Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29th, 2012 - JJ

1. The Target 2 for 1 frappuccino deal, and a co-worker (YAY JENNA!) who is always willing to hit up Starbucks with me!  Just got my mocha frap with raspberry. Tastes like a raspberry truffle. YUM!
2. That the picture on this website is fake:  If it wasn't, it would pretty much be my worst nightmare.
3. Summer thunderstorms in Chicago!! It's nice and stormy outside right now, and I'm very thankful to be in the office where I can watch it while staying cool and dry.
4. Our new intern, who asks clarifying questions about the assignments we give him, and generally gets the job done right the first time. It's pretty amazing and very much appreciated!!
5. That I get to see Nika, her husband, and their adorable baby this weekend. I can't wait! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28th, 2012 - JJ

1. In school loan deferments. The only good thing about still technically being in grad school.
2. That Derick makes my lunch for me. Makes my morning move a little more smoothly in the hours prior to maximum caffeine comsumption.
3. Air conditioning. Very important and wonderful on this 100something degree day we're having, especially with the humidity.
4. That I have no other meetings scheduled for this week, and that I get to leave the office in approximately 5 minutes!
5. The little turtle figurine that Jenna gave me today!!! Because now I have the "I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim" song stuck in my head and it makes me happy.  Ihereby name my little turtle Tiny Tim. Glub glub!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27th - Heather

1.  Swimming at lunch!

2.  Mani/pedi plans the day before JJ & Derick's wedding!

3.  The option of sleeping and then writing my paper in the morning since it isn't coming out right tonight.

4.   Sleep!  I was up too late last night reading and blogging.

5.  Wet hair in the middle of the day.  I love when my hair is's the only time my curls are truly ruly.

June 27th, 2012 - JJ

It's late today, but I'm writing it now because I've been sitting here working instead of relaxing after a long day at work, and it's made me grouchy so I need to be thankful.
1. That Derick and I do the same thing(ish) for a living. Definitely helps to be able to troubleshoot and brainstorm with him when I'm working on a particularly tough behavior plan.
2. That Derick got his results back from the BACB exam and he passed! Horray for having a board certified behavior analyst for an almost husband!! I'm so proud of him and happy for him!!
3. For having a sunroof.  It's so hot lately that I can only use it in the morning, but I still love it!
4. That I got a few more wedding to dos crossed off of my list today, even though I was really busy at work. Gotta love multi-tasking!!
5. Left over smoke house pizza from Revolution. Best pizza ever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26th - Heather

1.  Actually finishing all of my reading for this weeks assignments!!!!  So tomorrow night I can just focus on writing!!!

2.  Getting to share some of my favorite things about Seattle with strangers.  After dinner I went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up the current issue of The Atlantic, because the cover story about work-life balance looks interesting.  I sat down at a long table to start studying at the same time as an older couple sat down as well...they were looking at travel guides on Seattle.  I asked them when they were going and mentioned that I'm from there and we chatted for quite some time.  At one point there was another customer who overheard us that was also going to Seattle!  How ironic?!?!

3.  Post it notes!!!!  I have post it notes of all sizes and colors and have found that they make a great space for taking notes on the text as I'm reading it when there isn't enough room in the margins.

4.  Lunch with Josie today!  We had sushi, which is always wonderful, and chatted on and on about life, grad school and a little about work!  :)

5.  "Kitten in a Box"...he's just so cute!!!  Followed my "Paws on My Heart"

June 26th, 2012 - JJ

1. Derick, who did the dishes for me last night before I got home from a long day of training at work.
2. Mousse and curl "re-activation" spray, for taming my crazy locks.
3. Muffin, who slept right next to me all night last night.
4. That Allagash didn't make any messes last night for me to clean up in the morning. I usually wake up to some kind of mess, but not today!
5. Less than a month until Derick and I get married!  Can't wait! :)
6. Getting to catch up with a friend last night while I folded laundry. Made the chore much more enjoyable, and I'm also glad to hear he's doing well after a series of unfortunate events.
7. Bananas that are still a little green.
8. Derick again, but this time for buying all of my favorite fruits! We have raspberries, slightly green bananas, mangos, kiwis, and cherries!
9. That I was on time this morning despite an unexpected phone call while I was getting ready, technological difficulties in printing at home, and having to back down the entire alley because the trash truck was coming through from the way I usually go out.
10. Kate for driving Mary and I to the training yesterday, and that both of them were as ready to high tail it out of there when it was over as I was. 8 hours of sitting in hard chairs is too much!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25th - Heather

1. Swimming with Jodi today.  We grabbed water weights and swam and chatted.  Very pleasant!

2.  Having a fan in my room.  It's cool enough outside that we turned the ac off, but my space gets stuffy, so the fan is perfect.

3.  Quesadillas!  My mom made some for dinner...topped with half an avocado...yum!!!

4.  Getting some reading done for class.  I was leaving it, thinking that I could do all of my reading for the week in one day.... I've learned my lesson....pacing it out now.

5.  Sushi lunch date with a coworker!!!  She had a meeting in the conference room next to my office and popped in to ask me if I wanted to do lunch tomorrow!!!!  I'm so's been way too long since we've chatted and waaay too long since I've had sushi!

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22nd - Heather

1.  Working somewhere with a pool onsite that I can swim in during my lunch break!!!  It has been way too long since I've been swimming and it felt great....meaning it's going to most likely hurt to breathe when I wake up in the morning, much less roll out of bed.  Hmm maybe a.m. yoga would be a good idea tomorrow!

2.  That the calzone from Costco that I brought for lunch, while killing my bonus points for swimming, isn't greasy and is tasty cold...because the idea of heating it up made my forehead perspire just a little more than it was already.

3.  That the weather is soooo pleasant!  Mom and I (and pampered kitties in their stroller) got to enjoy dinner sitting outside of People's Park last night.  And today is very comfortable as well!  Why can't it stay like this ALL summer???

4.  That this pleasant weather is supposed to carry through tomorrow meaning it should be perfect for walking around the Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg.  I'm so excited about a whole festival devoted to strawberries...hands down the best thing after the chocolate festival.  There are so many stories I could tell to illustrate just how much I love strawberries.  I'll spare you their retelling...most of you know them or have heard them before.  And if you haven't heard my strawberry stories....the next time we talk ask me just how much I love strawberries!

5.  That I was able to get this written and posted before our "scheduled maintenance" wipes out my internet connection.  Like the cable guy, we were given a window of anytime between 1 and 6 pm.  And on a Friday afternoon....when the weather outside is so nice...and li'l ol' me can't work...what a shame! 

June 22nd, 2012 - JJ

1. I tried on my wedding dress this morning and it fits so well that I don't think I'll need to wear one of those tummy-sucker-inner-things under it on our wedding day! I'm so thankful for this becase it's going to be crazy hot and humid in Chicago in July, and losing that extra layer will help me be that much more comfortable all day.
2. That I'm not craving any of the foods I've removed from my diet. The only thing I miss is coffee, but I'm not miserable without it. This is shocking, but such a wonderful thing. :)  I'm hoping I've found a system I can maintain long term.
3. The amazing salmon Derick cooked for dinner last night. We put Gronny's Mesquite seasoning (it was a wedding favor from Derick's friends) on it and pan fried it, and it was crispy on the outside and perfect on the inside. So good!!  I could've eaten a whole fish!
4. Our new intern, who is both smart, and fun to talk with. His interests in the field of ABA are very different from our last intern's interests and I think it will be much easier to find teaching moments for him within the scope of what we do. I'm also excited for a second opportunity to improve my supervising skills.
5. I get to see Jenna this afternoon!!  I'm sure she's going to be perfectly tanned and relaxed after her cruise, which will make me a little bit jealous, but I can't wait for her to get into the office! It's just not the same without her!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21st - Heather

1.  Retrospect.  I'm comforted in knowing that everything will make sense when I look back on it.

2.  Crisp comfortable weather!  It's in the 70's and I love it!

3.  Lunch with Mary Beth and Jodi.  I love when the three of us can break away from campus and enjoy an hour of good food and good chatting!

4.  Vitamins....keeping me awake today!  It's kind of amazing how much better I feel when I actually remember to take them.

5.  That I don't have to actually perform research for the research paper that's due in a's a theoretical proposal of the research I'll be doing for my thesis. I was getting worried about just how much work I had to cram into the next few weeks!!!!  Now I know it's just a ton of reading and writing...I can handle that.  If anyone is looking for me over the next three weeks, I'll be in a hole with reading glasses that resemble Belle's father's glasses and a stack of books as tall as the Space Needle!

June 21st, 2012 - JJ

1. That I've been able to write my 5 things every day this week! I've been a pretty big slacker about it lately, so I'm thankful that I've had the time and to do it, and that I've had so much to be thankful for.
2. That I have many friends that I can call who will tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. It's nice to know that there are people in my life who will call me on it if I'm out of line, or who will tell me that I'm making a mistake when I am.
3. Derick and I are getting married in exactly one month! We got our marriage license last night after answering a lot of random questions about our families at the Daley Center downtown. I'm also thankful that we didn't find out that either of us was secretly married in the past or that we were secretly related but didn't know it. That would've sucked!
4. That Jenna should be back in town today!  She's not in the office yet, but I'm hoping I'll get to catch up with her tomorrow and hear all about her cruise!
5. That Derick found me bandaids at the Merchandise Mart yesterday. I thought it was a good idea to dress up a little bit to go get our marriage license since it was a special occasion and something we'd only do once. So of course, when we were walking from our parking spot to the Daley Center I made it approximately two blocks before my shoes busted open blisters on the back of both heels (they weren't even high heeled shoes! But in the heat and humidity the flats rubbed way more than usual on my feet!). Definitely not fun, but I guess that's why they say beauty is pain!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20th - Heather

1.  I finished both my reflection post and my paper before dinner!

2.  Air conditioning!!!!  It's been in the mid 90's with the humidity in the mid 50% range.

3.  Having a batch of brown rice cooked and in the fridge to make some super quick meals!

4.  The picture of Paris that's hanging above my desk that was given to me by the wonderful JJ!

5.  Bedtime...I'm so tired today....I'm ready for a long winter's's summer....hmmm....either way, I'm ready to catch some zzz's.

June 20th, 2012 - JJ

1. Fresh berries. It seems that I'm always thankful for food of one kind of another on my 5 things, and today's thankful food is berries. Also cherries. YUM!
2. That the feeling of being sore doesn't last forever. I am so sore today from the workout we did yesterday morning, and still sore from the workout the day before that.  I'm glad this won't last forever, because it hurts to walk at all right now. I think I'll take it a little easier next time!
3. Sleeping in this morning. We were going to get up and do another work out this morning before work, but when my alarm went off at 5:45, it felt like I had JUST laid down to sleep. Then when I moved to turn it off I realized that everything was sore. So I'm very thankful that we decided to sleep in today because I think my body really needed it!  We'll workout tonight instead.
4. That we're getting our marriage license today! I'm really excited to marry Derick, so all the little things we have to do before the wedding to make it possible are also exciting.
5. That this weekend is supposed to be cooler than this week has been. It's been close to 100 the last few days, which is way too hot! It's supposed to be in the 80s this weekend, and that is MUCH more bearable!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19th, 2012 - JJ

1. The amazing salmon Derick made for dinner last night! It was cooked simply in a pan with a little salt and pepper, and we put a homemade peach salsa over it. Definitely a repeat! So yummy!!
2. My new camera! I took a few awesome pictures of our dinner last night, and have taken a bunch of the kitties. I'm like a kid with a new toy. I want to take it with me every time I leave the house, and as soon as I get home it's the first thing I pick up!
3. My new dresses. I'm wearing one of my favorite ones right now, and I'm loving it!
4. Kelley, for making me feel better about having such a hard time with P90X, and for trying to keep me motivated to continue. I know it will bring results because he looks great, and it's nice to know that he couldn't do everything in the videos when he first started either. It's so hard!!  On that note, I'm also thankful that we got up early again today to workout. Working out in the morning makes me feel pretty great for the rest of the day, even if it REALLY sucks while I'm doing it.
5. Kate's back today!!!  I'm pretty excited to see her this afternoon at our meeting.

June 19th - Heather

At some point in middle school I remember hearing the slogan "Knowledge is Power" - this may or may not be why I was such an insufferable know-it all through high school....but as a lasting result, I value knowledge, even the trivial. 

When I was in debate (both in high school and college) one of the events I competed in was impromptu speaking, and while it seems slightly counter-intuitive that one has to prepare for an impromptu event....prepare we did.  To do so we read....Uncle John's Bathroom Readers!  The stories and factoids became great fodder for impromptu speeches.

It should surprise no one, then, that I have Uncle John's Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader in my collection.  I decided that I would share some of this knowledge today for my 5 things....

1.  "In Canada, it is illegal to board a flight while it's in flight." (pg 108)

2.  For as much as I love ice cream....I'm not eating it in Japan unless the flavor is marked CLEARLY in English.  These are some of the flavors that were introduced during record high temperatures in 2004: horseflesh, viper, eel, soy sauce, abalone....this list goes on.  (pg 162)

3.  "If a cow dies of heatstroke, the gases inside it can expand rapidly and cause the carcass to explode...[that same] gas released by cows' burping and farting is said to be one of the leading causes of holes in the ozone layer.  The world's cows produce about 100 million tons of it every year."  (pg 182)

4.   "Sales of KitKat bars surge in Japan around the time of college entrance exams.  'KitKat' sounds like the Japanese phrase kitto katsu, which means 'good luck.'  Parents buy the candy for their kids as a good luck charm."  (pg 277)

5.  Chewing gum and jelly beans are two things I don't choose to eat very often...and may never again.  "Most jelly beans get their hard, shiny surface from shellac - which is made from insect secretions.  The insects, Laccifer lacca, live in trees, and their secretions coat the branches.  The branches are cut and the shellac is refined from the coating...Some chewing gum still uses castoreum, which is used to enhance flavors.  Produced in the anal glands of beavers, it's also used in perfumes and incense."  (pg 245)

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18th, 2012 - JJ

1. For Derick, who was such a great shopping partner this weekend. We hit the outlets on Saturday to pick up some things we'll need for our honeymoon. I hate shopping, so having Derick there was great! And he's surprisingly good at picking out awesome dresses. I ended up buying 4 (and spending less than $90 total so I'm thankful for the deals too!), 3 of which I never would have picked out for myself, but they all look awesome. I'm so excited! Two are work appropriate, too, which is great.
2. The amazing new camera I bought myself as a treat yesterday. Also thankful for the bonus I got at work that made it possible to buy a new camera. I've been eyeing it for a while and I'm excited to learn all the fancy things it can do! I had so much fun playing with it yesterday, taking pictures of Derick and the cats on various settings, with and without auto focus on. So fun!!
3. The AC we have in the living room. It cools the room down SO quickly which is especially nice when it's going to be upwards of 95 all week with a bunch of humidity. It's also really nice to have AC in the living room because now I can get up in the morning to work out or do yoga without dying of heat. No more excuses!
4. The red belt Jenna found for me. I'm wearing it today with black slacks, a white top, grey cardigan, and red earrings and I love it! There's something about wearing red that makes me feel extra confident.
5. For my dad. We've had our ups and downs over the last few years, but I'm glad we've fixed the things that got broken when I moved away, and that I can call him anytime for anything.
6. For the friend of mine who hooked us up with tickets to see Aziz Ansari during Comedy Week in Chicago this weekend. It was a great show and vastly improved my mood Friday night! I really should watch more comedy. It's good for the soul!
7. That this weekend I was able to clean up our bedroom, finally put our suitcases from Seattle away, and pack away all our winter clothes for the summer. All of these things were long past due. It was so nice to go to bed last night in a clean room. Now I just need to tackle organizing our desk and the several months worth of backlogged filing I have sitting on it and then I'll really feel good about the state of our bedroom.
8. That Kate is coming back to work this week. She's been out for a week and a half, and while it was an easy week, it's always more fun to work with my partner.
9. That I was able to buy a size smaller in some of the clothing I bought over the weekend. Not in all of it, but in some of it. Pretty exciting! :) And it motivated me to get up early this morning to workout, so here's to hoping that continues!
10. For delicious food! We've been cooking a lot lately and haven't really had an epic mess up yet. I'm looking forward to grilled chicken with a spicy mustard sauce and grilled salmon with a spicy peach salsa this week! And of course we'll be making the mushroom recipe we got from my dad again. Delicious!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14th, 2012 - JJ

1. Derick, who wasn't bummed when I bailed on our Revolution plans last night due to not feeling well, and who brought me home Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream when he came back. Best fiance ever!
2. Ice cream. It's not always my favorite thing, but every now and then ice cream the best thing in the whole world. Yesterday ice cream was heavenly and it made my day. I felt like a 3 year old on Christmas morning when Derick handed it to me after he walked in the door. I couldn't open it fast enough! Also thankful that Derick also brought me a spoon, so I didn't even have to get up off the couch to dig into it.
3. Lush bath products. I took a very relalxing bath last night and the bath water was blue and delicious smelling thanks to a Lush bath bomb. It also made my skin smell and feel amazing.
4. The mango and avocado salsa Derick made last night. I ate the left overs with a spoon, that's how delicious it was! I need more asap!!
5. Dane, who always makes me laugh even when I don't feel like laughing. I'm also thankful that he's finally dating someone that I really like. I hope he keeps her forever!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13th - Heather

1.  I ended up staying home from work yesterday.  While at home I realized a huge gap in my food planning....I plan and take breakfast and lunch to work with me...but my body is hungry more often.  Being at home yesterday I nibbled frequently (partially to stay awake while reading...partially because I was hungry).  So when I was packing my lunch today, I packed more little food.  We'll see if it keeps me from trekking down to ABP and noshing on some intoxicatingly toxic pastry!!!

2.  My George Foreman Grill!  While I was living in DC my mom bought me the G5.  I used it most for waffles when I was living in DC....but we put these mushroom gouda burgers on there last night and it was tasty.  Warning...don't clean grill plates after dinner...even if you can touch the grill surface, the underside is still boil-your-skin hot!!!

3.  It's my turn to bask in the graciousness of a friend willing to divulge a password in order to enable an addiction.  Don't's legal... :)

4.  A free iced extra large caramel-macadamia nut latte.  My boss always has multiple punch cards with just a couple punches...she gathers them up and gives them to me once there's ten punches between all the cards and then I get a free coffee!  Coffee is such a wonderful thing...but like my friend Ken says, it tastes better when it's free!

In the time between writing #4 and #5 I popped out to Facebook...this is the cause of the sudden shift in mood...if you can tell that from just reading this.

5.  For knowing Darrell Seeger.  He was one of my co-workers in Seattle at Starbucks and I just found out that he passed away suddenly.  I'm accustomed to leaving friends behind every time I move.  But connecting with them on facebook makes the friendship feel so even though I hadn't talked to Darrell since we were both in Seattle, it took my breath away to hear that he passed.  He was an amazing guy and will be missed and wept for by many.

6.  Thankful that this isn't written in would be awash in tears.

7.  Thankful for my great-aunt's 90th birthday today!  In the sadness of my friend's death, her strong life brings me joy.  I only wish I could be in Seattle to celebrate with her and family.  Happy Birthday Auntie Erma!!!!

8.  The box of tissues I keep on my desk....just for days like this...days when my heart is heavy and eyes won't stop leaking.

9.  Thankful for the heartbreaking reminder that life is fragile and that tomorrow is not guaranteed.

10.  I'm so thankful that everyone of you reading this are part of my life.  Whether it's been ten years or ten days, no matter how far away from me you are geographically, you are right here in my heart!

June 13th, 2012 - JJ

1. The awesome feeling of putting on a skirt I haven't worn since last summer and having it feel much looser, and more comfortable than it did the last time I wore it.
2. Cooler weather. It's still beautiful out, but it's been getting cool enough at night that our house doesn't feel like a furnace any more by the time I wake up.
3. Truffle aioli from Goose Island. So yummy!!
4. Organizational skills. They are coming in handy with all the planning for our wedding. Even though it's small, there's still a lot of little stuff we need to do between now and then! I'm also thankful for Excel and for Proctor Company (and Nika, in large part) for teaching me how to use it. I have all kinds of fun wedding spread sheets now. Woohoo!
5. The lovely sales ladies we met last night. They were very helpful and not pushy at all!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th, 2012 - JJ

1. The AMAZING dinner Derick and I made last night. Unfortunately it heated up the kitchen to an insane degree, but was totally worth it. It was a mediterranean roasted chicken recipe, with potatoes, lemon, and olives cooked in the cast iron skillet on the stove and in the oven with a tomato, cucumber, and feta salad on the side.  I have left overs for lunch and I cannot wait to eat them!!!
2. Getting to use the vocabulary words I learned as an intern at the middle school.  I just used the word "circuitous" in a sentence while talking to our prospective intern at the office, and it made me smile. I realize these words were meant as vocab words for my 6th graders, but it was a good refresher for me too! :)
3. Smarty pants books that I get to read with Heather Brown. I got the first one in the mail last night and can't wait to talk to Heather about a reading schedule. I am excited to learn things with her while she goes through her grad school program!
4. Iced coffee.  It's been so hot that I can't even imagine hot coffee as an option!
5. Headphone ear pieces for cell phones. I currently prefer them to blue tooth ear pieces because I can unplug it from one phone and plug it into the other in seconds, which is a little easier than reconfiguring the blue tooth settings.

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11th - Heather

1.  Left over tamales for lunch!  And that smell of masa and wonderful that lingers on your fingers after you've eaten the last bit of tamale!!!

2.  The delicate combination of rose tea and strawberry angel food cake.  It was a great afternoon snack...even if it was so calming and delicate that it made me want to curl up in the sun and sleep.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I really don't know why we don't have siesta in this country.  Granted I wanted nothing to do with nap time when I was little...I think it would be really useful now!

3.  My water bottle...encouraging me to drink all the water I should and more than I would left to my own devices.  With the temperature getting warmer, I really need to be better about drinking water.

4. Trying something new without a disastrous outcome.  We got this random veggie at the farmers market, garlic snape/snare...something like that...anyway, I googled it and read that you can treat out like asparagus and that it's good in stir fry...which was perfect because that's what we were planning for dinner.  I can't say that it came out fantastically, but it wasn't completely awful either.

5.  Mom was willing to clean up the dinner dishes and set up the strata so that I could study!

June 11th, 2012 - JJ

1. Movie days! Derick and I went to 3 movies yesterday and even though they weren't all amazing, we still had a great time. Prometheus is definitely worth seeing, though! We loved it!!
2. The amazing skillet dinner I made over the weekend. It had swiss chard, leeks, potato, egg, spanish smoked paprika, and gruyere cheese and then I added a little bit of sausage and turkey bacon to the recipe.  It was so delicious! I'll probably scan it and send it to all of you!
3. Air conditioning. We have one window unit in our bedroom and another in the kitchen and I honestly don't know how we would survive a Chicago summer without them!  This weekend was pretty much brutally hot. SO thankful for the AC!
4. That True Blood started up again last night, and that I can watch it on the HBO to go application on my iPad tonight! Can't wait!!! Thankful for my parents who have HBO and are graciously allowing me to sign in to their account. :) I have a pretty wonderful family!
5. Tammy, who has apparently made the world's best apricot jam and is graciously going to give me some. :) I can't wait! Apricot jam is one of my favorite things and pretty much everything Tammy cans is the best ever.

June 10th - Heather

1.  That watching Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast count as homework today!  My first assignment is due this week on gender-stereotyping in kids cartoons and stories.
2.  Sleeping in on a sunday morning.
3.  Chile rellenos for dinner...yummy!!!
4.  A couple hours to sit and read at Barnes & Noble this afternoon.
5.  That Jake is curled up next to me on the couch...even though he would rather I not pet him so that he can finish bathing himself.

Postscript: So in doing this on my phone last night...I erased a previous  But this is what I attempted to post last night!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 9th - Heather

1.  Mom made a recipe from one of Paula Dean's cookbooks called gooey was yummy...of course it would be with all of that butter and sugar!

2. We bought a rice cooker months ago at Costco and have used it a few times.  Each time making the smallest batch of rice possible.  This time we decided to make a large batch of brown rice to have some ready for any meal.  We also had some squash, zucchini and baby bell peppers in the fridge and an onion on the counter.  I thought a stir-fry would be quick and easy.  And it was...we chopped up and sauteed the veggies and mixed in some of the pre-cooked rice with some meat that Costco has packaged in the freezer section as philly cheesesteak meat.  It cooks up fast and everything came to together nicely!

3.  Farmer's Markets!  Today was the first market day that we packed up the kitties and hit downtown Waukesha for the weekly market.  The cats in their stroller were a big hit!  We bought some veggies...but what we stumbled upon that was absolutely wonderful were these baskets from Ghana that you can read more about below in #4.  After wandering around downtown Waukesha well after the farmer's market had ended we decided to go to another - larger - market in West Allis.  More veggies and herbs quickly filled our new baskets.

4.  Plowshare, especially the baskets from Ghana!  One of the stands at the farmer's market in Waukesha was Plowshare, with a selection of the items that they have in the store that's in downtown Waukesha (on Main St right next to Divino Gelato).  I fell in love with the baskets they had hanging around the edge of the stand...especially for only $32.  We bought one and made our way through the end of market.  After grabbing lunch we meandered down to the Plowshare store to see what other treasures awaited us.  Not only did we find a second basket, we found the story behind them.  I now love them even more.
      Plowshare pays women in Ghana upfront to make these baskets.  Many times giving these women their only opportunity to raise money for their families that doesn't include being ladies of the night.  After the baskets are sold, Plowshare again sends these ladies money.  So they pay on the front end for the women to acquire the supplies and then they pay on the back end to give these women a share of the proceeds.  There are just so many things about this process that I applaud.  I am thankful that I was able to not only buy a beautiful basket for an amazingly reasonable price, but also that I was able to make a difference in the life of a woman miles away!

5.  I'm often thankful that we have had our cats since they were itty bitty and have been able to get them used to being in the car.  We have a litter box just for the car and we have sealable containers that we can put wet food, dry food and water into.  And amazingly enough, they use all of things so well.  They are not phased at all about being in the car and traveling....which is especially important for days like today (more about that in #6).  In this picture you see Jake cuddled into the blanket in the back seat while Edward chomps into his first bites of the masa from tamales!

6.  After our trip through the farmer's markets we decided to stop a hispanic market for some of the best tamales we've had outside of El Paso.  And you know that's not all we ended up buying.  After we loaded everything and everyone back into the car we decided to drive along the lakeshore of downtown Milwaukee on the  way home.  We ended up driving all the way up to Sheboygan before turning back towards Waukesha.  We walked along the water, snapped some pictures and then found a little family diner to have dinner in.  It was completely unplanned and really just a ton of fun.

7.  The first stop of the day was to Target to get some sunscreen.  My mom and both burn to a bright read crisp in about 2.5 seconds in the sun.  So sunscreen was an important thing to get before wandering around outside for the farmer's markets.  And mom picked a good one!  It's from Neutrogena and it's called Cooling Mist.  It's an spf 45 and it feels very cool and refreshing going on.  And it kept us from turning into Elmo's relatives...don't get me wrong...the fuzzy little guy is cute and has an infectious laugh (hmmm maybe we're already related????), but I don't really care to be that shade of red!

8.  While the sunscreen really was cool and refreshing...after wearing it all day I was so thankful for a the chance to scrub it all away in the shower when we finally returned home from our impromptu day out and about in weather that was well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8th, 2012 - JJ

Crap, I got behind on this yet again! I am working on being better about it!
1. For Derick, who makes me dinner so often and then packs me a lunch with the left overs, too. It's pretty awesome to be so spoiled.
2. That Jenna and Terry stayed with us for a night this week.  It was kind of awesome waking up and having coffee with Jenna. I love living with Derick, but was nice to have girl talk first thing in the morning. Made me realize I need more girl time. Maybe some of you from Seattle could come visit me? I'll make us french press coffee every morning and whatever baked goods you love best! Just come be girly with me!!!
3. Diet cheat days. I started the morning with an iced caramel macchiato and one of those delicious little cherry pie things from Starbucks. I'll have a healthy lunch, then off to Revolution for dinner with Casey where I plan on eating EVERYTHING. I can't wait! and by everything I mean half an hombre burger and half of a twice baked potato pizza, since that's probably what Derick and I will end up ordering to share. But seriously I can't wait. I need bread and I need it NOW.
4. That it's finally Friday!!  For some reason this has been the slowest week. I'm glad it's almost over!
5. That I've had so many opportunities to bake lately. I'm really enjoying it! Definitely needs to be something I do more often.
6. Megan Noon, who I got to chat with yesterday. I love that lady! She's so wonderful!!
7. Compliments. I've gotten several out of the blue lately and they've really made my day.
8. The mesquite spices that Derick's friends, Greta & Jonny, gave as favors at their wedding. We use it everytime we cook fish and it is delicious! Hopefully we can get the recipe when we run out of our two jars!
9. For Raymi, whose birthday was yesterday. She's a pretty awesome chick and I miss her all the time!!! So glad she was born and that she came into my life! Don't know what I'd do without her. :)
10. American Horror Story. I am so addicted to that show, it's ridiculous! I love it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7th - Heather

First major dislike of the blogger app for android...when I went in to post for June 10th, it wrote over this post for June 7th.  I'll attempt to recreate it....but if you read June 7th's post on June 7th or 8th....this is a re-creation and not the original.

1.  I stumbled upon a website with craft patterns (many of them free). has tons of knitting, crocheting, paper crafting, sewing, quilting patterns and more.  I found a handful of free knitting and crocheting patterns that will help me along on my quest to give more handmade gifts when and where possible.

2.  I have not killed my office plants!  This is major for the girl who killed two cacti as a child....the little pink one is even blooming!!!

3.  Google Reader.  As you can tell from some of my recent posts, I've begun following quite a few blogs.  Now I can keep track of which posts I've read and read through them a bit easier in Google Reader.  

4.  I'm also thankful for the Reader widget for my iGoogle homepage.  I like keeping everything in one place on my homepage.

5.  The "Sort by Magic" option in Google Reader.  It made me laugh, so of course I selected it.  And the first blog post that it returned was a strawberry recipe posting.  I LOVE is Magical!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6th - Heather

1.  It started as a chain letter text, which I hate, but opened up lines of communication with two old friends that I haven't talked to in way too long.

2.  Making the time to sit down and write a handwritten letter to a friend in North Carolina!

3.  Amazon for suggesting books that I didn't know existed!  Here's to hoping the books turn out to be as useful as they sound interesting for my research paper!!!

4.  Super saver shipping...aka free shipping on amazon!  Allowing me to spend nothing on shipping and therefore allowing me to spend more on books!

5.  Discovering the locking mechanism on the reclining outdoor chairs we have on our balcony.  It was so much easier to lounge and relax/read this afternoon without having to fight with the chair to keep my relaxing position.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5th - Heather

1.  Lunch with Mary's always delightful to chat over Mexican food!  :)  And it was an especially delightful chat today since today is her anniversary!  Happy Anniversary Mary Beth and Bill!!!

2.  Free frozen yogurt.  The university is considering two different fro-yo vendors for a  spot in the campus center and so we get to be taste's a tough gig!

3.  No voicemail!  I'm not sure how I managed this, but I returned to my office this morning after more than a week of vacation and there were no voicemails on my phone!  Miraculous!!!

4.  I caught up on all my emails in a very decent amount of time.

5.  An overall not unpleasant day back in the office...I think I really may be on to something with this whole returning from vacation on a Tuesday instead of Monday.

June 5th, 2012 - JJ

1. Since I think everyone on this list knows now: WE'RE GETTING MARRIED IN JUST A LITTLE LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!!!!  I'm very thankful that the decision was so easy, and that people are happy for us instead of disappointed at not being able to be there.  I'm also thankful that everything has come together so perfectly for the day. We both got great deals on wedding bands, I got an awesome deal on a dress that fits perfectly, my partner at work hooked us up with a photographer friend of hers who is going to take the pictures, and everyone who we need to be there was able to make arrangements to come. I can't wait! I wish it was July 21st tomorrow!
2. Sunshine and warm weather! It's beautiful outside right now. I'm also thankful that my parents lent me the car with the sunroof!
3. Ice packs! I finally bought some for Derick and I to start taking in our lunch bags instead of big ziplock bags full of ice. This will mean that there should always be ice for my drinks in the freezer now. Horray!! Also, we will have to buy giant ziplock bags much less frequently, which is another plus!
4. Starbucks and some time between appointments today to sit at Starbucks and write this/get some work done.
5. Landlords. Mine is alright, but I'm thankful for landlords in general. While I'm excited at the prospect of someday being a home owner, I'm currently extremely glad to have a landlord to call to fix things like a leaky toilet and a leaky ceiling in the bedroom. I love that I don't have to wait at home to let him in to fix things because he has a key and my permission to enter. I love that I don't have to pay to fix this stuff because it's not my building. I love that repairs and maintenance are not my responsibility.  So horray for landlords, and horray for a dry, toilet stench free bathroom and bedroom this evening (fingers crossed).

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4th - Heather

1. I'm thankful for a restful day for my last vacation day.

2. Lunch with my mom. We work about 30 mins apart so we don't get to lunch very often. It was nice to grab lunch today.

3. A phone call with a good friend today. I tend to not be much for talking on the phone...I know that's kind of shocking for some of you...I definitely went through many years with my phone glued to my ear. So it was a treat to spend some time chatting on the phone this afternoon.

4. Cupcakes! After I dropped mom off at work after lunch I stopped at Gigi's Cupcakes (over across from Mayfair Mall)'s always a good thing when there's more frosting than cake!!! And oh so yummy! :)

5. Summer dresses! I loved pulling on a fluttery dress and flip flops today! :)

June 4th, 2012 - JJ

Quite a few things today to make up for the week and a half long vacation I took:
1. That I made it home safe and sound from Seattle so quickly. It was a little rough at times since we didn't sleep much, but it was nice to have Friday to relax at home.
2. That I am going to marry a man who's response to me ordering a bloomin onion, hot wings, the surf and turf special, a glass of wine, a side cesar salad, and key lime pie at Outback the other day was, "You're so sexy."  It was an INSANE amount of food but I was starving and we did take left overs home.The Heifer club and Mrs. Kircher would've been proud. :) I'm very thankful that Derick appreciates that I eat a lot. I love food too much to love a man who couldn't find that attractive (or at least not repulsive).
3. Emily & Jake for taking care of our kitties when we were gone. I'm further thankful that the kitties didn't destroy too much in that time period, even if they did shed EVERYWHERE.
4. Nika, for treating us to such a delicious meal while we were in Seattle, and for being Nika. She makes me smile and her little boy is the cutest thing!  Such a happy baby! I'm so thankful that I had time to meet him this trip.
5. My parents, for having us stay with them and for cooking such delicious food! Especially thankful that my dad found a mushroom recipe that Derick is in love with. We all know how happy it makes me to find more veggie recipes that Derick likes. :)
6. My books. All of my books and worldy possessions are now at our house in Chicago. I love having "my things about me" (Quiet Man reference), and I especially love having my books in the bookcases in our dining room.  I can't wait to re-read (or in some cases read for the first time) the books I kept from college.
7. The Pacifica.  I ended up taking the blue car home to Chicago instead of my dad's little red car. I'm thankful for this for many reasons. 1: if someone hits me in it, I will feel much less bad than if someone wrecked my dad's red car which is his baby.  2: The Pacifica has a sunroof!!!  3: It fit all my stuff from home so I was able to be thankful for my books, above. 4: It's just comfy and big and I feel safe in it. 5: It's not a stick. I love driving a manual transmission car usually, but since my office is located right off of the nation's #1 worst highway merging area it's nice to have an automatic.  I expect that my left calf will decrease in size rapidly! :) 
Further it's nice to be driving a car that doesn't think the door is ajar when it isn't, has a working sunroof, has a working "door catching" mechanism so that when I open the door I don't have to worry about it flying away from me and denting the car I parked next to, has a fully functional stereo that doesn't come in and out when going over bumps, has SO MANY BUTTONS!, has a key clicker for the key ring, doesn't leak in the rain, wont' be stressful to drive in the snow, drives the same with the AC on as with the AC off, etc., etc., etc.
8. That when seeing the highlight about sharks on yahoo's homepage my first thought was "oh man, Raymi will love this!" rather than "omg make it go away!!!"
9. That my brother called me last night for girl advice. It's nice to be a good big sister every now and then.
10. Megan Noon, who is so much fun to be around, and who always makes my hair beauiful!!  :)
11. That I got some time to spend 1:1 with James while I was in town. I miss our coffee dates and random "make fun of everything" conversations.
12. That Derick and I got to spend some time with Jess, even though the trail we planned on hiking was closed. We got beer instead and had a great time!
13. Lemon curd. It's so yummy and so easy to make from scratch!  It also pairs nicely with the lavender scones Derick and I made over the weekend.
14. That summer is finally here! I'm so excited to have beach days and to put away all my warm winter clothing.
15. That we had great weather while in Seattle. It was sunny most of the time and was pretty warm most days too.  That rarely happens over memorial day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3rd - Heather

1.  My class yesterday was awesome!  I'm so excited to get my bottom back in the classroom!

2.  That the one person in class who doesn't live close to campus was willing to drive an extra ten minutes so that the rest of us didn't have to drive 45 mins away for class!

3.  Impromptu oil change....I got out of class early and mom was getting her oil changed, so I met up with her at Firestone so I could get my oil changed too.

4.  Getting some reading done today.

5.  The books that my mentor in DC lent me before I left...that I subsequently purchased for my own library before returning his books...I think I'll be using one of those books to write a paper that may turn into my thesis.  I love that after one day of class my brain is already thinking about possible thesis topics!!!  Those instant connections in my head wouldn't have been possible without the books he exposed me to!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1st - Heather

1.  I start my first graduate course tomorrow morning.  I'm excited and very thankful for the opportunity to whip my brain back in to shape....some part of me should be in shape!!!  :)

2.  Employee tuition benefits!  I'm very fortunate to have all of my tuition covered as an employee at a university.

3.  That one of the two classes I was signed up for was canceled.  To be completely honest, I was a little unnerved at the idea of taking two graduate classes in the same condensed summer term.  Now I can decide if I want to take it later this summer or wait until next summer.

4.   Cleaning at a leisurely pace.  My back is still killing me, and I didn't get quite as much done as I had hoped...but enough to feel confident about having a space that I can think clearly in to study.

5.  Coming across some of the must wonderful things I have received in the process of organizing my papers.  What kinds of things you ask?  Well in and among the not-so-fun bills and  bank statements (how long is one supposed to keep those things anyway???) I found the following things that all make me smile with sheer delight: a beautiful love poem written for me by an ex-boyfriend; pictures that are lifetimes old (some figuratively and some literally); thank you cards from some of the Archer Alums that were in DC while I was working there; every honor roll and award certificate as well as every report card k-12 filed away meticulously by my mom (and me as I got older) in an organizer....these are some of my most treasured things...not because they hold any intrinsic value - and they will surely be some of the first things to burn  in the event of a fire - but because of the emotional value, the memories they hold.  It's a fine line between keepsakes and being a hoarder, I's not hoarding if it's organized, right??????