Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Seahawks Take the Bank

This past Sunday, I took K to see the Seahawks play at  TCF Bank. He's been working so hard on our home and has been so supportive over the last couple months when I haven't always felt like I  was glowing. I wanted to take him on a date to show my appreciation. 

When I bought the tickets a few months ago, I simply sent him a calendar invite saying we had a Day Date. I lasted about 4 hours before sharing the surprise. Apparently, I'm a terrible secret keeper.

He converted me to a Hawks fan a couple years ago and it was so fun to see them here in Minnesota! We saw a great game too - The Seahawks routed the Vikes! 

It was the perfect day date!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Friendsgiving 2015.

Last weekend, we hosted our fourth annual Friendsgiving. I can't help but fall a little bit more in love with this holiday each year. It's focus is friends, football, and food - what's not to love?!

This year we had 17 people joining us. There's nothing like sitting down to a big feast and seeing your dear friends gathered around the table, laughing and toasting to another year.

I kept decorations very simple this year, since our home has been under construction for four months now. I am craving the simplicity and calmness. So other than a couple real pumpkins here and there, I stuck to decorating the tablescape with a festive runner, votive candles and a few faux acorns here and there. My metallic mix with the new gray walls and white trim just pops now. Without getting all new decor, I have a very new and fresh look!

For food, we took care of the bird. We tried dry brining a turkey this year. I'm not sure if there was a huge difference or not. We also made a ham which could have been a disaster. I read the instructions as heat for 20 minutes, not heat for 20 minutes PER POUND. Luckily the ham was fully cooked already so we sliced it up, added some water to the pan and threw it in the oven! I was worried it would dry out but it managed to heat up quickly without losing too much liquid or flavor.

Our guests outdid themselves with the sides: mashed and sweet potatoes, cranberries, a delicious green salad, and my personal favorite, stuffing! And dessert. Oh man. We had pies galore and I made a batch of gluten free gingersnaps with apple cider glaze which might be my new favorite.

Now before you think for a moment that everything is unicorns and rainbows over here, let me tell you that 3 hours before Friendsgiving was set to begin, K asked me if we should cancel. Two days earlier our basement drain backed up. We had a guy out and he took care of it...or so he thought. Well, 2 loads of the dishwasher, 3 loads of wash, and a shower proved just how wrong he was.

So there I am, midshower, shaving my legs (we're getting real here) and conditioner in my hair, when K yells to turn the water off. Well, I instantly had flashbacks to my freshmen year of college when on the first day of school, I had just shampooed my hair when the fire alarm went off...It was a memorable first day of college!

I left K to deal with the mess. Thank goodness my parents were dropping off some extra chairs and could lend an extra hand. K and my dad took care of the water issue while my mom rinsed my hair with the garden hose. I finished prepping the bird and got it into the oven right on time. We marathoned cleaning the house and setting the table and before you knew it, our first guests had arrived!

Nothing like a little drama before hosting a party! Oh, the joys of home ownership...Having a house full of friends was just what we needed that day. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Cocoa Chat 12.7.15

Let's grab some cocoa today and chat about what's currently going on.

READING // After Youand The Christmas Chronicles. And getting excited about choosing books to read with my sister-in-law next year!

LISTENING TO // All the Christmas songs...obviously. Especially, when running errands with K. He loves it too, or so I like to believe.

THANKFUL // For four incredible with the Center for Girls' LeadershipIt's been a true gift in my life to be able to share my passion and advocate for women and girls in my community. I spent some time last week celebrating with a few of our board members and toasting to the future!

MAKING // Merry. I just love decorating our home each year. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

LEARNING // This past week, I finished my Professional Train-the-Trainer certificate at the U. I learned so much and have so many incredible plans to bring back to my work.

WORKING ON // Holiday cards! It's just so fun to spread a little cheer to our friends and family each year.

ENJOYING // Wrapping up another semester at UST! Winter break is just as sweet as a teacher as it is to students.

What have you been up to? 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Basement Update

We've made some crazy amazing updates on our basement over the last couple months. In August, we hired a contractor to help us finish our basement. If you don't remember, we had the ugliest basement in all of the United State (Part 1 and Part 2). After we painted it, we hadn't done a whole lot else until this year. 

We tackled the Shark Bathroom first and for our first total reno project, I'd say we crushed it. But finishing the rest of the basement was another story. We knew we needed to call in the experts.

While most of the progress was made this fall, we actually started our planning last year. We hired Egress by Ericson to put in two egress windows in the future bedrooms in the basement. Not only did they add a ton of light, they also meet code so we now have a 4 bedroom home! If you have an older home in the Twin Cities area, we'd highly recommend using Egress by Ericson. Let them know we sent you!

So fast forward to this fall. We hired Tom Campion Construction to finish our basement. This particular project added walls, closets, lights, carpet, doors, tile, and paint. It's just amazing the transformation. 

Our contractors did a ton of it, but K is an absolute rock star and has really gone above and beyond in transforming our house. He did all the painting (walls, doors, trim), the flooring in the utility room and the tile in the laundry room, and is currently building us a custom fireplace mantle. 


Eek! I just love it! A little TLC and our home is transformed. Since these photos, I've made only a few dozen carpet angels (apparently it runs in the family!) and begun dreaming about decorating each room. We moved the televison and a couple couches into the main room and now have a new spot to cozy up and watch holiday movies this month!

We're so close to being finished with finishing our basement. A couple more work weekends and we should be set down there!


Paint: Fleur de Sel & Extra White by Sherwin Williams
Egress Windows: Egress by Ericson
General Contractor: Tom Campion Construction
Carpet: Andersen Floor Covering Inc.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cocoa Chat 11.6.15

If we were grabbing hot chocolate today, we'd have a lot to talk about. Probably starting with the bump in the room. Our family is growing - our little one's guess-date is the end of February. We are over the moon!

I'm feeling a ton better now and love the "honeymoon" second trimester. More energy, less gagging/puking, a visible bump - it's great. Things that I'm loving right now: Blooma prenatal yoga, my Snoogle Pillow, and hot chocolate, especially peppermint cocoa.

My house is transforming. We've been up to our eyeballs in house construction since August and I think (knock on wood) we are nearing the home stretch on most of it. The basement is almost finished and all that's left is figuring out our carpet order. The electrician finished up last week and I'm pretty excited about all the light we have down there now.

I came home from a weekend away to find that my sweet husband had finished painting our living room upstairs. It's incredible. We literally have a different home. I'll do a project post soon so you can see the whole transformation.

Last weekend, I wrapped up wedding season. We didn't have ton this year, but most were out of town. New Jersey, Oregon, Ohio. This kid and I have been coast to coast this year all in the name of love. Since we were in Ohio, we made a quick stop at Kappa Headquarters!

Let's see, I went back to school this fall...for a total of 8 days. I'm getting my Professional Train the Trainer Certificate through the University of Minnesota (I guess that makes me a Gopher at last). What I love about it is that I'm finally getting formal education to back up my almost decade of experience as a trainer and facilitator. It's been a blast. And I'm a huge nerd, I know.

Give to the Max Day is coming up on Thursday, November 12th. As a lifelong advocate for women and girls, I support the Center for Girls' Leadership each year. Investing in girls means establishing a firm foundation for the next generation of women leaders in our world. We couldn't do this work without your support on Give to the Max Day. Please consider making a gift of any size to help us promote leadership to middle and high school girls!

Alright, that's it for now!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Easy Entertaining // Bacon & Date Dip

I love to entertain. Whether it's one friend for a glass of wine, my parents for Sunday night dinner, or Friendsgiving, I want it to be special. And easy. 

Last summer, I threw a wedding shower for my dear friend Lindsay. Since the party was after work, I wanted an easy menu that threw together quickly. My friend Angie put me on to this dip and now it is a staple at my parties. It receives rave reviews every time and it's just special enough that it brings a new factor to the appetizer table. 

Bacon & Date Dip - aka The Best Dip Ever

1 package of bacon
1 bag of dates (from the baking aisle)
10.5 ounces of Chevre (goat cheese)

Cook bacon in a skillet until cooked through but not crispy. Once the bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and add to a microwave/oven safe dish. Mix the bacon and equal parts dates and heat up in the oven or microwave until the warm. The bacon and dates should start to caramelize together. Add the goat cheese to the mixture and heat until warm. Do not overheat.

To make this recipe even easier, cook and chop the bacon ahead of time. On the day of your event, all you'll need to do is mix and warm.

Serve with your choice of crackers. 



Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Shark Bathroom: Part 2

Ooo, we are so close to being done with our basement bathroom! We have a couple plumbing things to take care of before we're completely up and running. But, here are a couple progress shots of the walls, tile, and paint!

No more teal, no more sharks!


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