Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Dublin Over With Fun

Okay, okay.  I apologize for the horrible pun.
So the next destination in my Passport to Love series (quick description:  taking foreign places and bringing them to us) was Dublin, Ireland.
I’m going to make this as quick as possible and then update it when I get the chance.  I started this post like two hours ago, but due to some nerve-racking distractions coming from the outside, I haven’t had the concentration to be able to write.  But I do want something logged for the day.

Recreated:
–Watched the St. Patrick’s Day parade on the 16th, since when the day falls on a Sunday, it is a holy day.  However, in recent years, they’ve started to loosen those rules.
–Started the day listening to a live singing of Irish songs:  Wild Irish Rose, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and Danny Boy being among them.
–Wandered over to a pub to watch a bagpipe and drum band.
–Took a detour to the Blarney Castle; climbed it and kissed the Stone.
–Visited Croke Park and tried out some Gaelic football (so much fun)!
–Went on a four-leaf clover hunt (cheesy, I know, but fun).
–Had some corned beef and cabbage for dinner (I realize this is definitely an American, not Irish, custom, but it’s yummy).
–Grabbed some Irish soda bread and a bottle of Harp beer (from the makers of Guinness) and perused the Science Gallery at Dublin’s Trinity College.
–Settled down at the Brazen Head Pub for some Irish music and folktales.

What actually happened:
–Watched the New York City St. Paddy’s parade online (though it’s the biggest St. Pat’s parade in the world).  Oh, and had Lucky Charms for breakfast as we watched it.  🙂
–Went to a local restaurant who had a barbershop quartet singing Irish tunes.  Adorable.
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My green outfit for the chill part of the day, pre-hiking and climbing up tall things.
–Okay, the third item was all true, except it wasn’t in Dublin, it was local.  🙂
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–Went to a park and walked around.  There’s a climbing rock that posed as the Blarney Castle, and I took a rock from our backyard, cleaned it, and labeled it “Blarney Stone”.  We did lean over on our back as per tradition and kissed it, but we had some kids help us out by holding the stone out (edited them out so I can respect privacy).
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Before the terrifying leanover.  (It doesn’t look like it here, but I was easily eight feet off the ground, my head dangling off the edge of the rock.

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Kissing the “Blarney Stone”

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Hubby’s turn!

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From our walk, post-Blarney Castle craziness.  This is what I picture the scenic green countrysides in Ireland would look like.

–Went to a nearby outdoor sports complex and played Gaelic football as best we could with two people, following the rules in this video (the actual talking begins at about the one-minute mark):

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Prepping for our Gaelic football debuts.  🙂
–Went on two different hunts (I was going to originally do it outside in a field, but it was raining):  one consisted of a “field of clover” that I cut out of green paper in which I scattered a few four-leaf clovers amongst the three-leaf ones.  The second was a free online game that was quite challenging and addicting.  (If you’re about to go and try it out, you’ve been warned.)

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Hubby giggling uncontrollably at the ridiculousness of my “clover field”.  I didn’t have enough time to cut out the hundreds of clovers like I’d originally planned, so the “clover field” was literally about only 20 teeny-tiny cut outs scattered on about a 1/4-inch piece of carpet.  He wasn’t making fun of me, just taken aback.
–Corned beef and cabbage was real.  Made by me.  🙂  Oh, and we also had some green apple soda, which was delicious.  Originally wanted some Green River, but everywhere was sold out.
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Yeah, I added rice.  It’s the Asian in me.
–Irish soda bread & Harp was real; Science Gallery was a custom-made YouTube playlist from their website that I tailored to our specific interests.  Quite possibly the most fun of the entire day.  We were hypnotized by it.
–Brazen Head Pub was me reading an Irish folklore book that I checked out from the library, with an Irish CD I also checked out playing in the background.  The ones I read so far were fascinating, yet super-creepy.  On the bright side, I learned how to pronounce Labhhradth Loingseach (Louw-ree Leen-shock.  Yep, never would’ve guessed it without the translation at the bottom, either.)

To Your Own Adventures Filled With Luck & Magic,
Violet

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Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Saint Valentin a Paris

For those who have been following, I gave my hubby a “Passport to Love” for Christmas.  The short version of what this means is that every month, I let my creativity run wild, recreating vacation spots at home.  Last month it was Hawaii.  This month, I did Paris for Valentine’s Day.  A little cheesy?  Yes.  Cliche?  You betcha.  Ordinary?  Oh, no.  Anything but!

I really liked my previous structure of listing what I tried to recreate, then a followup with what it actually was, so I think I’ll borrow that formula for the rest of my vacation spots.  🙂

We arrived in Charles de Gaulle airport in the late afternoon, got our passport stamped and changed out some American currency for Euros.

Immediately afterward, I, being a bibliophile, had to had to HAD TO visit Shakespeare & Co.  We loved it so much that we picked up three books (France-related, of course.  Because it just seemed to fit.)

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Afterwards, we took a stroll down Rue Cler and put together a picnic basket from things we picked up along the markets.
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(not pictured but also eaten:  French onion soup, a baguette of French bread, and fresh strawberries to dip in the fondue)

Then we went to the Parc du Champ de Mars, plopped on our little slice of green grass, and enjoyed our “pique-nique” (picnic).

With our bellies full, we strolled on the Ponts des Arts bridge and followed tradition by attaching our own padlock.  It was fun to see the hubs get into something symbolic.

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What the hubs wrote on our lock.  I was surprisingly more generic and just wrote our names and the date on the backside.

Next was a quick stop at Deyrolle, the strange little taxidermy/curiosity shop.  We had fun taking pictures with the animals.

(need to get the photos we took off of my hubby’s phone later, so right now this will be a placeholder)

After walking a little while, we decided the picnic of bread and cheese wasn’t quite enough, so we tried our hand at making some chicken cordon bleu in the kitchen of our hotel room.

(we ate it all before getting the chance to take a picture)

By that time, it was getting late and we were tired from the flight, so we decided to call it a night and extend activities to the next day (I had a lot planned, and we weren’t quite able to fit it into one day like I originally thought.)

The next day we started out with a trip to a patisserie to get some energy for the rest of the day.  We had some freshly-baked croissants with Nutella and French vanilla lattes. We weren’t able to do the fondue the night before, so we thought some of the strawberries would be a good complement to the chocolate and croissants.  It was the first time I had ever had croissants dipped in coffee, and lemme tell ya, if you’ve never done it before, do it.  Like, right now.  It’s that good.

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I convinced my other half that a trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a peek at some high fashion, so we took a detour and browsed the avenue Montaigne and got the special treat of seeing how some of the Chanel 2013 collection dresses were made.  Then we found a photo booth (with a couture backdrop!) to take some photos in.

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(obviously, we weren’t *quite* ready for the first picture.  Haha.)

We were pretty tired after that, but we couldn’t let another day go by without some fondue.  So we found some energy and made some marzipan hearts to dip into it, added it to the strawberries and crunchy breadsticks spread, melted the chocolate we got at the market (with some liquor and cream added, of course), then enjoyed our creation with some wine.

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Then (warning:  maybe TMI) we perfected our French kissing.  Mostly because nothing says “kiss me” like strawberries, chocolate, wine, and marzipan.  🙂

*Reality*:

I let my little brother in on our plans and gave him a quick training on how to be a ticket-taker (I gave him the “stamp” to put on hubby’s “passport”), so the airport was really my parents’ house.  We also really did switch out American currency for Euros.  I dug up some from when we went to Germany a few years back.

Shakespeare & Co. was a local used bookstore in my town that I absolutely LOVE.  I only just recently discovered it, but apparently it’s been around for 23 years.  I hope it continues to be successful.  I always come out with a new treasure.  Anyhow, I sent a message to one of the owners on Facebook about the Parisian Valentine’s Day plans, and she was so incredibly sweet in saying that it was such a cute idea.  She got into it and set up a little French display for us to see when we came in.  Needless to say, I think I’ll be frequenting that store much, much more in the future.  They really went out of their way for their customers.

Rue Cler was a local fresh foods/gourmet foods market.  It prides itself on having both local produce or quality imported foods, so it just so happened to have some fabulous French cheese, wine, and chocolate.  Here again, I became puppet master and arranged for them to have a basket ready to pick up.  So I bought the goodies for the basket ahead of time, decorated it myself (I’m very particular about my wrapping), and dropped it off with the manager.  When we got there, we bought some things to dip in the fondue.  Imagine hubby’s surprise, though, when I picked up the basket at check out!  I tried to give the cashier the Euros we had, but I think the manager might not have relayed the message to her, because she looked a bit confused.  That’s okay, though.  It was still fun.  🙂

The Parc du Champ de Mars was a nearby outdoor plaza.  It had plenty of outdoor tables and chairs set up, and I had carefully picked out which table we were going to dine at in advance.  It had globe lights above and was situated near the complex’s outdoor fireplace.  Some Parisian Cafe music from my phone, and the ambience was set!  There was a nice little grassy hill with animal statues close to where we had our picnic, so we pretended that it was the grass under the Eiffel Tower.

Conveniently, the back part of our backyard has a chain link fence.  So I got some outdoor lights to outline a bridge, printed out a picture of the padlocks on the Ponts de Arts, then taped it to the chainlink fence with a hole cut out for us to put our own padlock on.  Originally I was going to have a bucket filled with water to be the “river” to throw the key in, but I ran out of time, so we just threw the key into the yard.

Deyrolle was me setting up my stuffed animals in silly poses and situations.  I had one in an armchair reading a book, one having tea, another playing the piano.  It was hilarious, because when we were coming back from the “Ponts de Arts” and I told hubby that the next stop was the taxidermy shop, he saw some of the animals and even remarked, “I see it!  I can see the shop!”  He did a wonderful job of really getting into the spirit of things and the illusion I created (rather than being grumpy that he wasn’t getting the “real thing”), and for that I’m so very thankful.

As you might’ve guessed, our “hotel room” was our own bedroom.  I made a 3D Eiffel Tower to have as our “view”, and topped it off with some adorable string lights.  I even put a light inside the tower that changes colors so we could watch the “light show”.

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For breakfast, it was obviously at home.  I made my own croissants and got Nutella out of the jar and put it in little bowls in a pretty pattern to make it look cuter.  I did cheat a little and got some French vanilla lattes from our favorite coffee shop (conveniently open 24 hours!), then poured them into coffee cups so it looked more homey.  What you don’t see, though (because I forgot to take a picture) was that I set up a morning picnic outside in our huge backyard’s wooden table and chairs set, with candles and the “lights from the bridge” on.  I also brought my Parisian Cafe music again, and set out the books we bought at “Shakespeare & Co.” to browse through while having breakfast.  I set it up right before the sun came up so we could enjoy the sunrise.  It was wonderful.

In reality, Gruffy (nickname for the hubs…haven’t used it in awhile) had to go to work in the morning right after breakfast, so we had to put a pause on Paris until he got home at night.  We had some French onion soup for dinner when got home,

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So. Freakin’.  Good.  The Swedish meatballs I made from the leftovers were equally good.  I’ll post that recipe next Tuesday.  🙂

For the couture houses, we watched a “making of” video of Chanel’s 2013 collection.

Afterwards, we decided to make something “couture” of our own:  a couture fabric background for our photo booth!  I had made a pretty neutral background beforehand: some burlap that I stenciled with “Saint Valentin a Paris” and a freehand drawing of the Eiffel Tower.  Then I laid out my fabric and ribbon scraps, stickers, and needle and thread so we could hand sew some stuff onto the burlap.  It was a great time and we both really got into it!  We spent much more time putting together the background than I originally thought, but it was SO worth it.

Then, ya know.  French kissing is pretty straightforward.  😉

Since your eyes may or may not be glazing over by the length of this post, I will do a part 2 of this next Tuesday, with a “behind-the-scenes”/”making-of” post.

More for my own accountability/organization than anything else, here’s what I’ll be going into:

*berets I sewed
*3D Eiffel Tower
*burlap background
*props for the photo booth
*fondue recipe
*making of couture background
*French onion soup recipe
*Swedish meatball (from leftover French onion soup) recipe

…and perhaps more.  That’s all I can remember for today.  So sounds like I’ll have my work cut out for me for next Tuesday!  Can’t wait!

Au Revoir! (at least until next time)
Violet

Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: The Spirit of Aloha

…without having to leave home!

A few months ago, I saw this link on Pinterest, and I was immediately inspired.  I’m a little reluctant to reveal that, because sometimes I want to feel like I came up with awesome ideas on my own.  But if you haven’t seen that link on Pinterest yet, feel free to check it out and use the idea.  That’s what it’s there for, or at least that’s what the Dating Divas say.  🙂

So I took the idea and ran with it.  It was one of the presents I gave my hubby for Christmas, and I love how it’s a present that lasts all year long.  I’m going to give him one travel date a month.

In January, we travelled to Hawaii, which actually wasn’t technically one of the places listed on the Dating Divas page (the closest was the Caribbean).  So at least there’s a little bit of individuality there.  Anyway, I thought it was fun to think about going somewhere tropical to give a break from the cold winter weather, and I have to say that I had the hubby fooled for a bit that we might actually be going there!  I do have family in Hawaii that we have an open invitation to visit, so it wouldn’t have been too far off.  So I kept him guessing and kept coy until the actual day.

I was a bit nervous that he might be disappointed that we didn’t actually go, but I really had nothing to worry about!  He had a great, relaxing, fun time, and I think I did a great job of bringing Hawaii to us.  I don’t think I have a better recap than what I posted in my journal, so I’ll just cheat a little and copy and paste, then follow up with pictures of the adventure.

So we arrived home safe and sound from the beautiful island of Oahu.  We started the day taking our “preferred” seats on Hawaiian Airlines.  Shortly after arriving, we had a typical Hawaiian plate lunch:  I had kalua pork with cabbage, he had BBQ chicken, both of our meals of course had rice & macaroni salad for sides.  Finished it off with drinks with umbrellas in it:  I had a Lilikoi fruit Hawaiian Sun, him just plain ol’ H20. When we arrived, we of course both got lei’d (ha).  Afterwards, we went for a dip in Waikiki Beach, then a stroll on the shore, loving the feeling of sand beneath our toes, the smell of sand and ocean and tropical fruit, and picking up pretty shells that we saw along the way.  Made a quick stop at Ala Moana for some cheesy souvenirs:  straw hat for him, grass skirt for me. Then we hopped on a bus to do the Circle Island Tour.  We had stops at Diamond Head where we climbed the 99 steps to the crater, Kahala, the Hanauma Bay Lookout, Halona Blow Hole, a short hike at Makapuu where we saw the not-so-super-secret old hang glider landing strip, and saw a fantastic view of an island through one of the pukas (holes) in the rocks.  Next stop was the super-windy Pali Lookout where we saw nature coincide with traffic; it was crazy to see cars driving through the tunnel, surrounded by so many green trees!  Freaked me out a bit to see a “Caution:  Bees!” sign as the first thing that greeted me. After that, we made a stop at the Dole Plantation.  We rode the Pineapple Express, took some pictures by the “distance to…” sign in the fields, then went through the pineapple maze.  Holy cow, that thing is HUGE!  And, I’m happy to say, we found all the hidden secrets.    We totally have evidence.  We stopped by for a little while and watched some surfers on the North Shore before the tour ended. We got dropped off at the Polynesian Cultural Center to watch some of the presentations.  I have to say my favorite one was the Tonga drummers.  That dude has ENERGY and puts on a great show.  We had lots of great belly laughs from it.  But watching the Maori stick game was a lot of fun, too.  Oooh, and the Samoan coconut husking and tree climbing! We took a quick dip in a waterfall then headed back for the evening shows at the Center.  There were so many great dances I don’t know which one I liked the best.  They were all so talented!  Then we watched some fire knife dancers.  WOW. Then we headed home and was able to watch a gorgeous view of Waikiki Beach & Diamond Head through the window.  All in all, a great vacation!
***
Okay, fine, not really.  So this is how I did it: I printed out the “preferred” seating sign and put it on our car seats.
*Picture to come (need to get it off hubby’s phone)*
Went to a local Hawaiian Grill,
*Another picture to come
then to a local indoor (heated!) pool to serve as Waikiki.
When we got back to our house, we had leis from the store.
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I did recreate the beach with real sand and seashells on the floor.
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Smells came from specifically-scented candles that I picked up.  (Turquoise Sky, Waikiki Melon, Black Coconut, Pineapple Cilantro)
Made a makeshift Ala Moana sign and hung up our souvenirs (they really were a straw hat and grass skirt).
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Then we hung out on the couch as we watched a YouTube playlist that I queued up of all the real stops on the Circle Island Tour.
When there was a place we had to walk, we took steps in place in time with the video.  The Makapuu Trail was us climbing our staircase, with me doling out pictures of the real views along the way.  I was able to simulate actually looking through a boulder hole with some clever rearranging of furniture.
I made a makeshift “distance to” sign with a floor lamp and arrows made out of scrapbook paper.  It turned out really good!
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And I printed out a picture of the pineapple maze, where he and I sat down with a pen and actually found our way through.  I hid the secrets around the house and we really did find them all! Then the Polynesian Cultural Center, I queued up some more videos, and they were spectacular!  The waterfall was our shower, scented with coconut (and colored turquoise!  Was going to originally dye the water with food coloring, but no need because the shower gel had enough color in it).  And more night shows with candlelight. It was still a great time, and in both of our minds, we got a great taste of Hawaii.
Hope You’re Creating Your Own Sense of Fun Accomplishment!  🙂
Violet
Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Spicing Up My Life

So originally I was going to post about mine and my husband’s date to Hawaii (you’ll have to wait for it…it’s worth it!), but that’ll take a lot longer than I have the patience for right now.

How was everyone’s weekend?  (also too tired for a good segue…)  Mine was kind of a roller coaster.  On the bright side, I am getting paid to do a job for the first time in over a year.  And it was for editing, so it was something enjoyable and something I’ve had experience in and–most importantly–something I went to school for.

As cool as that was, I started to get a horrible case of cabin fever after staring at a manuscript on a computer screen for a combined total of 20 hours.  I wanted to get out and have fun in some in snow.  The hubby and I were originally planning to go snowshoeing, but we had to cancel because we were both feeling under the weather.

Instead, we planned to do something a little less strenuous:  still play out in the snow, or take a walk in a park, or go on a bike ride.  It never happened, though.  We tried again on Monday, but still no park.  It made me super-cranky, and hubby tried to make it up to me by saying we could go out for dinner somewhere and eat and read.  Perfect way to my heart, right?  Except I got way too indecisive about where I wanted to go out to dinner that we ran out of time for the night and had to cancel everything.  Again.

Today, I decided to be proactive and actually do something.  I got my dose of the outside by walking the doggie, but then I took the $20 we had set aside for the date and did a three-part date of sorts.  So I present to you, a three-part, under $20 date:

Part 1: Candlelight dinner (with candles we already had), 99-cent green tea-flavored ginger ale in wine glasses to make it look fancy, rice (made at home), $3.50 chicken coconut curry (it was a soup in the “fresh-made food” section at the grocery store, but it was pretty much curry, not soup, so I put it over rice to make it more filling), $1.50 coconut water, $6ish dollars on “other stuff” (which I’ll go into later in this post).

Total: approximately $12.

Part 2: Relaxing and reading at a cozy cafe.  About $7 for our drinks.

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No worries; we were able to afford a drink for each of us, but one person* likes to chug their coffee a little faster than the other, so this was the only cup left after I decided I wanted to take a picture.

Added to the running total: $19.

Part 3: This is my “ta-da!” moment.  I don’t know why it never occured to me before, since hubby and I are huge fans of chips and salsa, but it hit me only today that it would be fun (and less expensive!) to make some pico de gallo from scratch.  So I bought the chips and the ingredients to make pico de gallo, which we made after dinner and let marinade while we grabbed the coffee.  It was GENIUS, because we have vastly differing opinions when it comes to what kind of salsa we like.  Our compromise has come in the form of medium-hot Pace Picante Sauce, but if we were left to pick our own, he would pick flaming-hot Pace or pico de gallo or salsa verde, and I would be all about a milder, sweeter salsa like mango-peach.  Or just do guacamole.

So when we made this pico de gallo, we made separate batches for each person.  He added a ton of garlic and jalapeno, and I added a big helping of the red onion and lime juice and had much less cilantro than is usually found in your typical salsa.  We were both happy campers at the end of the day, and we each enjoyed our yummy batches with some chips as we caught up on the latest How I Met Your Mother and giggled at the Inauguration Day recaps from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

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Super-blurry…and only… picture of my batch before it all disappeared.

It was a great night and it helped to put the crazy weekend behind me.  Bring on the rest of the week!  🙂

*Okay, fine.  Hubby actually drinks his coffee at a pretty normal rate, while I can make a cup of coffee (or in this case, an Irish Cream hot chocolate…try it if you never have), even if it’s just a 12 oz./tall, last all freakin’ day long.  Truth be told, this picture wasn’t even taken at the cafe.  This is at the end of the night, in our bedroom, 3 hours after I received the drink.  And there was still a few good gulps left in it.  🙂

Wishing You All a Chance to Turn the Bad Into Good,
Violet

Posted in Making Memories Mondays

Making Memories Monday: Rediscovering the Concept of Date Night

As hinted in the last couple of posts, Tuesday through Saturday was full of night after night of dates (okay, fine, now that I’ve paused, I can’t for the life of me remember what we did on Wednesday).  Luckily for me, some of them also happened to include pictures on my July pictures to take list.  Gotta love multitasking!  🙂

I’m not quite sure what spurred us to do date nights.  I think it started with the movie on Tuesday, then we just found out about fun stuff to do in the days that followed.  Anyhow, I gotta say it’s been fun dating my husband again.  I feel like we haven’t seen much of each other lately!

As promised, some recaps:

Tuesday, as I mentioned, was movie night.  Since I did an entire post devoted to that night, and I don’t remember what we did on Wednesday, I’ll skip right on over to….

Thursday, where we went to a concert in the park.  I used to go to these all the time with my family during my summers in high school, but don’t really remember going to any since then.  Maybe once with some friends a few years back, but that’s about it.  So it was great to finally take in summer in the grass, listening to good music and hanging out on a blanket with the doggie.  We had a super-lazy picnic lunch (nothing gourmet here!) and played some chess during the concert.  Afterwards we went out and got some yummy cupcakes.  I’d have to say it was pretty much a perfect night filled with some of my favorite things.

Friday we wanted to keep the good vibes going so we had a spontaneous game of Monopoly while watching The Craft.  A few weeks ago we watched a documentary on Monopoly on Netflix.  It’s really very intriguing an I highly recommend it if you like that sort of thing.  We also watched a documentary on the history of Target (yes, the store).  We’re weird people who like that kind of stuff.  Doesn’t take much to entertain us, I guess.  Anyhow, after watching that documentary, we recalled how it’s been awhile since either of us played that game, so I decided to just put it into motion.  Out of respect for the documentary, we decided to go all-in with the game and follow all the rules, which meant none of the “bonus” rules that most of us have grown up with, such as the “put all taxes, etc. in the middle of the board and whoever lands on Free Parking collects whatever’s in the middle” rule (or are me and my friends the only ones who played that way?). (Also, total digression, but did any of you hear that they’re going to make a movie out of Monopoly, a la Battleship?  That can’t be good…)  Truth?  The game is so much harder when it’s played by the rules.  And the weird thing is, being 30 and towards the end of the homebuying process, I actually (sadly) understand all the terms in the game that I couldn’t quite grasp as a kid and a teen, such as mortgages, life insurance funds maturing, property taxes, rent, and why payment to the electric and water companies weren’t always the same.  I felt oh-so grownup (read: old fogey) playing the game this time around.  Next time, I think I’m going to totally reinstate the “Free Parking” rule, just for the sake of having more money during the game (when I played this time, I noticed that the huge stack of $500s I usually had was completely nonexistent).  Hmm…I must admit I didn’t plan to talk so much about Monopoly!  😛  We also actually got into The Craft, a movie I haven’t seen in about 14 years.  What a crazy movie!

Saturday we went to the horse racing track.  It was the first time any of us had gone to the races, and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, much more than we thought we would!  We did good on the bids on our first two races, but completely lost on our third race.  It was fun, but cost a lot more than we were comfortable with.  Once I get a job, though, we agreed it would be fun to go more often.  It’s definitely something that could take up a whole day, and I’m intrigued by mint juleps.  Still haven’t had one, and I really wanted to get one on Kentucky Derby Day!  Sadly, we weren’t able to afford going to the track on Derby Day, so I missed my julep opportunity.  It was cute that they sold those cute Derby hats at the track; I even saw some gals dressed to the nines that day!  I want to do that, too.

The best part of the day, though, was the real reason we went to the track in the first place:  wiener dog races!  Yes, you heard that right.  Purebred dachshunds took on a little strip of the race track and ran their cute little butts off to the finish line!  There were three heats and each lasted all of thirty seconds, but you better believe I squealed my little heart out!  It was mind-numbingly, tooth-rottingly sweet.  By far one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  So the fact that we enjoyed the horse races that happened before and after the wiener dog heats was just a bonus.

Afterwards, we went on a mini roadtrip to visit some friends who were camping a couple hours away (we didn’t camp ourselves…that’s to come next weekend!).  As I mentioned on yesterday’s post, it was good to just reconnect with both them and nature.

So there you have it, our date-filled week!  And now what you’ve been waiting for:  the pictures!  (Quite a few bonus pictures in here that have nothing to do with my “Pictures to Take” checklist, but then again, this is Making Memories Monday, so I’m sharing some of these wonderful memories that were made.)

THURSDAY:

My “ready to rock outside” outfit.

Picnics (Okay, fine, this is more of the June checklist catchup.  Guilty.)  Our lazy picnic.  (Usually we go all-out with the red gingham tablecloth, wine, cheese, grapes, and some sort of homemade gourmet sandwich, but we didn’t have the time or money this time around.)

 Concerts in the park. The band du jour.  They were really good!

Snow cones.  (I’m just now seeing the flavors of the snow cones whie reviewing this picture, and I can’t figure out whether I should be amused or weirded out by the “Newt” [banana & bubblegum] and “Tiger Blood” [sadly didn’t get a picture of what the flavor really is, so it might be real Tiger’s Blood!  where’s Charlie Sheen when you need him?] flavors…)

Family squish time!

Action shot!

Soulful doggie eyes.

Singing along to the band.  I think they were singing “Red, Red Wine”

After-concert treat!  Yum!

If it has anything purple on it, it’s already Violet-approved.  The fact that the cheesecake icing and banana-pineapple-walnut cake part was phenomenal was just the icing on the cake!  (Pun intended.  I think.)

SATURDAY:

The wiener dogs getting ready at the horses’ starting gates!  Seriously, people.  Cutest.  Thing.  Ever.

From our nature walk and visit with friends on our mini-roadtrip.

Hope all of you had some great nights this week too!  🙂  I’d love to hear your stories.