Category Archives: Mac

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!


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! 🙂

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!

Burrito Bowls for Three

Wheww this morning has been a bit hectic!  But I thought I would pop in real quick for a weekend update.


My friend, Julie, came over after work on Friday so we could work on creating Save the Dates for the wedding.  She has a degree in Interior Design and is very knowledgeable with Adobe Photoship and Illustrator so she was able to navigate around quite easily to create some super cute Save the Dates.

We ordered a pizza and drank a little wine while working away on the computer.  I am very pleased with the results!  Now we just have to get them printed and send ’em off!  I’ll share those later. 🙂


After Julie spent the night at our house, we headed to Wisconsin around noon on Saturday.  Our friend, Dom, turned 30 this weekend so they had a big surprise birthday party up at their lakehouse.  Around 7 pm, a big school bus full of friends and family headed to Alpine Valley to see the Zac Brown Band concert.

julie jess me zac brown band

zac brown band concert

Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out my camera nearly all night, but I can assure you, we had a blast!


While we were gone, my parents watched our sick little Mac who was still not feeling well when we got back on Sunday afternoon.  Dave and I took him to the vet to get him checked out and make sure he was alright.  The vet did some tests and found he had a little bacteria in his stomach so he prescribed some medicine and a chicken & rice diet for the next few days.

mac food prep

I cooked up some chicken breasts and mixed it with some already prepped rice to make Mac’s meals a bit easier for the week.

mac chicken and rice

Ironically, Dave and I had Chipotle for dinner, while Mac enjoyed his own version of a burrito bowl. 😉

sunday food prep

While prepping Mac’s food, I also whipped up some food for myself this week which helped me get out the door quickly this morning.  Pays off to plan ahead! 🙂

A Few Wedding Updates

Last night, Dave and I had originally planned to go out for dinner and watch the Blackhawks game, but we had a sick little puppy to take care of.  😦

mac sick 2

I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say there has been an abundance of potty breaks over the last 24 hours.

mac sick

We quickly changed plans to tend to our sick patient and ended up grilling a fabulous dinner of grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob.  There was, of course, plenty of cuddling involved last night… nothing like a little TLC to help ease the pain! 🙂

Wedding Updates

1.  I had an appointment to try on wedding dresses at a local bridal shop, Crystal Bride, in Geneva last week.  There is good news and bad news.

Bad news:  the appointment was all very last minute so I ended up going by myself.

Good news:  I may have found THE dress!!!

Unfortunately, I can’t release any details, except that it’s white or ivory, full length and even has a train.  Can you picture it? 😉

2.  I have been emailing back and forth with a lady who provides makeup & hair services.  She was recommended by Dave’s cousin’s wife’s friend (<–got that?) who also had her wedding at the Sandpearl.  She is free the weekend of our wedding so we’re just finalizing the details!

3.  Dave has been in contact with the band that, if all works out, will be playing at our reception.  We heard them at a friend’s wedding last October (?) down in New Orleans and absolutely loved all the music they played!  It also looks like they are open during that weekend so again, we are just working on figuring out logistics since the band members will have to travel to Clearwater.

4.  As I had mentioned before, my dad took a bunch of photos of Dave and I last weekend to use for our Save the Dates.  I had seen a few engagement pics on Pinterest that included the couple’s pet(s), so my dad and I thought it would be a great idea to throw Mac in some of the photos…

Dave And Lauren and MAC_DSC6275

…and that was maybe the “best” one.

Mac was probably the most uncooperative pup ever and less than 5 minutes into it, we realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  Looking back, I honesty don’t know what we were thinking!  We both should’ve remembered from previous experiences that Mac does not make the best photography subject.  Oh well! 😉

Next up on my wedding list of things to do is create/send save-the-dates and find a photographer and videographer!

They Grow Like Weeds

What a great weekend!  Full of friends, family, food, relaxing…. and weeding!

weeds 4

Admittedly, this overgrowth of weeds is a little embarrassing.  There were some spots where the weeds climbed about 3 feet high!

weeds 5

AND to make matters worse, they were the prickly kind!  But in our defense, the majority of these things popped up in a matter of about 2 weeks and we finally took care of them so I’m not feeling too bad anymore.  😉

Here’s a few before and after shots to get a visual of how wild these weeds were:

before and after weeds 1a


before and after weeds 2a


before and after weeds 3a

Crazy, right?  I now have a full appreciation for the expression, “Kids grow like weeds!”  I mean, one second they’re tiny (or non-existent) and then before you know it, they’re 3 feet tall!

mac kong

Mac kept himself occupied with his kong for part of the afternoon.

mac kong lick

Unfortunately, he had to stay on a leash so we didn’t have another MIA episode like last time.  But hopefully very soon, we’ll have a brand new fence put up so he can roam free in the backyard!

Despite many hours of back-aching work, we still need to get our hands on the weeds on the side of our house.  Dave and I were both really sore, so we finally called it a day once the main back patio area was finished.

Once the weeds are good as gone, project #2: mulch!  Exciting stuff, I know.  The perks (?) of owning a home…


In other news, Dave and I grilled an amazing dinner this weekend.


Zucchini, sweet & regular potatoes, and Mexican Flank Steak.  This meal was absolutely delicious and the marinade for the flank steak is TO DIE FOR.  (Recipe coming soon! 🙂 )

kitchenaid cookie dough

I also baked a rather large batch of cookies, which lasted all of about 24 hours or less.  I mean, they were just THAT good and no one could stop eating them until they were completely gone.  (Yet another recipe coming your way!)


Hope you had a fantastic long weekend!  I’m looking forward to a short week ahead of us!