Baby Steps

I realized last night that Mac is officially 1 1/2 years old!  I seriously cannot believe we’ve had him for almost that long!  Crazy!

mac 8 weeks

Well I guess if you consider how his size has changed…


…then perhaps, it makes a little more sense. 😉

*Then if I consider how big his food and water bowls are:

mac's new bowls

and how the very first bowls we bought for Mac only held about a cup of water or the amount of food you see in this big bowl.

* Or what about the fact he has now reached the age that we had to switch over from puppy food to adult dog food.

adult dog food

* What’s probably the biggest sign Mac has grown up (and for which Dave and I are EXTREMELY thankful) is that we can leave him at home by himself now!

For about the first year we had Mac, Dave and I lived in our condo in the city.  Mac had pretty severe separation anxiety which did not allow us to leave him alone… ever.  He would bark and whine and howl as soon as we left (and the neighbors made sure to let us know.)  Normally, we would’ve let him bark it out until he learned but because we shared walls with other units, there was no opportunity to teach any lessons.  And so, we were forced to find someone to watch him while at work and if we wanted to go out at night, we had to make arrangements for Mac.

When we moved to our new house, not only was he a bit more mature, but he now had the chance to learn that being on his own wasn’t the end of the world.

First, we attempted the giant cage in the garage…. and well, let’s just say that didn’t work out so well.  We ended up giving in and letting him roam around the garage while we were away.

Fast forward 6 months and now…

mud room

Mac can stay inside by himself!  (Well, almost.  He still has random days where he chews things to pieces so we’re not quite comfortable yet letting him have at our furniture without supervision!)

mud room 2

We blocked off the mudroom with a gate to keep him out of the rest of the house.

mac's bed

He’s all set up with a bed, toys, and food & water!

Mac seems to like this little arrangement and hasn’t chewed anything up or had any accidents thus far!  It might seem like a minor development but these baby steps are a big deal in our house! 😉

little mac

All I know is no matter how big or grown up he gets, Mac will always be a puppy in my eyes!

The Internship

Heyyy there!  Hope everyone’s week is moving along smoothly.

berries nectarines yogurt

I’ve been taking advantage of the seasonal fruits lately – mostly berries and nectarines – so breakfast has been looking a lot like this the past few mornings.

berries and nectarines yogurt bowl2

I’ve especially been loving the nectarines.  So juicy and sweet and a perfect topping for cold yogurt on a hot, muggy day!  Yummy!

The Internship

Dave and I recently figured out the last time we’ve both been to the movies was since before we got Mac!  That’s over a year ago!

So when Dave text me yesterday afternoon to suggest a movie, I was totally in!

the internship2

Neither one of us had any particular movie in mind, so we just looked at the nearby theaters and chose one that fit best with our schedule.  We both generally tend towards comedies so The Internship seemed to fit the bill.

the internship noogles2

The movie was about two men who lost their jobs and somehow managed to land internship jobs at Google.  All the interns had to form teams to compete against one another in order to be hired on full-time after the summer was over.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn always make a good combination.  Although I wouldn’t say it was quite up to par with Wedding Crashers, it was still pretty funny and entertaining.  Plus, it was nice to finally get back in the theater for a change of pace!

Meet Jax

Pheww these past few days have been busy busy busy!

We recently hired 6 new people for our department and yesterday was their first.  Not only am I the supervisor primarily responsible for getting the new hires all situated when they first arrived, but I was scheduled to do yesterday’s training session as well, so I was on-the-go all day and had no time to stop in and recap the weekend!


Better late than never, so here we go.  Friday and Saturday were pretty low key as far as my social life goes.  I played the role of a bookworm nearly all day Saturday and studied my butt off.

Highlights from Saturday:

yogurt cheerios bberries peanuts

Greek yogurt, honey nut cheerios, blueberries, honey roasted peanuts.

deconstructed kebab

Deconstructed chicken and veggie kebabs

I mean I love food and all… but the fact that leftovers were the most exciting thing during the day on Saturday indicates it was a pretty dull day.


On the other hand, Sunday was full of fun stuff!

cake and presents

We went over to Dave’s parents house around 11:30 for Maddie’s 4th birthday party.

maddie bday party

photo (31)

We relaxed out by the pool most of the afternoon and watched all the kids play.

dunk tank

The dunk tank was definitely the hit of the party!  Even the adults loved it 😉

mac and jax 4

Meet Mac’s new friend, Jax!

mac and jax1

Dave’s cousin and his wife, Kevin and Diane, just recently added this little guy to their family.  He’s about 15 weeks old, only 7 or 8 pounds and will grow just a few pounds bigger.  Such a cute little guy!

mac and jax 2

Mac and Jax enjoyed keeping an eye on the kids while sharing Mac’s bed together.

mac and jax 3

Two peas in a pod! 🙂


Later on, Dave, Mac and I headed over to my aunt’s house for a little family get-together to celebrate my cousin, Heidi, who just recently graduated from North Central College!

After a couple hours, we headed back home and were greeted with friends in the lot next to us!

deerA doe and her two baby fawns!!


We were able to get really close to them before they bounded away.

When we first moved to our house, Dave and I both would see on average 7-8 deer… per day!!  When springtime rolled around, all the deer were in hiding while they gave birth to their babies.  After I saw that one picture, I have been waiting (impatiently) all spring to see a fawn for myself and it finally happened!  Yay!

Chicken and Veggie Kebabs

Happy Friday!

Several great things about today:

  1. Obviously, it’s Friday which means the weekend is here!
  2. Today is the official first day of summer.
  3. According to one source, the sun will be out for 15 hours and 6 minutes marking the longest day of the year… over 6 hours longer than it is December 21st.
  4. And finally, in at number 4…

mac sleeping

The cutest face in the world! 🙂  As I was getting ready for work this morning, I passed by my sleeping boys and these eyes were poking out of the covers.  I just couldn’t resist giving Mac some puppy cuddles before heading out for the day!

Chicken and Veggie Kebabs

Last night’s dinner was DELISH!

kebabs and corn on the cob

Chicken and veggie kebabs and corn-on-the-cob all cooked on the grill.

marinade ingredients

While I was waiting for Dave to get back from golf, I whipped up a quick marinade for the chicken which consisted of:

  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Approximately 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

fresh oregano and rosemary

Side note:  I found these smaller containers of fresh herbs at Jewel yesterday.  I hate spending $4 on fresh herbs only to use for one recipe so I was soo excited to find these little packages.  PLUS, they were only $1 a piece!

chicken in marinade

I chopped the chicken into large chunks (about 1″ cubes) and coated with the marinade in a large ziploc bag.

chicken and vegetable kebab ingredients

While the chicken was doing its thing, I gathered all the veggies together.  Green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, and very mini potatoes.

chicken kebab making

Dave arrived home in perfect timing to help create the kebabs!

chicken kebabs raw

Meanwhile, I soaked the corn in the husks in some water before we cooked them on the grill.  We’ve found that getting some moisture inside the husks helps steam and cook the corn faster.

grilling kebabs

Everything on the grill!

dave grilling

The corn took a bit longer but the kebabs were done in a matter of about 5 minutes.

kebabs on the grill

We both agreed this will go on our favorite dinner list… a perfect summer meal! 🙂

Carmel, Indiana

I’ve been in Indiana since Monday and get to head home this afternoon.  Hooray!

During my stay, I’ve had quite the little tour of the suburban towns of Indianapolis.  Our hotel was in the very tiny town of Lebanon, while the audit was located in Whitestown about 10 minutes away.  A few days before I left for my trip, the idea popped into my head that I might be relatively close to my friend, Kali’s new house so I did a quick MapQuest search.  Only about 30 minutes!

kali and me

So of course we had to meet for dinner! 🙂

detour bar and grill

The weather was beautiful… a tad hot with the sun out but once it went down, it was perfect!  we sat outside at Detour Bar & Grille and each ordered a salad and a couple cocktails.  It was such a treat to meet up on a whim and I’m glad we got to catch up!

carmel in

We met about halfway between the both of us in the super cute town of Carmel.  There were so many little shops and restaurants that I wish we had more time to spend walking around.

Crossfit Carmel

I really enjoyed visiting the Crossfit gym during my last audit so I thought I’d check out if there was one in the area.  Since I loved the friendly town of Carmel so much, I decided to stop in for a workout at Crossfit Carmel this morning.

crossfit carmel

It’s really interesting to see how one box differs from another and is unique in its own way.

crossfit carmel box

Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging during the workout.  After a warm-up, we ran a 1 mile time trial and I was very pleased with my result – 6 min 47 sec!  Since my half marathon set me back a bit, this was the first time I felt good enough to run again.

crossfit carmel tire

Next, we completed the WOD (workout of the day) which consisted 3 rounds of 300 meters on the row machine followed by 30 box jumps.  It was tough but it definitely woke me up and now I’m ready for the day!

Summer Firsts

This weekend officially marked the beginning of summer… for me at least!  Among many things that reminded me of summer, I finally feel like the temperatures were consistently in the 70s and 80s.

First Ice Cream Run

Yumz frozen yogurt

Dave and I hit up a new yogurt spot a few minutes from our house called Yumz.  It’s one of those self-serve shops with tons of flavors and toppings to create your own dessert.  I’m telling you, that was a dangerous move.  I mean, very dangerous.  I have a feeling we’ll be back all too quickly! 😉


yogurt blueberries granola

Lots of them!  I topped yogurt with blueberries, threw them in cereal, and ate them straight out of the container.  All weekend long.  Sooo good!

Flowers in Bloom

patio flowers

Okay so I know flowers are technically a sign of spring, but our back patio is beaming with colors from all sorts of flowers.

rose bush close up



They are sooo beautiful, I couldn’t stop staring at them all weekend… from the back patio window… while I was slaving away doing schoolwork.  😦

Laying by the Pool

mac sunbathing

Lounge chair, beach bag, sun shining… enough said! 😉   Yay for the summer!

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

fathers day collage

Especially to mine who is an inspiration, a role model, and hands-down, the coolest guy around!

The very best dad a girl could ask for! 🙂

Nature Box – June Edition

Happy Friday!!

Can you believe we are already HALFWAY through June?  Ughh I feel like summer has barely even begun, thanks to the less-than-desirable weather lately.  Hopefully, this just means a later start to winter this year and no snow until mid-December.  One can only hope!

Nature Box – June

Although I received my June box at nearly 2 weeks ago, I have been so crazy busy and just haven’t had the opportunity to taste-test all my monthly goodies.

nature box june

Too busy to eat?  Never thought that was possible. 😉

nature box june 2

But I finally opened up all the bags and dug in!

nature box june items 1

If you’ve never heard of Nature Box before, it’s a subscription service that sends 5 different healthy snacks at the beginning of every month.

nature box june items 2

This June box is my 3rd one and I’ve been enjoying sampling unique health(ier) snacks without having to buy a ginormous bag!  Just the right amount to satisfy a snacky mood. 🙂

nautre box june card

The company sends a card detailing each item and offers suggestions of how to enjoy your snacks.  The theme for June is “Picnic Season”.

Cherry Ganache Granola

nature box june cherry ganache granola

This was my breakfast this morning.  A yogurt bowl with all kinds of goodies – blueberries & bananas (on the bottom), Greek yogurt, sunflower butter, and the Cherry Ganache Granola.  It was very tasty with the big plump dried cherries and whole roasted almonds mixed in with the crunchy granola clusters.

Peanut Butter Nom Noms

nature box june peanut butter nom noms

These are soft little cookies made with oats and peanut butter with chocolate chunks.  It tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie (minus the raisins) as the base but with a hint of peanut butter and giant melty chunks of chocolate.  Delish!

Salsa Spiced Nut Mix

nature box june salsa spiced nut mix

Just a hint of zesty flavor coating a cashews and almonds, plus a crunchy corn-type chip.

BBQ Kettle Kernels

nature mix june bbq kettle kernels

Love these things!  I believe they are the similar to the roasted kettle kernels (but with a BBQ spin on ’em) from April’s box which I adored!  They remind me of those half-popped popcorn kernels at the bottom of the bowl. 🙂

And of course, Mr. Mac had to photobomb my picture!

Guacamole Bites

nature box june guacamole bites

These were good, but not my favorite.  They tasted like your typical corn chip (aka Frito, etc.) but with a tangy flavoring.  I mean, they were definitely yummy but I’m not the biggest fan of Frito-type snacks and I was hoping for more of a ‘guacamole’ emphasis.


Have a fabulous weekend!

Third Time’s A Charm

It was touch and go there for a little bit with the weather, but we made it to my wedding dress appointment last night at the Crystal Bride!

crystal bride

Rain or shine (aka heavy thunderstorms and tornado sirens.) Sure didn’t stop us! 🙂

mom me crystal bride

A few weeks ago, I ended up going by myself to a last minute appointment at the Crystal Bride to try on dresses.  I thought I found “the one” but I needed some moral support before I went through with any purchases.  Last night was my follow-up appointment and I brought along a few extra pairs of eyes for a second opinion.

annie me katie crystal bride

I had 3 different dresses narrowed down from last time and modeled them for my judges, saving my personal favorite for last.

And the vote was unanimous, so I said, “Yes to the dress!!!”

crystal bride champagne

Woohoo! A little bubbly to celebrate!

Check it off the list! 😉

Adult By Day, Kid By Night

Hey there!

I took the day off work yesterday to get some major school work done for my online class.  My procrastination finally crept up on me and I realized I need to get my butt in gear.  Like for real this time.

scrambled eggs feta avocado cholula

I woke up bright and early and made myself a nice big bowl of scrambled eggs for some brain fuel.  My favorite mix of avocado, feta cheese, and hot sauce.

After working away for several hours, I finally got up to the point to take one of two exams and I somehow squeezed out a 98%!  Although I still have another exam and a paper to complete, I feel the biggest weight off my shoulders just to know that I’ve finally made somewhat of a dent in the class.  Wheww!

Sky High Sports

Around 2pm, I took a much needed break to meet some coworkers at Sky High Sports.

sky high trampoline

It is a facility located in Niles, IL with lots of giant trampolines to jump on and have fun!

sky high trampoline 2

One of my coworkers, who has been to this trampoline park before, saw a coupon deal on Living Social and invited several of us to go since it is pretty close to our work.

sky high group

I was a little skeptical at first but we had a blast for the entire 2 hours!

foam pit rachel flip

In addition to the normal trampoline area, there is a section to jump in a giant foam pit.

foam pit lauren flip

The kid came out in all of us and we were all doing flips into the pit.

dodgeball 2

Another trampoline area was set up for dodgeball.


As you can see, we were playing with kids averaging maybe 12 years old.  But that didn’t stop us and the kids enjoyed kicking our butts!  (I promise, we weren’t the ONLY adults 😉 )

sky high csf group

All of us had an absolute blast and were talking about going back again sometime!  Great place for kids…maybe even better for adults! 😉