Tag Archives: Saturday

Tasty Tuesday: Honey Yogurt Dip

We had some people over on Saturday. A melting pot of people from all the different areas of our life. We ladies had some fun with makeup (more on that Friday) while the guys watched basketball. Then we all went line dancing! I’m getting pretty good at it by now.

So for the get together at our place, I decided that I would cook appetizers. I settled on 4 relatively simple recipes. When people started arriving and I was only half done cooking, I realized I may have been a bit ambitious. BUT, I did discover this amazing recipe. It took a total of 3 minutes and was one of the tastiest things on the table.

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Honey Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (organic and/or goat is better, raw is best)
  • 2 Tbsp honey (local is best)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • Any fruit that’s in season

Instructions:

  1. Cut up your fruit into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together and serve!

Also, it snowed here again! About 5 inches in 24 hours. I had the day off and managed to catch the flu so it was the perfect weather to snuggle up on the couch, watch marathon TV, and drink pots of tea. But just to prove how amazing the Midwest is, a random, kindly citizen cleaned off my car! There is no way for me to know who did it so they just did it from the kindness of their heart. Peoria really isn’t so bad 🙂

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I hope you’re having a happy day. Love and hugs – Ash

Fun Times Friday: Lunch Date and Line Dancing!

Happy Friday everyone! You made it. Since you’re coming up on some blissful rest days, I thought I’d give you a few ideas for a day out. Here in Illinois, it’s bitterly cold; last Saturday we had a heat wave when it got up to 45°F. Mike and I are beginning to get cabin fever couped up inside all day long. So since, it was my date day last Saturday, I got us out and around town as much as possible. All while staying under a budget.

First we picked up lunch from a wonderful little bakery/caterer/deli in Peoria. It’s called the Cracked Pepper and they had pepper grinders everywhere!

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These were my favorites. Isn’t the gold so pretty?

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Then, because the sun was out, we drove down to the Peoria waterfront and ate our lunch on a bench outside. We bundled up so we wouldn’t freeze and it was so wonderful to just sit in the sun. And cheap!

Then, ever the scavengers for cheap activities, we headed to the Caterpillar Visitors Museum to check out all the big machines Mike helps build. He gets in for free and I only cost $7. Sweet! Keep a lookout for student, senior, employee deals in your area to save yourself some dough. You can find out events and discounts in local (free) papers and handouts in newspaper stands.

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I lost track of what all the machines were called… But they’re cool! And Mike helps make them 🙂

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This is the WHEEL of the biggest truck made, ever, in the world. It’s used for mining and the bed of it is 35 feet wide. In the museum, they fit a movie theater in it. So sweet.

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The simulator driver things. I had really wanted to get my operators license until I tried this thing. Mike was awesome. Me, not so good. Lol.

Then that night…drumroll please…we went line dancing! What?? I never really thought about it but, of course, line dancing in the midwest is the real deal. It was about 20 minutes from our house in a real barn called Stone Country Saloon. There was a massive dance floor and tons of locals (none of them wearing plaid oddly enough). It turns out that when I get a couple beers in me, I’m really pretty good at line dancing. I pick up the moves like a champ. By the end, I had people coming up and teaching me the steps. I guess that’s normal in these places but I felt privileged.

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Mike stayed at the bar to watch most of the time but jumped in when he felt he could do it. Isn’t it weird how much more nervous to mess up men are when it comes to dancing? Maybe it’s their lack of hips. I don’t know.

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But I’m in love. I’m going back this weekend. I want to get to know the patrons there. And the awesome saloon owner, Dan. And I WILL get good at line dancing before leaving the midwest.

On top of all this wonderfulness, the cover on a Saturday is $7 (a little steep) but the beers were $3 (makes everything ok).

What are some sweet deals you’ve found in your area? I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

The Dark Side of Happy

I recently updated my “about me” to include a few rules. One of them is that I have to tell the dark side of being happy. There is one. And, although it’s not around the majority of the time, it does drop by for a cup of tea every few weeks.

“You can’t know happy without knowing sad.” – My Dad

That’s true actually, you can’t recognize the happiest moments of your life unless you have something to compare them to. On that same token, everyone’s moments operate on a different scale. Your sad may be MUCH sadder than mine. I think that’s the case as people get older and they experience more loss and hardship. But that’s also why, as people get older, they have the opportunity to really find happiness. Because they can find it in the smallest of victories, the smallest of successes and joys. Middle school sucked. I had very little sad in my life so every tiny thing that went wrong seemed catastrophic. Back then, my biggest crush completely ignoring me was heart breaking. My definition of heartbreak shifted massively when he died in his sleep ten years later at the premature age of 24.

With every big life experience, my happy/sad scale shifts, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore the three-day stints of deep melancholy that seem to creep up on me. They happen about once every few weeks in the Winter and once every month or two in the Summer. It’s almost like I can feel when they’re coming. I can fight them off for days but something always triggers a breakdown. Last week, it was my wonderful Google Hangout session with my girlfriends. I’d been sleepless, working a lot, and having some lonely days. Then I saw their smiling, beautiful, happy faces, and my self-pity just threw me over the edge.

So accepted it. I let myself be sad for 24 hours. I forgave myself for the 20 minute cry session and for being morose for a day. Every happy person has to come down from that plateau high up in the sky. Happiness takes work and sometimes you just need a break.

After the 24 hours passed, I put on my hiking boots and started the climb back up that plateau. I talked to a few of the people who love me unconditionally. First I cried to Mike but the poor guy can only take so much. When I felt that he needed a break from listening to my whining (because that’s what it was) I just called my family and spilled my heart to whoever picked up the phone first. By now they know what I need and they just listened to all the reasons my life was “terrible.”

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Then I spent the day slowly setting up activities for the weekend. First, to perk my mood, I drove my car through a car wash. Who doesn’t love to turn up the music and watch the water swirl around?? Then, that night, I had dinner with some bike girls in the area and got closer with one really cool chick. On Saturday Mike and I went on a lovely afternoon date and that night we went line dancing! (< more on this stuff later) On Sunday I went for Indian buffet with a few new friends from work. I was the only one who could pull myself out of the funk and, for me, I knew I just needed to be around other people.

So here I arrive at Monday, completely exhausted but in a MUCH better mood. I’m cresting the happy plateau today and hopefully I’ll be able to stay up here for a few weeks. Whatever the case I know I can’t possibly understand happy without a little sad 🙂

 

Monday Mayhem: Cyclocross Nationals

Gooooooood Morning! This weekend was Mike’s birthday. We decided to drive three hours up to Madison, Wisconsin to see some friends race and check out the city. What an awesome 48 hours it was.

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Mike’s best friend, Kevin, decided to make the 5 hour trek from Cincinnati, Ohio to surprise Mike and spend the weekend with us. I have never seen Mike genuinely surprised and it was so wonderful. After a few awkward moments of, “What the heck are you doing here??” They were both so happy. The sarcasm and inside jokes started immediately and lasted all weekend. Luckily I know them both well enough that I could be included.

Madison is a really great city. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Wisconsin University has 42,000 students. In a city of 250,000 residents, they have a huge impact on the fabric of the city. Their downtown is full of hippie dippie restaurants and shops and we all felt right at home 🙂 On top of that, I love the urban design and architecture of Madison and would love to spend some real time there.

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After we woke Mike up with Happy Birthday and cupcakes, we spent all day Saturday watching Cyclocross bike races. They are a combination between road racing and mountain bike racing. Basically racing in parks and on hills and through mud and over obstacles. Unfortunately, Wisconsin in January is very wet and very cold. The mud was about 6″ deep and it was 20°F. Mike, Kevin, and I were SO happy to be spectators instead of racers. We got to watch our friend, Katy race. She’s incredibly strong and came in 6th! Not bad for collegiate nationals!

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We also got to spend some time in the indoor pool and jacuzzi and our hotel. It came in very handy when our hands and feet were completely frozen. Can you imagine how the racers felt??

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Some awesome businesses we visited in Madison: The Great Dane Pub and The Old Fashioned Restaurants (cheese curds with garlic sauce and grass-fed beef burger, YUM)

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Mike’s birthday was a success. We were all reminded how awesome bike racing is and are starting to get excited about the upcoming road racing season. I also, thankfully, remembered that there is life outside of Peoria and that I have friends! Haha. I’m struggling a bit here but looking forward to being able to plan some of our future over the next couple months.