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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The June Whirlwind

It's been a crazy month, and I promise to do a better job posting. Shortly after the major hill project, Brian and I headed to sweltering New York for a long weekend around June 6 to the 9th. We walked all over the city. It was his first time in the Big Apple. We saw Nathan Lane in a Broadway show, walked around several New York neighborhoods and took in a game at Yankee Stadium. It was a lot of fun, and we felt like we sweated off about 10 pounds. Of course, that's not what the scales told us when we returned home.

That next weekend, it was Liz's big 4th birthday bash where we grilled pizzas and had a princess party playing duck, duck goose and eating the two homemade cakes that Liz and I made together. We also celebrated Father's Day that weekend with Brian and my dad as well.

The very next week, we headed to Michigan where Brian and I saw Jack Johnson in concert. It was his birthday gift. I got him
the tickets in April. We stayed in Michigan until the following Saturday and unfortunately missed the Little People of America convention because Brian had to work that Saturday.

This is our first weekend in more than a month that we haven't traveled or had a big birthday party and it's time to catch up.

So, I'll try to be better about posting the rest of this summer, because hopefully it'll be a bit more laid back. For now, here are some catch up photos of the birthday girl.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Surely, I must be mad

Well, somehow in the midst of all of our travel, and work we managed to to complete a huge landscaping feat.

Last year, my big project was hauling 3 tons of tiny rocks to the backyard and placing them in the flower beds. It looks quite nice.

This year's project, "The Hill Project of 2008" was set up to get rid of our overgrown ugly bushes that are the first thing you see when you enter our house. It's a little hill area and our neighbor Ray helped us haul out the bushes with his truck.

Unfortunately, the project was harder than I had thought. Once we got the bushes out, then we needed to clear out the area. Seems simple enough. Right. The problem is the rail ties that surrounded the area. It literally took me two hours to get two of them out.

Finally, I placed 1 ton of Large rocks around the area, and then placed weed-covering along the entire section. Next, I put in the plants. You'll see some of the hastas look like they're dying but my neighbor is sure they'll live. Then, we put on the dirt and mulch and here you go!

Now, Brian and I are headed to New York this weekend while Liz enjoys some time with my family in Goshen. This will be Brian's first trip to the Big Apple. It's supposed to be a sweltering-hot weekend, but I'm sure we'll have fun. We'll see a Broadway show, go to a Yankees game and hopefully walk around some fun neighborhoods - like the Upper West Side.

Here's some of the "Before" and transition photos:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No hummus please

For quite some time, one of my favorite snack foods has been a fabulous hummus dip with some great pita chips or really any type of chips.

Part of my fondness of hummus was the fact that I always felt it was slightly healthier than a normal dip. So, while I was munching on bread or chips or veggies and double-dipping into the red-pepper hummus, I didn't fell nearly as bad as I would have felt had it been ranch dip.

Unfortunately, my love affair with hummus is over and it's quite possible I may never eat it again. Last year, I went with a friend to the Taste of Chicago for lunch. It's a national festival, but for those who may not know much about it, this is the premier festival in Chicago where they serve up hundreds of different types of foods.

My friend and I went there to grab a few items for lunch. Our first thing we gobbled down was the taste portion of some hummus. It was pretty good. Then, I went for these gigantic turkey legs and we wrapped up the lovely sunny summer day with ice cream. Sounds pretty perfect, right.

Yes, we gorged ourselves. But everything was great until late that night when I woke up quite sick. Leaving out all of the gory details, I was the sickest I've ever been and I couldn't eat anything for about 3 weeks.

Turns out my friend and I both got salmonella poisoning from that tiny bit of hummus we ate. Also turns out this was the first case of food poisoning at the Taste's long history.

Boy, we're lucky, right.

I was quoted in the local newspaper during the time of the food poisoning. However, I hope that story has fallen into the Internet's sinking sand because the reporter called me right when I was still ill, and I pretty much sounded like an idiot...a salmonella-sick idiot, mind you.

A friend of mine who freelances for The Chicago Tribune was writing about the experiences and now it's documented here.

So, while I'm still a firm believer that hummus is a great snack, I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to eat it again.