Thursday, January 31, 2013


Where did the month go and yet...when will it be over?! It seems like "months ago" when we went up north for NYE...nope just 30 days ago! This month has been so busy, fun, cold, and just a tad bit long!

Remember the line{s} from 10 Things I hate about you {high school Rom-Com starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, et al.}:

Chastity: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
Bianca: I think you can in Europe.

Well, I am feeling whelmed these days, maybe I live in Europe or maybe I am just confused. Afterall, I am still trying to figure out just how or why I live in this frozen tundra called "The Cities."

I am not at a point of feeling overwhelmed...just yet, but I fear it is around the corner.

These days it just seems like once I hit the road in the morning, my day is a whirl wind. My work day is jam-packed and filled with meetings, phone calls, endless emails and projects. On any given day, my sent box has a solid 50 sent messages. Just yesterday, my calendar included meetings at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Crazy, right?

The moment our cars arrive into the garage our evening goes as follows: change clothes, hit the gym for just shy of an hour, come home and make dinner, clean-up and play, time for Miss L to go to bed around 8:30 and then before we know it, we look at each other and say "where did the night go?"

Soo much for completing "Christmas Thank-You Notes" or replying to an email or phone call from days, weeks (er, month or so) ago! I'm ready for a shower or bath and bedtime!

Visits to the gym nearly all four weeknights per week may be scaled back after our vacay, which will be helpful. I have been trying to do one crock pot recipe a week, we also have been trying to meal plan together and also make one entree salad each week - tonight was a typical "Black & Blue Salad" with steak and blue cheese atop a bed of greens and veggies.

I am trying to streamline as much as possible at work. I have a "New Member Checklist," a "Newsletter Checklist," a "Marketing Touchpoints" Reminder sheet and so on... And I have secured a part-time intern for the summer...which makes me real eager for June to arrive!

Recently, I put a Pinterest project into action and made a very pretty dry erase board.
I bought a framed piece of art at Goodwill for $8.01.
I bought 4 pieces of gray with small white polka dot pattern paper at Michael's for < $2
Replaced the art with the paper and ta-da...a nice looking writing surface to manage everything:
To Do, Reports, Prospects, New Members, etc.....

The nice thing about being a working mom, it definitely forces one to leave at the end of the day...regardless of how messy the desk is or how many voicemails are sitting their blinking on your phone.

Look at this goofball, running circles around baggage claim at DTW in December!
Anyone have any grand ideas for making more time?
All kidding aside, any suggestions for striking a better home/work life balance? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Burden Time: 3 Hours

It's official - the L family has booked an escape from the subzero frozen tundra. This getaway to Rivera Maya, Mexico happens to be scheduled in the near we quickly came to the realization that lil' Miss L needs a passport! (didn't factor in THAT expense into vacation plans!) So, we research and research the requirements, fees, expediting stuff, etc...and decide we need to act NOW!

I printed the paperwork and was working on the application part...which at the top states "Time of Burden: 85 minutes." The U.S. government has determined it may take approximately 85 minutes to collect any necessary documentation, photo, review paperwork and complete the application.

I have news for them...the Time of Burden when preparing an application and photo for a toddler is over twice their suggestion!!

J spent a good hour, trying to review past photo files for a pic that "could" be used...Strike One!

Then, we decided to take our own photo - this would be at least 90 minutes of sitting her in the bumbo with a white sheet behind her on the couch. The lighting was poor. Strike Two! So then we tried doing this on the stairwell with better light; meanwhile, bribing her with animal crackers!

So off we go to the Passport Services counter at our local governement building with our photo in hand of Miss L with a neutral expression, with a light background. The kind lady informed us that our sheet is a bit wrinkled and not really white and the photo would likely be rejected. Strike Three!

We are forced to pay the $9.99 for their staff to take a picture. I thought to myself "Alright, let's see THEM take a decent photo of this wiggle worm!" I'll show them.

They put her on a chair, put a white blanket behind her and on the first attempt - DONE! A nice, clean photo just what was needed. You have to be kidding me? We spent 3 hours trying to save $10!

For your own knowledge, passports for tiny people cost just as much as big people.
$80 for the passport + $25 to the county for a processing fee + $10 (optional) photo + $60 (optional) expediting fee

Thank GOODNESS she still flies for free and also will eat free for the week at this all-inclusive resort.

Also, she just got a cute cover-up sent her from one of her grandmas...which got all of us excited for vacay!!

Below is a photo of the little eskimo barbie this morning:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cinnamon Chips & Fruit Salsa

While home for the holidays, my mother-in-law had made this Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips recipe which I thought was amazing, so I decided to make it for our friends at the cabin for NYE.

It was super easy and takes about 20 minutes total!

First, cut flour tortillas into wedges...brush on some butter and dust with some a cinnamon- white sugar mixture. Bake for 10 minutes or less at 350 degrees.

Next, dice up the fruit in tiny pieces for a nice mixture. I altered it from my mother-in-law's recipe - based on my grocery store availability. I combined one golden delicious apple, blackberries, raspeberries, and strawberries. Complete the fruit with two tbsp of brown sugar to help marinate the salsa and bring out the juices and flavors.

Serve warm chips with fresh salsa and enjoy!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

A unique way to ring in 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had a very interesting new way to celebrate New Years Eve.

This year, we were invited to travel further north to a cabin filled with friends, food and fun. The only desire was to leave the pitter-patter of lil' feet back home. This was a natural challenge for us since family is not in close proximity to our home. Thankfully, we are blessed with friends close by that are just like family and a dear friend and neighbor offered to host Miss L for about 48 hours while mommy and daddy escaped even closer to Canada for some adult fun!

Miss L was in great hands and had such a blast with our neighbors and friends including a NYE Party with her friend - Miss R, as they are just two weeks apart! You can tell from the photos below...

We had a fun time up north (2 hours north) at a beautiful cabin with six other couples sans kiddos. The weather was not real cooperative a bit frigid, -14 one morning; which did not allow us to take part in typical winter time activities - such as snow golf on the lake, snow shoeing or tubing down a local ski hill - but we did enjoy lots of indoor games and I enjoyed a nice relaxing massage at the spa at the resort.

The cabin was set with a fireplace, pool table, foosball table, the Packers vs. Vikings game, and a very interactive home-made "Newlywed Game." Our friends Nick and Becky made up the questions for a multiple rounds of fun. Having been together for over 16 years, we were feeling confident with our ability to win this so we suggested a friendly wager.

The questions ranged from the typical "what article of clothing do you wish your husband would throw away already? to "what color panties is your wife wearing right now?"

As you can imagine it was a tough competition and we were in it to win it so when the opportunity came up for a "daily double" style final question - we bet everything! The men were asked to identify the all-important 4 C's of a diamond and the ladies had to guess how many they would correctly answer.

Knowing Jer and his impeccable attention to detail - I guessed that he would know all four...and I think I'm the only girl that guessed their guy would get all 4. As predicted, Jer did get all four - cut, clarity, color and carat! We were crowned winners and put $30 in our pocket...which of course went towards a round of shots for all later in the evening at a local bar!

It was a nice lil' getaway, adult time is so important; but we both couldn't wait to love in Miss L when we rushed to pick her up on New Years Day.

Here are some photos of our fun...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bacon-wrapped Green Bean Bundles

Everything is better with bacon, right? I was happy to run across the Williams Sonoma recipe for Bacon-wrapped Green Bean Bundles, just in time for thanksgiving!


Wrapped with a strip of bacon, these green bean bundles add an elegant touch to the Thanksgiving table. To get a head start, you can trim and blanch the beans a day in advance, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



  • 8 thick bacon slices
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and blanched
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon in batches until the slices are just beginning to brown along the edges but are still very underdone and pliable, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then cut each slice in half crosswise.

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, salt and garlic powder.

Divide the green beans into 16 equal portions, about 6 beans each. Gather each portion into a neat bunch and wrap a half slice of bacon around the center to hold the beans together. Place the bundles on the prepared baking sheet with the loose ends of the bacon underneath. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bundles and drizzle with the butter mixture.

Roast until the bacon is cooked through and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the green bean bundles to a warmed platter and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Miss L was able to enjoy a full turkey dinner this year with us!
Last Thanksgiving, we had to stuff a blanket behind her to fit in the highchair.

Final product...delicious! And good for any dinner - not just a holiday!
Her headband or head looks funny b/c of the shadows...anyhow - Happy Thanksgiving!
Our Thanksgiving Day begins with a light breakfast while watching the Parade...followed by various appetizers in the afternoon during football, followed by our traditional feast in the eve.

Below is our cheese tray - Jeremy's fave: Blue, I'm a gorgonzola + honey + pear on a cracker type
J also enjoys the Asiago- he shreds, I like Gouda, we had some sharp cheddar for little girl, summer sausage and some proscuitto-wrapped mozzorella - mmmmm.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Time to Getaway!

It seems that the holiday hangover is in full-effect in our household. The hangover + the sub-zero temperatures last week, has driven us both to want to scratch the itch to go somewhere.

I thought maybe I should blog about our most recent trip to Orlando, back in November (which seems soo long ago!) prior to booking our next trip away.

We exchanged our timeshare for a week in Orlando in mid-November. We were less than a mile from SeaWorld and just a short distance from the fun on International Drive and Disney World.

We spent one entire day touring Kennedy Space Center. Although this is Jeremy's "thing" being the space-math-science type, it was really fun for me as well! Miss L did great as we spent about 6 hours on-site {without a nap!}.

Another day was spent at SeaWorld, which was our favorite. Although, Miss L was only 15 months old, she loved it! And we loved seeing everything through her eyes. One unique use of technology that really wow'd this modern family as during the pre-show, the big screen had these animated characters bouncing up and down saying "Hi, Josh or Hi, Samantha" and the screen said to text your child's name to SeaWorld to be highlighted on the screen. So we did...and thus you can see in the pic below that "Patti" said "Hi, Alexis!" THEN, I received a text from Patti saying email me a photo of you at SeaWorld...and so I sent a photo snapped just an hour ago to Patti and at the end of the show...Miss L's photo was on the big screen. How neat!!  

One of the last activities we did nearly as the Park was closing was enter a life-size faux snow globe for a magical holiday moment. All three of us were in the giant snow globe for some over-priced, photography momentos...but J did get out and let us girls play. He said, he's heard a lot of "oohs and awes" in the last 15 months of Miss L...but he had never heard or seen so many people stop in their tracks and look at us and comment. It was truly a magical moment that I will never forget.

We also visited Dowtown Disney...

Dancing with the other kids...surprised?

One of the best parts of our trip included a couple dinners with my long-time bestie Kel and her 4 boys {1 big, 1 three-year old, 2 one-year old twins}. They also graciously hosted us overnight on our last night, where the four of us enjoyed cocktails by the fire outside and our big boys enjoyed looking through Brian's massive telescope into space. Thanks G Family for the fun!

We also had dinner with a long-time friend from my time with the Tigers. She and her husband are foster parents to Miss B and the girls {just a couple months apart} had fun at dinner together!

Entertraining everyone at the Pool - this is what we do!
Her "Leo" personality shines at a young age.

Sign of a good vacay...actually slept on the flight home.
Where to next? Anywhere but the North Pole. Perhaps Cali again as it offers the Ocean, Palm Trees AND In-n-Out {which ironically has palm trees as the logo}! Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy 17-month {birth} day!

Last year at this time, Miss L was starting to get up on all fours and nearly crawling and now today, we are celebrating 17 wonderful months with Miss L.

Below are some photos of today. I am not sure if there is an evening that goes by without us dancing or playing music. She is running around, playing with her best friend, Mr. Cole, and crawling on top of everything. She loves reading books, playing with dolls, and watching Family Guy with her daddy (yep, best parents of the year award!)

We officially have to spell out words in front of her. Miss L said her first two-word "sentence" or shall we say phrase...just this week. "More Cookie," she said, clear as day! Yep, she loves cookies. This habbit began around the holidays, specifically around the Christmas C-word Exchange!

She's a great sleeper, hitting the crib around 8:30-9pm nightly and waking up somewhere in the 8 o'clock hour in the morning. Most days, she takes two just depends on her wake-up time. All-in-all...she is one happy lil' doll.

This was on our way to daycare. She loves her daycare and so do we!
We also just installed the convertible car seat this week and I am loving it!
I think baby is happy about the added room also!

Climbing into our "Cozy Coupe," which was under the tree from her daddy!
Oh yes...our "heat wave!" I never thought I would say 32 is warm.
In fact, I didn't wear a coat to work yesterday b/c of the temperature. But look ahead...low of -3 on Monday.
All good things must come to an end.

Miss L is getting sooo tall! This is her dancing.
Which remiinds me, we need to weigh and measure her here at home.
We love our car!