Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zoom Zoom

We have been looking for cars lately. By we I mean Jared. Our 2007 BMW is needing 2 new snow tires, 2 all season tires, brakes and possibly rotors. So, as we love to do... we are upgrading to a new car. Now it might not be the Porsche 911 that we dreamt of owning when J completed his fellowship, but it is a pretty snazzy car. See the before and after below...
Actually it is the same model as our trade-in... just in blue and new! Is that boy lucky I love cars or what?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The days have been going by too fast these past few months. Rolling one on top of the other, or snowballing as I like to say. I am two months behind in my posting and my goal is to catch up by the end of the week. So they next few days check back in to see the details on Italy, adventures in Virginia, trips to Indianapolis, and holiday decorating. In the meantime I just completed my holiday cards which are in the mail as of yesterday.
And it is just perfect that there are snow flurries all day today!

Friday, October 12, 2012


The last 5 days have been spent confirming our Italy trip details. Contacting airlines to figure out international seats, getting new suitcases since European carry-ons can only be 21" high including wheels and US luggage is usually 22"!!, washing clothes, packing, packing, packing, weighing suitcases, copying travel documents, squeezing in time to get my nails done, oh yeah and working all week, setting up international phone plans, and then a phone call... J's grandmother has broken her leg!

We rushed over to the hospital  last night to visit her before we left. She is doing ok, heading for surgery tomorrow and then a long road to recovery. We are sending our prayers to her for a successful surgery and for a safe trip for us over the next week!! Everything always seems to happen at the same time. And now, we are off!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Columbus with Cornhuskers

In our go, go, go style of traveling every chance we get ,we headed down to Columbus to see our friends John and Billie and watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers play Ohio State.
Looking at the calendar I realized that we have/will be busy every weekend from the last weekend in August until the last weekend in October. Wow! Too late to change it now but looks like Halloween will be low key this year so we can get some rest.

We spent Friday night just hanging out with our friends, eating my new favorite pizza Mellow Mushroom, talking football and catching up. Saturday while John went off to work to coach his team, we helped Billie tailgate with some of the Nebraska fans. We were in the biggest and fanciest RV I have ever seen. Somehow Jared even ended up on top of it to check out the view of Columbus. After hours, like 8, of tailgating we took our first pedicab to the game.

The weather was amazingly beautiful during the day but then got quite chilly that night. We watched John run out of the tunnel with the team, saw the Ohio State tradition of "dotting the i" in Ohio, the band, and cheered on the Huskers.

Unfortunately it was a painful loss at 63-38. And to top it off, we couldn't find a cab to get back to the hotel. We walked around downtown for over an hour trying to hail one to no avail. It was not my favorite evening.

The next morning we met up with friends that are family to me so I could finally meet their daughter. With them living so close, we are really going to try and be in better touch this year, especially since she has #2 on the way!

And in just a few days we are off on our trip to Italy!! So much to do, so little time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CHI Town

Every year J has a conference to attend for his medical education and board exams and I get to tag along. Our first trip to Chicago was back in 2009 where we celebrated J's 30th birthday back in my pre-blogging days. This is one of my favorites of us.
Then the conference moved to San Francisco in 2010, Atlanta in 2011, and we are back to CHI town again this year. I invited one of my besties from college, to join us and as always, we had a blast.**

On Friday we walked around the city and enjoyed the amazing weather, no jacket needed! No one had eaten from being stuck in traffic traveling so we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at Ditka's with Steve. The boys turned in early to rest for their oral board exams the next day and I met up with Courtney once she arrived later that night for cocktails and snacks.  

Saturday was exam day and once that was over, we could have some fun. We spent the afternoon at a sports bar celebrating the (hopeful) end of the general surgery exam stresses. Our friends Matt, Mary, and her boyfriend Steve joined us as well. There was a mimosa bar, yummy appetizers, and college football for all! Even some silliness in trying on the waitress Oktoberfest outfit (which seemed like a completely normal idea at the time), Courtney's phone dropping into the toilet, and learning that yes, immersing your iPhone in a bag of sealed rice immediately after complete water submersion may possibly save it!

That night we ended up at a BBQ restaurant that we think was also a gay bar and even though J was tired he rallied and came up with the idea of going to the top of the John Hancock building for drinks. The line was a mile long but somehow I got tapped on the shoulder and we were seated immediately... right at the window! Chocolate martini's for everyone!!
Our last day was filled with shopping and sight seeing, for me and Court anyway. We headed over to Millennium Park, saw the bean, the building we thought was from "Adventures in Babysitting," and then back to the hotel with the boys who had been in meetings for the conference.

While at happy hour in the hotel, Courtney and I searched the web for the best place for oysters Rockefeller in the city and were able to make reservations for that night! We hit up Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House, even tried fish legs, and then too Lux Bar for music and dancing. It was a great time... can't wait for Vegas next year!

**J and I had been trying to match up his friend Steve with my friend Courtney since our wedding over 4 years ago. And this weekend they totally hit it off. Fingers crossed that this pair works out... they both deserve a lifetime of happiness and if it is together that would be even better!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ackert Visit

J's sister's family came to visit this us in Cleveland this weekend and we had so much fun!! There was lots of playing in Uncle Jared and Aunt Jenny's apartment, trying on Uncle Jared's high school football uniform,
playing with Aunt Jenny's iPhone camera,
pizza dinner at Dewey's, special cupcakes,
watching Disney movies, chasing Hailey with the laser, sleepovers for the oldest kiddos,
and Maggiano's dinner with Great Aunt D and Great Uncle J.

Like I said before. So much fun!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

E Town/Pittsburgh Visit

After a pile of laundry, catching up with work, an episode of Bachelor Pad (I am totally obsessed with the entire "Bachelor/Bachelorette" series I hate to admit), and attending a fashion event with J's boss and wife it was the weekend again. We headed out on a short trip 2 hours away to East Liverpool to visit our friends Charlie and Megan.

We had only one night to play where we ate Mexican food, headed to what might possibly the worlds smallest bar, and helped Charlie celebrate his birthday. A little too much celebration it seems since the next morning he was too ill to join us for the VT/Pitt game.

Unfortunately it was a loss for the Hokies, always something hard to deal with. But we rallied for dinner with Charlie, now awake after the game. We even drove by J's old place in Shadyside. It is so weird how sometimes the past seems like just yesterday and other times can seem like eons ago. When we were driving around the town it was that weird time travel feeling I get when visiting places from my past. So much the same from way back in 2004-2006 yet so different. Back then it had been so hard to be in a long distance relationship. And those days J was working, dreaming, hoping to be a surgeon... oh, how far we have come. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Oregon Trail

Just two days after getting back from Virginia I was off on a girls weekend all the way to Oregon! It was Natalie, Tracey, and me just like when we traveled to Spain back in 2000 and the Bahamas in 2005. 
Tracey and I joked that this trip was us on the Oregon Trail... like the game we played in elementary school. And even though it had been a while since we had all been together, we had so much fun!

We drove over 800 miles from Friday morning until Sunday night. We started off from Tray's place in Portland and headed to Astoria where we saw the Goonies house (still don't quite get that but I didn't see the movie until I was 16), and of course we had to cross over to Washington State when we saw the signs for Cape Disappointment. 
Next was a trip down the coast where we planned to hit up some wineries and enjoy the sunshine on Cannon Beach. Unfortunately our Washington State detour took too long, the wineries were closed and a large cloud covered the beachfront. What was supposed to look like this...

was completely covered in the mist and we saw nothing but a faint outline of the water unfortunately.

After sticking our toes in the sand we headed onward to Springfield where we had dinner at Outback and crashed from jet lag and Tracey's marathon training. The next morning we drove through University of Oregon and stopped at a cute mountain village on our way to...
Crater Lake! We arrived in the early afternoon and it was BEAUTIFUL!
After lunch we took a short drive up to Sunriver and stayed with some of Tracey's west coast friends in a lovely cabin in the woods. Our last night was relaxing with wine, games, and a dinner prepared by our hosts.

On our last day we made the trek back to Portland. Off to Bend where we shopped, nearly attended a rubber duck race, and finally found an open winery on the way to Mt. Hood.

We made it back to Portland with just enough time for dinner before Natalie and I took the red eye back to the East Coast/Midwest. It was a fantastic Oregon Trail adventure!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last Weekend of Summer - 2012

In just our style the last unofficial weekend of the summer was spent traveling and being crazy busy. We were supposed to head out Friday as soon as we could get off work. Unfortunately J was stuck in the OR until too late for us to leave. No matter, it was his last day at Metro Hospital!! So we went out to celebrate, and planned to leave early the next morning before the sun. Our coffee stop had a great surprise with the first day of pumpkin spice lattes! Yum!
Our trip was to Virginia, obviously. ;) It was a two part trip, NoVA and Blacksburg with not enough time at either place. Julie would be in NoVA too with little Miss Madison. We spent the time playing with our niece and nephews, running errands, getting hair cuts, shopping for cars for Juls, breakfast at Yorkshire, late night Dairy Queen runs, and drinking wine by the pool with Nat and Bri (back from far far away) to top of the last nights of summer.

Then we were off to Blacksburg for the VT/GT game. They were calling for rain but we were lucky and only had a little mist during the start of the game. We didn't meet up with any friends this time, it was just us and beautiful Hokie land.
We even had an overtime victory! And just like that... summer 2012 was done.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pork Chops

Continuing my recipe testing, I made these today...
I googled a recipe and The Pioneer Woman site came up. My chops were a little thick, that is what I get for looking up the recipe after I have gone to the store, but they were delicious! Here are the details. Thanks Pioneer Woman!

  • 7 pieces Or 8 Pieces Breakfast Chops (very Thin Bone-in Pork Chops)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • Extra Salt And Pepper, To Taste
Preparation Instructions
Rinse pork chops. (Yes, I rinse my pork chops. Please don’t be hatin’.) Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.

Heat canola oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add butter. When butter is melted and butter/oil mixture is hot, cook 3 pork chops at a time, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side; 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. (Make sure no pink juices remain.) Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining porch chops.

Delicious and simple! Serve with smashed new potatoes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just Because

Recenly I've had an eye twitch.
My jaw is hurting from grinding my teeth.
I'm stressed and apparently I'm internalizing it.
Worried about him, work, and one million other things.
And I haven't been running.

So when he went out to run an errand I didn't expect anything. When he came home, he had these...
Two dozen long stem roses. Just because. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Out With Friends

I ended up heading out solo a lot this weekend since J was on call. We were able to go on a bike ride and out for lunch before he was called into the hospital... and was gone until Sunday afternoon. I can't wait for this month to be over... it is entirely too much like his general surgery residency. I hardly see him! On Saturday night I headed out to a birthday celebration with a bunch of J's doctor friends, a few that have become mine as well. Who knew you could have so much fun at a small town brewery?!
Sunday it was NASA day at Progressive Field. The Indians were playing the Yankees and John Glenn was going to throw out the first pitch. Of course it turned out to be the hottest day EVER! We only lasted through the 3rd inning and then had to leave. Just too hot out not to be sitting by the pool.

But instead of pool time, we headed indoors. Jared was home and we finally saw the new Batman movie and both loved it. Although, we were nervous and looking around a lot. I wish the shootings at the premiere hadn't scared us so much but we couldn't help it. There are too many crazy people out there. J sees many of them in the OR at all hours of the night at the trauma center. Ugh! Only a few more days to go...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Practicing Our Italian

We hit up a new place for our Friday night pizza night this week. A place that had "the best" pizza in the city. I found a place right outside to park, it was our lucky day!
We sat outside in an area that looked like a little Italian balcony. Vines with flowers hanging from above, humming birds flying around, and perfect weather. We had wine... which Jared proceeded to spill a full glass all over my dress, the most delicious caprese salad, and some yummy pizza.
Not the best photo here but as I have said before, my picture taking has been lacking this summer. It was a lovely evening with us beginning to anticipate our trip for some real Italian pizza in a few weeks!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Maggiano's Tomato Cream Sauce and Breaded Zucchini - At home!

Continuing our "restaurant dinners at home" theme, I attempted one of our favorites from Maggiano's last night. The pasta was perfect! But that is because I totally cheated and bought the Maggiano's Tomato Cream Sauce from the store. Literally the same sauce they use at the restaurant. I thought, why reinvent the wheel? If they are selling it, I'm buying it!
So my next challenge was the breaded zucchini and lemon aioli dipping sauce. I went surfing online to find recipes and decided to combine two of them, baking half the batch and frying the other to compare which works better.

Here is the recipe...
• 3 medium zucchini – washed, stems removed, sliced lengthwise into thin pieces.

• 1 ½ cups club soda
• ¾ cups plain flour
• ½ cups corn starch
• 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon course ground pepper
• Panko Bread crumbs for breading – poured into a shallow 9×9 dish.

Mix soda, flour, starch, salt, onion powder, and pepper together and pour into a shallow 9×9 dish. Dip zucchini strips into batter. Then dip the strips into the Panko bread crumbs, coating each side.

In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil 1” deep. Heat oil over medium high flame. Add battered zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on bottom side, turn zucchini and repeat. Drain on layers of paper towels. Shake Parmesan Cheese over fired zucchini right before serving. Serve hot with Lemon Aioli dipping sauce.

• ½ Cup Hellman’s Mayo
• ½ Cup Sour Cream
• Juice of one lemon
• ½ teaspoon Dill Weed.

Whisk all together in small bowl.

So this is what they should look like...
And these were mine...
They didn't turn out very well but the flavor was there. The baked version definitely won. It was just so hard to get the breading to stick. Looks like we will have to take out the zucchini and make the pasta at home on this one!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

End of The World Party Planning

I am a planner. I can't help it, its genetic. So today, Mom and I were talking about the holidays and how we are all going to be home for the "End of the World." And of course, we have to plan a party. It is silly, but fun. And hopefully just a theme and not something that will actually happen.
So let the planning begin!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Date Night

After a long week... somehow we ended up here...
At our favorite restaurant, eating our most favorite appetizer...
With my most favorite cocktail...
Just us, together on a random Saturday date night! Happy Weekend!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Me Time

This week, I'm not sure what day it is... what time it is. I have been working crazy shifts on and off for space station ops for the last two weeks and I am all messed up. Times like this I wonder how it is possible for J to function with as little sleep as he sometimes gets.

So it was Friday and I found myself done with work at 10am, After a nap I headed out to the pool to catch some of the last of the summer sunshine. It is already starting to get cooler during the evenings and I know I will blink and it will be fall.
It was a day of "me" time, lounging in the sun. I made a birthday call to Jenna, attacked the stack of magazines that have been piling up, and started reading a travel book about Italy. Why Italy? Because in a few short months we will be here...
With this view...
And we are soooo excited!! So in that spirit, and being the Feast of the Assumption this weekend, I made a batch of cannolis to take to a ladies night that J's boss' wife was having.
They were a hit! (Thanks Mom!) It was a great "Me" day although I was sad J was on call. Only 5 more to go this month... wow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bone Fish Salad... At home!

I've started to copy restaurant dinners to make at home recently. First on the list was the Bone Fish house salad. I think I got it down perfectly! I added it to our baked salmon with mushrooms. Delicious!!
Here is the recipe...

Dressing Ingredients
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute or till mixture bubbles rapidly around edge of the bowl. Remove bowl from microwave and whisk 1 minute until mixture forms an emulsion. Cover and chill tor 1 hour before serving.
Salad Ingredients
Chopped up romaine hearts
Heart of palm
Kalamata olives
Salted Pepitas


Saturday, August 11, 2012

A 6 Hour Tour

Today Jared went sailing with the Classen men. I was invited as well, and although J wanted me to go it was a boys trip and we decided it was best if he went solo. Wow, were we ever right about that! They were sailing from Mentor to Cleveland which would be a 5 mph trip depending on the winds. But when we woke up today, there were boating advisories... water spouts were possible out on the lake and large waves... I wasn't sure this was a good idea.

It was so overcast, windy, and really dreary.
But he went anyway. We packed him up with as much waterproof gear as we had. While he was gone I did some shopping, watched a chick flick at home, and worried about him. When Dr. Classen called to let me know they were about an hour away from harbor I asked how Jared was doing... not so well. When I picked him up I knew it was bad. I could read it all over his face.

He said it was horrible. Terrible. The worst 6 hours of his life. At one point he wasn't sure they were going to make it. WHAT?!? He thought for sure the boat was going to split in two several times. OH NO!! He was so glad I hadn't gone. I know I would've made Dr. Classen turn the boat around. I didn't know why he hadn't made them turn back. Travis and Will looked exhausted. Dr. Classen looked a mess.
And somehow he took photos on the trip. I had wanted to see the sailing regatta they would be heading through. He said he had to hold onto the boat at all times otherwise you were going to lose your balance. Both the captain and J lost their lunch on the journey. It was bad... really, really bad. The guys were comparing their trip to the boating scenes in Forest Gump, The Truman Show, or worst yet, The Perfect Storm. They were all more than relieved to be back on dry land.

So we went to dinner at Brentwood Tavern right up the hill... and all was back to normal. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Madison & Jacob's Birthday Party

It was a birthday party for two! Bubble Guppies and Star Wars themed.
With their birthdays just 3 days apart, Julie and Jenny coordinated having a party for both Madison (turning 2) and Jacob (turning 4) this weekend on the same day so the whole family could be there. We arrived late Friday night and while the boys slept, the girls were up late getting everything ready to paaartaaay! Julie put me to work making candy covered Oreos while they decorated cakes, tables, and made party favors.

Saturday was party day. We started out by heading down to DC to the National Aquarium to be there in time for the shark feeding. It was a hot one, outside and even in the aquarium. With water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! Madison and I checked out the jellies, Jake and I looked at toads and poisonous tree frogs, and then there was the shark feeding.
It was a quick visit... mostly because the aquarium is the size of my parents basement. When we got home, phase 2 of the party began. Water games with little kids outside with their noodle light sabers, water guns, kiddie pool games and bubbles everywhere! 

We had a pizza party with delicious NY pizza from Ciro's, chocolate cake, ice cream cake, and delicious coffee punch. We even watched a little of the Olympics during the party.
 It was a great party. The birthday kids were so over tired when present time came. We hope they liked the Peppa Pig and Star Wars toys! Loved the whole day so very much. It was a great party. Happy Birthday to Jacob and Madison!
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