Category Archives: random





{Sigh} We just returned from a whirlwind vacation/class to Rome. It involved a lot of 3 things:

1. Walking

2. Pizza

3. Gelato

I think by most standards that’s pretty close to perfect. Although the walking probably didn’t make a dent on the pizza/gelato intake. There was one pizza called “Super Lasagna Pizza” and I swear this wasn’t at some tourist trap. That and pistachio gelato are definitely on the summer “to make list.” Do you have a summer to-do list? You should!


indulging and purging


{trimming the tree}

I love the holidays: family, food, church, traditions, new things, old things. But I have to say that usually when it’s all over I feel like purging, in more than one way.* Our families were so generous to us this year; more than we deserve in more than one way. It left me feeling very indulgent and got me thinking about what I love about Christmas. What’s important; what I want my kids to focus on; what traditions we want to keep; which ones we need to purge. I for one felt a little frantic, like when we finally got to the moments we’d been waiting for, we rushed through them, took a couple pictures, hurried to clean up and move on to the next thing. A lot of this has to do with us bopping back and forth between two wonderful families, two sets of meaningful traditions and all our years of expectations about holidays, but I haven’t quite figured out how to make it all work.

{pleased as punch}

So what’s a girl to do? (Besides finish off the holiday goodies of course.)


So that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Purging some of my expectations about the holidays; purging some of the assumed obligations (including, eek, GIFTS, or at least the type of gifts), and purging some stuff.

{handmade by my sister}

We don’t need all the stuff we have, we don’t use all the stuff we have. So with the feelings of indulgency (is that word?) I’ve decided we need a stuff purge. A giant ikea bag has already been started. Now there are some really good ways to get rid of extra things and help others. We’re big fans of the little thrift shop around the corner that supports the local church which has a community dinner every Sunday night for those who need it. Scored a sweet chalkboard there.

Another great option is You can check out their website, but this is a great option because people actually come and get the stuff from you. (When I was working with people who were homeless I was able to get some really nice and necessary things for new homes throug this) Goodwill, Salvation Army, Women’s shelters, etc. There are plenty of good places that need your stuff more than you do. Find one that feels good.

Oh and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

*I do not condone forms of purging that involve vomit.

So it’s been a while


Can you tell school started up again? With that internship? and the job? Not that my blog posts are that interesting, but they haven’t been so high on the priority list for, oh let’s say, the last month. About a month ago though, we went to our last Cubs game of the season with Gar-bear and my sister. The weather was perfect, my view was obstructed, and the Cubs got killed. I told Gar-bear it wouldn’t have been an authentic Cubs experience if they won 🙂

{taking the L}

{Poppa Bear and 2 of his girls}

non-food fun


There are other things to do at the fair besides eat.

{Ye Old Mill}

Like ride the Ye Old Mill. The Ye Old Mill is one of those things we pay money to go on simply because it’s tradition.  It’s basically a tunnel of love spiced with historic references.

{sky glider}

We always walk uphill to get to the other sky glider station so we can take pictures and we descend onto the main drag.

and photograph ourselves.


In case you were wondering, this is quite  popular event.

State fair


I have a lot of affection for the Iowa State Fair. You might say I love it. A lot of it has to do with the food. I attempted to photographically document everything we ate. I failed on 2 accounts: Josh’s corndog upon arrival and the nut rolls I took home. Now this was not a normal year, we usually eat more because we go 3-4 times. We could only go twice this time and both visits were short. We did what we could.

{marinated turkey tenderloin with grilled onions}

This is one of my favorites and I believe it might be one of the more healthy things in the vicinity. But seriously where they heck do they get turkeys with tenderloins that big?!

{cup of cookies}

I must have at the fair. They have it down to a science so they’re not burning your mouth, but still warm and stacked as high as they can. (Side note: teenage Josh worked at this stand he said they paid like $1.50/hr)

{fried pickles}

I just like pickles. With a side of ranch.

This is really a pathetic showing for our first night there, but you get the idea.



They used to have this section in the Des Moines Register where kids could send in drawings of eggs with clever names like Mr. Eggcellent (that’s a terrible example) I’m sure this was in the comic section because I’m not really sure what other parts of the paper I would be looking at as a child. Anyway I kind of thought they were dumb.

So even though the youngest person at my in-laws this Easter was my 23 year old sister-in-law, we still dyed eggs!  I had seen this great post about dying easter eggs and lucky the fam let me mess up some of the colors to try out the oil one. Luckily I think it turned out awesome. MIL even let me take it home 🙂