Month in Review: June 2015

 

road trippin'

 

Road trippin’

Alternative title: The color of my legs matches my iPhone cord ūüė¶ ūüė¶

June was such a fun month!  Liam was free for most of it and I took a vacation with some of my best friends. We kept things fairly relaxed around the house for the most part.

tomatojune

The apartment gardening project is just okay. ¬†Not much better than that. ¬†I must have been right about the strawberries being diseased because they died almost immediately after planting. ¬†We also think that we got a bad packet of bean seeds because only one spouted and it’s now dying as well. ¬†In happier news, we have had lots of basil and parsley-filled dishes and just harvested our first pepper yesterday. ¬†No tomatoes are ready yet but we added the plants kind of late. ¬†Because the beans were totally unsuccessful we planted radishes the other day and those are just starting to show tiny sprouts.

empanada taco chips

Though we were out and about a ton last month we only had one real date night with just the two of us.  Early in the month we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and had some fabulous tacos.

ice cream pod

There was also one road trip: we headed to my parents’ house for a weekend of celebrating my dad. ¬†Ice cream is our fuel of choice for these drives. ¬†Culvers is a thing we will miss greatly if we leave the midwest. ¬†We celebrated by power washing, sanding, staining, weeding, mulching, tree trimming…all the outdoor -ings, basically. ¬†My dad is of the Puritanical “early to bed, early to rise” mindset and is always, always, always the first one to bed when we’re together. ¬†Slightly embarrassingly all of the children were in bed before him. ¬†We were so tired from the yard work that a few of us even fell asleep before dessert!

Books I read:¬†Primates of Park Avenue; Where’d You Go, Bernadette? ¬†I liked both!

TV shows:¬†None from what I remember. ¬†Hockey, obviously. ¬†We’re both big Blackhawks fans (even though Liam *should* be a Bruins fan he agrees that Chicago sports > Boston sports!) and are very saad about the trade news.

Snippets: ¬†This is the first month where I have waited until the end to¬†draft this post. ¬†Normally I will have it in the draft folder for the entire month and I’ll add little bits as I remember them. ¬†There was so little computer time this month that it didn’t work out that way and I really have nothing else to add. ¬†ūüôā

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June 2015 Shopping Summary

Time for yet another round-up of what I purchased this month. ¬†Liam had most of the month off and I hardly spent any time shopping or browsing at all. ¬†At the very beginning of June I bought a few¬†summer things that I knew I would want on the girls’ trip. ¬†But that was it.

First off, printed pants. ¬†Last summer I wore a pair of wide-leg linen pants to death and instead of replacing them with something very similar I bought these goofy pants at Old Navy. ¬†They’re very comfortable and I wore them on the plane both ways. ¬†I also wear them while I’m working now that our complex has turned on the air conditioner.

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Old Navy Women’s Printed Soft Pants $20

I spotted this shirt while shopping with my mom and bought it because it was everything I want in a tee.  Long enough, flowing, lightweight and extremely soft.  Often worn with the above printed pants.

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Gap V-neck Linen Tee $17

Last, a tank top. ¬†I have a few fitted tank tops that I wear under sheer or low-cut shirts but I don’t like wearing fitted tank tops on their own. ¬†So I bought this loose one from Everlane. ¬†I had a credit in my account so I didn’t pay for it, but I would definitely pay $25 for another one. ¬†I love that it’s Made in USA and it has held up really well to washing.

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Everlane Pocket Tank $25

That is $37 for the month of June. ¬†And because I’m¬†a nerd I can also tell you that the cost-per-wear of each item is already under $5. ¬†For that metric it’s definitely beneficial to buy things in the beginning of the month ūüôā ¬†Hop on over to Franish for more¬†monthly budget posts.

 

 

 

 

 

Month in Review: May 2015

So I know people say this every month, but I actually cannot believe it’s June. As I’m writing this it is barely 50 outside and feels more like fall than “meteorological summer”. Thanks for the buzzword Tom Skilling!

Our May was a pretty decent month by any metric you can judge that sort of thing by. Liam spent the entire month with either work or school work, and we’re both looking forward to a more exciting and eventful June. Wish him luck on his finals, guys. He’ll be taking them over the next ten days and then he is free for most of this month.

But back to May.

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I started an herb garden this month. (Potted, but such is the apartment life.) I have basil, rosemary and parsley at the moment. I am expecting cilantro from a coworker that I’ll be picking up next time I am in the office. The rosemary isn’t looking very good but this is the most successful basil plant I’ve had yet. Some of the stalks (stalks?) are quite “leggy” but um, it’s alive and growing for now so I am pleased. This week I will be planting a container garden of radishes and possibly getting tomatoes and peppers. We tried to grow squash in containers last year and that went horribly. No squash for me.

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I ate my weight in strawberries this month. Seriously. Right now I am still getting produce from Costco but our local farmers markets are expected to start up in the next few weeks. I cannot wait. We live so close to farmland yet our markets are hard to come by. Go figure.

There was a date night this month! I pulled Liam away from his books for a dinner at Gordon Biersch in Bolingbrook. I believe it’s one of those chains that’s sporadicly placed around the country. The food was pretty good and my favorite part was the fact that the restaurant serves proper pints. I like beer but in smaller doses than most people, apparently.

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I made things! To wear! That pile of fabric is now a skirt and I am just so pleased with myself. Sin of pride? Yep. Moving on. “Me made May” is a yearly push for “makers” to make good use of their homemade items. Most commonly I have seen bloggers promise to wear a me-made item every day for the month of May. I am a baby sewist but endeavored to make five items during May that were wearable. That was ambitious. In the end I made two items – a skirt and a top and I am happily wearing both. The finished products are both at my parents’ house so I’ll have to show you later.

Speaking of my parents’ place, I spent a week there. In a bit of fortuitous timing, Liam’s worst week academically was also a break week for my co-ed sibling. The co-ed slept 70% of the time at home (oh, finals) and I was able to put in a full work week while getting to spend lots of time with long-lost sibling. I brought the dog with me so Liam had the house to himself and was very productive as well.

States I slept in: IL  No traveling this month either.

Books I read:¬†Gone Girl; and I want all of those hours of my life back. I absolutely hated this book. For those of you who have read it, the “middle” was spoiled for me but I had no idea how it was going to end. Didn’t matter; I didn’t like it at all.

TV shows: Mad Men ended and I thought it was perfect.

Snippets:¬†Like last month Liam has been super busy with school and I have been busy entertaining myself on off hours. ¬†Still working with Duolingo, like last month. ¬†Now I’m looking for better books to read this summer.¬† Go Blackhawks!!

If this recap seems a little bit light on the substance you’re totally right. ¬†Lots of this month was consumed with work-related things that aren’t particularly interesting. ¬†June holds the promise of many more adventures. ¬†We’re spending Father’s Day with my parents and siblings and taking my dad out to a restaurant in town of his choosing. ¬†I have a trip with some girlfriends of mine coming up very soon and I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.

Blood moons, brunch and backyard chores: Easter 2015

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Easter is my favorite, and I love, love the fact that we were blessed with such excellent weather for all of the Easter 2015 weekend.  As usual we spent the holiday weekend with my parents in their newish home.

We all made it to the house by about 7:30 on Friday afternoon and had a small meal of white fish and water then. ¬†(Good Friday is both meat-free and a fasting day for adult Catholics.) ¬†My dad had had a long day and went to bed after dinner was cleaned up. ¬†We then decided it would be fun to teach my mother how to play beer pong. ¬†It was all about the mechanics. ¬†We weren’t drinking; we had water in the cups and¬†were drinking tea…it was the squarest game ever, but also so much fun. ¬†My mother was hilariously excellent (are you sure you never played before?!) even if she did walk up to the table like she was bowling every single time. ¬†Great memories! ¬†And now her friends cannot tease her about how she doesn’t know how to play!

Did you catch the blood moon (early) Saturday morning? ¬†Even though the reports were saying that there wouldn’t be much to see in Chicago we got up for the blood moon anyway and watched it for 30 minutes or so. ¬†The reports were right – there was very little to see, and to add insult to injury there was a cloud covering the moon at the very moment we were at “peak moon.”

After that it was all about doing yard chores around the house. ¬†Most of the landscaping and outdoor furniture is leftover from the previous homeowners and some of it is in rough condition. ¬†We got to work re-screening the porch (truth: this was mostly a boy job), power washing concrete and iron furniture, pulling up weeds and mostly-dead shrubs and adding new mulch to the beds. ¬†Plenty of work remains for us next time, but we really enjoyed spending the day out in the nice weather and helping to fix up my parents’ house.

While we were slaving outside my parents were making homemade pizzas for an Easter feast. ¬†As always the margherita pizza was the favorite. ¬†So simple, but so delicious. ¬†Others included a taco pizza, sausage and onion and an I-don’-t-know-ask-the-boys-but-I-think-they-put-Cholula-on-it that the boys devoured on their own.

Because the college kids had a decently long drive back to campus we went to early mass on Sunday morning and came home to an easy brunch.  Fresh fruit, scones (made the night before), bacon (because, boys), quiche and toast and spreads.  It was decreed that we will do something similar from now on: big dinner on Saturday evening; smaller, lighter brunch on Easter morning.

After brunch we exchanged Easter baskets (candy and socks; the usual) and then took turns heading home. My mom took several pictures of her kids in dressy clothes but other than that the weekend was under-documented.  Must fix that next time!

Month in Review: March 2015

As with January and February, here is a summary of what we were up to on March 1.

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By 8:00 am my parents’ house was hopping, probably because one of the boys had the brilliant idea to make a Starbucks run. ¬† All of the siblings and their +1’s had spent the night. My parents headed off to church while the kids sat around the kitchen table chatting and making fun of one another. Have I told you I love spending time with my family? More than anything! (I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here so we don’t seem like a degenerate bunch of siblings – normally when we’re together we’ll worship as a family. But our time was so crunched this weekend that the kids decided to wait and attend¬†Sunday night mass after everyone had gone their separate ways. Sunday evening mass¬†isn’t a thing my dad believes in, so there you go.)

Around midday the college kids headed back to campus and we local siblings went our separate ways as well. L and I planned to get groceries on our way home but my good friend inquired about getting together for a late lunch so we did that instead. We spent several hours together just catching up and talking over plans for a possible summer trip that she and I have been scheming about. It was dark when we left the restaurant and I had to play secretary for L on our ride home because there was a flurry of activity around a group project while we were out.

I dropped Liam at home so he could get to work, went grocery shopping on my own and then came home and enjoyed the Downton Abbey Christmas Special. I am so sad Downton is over for the season! ¬†(ETA – and I’m sad that Downton is ending forever after next season! ¬†That news broke this past week ūüė¶ )

Also really starting to hope that April 1st isn’t a Sunday because they’re quite boring around here. ¬†I am almost tired of writing about them so you must surely be tired of reading about them! ūüôā

States I slept in: IL, CO
I traveled for work for the first time this month.  More on that this week.  I so rarely travel alone that it was an odd experience.

Books I read: Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna. On Beauty (a reread). 6/35 for my goal for the year. ¬†I don’t like getting “stuck” in a book but that’s where I am now. ¬†See below.

Book I cannot finish: Kitchen Confidential. It’s rare that I give up on a book but I just can’t get through Bourdain’s writing. Anyone else feel that way?

TV shows: Watched a bit more Parenthood but I must admit that my interest is waning.  So is winter, which is when I watch most of my television anyway.

Snippets: Girl Scout cookies hit our area!  Still dealt with the accident a little bit.  L had a break from classes at the end of the month so we got to do things like go out to dinner and clean the house together.  Saw a relative lot of friends this month.  I feel like the winter hibernation is finally coming to a close!

2015 Word of the Year

I realize that we’re already halfway through March (goodness!) and that everyone and her sister has already done this, but I wanted to share my word of the year for 2015.

The idea is something that I have been tossing around in my head since January, but couldn’t get myself to commit to until this past weekend. I picked a bit of an odd word – you’ll see – and I kept trying other words on to see if they would fit better. But then something happened this weekend to absolutely convince me that I had chosen the right word.

You know how people say that sermons and homilies really speak to them? How people will say that something they heard touched them and was exactly what they needed at that very moment. Yeah….that has never been me. I appreciate a good homily as much as the next person. A good argument well presented is one of my favorite things.

So imagine my surprise in typing out these next words: the homily at Sunday’s mass really convicted me. I now see that my chosen word is completely appropriate for this stage in my life. The priest used my word not once, but twice in his homily. And the message was exactly what I needed to hear at this very moment.

My word for this year is redoubled. Redoubled? Yes. Odd, right? It means to “make or become greater; more intense”. The homily itself was about Lent, and how we’re at the part of the season where our resolve is fading, our excitement over the changes that we are making in our lives is waning. This is the point at which we need to redouble our efforts so that we can live well during these last few weeks rather than slog along until Easter.

There are a few aspects of this stage in my life that aren’t all that great. There are projects that I’ve started and am stalling on because we’re in that stage where it is hard to see progress.

Do better. Work harder.

I need to redouble my efforts in a few areas of my life in order to see the progress that I am looking for. And last Sunday gave me even more motivation to do so.

Month in Review: February 2015

Ah, February. The month of love and cold. And snow. Oh, there was much snow. Even though the month is short we have a lot to celebrate. My husband’s birthday. My BIL’s birthday. Valentine’s Day. The Superbowl. Looking back, it feels like the month was packed with parties. No complaints here!

Like last month, I thought it would be fun to do a recap of February 1st. I think (hope) it will make for an interesting read at the end of the year.  Like I mentioned in my day-in-the-life post, we had plans to watch the Super Bowl with my parents and because of an impending snow storm they actually requested that we come by Saturday evening.

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Sunday morning we woke up to almost white-out conditions and L, my dad and I headed outside to get working on snow removal. ¬†I can’t believe that February 1 was the first time this winter that I needed to do that. ¬†My parents headed to church and I watched a sermon online because I was still working on a neighbor’s driveway when it was time to leave. ¬†I love that my parents live in a neighborhood where people take care of each other – helping single moms with the shoveling, passing snowblowers around from family to family and kids out helping alongside their parents. ¬†It actually reminds me a lot of the neighborhood I grew up in, so I’m not surprised my parents chose to relocate here. ¬†After taking care of the snow L did homework and I helped my¬†mom go through her closet and discard things that didn’t fit or work for her anymore.

Superbowl food

Regarding the Superbowl itself, we were most definitely a house divided. My husband is a native New Englander and his roots kicked in just before kickoff. Being an avid Chicago Bears fan myself, I was clearly obliged to cheer for the team that knocked Green Bay out of contention and that made me a Seattle fan for the day. I also quite like the city of Seattle itself, very much enjoy Skittles (can someone explain the association between Skittles and the Seahawks to me?) and find Boston sports fans obnoxious on all levels. ¬†It wasn’t a difficult decision. ¬†I’m not a Katy Perry fangirl, but I thought she was a brilliant choice for the halftime show. ¬†She did an excellent job of captivating everyone we were watching with and I thought it was a really fun performance. ¬†The commercials this year were really….heavy. ¬†They were much less fun. ¬†We headed home immediately after the game ended because that was when the roads were clear and the snow the lightest it had been in hours.

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Other notable events included Valentine’s Day and Liam’s birthday. ¬†I read quite a lot and was able to make my miles biked goal rather easily. ¬†That was a huge relief after a January where I was hardly able to workout on account of the car accident. ¬†We were hoping for a boring, inexpensive month and that is exactly what we got.

States we slept in: IL

Books read:¬†Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (my thoughts are here). ¬†An abridged version of The Five Love Languages – definitely not interested in reading the full thing anymore. ¬† That puts me at 4/35 for the year because I’m not counting the Love Languages overview.

TV shows watched:¬†Parenthood. ¬†House of Cards. ¬†Downton Abbey. ¬†Friday Night Lights. ¬†Oookay, that’s a ton of television for me. ¬†Looking back I’m not sure how that happened, but now it makes sense that I didn’t get through many books.

Projects completed: Inspired by Marie Kondo I did a fairly significant purge of our household items and my personal belongings.  I also helped my parents do the same when I spent the weekend with them.  I tracked our spending on a daily basis (boring!) and cooked fish for the first time.

Dates: We celebrated Liam’s birthday dinner at a new brewpub near our house and went for Thai food on Valentine’s Day. ¬†Technically we left for the Superbowl in January and I think that our two dates may have been the only times all month that we left the house together. ¬†Thanks, grad school.

Snippets: More aftermath of the accident to deal with Рnot complaining; it was just very time consuming.  Received our tax refund and put it in savings like boring people.   Shoveled so much snow at the beginning of the month.  Liam had midterms and I spent a weekend with my parents.  Celebrated lots of birthdays.

Like this type of post? ¬†Check out more via the linkup on Amanda’s blog!