Moments | Memories...

Hubby and I finally took a vacation together after nearly 4 years. It was nice. We drove out to Colorado for a few days to see my family and I'm hoping for time in the near future to sort through the pictures from our visit so I can share the awesomeness.

Today, what I want to share is something from our visit that really makes me smile (and get a wee bit choked up).

Grandpa Alisa Marie Christmas 1977

This is from Christmas 1977. That's my Grandpa on the left, my cousin Marie on the right, and I'm in the middle hugging my sweet cousin. We were about a year and a half old and Grandpa was much younger than he is now. You see, our visit was already planned and. in the weeks leading up to our trip, Grandpa was admitted to a nursing facility and the tone of our visit changed dramatically.

After our LONG drive to Colorado, we were exhausted and my heart was homesick for the mountains as we made our way into the city at sunset. When we FINALLY arrived at my cousin's home, I saw this on her fridge and my eyes welled up. Seeing this little blast from the past made me happy and remember a time when everyone was a bit younger. Today, I wanted to share this happy photo with you and I hope it makes you smile, too.

And... how about those pants I'm wearing? Jealous, aren't you?


An Annual Event

Each and every year it happens... if we're lucky. I'm talking about birthdays. Up until my early 20's, I remember knowing exactly how old I was in years and months. Then came 30 which wasn't a big deal at all, I actually welcomed it, but then it was a few years later that it started - age forgetfulness. I used to wonder how this could happen to anyone... you know, you ask how old someone is and they have to stop, think, reply and then question their response? Well, now the shoe is on the other foot and I can barely remember how old I am. Maybe my head is too full of life, or I'm just not waiting for the next 'big' or 'meaningful' age? Whatever it is, I usually remember that I am having a birthday and I'm lucky that my loved ones remember and want to make me feel special just because I was born.

My birthday was last month, but things get spread out and that's almost better because it makes it last longer. I celebrated the weekend before my birthday with my hubby, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and her boyfriend. My mother-in-law's birthday is the day before mine, so we jointly celebrate and it's always a lot of fun.

This year, my sister-in-law got each of us orchids. Isn't it pretty? I'm really hoping that I can keep this one alive - which reminds me that I forgot to water it this last weekend. Oops, I'll do that when I get home.


This gift is interesting... You know those people that are ridiculously good at gift giving? They never go overboard, yet they always seem to come up with the perfect gift that means so much and makes you nervous to give them gifts? Yup, that's my dear cousin and this is what she sent me: image

I visited my family in Colorado last summer and my cousin introduced me to Lush products. I stayed with her during my visit and she gifted me the silver tin in the back with an amazing chocolate and marigold massage bar. I fell in love!

Then for my birthday a package arrived with:

  • Left: Rehab Shampoo in the 3.3oz size. I'm giving you the size because I've been using it for a month and it's still about 2/3 full. It smells great and goes a long way!
  • Center: Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar that does work magic on sore muscles.
  • Right: Butterball Bath Bomb that smells deliciously of vanilla and they say it contains chunks of cocoa butter that melt in the bath water to moisturize - I have yet to try this one, but it sounds heavenly!

Pretty awesome gift, right? We're only a few months apart so my turn is right around the corner. Eek!

Then came along hubby surprising me. He was helping me at the store a few weeks back while I was teaching a class and I ran up to the front counter for something and saw that he was printing tickets for a show. He wanted to surprise me, and surprise he did! Last weekend we made our way to the big city of Milwaukee for a night out.


He knows I love the band Green Day and knew I wanted to see the broadway musical version of American Idiot, so he made an executive decision and got us tickets for my birthday. Thanks, babe! This was a night I will never forget.


The seats were amazing, the show was fabulous and it was a blast! Given the chance, I would definitely go see the show again.

So, there you have it - I got older and it was a very enjoyable experience. Wait, how old am I now?

Cheers, Alisa

Homemade is Best

As many do this time of year, we spent Easter with our family this last weekend. Our car trip took us to northern Wisconsin for a small gathering with my hubby's lovely family. The visit was complete with smart talking, delicious food and some education for this lady.

Each year at Christmas my husband's aunt and uncle gift us homemade maple syrup and I always ration it to make it last as long as possible because it is fabulous! As luck would have it, our recent visit had us there while the maple syrup'ing was in progress. I might have been just a little excited about this because I've never seen this in 'real life'.

After eating and getting a couple rows knit on the yellow sweater, we took a tour outside to see things up close. There were numerous trees tapped to collect sap and all were donning these fancy accessories.


If you look closely, you can see the clear sap in the bottom. Hubby tasted it and didn't seem too impressed so I decided against trying it myself.


I discovered that the next part involves lawn chairs and a fair amount of beer. Who knew?!


Once the sap is collected, it's slowly cooked down here over the next 2 days - 40 gallons of sap will yield about 1 gallon of syrup. The cooker was covered with plywood since it had been raining recently, so just use your imagination and pretend that's not there.


When it's almost at the right consistency, the syrup is taken inside for the last little bit of cooking on the kitchen stove. Then it's bottled: image

Store bought maple syrup is no comparison to this golden goodness and I appreciate it even more now. Many thanks to Darla and Bill!

On our way back to the house after our tour of the maple syrup operation, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that spring is trying hard to make an entrance up north with little bits of green peeking up through the ground.


I was even more surprised to see an actual flower emerging!image

Happy spring!