Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blessed


2013 was a wonderful year! I was continually blessed by my amazing husband, loving family, awesome friends, a great job, and most of all, a forgiving Lord and Savior.

Here are 13 highlights of this past year (in no particular order):

1. We were joined by 3 new nieces, Kinsley in May and twins Lainey and Londyn in July.

2. We got to celebrate my cousin's wedding in November in New Orleans with lots of family members!

3. I got to road trip to the Nebraska vs. Michigan football game with 2 great friends, we had a blast!

4. My sister moved to Minnesota, and although she's further away, it provides for a great weekend getaway and shopping at the Mall of America.

5. We celebrated numerous weddings of friends and also many engagements, with weddings galore planned for 2014.


6. I ran my personal best time in the Lincoln Half Marathon in May.

7. We got to attend a few Husker volleyball games at the newly renovated Devaney Center in Lincoln.

8. I enjoyed the concerts of Jason Aldean with Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert with Dierks Bentley, and Casting Crowns.

9. Ryan and I celebrated our first year marriage anniversary in May!

10. I got an iPhone, and love it!

11. We played on a summer and fall coed softball team, and had a blast with our teammates!

12. Ryan survived appendicitis and having his appendix out.

13. I took a weekend getaway to Kansas City with 3 of my college friends, we were finally reunited!




It was an AWESOME year and I hope for even better things in 2014!




Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Recap

We are finally home tonight, which means I have time to do a post! Sorry for my mini-vacation, but I've been busy enjoying these past couple holiday-filled weeks! I hope you all had a very Merry and Blessed Christmas with your family and friends! 

Here's a photo drop of a summary of what I've been up to these past couple weeks, which includes…

* 6 family Christmas gatherings, loved all the family time
* bowling with my immediate family
* fun bottle gift exchanges
* lots of time with our nieces and nephew
* Christmas light tour on a party bus with friends
* celebrated with my best friend for her 25th birthday
* got a couple days of 50 degree weather, beautiful
* chili with my hubby
* sported some ugly sweaters on Christmas Eve at work
* spoiled with lots of nice gifts
* Christmas baking, and too much eating
* beautiful midnight mass with my husband
* basketball with my brother
* several family games, including pitch until 3am



Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Recap

I had to work this weekend, but I did get a few other things done in between…

Friday night, I have no pictures to show, but I went shopping with my mom and then we met up with my brother and a couple of his friends for supper at Red Robin, yum! I now have all my Christmas shopping done, yeah…now on to the wrapping!

Saturday night, we had some friends over for pizza and we enjoyed the rest of the night with some Catch Phrase and Just Dance!


Sunday night after work, I went to mass and then got to spend a little time with Ryan before he is gone all week again for work.

Hope all of you are staying warm and sharing the holiday spirit with those around you!! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Decor and DIY

I was finally able to finish my Christmas decorating today and also finish a few of my DIY projects I've been working on! Here's how everything turned out! I love being able to decorate and show off my Christmas spirit!

1. Our Christmas tree! I even got Ryan to help me put on the ornaments this year!
2. A cute little Christmas bucket decoration I made with lights, ornaments, pine cones and ribbon.
3. JOY made with wooden letters, scrapbook paper, and a big ornament.
4. Some mini Christmas trees made from styrofoam cones, fabric, and jewels.

Have any of you done any DIY crafts for Christmas this year?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

It's been cold this past week in Nebraska, and I'm not quite ready for that bitter winter weather yet, but I guess it came anyways! Here's the recap of my weekend!



1. Friday night, we got to watch the Husker volleyball team win in the first round of the NCAA volleyball tournament! They won Saturday too, so on to regionals, yeah!
2. Saturday, we got a room at Harrah's casino to use a Living Social I bought! I didn't have very good luck, but my husband did.
3. Saturday night, we had my work Christmas party with some good food and drinks.
4. Sunday, we celebrated my niece, Allie's, 5th birthday with a party!
5. And…it snowed this weekend. Luckily it wasn't a lot, but enough for awhile.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Vacation…the last few days!

Vacation: Part Four


The last few days of vacation was spent with family and doing some sightseeing!

1, 2, 3 - We spent one day at the National World War II Museum, which was really neat! They have so many exhibits, and even had a 4D show about the war.
4 - We got to watch my cousin's basketball game while we were there, which was fun!
5 - Took my little cousin shopping for a couple new dresses, we had a blast!
6 - The sun finally came out and we took a walk by Lake Pontchartrain.
7, 8, 9 - We went on a swamp tour one morning. Even though the weather wasn't the best for gator sighting, we did see one and got to hold a little baby alligator.

We had an awesome vacation and I'm so glad we got to do a lot of things and spend some time with family and just take time to relax!! Thanks so much for reading!



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vacation…The Day After

Part Three: Post Wedding Festivities


1 & 2 - The morning after the wedding, we attended a family brunch hosted by the bride and groom! We had so much good food, including Saints-shaped fruit and the traditional Mardi Gras king cake!
3 - After everyone got done eating, we tested the groom's knowledge on our family. He had to see if he could match us all with the right parents and kids. Considering his new mother-in-law has 7 other brothers and sisters, it was quite the challenge!
4 - The weather was nice and sunny out, so the boys enjoyed some football.
5 & 6 - After brunch, quite a few of us took a trolley ride through the city, which was fun! We got to see some parts of downtown we hadn't been to before. 
7 & 8 - For supper, my cousin, who lives in New Orleans and one of his friends, treated all of us to a yummy seafood and vegetable boil! We had potatoes, corn, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, crab, shrimp, and sausage! It definitely had a southern kick in the taste, but it was soooo good!
9 - And to end the night, some of us cousins tried our luck at the casino downtown and finished off with some 2 am beignets!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wedding Recap…Nawlins' Style!

Part Two: The Wedding


This was my first New Orleans wedding, and we had a blast! Here are a few things I learned about a wedding in New Orleans that is different than how we do it in Nebraska:

1. There isn't a formal sit down meal for everyone at the same time. The food is out when you get to the reception and you can eat whenever you want.
2. The dance starts right away as soon as the reception gets underway.
3. The food is amazing! And after you initially go through the food line, they continually bring trays of food around all night. We had shrimp, sausage, sandwiches, crab, meatballs, and a few other things throughout the night, along with cake and cheesecake! 
4. They had a live jazz band, which was really fun.
5. The most fun part of the dance came on the last song. It's a tradition there that everyone gets a napkin or hanky and parades around with the bridge and groom, who have fancy umbrellas. We danced to "When the Saints Go Marching In," since we were in New Orleans, and then the couple danced on out of the reception! 

Here is a video clip:


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vacation…Part One

A little over a week ago, Ryan and I took a vacation to New Orleans with some family to celebrate my cousin's wedding! We flew out on Friday, the 22nd and stayed there until Wednesday, the 27th! I'm going to give you the recap in a few posts!

Part One: Getting There, Bourbon Street, and the French Quarter


1. Leavin' on a jet plane…our bright and early flight to New Orleans.
2. Once we got there and got checked into the hotel, we spent some time playing a few games with our cousins at my aunt's house. My aunt lives in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.
3. Friday night, the rest of my extended family had arrived and we all had a big family dinner with some card games too!
4. Later Friday night, it was time to go out on the town to Bourbon Street!! We hit up a few bars, did some dancing, had some drinkss, and had a great time!
5. Here I am with my cousin's fiancé, can't wait for her to be an official part of the family!!
6. Saturday, we spent the day doing touristy stuff downtown. Here is a picture of the cathedral.
7. Walking down the Riverwalk.
8. Jackson Square in the French Quarter.
9. And you can't go to New Orleans without having a delicious beignet!

Have any of you been to New Orleans? What was your favorite part?






Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Back…and I Brought My Shenanigans to Share with you!

Sami's Shenanigans

I'm back, and in case you wondered where I've been, I went on vacation to New Orleans and then I had a long Thanksgiving weekend! Here's my weekend shenanigans to share with you, and my vacation recaps will be coming throughout the week!

Starting with the bottom left, here's the details:
1. Thanksgiving day was pretty relaxed; we had lunch with my family and played some cards.
2. The night of Thanksgiving and Friday night, we had both of Ryan's extended family Thanksgivings. All the meals were great and I of course ate too much food because it was all so good!
3. Thursday night into Friday morning, for about 6 hours, we went shopping with Ryan's sister and brother and had great success! Our most exciting purchase was our new, 60" TV!!
4. Here's all my bags from Black Friday shopping.
5. Saturday, I worked all day and then we watched the Husker volleyball game Saturday night.
6. The last few pics are from Sunday! I got to meet my cousin's daughter, Sophie for the first time, and was honored to be her Godmother as we celebrated her baptism! She was so sweet and I can't wait to see her again at Christmas! She lives in Wisconsin, so we were glad to spend some time with her and my cousin and his wife.

Thanks for reading! Check back the rest of the week to read about my vacation to New Orleans!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Husker Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Sharing the  happenings of my weekend with Sami and the rest of the linkup bloggers, and you, my wonderful readers, too!

1. Friday night, the new outlet mall near our home opened up, so we had to go check it out! It was pretty busy, but we found some good deals and I can't wait to go back when we have more time!
2. Saturday morning brought a day filled with Husker events, starting out with some tailgating with some friends and family.
3. Can't have tailgating without some beer pong, and some horrible playing by me.
4. Next came the Husker football game with my hubby, our first game together this season.
5. It was a beautiful day out for the game, however, our beloved Huskers lost to Michigan State.
6. After the football game, we moved onto the Nebraska volleyball game with Ryan's cousin and his wife, aka Samantha from 3 Oh 1 Grace St, also a good friend of mine! The volleyball team won their game in 4 sets and we had a lot of fun!
7. Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family, and it wouldn't be complete without our competitive game of spoons between the cousins. It was great to see lots of family!
8. Sunday night, one of my friends hosted craft night for us girls, complete with crafting, snacks and wine!
9. I loved catching up with the girls, and even got some crafting in! (More details to come once I put the finishing touches on my decor)

We had a nice weekend and I was glad to spend it with my husband, family and friends!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Things I Learned...

The things I learned this past weekend after a 10 hour roadtrip...

1. Make sure to check directions when it comes to a split in the road, before you end up driving 30 minutes out of  your way and luckily realizing it before ending up in Minneapolis instead of Chicago.

2. Heads Up is a great road trip game! But be warned that if you post the video, your friends may get confused that you were driving in Europe.

3. Pulling an all-nighter on the drive there is all fun and games, until you have to drive back and try to stay awake after getting minimal sleep all weekend!

4. If you drink enough and have great friends, it is possible to sleep 3 girls in a full-size bed (not queen or king, a full/double) without anyone falling out or moving the entire night!

5. After navigating all weekend, you may wake up sleeptalking when you get home, telling your husband that you're going the wrong way.

6. Free suite tickets to a football game are awesome, but beware of the ticket-giver becoming a stage 5 creeper!

7. Snapchat is a great way to show all your friends back home all the fun you're having, and make them slightly jealous or curious about your trip!

8. Toll roads are not cool, especially when you end up paying $20+ in toll fees.

9. 312 beer on tap in Chicago is amazing!!

10. Saving the best for last...last-minute spontaneous roadtrips with your friends are amazing, and having no definite plans is great because you can do whatever, whenever!! As everyone says, you only live once, so make the most of it! I would do it all over in a heartbeat!

If you want a full recap of our trip, check out my previous post here!




Monday, November 11, 2013

Roadtrip Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Linking up with the lovely Sami to share about my weekend!

This weekend, two of my friends and I roadtripped to the Nebraska vs. Michigan football game in Ann Arbor, with a stop in Chicago on the way! We decided to do this on a whim about a week ago, and I'm so glad we did! We had an AMAZING weekend, and here's the awesome recap to share with all of you!

1 and 2. We left on Thursday night and drove through the night to Chicago. We only had one minor detour (#2), as we missed an exit and almost ended up in Minneapolis, but we caught ourselves before we got too far!

3, 4, 5, 6. Once we got to Chicago, we spent the day sightseeing! We visited the Willis (Sears) Tower, and got to see the beautiful views from the top, which was so cool! We even got to walk out on "The Ledge", which is all glass.

7. We also visited the Harold Washington Library, which has 9 floors, crazy! 

8 and 9. Our last stop of the day was Grant Park, which had a huge fountain, some beautiful views of Lake Michigan, and great looks of the city in the background.

After we got done sightseeing, we were on Hour 36 of being awake with no sleep, so we took a short cat nap before going out on the town for the night!


We ate at Giordano's pizza, which was super yummy!! The pizza was so thick and cheesy and I loved it! Then we went out in "Wrigleyville", which is a strip of bars close to Wrigley Stadium! We had so much fun, and even got to hang out at the Husker bar there! We danced and drank until we couldn't anymore and took a cab back to our hotel and crashed for the night!

Next up, gameday in Ann Arbor!! We got up early Saturday morning to drive to the game!


1 and 2. We made it to "The Big House", aka, Michigan's stadium! It holds over 100,000 people, wow!

3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Don't worry, we got FREE box suite tickets from a guy at our hotel, so we enjoyed our premium seats for the game! Here are some pictures of our view! The Huskers won, which made it even better, as it was a close and exciting game!

8 and 9. After the game, we went out in downtown Ann Arbor, met some fun people and found some Husker fans too!

Sunday, we survived the long 10 hour drive back with many laughs and memories from our trip! I'm so glad I got to spend a fantastic weekend with these two wonderful girls and I can't wait for our next adventure!!




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Deep Covered Baker Recipes


One of the nice cookware items I received for our wedding was the Deep Covered Baker from Pampered Chef, and so I'm always looking for new recipes to make that use it! Here are some good ones I've found so far!





Baked Pork Loins
2 or 4 pork tenderloins
1/2 finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*any other seasoning of your choice

Combine all ingredients and rub over the pork tenderloins. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until meat is fully cooked.



Four Cheese Mac N' Cheese



Creamy 3 Cheese Pasta


If any of you have more ideas to use my deep covered baker, please feel free to share!

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Even though I had to work this weekend, we managed to be social for a few things!

1. Friday night we reunited with our summer softball team for dinner and delicious margarita's at Roja
2. Saturday night, we got together with some friends and had some intense games of girls vs. guys Catch Phrase, in which the guys won all 3 games, unfortunately!
3. After Catch Phrase, we went bowling. I did ok and only had a few gutterballs.
4. I finished my book this weekend! Any of you familiar with this series? Now I can move on to the 3rd book, yeah!

How was your weekend? Can you believe it's November already? 
Thanks for stopping by!
Be sure to go link up your weekend with Sami!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Recipe...Yum!

I tried a new recipe this week and wanted to share with you, as it was super easy and super delicious!


Baked Chicken Chimichangas
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 8 oz bag pepperjack cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 lb cooked chicken (shredded)
8 tortilla shells (soft)
cooking spray
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
salsa



Stir together the cream cheese, pepperjack cheese, taco seasoning, and chicken. Divide among tortillas and fold up each tortilla. Lay tortillas seam side down in a sprayed pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for another 15 minutes.


Eat and enjoy! Serve with sour cream, salsa, cheese, and any other toppings you would like!



Harvest Time

Earlier this week, I got to go back home and experience harvest season. During this time back home, you just constantly see combines, tractors and semis, as farmers are working to get the crops out of the fields!

I was lucky enough to get to ride in the combine with my friend Jaimie, which I was super excited about! It's been a few years since I've gotten to ride in the combine, and I really enjoyed it!




I just want to take this time to thank all the farmers for their hard work during harvest and pray that they stay safe and have a productive crop!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Home Sweet Home Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Ryan and I went back home for the weekend to see our families, and here's the recap:


1. Love going back to our small town, so pretty and peaceful during this harvest season!
2. Visited our nieces first, here's the twins, almost 4 months old!
3. Read some books with our older nieces.
4. Next stop was our other niece and nephew, she's getting so big!
5. Ryan losing in wrestling.
6. Sunday, we celebrated my mom's birthday while all of us kids were home.
7. Enjoyed the beautiful fall weather playing some bags outside.
8. Us 3 kids with grandma!
9. Got to go on a couple walks with the fam and Suzy, our dog.


Since our high school football playoff game is on Halloween, our town moved trick-or-treating to Sunday, so we even got to see all of our adorable nieces and nephew all dressed up!

It was a great weekend and it was so nice to spend time with family and enjoy the nice weather!

Are all of you getting excited for Halloween this week?