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Sunday, August 13, 2017

More Garden Tomatoes

A short garden update today: Tomatoes are growing faster in our veggie garden than we can eat them right now. We picked some more tomatoes this past week, and are still working on eating them. Maybe we should make a salsa or a pasta sauce or something?


We've also picked some sweet corn, but that too has been growing faster than what we can eat. I think we may have planted too much this year. Haha.


Well, if you need me, I'll be working on this here bowl of tomatoes that I only like if they are incorporated into a salad or sandwich or something! :)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rug Cleaning Adventures

Hi all! I know I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks, but today it's Saturday and I'm home watching Netflix, so thought I would share a recent adventure we had involving rug cleaning. I know, it sounds super exciting. But it actually was a pretty exciting day in our household.

First off, our living room rug has seen better days. I bought it back in 2013 (remember this post?), and Saleen likes to rub and lick on it because of her allergies. In short, it's gotten pretty disgusting for that reason. Yep, having a dog has made us learn "we can't have nice things." I'll spare you the "before cleaning" pictures.

We had gone a while without cleaning the rug, so we decided to rent a Rug Doctor at our local Dollar General. You can rent it for $30, along with buying the solution that goes in it for about $5.

We gave it a good vacuum first. Then Trent filled it with a mix of water and the solution, and I held the edges of the rug in place while he ran the Rug Doctor over it.


While you run it over the rug, it releases the mixture of solution and water, and also has brushes underneath that vibrate while it runs.


We had to continuously refill it with more solution, since it goes through it pretty quickly. And we ran it over the rug row by row, several times to make sure we got the dirt out the best we could.


Once we were done, instead of letting it dry in the living room, we took the rug and the rug pad underneath, outside and hung them on the fence for a little over a day to fully dry out.


We didn't want it to hold onto any water between the rug and the rug pad, since that might leave a little "mustiness" in the air, and no one wants that.. Eww!


I think leaving it out in the sun probably helped bleach the stains a little bit, too. At least we like to think so. So here's the "after":


It's not perfect, but it looks visibly cleaner, for sure! I'd say renting the Rug Doctor was worth it, not to do all the time, but I'd maybe do it once a year or so.


At first I was really hesitant to let Saleen into the living room again, and wiped off every stain she left. Haha. But now I've come to the conclusion that it's inevitable that the rug WILL get dirty again.


So, moral of the story, having a nice rug + a dog with allergies, do not mix! But a good rug cleaning every now and then makes things a little nicer, at least for the time being.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cubs Game at Wrigley

While Trent is in Milwaukee today at the Cubs/Brewers game, I'm at home again and blogging about the Cubs game we went to a week ago! Yep, last Sunday, we went up to Wrigley for a Cubs/Cardinals game. We did the Farm Bureau bus trip again with my Dad - it had been a few years since we did this, and I'm happy to say it was a much better experience than the last! It was also the first night game we had ever been to at Wrigley.


As lifelong Illinois residents, we're big Cubs fans, so it's always fun to experience a game at the famous Wrigley field. This year was also the first year that they had the new area by the field, called The Park at Wrigley. There are bars and restaurants, a grassy hangout area, and a few shops that you can hang out at before the game. We thought it was pretty cool.


We checked out the new Cubs merchandise store, which is two levels high, and there's a balcony you can go out onto with a view of the people walking around below.


We also went into the Jostens jewelry store, the official jeweler of the Cubs, and they had replica Cubs World Series rings there, which you can actually buy for yourself. 

Then we got our photo taken with the Cubs 2016 World Series trophy. Pretty cool to see in person!


We walked around the field for a little while before the game. It actually sprinkled when we got there, and we totally thought it was going to storm on us, and we would have a rain delay. Luckily, the majority of the rain stayed away and the sun came out later for us!





It was fun to be back at Wrigley again watching the game live in person. It had been a while! Our view wasn't spectacular or anything, but we could still see the field pretty well, and we got to experience the new seats and the new video screens.


They've done so many new improvements to Wrigley in the last couple of years. It still looks basically the same, but with a few upgrades here and there. Another change is that the bullpens are now underneath the stands and closed off, instead of out in the open. And even the bathrooms are upgraded!


Also, I think the below picture was a little stroke of luck for me. The sun is hitting me just right so it looks like I'm glowing! Haha.


We played the Cardinals, who are one of our biggest rivals, so it was fun to be amid both Cubs and Cardinals fans. And it was a pretty packed house.


We got to see all of our favorite Cubs players, from Kris Bryant, to Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, and Javy Baez.



And best of all...We went home with a W!


Nothing like getting to sing "Go Cubs Go" with the rest of the crowd after a great win at Wrigley Field. A fun time was had with my Dad and Trent at the game!


At the end, when most people had already left the stadium, our entire bus got to take a huge group photo in front of the field.


Not going to lie, it was complete chaos and confusion trying to get everyone together and figure out where we were supposed to be, with everyone leaving the stands at the end of the game, but we figured it out somehow, and it actually turned out pretty cool in the end!

As we were leaving, we even got a glimpse of the players heading out to their rides at the end of the night. Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward walked right in front of me as I was waiting for Trent to get out of the bathroom! Haha. It was kind of surreal.

I was so glad I took work off the next day. Night games are no joke, when you have to ride all the way back home in a bus the same night and don't get home until 3:00 in the morning! For that reason alone, I'm not sure if I'd do another night game bus trip again. But it was a fun day overall, and good to be back at Wrigley again.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tomato Update

It's Saturday, and I'm hanging at home this weekend! Trent went up to Milwaukee with a couple of friends and will be going to the Cubs/Brewers games tonight and tomorrow. So I'm home with the pup, watching Netflix and cleaning!

And I took a couple of new pics of the garden yesterday, well of the tomato plants anyway. It looks like we'll have lots of tomatoes pretty soon.


I think those are cherry tomatoes above. 

And the below look like the Romas. We have a few more turning red...



We have some big ones growing, too. These things are going to be bigger than my hand pretty soon!


Pretty sure we'll have a much bigger harvest than last year! I'm ready to add some tomatoes to my sandwiches. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

First Garden Harvest of 2017

It's been a couple of weeks since I blogged all about our recent Michigan trip, but I'm finally popping in for another post, less about traveling and more back to the domestic life! Don't worry though, there will be another travel related post in the near future, as we went back to Chicago for a Cubs game over the weekend. Trent and I are pretty sure Chicago is our second home now, since we have visited the city multiple times this summer!

Today though, I thought I'd share our very first harvest of this year. It's not very big, but we're excited that our tomatoes are finally turning red, and we have been able to enjoy our first veggies from the garden:


Yes, so far we have a lone ear of corn and a couple of tomatoes! So I got to add a couple of slices of fresh tomatoes to my salad the other day that we grew right here in the garden.


We have plenty more veggies that will be ripe soon, too. I actually need to go out to the garden and see what else is ripe, plus take more recent pictures!

The below photos are all from a few weeks ago, but you can see all of the tomatoes that have been growing. Here are the Romas: 


I'd imagine we have many more turning red now. And here was the corn a few weeks ago:


We also have some garlic that grows back every year. We're not really garlic experts though, so we're not sure when garlic is ripe and ready to pick...this looks close though, right??


It definitely smells like garlic, that's for sure.

Well, that's it for now...I'm sure I'll be back with some new posts this weekend!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Stop at The Found Cottage

Hudsonville, Michigan is the site of the cutest little shop, co-owned by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz of Liz Marie Blog. I've been following her blog now for a while, and I never miss any of her social media posts or Insta stories.

Liz just seems like the sweetest person. She's my age, and I remember following her blog as she was in the middle of taking interior design classes, and I became hooked. She has such a knack for making things look pretty, and I love following her new journey of life on a farm. Seriously, check her out if you haven't already.

Since I knew Liz was in Michigan and that's where we were going for our vacation this year, I had to look up where her shop was, so that we could hopefully stop there during our trip.

The Found Cottage is actually right outside of Grand Rapids, which was on our way to where we were staying in northern Michigan. We didn't have time to stop on the way up from Illinois, but luckily we had time on the way back home.

I was so excited to check out the store. It always looks so pretty from her photos, and after stopping and looking around, I was not disappointed.


There is a mix of antiques and home decor, along with some clothing and jewelry, too. I just snapped a couple of photos, but everything in the store is just so cute! There are so many unique vintage, rustic, and handmade items. It all looks so pretty, it's hard not to want everything!


I was of course wondering if Liz was going to be at the store working that day, and she was! I saw her there but didn't talk to her. I think she smiled at me, but I was too scared to say anything. I didn't want to make a fool out of myself! Haha. She did seem really nice though, and she sounded exactly like she sounds on her Insta stories. I was kind of star struck, I have to admit!

There was a necklace there that was so cute and I thought about getting it, and there were SO many other things I considered, too. In the end though, I ended up taking home this framed print, which we hung in the hallway:


And this throw pillow, which is now on the living room couch:


Are those not super cute?

I'm so glad that we had time to stop on our trip, and if we ever get back up there, you know I will be stopping there again!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Breweries We've Visited

Keeping with the theme of the week, I have another travel-related post for you today! On our Michigan vacation, we visited 2 new breweries. If you know Trent, you know he loves all different kinds of beer. He's a big craft beer fan, and likes to visit new breweries whenever we go on trips.

We have a couple of small brew-pubs here in our local area, but nothing we would consider something you would travel for. And we haven't been to a lot of breweries, but every once in a while we will stop at one on a trip, so I thought I would share some pics from those that we have been to, and also share a little bit of our experiences there if you're thinking about going to one of them yourself.

All of the breweries we've visited happen to be in the Midwest, including Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. I'd recommend stopping at any of them if you're in the area.

3 Floyds Brewery - Munster, IN (July 2017)

3 Floyds was the first stop on our Michigan vacation a couple of weeks ago! It was just across the Indiana border, which is on the way to Michigan for us. Trent loves his craft beer, so he loved going to this brewery and spending some time here.




I enjoyed the brewery tour and the food, too. (Trent actually ate quail here! I didn't. Haha) I'm not a big beer fan, but I tried the Gumballhead with my meal, which wasn't too bad. It was a little too "hoppy" for me though, I think.




The tour was interesting, and it was cool to see the huge barrels they use, and the state of the art equipment they have. But my favorite part of the tour was the cool artwork on the walls. They truly have some of the most creative and unique artwork on their labels, and the owner apparently has a lot of connections with comic book artists, and even artists that work for Marvel, so their walls have plenty of artwork to look at.

Plan on waiting a while to get a table if you go on a Saturday though, which was when we were there! We did the tour while we waited which was nice, but the wait was an hour and a half from the time we got there. The food was great though, and the atmosphere was pretty cool in the pub / restaurant area.





Founders Brewery - Grand Rapids, MI (July 2017)

Founders was another stop on our Michigan vacation - one of the last stops, actually. It's another beer company that Trent's a big fan of. We stopped here on the way back to Illinois. It's located downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.




They don't do tours everyday here, and we were here on a Wednesday afternoon, so there were no tours going on. We just ate dinner and hung out on the patio, which was nice! It was perfect weather.




Here I had the Watermelon Gose, which is a tart and kind of sour beer. I like fruity beers, so I decided to try it, and it was actually surprisingly good.




They also have a ton of seating inside as well, so you can go on a rainy or colder day, too! The inside atmosphere actually looked pretty cool, and there is a gift shop, that of course Trent had to spend some time in before we left. :)


Anheuser-Busch Brewery - St. Louis, MO (August 2010)


Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis was the first real brewery we ever went to...wayyy back in 2010. Unlike Founders and Three Floyds, Anheuser is a huge beer company who makes Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, and tons of other brands. 



I'm sure they've changed quite a bit since when we were here 7 years ago, especially with the craft beer scene becoming more popular. I think they may have added more craft-style beer brands in recent years to stay relevant.


We took the whole brewery tour while we were here, and at the end, got to sample some beer straight from the brewery, which was cool. As my first brewery tour at 22 years old, it was a pretty memorable and fun experience. I recommend doing it at least once while in St. Louis.



New Glarus Brewing Co. - New Glarus, WI (July 2016)

We visited the New Glarus Brewery last year on our way back from Milwaukee. It was a little out of the way, but Trent had been wanting to check it out, so we took a little detour.

I'm really glad we decided to go, because it was one of the coolest breweries we've visited in my opinion.




New Glarus is a really cute Swiss-themed town, with some pretty countryside as well. They actually call themselves "America's Little Switzerland." The brewery is out in the country, but almost feels like a European villa.



We took a self-guided tour of the inside of the brewery, then we paid to sample a few different beers outside on the courtyard.


You can walk around the grounds, and take in the pretty scenery that the area has to offer. It's just a really nice place to spend an afternoon.






I don't mind New Glarus beer at all, the light beers anyway. Spotted Cow is a popular favorite, but you can only get their beer in Wisconsin. So, every time Trent or one of his friends visits, they always have to bring some Spotted Cow back!





Potosi Brewery - Potosi, WI (November 2014)

Potosi is a small town in south-west Wisconsin, just across the Iowa border. The brewery and National Beer Museum here are the main attractions that draw people to stop at the town.



We were up here in late fall a few years ago so decided to stop on our way back home. We went through the Brewery museum first, which was pretty interesting.



The museum has a lot of displays about the history of the beer industry, and the evolution of beer throughout the years, including models of cans and bottles throughout history.




After going through the brewery museum, we ate at the pub. I don't remember what beer I had, but I had some pretty good mac and cheese here. It was overall a pretty cool place to stop and visit for a couple of hours.






Miller-Coors Brewery - Milwaukee, WI (September 2011)

Finally, back in 2011, we were in Wisconsin for Labor Day weekend, and spent a day in Milwaukee. We stopped at the Miller-Coors Brewery hoping to take a tour, but they were actually closed for Labor Day. So, I don't recommend going on a holiday for this reason!




Even though they were closed, we still drove around and checked out the area. We got pictures by the "High Life Cruiser" bus in front of one of the buildings.



So, we didn't get to try their beer straight out of the brewery, but at least we could say we were there!  Maybe next time we're in the area we'll be able to do the tour. :)
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