Happy Halloween (and Engagement!)

Halloween weekend is always a magical weekend.  It's always full of fun, and friends...and sometimes even love...and running?! :)

This weekend, we had some out-of-town visitors come stay with us and we had a great time.  It was so wonderful having friends that were able to come celebrate this fun holiday and partake in the weekend's events!
Friday started with some last minute errands and cleaning and then dinner at Old Chicago with my mom, dad, and Emily.  We had a great dinner, wonderful conversations, and lots of laughs.  I always forget to take pictures in those moments, but it was fun.  Around 10:30, Laura and Jason showed up!  The boys went to the bar, but Laura and I stayed in because of the race in the morning.  She introduced me to the show New Girl, it was so cute and funny! I'm glad I'm jumping on the bandwagon early, I'm already all caught up :)
How I wasn't watching this show when it first started, I'm not sure, because I absolutely love Zooey Deschanel!  Shortly after midnight, we went to bed.  Early morning ahead of us!
Saturday came and with a 7:00 wake-up call, the whirlwind of events began.  Laura and I got our running clothes on, ate some breakfast, and joined Emily R (I really did type "D" first, it's hard remembering you're an "R" now!) over to Moline for the Cocoa Beano 5K.  We met up with my friend Jess, my mom and her friend Becky, my sister (the other Emily), and Stephanie and her mother.

This race was so much fun, we all agreed we'd love to do it again next year and maybe be joined by some others?  I'm looking at you Brooke and Ashley F!  We were handed chocolates at the end, followed by a banana to enjoy, some water, and the best hot chocolate any of us had ever had.  I beat my last 5K time and wasn't far behind my friends, winning.
We cleaned up, had lunch at the BierStube, went our separate ways for the afternoon to get some rest and what not and got ready for our Halloween Party!
People started arriving a little after 6:00, bringing snacks to munch on and drinks to enjoy!  We all got into costume and had some laughs and took some pictures.  We spent the first part of the evening at our house partying, eating, and drinking, and then we went to the bar, where Brooke was able to meet up with us.  It was a great evening, despite having thought I lost my phone, which I found in the morning...silly me.
Toga, Sailor, Pirate, Daria, Clay Matthews
Clay tickling Elmo!
Brooke as a cute clown!!

Yes, my husband is Bob Ross
Jay Leno, haha
End of the night!
On Sunday morning, I woke up, cleaned up, and made some Pumpkin Pancakes, yum!  We said goodbye to Laura and Jason and The Reed's and I went back to bed for a nap/movie watching.  In that time, I received a picture message followed by a phone call!
Oh my goodness, Brooke got engaged!!!  I could not express my excitement enough for this highly anticipated event!  What a wonderful way to start my Sunday and end my weekend. I can't wait to celebrate with her and Ryan, I am just so happy for them.
Happy Halloween everyone, enjoying your tricking and treating today! :D


Zuppa Toscana

I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course :) And that lead me to annies-eats.net, which is full of fantastic recipes, including her version of the popular Olive Garden soup, Zuppa Toscana.  This tastes remarkably similar to Olive Gardens, but probably even better!  Please do try this for yourself sometime, we give it four thumbs up!
Zuppa Toscana
1 lb. Italian sausage (we used turkey sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine to deglaze the pan
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat.  Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned.  Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside.  
Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant.  Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.  

Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot.   Return the sausage to the pot.  

Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low.  

Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through.  **Important step (added by me): Pour yourself a glass of white wine.
Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.
I had this really awesome picture of the finished product in my bowl, ready to be devoured, but I accidentally deleted it.  So this last picture doesn't really do it justice, but just trust me when I saw it was FanTasTic! :)


Weekend Recap - Fall and Thrifting

The weekend actually started with a scary movie night with Jess and Ashley!  It was a lot of fun getting together with girl friends and staying in for a change.  We only got around to two movies of the three because we didn't think we'd be mentally prepared for the third one, Insidious. :) We watched Candyman and The Strangers.  Ashley and I remembered thinking Candyman was really terrifying as kids, but not so much anymore.  It was super bloody though, I didn't remember that...my poor sensitive stomach, lol.  The Strangers was definitely still creepy as ever!  My aunt was also in town and watched The Stangers with us.  When the movie was over, we say around for a little bit talking about real life ghost stories and weird stuff, it was good.

In the morning, I woke up at 5:15 to get ready for our McGregor/Prairie Du Chein trip.  Early, I know, but totally worth it.  Wouldn't want to cut our day of antiquing short!  Long story short, the guys went fishing while us ladies shopped :) I scored some great deals which I'll share at the end.

On Sunday, Ryan and I hit up the apple orchard and liquor store.  Liquor is much cheaper in Wisconsin!  We ate lunch at this classic burger stand, Pete's, and then shopped a little more in McGregor.  We watched the Green Bay game with Ryan's mom at this bar that made fantastic bloody mary's.
Eagle sitting on top of a dead deer at the pumpkin patch.
Pete's burger
With my mother-in-law, Go Bears!
CHEAP liquor!!

Ok, so I mentioned I did some shopping right?  I took pictures of everything we bought that weekend, I'll put the prices so you can be jealous of the deals I found :)
Pyrex, with the lid, talked down to $9
Dip mixes, only $1 each
Nordicware bar pan with lid, $12
Dress pants,$3.95, camel scarf $4,
Sunglasses $7.95, bracelet $5
From left to right, all of these are handles:
$13.50, $19.99, $20.99
New Glarus Sampler pack, you can only get this
beer in Wisconsin, $15.99
PUMPKINS!!! $5 TOTAL! (obviously my best score)
Local winery wine $10, Cheese curds $4.50, Honeycrisp apples $7


And So They Said "I Do"

This past weekend, which I extended by a couple of a days by taking Friday and Monday off, was packed full of excitement!  It all started when I got off work on Thursday and ends right now as I get ready to return to work this morning.

Thursday Highlights
-Emily and I stopped for a delicious drink at River House
-We attended the Reba concert!
-Enjoyed some unheard of bands: Eden's Edge and Steel Magnolia
-Arrived home to friends!
-Played some games, watched some videos, went to bed way too late

Friday Highlights
-Morning walk & talk with Ashley
-Mani/Pedi with bride-to-be and friends!
-Beautiful drive up to Galena
-Catching up with long-distance friends
-Realizing how beautiful Nick & Em's wedding setting would be
-A delicious meal at the DeSoto hotel
-Getting to bed earlier than Thursday night

Saturday Highlights
-Early morning workout, despite forgetting tennis shoes
-Running errands/decorating/hanging out with Tessa, the other Personal Attendant
-Soaking in the sun on a warm, autumn day
-Witnessed the marriage of two of my best friends
-Candy Buffet
-Dancing for many hours to the reception's end at midnight
-After party on the deck


Sunday Highlights
-No hangover, some kind of miracle
-Being a part of the gift opening
-Brunch at a delicious diner, it was just what we needed
-Quick car ride home
-Seeing the kitties
-Going to the movie Drive, it was really good
-Realizing I didn't have to get up and go to work the next day

Monday Highlights
-Sleeping in!
-Ashley coming over
-Game of Thrones mini-marathon
-Making homemade jalapeno poppers, mmmm
-Making Pad Thai for supper
-Bierstube for football

I'm glad it's already Tuesday, but wish I had today off like my husband.  But honestly, I need to get back to a little routine in my life! Anyone want to be my workout partner and get me off my butt?