Monday, August 31, 2009

look what we did!

after some SERIOUS work we have finally finished our landscaping project in the backyard! we mulched, planted a little flower bed and planted grass seed! hopefully by next year we will be mowing!

in case you don't remember here are a couple before pictures, actually these are about half way through, the closest i have to a before is the pic with Finn!

and after!

The next project I will be starting this week is painting our bedroom!! So, so excited about this one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Trip Out East

Our trip out East consisted of 12 days and a lot of driving. It was great to be able to spend time with Mike's fam! I feel so lucky that I was able to see and do everything that we were able to. We really had a blast. The pictures speak for themselves but there were definitely a few highlights!

In Rhode Island we were able to see David hard at work on the Mystic Seaport Steam Ship. I was able to try some Rhode Island staples at the fair, clam fritters and dells. We dined at Shelter Harbor with Mike's parents where I was able to try Jonny Cakes for the first time and Mike's Mom and David made Saugy Dogs, tasty! O, and I can't leave out the GREAT giant muffins and awesome coffee from Dave's Coffee in Charleston and ice cream from my fav, Lickity Splitz. We also did a wine tasting in Newport which was a lot of fun! We had a great time in Rhode Island! It was so nice to relax and just hang out!

Once we got to Maine we got had a blast with Bobbi Brown, Mike's lil sis. We took her to Baily Island, where their Dad grew up, grandmother is buried and a statue of their Great Grandfather is displayed. We went to the Land's End gift shop, called that because it is literally where the land ends and ocean begins, and bought a few souvenirs. Mike Uncle Charlie and his wife came over for a seafood feast that Mike's Dad made. Lobsters right out of the bay, steamers and scallops. It was a great meal! We took a ride to the marina where Dave and Heidi's boat is docked and got to take a look, but because of hurricane Bill in the tropics the waves were too big and we could not take a ride. We visited the Allagash Brewery and tasted some really good beers! We spent some time in Portland and met up with Mike's college friend Laura for a few beers at a great brew pub, Gritty McDuffs. We also played a lot of Wii! We were so sore on the drive to Niagara.

Once in Niagara we did some sight seeing, had dinner in Canada and relaxed. The Falls are so beautiful and being up there for a night and half a day was the perfect amount of time for us!


We made it back to Chicago last night after our 12 day road trip out East! I am uploading my pictures as I type this and will post them next!

Before I do so, Mike and I wasted no time last night. After a few hours of being home we trekked it to Home Depot to see what are options are for our landscaping project. Keep in mind we are renting and funding this project on our own, so we are trying to make the most of the $75 we have budgeted for this. Luckily everything is on sale right now!

The back all cleared out! Our plan is to plant two tall grass plants in the area by the lattice that is encircled by the rock, then in front of that three hostas. We also picked up two daisy plants and two purple flower bush plants to place in there somewhere. The rest will be grass. Also, along the side of the fence and the garage we plan to mulch and maybe add some plants next spring!

We hit up home depot!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Mike and I have been planning, or rather talking about going out East in August for a few months now. Well, what do you know, it's the night before and we are FINALLY making arrangements. There were a few pending issues going on in our lives that didn't allow us to commit to the actual dates. The main issue was finalized today, Mike was officially able to register at Loyola, so we are heading out tomorrow!

Just a quick precap of what we will be up to! Tomorrow at 10am we head to Davenport to board Finn and drop Dixie off with her grandparents. We also have to squeeze in a quick trip to the vet for Finn, no surprise there! Immediatly after the drop off we are on our way to Clevland, an 8 hour drive, where we will be crashing at a Crowne Plaza Hotel, which I'ed tonight for 60 bucks. Score! Friday morning we will wake up and drive another 10 hours to Rhode Island where upon arrival we will kick off our shoes and chill!

We have a few things planned during our time in RI. Some hiking, beaching, a dinner at my fav, Shelter Harbor with Mike's parents. Then we are off to Maine to see Mike's parents over that way! After Maine I booked us a room, again on, at Niagara Falls! I know this is very cheesy but I was at the Falls a few years ago for a wedding and I thought it was so cool! I wanted to go back again in warmer weather! So Sunday morning I am setting the alarm for 6 so we can hit the road to Niagara!! It should only be about a 9 hour drive. On Monday we will head back to Dport to get our little babies who we will miss so,so much.

The last month has been a whirlwind with all these big decisions to make, moving..oy! I feel a little scattered now but hopefully this vacation will get me somewhat back to normal. Well, unless I get this mew job and have to live in Massachutes for 2 months to train! Phew, one day at a time!!

Did we bite off more than we can chew?

Wow, Mike and I have been spending the last few days "gardening" and let me tell you. This yard is no joke! I wish I had more before pictures but I only have the one with Finn that I previously posted, you get the idea though. The yard was out of control!

Yesterday was well, let's call it demolition day.

I mean, it already looks more like a yard but honestly, neither Mike nor myself know the first thing about landscaping. In fact, I mentioned to him yesterday if we owned the place I'd be calling the professionals right about now. When our neighbors asked us what we will be planting Mike replied "O, some grass and some mulch" LOL, obviously we are amateurs. Hopefully we get out of this without leaving a mess! And if you have any recommendations, by all means, let us know!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A blog-worthy marinade

After a long, hard day of gardening, and a much, much needed haircut, I did a quick search online to find a tasty marinade for some tuna steaks I picked up at Trader Joes. My guess is this would be good on most white fish as well.

2 tablespoons of honey dijon mustard (I used 2 tablespoons of regular dijon and 2 teaspoons of honey)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of red wine vinigar or white vinager(I used white)

I stabbed my tuna steaks with a fork, placed them in a bowl, poured the marinade on top and let them sit covered in the fridge for an hour or two. Before they went on the grill I sprinkled them with a little cracked pepper and salt. Once on the grill they cooked for about 4 minutes on each side. YUM! These were great along side some grilled curry potatos and a Leffe brew.

Busy Summer Days

I wish I could say I've been relaxing and enjoying some lazy summer days but it's been quite the opposite! Mike and I have been tackling apartment related projects one day at a time. I mean, we take our breaks, a walk to get coffee, hanging out with old friends, even made it out to dinner once or twice, o and of course a few trips to Trader Joes!!

We've also been planning our upcoming road trip out east! We plan on leaving Friday, driving straight through to Mike's parents in Rhode Island spending some time out there, then heading up to Mike's Dads in Maine. It's hard to think about being gone for over a week with everything that's going on, but hopefully we get some good chill time.

In other big news I have an interview while we are out East. It's with a company that will be opening a branch here in Evanston around November 1. The job is more operational to start and would be a career shift out of the corporate retail world which I welcome with open arms. We'll see how it goes!

Now that we are somewhat settled I thought I'd post a few pictures of the new place. Keep in mind the walls are rather interesting, the landlord was very proud of the when he showed us the place, so once the dust has settled we will be asking him if we can paint!! Here they are!


Living Room

Office area, we get our new desk tomorrow, so excited!!

Dixie, but more importantly the new pillows I splurged on.

Kira in her new favorite spot

Eating Area


Second bedroom and current home of random stuff

70's bathroom, the one I scrubbed for hours, even though it was clean because moving into a brown bathroom is kind of a nightmare

Bedroom which I cannot wait to paint.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great Giveaway

One of my favorite blogs Eat,Drink and Be Aware is having an awesome giveaway, check it out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A breather

Wow, so we are officially Chicago residents again. We arrived here on Monday and have been working our ASSES off ever since. Moving into this place has been a bit of a challenge. We came from a three bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment, so finding places for everything has taken some time. Things are going well though and by the end of the day tomorrow I imagine we will be fairly settled and ready to move on to the outside. Check out this "wild flower garden" as the landlord put it. Mike and I will be pulling weeds and flowers forever in order to plant some grass for our doggies.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009