Welcome to December, everyone! I feel like the start of December is always an exciting time, don’t you think?
Well, for one, my birthday starts off the month, which definitely helps a little. :) But it’s also the start of much anticipation and hopefulness for the coming holiday and all that it entails. I hope you’re finding time amongst the busyness to step back and enjoy the little moments.
Saturday, being my birthday, I intentionally did just that. The entire day was a day of rest and relaxation, but the end of the day was what I treasured most. Philip and I ended the night by sitting in front of the Christmas tree, staring into the sparkling lights, and simply enjoying the quiet time shared together. I’m hoping we have several more scattered moments like that again in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.
While we did plenty of thinking and dreaming in front of the Christmas lights (those lights are enchanting, I swear!), I’ve had my own share of ponderings, thoughts, and (too many) purchases recently. I thought it would be the perfect time for another round of my current thoughts and ponderings! Actually, my last “true” thoughts and ponderings was almost a year ago (how did that happen?!) and it was so fun to see what I was wanting and thinking about a year ago. It’s safe to say many of the things I loved then are still some of my favorite items today! So, without further ado, here we go… (continue reading…)
Oh, hey there! Summer is full swing over here and I’m absolutely loving it! Madison just shines in the summer. The lakes and pretty views, the bike trails, all the outdoor activities and concerts, the farmers’ markets…it’s just enough to make you forget the long winter you just endured. :) Please tell me the summer is still young and has only just begun! I hate the idea of the days already getting shorter and school supplies hitting the shelves once the 4th has passed. Nooo! I don’t even need the school supplies and it still makes me panic. Ha!
I won’t think about that yet, because we still have lots of fun summer activities coming up. But just looking at the past four weeks, we’ve also already managed to squeeze in a lot of fun! (continue reading…)
It’s been exactly one week since I ran the Boston Marathon. Last week I was fighting against a headwind and at least 20 mph wind gusts, rain interspersed with sudden downpours, and a starting temperature of a whopping 40 degrees. For three and a half hours. To say conditions for running 26.2 miles were less than ideal would be an understatement. Of course, today looks like great weather for a run…go figure.
But you know what? I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t put it into words, but the Boston Marathon is like no other marathon—no matter what the weather. The spectators cheering you on, the volunteers who are there to help with any and every need you may have, and the 25,000+ runners who are right there experiencing it all with you; it’s just incredible. Plus, I know the 122nd Boston Marathon will go down in history as being one of the worst days for a marathon weather-wise, so getting to say I did that counts for something, right? ;)
I was able to run the Boston Marathon two years ago for the first time and while it’s easy to compare between the two years, I have just as sweet of memories from this year. While two years ago, it was almost too hot (I can’t believe I’m saying that), this year just brought other challenges. If you’re curious, here are my thoughts from two years ago leading up to the Boston Marathon and my thoughts following the race. When I read back through them, all of my sentiments and feelings about the experience still hold true. Only this time, I improved my time and, unlike two years ago, I had another Boston qualifying time…so you know what that means. ;)
There’s so much I could share about our trip to Boston and the race weekend, so to help me touch on the highlights, I’m doing another round of my “Current Thoughts and Ponderings”—Boston Marathon style.
Well, here we are, already a good two weeks into 2018! I’m not one to make resolutions or get too philosophical about the start of a new year, but a brand-new year is always kind of exciting.
Philip and I had a great holiday, mostly staying around home. But even with some good time off, it’s surprising how quickly it felt like we needed another weekend to get away and catch up on some much needed R&R.
If this doesn’t scream R&R, I don’t know what does. :) This past weekend we headed up north for our annual visit to my aunt and uncle’s lake house, which they generously let us enjoy for a weekend in the winter. Since it’s only two hours away, it makes for an easy weekend trip.
While on the lake on one of our walks on Saturday, we had some neighbors ask us what our plans were while visiting…uhh, plans? What plans? Our plans consisted of: Reading, working on a puzzle, dreaming in front of the fire, and venturing briefly out into the below zero temps to get some fresh air. Safe to say, it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Bring on the new year!
Since so much has happened since the last time I posted, I thought I’d catch us all up by sharing my current thoughts and ponderings (you know you love these as much as I do. ;)).
The holiday festivities are definitely here! Can you believe Christmas is just a week away?! If your schedule looks anything like mine, you have parties to attend, holiday baking to partake in, and gifts to wrap (or get!). While hectic at times, I truly love all the excitement and anticipation leading up to Christmas.
This past weekend, Philip and I broke out our “Hoerr Family Confectionery” candy making tub and spent the weekend making our annual homemade chocolates and candy. The caramel came out on the first try, so I’m calling it a win! I think we’re slowly starting to get this whole thing down!
I love making the candy and the tradition of doing it every year, but I think what I love even more is being able to work side by side with Philip in the kitchen (a rare occurrence!) and boxing up the finished products to gift to our neighbors.
And this year it was even more exciting to box up our chocolates to give away, because we upgraded our logo! Philip’s brother graciously made us a new design that we turned into a stamp. It feels so legit. ;) We’re going places, I can tell.
While this past weekend we were busy in the kitchen, last week we were having fun jumping from one holiday event to the next. I made this salsa for one of the parties (I can always guarantee on it being a big hit no matter who is at the party) and a couple days later whipped up these Fig & Goat Cheese Prosciutto Wraps for another get together we were going to for an appetizer. Fast and fancy is what I like to call these little roll ups.
Time for Round Two of my two part series highlighting our recent trip to Europe. If you missed it, I talked about our first half of our trip to Italy in this post. But today, it’s time for Greece!! To be honest, we spent the majority of our time planning and thinking about Italy, while Greece kind of became a second thought. I’m not really sure why, because Greece was just as lovely. And, more importantly, had just as good of food. :) I actually liked how we went about planning for this two week trip of ours. We did enough planning to have a rough itinerary made up and to have all of our transportation figured out ahead of time, but what made up our activities for several of the days, we decided on the spot and didn’t get stressed out about seeing all the things!
In Greece, we spent a short bit of time in Athens and then concluded our trip with a relaxing few days in Santorini, one of the most popular and beautiful Greek islands. It was the perfect way to cap off our time in Europe.
I suppose we might as well start the slideshow ;)…A recap of our time in Greece: (continue reading…)
We’re back, we’re back, we’re back!! First of all, this trip was absolutely incredible and amazing and something I’ll remember for a lifetime (for those of you who don’t know, we traveled to various parts of Italy and Greece for two weeks in October). That said, it feels so good to be back! It’s weird how that happens…while the food was absolutely divine and I wanted to take it all home with me, at the same time I was still ready to have my own, familiar food again (I’m looking at you, peanut butter…I may have gotten peanut butter confiscated from my bag not once, but twice by TSA in the airports…it never hurts to try. :)). And while we had gorgeous views in all of our Airbnbs (I mean, really, does waking up to a view of the Mediterranean or the Parthenon ever get old?), my own bed that overlooks, well, our backyard and our neighbor’s back porch light that they insist on turning on for the entire night (not that I’m bitter about this at all) never felt better! Oh, and having
fast wi-fi and being able to communicate with people were also small perks of being back on U.S. soil.
So, where do I even start! First, our itinerary: We were gone a total of 14 days, visited 2 countries, and stayed in 4 cities/towns. All of our travel was either by plane, bus, or train…We saw a lot of public transportation on this trip, to say the least. :) Thankfully, it’s super easy to get around in Europe by these modes of transportation and our hours of planning ahead of time made all of these connections as hassle-free as possible. Renting a car and attempting to drive while there looked like an absolute nightmare. Eek!
Days 1–6: Exploring Pisa/Florence/Tuscany
Days 7–9: Relaxing in the Amalfi Coast in Italy (Praiano and Positano to be exact)
Days 10–11: Sightseeing around Athens, Greece
Days: 12–14: Relaxing and soaking up our last days of vacation in Santorini, Greece, one of the Greek islands
Ready for picture overload? Here’s what we saw in Italy (Greece coming soon!): (continue reading…)
Urban, hip, trendy, cool. These all describe the lifestyle of Chicago. And I am decidedly…not. Haha.
Philip and I recently celebrated our four year (four years?!) anniversary on August 10th and, to celebrate, made the short trip down to Chicago for a mini two-day getaway. We attempted to fit in with the “hip” 20’s- and 30’s-somethings young professionals—and I’d like to say we succeeded—with a $15 drink in hand and all. ;) It’s always fun to pretend sometimes, right? But safe to say, downtown Chicago is not going to be a place we call home anytime soon. But to visit? Oh yes, we’ll be back. Today I’m filling you in on the highlights. I would highly recommend all the places we went and stayed at!
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of our anniversary, if you’re interested or like sappy things like wedding stories, you can read here about how we met, or here about our one year anniversary (ironically enough, also included a trip to the Chicago area) and what we learned in that one year of marriage, or here and here about our two year anniversary. Guess I missed our 3 year! ;)
I don’t know about you, but I feel like summer is whizzing by. But I also feel like this summer has been living up to all of its potential. You know when you have those summers when you do almost zero of the fun, little things you had planned or wanted to do that makes summer, well, summer? (My hand is up and waving high on that one!)
We all have the “big ticket” items like going on a vacation or two, but why do the small things tend to get so easily pushed aside? Things like going to a farmer’s market, star gazing, or having friends over for a barbecue.
But this summer—the summer of 2017—has been full of the “small ticket” items for Philip and me! Or maybe I’ve just finally accepted that I’m not going to get to every little thing in one summer, but am instead appreciating all the things that we have been able to do. Whatever the reason, I’ve been loving the star gazing (or in the case from Saturday night, watching the distant lightning), the fire pits and s’mores, and the evening walks around the neighborhood.
Of course, there’s so much more than just those things going on in our summer, so I thought I’d bring back another post of my current thoughts and ponderings. :)
Right now I’m…
I woke up on Saturday morning and mumbled to Philip, “I’m glad we could sleep in this morning.” It was 6:30 a.m.
Even though we were road tripping across Iowa this past weekend, dancing the night away at a friend’s wedding, reminiscing about childhood memories in my hometown (I hadn’t been back since we got married four years ago!), and touring around Okoboji—one of the biggest tourist towns in Iowa—if you can believe it, it was a much more relaxing weekend than we’ve had the previous three weeks.
That’s because for most of the weekends in June, we took on—what seems like—our annual landscaping project. Every summer since we’ve moved into our house, we’ve taken on some level of landscaping project to slowly transform our yard into something we enjoy spending time in. I think we’re almost there!
I’ll give you a recap: (continue reading…)