Monday, April 25, 2011


Today is my first day of work at Colle+McVoy.

I may not have told you all yet, but I received an offer from this wonderful Ad Agency and accepted! My position is titled: New Business Manager, and I am ready to tackle anything and everything that this agency has to offer.

I am so excited about this new position, and I thank God each day for blessing me with new opportunities to learn and grow. Here's to a great first day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

We're wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter.

Matthew 28:2-7 ESV
(2) And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. (3) His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. (4) And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. (5) But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Presenting: The 3rd Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt

Here it is...what you've been waiting for for the past 364 days- Pictures from the 3rd Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt!

If you are new to the blog, you probably haven't heard of this before. Let me give you a little background. When Ryan and I were first married, I was really gung-ho about starting new traditions as a family. There were many things swirling around in my mind-Austad Family pancakes on Saturday mornings, Austad Family Christmas Cookie Baking Night, Austad Family Art Night, and so on and so on. While some of those have materialized into true traditions, the Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt was a total fluke!

It was April 2009 when I got home from work at looked around our 1 bedroom apartment and thought I'd do something fun for my husband. I threw a few jelly beans in some eggs, hid them, and then left a basket by our front door. Thankfully Ryan was ready to play along and I took pictures as he went- laughing the whole time since it was so funny that I was making him do the hunt since we didn't have kids.

I reprised the Easter Egg Hunt last year and called it the 2nd Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt or 2nd Annual AFEEH for short. Again, it was kind of a joke, but kind of cute all at the same time. So I decided to carry on the tradition again this year....after all our family has grown by 1! So Lola got to take part in this year's 3rd Annual AFEEH. And we had a BLAST! I think this funny tradition has stuck.

Lola's ready for the Hunt! Greeting Ryan at the door.

Quick photo-op before the hunt begins!

Here we go!

Good find Ryan!

Do you see the one hiding under the lamp?

YAY! A Full Easter Basket.

Teaching Lola to not eat the Easter Egg but the treat that came out of it- see floor.

Friday, April 22, 2011


We really do partake in other things outside of our new puppy, but that seems to be all I can write about lately. I guess when a new little member of the family enters, they take center stage. For all those moms out there- I give you 2 HUGE thumbs up. You Rock, You're the Best, and someday I hope to be half as good a Mom to my kids.

Having Lola here has really put things into perspective for me. I'll come right out and say it- I romanticize things often. Whew- that felt good to get out. When I think about babies, I think about them cooing and smiling, little adorable flowered onesies and laughter at bath time. I think about how I'd tote my little one around in the stroller on a warm summer day and in my daydream I am perfectly groomed, no stray hair or spit up stain in site. husband on the other hand is the realistic one. As many of you know, Lola has definitely served her purpose as OBD. (Operation Baby Deferral) He's a smart one, that Ryan, and he knows me well. I'm not saying that having a puppy is anything like a baby. I can draw similarities, however I'm very thankful that I haven't had to change Lola's diaper and she can do her thing outside.

I've realized that it takes A LOT of work to raise something/one you care so much about. Of course we had dogs in our family when we were kids, and so did Ryan. But Lola is the very first pet we've had together that our parents haven't been the sole caretakers for. Its awesome in every sense of the word.

Don't get me wrong, Lola has been a super easy puppy. She's housebroken now (at only 3 months old) and she pretty much sleeps through the night in her own kennel. She only whines or barks when she has to go out at 5 AM. She does her duty and then goes right back to her kennel and sleeps until we're ready to get up with her. She's a breeze to train, and has already mastered many tricks.

I'm so glad I had this opportunity to be a caretaker before we have real human babies of our own. Even though that's probably down the road a few years, I have taken away something from this experience that I never thought I would- the growth of giving of yourself. Giving your time, your patience, giving your heart to something that will change your life forever.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lazy Pup

Miss Lola can sleep anywhere, anytime, with any noise or distraction possible. Most of the time she wants to be near us when she sleeps- so she takes it all in, every keystroke of the computer, guitar playing moment, and Austad family sing-a-long. We've been known to occasionally break out in song from time to time. Your family doesn't do that? Oh, well, shoot- maybe we're just weird like that then. Thankfully, Lola puts up with it all and has truly become a member of our little family.

Napping on Dad's Foot...

...Napping on her Bed...

...Napping on the Deck...

...And the Kitchen Today, Instead.

Napping in her kennel...

and under the Bar stools...

...Napping in the office,

a dog's life, sure does rule.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guacamole Chicken Sandwiches

That's what we made last week when the Minnesota air had just a slight chill and the sunshine was rockin' at 65 degrees. We were feelin' it...summertime, and had just a taste of it for a few hours. So we decided to bust out our favorite summertime meal- Guacamole Chicken Sandwiches.

This isn't an exact recipe, I think Ryan made it up last summer when we were craving avocado and BBQ. Basically, its homemade guacamole, Swiss cheese, BBQ chicken on a toasted bun. The toasting of the bun is essential for that warm, hot off the grill summer feel. Paired with a few Bud Light Limes and we were in business.

Since its snowy today I felt this post would feel appropriate for my longing of a summer day. Oh, soon enough.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Patio Project

I took advantage of a fluke 70 degree day here in Minnesota and decided to put together a little project to beautify our patio area. The old owners of our house left a few odds and ends around the house. Not sure if they were just that sweet and wanted to leave us a few things, they were too busy with their newborn daughter, or these things were buried under 12 inches of snow at the time they moved and they completely forgot about them. Either way...they have now become ours.

As I was cleaning up our backyard, I noticed a few sad looking clay pots underneath our deck.

They had definitely seen better days. Thankfully, I had already decided to spruce them up. How exactly...I wasn't sure. But then I started unpacking (yes there are a few more boxes I have left unpacked) a box in the garage. And Eureka! It hit me! I found my cute 3-piece planter set that I had purchased last spring at our Omaha apartment.

After a trip to Menard's and my key lime spray paint in hand,

it was time for a clay pot makeover. Thankfully, Miss Lola was "on deck" (pun totally intended) ready to lend a helping paw in case I would need it. I scrubbed the pots of all the yucky winter dirt first so the spray paint would stick.

Then, I found a good corner of the yard, laid down a moving box and got my spray paint groove on.

After a few coats, here is what they look like!

I'm pretty excited about them, and already planted a few wildflower seeds in them. Hopefully, the freak wet snowstorm we had this past weekend won't ruin them!

Over all, a $3 can of spray paint made such a difference, I decided to paint an old brown plastic pot we had too. My theme for the deck this summer will be key lime green and blue- so be watching for the full transformation come June/July!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bath Time for Lola

Lola' s a retriever in every sense of the word. Not only is she 1/2 Golden Retriever, but she's 1/2 Black Lab Retriever as well. She loves running after balls and sticks, but hasn't quite gotten the hang of bringing them back to us so we can throw them again. But we're sure she'll figure it out someday. With all that retrieving comes a lot of muddy messes. Within the three weeks we've had Lola she's had seven baths. Yes, that's right- an average of 2 per week- and she's a DOG!

Thankfully, Lola has been loving her bath times. Since she's pretty furry and fuzzy normally, so its hilarious to see her when she's in the bath, and she looks like a skinny rat. She does occasionally do the doggie shake from time to time, but she loves to have her coat massaged with mango dog shampoo and she takes it in like a lady at the spa. Her not so favorite part of bath time is the drying. Usually we towel dry her as best as we can, but since her coat is so thick it would take hours for it to fully dry. Enter- the hair dryer, Lola's nemesis. The first few times we dried her, she did her best to get as far away from the thing as possible. Thankfully, she's warming up to it lately, but always seems to find the farthest corner of the bathroom.

Beginning the Bath Adventure

Loving the warm water

Dad gets the tough job- wrangling the wet pup

all dry!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

German Food, A Piano Bar and a Puppy

No...its not the intro to a really bad, yet hilarious joke- it just happened to be everything that encompassed the weekend Sara came to visit. As you already know, we hung out a lot with Sara and Mike when we lived in Omaha. So when Sara came to visit, it was just like old times- and we picked up right where we left off.

Thankfully, Sara was willing to go with the flow and enjoy anything we threw at her. Do you want to go to an Authentic German restaurant? Sure! How about a piano bar downtown? Sure! And maybe if its OK- you can come with us as we meet our new puppy? Sure! - Sara was awesome at going with the flow and sharing in the excitement of everything we did that weekend!

First off- the German Restaurant. Its real name: Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, was too hard to pronounce, so we just called it "The German Restaurant" for the rest of the weekend. We knew a little of what to expect of the atmosphere when we saw Adam Richman take on a challenge there for the Travel Channel's Man v. Food. But- it was even better in person! Full on lederhosen, accordion players and lots of "Ziggy Zoggy, Ziggy Zoggy, OYE, OYE, OYE!"

After the German Restaurant, we headed out to The Shout House, a piano bar in downtown Minneapolis. We had a great time- once we found a seat! Word to the wise- get there early to get a decent seat- the place was packed!

The next morning, Sara came with us to meet miss Lola, and was kind enough to hold her all the way home. The rest of the weekend consisted of playing with the puppy- grilling our own juicy lucy burgers, which we talk about here, and doing a lot of hanging out. It was so relaxing and wonderful to see Sara again. Our next trip will be to Sioux Falls to see the rest of the Austad fam for Easter.

The hard to pronounce German Restaurant

Beers in steins? yes please!

Fun at the piano bar

The next day- a quick stop at PetSmart after adopting Lola.

Aunt Sara gaver her, her favorite toy- Mr. Giraffe

I forgot to mention- there was a first timer at Ikea too!
Sara and Ryan on the swivel chairs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Did anybody else watch "The Christmas Story" movie as much as my family? I'm pretty sure I could quote the entire thing if you asked me. We had a funny Christmas Story moment about a week ago as all of the snow melted off our roof and formed these ridiculous icicles.

You know which scene I'm talking about now, don't you? Where Ralphie goes outside with his new Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB Gun, and blames his broken glasses on an icicle?

As Ryan was nearing the icicle, I could almost hear the mother's voice in me say, "Those icicles have been known to kill people."

Thankfully, Ryan came away without a scratch.

Posing with his prize possession- it was probably around 4.5 feet long.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snow & Ice

We hear that spring is on its way to Minnesota. It sure is taking its sweet time- but its creeping up on us slowly but surely- a 70 degree day here, a 45 degree day there. A couple weeks ago, we woke up to a few inches of wet accumulating snow on our doorstep. Nothing too much to worry about, but just enough for Ryan to take it easy and stay off the roads to work.

While Ryan worked from home, I was busy cleaning the house and baking. For Christmas last year Ryan gave me a Minnesota cookbook- which I was eager to try out now that we call it our home. I found a recipe for a delicious apple cake, and we just happened to have everything we needed to make it- so I wouldn't have to go out in the sloshy mess.

As I made apple cake- Ryan shoveled the deck. I thought it was a weird thing to do because I knew that we were supposed to have nicer weather in the coming week- but like always I figure, he had a reason for it- (he was preparing for the puppy surprise).

It was nice to have him home during the day. Who knows? Maybe he'll have to stay home later this week- the forecast is already calling for wet snow. Oh, Minnesota in April.

The view out our kitchen window.

The deck- all covered with snow.

Yum- Apple cake is in the oven!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Miss Lola

The Austad Family

Sorry for the small hiatus lately on the blog. There happens to be a new little addition to the Austad family and she seems to be taking up a lot of our time lately. Her name is Lola- and she is a golden retriever/black lab mix. We absolutely love her- and are very blessed that we had the opportunity to adopt her.

To make a long story short, Ryan was going to surprise me with a golden retriever puppy about a month ago. Since that was all I could talk about since we moved here, he was being so sneaky and really wanted to surprise me with a little fur ball. Well, the lady he contacted, who bred pure bread golden retrievers, decided to rescind her offer at the last minute, and left us puppy-less. After Ryan had told me about the surprise and we consoled ourselves with a bottle of wine, we decided to check out a few more places online to see if there were any puppies out there that stole our hearts.

We searched the Carver-Scott Humane Society website, and low and behold, we found Miss Lola, er...Mandy. She was just about 10 weeks at the time and was living with a very loving foster family. We went to meet her one weekend, and its history from there!

Lola is a very energetic and playful puppy, but she also can be very mellow and quiet. She's almost housebroken, and for 3 months- we think that's pretty good! And she has been doing a great job of sleeping through the night. We can't wait to see what her disposition is like in a few weeks, months and years. We are so proud to welcome her to our little family.

And now....heeeeere's Lola!

Lola and Aunt Sara

Lola is always by our feet, no matter what. Here she is in the kitchen- helping us make dinner.

And she absolutely loves to have her belly rubbed!

She loves being outside, usually with her leash. She has figured out how to dig under the fence.
(sidenote- this picture was taken a few weeks ago- we no longer have snow on the ground)