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Weekend Wrap-up

December 17th, 2018 Comments off

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 Comments off

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:

Septemberfest & Labor Day Weekend

September 5th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (8/31) Joe and I decided to have dinner at The Village Inn Tavern since we haven’t eaten there in years. I don’t know why, but that place just doesn’t thrill me that much even though the food isn’t bad. I had a Reuben with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and Joe had the all you can eat fish. Our bill with tip was $36 which seems high for that type of food. In contrast, we went to Chuy’s out in Schaumburg on Sunday for lunch and paid closer to $30 and enjoyed our meal much more, plus we had a ton of leftovers. The free chips, salsa, and jalapeno dip alone can really fill you up, plus we got free queso for checking into Facebook (which I had planned to do anyway). I got their #1 combo and Joe got the #2 but I think next time maybe I’ll just get the chicken flautas since that was my favorite part of my plate. I also liked the enchiladas, but could have done without the ground beef taco, rice, or beans.

After dinner on Friday we headed to Target where I found some nice unscented candles on clearance. I ended up buying five for only $13.14 (regular price was $29.25 and the cashier forgot to scan one of the candles for some reason). I originally intended to gift them to my mom but I’m thinking about keeping them for myself. I wrapped them multiple times in plastic bags and put them in an upstairs closet to keep out any scents just in case, though.

I also got a candlescape set on clearance. In addition, we found a box of six solar pathway lights (called Malibu lights back in the day) on clearance for $10.50 and decided to get those for the front walkway. Joe put them up and they look so nice! I’ve always wanted some but didn’t want to shell out a lot of money so we were both pretty excited about our find.

Saturday (9/1) we took my car to the dealership for them to do recall work. Apparently the car can stall at low speeds when the A/C is on full blast. I never run it that high, especially now that my windows are tinted, but got that out of the way anyway. The recall was announced the week before I took my car in to get the headunit updated since my bluetooth was randomly disconnecting, so I wish they had done the work then, but they claim they didn’t know about it at the time. While they worked on the car Joe and I first had breakfast at Taco Bell and then went to check out a dog boarding place nearby. Unfortunately I don’t think it would be a good fit for Wookie since it’s similar to the place near the house that makes her anxious. We also hit up Dollar Tree to look around and by then the car was done.

Sunday (9/2) we headed to Schaumburg for Septemberfest since they always have the best craft booths. We found really close parking too which was nice. What wasn’t nice was how muddy the grounds were because it had been raining all weekend. I’m so glad I didn’t wear my new grey sneakers or flip flops like I had been contemplating because our shoes were caked in mud and I had to clean them in the sink when we got home. We ran into my friend, C, which I totally expected since I know she loves that fest. It took us about an hour to go through all the craft booths and by then it was already getting really warm so we decided to take off. Chuy’s wasn’t open yet so we decided to kill some time by checking out a pet store, Dollar Tree, and Target in the area. I got a new toy for Wookie at the pet store but she doesn’t seem to like it very much. I found a cute Beware sign at Dollar Tree and since I couldn’t decide between the orange and white one I got both. At Target we found another box of the solar pathway lights and they were even cheaper – $7.50. Score! We decided to put them around our back patio.

Labor Day (9/3) we dropped Wookie off for a half day of doggie daycare and did some shopping, then I came home and documented all my Halloween decor so I know what I do and don’t need this year. Hint: I don’t NEED anything but I might see something I really want. Also, I wouldn’t be sad if I found a nicer door hanger than the one I’ve been using for years. I also decorated for fall because I couldn’t wait.

During this process we cleaned up the garage a bit more and I came across a storage tub of my old stuffed toys from my childhood that I had completely forgot I even had. In it were my Pound Puppies, Pound Kitty, Fluppy Puppy, Garfield, and my Popple amongst others. I can’t believe how clean they still are after 30+ years! I definitely need to get some pictures of them and decide whether I’m willing to part with any of them. I think not for the Popple but the others are up for debate. I do want to get rid of my Care Bear collection since that one was acquired as an adult (why???) but they’ve just been sitting in a bin for years with tags still on. What a waste of space.

We made cheddar brats for dinner on Monday and then ended up eating our Chuy’s leftovers for dinner on Tuesday.

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