Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I did a little pumpkin carving today. I haven’t carved pumpkins in a very long time.

carving pumpkins

I guess I’m still sort of a jack-0’-lantern traditionalist. I’m surprised I didn’t carve both pumpkins with triangle eyes and noses. I must be getting adventurous.


When I was done, I rinsed off the pumpkin seeds in a colander, dried them off a bit, and spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet to roast!

rinsed pumpkin seeds

I coated them with some olive oil and a lot of salt and baked them at 325 degrees for 20+ minutes. I truthfully don’t know how long it was, because I totally forgot about them and went out to the garage to work on the fireplace mantel (pictures coming soon!) and when I got back inside, my timer was beeping. But they came out a pretty golden brown and are oh-so-tasty!

roasted pumpkin seeds
(Thanks, Janis, for the fruit basket!)

And lastly, for laughs, here is a picture of Brandon and me dressed up for a Halloween party last weekend. He was Al Capone, complete with bootleg (well, homebrew) beer and I was Mr. Rogers! Haha, it was a good time.

Al Capone & Mr. Rogers costumes!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! ;)

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Windy Sandy

Luckily, for us here in Indiana, the effects of Hurricane Sandy are a lot of gloom and a lot of wind. Nearby Lake Michigan has been experiencing 20 foot waves! But so far the the nuttiness is confined to the actual lakefront, so most of Chicago and Northwest Indiana are fine.  I’ve been spending the morning trying to check up on my friends in New York and New Jersey who haven’t had it so easy!

The wind here is nuts. Our house feels like it’s going to blow away. Our willow tree looks like it’s going to.


The chimney in our fireplace always amplifies the wind noises and is the scariest sounding, but I think it’s just being dramatic. :)  However, speaking of the fireplace, I've finally got some fun updates in that department coming soon! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Short Hair

I cut my hair really short.

short hair style

My awesomely nice friends say it’s chic.  I definitely did it because I am lazy.

Why should boys have such an easy time with their hair? I wanted a piece of that.

It’s an especially big change for me considering that in July 2011 (so just over a year ago), my hair was pretty long.

long hair, just before the big cut

That’s my friend and stylist, Pam, looking through a short hair styles magazine before we did the first big cut.

Since that day, I’ve looked roughly like this:

with my little niece!

And now I look like this:

short hair cut!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Cuteness!

Halloween is not my favorite time of year. I love it for the mounds and mounds of bite-sized candy, but I hate it for the scariness. I am scared of everything. 

My friend Pam just threw a little Halloween party, however, with the cutest details! I had to share. Cute Halloween stuff makes me happy. (It distracts me from the scary stuff.)

First, here’s Pam and her cocker spaniel, Merlin, dressed up as the Black Swan and an Ewok! :)

Pam and Merlin

Great costumes, right? Let’s just stare for another moment at the Ewok!

Merlin as an Ewok!

I couldn’t get over his level of cuteness.  And she made both costumes herself!

Then, of course, Pam had a great spread, very colorful and all Halloween-themed.

Yummy Halloween treats

Complete with awesome details.

Halloween stickers

(I think she said the stickers were from Martha Stewart!)

And let’s get a closer look at those yummy cupcakes, shall we?

Halloween cupcakes

My favorites were the pumpkin ones with tootsie rolls for stems!

Even her beverages were Halloween-themed.


So fun, right?! More Martha Stewart stickers!


What a fun way to start off the Halloween season! Thanks, Pam!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Report: Of Thee I Sing, The Princess Bride, and The Witness for the Prosecution

Here’s a quick rundown of three short books/stories I’ve been reading.

I’m still in the middle of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, but let me tell you, the book is every bit as good as the movie that we’ve all seen. Reading it, I totally know why they made it into a film…it’s almost written as one! Quickly paced, full of love and adventure! I think it’s a fun, must-read for many ages!



I just got Barack Obama’s children’s book, Of Thee I Sing, from Amazon, after listening to the audiobook from the library. It is amazing and much better than I expected. The illustrations are fantastic and the story is a cute, uplifting mini American history lesson, with a bit about various Americans like Georgia O’Keefe, Jackie Robinson, Sitting Bull, Billie Holliday, Helen Keller, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, woven into a tale of being unique and loved. A fitting children’s book to be written by the President of the United States. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it myself, and I feel like I’ll be reading it and gifting it to every kid I know!

Of Thee I Sing, by Barack Obama


Just recently, Brandon and I watched the 1957 movie version of Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution, directed by Billy Wilder, starring Marlene Dietrich. It was really good, a true classic. It prompted me to re-read the short story, which is one of my favorites, with its stunning twist ending.

Marlene Dietrich in The Witness for the Prosecution

Happy reading/watching this weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Go Boston Card

As I was researching the things I wanted to do in Boston, I came across this Go Boston Card from Smart Destinations. A lot of the things I wanted to see or do in Boston were free or had a minimal fee, like the Freedom Trail and Paul Revere’s house, but then other things, like the Duck Boat Tours, had real admission fees. All in all, I figured things would add up, so I started looking around for deals. :)

I considered trying to buy Groupons (I found a couple for the Duck Tours and a guided Freedom Trail tour) but since Groupons come out sporadically, I missed some, and you have to read the fine print about when they’re valid, etc, because once you buy them, you’re stuck. So I wasn’t sure if Groupons were the right thing for this trip.

Somehow in my Googling, I stumbled upon the Go Boston Card. I’m often pretty skeptical of these “deal” cards, wondering if  I’ll really get my money’s worth and whatnot, but there were so many attractions listed on it, along with a guide to the attractions. I saw it was also sold on which was a point in its favor (as not being some kind of scam, that is!) :)

As I was deciding whether or not to buy the card, I looked around for reviews…so I thought I’d post my own here. A little giving back to the internet community.

I loved all the options of attractions on the card, and I really wanted to make this a sightseeing trip.  We didn’t end up doing/seeing quite all I wanted to on the card, mostly because places are only open from 9-5ish and there’s only so much you can do in that time, and eat lunch, and travel from point a to point b; but I’m so happy with the flexibility it gave us.  We always had ideas for what to do next, and we could decide to do something different if we wanted.  We took a Boston Harbor cruise and rented bikes for a day: two of our favorite things that we wouldn’t have done without the card.

I ended up buying us each a 3-day pass with a bonus attraction. I’ve noticed there are different sale prices all the time, but I paid about $100 each for our cards, so $200 total.

Here are the things we did with the card:

We got a discount at the Green Dragon Tavern. ($8)

Boston 725

We got free glassware on the Sam Adams tour. ($16)

Sam Adams Boston Brewery tour

We rented bikes for the day and got admission into Paul Revere’s house. ($64 + $7)

Brandon and Victoria and bikes at Paul Revere's house

We took a Boston Harbor Cruise to the USS Constitution. ($39)

Brandon and Victoria on Boston Harbor Cruise

We took a Duck Boat Tour!!! ($66)

Brandon and Victoria in front of Dorchester Dottie, the Duck Boat (tour)

We took the Fenway Park tour. ($32)

Brandon and Victoria

We visited the Old State House museum and Boston Massacre site, complete with tours. ($15)

Old State House

All of which totaled about $247! So we got our money’s worth for sure. Having the card inspired us to do just a little more than we might have if we didn’t have it and felt like being lazy. You know, we would say to ourselves, “Let’s just go to the Old State House. There’s time and it’s on the card!” So that was a sightseeing bonus in itself!

There are lots of other tours and museums included on the card, so I think if we ever go back to Boston, I’d really consider getting the card again!

Do you buy into these deal-cards when you travel?

Thursday, October 4, 2012


What a busy couple of weeks! We’ve begun taking down our fence (that used to enclose the “dog-yard” but has been rendered pretty useless by Grounder anyway) and we just got back from a road trip to Harrisburg (PA, for those of you who don’t know your state capitals) :) for a  friend’s wedding!  Couple all that with general lack of sleep and busy days for both of us at work, and you’ll find someone who’s behind on her blog!

Here’s a little photo summary of what’s been happening over here:

taking down the fence
Taking down our fence!

PA State Capitol
Pennsylvania’s State Capitol, Harrisburg

Happy wedding!
Happy Wedding, Pat and Tara! Good thing you have such normal friends! :)

So, I do have more to share about Boston, this fence project, and other stuff of course! Stay tuned and I will keep chatting at you! :)

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