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Friday, March 31, 2017

it's show weekend . . . again

it's another show weekend for us.  in addition to all of the theatre work that ryan does for the stage hands union, he also freelance designs.  this weekend is a local high school's show that he lighting designed.  ryan has designed the lighting for every show at this high school for over 8 years now and i've worked along side him on all of those shows (. . . you know, "houser productions").

this year our schedules just couldn't seem to coordinate so it was the first year he flew completely solo.  it was so weird being out of the loop with the design, and the first time i got to see it was last night during dress rehearsal.  i'm super proud of him for doing this entire show without any help, it's certainly a lot of work for just one person.

here's a picture of my dear devoted husband backstage after the run, fighting with a ground led scrim back light that refused to color change the way he wanted.  technology can be so frustrating sometimes.  i'm looking forward to seeing the performances of the show this weekend (and we're both keeping our fingers crossed that this stupid light decides to cooperate)!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, March 30, 2017

a sweet mail surprise

when we came home from work the other day and checked the mailbox, we were surprised to see a package in the mailbox from ryan's aunt sandy.  ryan's aunt sandy is incredible with a sewing machine, and she has made us several different things from a table runner and coasters which we use every summer to a snap-shut little pouch which i use every single day to hold my gym accessories (gym membership card, headphones, lock, headband, etc.).  every time we see something she makes, we're always so impressed by her detail and by how well everything holds up over time.  (trust me, i have put that little gym pouch to the test over the last several years.)

inside the package were two handmade place mats.  one side had a tractor applique and the reverse side had butterflies.  when we visited ryan's aunt and uncle at their cabin this past august, ryan fell in love with their tractor, so sandy thought of ryan when she found these two tractor appliques.  she included butterflies on the reverse side for me since i love butterflies (in my two favorite colors, purple and orange).

the package was such a pleasant surprise after a long day at work and we just love the place mats so much!  such thoughtful sweet mail to receive!

thank you so much, aunt sandy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

guard dog (i mean, guard kitten)

leko posts two days in a row?  i know, but i just couldn't resist because i have the cutest fur-kid in the world.  i snapped this picture on my phone a few days ago while i was working on the computer in our office at home.  there were several odd noises outside (due to a neighbor's construction project) and i looked over to find that leko decided to guard the door . . . the entire time i was in there.  i feel so "safe" knowing that i have this guard kitten on duty!

love laurie

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

tv time with leko

this guy is thrilled that dancing with the stars is back on because he loves to sit on our laps to watch it.  we joke that it's his favorite show because he always jumps up on our laps as soon as it starts and sits there until it's over (and it's a 2 hour show).

last night we were working late, so we didn't get to start watching it on time.  when we got home and turned it on (thank heavens for dvrs) leko was right there to join us!

love, laurie

Monday, March 27, 2017

celebrating ryan's mom's birthday

on saturday, we went down to ryan's parents' house to celebrate ryan's mom's birthday.  we celebrated with pizza for dinner and birthday cake for dessert, followed by birthday presents.

it was nice to be able to spend time with our families (and with ryan's parents' kitties too).  of course, the kitties are always the center of attention in our family no matter the occasion!

^pepper found a perfect place to rest on top of the warm pizza box!^
^for dessert, we made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and strawberry filling^
love, laurie

Friday, March 24, 2017

fun links

it's been a busy week and it looks like this weekend is going to be just as chaotic too.  since it's friday, here are a few fun links that i found around the internet this week . . .

1. this mom parody of the viral "bbc dad" video is too good

2. the new word that debuted the year you were born (mine is ciabatta)

3. 30 vintage photos of grocery stores that make me want to step back in time

4. i would definitely freak out if my house water turned pink

5. speaking of, the future of toilet seats

6. cute animal wrapping paper ideas

7. the most searched foods in every state

8. i absolutely l-o-v-e the way that leko smells, but i think this is going too far

9. last week's blizzard of '17 was truly insane, it even left a house completely frozen

enjoy your weekend
love, laurie

Thursday, March 23, 2017

buy a bag, give a meal

to celebrate their 30th anniversary, petsmart came up with an idea to make a difference for pets in need.  many pets live in shelters (up to 7 million each year), but others live with parents who rely on pet food banks.  so, petsmart launched their buy a bag, give a meal program.  when you buy any bag of cat or dog food (any brand, any size, no exclusions) petsmart will give a meal to a pet in need.  the meals will be distributed by petsmart charities to pet shelters, rescue groups, and food banks across the united states and canada.  petsmart is hoping to donate 60 million meals in 2017.

we shop at petsmart regularly for leko and we think this is a great program that petsmart is running.  leko and his 5 kitten cousins encourage you to buy from petmart in order to help out their fellow pet friends!

love, laurie

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

vegan apple crisp

during the crazy blizzard last week, i looked over and saw 4 sad apples sitting on the kitchen counter which had been there for a little while.  ryan suggested making an apple dessert with them in order to use them up.  thus, vegan apple crisp.

the combination of the apples baking and the warm spices filled the house with such a wonderful aroma on a snowy day.  this dessert was so delicious and so simple to make.  (it might surprise you, but there's a secret ingredient of olive oil in this recipe!)

vegan apple crisp
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 45 minutes
yields: 6 servings
adapted from minimalist baker

filling ingredients:
4 medium apples
1 small orange, juiced
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 teaspoons cornstarch

topping ingredients:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  peel, core, and dice apples into a large bowl.  pour the orange juice, sugar, spices, and cornstarch over the apples and toss well.  evenly distribute the apple mixture over the bottom of a baking dish.  in the same bowl, combine the oats, flour, nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  gradually pour the oil over the dry ingredients while stirring to make sure everything is evenly coated.  evenly spread the topping over the apples in the baking dish.  bake for 45 minutes.  let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

love, laurie

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

celebrating the first day of spring with rita's

even though it didn't look or feel like the first day of spring yesterday (because of the cold temperatures and the remnants of that stupid blizzard we got last week), yesterday was in fact the first day of spring . . . yippee!  it's so nice to think that this gross winter weather is finally coming to an end (hopefully) soon.  to celebrate the first day of spring, rita's gave away free italian ice.  in keeping up with tradition, ryan and i headed over to rita's yesterday evening after dinner to welcome spring with free dessert!  it was a nice little monday night date after not seeing him very much this weekend.

love, laurie

Monday, March 20, 2017

thai and cinderella

this weekend, the national tour of cinderella was in town.  as usual, i barely saw ryan all weekend because he worked the load in, the entire run of the show, and the load out.  since i love the story of cinderella and since i've played the role of cinderella twice, i wanted to see the show, so my parents joined me.

before the show, we met up with ryan for dinner during his break between performances.  we grabbed dinner at one of our favorite thai restaurants before heading to the theatre.  we had great seats and really enjoyed the show.  the set was gorgeous and the on stage costume transformations were really incredible.

(a little girl sitting a few rows in front of us was wearing this tour sweatshirt from the merchandise table.  i love the saying on it and definitely think i need an adult-sized one for myself!)

love, laurie

Sunday, March 19, 2017

happy birthday!

happy birthday today to ryan's mom!

love, laurie

Friday, March 17, 2017

vegan irish soda bread (with dried cherries)

happy st. patrick's day!  i'm not irish, and i don't really celebrate st. patrick's day, but i do enjoy homemade irish soda bread once per year.  in the past, i've shared recipes for cast-iron skillet irish soda bread and irish soda bread scones.  this year, i wanted to try something different and try my hand at vegan irish soda bread.  it turns out it's super simple to make this well-known treat vegan, and it is super delicious.  i only had a little bit of raisins left in the pantry, so i added in some dried cherries (which i know is not traditional at all) and they were really great.  i love it served warm with a cup of tea.

vegan irish soda bread
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 45 minutes
yields: one 8-9 inch round loaf of bread

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  combine the milk and the vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes.  in a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, raisins, cherries, and caraway seeds.  pour in the milk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until incorporated and a dough forms.  pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed a few times into a ball.  place dough in a greased cast-iron skillet and cut an "x" in the top of the dough with a serrated knife.  bake for 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  once baked, allow the bread to set in the skillet for 10 minutes before cutting.  serve warm.

love, laurie

Thursday, March 16, 2017

anyone want some snow? we have enough!

this blizzard of '17 has been no joke (#stellagoaway).  our snow total is over 2.5 feet, with snow drifts over 3 feet, and piles of shoveled snow well above my head (i'm 5'2'').  schools and businesses have been closed for 3 straight days (which never happens) and many roads are impassable.  it has been a back-breaking task to try to shovel several times per day.  lifting shovelfuls of snow above my head is more of a workout than needed.  right about now, a hot tub and a massage sound glorious.  still dreaming of palm trees!

^the road in front of our house is an emergency route so it's always cleared during storms, but not this time, it's horrible.  i've watched so many large pick-up trucks getting stuck and sliding out.  also, our neighbors' icicles are longer than i am tall.^
^the "after" picture of our neighbor's car once she had spent time digging it out.  it really got buried by the plow trucks.  before she starting digging it out, you couldn't even see that there was a car under there.^
^narrow walkways through waist-high aisles of snow.^

love, laurie

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

blizzard of '17

well, the blizzard of '17 (#stella) hit us hard and left us with over 2 feet of snow!  work was closed yesterday and again today (which is unheard of) and there is a travel ban in effect because the roads are so incredibly bad.  it took us over 3 hours yesterday just to dig out our sidewalks and driveway only to find everything snow covered again this morning . . . ugg!  i'm so over this winter weather and i'm ready for palm trees.

love, laurie

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

pi(e) day

today is pi day (3/14), or pie day!  if you're looking for some pie inspiration for today, here are some of our favorites: banoffee pieclassic apple piedeep dish apple piestrawberry pierhubarb macaroon pieroasted strawberry mousse piepumpkin pielemon clementine pie, peaches and cream pie, and ice cream pie.  you can really get in the pie spirit and even watch a movie about pie too!

love, laurie

Monday, March 13, 2017

fun quizzes for a monday

it's monday, and i'm wishing there was another day in the weekend before we had to start the week already.  i started the morning off with the battery dying in my key-less entry for my car, so i couldn't get into my car.  luckily, we had a spare.  everyone is running around like crazy due to the forecasted snow storm that is supposed to start tonight and last until wednesday.  since it's monday, and my brain is not functioning at full capacity, here are a few fun/dumb little quizzes thanks to buzzfeed . . .

1. can they guess your age correctly based on the foods you hate?
my results were 31-36 so it was right!

2. do you have perfect color vision?
hey, i got 8 out of 8 correct!  (but i have to admit the last 2 were a bit tricky)

3. a synesthesia test to determine the true age of your soul
i remember one of my students doing a project about synsthesia a few years ago.  i don't really think i associate color with letters and numbers at all, but i got "31 at heart" which is only 1 year off . . . so pretty close!

4. a look back at 90s tv shows
i got 8 out of 10 of these right (and man, i really miss 90s tv!)

have a great monday
love, laurie

Friday, March 10, 2017

hey, mother nature . . . what the heck?!

walking home from the dance studio late last night it was 48 degrees outside.  this morning we woke up to a snow storm, and now we have 6 inches of snow and counting!  it's march and i'm ready for spring, not more shoveling!  i feel really badly for all of the folks who will be standing outside this weekend for all of the saint patrick's day parades.  we'll be inside trying to stay warm!

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, March 9, 2017

bathing beauty

this guy ends up in our bathtub multiple times per day.  he screams at the faucet until we turn it on and let the water trickle out.  he puts he whole body under the water and ends up absolutely soaking wet.  he loves it.  when he's done, he jumps up onto the ledge of the bathtub and shakes out like a dog.  what a cute little nut!  (i keep asking him if he would be willing to chip in and pay part of our water bill, but he refuses!)

love, laurie

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

this week in the studio

this week, my role as a college professor and my role as a dance teacher intermingled when one of my university students came to the studio to student teach my dance students.  she visited our 10-12 year old jazz class and lead them (and me - i played along too) in warm-ups and exercises to fulfill part of her course requirements.  it was a small class that day, but we still had a good time.  here are a few photos that our studio director snapped on her phone . . .

love, laurie

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

let them eat (pan)cakes!

today is national pancake day at ihop!  to celebrate, ihop will be giving away free pancakes all day.  if you're like us and you don't live near an ihop, you can celebrate at home with your own pancakes.  it's no secret that ryan and i are huge pancake fans.  here are some of our favorite pancake recipes . . .

almond poppy seed pancakes
apple cider doughnut pancakes
apple cinnamon pancakes
apple pancake rings
banana bread pancakes
banana pancakes
buckwheat, banana, and oatmeal pancakes with dark chocolate
carrot walnut pancakes
chocolate pancakes
cinnamon bun pancakes
cinnamon swirl pancakes with coffee maple syrup
coconut pancakes
coffee pancakes
cornmeal pancakes with rhubarb sauce
cranberry brown butter pancakes
greek yogurt pancakes
honey and oat pancakes
hot cross carrot cake pancakes
oatmeal yogurt chocolate chip pancakes
old fashioned pancakes
orange chocolate chip pancakes
peach cornmeal pancakes
peanut butter pancakes
poppy seed pancakes
pumpkin spice pancakes
raspberry oat pancakes with toasted hazelnuts
sweet summer corn pancakes
whole grain buckwheat pancakes
zucchini bread pancakes

dutch babies / puffed pancakes:
dutch baby with fresh berries
german apple puffed pancake
gingerbread puffed pancake
nectarine dutch baby
spiced apple puffed skillet pancake

lemon poppy seed crepes with lemon blueberry cream cheese filling
strawberry crepes

you can even make your own chocolate chip pancake mix to keep for yourself or to give as a give to a friend to celebrate national pancake day too!

happy pancake eating!
love, laurie

ps: today is actually national cereal day too!
let's just celebrate with breakfast all day long!