Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Horrors on Hoyne

Moving is never fun or easy. This time around it's been extra difficult and extra unfun. In late November Rob and I became very uncomfortable with our living situation at the apartment we had been living in for about 3 years when our landlord asked to borrow money from us and we learned of other unusual behavior of hers including ghost sightings. We decided it was time to get the hell out of there. So we started looking for a new place and found this cool 2 story coach house. We decided to go for it. Oh, how I wish we hadn't! It's been nothing but trouble since we signed the lease. First the heat broke and a pipe froze before we moved in which delayed our move in date. The broken heat prevented the floor sealant to work so it was like an ice skating rink. Then they fixed it by putting a terrible coat of laminate on it which looks absolutely awful. Once we finally moved in every few days there was a different problem. Mostly with the water - some days pipes would freeze and we'd have no shower and then our hot water heater broke. The landlord definitely takes care of every problem that has come up as quickly as he can but at times he's been downright mean to Rob about all the issues that have come up. Then came the squirrels. Every since we moved in we could hear squirrels scurrying around in the ceiling above the office. Once we noticed some holes in the hallway that we assumed were the squirrels making their way inside, we insisted the landlord call the pest control company. They came and set up traps and I think we've caught 8 so far including one that did in fact make it in the house. The pest company said the gutter line of the house looks like swiss cheese and he thinks there's a raccoon living in the main house in front of ours - thank god not ours! It's been traumatizing! We still love that there's an office I can use for crafting and that Rob can play his drums inside, but basically it's the apartment from hell and I can't wait to move! I'm actually scared to imagine what disasters might be next for us...but I had to document the true horrors we've experienced on Hoyne so far!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Overview

2013 was a really good year! Some highlights below:

*Lots and lots of trips! We did a lot of travel this year as usual. Rob and I went to San Francisco to spend time with the Liebls, Nashville, In. for my birthday, Hunky Dory, Greenville & Asheville for our anniversary, Germany & Italy, quickie to St. Louis for the Hawks with Cait, a few brief visits to Michigan, New York for work, and I got to go to Boston with mom. So many great memories shared and wonderful sites seen!

*Babies! We welcomed so many babes this year! My friends Jamie & Kyle had Allie, Megan and Andrew had Oliver, Steph and Jeff had Taylor and Lydia and Roger had Nina. It's been pretty awesome to see these little ones grow over the last few months and I can't wait for more memories to come!

*Weddings! We also had a few lovely wedding celebrations this year. Lovelyn & Mike's, Ness & Tobi's, Mary & Mike's and Casey and Matt's. I love love!

*Service! I got to spend lots of time with my Best Buddy, Connie this year. It's been such an amazing experience to be part of the Best Buddy program. Connie is so special in so many ways. I love her sense of humor, creativity and warm heart. My favorite day was going to the Garfield Park Conservatory with her. She loved it! I've been doing the usual Monday night Bingo projects and my love continues to grow for my boys there. I got really into Cardz for Kidz which is a non profit that collects handmade cards for kids in hospitals. It's been really fun to do and to get others involved. Rob and I tried out a few cooking projects this year including on Thanksgiving, managed a clothing drive and donated goods to different organizations throughout the year together. I just joined the Chicago Cares Auxiliary Board which I'm really excited about! Service has become such an enormous part of my life and I'm so grateful to be involved with so many different opportunities to give back.

*CSA - the CSA was short but really had a big impact on us, our cooking and our diets. I'm so glad we did it and I'm so excited to try new recipes and things I learned from doing the CSA.

*New car! We bought a new car and I am so glad we did - especially with the snowy weather! It's made life so much easier - moving, groceries, driving in the snow! Loving it! *Nature fun! Rob and I discovered our love for the great outdoors recently and we created a nature to do list. We did some hiking on my bday trip and our anniversary trip and took a cool walk through the Redwoods in the Bay area, found a cool nature preserve in Michigan and visited a local nature center in the south burbs. We have a lot more to see in years to come, but I love that we discovered this new interest together.

*Fall bucket list! Autumn is my favorite time of year and so I made a bucket list to make sure we did everything FALL before it was too late! We did so much fun stuff - it was awesome! Apple picking, pumpkin patch, haunted houses, fright fest, carved pumpkins, see a scary movie and more. It was one of the best falls ever! So glad we got to do so much stuff.

*There were many more wonderful and lovely memories this year. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CSA Fun!

This fall Rob and I signed up for a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) with Genesis Growers, an organic farmer in Illinois. We did it for the fall/winter starting in November and ending in mid December. We tried SO many new things! We got lots of sweet potatoes, beets, cabbage, greens, carrots, apples, pears, cranberries and parsnips. We also got TONS of different kinds of squash. We got butternut, delicata, carnival, acorn, queensland blue and some giant one that rotted before we could use it. We got some weird crap we'd never even heard of like kohlrabi and white carrots. We really loved the sweet potatoes, making fish tacos with cabbage and carrot slaw and trying new squash recipes. I baked pumpkin pies from real pumpkins and I made 3 batches of cranberry brownies. I cheated though - store bought crust and box brownies. Rob learned how to make kale and beet chips. Each week we had to go and pick up the box from a nearby restaurant. The farm would email me on Tuesdays to let me know what to expect in our box which really helped me plan out our menus. I mostly utilized Pinterest for recipe ideas and sometimes we just would have to wing it. The only downside - besides finding time to pick it up every Wednesday - was we wasted some of the food. Even though we really cut back on what we were buying at the grocery store, we just couldn't get through everything! We had to throw out cabbage, beets and a squash that went bad before we could use them. This really broke my heart, but I'm also really proud of us for getting through as much as we did. By doing the CSA we really had to adapt our normal diets and it definitely left lasting results. I'm now eating a mostly vegetarian diet and Rob discovered he actually loves some veggies he didn't think he would. I don't think I could commit to doing a CSA all year round, but it was great for 5 weeks. I hope we can do it again in the future!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Summer Nostalgia

On this snowy and cold day, I was thinking back to summer and all the fun I had! Top moments of Summer 2013 are: 8. Festivals and Farmers Markets! Burger Fest, Maifest, German American Fest and Lincoln Square and Logan Square Farmers Markets were so fun as usual! 7. The Nature Museum Food Truck Rally and Free Night with Rob with one of the prettiest sunsets I've seen in a long time.

6. Pitchfork & Lolla - Even though it was a billion degrees for Pitchfork this year - it was super fun! I had a great time seeing Rob in action, enjoying free Chipotle at after parties and seeing R.Kelly!!! I got to go to Lolla with Tara for one day and it was SO fun! We broke all sorts of rules and I loved seeing Grizzly Bear and Phoenix.

5. A few trips to Michigan including a crazy hot day in New Buffalo, a breezy day in St. Joe's and a visit to the Fernwood Botanic Garden in Niles.

4. A lovely visit to Chicago Botanic Garden on the most beautiful day in June. Looking back this is still one of my favorite days of the summer.

3. A perfect birthday celebration with friends and family including a trip to the Maxwell Street Market, LUSH Wine Bar with friends, family dinners and Brown County with Rob for the weekend!

2. Hunky Dory! Hunky Dory is always a highlight of every summer. It's so relaxing and so fun to spend time with the whole family. It was a bit cold this year but that just allowed me even more time for quality rest.

1. Germany & Italy! This was definitely the most memorable part of the summer. We had the best time to celebrate Ness and Tobi's wedding in the most beautiful setting in Germany and we also got to visit Merano, Italy for the most extravagant little getaway we've ever taken. It was an incredible trip!