Monday, August 30, 2010

A new family member

Thursday morning I receive a random text:

As far as I know Mike is at work. I reply, "Where are you?", he responds, "At work." I respond back, "Where is that picture from?" Mike goes on to explain that he found a kitten at the gas station next to his work cowering in fear under a cement barricade. Being the animal lover that he is, he went back to his office, grabbed his sandwich and coerced Kitty out of her hiding spot. As luck would have it Mike's coworker had borrowed Kira's cat carrier a few weeks ago and still had it in her car. This would be Kitty's home for the afternoon.

Mike and I chatted throughout the afternoon trying to decide what to do. We made some calls to a few no kill shelters without much luck. Mike headed out of work early to take Kitty to our vet. On the way Kitty did not look good, she was laying on her face, not moving. Mike panicked. When he got to the vet he ran in with Kitty, they immediately rushed her into the back and administered fluids. Mike waited nervously, as I received text updates, while the vet worked on Kitty. About 30 minutes later we had an update, "Much longer and Kitty would not have made it." Weighing a measly 1.3 lbs she was severely dehydrated and malnourished. The vet estimated she was about 6 weeks old.

With her condition stabilized for the time being, the vet put together a treatment plan to get Kitty healthy. Mike and I knew we wanted to help Kitty, who was now Purrl, but we weren't sure how. See, we already have 3 pets of our own, 2 dogs and a cat. Mike decided to take Kitty to PAWS, a no kill shelter in Chicago, along with her recommended treatment plan. PAWS rehabilitates strays and abandoned animals and helps adopt them into good homes. When Mike arrived, PAWS could not take Purrl, they were too full and told Mike of some other shelters. They also said that because the shelters are overloaded right now, Purrl would probably be put down because she is sick.

That made our decision very easy. Mike headed back up to our vet to begin Purrl's treatment. Poor little girl was poked and prodded for hours. Afterwards, the vet asked Mike if he would like to hospitalize her or take her home. At this point, costs were really weighing in, so with a 40% survival rate, Purrl came home.

In the meantime, I was out buying Purrl a bed, litter box, toys and food to help her feel safe and comfortable in her new home. Due to her having a respiratory virus, the vet said she must be quarantined for 10 days at least, 30 to be safe. I set up her new digs in our spare bedroom and distracted Dixie, Finn and Kira while Mike snuck her in.

So here we are, day 5. We had a rough couple of moments and a few scares but Purrl seems to be coming around! The others know something is up in that back room, but they are unsure of what. Dixie is especially suspicious because Purrl's room used to be hers and she is now sleeping in the living room.

We are hoping to find Purrl a good home eventually(maybe). For now, we are just so glad we were able to help little Purrl.

Here are some pictures of her journey.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

From here to Maine and back again

Mike and I returned from our trip to Maine last Saturday. We have a new addition to our family, which has kept me very busy this week and I am just now, finally finding a quiet moment to blog! Don't worry, the new addition will have a proper introduction coming soon!

Mike and I spent a lovely week in Maine visiting his parents, and seeing his mom and David's new home. His parents recently retired, sold there home in Rhode Island and moved to Maine to fulfill a lifetime dream. Their house looked fantastic and is in the a quaint, cute, charming town of Wiscasset, ME. Wiscasset is an interesting mix of vacationers, locals and some quirky birds that own the local businesses.

We did our fair share of exploring this trip which kicked off with a 4 hour drive to Rhode Island. My husband loves the Washington County fair. He grew up living for this fair all summer as a kid. Mike's parents are members of the local grange so they also drove back for their annual ticket selling shift. About a month in advance we did a little research online and decided to book a room at the General Stanton Inn. It looked familiar to me on the website and was close to the fair. It also hosts an outdoor flea market that takes place every weekend. Perfect...or so I thought.

We arrived, checked in, even had a beer at the bar before heading to the flea market. Spent some time at the fair, had a great dinner at one of our local favs. Upon returning to the Inn, we decided to walk to the nearby gas station to grab some water. This is when it hit me why the Inn looked so familiar. "Um, sweetie? Was the Inn on an episode of Ghost Hunters? Is this the place you told me was right by your house growing up when we were watching it?" Not a word, but I got a look. I quickly said "Don't tell me I don't want to know." Followed by a "You're not saying anything, it is the place!" AHHHHHH, and so my adventure and sleepless night began.

To make a long story short, we snuck into some rooms with crazy old antiques. I faked being possessed several times and then Mike fell asleep. I think around 2am I dozed off for 25 minutes, had a dream the General was choking me, and pretty much layed awake for the rest of the night. No paranormal experiences, just me being a freak.

The rest of a trip was a blast. Went on a Midcoast wine tour with Mike's mom and David where we visited local farms and wineries escorted on a Trolly. We explored Wiscasset which is known for having great antiques as there are 22 antiques shops, which is a lot for such a small town! We ate great food, visited Portland, hung out with Bobbi Brown and really fell in love with the area. It is now on my list of possible places to live along with Austin and Nola.

We were sad to leave and plan to stay for 2 weeks next year! Mike is already planning a trip back in January. Here are some pics of the fun times we had!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dixie Does The Beach!

I forgot how much little Dixie loves the doggie beach. The problem is the sand and her hair = not so fun clean up. Well, this weekend she was in need of a bath so we figured we'd let her have a little fun beforehand. She played, she barked and she swam! She is quit the little swimmer! My guess is we will try to squeeze in a few more trips to the beach for Dixie before summers end.

P.S. we are well aware of how obsessed we are with our animals, the great thing about the dog beach is, we fit right in lol!

Being a Tourist

This weekend my parents came down for a fun afternoon in the city. They arrived Friday afternoon on the most perfect weather day we've had here in a long time. We had a lite lunch, including a new recipe I was experiementing with. I made a white bean pesto flatbread and will post the recipe next time I make it and snap a picture. Next, we trained it downtown and perused jewelers row before an afternoon Wendella boat ride. We took the 75 minutes architectural river tour and it was just stunning. I really take for granted all the beautiful sights that surround me here in Chicago. It was nice to take a minutes and listen to the history while relaxing with an icy cold beer along the river. I snapped some cool photos while on the tour.

Later in the evening we had a really good dinner at Dunley on the Square, where I introduced my mom to ceviche. She's not a big fan of fish, but seemed to really enjoy the citrusy ceviche! We stopped for a nightcap along the way home then ended the night with a little Wii bowling.

The next morning Mike suprised us all by stopping at Bleeding Heart Bakery and boy, am I glad he did! I think I will be dreaming about these pastries until the next time we get them. I thought about getting more this today, but figured, I better pace myself and wait until next weekend at least!

Mike picked up a blueberry muffin, banana walnut muffin, almond raspberry crossiant, chocolate croissant, strawberry rhubarb scone and a chocolate cherry scone. We decided to all share so we could taste everything. They were all really, really good. If I had to pick one favorite it would be the almond raspberry crossiant, the strawberry rhubarb scone was right up there as well. I managed to make an egg white omelet with some roasted veggies and mozerella to balance these out with a little protein lol.

Bakery Treats

I mentioned in the previous post Mike brought home dessert on our anniversary. After reading some reviews that proclaimed Sweet Mandy B's has the "best cupcakes in Chicago" he decided to swing by. He picked up a caramel apple cupcake and a flourless chocolate mini cake. We ended up splitting them up so we could try them both. Delicious, tasty, the best? I think my favorite bakery remains Bleeding Heart. They were both a great treat though!

Mike also brought home a gorgeous bouquet of flowers! Now on to year 3!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Two years ago I married my "sweetie". It was one of the best days of my life by far. In honor of us, we decided to go out to dinner on Saturday night to celebrate, afterall, we did get married on a Saturday so it felt more like our anniversary. We decided to go to Geja Cafe. I had been there once before years ago and Mike had never been. It is known for being one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago, but even better, they serve fondue and when done right fondue is GOOD!

Once we were seated, first and foremost, we ordered a bottle of wine. I just love the Cueva de las Manos Malbec, and noticed that on the wine list was the Cabernet Sauvignon. A new variety, delicious winery. Score! After selecting our dinners we started with the Geja Salad, it was light, crisp and fresh! Next came an amazing cheese fondue served with fruit such as apples, grapes and bread. My favorite course by far!

The main course was up next, I ordered the veggies and asked for broth as well as oil, I remembered last time I had fondue the oil was so good, but so heavy, so I wanted to be able to mix. Mike ordered veggies with steak, lobster, chicken and scallops! I may or may not have stole a shrimp or scallop or two, but it didn't matter, there was a lot of food!

Right about this time Vince Vaughan and his posse came and sat right next to us! My heart skipped a few beats, I am guilty of celebrity stalking. The rest of my night consisted of listening in on his conversation lol. That is, until the dessert course came! Chocolate fruit, marshmallows and poundcake dipped in chocolate with a great cup of coffee, I died!!

Unfortunately I only managed to snap a few photos! Once Vince was there I felt awkward taking snap shots even though I kept telling Mike, "I do it all the time"!!

Here are the few I got:

On to bigger and better...

Twing = 2 years + new bling!

I finally met my jewelery soulmate at Jewelers Row last time Mike and I went. This is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday, perusing the jewelers cases and amazing designs. I wasn't really expecting to change my setting but when I tried this one on, my eyes lit up and I couldn't stop smiling. This is the same thing that happened the first time I met Mike, so I new the bling was mine! It's funny because when we were looking prior to getting engaged this is EXACTLY what I wanted. Problem was A. I couldn't find this setting anywhere and was too nervous to have something custom made and B. I felt I needed something more unique.

Well, I've had my new ring/aka early anniversary gift for about a month now and I'm just in love. Ladies, if you ever want to switch things up, have something made, or look at some great pieces let me know! I will take you to my jewelry soulmate! This ring was one of her designs, originally made in white gold, we had it re-made for me in platinum which took about a week. I have 3 projects in the pipeline right now with her! She is going to be, overtime, creating some amazing things for me from my original engagement ring.

As for tonight, our real anniversary, Mike and I are having a low key dinner in between his studying, and later indulging in some delicious desserts he brought home! Stay tuned for a review later this week!

Cheers to twing! xoxo

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Wish I Was In Nola Cajun Shrimp Orzo

I didn't intend on changing my blog this evening but I got to playing around and, well, this is what happened! I kind of like the new look. Better colors, cleaner layout. Maybe I'll even get a new slide show up here eventually

I recently took a brief hiatus because I was blogging so much about food. I think I am going to cave and start archiving new recipes on here again. This has been the summer of my "test kitchen" and I have really come up with some great new dishes. Including one I made tonight:

I'll call this "I Wish I Was In Nola Cajun Shrimp with Orzo"

1 cup of orzo
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic in water
1 can of diced tomatoes, any variety really
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp or precooked shrimp
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain. Place pasta in a large bowl; keep warm.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning, red pepper, and salt. Add shrimp mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes if using raw, 1-2 minutes if already cooked; remove from heat. Stir in half-and-half. Pour shrimp mixture over pasta; toss.

This was so good served with salad and bread! Also quick and easy, what I like! I have some other recent success's I will post on here soon, they are just too good for me to forget!

Also, stayed tuned tomorrow for a special 2 year anniversary post! That's right, my sweetie and I have been married a whopping 2 years! It's scary how fast time is going! We've also been dating/married now for a grand total of...drumroll....3 years and 1 month! That is a record for me! Most of you who know me, know that I could never make it past the 2 1/2 year mark. I just got bored or decided enough was enough, or in one case, got dumped(after I initiated it of course), lol. My sweetie sure is a keeper, whether he likes it or not!