Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicago In Lots Of Pics

Finally my Chicago trip.  This post is full of photos and words that only our family could appreciate, but feel free to scroll on through.  Don't say I didn't warn y'all.

First things first, we stayed at The Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel.  It was in a great location.  Right by the subway, river, Millennium Park and shopping.  We felt very safe there and Eric even let me shop while he went to the room to rest.  I bought the room on for only $130 a night, through the hotel it would have been $247 a night!  For a 4 star hotel during a holiday weekend we got a great deal.  Check out for some tips on winning hotel rooms. 
We got into town a few hours before check in so we were just going to drop off our luggage but they had a room ready so they let us check in.  We loved our room it was huge and comfy.

We had a corner room on the 22nd floor and this was our view.  You could see Millennium Park as well as the lake.

Finally got my Chicago dog.

The first night we were in Chicago we decided to head to the Willis (Sears) Tower.  It was around sunsetish time so we were able to see the city during the day and at night.  There was a big race going on down on the street so it was fun to watch that. 

While we were up in the Willis Tower I spotted the Flamingo sculpture from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  I was so excited when we happened to walk up on it after supper.

We aren't really food people so my only requests were Chicago hot dogs and Chicago pizza.  Check on both of those.  Eric doesn't eat cheese on pizza so I had a little pan sized one.  It was so good and cheesy but not as thick as the full sized pizzas.

The next day we made the trip out to Wrigley Field.  This tour was the only thing we had scheduled for the trip. 
Eric was so excited the whole time.  This is how he stands at work, I think he was thinking about swapping his orange and blue work shirts for red and blue work shirts, and then we remembered anything under 65* is too cold.

I think this was our favorite part of the trip.  We also ate at a diner and explored Wrigleyville after the tour which was fun. 

Billy Goat Tavern. ugh, I have no idea why E is smiling.  I think if I had the choice of eating ham (my least fav food) or Billy Goat Tavern I would choose ham all the time.

Boat tour at sunsetish

I spent a lot of time looking up at the buildings.  They are just so amazing.  As was the American Girl doll store.  Where we managed to walk out with only a couple of things for my niece.  I wanted a doll so bad, they had one that looked just like me.  And you can get their ears pierced!

I skipped out on the look alike doll, but I did end up buying something for myself for my 30th bday.  A Longchamp Le Pliage purse is about as nice as I will ever own and if you know me you know it was a big deal for me to spend money on myself.  I mean I agonized all weekend if I should buy a $19 shirt at Forever 21.  I bought it :)

We visited Sue.  I was really disappointed in her size.  I thought she would be huge. 

We also visited Solider Field.  As we were walking to the museum we saw a ton of runners and it turned out there was a Finish On The 50 race that morning at Solider Field.  The very race I didn't get to run in Auburn because of my surgery.  When I was planning our trip I even looked for races in Chicago and didn't see this one, we were so bummed out.  Probably a good thing though, we ended up walking over 7 miles on Saturday. ouch.

When we got back from the museum on Saturday we couldn't get to our hotel because of the Memorial Day parade.

Even though I didn't get to ride on a float or sing, I will count this as a Ferris Bueller moment.

Then we shopped some more and rested before we went to Navy Pier.
Somehow we always wind up at McDonald's on vacation.  So where did we HAVE to eat at Navy Pier, McDonald's.  Oh and no the sweet tea in Chicago isn't sweet tea!

on the ferris wheel

That's the run down of our Chicago trip.  Besides the fact that Eric couldn't find the "perfect" Cubs shirt and Billy Goat Tavern we had an amazing time.  
The weather was a nice treat.  Chicago was having record high temps but when we stepped off the plane in Alabama you couldn't even breathe because the humidity was so thick. 
We thought the public transportation was easier to use in Chicago than New York.  We used the Chicago Way app a lot and Google Maps helped a ton with the transit system.  There were a few other transit related apps that helped out.   
We still have a lot that we want to do in Chicago, we hope to get to return one day and explore some of the neighborhoods. Maybe after they get a Shake Shack?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bunny & Brownie

I've got a lot to say but not a lot of time so until next week when I have more time I thought that everyone would want to see this little baby bunny that was in our courtyard today.  Almost too cute to forgive for eating my black eyed suzies. 
I actually thought he would let me pick him up but surprise he ran away.  Maybe next time.

Also if you want to make a good chocolate brownie treat go here.  It was one of my first pins and never disappoint.  Just enough chocolate but not too rich.  Perfect for Memorial Day!

See y'all next week, the last week of my 20'ssss.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I've been dreaming of a trip to Chicago ever since seeing my favorite high school movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  After all of those years of scheming, I just looked at the calender and realized that I am finally getting to fulfill that dream in a couple of days.  Yippee!

So if you were planning a trip to Chicago, what is on you must do list?!  Nothing like waiting until the last second to plan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strawberry Pie

It is strawberry season so here is an idea for y'all to use up those strawberries you've been buying...

For Easter made this pie so Eric could have a non dairy dessert while he watched us eat our banana pudding. He loved it and has encouraged me to make it anytime I want. Wow! how sweet of him :)
It is similar to the Shoney's pie (remember that place? my sister would get spaghetti every time) except I made a pretzel crust instead of a traditional pie crust.

For the crust you will need:
2 1/4 cups crushed pretzels (I put mine in the blender to get ground well enough to work with)
3/4 cup butter softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix butter, sugar and pretzels. Press into a pie dish and bake 350* for 10 minutes.

For the filling you will need:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoon strawberry Jell-O (don't use sugar free!)
Carton of strawberries

In a sauce pan cook sugar, cornstarch and water together. Stirring until it turns into a pudding consistency. Add the strawberry Jello and stir.
Slice strawberries and place in the pretzel pie shell. Pour Jello mixture over the strawberries. Chill at least 2 hours.

If I had to guess I would say that it would be extra special with a big ol pile of fresh whip cream on top.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Angie's Wedding Quilt

Two years ago my sister Angie got married.

During the planning she decided that she wanted to make her own napkins so they could later be turned into a quilt.  I finally got around to finishing that quilt last week.  

It was easy enough but unless you are in the mood to wrangle a lot of fabric, it is hard to get motivated.  I made the quilt top last fall and finally got around to putting it together last week.  This is the first quilt I have ever made that took so much piecing and cutting but I really wanted the fabrics to stand out. 

I think it turned out pretty cute and after washing and drying it got all soft and wrinkly like a real quilt, which I always have a fear of not happening.  Now that Angie's wedding quilt is marked off the 2010, 2011, 2012, and May to do list I am going to make a quilt for myself.  I've never made a quilt for me and Eric to have and well we think quilts are pretty awesome.  Will finish before 2015.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jute Rug Marks Non-Solution

Thanks for the suggestions last week on my hardwood floor/jute rug situation.  I didn't get the marks off but I did put a piece of felt under the rug to hopefully prevent more marks and keep the floor cleaner under the rug.

This is how the floor looked after I pulled up the rug.  It was pretty dusty and dirty and you can see exactly where the marks are. 

Per suggestion I had considered using Murphey's Oil Soap to try to get the marks off, it looked like it would work. But then per suggestion I started reading that you should never use it on your hardwood floors because it makes them super hard to refinish. So I tried vinegar with a paper towel. It worked the best out of everything but I was worried with it being straight up vinegar. So I watered it down and it didn't work as well. Then I tried Orange Glo floor cleaner because that is what I always use. It didn't do anything but clean up the floor. I finally gave up. I don't want the floors to be marked but I will always have a rug in that room to cover the marks. This is what the marks looked like after I cleaned with Orange Glo and then used the Orange Glo 4-in-1 system which I love. 

To protect my floor in the future and keep it a little cleaner I decided I needed something under the rug.  I didn't want one of those squishy mesh rug pads, they seem to stick and ruin hardwood floors.  So I went the cheap and easy option, felt.  I bought it at Hobby Lobby for $5 a yard.  The bolt is 72" wide so I just needed 2 1/2 yards.  I laid the felt down and cut around the rug. 

Before the felt the rug never moved, I expected the same after the felt because of the rug size.  But it does move if I pull on it and if it weren't for the table and chairs it would move around.  Maybe a felt/rubber rug pad would be the solution? 

I could not believe how much my rug has discolored over the past year.  You can't tell unless you look at the back of the rug.  Can you see where the table legs were?
While I didn't come up with a good solution at least my floor is clean?  If it were my living room or a room that can be rearranged I would be a little more concerned with the pattern left on the floor, but in here the rug will always cover it up. 
I have a love/hate relationship with these floors anyway.  I am so thankful to have hardwood throughout the whole house.  But I hate the fact that the previous owners put a coat of poly over the floors without sanding or cleaning them.  There is paint and other junk trapped under the poly.  Hopefully we will be able to refinish the floors if we stay in this house for a few more years.  Have you ever refinished your wood floors while living in the house?  I guess we would essentially move out since every room is hardwood?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rug Help

Congrats to Alanna for winning the FOE Hair Tie giveaway!  Thanks to all who entered.

For some reason I always have a huge list of to dos in May.  This year is no different.

Thankfully I got started on this list last weekend so I've got a good chunk knocked out and hope to get a big chunk knocked out this weekend as well.  There are a few things that I don't want to do at all so I don't know if they will get finished, maybe I should make those my priority?

Anyway on of the items on the list is to put felt under the dining room rug.  You see my rug is jute and it sheds under the rug.  Does your natural fiber rug do this too?

See how there is a powder dust and junk along with those those lines on the hardwood?  The above photo is the side that vacuum under about once a month.  The below photo, I only vacuum about twice a year under that side.

I thought if I bought felt (on the bolt) and put it under the rug then it would protect my floors from the dust and lines.  I hate the spongy rug pads, they always melt or stick and damage the hardwood floor. 
But my question is do you know how to get those lines off of my hardwood left by the rug?  The top photo where I actually vacuum under the rug, I also mop it too and the lines stay.  Do you think I should give it some elbow grease?  Any ideas, google had none for me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April In Review

Y'all how is it already time for another month in pictures post?!  All photos taken with my iphone using the My365 app.

1. lazy Sunday  2. leftover margaritas and grill time  3. trees cut  4. eatin' mighty fine for $3.99  5. running by spidel hall my former home away from home  6. for 5 minutes we thought about buying this house  7. running with banks  8. Easter lunch at Hannah's 
9. stripping the hallway trim  10. trying to finish out a 2.5 mile so I ran circles in the backyard  11. strip, paint, paint 
12. painting finished and i probably have lead poisoning  13. surgery day  14. surgery flowers  15. surgery bandaids  16. surgery entertainment

17. freedom after surgery  18. after a week of me being home during her nap time, Claire is over me  19. library time  20. On The Tracks  21. my 4th book of the week  22. sunnies and nail polish  23. I needed it bad  24. Lowe's plant clearance  25. tomato growing its own seeds  26. post Dr visit treat  27. Mrs. Story's  28. Trinny's tacos  29. Sunday fam time  30.  Eric did a community service day at an old cemetery and he took me to see historic markers and pretty flowers growing

So it looks like if you see me on a weekend I will be wearing a tye died shirt and I don't ever lose weight from running because I eat all the calories back.  Are you playing along?  If so let me know I would love to check it out.

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