Friday, May 11, 2012

Nebraska Trip Part 2

The rest of our Nebraska trip was in Columbus, NE, my hometown. We got there late Friday night and just sat and chatted for a while. It was nice to catch up and just hang with my parents.

Lola was apparently pooped from playing all day with Manny.

The next day, Ryan and I did a 10 mile run around Babcock Lake in preparation for our 1/2 marathon training in the gale force winds! It was a tough one but was great for training. After that, we headed back, the boys went for a drive around town and my mom and I did a little shopping. We didn't have any luck at a local boutique, but both found a pair of shoes each while out shopping. Shoes = a successful shopping trip!

After that, it was time to head home and get ready for my mom's dance recital! Yes, that's right, my MOM's dance recital. She is in a group called TLC- The Lady Cloggers and has also recently taken on jazz. She started just to get some exercise and get into dancing when I was still in high school, and she's been doing it ever since! Over 10 years!

Here she is in action with her group- she is the 3rd from the left in the back row. The lights were REALLY bright so it was hard to get a good picture.

She did such a great job, and we were all really proud of her!

Then it was home to bed. We had breakfast together in the morning and sadly it was time for us to head back north.

My family will all be back together for my brother's wedding, May 20th, so its nice to know I'll see them all again soon!

And if you're wondering, Lola made it all the way home without getting sick once! I think she was too tuckered out and slept the entire way home...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nebraska Trip Part 1

This will be a 2 part post, after I realized I had far too many pictures for just one post, I figured breakin' it up would keep you in suspense :)

At the end of the second week in April, our niece Adele Elizabeth was born. So after putting in one more week of work, we were off to Nebraska to meet our 1 week old niece!

Lola was co-pilot and made sure to give Ryan directions whenever he needed them.

After a quick stop in Sioux Falls Thursday night, we were on our way to Nebraska Friday morning.
Ahhhh- the Good Life!

Right when we arrived in Omaha, we saw Miss Adele just chillin' in her swing, and I couldn't believe that she was actually here. It felt so surreal! Ryan was first to hold her and was such a natural. As you can see here, he couldn't have been happier. He is one proud Uncle!

After Ryan had his turn, it was Auntie Ams that got to hold Adele next. And she was giving me all sorts of fun faces.

I think this is her "I'm not sure who you are, but since mom and dad are close by, I'll give you a shot" face.

The dogs were pretty well-behaved and were either happily playing outside or sitting in the breeze way watching us hold this tiny human.

Adele's room is a gorgeous shade of lilac decorated with pretty flowers and lots of good toys and books. I'm sure Uncle Ryan will be reading them to her often when he is in Omaha on business trips.

As you can see, Ryan is supervising the diaper change.

Once she was all changed, it was back in Auntie Ams' arms. Snug as a bug in a rug! With one arm out of course.

Since the doggies were being so nice, we decided to introduce Lola to Adele. She was quite curious as to what Ryan was holding in his arms and did a good job of sitting and staying while Ryan crouched down for the meet n greet.

Lola did a very good job. And was on her best behavior while Adele was near.

After spending all morning and afternoon with baby Adele it was time to head to Columbus. With one last try of the Boppie, Ryan had some good snuggle time.

Baby Adele it was so great to meet you, we love you and can't wait to see you again soon!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cookie Overload

I had to make space in our pantry one weekend, because the unorganized mess was getting to me. So, what better than to make a few dozen batches of cookies...or 4.

I was ready to get rid of some white chocolate chips and Oreos that were staring me in the face. So I made 2 dozen cookies n' creme cookies and 2 dozen chewy chocolate chip cookies. (Make sure to click on the links on the names if you'd like to make them yourself.)

Not all 4 dozen stayed at our place. I was able to bring a few dozen into work to share and Ryan took some to his office as well. And now my pantry is even cleaner :) The cookies n' creme cookies are to die if you're looking for a cookie within a cookie, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Real Meal

Its a rite of passage that when a woman gets married, she gets to cook big, fancy meals for her family around holidays. Or at least I think it is. Times they are a changin'.   :)

But the best part about our holidays is that we usually spend them with our extended families, meaning my mom or my mother-in-law are the cooks in the kitchen and we get to happily eat the meals that they lovingly create.  After helping in the kitchen of course.

I knew that this time would come, that someday we wouldn't be able to attend a family gathering on a holiday or be able to make the celebration. But thankfully it took almost 4 years to happen :) In the almost 4 years that Ryan and I have been married (and probably longer since we've started dating), I haven't made a real full holiday meal. Sure, we make steaks and seafood for celebratory evenings, but I haven't had to truly go through the steps of planning and timing a holiday meal.

From the vegetable to the meat, the fruit and side dish. And let me tell you...its a lot of work. Thankfully it was just Easter...I can't imagine the day I'll make my first Thanksgiving dinner!!

Well, we were waiting for our adorable niece Adele to be born and weren't sure that we wanted to make back-to-back 7 hour trips in the span of 2 weeks. (not to mention pay for the gas that comes along with that). So we decided to celebrate Easter at home and hold off until Miss Adele was born to visit Nebraska.

So, I came up with this...

The menu included brown sugar glazed ham, buttery garlic asparagus, and homemade 2way potatoes (russet and yams), and some yummy strawberries and grapes.

And it all was delicious! I'm pretty sure we ate ham for a week! And after we ate, we all felt like this...

STUFFED! All that eating is a lot of work!  So we headed out to the deck to veg and rest :) It was a great Easter weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

4th Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt!

Well, this event is sure gaining in popularity! I already had a few people asking me if we did it this year! Since we don't have kids and I absolutely love when Easter time rolls around, I make, excuse me, I let Ryan have an Easter egg hunt all on his own!

I think he loves it. And after the 1st and 2nd Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt, Lola joined for the 3rd Annual, and this year we held the 4th Annual in our backyard. The weather was gorgeous and I was able to hide them in the trees in bushes in our yard.

Of course, we equipped Lola with her own Easter basket this year. Which she proceeded to think was attacking her, and didn't flinch while it was around her neck.

But once we got outside, Lola was ready to roll, and I had Ryan and Lola pose for a photo op. How sweet are they?

And then the hunt began! This year I just yelled, "GO!" but I'm seriously considering getting one of those blow horns next year that they use at the start of races. Wouldn't that excite the neighbors?

Lola found one right off the bat. (I hid 10 plastic eggs total, 5 with dog treats and 5 with human treats, a.k.a. packaged Skittles) And don't worry I washed the eggs afterward to get rid of any dog treat taste for future egg hunts.

And then she was on a roll.

Here's Ryan in action

And showing me how excited he is about the 4th Annual Austad Family Easter Egg Hunt!

At one point, I realized that Lola had found all of hers already and was "helping" Ryan. Here she is running by a bush. She took a quick smell and then alerted Ryan that something was over there. She's a smart cookie.

Towards the end of the hunt, Ryan was pretty proud to show me all of the eggs he had found.

And I was a happy camper too :) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Here We Go!

Well here goes nothin'! Today I will run my very first 1/2 marathon. eeee! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.

Ryan and I have been training for it together, each running at least 3-4 times a week. The longest I've run is 10 miles, and that was in gale force winds, so I'm hoping that 13 in mild to nice temperature will be just as fun.  : )

Wish me luck!

- I'll make sure to post some pictures afterward to let you know that I survived ; )

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Broccoli, Grape and Pasta Salad

Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great recipe in mid April for a summer salad! If you'd like the full recipe click here. After a long week of work, I made this on a beautiful Friday night, Ryan and I sat out on the porch with a glass of wine and our salad and it even felt a smidge like summer! It's delicious and easy- check and check!

The only things I changed were the 1 full cup of mayonnaise- I substitute a 1/2 cup of light mayo instead and it still had plenty of flavor, and the strips of bacon. We decided we didn't need any bacon, but I'm sure it would add a bit of saltiness. Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012


We learned early on that Lola had an urge to chew. Thankfully it was only her toys and bones rather than our furniture, shoes and clothes. But what we didn't realize was that we would have to have a toy graveyard for my numerous attempts to buy her something cute and cuddly. For example- these toys would last approximately 2.5 minutes with Lola before their innards were soon out. No offense Martha, your toys are adorable...but you might want to stick to crafts and desserts.
See, cute and cuddly works with a retriever/lab mix when they are very very young. When the toy is roughly the size of them.

But when she morphed into a young lady pup (yes that's the technical term) and is now roughly 70 lbs., cute and cuddly doesn't work so well. So Ryan and I figured out that we buy only 3 types of toys from now on.

1. Nylabones - these she can chew and chew and she will never devour them. They are fantastic!

2. Rope Toys - we learned the hard way that she likes to pull off the ends of the rope and scatter them around the house. We now cut off the ends and let her have fun with the rest of it.

And 3. Tennis Balls - my dad recently gave us a dozen old tennis balls and Lola is in love. We keep a few "outside balls" and a few "inside balls" so that way the dirt and mud don't come into the house. Her new favorite word- FETCH! If you whisper the word, she'll grab a tennis ball and run.

Sometimes we have to retire a rope toy, when she's been working on it for a while. As you can see- she found a loose end on this one.

To the dog parents out there, are there any other quality tough toys you would recommend? We've tried the "rough and tough" labeled rubber toys, but she still seems to rip those into shreds. Oh well, at least the girl knows what she likes- tennis balls, ropes and Nylabones!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paper Lists

I read a stat the other day that said 37% of adults claim to have a 'high' addiction to their smart phones, and interestingly enough another 37% also claimed 'moderate' addiction. That's over 70% of adults claiming some sort of addiction to their smart phone. And...I'm one of them. I'll be honest, Ryan and I had a discussion before bed last night and it went a little something like this...

Ryan: "How's your day look tomorrow?"
Me: (turning to grab my cell phone from the side table) "I don't know, let me check my good. Only a few meetings in the morning and then a pretty open afternoon."
5 minutes later
Me: "What's the weather supposed to be like this Sunday?"
Ryan: "I think we're supposed to have a 50% chance of rain, but I think its supposed to be nice for our run in the morning."
Me: (turning to grab my cell phone from the side table to confirm) "Yep- you're right."
After 15 minutes joking about something funny....
Ryan: "...there will be hell to pay!" (laughing)
Me: "I wonder where that phrase came from?" (turning to grab my cell phone from the side table)
Notice a trend here?

After Ryan finally reminded me that I had consulted my smart phone at least 4-5 times in the last 20 minutes, I realized I was an addict. But not in the, "If I don't check it, I won't be connected way." More in the, "I'm overly curious and want to have all the info kind of way." As you can tell, I don't like being "out of the know." If that's even a phrase.

But I like to think that I disconnect when I can. When we go on long walks, I leave my phone at home. When I'm upstairs cleaning, my phone will be nowhere in site, and sometimes I leave for the grocery store, with no phone...just my paper list. Which I still prefer. However, sometimes the familiarity of using my smart phone gets the best of me.

Take for example a few weeks ago, when I was headed to the grocery store. I had my list of things ready to go all written out on my "grocery list" task sheet. I grabbed my purse, my reusable bags and my keys and was headed out the door. When I got to the parking lot and grabbed for my list, I realized I had forgotten it. This was one instance where I really wished I had my paper and pen rather than my phone. true smart phone fashion, my lovely husband took pictures of my list and send them via text message.

 * Apparently we really needed pretzels.

NOT THE SAME. You can't place a check mark on a picture, or scratch a circle around one thing you know you'll forget if you don't get it first. And I've tried those grocery list apps. Having to enter in my pass code each time I need to delete one thing is annoying, and makes my grocery trip even more exhausting. And when you're looking down at your phone in the soup aisle, there tend to be very angry shoppers behind you. I want to print a sign and place it on my back, "I'm not checking facebook statuses, just using my grocery list app, move along please."

One time I almost ran into a police officer while I was pushing my cart and deleting bananas off my list. Thankfully he had a sense of humor and muttered..."texting while driving?" Which I nervously replied with, "at least I'm not in my car." heh heh.

Smartphone- you are lovely, and your wealth of information and educational and entertaining apps help me to keep organized and busy, but I've got to start using you sparingly. My marriage and grocery trips will be much better off for it.