Archive

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Christmas Break

December 26th, 2018 No comments

Friday (12/21) was the first official day of my Christmas vacation, but before I could consider myself truly off work, I had my company’s Christmas luncheon to attend. It was at the local steakhouse they’ve been holding it for years and I sat next to the company owner’s wife whom I really like. The VP of the company, the sales manager, the owner, my boss, and the other girl on our team were also at my table.

They decided to forgo the grab bag this year and instead sold raffle tickets. The winner got half the pot with the other half going toward the charity of their choice. Guess who won? The VP! He got teased a lot because I guess he wins stuff often. He also seemed embarrassed to have won and assured us his winnings would go toward some nice lunches for us in the office. HR told me he didn’t want the money – he just wanted to participate to be a good sport. I think that’s great, but in that case I think it would have been better if he hadn’t put his name on the raffle tickets. It’s just not a good look when a higher up wins something – one of the workers could use that money more (and more than a free lunch or two since I believe it was over $100).

I ended up with an overcooked steak because I forgot to specify how I wanted it cooked and the waitress didn’t prompt me, so that part kinda sucked, but it still tasted good, if a little dry. I decided to try and Peachtini and woo boy, did that go straight to my head! Half a glass and I had to stop, eat a roll, and drink some water. It was super strong and I hadn’t eaten at all that day so I only ended up having a single drink instead of two. By the time I was ready for the second one the party was wrapping up.

I almost forgot – every year they give out chocolate bars to everyone (Wonka bars they’re called, which are really Hershey bars (or in past years, Russell Stover) with an additional wrap over the original wrapping) and in three bars is a golden ticket that gives the winner an extra day off with pay. This year I won one! First time in the past five years. I am sure some people weren’t thrilled since I’m part time and only work three days a week as it is, lol.

Edited to add: My boss gave us $25 gift cards to Amazon, but they were late being delivered so we didn’t get them until we returned to the office after the holiday.

I can’t even remember at this point what we did on Saturday or Sunday so it must have not been terribly exciting.

Monday (12/24) (Christmas Eve) I did some cleaning and prepared some cheesy grits casserole and cranberry sauce to take to my parents’ house. We arrived there just around 6 pm and stayed until 10 pm. Despite that, we never got around to playing any games. We did Secret Santa and apparently by triple wrapping one of J’s gifts I had him convinced the present was from B, despite the fact that it was a bag of peanut snacks from Trader Joe’s that he had snacked on when he was visiting me here in November. He even told me he’d like some for Christmas!

B’s girlfriend pulled my name and she gave me a candle trimmer, lemongrass essential oil, and the game 5 Second Rule – all of which was on my list of ideas. I felt bad all Joe got her was a Dollar Tree gift card but B only wrote gift cards on her list of ideas (she wasn’t present when we pulled names). My dad (really my mom) got Joe a gift card for Binny’s and a bunch of sprinkles to be funny because Joe loves ice cream with sprinkles. Too bad we have so many unused sprinkles already at home! I seriously don’t know what to do with them all since when he eats ice cream at home he doesn’t use sprinkles. He only gets them from Culvers or an ice cream shop.

Tuesday (12/25) (Christmas) we went to an early morning matinee of Holmes & Watson which, unfortunately, was not good. It tried to be funny but really wasn’t. That’s the second time we’ve seen a Will Ferrell movie on Christmas Day – the first being Anchorman 2 in 2013 – that has sucked. I really thought since he and John C Reilly were so good together in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers that this movie would be hilarious as well but it was a huge disappointment.

After the movie we had Wookie open her presents and we exchanged stocking stuffers. I got some candy, salt and vinegar chips, makeup/hair stuff, a clip for my purse, microfiber cleaning cloths for my electronic devices, and these awesome crystal nail files.

I felt bad I only got Joe a few things when he got me a lot of little stuff, although I think he got more for me because I didn’t end up getting my iPhone as originally planned whereas he got the new laptop. I got him a box of Pot of Gold, a package of beef jerky, and a portable battery to charge his phone and tablet when he’s traveling.

We ate leftovers from my parents’ for lunch and made a steak to share for dinner. We just mostly hung around the house being lazy inbetween meals. I got my DS out and charged it and played Dr. Mario and Planet Puzzle League. Ever since I saw that you can download Dr. Mario to play on the new Nintendo Switch I’ve been wanting to play it again. I wish Dr. Mario was available in the app store. Why Nintendo isn’t interested in that market is beyond me; they could make a lot of money!

Earlier today (12/26) we ran to a few stores to see what was available on clearance. I wanted to get a candle holder from Bath & Body Works but they were all sold out and there was a crazy long line so we left. I did get this cute Christmas dress for Wookie at Petco, though. Gotta love 75% off after Christmas discounts!

As long as I refer to it as her jacket, she doesn’t want to tear me from limb to limb when I put it on or take it off.

After our little shopping trip I made a peanut butter cup pie while Joe re-caulked the master bathroom tub. He also re-caulked the kitchen sink which looks nice.

I’ve got work tomorrow, but then I’ll be off again until next Wednesday. We have the kids coming over for Christmas on Friday so we’re looking forward to that.

Categories: Family, Food, Holidays Tags:

Weekend Wrap-up

December 17th, 2018 No comments

Saturday (12/15) we decided to head to Naperville to check out the Christkindlmarket. I’ve heard about it over the years but have never gone.

Unfortunately, it was super crowded so we didn’t stick around too long. We did buy some overpriced ($8) cinnamon sugar cashews. So far the best roasted nuts I’ve had was in the Miller Park in Milwaukee.

When we initially came out of the parking garage, we saw Empire (a burger bar) in the distance and it looked so cool we decided not to get any more food at the market and instead went there for lunch. We got to sit upstairs with the interesting view, but didn’t find the food itself as impressive as we would have preferred considering the price. We ordered their Empire Tots, Burger Cigars, and split the Empire Burger. First off, we were expecting a bunch of tater tots but got four very big potato patties covered in cheese, bacon, and a ranch drizzle with a fried egg and green onions on top. While that sounds good, I wasn’t a fan of the flavor combination.

Same goes for the burger. Something about the cream cheese mixing with the maple bourbon syrup produced a plastic-like flavor, like I was eating a beach ball, so Joe ate most of it. The Burger Cigars were by far the best part, save for the fact they were cold inside.

So while we really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food was lackluster enough that we don’t plan on returning.

After lunch we headed home and ended up watching Equalizer 2 that evening which we both enjoyed.

Sunday (12/16) we went to a morning matinee of Ralph Breaks The Internet which I thought was good. Was it better than the original? So hard to say. I liked that Disney was able to poke fun of themselves with all the Disney Princesses. I’m looking forward to seeing it again when it comes to DVD.

Once we got back we decided to take Wookie to the dog park since it was relatively warm compared to how it’s been lately. Unfortunately it was super muddy on the path leading to the park so I had to carry her into the park. She got a little dirty in the park but not too bad.

Once we got home Joe washed my car which was really nice.

Categories: Excursions, Food, Movies, Pets Tags:

Korean Fried Chicken

December 10th, 2018 No comments

This weekend I wasn’t in the mood to look at Christmas lights (as originally planned) so we didn’t do much in the way of “fun” even though we still enjoyed ourselves. Joe was in Denver again during the week so I made crockpot chicken taco soup on Friday (12/07) since I knew he’d want something home cooked.

Saturday (12/08) we did a crap ton of grocery shopping hitting a total of five stores in the morning. I found this awesome mint Oreo hot chocolate at Meijer. Can’t wait to try it!

I also picked up a $2.89 bottle of Moscato from Aldi at a coworker’s suggestion.

Unfortunately, I didn’t care for it, although it’s better than most wines I’ve had. I’m thinking of getting some fruits and turning it into sangria.

That being said, I had a total brain fart and forgot to buy a ham when we were at Meijer so we ran back over there on Sunday (12/09) morning before going to Costco. Then we came home and had breakfast before heading out to Schaumburg to do a little more shopping. I wanted to go to Bed Bath & Beyond for a placemat for Wookie since I saw they carried them online. Had a 20% off coupon so the one I picked out was just over $5.

Isn’t it cute? I was so happy to find something small since her bowls really don’t take up much space.

I purchased a few plastic hinged pill containers from The Container Store to replace the screw-on lid ones I had been using. I keep xanax in one and melatonin in another and they are so squeaky and annoying to open which I do daily for the melatonin so I’m so happy to have the new containers.

I also got two of the larger ones to keep pain relievers in upstairs. It’s the little things, seriously.

We hit a few other stores just to look around (At Home, Michaels, and Home Goods) before deciding to look for somewhere to eat lunch. We just so happened to be in the same strip mall as a new Korean fried chicken place called Bonchon. We tried their chicken strips in half soy garlic and half spicy and both flavors were delicious! They came with some very delicious creamy coleslaw. I’m pretty picky when it comes to coleslaw but theirs was awesome. We also shared an order of their Bulgogi (marinated rib-eye) tacos which were also very yummy. They only give you chopsticks which was a bit challenging at first but we got the hang of it well enough. I was going to ask if they had forks, but no one else was using them so we stuck with the chopsticks. Interestingly enough, the music playing inside the restaurant was all hip hop and rap and while I don’t go out of my way to listen to that genre, I wasn’t hating it.

I wanted to try the pork buns but Joe was hesitant so maybe next time now that he knows the place makes good food.

Today (12/10) I got it in my head that I should do a deep clean of the master bedroom so while all the bedding was being washed I used the shop vac to vacuum the mattress and topper, cleaned the blinds, and also threw the drapes in the wash. I used the shop vac to clean behind furniture too. It’s safe to say the bedroom is cleaner than it’s been in a long time. I am interested to see if it helps us sleep better. Last night I actually slept from 10:30 until almost 8 am. Lately I can’t seem to sleep past 6 am so that was refreshing, although it might mess me up for bed tonight. I hope not!

Oh, on Friday I decided to sign up for the three month trial of Spotify Premium for 99 cents and so far I am liking it better than Pandora. Earlier today I was looking at a list of all the albums released this year and saw that a few of my favorite artists (Orbital, Moby, Owl City, and deadmau5) have new music out so I created a big playlist of music to listen to this week at work. We’re also having steaks for dinner which we almost never do so yea, life is good.

Categories: Food, Shopping Tags:

Sangria & Laser Queen

November 5th, 2018 Comments off

Friday evening we decide to grab dinner from TacoMaya. A location opened nearby two months ago and it was already our THIRD visit because the food is THAT good. This trip I decided to try their sangria.

At first I didn’t think it was that great with all that orange flavor, but it was strong, and yes, yours truly got a bit tipsy from one glass. Call me a cheap date I guess. Our post-dinner trip to Target was all that more fun. We got a few things from the Halloween section since it was on clearance (50% off). I already put them away for next year but there’s a small orange ceramic bowl that says witch better have my candy inside and an all black skull.

Speaking of clearance, Saturday we went to Walmart and their Halloween stuff was also on clearance (75% off) so we got some orange crackling light bulbs and two projectors that will look really cool in the windows next year.

Saturday night we went to Cernan Earth and Space Center to see Laser Queen. I’ve never wanted to be high more in my life. The show was trippy enough straight but I can only imagine how cool it would be while on acid. Too bad those days are long behind me.

PLAYLIST
We Will Rock You
Bicycle Race
Another One Bites the Dust
Best Friend
Flash
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Somebody to Love
I Want it All
Stone Cold Crazy
Princes of the Universe
Killer Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody
We are the Champions

After the show we were treated to a short five-minute view of the night sky via their telescope which was pretty cool. I definitely want to go back for their full star shows. We get so much light pollution here you can’t see 75% of what’s up there. In places like Arizona you can literally view the Milky Way at night. How cool is that?

Categories: Excursions, Food Tags:

Court & Wookie’s Birthday

September 25th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (09/21) Joe worked from home and we went down to the Bridgeview courthouse to look into how to stop getting a $36 annual fee for old child support accounts that are still open with the state. Apparently even though the terms of the orders were fulfilled, you have to appear before a judge to have the account closed. Of course, trying to even find out WHERE to go has been an exercise in frustration because you can speak to three people and each will give you a different answer. We had been convinced, thanks to a conversation Joe had with someone, that we needed to go downtown. Luckily I called the number on the paperwork and was instructed, in not the nicest manner I might add, that we needed to go to the court where the order originated, which would be Bridgeview. I wasn’t 100% convinced that was true, but figured it would waste a lot less time and money going there and being wrong than heading into the city.

Luckily that information was correct. We had to fill out some very complicated and not self-explanatory forms, and then file that same information online on computers they have set up for that purpose. That process, too, was not easy whatsoever and required an employee to stand with us to show us every step. Your tax dollars at work!

FINALLY, after much back and forth, he had his court dates. Yes, that is plural, because when his pain in the ass ex originally filed for child support it was before they were divorced (and she was awarded LESS money than he was already giving her (that’s what she gets for being greedy)), and then a new order was opened when they divorced since it also included alimony. The original order wasn’t closed, however, and because one is strictly child support and the other divorce related, he has to see two different judges on two different days because certain cases are only heard on particular days. Fun! Again, your tax dollars at work.

I have no plans on accompanying him to either court date because a) I will be at work for one of them and b) I have a difficult time hiding my disdain for this entire ridiculously convoluted process.

Observations:

They really need to stop hiring people who hate people in general, because the woman I spoke with on the phone was pretty condescending, not to mention stupid. She told me since the accounts had a $0 balance there was nothing we needed to do despite the paperwork stating otherwise. And she works in the department that handles these queries on the regular!

It makes no sense that the automated process knows when to stop deducting child support from his checks but you still need to appear before the judge to officially close the account and stop getting billed an annual fee for account maintenance. Just another way Illinois tries to get money as much money as possible out of people!

Anyway, I was more aggravated than Joe was once we left the office. We stopped for some breakfast before heading back home so he could do some work and I could clean the house. I did a quicker job than I usually do since I wasn’t really in the mood plus didn’t have as much time to get things done.

Friday was also Wookie’s birthday so we gave her some special treats and new toys to celebrate.

Wookie’s Birthday Presents

I also ordered this cute Chewbacca treat jar a couple of weeks ago from Petco since it was only $8 and practically has her name on it.

Star Wars Treat Jar

We also took her to the dog park before the regular time most people go since she prefers to be alone to sniff all the areas without being bothered. It worked out well since we met up with our friend, D, for dinner at Culvers followed by miniature golf. After golf we ended up at a dive bar where her friend was hanging out and had a few drinks and played pool. By the time we got home it was around 10 but I wasn’t able to get to sleep until after 1 am!

Because of that, we got up later than usual on Saturday (09/22). I wanted another Acai bowl from Costco so we headed there for breakfast. This time we each got our own. I just wish they had put more granola in there.

Costco Acai Bowl

We also stopped at Walmart for a few things and ran into our friend SL there. I found a pair of Halloween themed leggings that are super cute too.

Halloween Leggings

Later that afternoon we also took a trip to the library which we haven’t done in months. Having free On Demand movies through Joe’s work has eliminated the need to borrow any, but I did want some books and Joe wanted to check out the new music releases. I want to state for the record that having access to movies via On Demand is really convenient, but at the same time I miss the excitement of going to the library to see what good stuff you might find in stock. It’s just not the same when everything is so readily available.

Sunday (09/23) morning we finished our breakfast leftovers from Friday before heading to a charity dog show nearby. It was held in the same place as another dog event that apparently lost funding and ceased after several years. This new one was sponsored by a local animal hospital and the turnout was even worse than the aforementioned festival. There were far less booths, only two food trucks, and no place to sit and enjoy the various contests going on (such as waggiest tail, best costume, etc). The festival would have bleachers which is a must because this park is just littered with goose feces. Ick! I told Joe that if they hold the event again next year we should bring our own chairs so we can stay longer. We were there for about two hours anyway, but it was such a nice day out I would have liked to have stayed longer.

Monday (09/24) I headed to Savers but it was a bust. Did see this very unique Deadmau5 artwork, however.

Deadmau5 Artwork

I also went to Target where I ended up spending $55 on fall and Halloween decor! They had a spiderweb tablecloth that I wanted, plus a matching table runner, and by that point I figured I’d re-buy some black pumpkins to get the $5 off $30 deal and then return the original ones from my receipt earlier in the month. I also spent a lot of time digging through the disorganized Bullseye Playground section as well and found some cute fall things although I’m starting to rethink the light up leaves as they aren’t as cute as I originally thought.

New Fall Decor

Note: The pumpkin lights aren’t from the cheap section.

Categories: Food, Friends, Pets, Shopping Tags: