christmas 2012


Holy Cow 2013, hold on! I still have a couple things (two more posts, to be exact) to talk about in 2012! :) 

If someone would have said going into the medical field you might not be able to take off during the holidays, I might have reconsidered. Seriously. It’s the sacrifices I have to make and I’m glad my family and spouse understand. This year we only made it to St. Louis instead of our usual Christmas festivities in both Missouri and Wisconsin. In lieu of work, we were able to squeeze a couple of days in St. Louis with our family. We spent the weekend enjoying each other’s company, ate way too much, and laughed often. On Saturday morning, everyone got up to start the Christmas excitement of opening presents and climbing on presents.

Climbing on present

Climbing on presents

The excitement of all the kiddos was so much fun to watch. It really never gets old!


Even our dogs got some love and presents!

Anna & Boston


After all the festivities, everyone went their separate ways. We drove back earlier than expected because of the weather forecast and spent Christmas day in Texas with our boys. I captured a couple more pictures of our festive house. We even got a little snow on Christmas day! White Christmas!! Yay!

Christmas Lights

Entryway Xmas

Christmas Tree 2012


I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season with your friends and family! Happy 2013, friends.

minnesota wedding

Our last stop on the Midwest adventure was another wedding in Minnesota! Jenni (the bride) is a professional event planner in the Twin Cities, so I was oh-so excited to see what her own wedding would entail. Needless to say, she did not disappoint; there was visual eye-candy all over the ceremony and reception… and this girl remembered her camera! So what if it doesn’t fit in my clutch, it’s coming! Now, I get to share all the goodness with all of you!
We checked into the hotel and were greeted with a sweet gift bag filled with goodies from both the bride and groom’s home states. Lucky for me, Jenni was adding another Wisconsinite into our family, and the bag came with my all-time favorite beer, Spotted Cow! It’s only sold in Wisconsin, so this was a pleasant surprise. There was a bunch of other goodies from both states, which were devoured on our trip home!

The ceremony didn’t start until later in the afternoon on Saturday, so we spent the morning swimming with our nieces and nephews and just enjoying a little time to breathe. Sigh. We headed out with the whole family and when the ceremony started, all eyes were on the bride and groom!

The ceremony was beautiful and Jenni took a page from my own wedding with her programs. It reminded me of my own wedding and made me happy that someone else enjoys the details. The subtle details throughout the church were perfect for the space, too! Molly and I really enjoyed the yellow poufs.

After the ceremony we headed outside to wish the newlywed couple off, with bubbles!

After the ceremony, it was off to the reception which was held in an old stable. Perfect for mason jars… which I was obsessed with. Add in gray and yellow striped straws – and I was in heaven. This probably makes me crazy, but I’m okay with that. Drooling over paper straws – it could be worse. We actually got to take them home, too! The husband and I got two, so all I need now are the straws! Ha!

We enjoyed our drinks outside, while the nieces and nephews found the photo booth. We didn’t know at the time, but these were props for the photo booth; we had fun with them outside! They were returned promptly after the photo shoot. He he. 

When it was time to find our seats, we were treated with escort cards propped up by wine corks! So cute. Each table corresponded to some place the couple had traveled and a little story of their adventure.

We got to leave the party with pictures from the photo booth and cake pops made with Packers or Vikings colors! Jenni doesn’t like cake, so she opted for an ice cream bar for everyone. Seriously, this girl didn’t miss a thing!

Don’t worry, I didn’t spend the whole time just taking pictures of objects! I had fun dancing and taking pictures of the whole crew, too.

I’m thinking I may ask Jenni to plan my next big event! She did such a fabulous job!

Congratulations Jenni & Adam! Cheers.


The husband and I stopped in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, which was right on our drive from Wausau to Minneapolis. Chippewa Falls is home to the third largest craft brewery, Leinenkugel’s, so it was a must to stop and see what they had to offer!

We had a 15 minute wait for the next tour, which worked out perfect. We checked out The Leine’s Lodge, which got us really excited for the tasting after the tour.

The Leinenkugel’s tour is about 45 minutes – 1 hour, featuring the brew house and all the goodness that goes into a Leine’s Lager. Our tour guide was a sweet girl from Withee, WI, a small town that supplies all the honey for Leinenkugel’s beers! Honeyweiss & Sunset Wheat are two of my personal favorites that get a dose of honey! Yes, I bought a bottle of that proprietary honey to bring home to Texas!

During the tour I did learn about Jacob Leinenkugel’s yeast. He brought it all the way from Germany to Chippewa Falls, which is still the same strand used today to make many of the Leinenkugel’s lagers. The yeast used is a bottom-fermenting yeast, one of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars, leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. In contrast to the lager is the ale, which is a top-fermenting yeast and works better with warmer temperatures. Interesting? I thought so. Both beers taste great to me!

After our tour, we were invited inside to sample 5 different Leinekugel’s creations. They also had a menu of “leine’s mixers”, which mixed beers together to make for some interesting combinations, like honey bear or pink lemonade!

It was a fabulous break from driving, and a really relaxing tour. Plus, how can you go wrong with free beer?!

I bought two “taster” glasses; I think they’ll be perfect for a Bloody Mary chaser someday! For anyone that isn’t from Wisconsin, a small chaser of beer is ALWAYS part of your Bloody Mary order. I think this tradition should be extended into all states. On Wisconsin!

papoose lake

I’m back! Back from my midwest adventures, and yes, I’ll be sharing with you some of my goodness from that trip throughout this week and next! My apologies on the late post – I got back late, late Sunday and have been dealing with pink-eye ever since. I’m just thankful it happened now, opposed to midway through our trip! I would not have been able to get such fun pictures with just one working eye! ha!

The husband and I headed up north for back-to-back wedding weekends, which left us with a week between for our own exploration. We decided to spend some of our vacation at my generous aunt and uncle’s cabin in Manitowish Waters. A beautiful destination in northern Wisconsin, which I highly recommend for a little R&R. They gave us full reign of their cabin and water toys… I’m glad they don’t know my driving record. Just kidding.

We enjoyed every moment of our time up north, and I just couldn’t get enough of the interior design of this cabin. My Aunt Diane has a great eye for design, so I was excited to share some of her cabin style (and my uncle’s) with you! It has the true cabin feel: rustic, but modern with wood throughout, picturesque windows, and even an antler chandelier. Perfection.

The living room has a beautiful stone fireplace, which is used often during those cool Wisconsin nights. I love the old wooden TV that offsets the newer accessories.

Up a fight of stairs and you’re in the loft that sleeps four comfortably.

Here’s the aerial view from the loft.

Downstairs in the basement, my uncle has been working on this amazing sliding barn door that’s all the rage. He used reclaimed barn wood, planed the boards, and it looks absolutely wonderful! Obviously, he still needs to install the track but it looks amazing already! I can’t wait to get back to see it complete!

Besides the interior of the home, there are beautiful views from the dock, too! If you look closely, you can see Boston retrieving one of his many tennis balls during our stay.

We also took the pontoon out, even though I’m always leary of screwing something up … but it went really smooth. Mainly, we just spent time relaxing, while our boys swam.

Don’t worry, we actually left the cabin too, by heading into town for some bare essentials and dinner at Smokey’s, a fine restaurant where we ate WAY too much but had a great time!

The next morning I woke to the husband making breakfast in this beautiful kitchen! There’s nothing sexier than a man that can cook!

Again, I realize I’ve said this before, but truly there is nothing better than Wisconsin in the summer! I hope you all can go at least once! Enjoy the view, clear water, and great food!

Thank you again to my aunt and uncle for allowing our family to enjoy your beautiful space! I hope that someday we, too, have the luxury of paying it forward to one of our nieces or nephews. That would mean we would have to save up for a cabin first, but you get the idea.

Lastly, here’s our attempt at a family picture. I think it’s us. Perfect.

washington island

Happy Friday, Friends!

I saved the best for last! Bear with me, there are a lot of pictures in this posting, but I was in love with this whole day… So, I couldn’t stop myself!

We started out the day at my favorite breakfast spot, The Cookery. It had actually burned down in the five years since we were last there, but it was back and better than ever. More seating, outdoor patios, an endless array of menu goodness, and my favorite, their homemade jam! It was all there! Nothing says summer like strawberry rhubarb jam! Yum.

After we filled our tummies it was up the coast we went to Washington Island. You have to take a ferry across Lake Michigan to get there.

Our first stop, bike rental! I felt like a mix of The Sound of Music and Wedding Crashers! It was a beautiful day to ride, but we got a little sweaty!
We then headed to Schoolhouse Beach, a fine cove of picturesque water and a great way to cool off after a long (to us) ride. The icy water of Lake Michigan felt wonderful on a hot July day!

We were off again for lunch at an eclectic restaurant called Fiddler’s Green where Cowboy, a black lab greeted us.
We decided to share a cheese plate (we’re in Wisconsin people!) and Hummus! Here’s a couple pictures of our food and restaurant! So fun!

I actually bought a stemless wine glass and it made it all the way back to Dallas unscathed! My only regret: I should have gotten two!!

After lunch, we were all fueled up to bike back to the ferry, but first we wanted to stop at Nelsen’s Hall, a historic bar that was able to stay open during prohibition because of a clerical error! Only in Wisconsin! Ha. Nelsen’s Hall also takes part in a “bitters club”. We didn’t participate, but thinking back I wish we would have!
After our drinks, we headed back to the ferry. We got caught in a summer rain which was refreshing but a little wet for the ride home. Which be barely made. The ferry we got on, was the second-to-last! If we would have missed it, we would have been stuck on the island! Though, we did have time to skip a couple rocks!

Back in Fish Creek, we decided on a low-key dinner at Wild Tomatoes, a wood-fire pizza joint that did not disappoint! It had locally grown pizza toppings, a friendly staff, and an even better beer list! Oh… and cheese curds, get the cheese curds!!

Seeing these pictures again makes me want to go back!! Door County is a fabulous low-key destination for all ages. I picture us in a couple of years bringing our wee-ones and experiencing Door County in a whole other way!

stone’s throw winery

A little bit of Napa in the Midwest? I’ll take it!

Stone’s Throw is a fabulous winery nestled in the beautiful landscape of Door County. You can’t get better than that, especially in the summer!
They blend their homegrown grapes with California’s finest to make an outstanding blend of wines. They call it the “traditional one barrel at a time way”. My Stone’s Throw favorite is Uncle Gino’s, a great table red!

The actual tasting takes place in part of a 90-year-old barn they’ve reinvented for their winery. For a mere $5.00, you can taste five wines…AND you get to keep the glass! Score! The hard part is choosing just five!

After finishing our tasting, we went out with the bocce ball set and started a friendly competitive game of bocce ball between the couples. All while savoring a bottle of Uncle Gino’s, of course!

I would recommend this quality winery to anyone! It has so much character and such a great sophisticated feel without the pretentiousness.

Oh, and we found out a helpful tip for port wine drinkers. The husband, NOT I, loves port. Port is not like all other wine – it doesn’t go bad after a couple of days! So don’t throw it away! You can keep if for YEARS and the tastes keeps changing. Crazy. Right?

Paul and I actually first found this winery the year we got engaged, or maybe it was the year before?!? We wanted real red wine, not the “fruit stuff” (there is always a time and place for that, too) but we wanted red wine. I don’t remember who suggested Stone’s Throw, but I could hug them! Plus, it was fun to look back at the changes and growth Stone’s Throw had in the past five years! I tried to get the same spot we stood five years ago.

I hope everyone has a great Friday, maybe a happy hour filled with red wine?

Don’t mind if I do!

fish boil

Anyone who grew up in Wisconsin has heard of the “friday night fish fry” and anyone vacationing in Door County has heard of “the fish boil”. Vacationers come back year after year comparing and contrasting the fish boil experiences they have had at different venues.
I, however, have never been to a fish boil. Now, I’ve had my fair share of friday night fish fries but never a fish boil until last week – and it never ceases to surprise my local Wisconsinites. Yes, I grew up here. No, never a fish boil.

So, we set out to do just that. Watch a man boil fish! We decided on White Gull Inn, one of the oldest fish boils in the area. Our presenter was named Nick, who I think must play Santa Claus in winter. He was great, and I got a lot of great pictures of him in action.

Once the fish was cooked, it was time to head indoors and enjoy Lake Michigan whitefish! It was a really enjoyable experience, and I would encourage everyone to participate at least once! Oh… and save room for the cherry pie (made with locally grown cherries)!

wisconsin summer

Sorry this is late! I’ve been trying to get a post out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

I headed home for a little R&R last weekend and to help my parents deal with some health concerns. My brother was also able to come home and he brought my fabulous niece and nephew (Ben & Ellie) and their younger brother, Thomas.

It was a much needed weekend at home.  We ate too much, did too little, and just had a fabulous time. Here’s a couple photos from the visit.

Saturday morning, I walked outside to find a couple bees pollenating the flowers in our front yard. Ahh… bees and fresh air!

And then there were the kiddos! I definitely want to work on my skills of photographing moving subjects!  Wow, it’s difficult and I have a new found respect for professional photographers who work with children.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!!

long weekends

We had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend with Ms. Anna Grace at the front and center.  It was her baptism weekend so we traveled up north to Columbia, Missouri.

We wanted to bring the boys, so we made the 9 1/2 hour journey by car.  It was adventuresome, and we even picked up a turtle that was making it’s own journey across the highway.

We got in late Friday night and woke up Saturday to cinnamon rolls and two wild boys.

The baptism went smooth. It was just trying to get the family picture that was a little more difficult. But it was a success!

After the baptism, we had the whole afternoon to grill out and enjoy the spring/summer weather.

I spent the afternoon taking pictures around the lake!

It was such a fun weekend to get away, and we enjoyed being outside with the family, kids, and chaos. She looks innocent, but we all know better. Ha.

The boys were rather tired from all the activities.

Goodbye Missouri, Welcome back to Texas…


This week went by super fast with work and all our evening plans, so I haven’t had time to catch up and write about last weekend’s activities! We had more visitors!! I could definitely get used to this!

The husband’s parents came down to see us and the progress of our home. I think they were really impressed with all we have done, considering they haven’t seen it (in person) since we moved in! It was also nice to revisit all the changes we have made and realize just how much we have accomplished! Our official list is here.

When they got in Friday, we stayed in and made turkey burgers and enjoyed the beautiful weather outside!

The next morning, they woke up to scones and French pressed coffee, of course!! We then headed out to watch some baseball!

For a moment I thought I was back in Wisconsin?!?!?

The Rangers lost, but we had a great time anyway! Plus, the weather was fantastic! 70’s and overcast – we could not have wished for better weather!

That evening we took them to Frankies, a wonderful Mexican Restuarant in the area which is steps away from my favorite ice cream shop, Fire Fly! We had to introduce them to both!

Trying to save room for ice cream…

Sunday we spent relaxing. We introduced them to our favorite sushi restaurant (our treat for Mother’s Day) and made one trip to Home Depot for Arlyn’s help with some electrical work!

All-in-all another great weekend! It always goes WAY too fast!!