We started out by going to Central Grocery for a muffulata sandwich, then went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar -- reportedly the oldest structure used as bar in the US, dating back to the early 1700s. Now we had gotten the party started, so went to Pat O'Briens for a hurricane. It may have been one of the more disgusting drinks I've ever had, but something that must be done. And don't get me wrong, I did finish it. By this point, we were hungry again, so picked up a po boy (pork belly) from Killer Po Boy, then some beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde (of course), before heading back to the area we were staying in. Seriously, as soon as we got there, we went to Baru for a drink and cornmeal oysters. Here's the thing, we made a pact to split everything, so while it seems like a ton of food, it wasn't too bad. The good news is, that was around 5pm, and we couldn't get dinner reservations until 9:45pm, so we could give our bellies a little rest. However, probably should have called it quits, because all of our drinking and eating must have caught up with us and we weren't even hungry by then. But we are troopers, and powered through. We went to La Petite Grocery, which was so good! We decided to stick with small plates, and had ricotto dumplings, griddled octopus, charred cucumbers, grits (which I've decided, is one of my favorite things ever), fried green tomatoes (another favorite thing) and butterscotch pudding. It really was delicious. What a day! Right?
I cannot believe I had never been to New Orleans before this trip. What a great, gritty, kooky city. I absolutely loved it. Brian and I dropped the boys off at the airport for their vacation on Wednesday, and headed back on Thursday to take off ourselves. Our friends Jo Ann & Jeff were nice enough to let us stay in their apartment, and we couldn't have planned the key exchange more perfect. Jo Ann was en route home to LA after spending time there for Mardi Gras. Her flight was boarding just as ours landed, so we were greeted by her smiling face. Not a bad was to start the trip. We didn't arrive until evening, so walked to Casamento's for some oysters for dinner. Brian was completely in heaven. We had raw, of course -- and they were amazing. Not at all briny, but creamy and delicious. We also tried the char-boiled oysters, which were a thing I had never even heard of. Yum. We could have feasted on at least another dozen oysters, but instead, decided to walk and get a po-boy (short rib!) and fried pickles from Mahonys to go.
Yay -- the P Four are back together. I just picked the boys up from the airport late this morning, which means we reunited, which makes me so happy. Last week, the boys flew to Florida to visit Nina & Papa -- and Brian and I took advantage of the situation and went to New Orleans! I have never been, and it's been on the top of my bucket list for awhile. We all had such a great time. H & C had an absolute blast swimming, playing pickleball, fishing, going to the beach ... the list goes on. Nina & Papa spoiled them. This is the picture that was sent to us when they arrived. They both are completely smitten by Bentley, the new puppy, by the way.
12 February 2016
Brian was out of town this weekend for work. Los Angeles for a pitch and San Francisco for a bunch of Super Bowl stuff. He had a pretty great weekend, but made it back in town right before the actual Super Bowl. The boys and I finally made it to the Milwaukee County Winter Farmer's Market, where we picked up a cup a coffee, gluten free cupcakes, empanadas, turnips and cheese, of course.
Someone absolutely loves the snow.
The boys flew to Florida to visit my parents. Alone. This is a first. I know it's our job as parents to plant roots and help our children grow wings, but this is going all too fast. * Sigh * Nevertheless, I'm so excited for them, and know they are going to have a great time.
05 February 2016
Last weekend was a busy one. C had a friend over after school on Friday, and it turns out, they had arranged to meet up with a huge group of friends at the ice-skating rink. We even ended up with an extra kid for dinner. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I really think 11-year old boys are pretty hilarious. I loved it. That evening, H had a 9:30 pm soccer game, which started our weekend of soccer. Both boys were in a futsal tournament, so we had a total of 7 games. It was exhausting (that's a lot of soccer), and disappointing (their teams didn't fair too well), but they still had a good time. No photos of soccer, but I did take a picture of this amazing raw chocolate bark I've been making! It'sso good. Seriously, I made three batches over the course of a week, and finally got smart an made a double batch. It's 1/2 c coconut oil, 1/4 c maple syrup brought to a boil. Stir in 1/2 c cocoa powder and spread on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Add toppings (I've been digging gogi berries and pistachios), and freeze for 30 minutes before breaking into pieces. Store in the freezer.
I love my begging dogs. Yes, I'm bribing them with a piece of chicken or something to make them sit so good. But seriously, can you even resist these faces?
Gretel slowly wakes up in the mornings, rests, goes outside, then comes back in and goes crazy. She tries to break into all of our rooms to steal stuffed animals, socks, shoes and bras. I feed her, let her out one more time, and she basically sleeps the rest of the morning while I'm out and about. When I get home, she goes on crazy mode for another couple of hours, takes an afternoon nap, then is a wild child the rest of the evening until 8:00 pm when she just needs her beauty sleep. She just looked so pretty and peaceful in this photo. I couldn't resist. The calm before the storm.