Tuesday, January 31, 2012


You all know that we have a soft spot for mini golf, as evident by this post.
So when we heard an advertisement for a place just minutes from our house that had an INDOOR mini golf course, we were in! It was such a cute little gem tucked off of the Hwy 101 just south of our house.

We played one round at $16 total and were able to get out of the house and do something active even in the cold cold winter.

I didn't take many pictures because I was busy golfing of course, but you can kind of see behind Ryan here that they have it set up like a woodsy outdoor theme.

It was such a great time! We'll definitely have to go back there, especially when we have visitors in the winter to show off this spot. There's even a bar and a place to order food too- what a parent heaven- kids go mini golf and you can sip your margarita- making a note for future reference :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Anniversary Celebration

Ryan and I celebrated 3 years together on January 10th. Where does the time go? Sadly, Ryan was in Washington, D.C. on that exact date so we had to find another time to celebrate. So we picked the weekend after our anniversary to toast to another year as a happily married couple. (However, Ryan did surprise me at work with this wonderful bouquet of roses on the 10th!)

Most of that Saturday we lounged around with Lola, went on a walk and just hung out together. But when 4:30 rolled around Ryan instructed me to go upstairs and close the door and don't come out until he says its o.k. I knew he was up to something, but I wasn't quite sure what. Since I had left my phone and my computer downstairs in the living room, I didn't have much to keep me occupied. So I decided to get out of my jeans and sweatshirt and gussy up for our evening, even though I knew we'd be staying in. :)

About 40 minutes later, Ryan gave me the green light to come on down, and this is what awaited me.

Ryan had rearranged the fireplace room to include an intimate dinner setting for just the 2 of us. What a guy! :)

He then let me know that he was going to be cooking dinner for us that evening- new york strip steaks, potatos with a side of buttered corn.

But before we could dine, we needed to open up a bottle of wine that we had been waiting to drink for over 5 months! We purchased a bottle of Jessup Cellars Pinot on our Napa Valley trip that we knew we'd indulge in on this special evening.

And with a little bit of chocolate and some parmigiano reggiano, we were set for appetizers :)

Ryan lit the candles on our mantle, and we sat and dined/chatted for a couple of hours.

And then it was present time! Ryan's present to me was of course his delicious meal and the roses he sent on our actual anniversary. So I decided to surprise him with a few framed pictures. We had talked about adding frames up the stairs to our 2nd floor, and when we saw the state welcome signs online one night, we knew we had to use them in our home. So I got Ryan 3 8x10 frames that include the states special to us. South Dakota where Ryan was born and raised, Nebraska, where I was born and where we met and got married, and Minnesota, our home now and where we adopted Lola. I also got him a special frame that shows a sunset on a Minnesota lake, as I know he has been wanting more Minnesota images in our home.

Lola helped me present them. :)

It was such a nice evening to hang out, have fun and just enjoy the years we've spent together.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blue Blue Blue!

When we moved into our house in Minnesota, we had a lot of projects we wanted to accomplish. And one of those projects included painting the master bedroom. As much as the white walls were crisp and fresh, we needed to infuse a little color to make it feel warmer.

Here it is very WHITE...

We knew we wanted to do blue in our bedroom. But we didn't want it to come out looking baby blue or too dark blue. So we opted for a blue with a hint of gray in it. Its hard to see in these pictures, but the color gives the room such a warmer, relaxing and friendlier feel.

Here's Ryan getting ready to get his paint on.

And the color is going on! As you can see, I was a bit anal with the furniture and made sure to double dropcloth it just in case :)

Again, its hard to see in this next picture, but its a subtle grayish blue. This picture was taken at night after we were all finished, so its hard to read, I'll make sure to get some new pictures to share soon! It feels so much better now. And with the curtains, pillows and my hopefully new shelf/frame project to come soon, our Master Bedroom will be complete. Now...onto the next project!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Last Evening with Our Tree

I'm a sucker for Christmas, so when it came to taking our tree down the first week in January, I wasn't very happy about it. It always makes me a little sad to have to take down the ornaments one by one and all of the Christmas cheer that came with them. So this year, before we took everything down and put it away, we spent one last evening with our Christmas tree.

We poured ourselves a few glasses of wine, turned on some music and hung out by the fire.

Even Lola told me that she was going to miss napping under the tree. However, I'm pretty sure she's ready to get her full window space back so she can chase the squirrels in our front living room.

This is Ryan's artistic shot. A little wine/tree combo.

Until Christmas 2012, we'll see you later tree!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everything Under the Kitchen Sink

You've heard the quote, "everything but the kitchen sink,"... this is a new take on everything that's under there. As I've mentioned before, I am in love with Pinterest. All of the super easy DIY things that I have pinned are on my to do list at home to get taken care of in 2012. The one thing I knew I had to tackle was taking care of the cabinet under our kitchen sink.

Step 1: I purchased some sticky vinyl flooring for $0.68 each at Menards! Making this entire project under $10.

Step 2: I took EVERYTHING out of the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

This ridiculous amount of stuff includes: 1 dust pan, 1 liquid dish washing detergent, 1 dry dish washing detergent, a water spray bottle, dish washing detergent all in 1 packs, Armour All, Pet stain remover, dish washing soap, 2 pack of Lysol wipes, 2 vases, 1 old candle, a pink watering can, lotion and some random dishcloths. REALLY? ALL of THAT was under THERE? I must say I neglected this area after we moved in almost a year ago. There were other DIY things going on that the kitchen sink cabinet wasn't on my agenda. Thankfully, this has been pared down to only the necessities.

Step 3: Measure the exact length and width of the kitchen cabinet., I shudder just seeing this again.

Step 4: Cut the vinyl pieces to fit the measurements. And also put away your Christmas plates and mugs already!

Step 5: Keep those scraps for small repairs later on down the road, you may not know when you will need them next!

Step 6: Step back and marvel at the beauty that is under your kitchen sink. Awww...now isn't that better?

More Pinterest DIY projects to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

As the first month of 2012 comes to a close, I wanted to make sure to wish you all a Happy New Year! In the first 26 days of this year we've celebrated Lola's 1st birthday and our 3rd anniversary. I think its safe to say that January is kind of a special month for us, full of new beginnings and excitement for the year ahead.

If you know us at all, you know that Ryan and I are a pretty low-key couple. We truly enjoy our nights together and our weekends are full of dinners at home, DIY projects and Austad family craft nights. Our new year's eve was no exception. We headed to downtown Minneapolis this year to take a walk on the Stone Arch bridge and take some picture in the brisk winter air. And then we were off to enjoy an Indian dinner at Dancing Ganesha. We like to try new things, and I think its safe to say, after our first brush with Indian food back in 2009, we wanted to give it a go again.

We ate a pretty early dinner and made our 2012 predictions together. Then we headed home to make some drinks with my new cocktail shaker and hang out by the fire. We also spent a good chunk of the last day of 2011 making a family movie with Lola- I'll have to post that later, its pretty funny stuff. We watched the ball drop in New York, kissed to ring in the new year at 11:00pm, and headed to bed. We're crazy, I know. but it was a New Year's Eve that I loved. No hype, no crazy crowds or loud music. No outrageous cover fees or spending time with friends of friends of friends that we barely knew. Just us, our little family ringing in the new year together.

Here's Ryan on our walk

Waiting for our yummy Indian Food

Indian food always looks better in person- this looks a bit unappetizing, I apologize.

Cheers to 2012!

And a WOO HOO to top it off!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

3 Years

Has it really been 3 years since we said "I do."? Are we even old enough to be married 3 years, and to have a mortgage, and a dog and 2 full time jobs? I can't believe it. It's probably because I still think of myself as a kid, or maybe a slightly younger version of a young adult.

3 years ago today I married my very best friend.

Ryan- you have give me so much support, love, friendship, and genuine kindness than I ever imagined in a husband. We've been through a lot in our 3 years of marriage, but thankfully our amazing bond and good communication has kept us going strong through new jobs, different houses, new cities, and abundant new love...i.e. Lola.

As we continue on this path of marriage, I look forward to everything that's ahead of us. But taking the time to slow down and savor the moment is most important. Thank you for being my rock, my stronghold and most of all my wonderful husband.

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Birthday Girl!

Happy 1st Birthday to our favorite little girl, Lola!

This morning, Ryan had to head off to the airport, so I sang Lola happy birthday and gave her a special birthday cookie (doggie approved). Thankfully, we're able to send videos via our phones, so I sent Ryan a video of our morning, so he could be in on the birthday festivities.

Today, Lola gets to go to work with me and hang out. I'm sure she'll get lots of belly rubs and lots of love from all of my co-workers.

Lola, we can't believe you're not a little bitty puppy anymore- yay for being 1! :)

love, mom and dad

Friday, January 6, 2012

Columbus Christmas

We spent Christmas 2011 in Columbus this year with my Mom, Dad and brother, Jared. We have celebrated Christmases with my family in past years, but it has never been on the actual date, and since Ryan and I have been married we haven't been back to Columbus for a traditional Thomas Family Christmas- so we decided that 2011 was the year!

We headed south on Thursday the 22nd, and got into Columbus around dinner time. It was plenty of time to chat and hang out before we turned in for the night.

Friday the 23rd, Ryan and I did a little shopping and that evening we took Ryan to one of Columbus' finest restaurants- El Matador. Its not really that fancy, but he kept hearing about the good Mexican food in Columbus, so we obliged by taking him to one of our favorites. We all had margaritas to toast a Christmas together in Columbus!

My mom had heard about a house in town that was doing Christmas lights on their house timed to music. So, of course after we had margaritas, we had to check it out. It was pretty good- and it wasn't amateur at all, so we stayed for 15 minutes and enjoyed.

That evening, Ryan and I also went to have a drink with my good friend Kelly. Kelly and I met in 7th grade and we played the flute in our middle school band. We were great friends through Middle School and High School, on the football cheerleading squad together and in colorguard as well. It was so fun to reconnect and hear all about her life in D.C. and her plans for the future.

We were quite the chatty Cathy's during our Columbus trip, because we also met up with our friends Laura & Kevin the next morning, for a little Christmas Eve coffee. Laura and I were in Chi Omega together in college, and I was in their wedding, almost 5 years ago! Wow- are we even old enough to be married 5 years? That's crazy! It was great to see those 2 and hear all about their lives in Lincoln.

Christmas Eve Day was pretty low key, which was fantastic! However, my mom was singing at Midnight Mass, so we had to do our best not to fall asleep before church. We got all gussied up and went to mass, and came home around 1:15. We all put on our pjs and headed to bed.

Christmas morning was a lot of what I remembered. But of course as adult children we weren't as anxious to unwrap presents. We had an early morning video chat with my sister and brother and his fiance, so the whole family was together :)

However, when the chat was over, Miss Lola was pretty excited to get those presents unwrapped.

She even got in on the present giving and gave Zoey a new toy reindeer- how sweet of her! And just how did she go shopping without me knowing it? I wonder where she puts her purse? :)

Ryan opened a new argyle sweater and promptly tried it on and made sure to have a photoshoot- naturally.

Then it was time to take a small break in the action and make the annual Thomas Family Cheese Tray. Jared is usually in charge of this now that Tyson is in Colorado, so here is what he came up with this year. Even some grated cheese on the top for snow! very nice!

Lola opened a present from Zoey- and devoured it right away- it was a yummy bone!

Opening Christmas presents was hard work- I tell ya! But we all came away with some pretty great things that have already come in use. Lola really got into the Christmas spirit by eating and wearing some of the wrapping bows.

After a Christmas Dinner, it was nice enough to even take a walk! That's definitely a first for Christmas in Nebraska. It was probably 50 degrees as the sun was setting and the dogs were loving that they were able to get outside and get some exercise. We went to a movie to round out things on Christmas Day- Sherlock Holmes, and definitely enjoyed some family time sitting, drinking coffe and chatting around the dining room table.

Sadly, our time in Columbus came to an end on the 26th and Lola had to say goodbye to her buddy Zoey. But I'm sure we'll be back soon enough! Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Austad Family Christmas

Santa graced the Austad house with his presence a few days before Christmas. How nice of him to fit that into his busy schedule, what with all that list checking and such. We typically celebrate "our Christmas" the weekend before so we can have a little time ourselves to soak up the holiday as just the 3 of us.

Lola must've been a very good puppy this year, because her stocking was bursting with presents! I'm pretty sure she got more than Ryan and myself combined! I guess that's what happens when you're the only child. :)

Ryan had a full stocking too that included a new black belt, new toothbrush, candy, new boxers, a gray long sleeve shirt, and a certificate for a massage!

Santa was good to me too, and brought me a new scarf, a drink mixer, a bottle of wine, an itunes giftcard, candy, and new spatulas! It was nice to just get up in the morning and take our time opening our stockings. We don't do big presents for each other, just little stocking stuffers since our parents and friends usually spoil us with goodies. Lola got to work on her goodies right away. Hope your family had a Merry Christmas too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wild Game!

I went to my very first professional hockey game in December, the Minnesota Wild! I'm not sure who they played, but I do remember there was a shootout and they lost. :( boo. But the excitement and fun was definitely worth it. Of course, I didn't get any pictures of the actual game, because I was enthralled with the pace of the skating and the amazing way my head spun when the puck was hit from side to side. But I did manage to get a picture of the zambonis, and that's as good, right?

We had a great time at the game, and I will definitely be pumped when Ryan gets tickets to our next hockey game!

Silly Sweaters

Sometimes my husband is silly, but sometimes he is downright RIDICULOUS! When he told me that we needed to stop at his co-worker friend's house before our date night to take pictures, I wasn't exactly sure what they were up to. But I soon found out.

Paul and Ryan are work buddies that act A LOT alike. And when they came up with the idea to do silly sweater pictures in front of a Christmas tree to give as a present to their manager, craziness ensued. The best part, Paul couldn't find any Christmas sweaters at Goodwill, but he found these flag ones instead. HILARIOUS.

These are only 2 of the many random pictures they took. What good lookin' guys! haha