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Paris, Je T’aime

January 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it’s official. Andrew and I will be going to Europe in September 2010!

We’ve been discussing a trip to Europe for some time now, and we decided that we would go after Andrew passed his fifth Actuarial Exam, as the trip would basically be covered financially by the bonuses he would receive.

He took the exam on November 4, 2009 and for the past 2 months we have been on the edge of our seats waiting for the results. We tried not to talk about the trip much, since it is the hardest of all of the tests and we knew there was a chance he wouldn’t pass. Well, the results came back on Friday and he passed!

We have decided our trip will consist of lengthy stays in both France and Italy. I was hoping to hit a few more spots (mainly Germany), since who knows when we’ll ever get back, but we decided two will keep us plenty busy without feeling strapped for time in either place.

We spent some time at the library today looking through travel books, thinking about the places we want to go and the sights we want to see. We happily left the library with a couple of books about France and one on Tuscany. We continued the initial research at Noodles & Co (did you know you can get wine there?) followed by dessert at Sebastian Joe’s.

There’s a lot more research to be done, and we still need to settle on dates, but I am so close to making my Paris dreams come true that I am practically bouncing off the walls. Can’t September come any sooner?

Farwell 2009, Hello 2010

January 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, 2009 is officially behind us and it is time to start fresh with 2010!  This year for New Year’s Eve, Andrew and I had the opportunity to spend time together and with friends.

We started off the evening with a wonderful home cooked meal. Andrew wanted to make something special, so I sat back while he busied himself in the kitchen making Lamb Chops with Mint Pan Sauce and Homemade Potato Chips.  After dinner, we headed to the movie theater and saw Up in the Air. A good movie (well anything with George Clooney could be classified as a “good” movie) with not your typical happy ending, which was both refreshing and unsatisfying.

We rang in the new year with Dick Clark and some of our friends from college. Our friends, Maggie and Aaron, were in town for Christmas and we wanted the opportunity to see them again (we saw them on the 23rd for a pre-Christmas party) before they left.  We played several rounds of Mafia, a game my friend Maggie is obsessed with and I happen to enjoy a lot as well. We got home a little after one and hit the sack. I’d been up since 5am (why we met my father-in-law for breakfast at 6am on New Years Eve is beyond me), so I was completely wiped out.

Happy New Year everyone!

O Come Let Us Adore Him

December 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Our Christmas present to our parents (and grandmas) was going to an annual Christmas concert the church we attend puts on, followed by a nice dinner.  We have done this the last 2 years, and everyone seems to enjoy it.  Andrew and I decided that our parents really don’t need more “stuff” (and they wholeheartedly agree!), so we give them the gift of time spent together as a family.

The concert, as always, was beautiful.  We normally go on Saturday night, but we decided to go to the Sunday afternoon show instead so that Andrew’s sister Amanda could join us.  We all had a great time, and dinner at Buca afterward was fabulous.  We had a very enjoyable time with the family (minus my dad, who was still in Arizona). I really look forward to doing this for years and years to come.  Maybe even some day our kids will be singing in the choir!

Categories: Marriage & Family Tags: ,

Bowling at Lariat Lanes

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Bowling is one of our favorite activities to do together.  When we lived in our apartment, we were only a few blocks away from a really cheap bowling alley.  It wasn’t a particularly fancy bowling alley like some are these days, but it was close and cheap. We went so often, we invested in shoes.

Since we bought our house last summer, we haven’t been bowling nearly as often.  We have a bowling alley fairly close to our place, but the house and our other various activities keep us pretty busy.

Since it’s the night before Thanksgiving and we had nothing better to do (and we don’t have to get up early tomorrow), we decided to head to the bowling alley.  We had a lot of fun, despite the fact that our bowling balls kept getting jammed in the return machine.  Since I don’t have my own ball, I was only able to bowl a few games. The alley bowling balls start hurting my hand after a while because they aren’t made to fit my hand. Someday I would like to get my own bowling ball, like Andrew, but it’s not a high priority right now.  Maybe when I do, I’ll finally be able to bowl that 200 I want. :)

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Italian Chicken & Cheese

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

We had my mom over for dinner tonight and I chose this recipe for 2 reasons. 1) It seemed relatively quick and easy to prepare after work and 2) it sounded delicious.  I love Chicken Parmesan, but it is slightly more time consuming and sometimes not possible to make after work when there are places to go and people to see.  To make this recipe even quicker, I used store bought spaghetti sauce.  I served this dish with spaghetti and garlic toast, and it was awesome!

Italian Chicken & Cheese
(Source: Land O Lakes)

Chicken:
8 (4-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I used 4)

Sauce:
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Topping:

3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp butter, melted
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place chicken into ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish or 3-quart shallow casserole.

2. Combine all sauce ingredients in medium bowl; spoon over chicken. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

3. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, parsley and butter in small bowl. Sprinkle cheese over chicken; top with bread crumb mixture. Continue baking 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and bread crumbs are browned.

Categories: I ♥ Food, Marriage & Family Tags: ,

Aamodt’s Apple Farm

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

We took our yearly trip to the apple orchard today. The last two years we went to Minnesota Harvest down in Jordan. This year we thought we’d change things up and try Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater.

Aamodt’s was a nice orchard, but their whole operation did not seem to run as smoothly. Upon arrival, we had no idea where we needed to go to get a bag for apple picking. Once we figured that out, we were given a hand-drawn map of the orchard and told which apples we were allowed to pick. The map was not helpful at all and I’m pretty sure most of the apples we picked were on the “do not pick” list, but we couldn’t tell what the heck we were picking. (Minnesota Harvest ties colored ribbons on their apple trees, which not only denotes which ones you can pick, but also informs you of what type of apple you are picking, both very helpful).

Regardless, we still had a nice time. Hare are a few snapshots from our day at the orchard:

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We’re Gonna Win Twins!

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Andrew got home from studying today a little before 3pm.  I was sitting at the table reading a celebrity gossip magazine when he came out of the office with a mischievous look on his face.  I knew he was up to something, but what?

He wanted to go to the Twins game. And of course I obliged to his request.

The game was an exciting one.  How could it not be? They were playing the Tigers!  We had great seats several rows above the Twins dugout on the third base line and we came really close to catching a foul ball from Nick Punto, my favorite little guy.

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