Monday, June 28, 2010

8 places I would like to visit.......

QBS did this a few weeks ago, and I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon.  B and I have often been out at dinner and done "tags" like this with each other.  We'll do top 10 places to see, top 5 "events" we'd like to attend (usually sport related), top 10 restaurants we've been to, etc.  We love to see what the other comes up with, and it definitely makes for fun conversation after we've created our lists. 

Anyway, I've been very few places in my life.  Due to the fact that we spent 8 weeks at the cottage every summer while growing up, we didn't have the typical "summer vacation" trip that a lot of others had.  We also have a lot of family in Aspen (love that!) and so a lot of vacations were spent there with my mom's side (skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer).  My first trip to Europe was for our honeymoon to Spain, and other than that, my only trip out of the country was to Mexico and one cruise.  Since my traveling has been somewhat limited, I probably wouldn't turn down any trip that was presented to me, but as of today, here are my current top 8 places...................

1.  Switzerland/Austria

After seeing this movie (my very favorite of ALL movies), it has always been my dream to head to Austria to take the Sound of Music tour (yes, incredibly cheesy, but I don't care!!!).  Since I'm going to be "in the area", I thought I'd also just pop over to Switzerland as well.  Really, these countries seem to be incredibly beautiful in all the pictures I've seen, and I'd love to go in any season. 

2.  Canada

I have always loved the idea of seeing all of Canada by taking a train across the country.  Traveling by train seems weirdly glamorous to me, and Canada, while a direct neighbor of ours, gets very little glory for it's gorgeous mountainous scenery.  I remember reading about a trip like this in one of my Gram's elderhostel catalogs, and thinking that I couldn't wait to retire and do this. I think doing it with Elderhostel or Grand Circle would be perfect as it would be a great way to meet other people, have an educational component, and have it all arranged for you. I have also seen a few travel channel and PBS specials on trips similar to this and have loved watching them.

3.  Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Napa (Road Trip!)

While this would have to be a 2 week extended trip, it's definitely something that I think would be so much fun.  I haven't been to any of the first 3 cities though I did do a day trip to Napa from SF once.  I'd really like to do Napa with B though- we'd have a ball.  There are so many things to do in all of these cities, and I'd love to see the coastline of the Pacific Northwest. 

4.  Argentina

Truly, this is just because I want to eat Argentinian beef for a week or two and not feel guilty about it.  I love steak pretty much more than anything, and this would be such a grand adventure in eating.  Plus, Argentinian wine has really come onto the scene in the last 10 years, and I'd love to enjoy all of them with my beef!  

5.  London

A truly metropolitan vacation with wonderful sightseeing, great shopping, tons of walking, the ability to take the tube (I love figuring out subway systems, and B is great at it), thoughts of royalty, good theater, and Pimm's Cups every night.  Plus I would also take a few jaunts to the English countryside- most specifically to Cornwall (my mother's heritage).

6.  Madison, WI

Yup, I really want to go to Mad-town. Why? I love college towns, everyone that is from Madison constantly talks about how much they love it, it's really outdoorsy, it seems that there are tons of great restaurants, and I love the midwest with all my heart. It's sad, really, that I lived in Chicago for 8 years and never went there- it's sooo close. Now, we're just going to have to make a family vacay of it. B is all for going too, so we will hopefully go in 2011 or 2012.

7.  Costa Rica

Specifically the Four Seasons in Peninsual Papagayo.  Um, can you say GORGEOUS???  I suppose at $600/night it certainly should be!!!  Costa Rica was somewhere we talked about going on our honeymoon before we decided on going to Spain.  Perhaps for an anniversary one year?   I wouldn't leave without doing a zipline through the rainforest.  A friend of mine did this and said it was the coolest thing she'd ever done.
Seriously, incredible isn't it???

8.   Telluride
I've been skiing a lot in CO (in my opinion it's the best skiing in the west), but never in Telluride.  It's such a PITA to get to, that you have to plan a vacation specifically to Telluride and know you're going to stay there the whole time.  I'd love to go here for our next ski vacay (or Steamboat Springs- another one that is off the beaten path).  I just love the small town feel of the Colorado ski towns and the huge mountains that surround them.  Such glorious views!  You can definitely feel God at work when you are on mainstreet looking up at the snowcovered beauties!

Tell me, what are your top one, five, or eight future dream trips?? 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

God Pause for Sunday

Do people who become Christians really know what they are getting into?

They come to our church because we are welcoming and friendly, because our greeters smile, because our youth have fun. They come because our music is beautiful and inspirational. They come because the word is out that our pastor's sermons are really meaningful and lively. They come because we are spiritually peaceful and they want this. Perhaps they come to your church for these reasons too. But do they really know what they're getting into?

This hymn asks that question. Because following Jesus changes us. Following is more than sitting in a chair or pew, singing quietly for our own benefit. Following is getting up and walking in Jesus' footsteps. Are you interested in being changed -- not only at the resurrection, but this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow? Follow Jesus into the crowds and you'll never be the same.

Here we come, Jesus, wanting safety, peace and quiet. And here you meet us, anxious to whirl us into a wild dance of love, healing and reconciliation. We want to never be the same again, but we hesitate because where you go and how you dance scares us! Teach us to trust your lead, Lord Jesus, and become the music with you. Amen.

Chris Kramer
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Dalles, Ore.
Master of Divinity, 2007

"Will You Come and Follow Me?" ELW 798 (Also known as The Summons in the Catholic Church)

1. Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?

Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

2. Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

3. Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

4. Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

5. Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun summer necklaces

Aren't these perfect for summer?  I just love them and would have an awfully hard time deciding which color scheme to go with- though I think it would be the last one.  You can find them here

If you aren't already following Caroline's blog, you can do that here.  She posts great recipes along with her fabulous jewelry and has two darling kiddos!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

B's Peeves - June, 2010

Hey there ladies, B here.  You know, the diaper changing, Giving Tree reading new dad who compares farts with young Mr Spencer T.  Anywho, it's been a while since I rapped at 'ya, so I thought I'd get a few things off my chest.  So without and further ado, here are a few things that are grinding my gears these days:

1.  Applebee's

Okay, we all know that Applebee's has been trying to convince America that they serve actual food for several years now with the tag line of "Eatin' good in the neighborhood!"  Sounds folksy, right?  Appetizing?  Not exactly.  And now, they have this ridiculous ad campaign covering the airwaves claiming that their new hamburgers are "as unique as the neighborhoods that inspired them."  Let's be honest...

You can't put peppers, onions and mushrooms on a burger and say that it's "from Philly."  If you are lucky enough to have been to Philly in your lifetime, you'll know that a classic Philly Cheesesteak has beef and cheese whiz, and maybe onions.  That's it.  This disgusting looking thing is neither unique, nor is it typically Philadelphian (yeah, I just invented the word "Philadelphian"). 

And by the way, Philly is a city, not a neighborhood.

2. Vuvuzelas

Enough has been written about these ridiculous horns, so I'll make my point in pictures. 

A bee hive is supposed to look like this:

Or this:

Or this:

But not like this:

Just stop those stupid things already.  That high pitched whine is brutal.

3.  This Guy

Let's just say I don't exactly have Bieber Fever.  And if you saw this performance...

...on the Today Show (as AET likes to watch), you'd join me in my disgust.  This kid is just awful.

Side note, AET is still raving mad about how frequently he touches his hair.  Now, I'm a guy who takes pride in his hair, and I'm not even close.

4.  Dog Zits

When you adopt a 6month old, 65 pound Mastiff Mix (half Neapolitan Mastiff and half English Mastiff) puppy at the shelters in Chicago these days, they "accidentally" fail to mention that Mastiffs have more minor health and beauty issues than your average Miss America contestant.  Somehow, we have already had to deal with:

- Kennel Cough
- Anal Gland Expression
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Yeast Infections

and finally,

- "Moderate Acne" on the lips and chin

How did we get from this

(at 6 months old- the day we got her)

to this?

(last week, at 18 months old)

Ugh.  We've been to the vet more this year than I have been to a doctor in the last 10 years.

5.  The French
Quick, name a famous French athlete....

no, really.  Go ahead, I'll wait.....

Couldn't think of one?  That's what I thought.

However, the French have been popping up in the Sporting world a lot lately, and not for the best reasons.

First, we had the French Open, which was won by a Spaniard:

Then, we had a random Frog pop up to finish two strokes from the championship at the US Open at Pebble Beach.  Gregory Havret was ranked 391st in the Official World Golf Rankings.  After tripping and falling into a near-miss at the US Open, he is now ranked 104th, and I agree- we'll never hear from him again. 

Thanks for the memories, Gregory.

Don't worry, I've saved the best for last.  The French national team, also known as Les Bleus.  These guys are a bigger mess than an early-2007 Britney Spears.  After drawing its first game against a good Uruguayan team, Les Bleus wet the bed against Mexico and then truly melted down over the weekend by kicking a player off the team, seeing the resignation of the team's General Manager, and having the entire team refuse to practice on Sunday (when they still had a chance to advance).  After the worst weekend in team history, France went out yesterday and lost 2:1 to a mediocre-at-best South African team and left its final image of World Cup 2010 in this way:

I know you're all out of sorts because your team sucks, but you could at least shake the hand of the opposing coach whose team just beat you fair and square.

Ahhh, that feels better.  At this moment, I'm settling in for the US-Algeria game, and looking forward to seeing our boys go out there and get revenge for the bush-league call that kept them from winning last week.  But if the US doesn't win or advance into the next round, well, I guess you could expect another B's Peeves in the very near future!  You stay classy, Blogosphere.



That's how many hours our little Spencinator slept last night!  He went to bed a little after 8:30 and woke up at 5:30 to eat!  Do you know how good it feels to sleep through the night for the first time??  Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

B and I both woke up about 4, and I said "He's still sleeping."  B's first statement was "Is he still alive??"  Don't worry- he was!  I had to go pump as soon as I woke up because I was so engorged (that's what woke me up- when I tried to roll over, I couldn't b/c my boobs hurt so bad!).  I got 5 oz in 3 min (and for those of you who haven't breastfed- that's a lot for a 5 1/2 week old baby!)- that's how full I was.  I was able to go back to bed and slept until he woke up cooing in his crib about an hour later. 

I don't know if this will happen every night, but just having one night of sheer, blissful sleep is awesome!  The only bad part about the long night of sleep is that we're ALL up at 6 a.m. instead of sleeping until 8 like we have been so far during maternity leave.  Oh well, just means we'll get a lot done today!

Oh, yesterday I had to go to work to drop off a baby gift, so I got SYT on the scale while I was there.  He's just over 12 lbs- that means he's gained 3 lbs since birth.  Yowzers!  He definitely is growing well as his 0-3 month clothing is definitely getting too tight and yesterday he wore a 3-6 month outfit.  His cheeks are a little chunky and he has a few tiny baby rolls in his thighs, but he's so long that he really doesn't look as heavy as he is measuring.  Just a cute little punkin! 

And, Just because...............
here's a picture of him in one of our favorite pajamas from his first week of life!  These are the ones he is outgrowing.

And here's a pic from last week (also in jammies!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Recipes you MUST try!!

Here are a few summer recipes that all of you must try.  I don't care if you are completely inadequate in the kitchen- you can definitely make all of these without any effort.  And they are definitely worth the time and energy.  I promise!!  Plus, all of them are recipes that translate well for summer soirees, so take them with you next time you are asked to bring something besides wine!

Fruit Salsa (or as we call it Fralsa) and Cinnamon Chips
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

1.In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.
Lemon and Herb Pasta Salad

1 pound bowtie pasta
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups torn arugula (I used spinach b/c it's what I had on hand)
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2.Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the lemon peel, lemon juice and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

3.In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, bell pepper, arugula, eggs, parmesan, pine nuts and dill. Add the lemon dressing and toss.

From Rachael Ray

Summer Berry Trifle

1 3/4 c fresh blueberries
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 frozen loaf pound cake, thawed
1 4 oz package white chocolate instant pudding mix
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
1 1/2 c fresh raspberries
1 c fresh blackberries

Mash 1/4 c of the blueberries in a small bowl.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the condensed milk.

Cut the pound cake into halves horizontally.  Spread the blueberry mixture on the cut side of the bottom half.  Plae the top half over the blueberry mixture.  Cut the cake lengthwise into 4 strips.  Cut the cake crosswise into 1 inch thick pieces.

Beat the remaining condensed milk, pudding mix, and milk in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Fold in the sour cream.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture. 

Layer the pound cake pieces, remaining pudding mixture, remaining blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries 1/2 at a time in a trifle bowl.  Spoon the reserved pudding mixture over the top.

Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours in the fridge. 

(I did not reserve the pudding mixture as I wanted the top to be all fresh fruit- I thought it was prettier this way.)

From Always Superb JL of Minneapolis/St Paul Cookbook (thanks QBS!)

Enjoy!  I promise that you will love all of them :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spencer is one month old!

Our little man turned one month old yesterday!  I can't believe how fast the first month has gone by.  How will I ever go back to work in just 5 weeks? 

It's amazing to see the difference between newborn and one month.  SYT is now staying awake for longer periods of time, he's just starting to coo, and we've seen a few smiles!  He loves being in the sling or the ergo carrier, likes car rides, likes his swing, hates his bouncy chair, and has slept for seven hours at night (ONCE!).  He is starting to get onto his own little schedule, which is really helpful for me!  I wish we had a doctor's apt at one month so I had a weight and height for you (and for myself), but alas, not until 2 months. 

A few pics below of my sweet little boy.
Doing really well with getting his head up!

Precious little hands

Such a sweet baby face

Practicing with my binky/pacy.   Doesn't it look huge compared to his face?

Mommy- I'm tired and hungry.  Can we stop with all these photos??
(And this is SO his mad face.  I just love it!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hodge Podge Tag!!

QBS tagged me in this Hodge Podge Tag.  It's a random and fun one!  Hopefully, you'll find out something new about me here!
One of our flower boxes on our deck

Favorite color: Navy blue- it matches everything and allows for great accent accessories whether on your body or in a room.

Favorite Brands/Designers:  Can I say that my current obsession is Petit Ami, Baby Gap, Ralph Lauren, and anyone who does smocking for little boys?  Okay, for me, my favorites are Ralph Lauren for classic, timeless clothing, Ann Taylor for cute, everyday clothes that fit me well, JCrew for dresses and my ruffle obsession and Lilly P for fun summer prints (has anyone NOT said Lilly??).

Favorite Restaurant:  Oh, so many!  Cinc Sentis in Barcelona is beyond fabulous.  I've never eaten like that in my life and would go back JUST to eat there.  Closer to home, I love Rose Angelis, Semi Ramis, and Carnivale in Chicago.  Here in GR our new favorite is Rose's. 

Hobbies: Baking, reading, gardening, working out, playing with my husband and son (awwww...I love saying that word................son)

Favorite thing about yourself:  My smile and the dimples that go with it.  They'll never be as amazing as my brother's dimples, but I do get plenty of compliments on them just the same.  Oh, and I love that I'm left handed!

What does your room look like (color scheme, theme, etc.):  Currently, a mess!!  But we have light blue and white bed linens that I adore, and the room will be built around those colors eventually.  I'd like to have a few shades of blue, ranging from pale to china, tan, and white as the color scheme.  We have a gorgeous corner fireplace, and I'm not sure yet how to incorporate it into the other decor I would normally gravitate towards.  It's got one room ahead of it in the redecorating process, and then we'll start working up there. 

If you could have dinner with 2 people (dead or alive) who would they be: Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner for girl's night or Robert Ludlum, Daniel Silva, and my dad for CIA author night.  (Have to put Dad in there as he was the one who got me hooked!!)

What is your next “big splurge”:  A family vacation in 2011 and, in 5-7 years, a kitchen remodel.

What is your favorite joke, quote, or saying: "What did zero say to eight?"  "Nice belt!"  (This works very well in the pediatric world!)

Anything else you would like us to know about you (random fact)!?  I have always wanted to learn to play the stand up bass so that I can play in a jazz trio or quartet and play in a swanky restaurant on Sunday nights.  I get REALLY excited whenever I see a stand up bass on tv or in person and have to point it out to B at least 6 times!

I'd love to see everyone participate in this, but since I'm supposed to tag others, here goes!!
A H.I.T.
Post Smith
The Preppy Baby
Le Petite Blog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sale Time!

I just got a great sale Catalog from LL Bean in the mail. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite items with you.

Seaport Belt

(also comes in a cute Dobby stripe)
(There are also darling Madras shorts in the sale section!)


(The Camden Jacket and Chino Jacket are also super cute!)

(Think how cute these would be for Christmas presents- at under $20 they're a total steal!)

Also Boatman Gellar is holding their HUGE tent sale right now.  I've ordered a few things in the past from their tent sales, and they're phenomenal deals!  I don't have time right now to link to all of my favorites (sleep is calling my name...........), but there are tons, and they are all adorable.  Lots of new baby options, Christmas options, party hosting options, etc.  While you can't get the tent sale cards personalized, I think the deal is sooo good (usually 50 cards for less than $20) that you can figure out another way to make it perfect for you. 

Have a wonderful Sunday, fellow bloggers!  Hope you are going to be out enjoying all that the beginning of summer has to offer :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Toes in the water..........

Spencer's first dip in Lake Michigan (in Grand Haven on Saturday)

Judging from this picture (and the wails that followed), he isn't so certain about being a lake baby!

Daddy, on the other hand, thinks it's hilarious! 

Don't worry, we bundled his freezing little feet up soon after the dunk.  They were COLD!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Salmon Cove Sale!

I have a Salmon Cove polo and I adore it!  I love all the colors they offer, I love the weight of the shirt (a touch heavier than a normal polo), I love that it's significantly longer than my Lacoste polos (always too short), and I love that you can have the monogrammed!  They are currently offering 20% off all items on their website with the code "Summer" at checkout.  If you haven't tried them yet and are a polo shirt girl like I am, I would highly recommend ordering one while they're on sale! 

Here are a few I'm debating between as we speak..............................

Premier White with Pink Collar

Coral with Teal Collar

White Jacket with Pink Pulls (B, I need this jacket- I still don't have a white one!!)

Pink on pink long sleeve

Also, when you are looking at their website, don't forget to check out the darling ways they have named their shirts!  All preppy cities throughout the US- way fun.  They're based in Chicago, but they do have their shirts in many stores throughout the US, so you can try them on if you live in one of the lucky cities.  I wear a M- which is what I wear in pretty much everything, so I would say they are true to size. 

From their website:
The Salmon represents confidence. Wearing the Salmon communicates that you actively pursue your dreams and have the confidence to swim against the current.

Nice way to think, right?