At the Lake…


Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

When we are visiting Rob’s parents, it never fails to amaze me how attentive Sham is when Rob is fishing off the dock.

But I wish I just got some better photos for those times when Rob has caught one because our pooches reactions are priceless.

This will have to do for now until I can capture it better!

After getting the fish unhooked, Rob took it back to the water to release. Both dogs jumped in the water. We have two happy, happy fisher dogs!

Happy Saturday!

5 for Friday – What I’ve Been Reading!


It’s a been a while since I’ve read (or skipped) these, but here are my thoughts…

Eat Your Way To Happiness: 10 Diet Secrets to Improve Your Mood, Curb Your Cravings and Keep the Pounds Off
by Elizabeth Somer 
(non-fiction) – DNF/skip

I’m guessing I was interested in this book after reading The Happiness Diet, which I loved reading to explore the connection of mood to food. However, Eat Your Way to Happiness felt somewhat dated, focusing on low-fat foods and artificial sweeteners, so I quickly abandoned it.


The World’s Most Romantic Destinations:
50 Dreamy Getaways, Private Retreats, and Enchanting Places to Celebrate Love
by National Geographic
 (non-fiction) – must read

Why wouldn’t you want to read this beautiful book!? It’s great one to have sitting on your coffee table to thumb through when you are dreaming of a vacay with your sweetie. This book is for everyone. It covers destinations for adventurers, foodies, history buffs, beach bums… whatever you desire, they’ve got it all… as well as recommendations for the best-of-the-best most luxurious accommodations if you so desire.



A Fatal Grace
by Louis Penny
 (fiction, audiobook) – worth a read/listen

This is the second book in the Arnaud Gamache series, set in Quebec. I read the first, Still Life, but listened to this one on audio. I think I enjoyed this one better than the first! And I really like all the little aspects and descriptions of Quebecois life added in. Such a treat. As much as I’m not a fan of winter, Louise Penny sure does know how to romanticize it!


The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World
by Michaela Chung (non-fiction) – skip

As an introvert myself, this book didn’t have much new for me. Some parts of the book felt almost like the author was really bashing on extroverts. I don’t think it was the intention, just the way in which she wanted to describe how introverts sometimes feel. There are tips for introverts on how to manage their energy, as well as interact with authenticity, which some might feel helpful


Food: A Love Story
by Jim Gaffigan (non-fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

By now, you may have realized that I like to listen to comedians’ audiobooks. Sometimes, I have a hard time listening to them at first, because the delivery doesn’t seem as natural as say, stand-up comedy, when they are reading their own book. But these books don’t take long to grow on me. Jim Gaffigan is no exception. While much of his stuff is over-the-top, some of it was hilariously relatable and such fun to have a little bit playing when Rob happened to be in the car with me.

What are your summer reading intentions?


Paddle Hard Brewing


Happy Thirsty Thursday!


Not to be confused with Bent Paddle Brewing in Duluth, Minnesota, we tested our pooches out on the patio of Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling, Michigan on the way to visit Rob’s parents.

Again, they did really well! Just a quick loud bark when another dog walked by… We have yet to find out what it will be like if another dog is lingering in the patio area with us. In that picture with Shamrock on the right above is a little travel collapsible water bowl. This is helpful when a dog-friendly patio doesn’t have a water bowl on offer for its furry patrons or if the bowl is on the other side of the patio!

It was a beautiful day!

We tasted a flight of brews…

Top Row (left to right): Paddle Hard Cold Brew Vanilla Brown Ale, Left Foot Charley Cinnamon Cider, Hideout Peanut Butter Chocolate Porter. Bottom Row (left to right): Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree Imperial IPA, New Holland Night Tripper Imperial Stout, Short’s Goodnight Bodacious Double Black IPA

Obviously, they offer guest beers as well as their own. And you can choose any to add to your flight!

We also had a bite to eat:

Quinoa Salad – Fresh quinoa, roasted red peppers, crumbled feta, green onion, banana peppers, tomato, zucchini, and dill, placed on baby spinach, served with vinaigrette with homemade garlic flatbread – $8

The salad was good, but not as good as the the Power Grain Bowl from Morgan’s Farm to Table and Ancient Grain Salad from Vivo Kitchen – two of my favorite quinoa-based salads in the Twin Cities. This one could have used some chicken or something with a bit more flavor, despite all that dill. The homemade “garlic flatbread” just tasted like pita bread that had been grilled and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

BLT Pizza – Homemade garlic butter sauce, cheddar/mozz cheese blend, topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, chopped romaine, tomato, and mayo homemade garlic butter sauce, baby spinach, artichoke, sliced Roma tomatoes, mozz/cheddar blend – $9

Rob loved this pizza! Such a nice buttery crust with great BLT flavors. Even with lettuce on this pizza, he was not going to leave any leftovers behind – they came with us.

Now that we know the dogs seem to do well in public places, it’s nice to know we can stop when they are allowed! Paddle Hard Brewing‘s slogan: “Life’s Short. Paddle Hard!”

Do you have any favorite dog-friendly hangouts?


Wine Wednesday: Magic Bubbles


Happy Wine Wednesday!

Here’s a fun little bubbly treat I had at The Bottle Room in Green Bay:


Take cotton candy and pour some Prosecco or other sparkling wine over the top. Fun and tasty! If you want to try it with kids, I’m sure you could use club soda or something acidic like grapefruit juice.



I know it’s been a while…


Every time I abandon the blog for a bit, I’m not sure where to jump right in… Sometimes I feel the need to explain what’s going on. Sometimes I have too many ideas and things I have wanted to post but too much time has passed.

I didn’t think things could get much worse after the difficulties of last year, but 2017 has posed its own challenges. Most of them are happening to people I know well and love. And it’s hard to watch and I’m constantly trying to figure out the best way to be there or them and often feel like I’m falling short.

Our life circumstances have changed, too.

We had the best weather and one of the most wonderful weekends the weekend of Mother’s Day. It was the weekend that we finally tested to see how our dogs would do if we took them out in public on dog-friendly patios.

It went soooo well!

Here they are on the patio at Bald Man Brewing that Saturday:

Then for dinner at Burger Jones on Sunday:

I am so proud of their behavior. However, there were no other dogs present. I wonder how that would change things. We ended that weekend playing cribbage out on our broken deck. I was more content than I’ve been in a really long time. That was until I got the call – the call that my boss’s house was on fire.

Did I ever mention that I work out of my boss’s home office?  Did I ever mention that just last summer, his family moved, turning my non-existent commute to a 30-minute one?

I know, poor me. At least I turned my 30-minute commute into a audio-book wonderland.

But now, my-best-boss-ever is displaced and is awaiting his home to be rebuilt. Our company’s servers and computers were salvaged and we have set up shop back at my place. So my commute is now much shorter; but I wouldn’t have wished for this ever. Let’s just say it hasn’t been easy. And when I think about the sleepless nights and worry I’ve had over the last couple of weeks, I sometimes feel guilty because at least I have my home. Even the $4000 repair my husband needed on his vehicle the very same week feels silly to worry about, too.

Because in the end, everyone is safe.

And as we all know, that’s what is important.

5 Books for Friday!


I’ve got a bit of a mix for you this week! Here’s what I’ve been reading lately…

Modern Romance
by Aziz Ansari (non-fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

I do really enjoy listening to comedian authors read their own books on audio. Ansari is no exception. Though this book is more sociological than comedic. He does throw in some fun lines in here and there; but he truly did do the research for this book, along with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenburg. Much of their findings are not surprising, but a few things are… and are good to know if you are single out there! I also think Ansari used this knowledge to create his sitcom Master of None, a series which my husband and I had watched prior to listening this book. I liked both. The book made me feel pretty lucky that I didn’t have to marry someone within a 5-mile radius of where I grew up. 😉


Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers
by Debby Maugans
 (cookbook) – DNF


I was so excited to leaf through this cookbook! I am not much of a baker, if only because I can’t have baked goods in the house without them being the only thing that I eat until it is ALL. GONE. I loved the idea of making just a little bit here or there or for a couple of friends coming over. I mean, how cute are those cakes on the cover?! I liked the tip to use a regular (cleaned) 14.5 ounce vegetable can. After I read the intro and the important bits, I started to thumb through the recipes to discover what I would flag and attempt to bake. I set the book aside for a while. When I returned to it, I found I was no longer interested. The recipes made me feel overwhelmed. In the end, I didn’t finish this book before returning it to the library. I should have just taken one really-good-looking, totally-doable recipe from the book and attempted it. At least I’d either have a great recipe I’d make all the time and perhaps return to the library to check out this book again; or I’d know that baking still really isn’t for me.


by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
(fiction) – worth a read


My husband I will be visiting Charleston, South Carolina at the end of the month. I wanted to read a book or two set in the city to get a feel for it. This one definitely does the trick for the historic district! I loved the descriptions and looking up some of the streets and learning the areas. The main character is also a dog walker, so that fun little tidbit tied in with a little bit of romance, suspense and mystery made it an enjoyable read.


The House on Tradd Street
by Karen White
 (fiction) – worth a read

Did you know Charleston is also known for its hauntings? When we’ve told people about this upcoming trip, many recommended a haunted ghost tour! It is on our list of things to do. Before picking up this book about an old house in the historic district, I didn’t realize the main character has the ability to sense and see ghosts. This is not usually my type of book; nor one I would pick up, but I loved that I got another glimpse of Charleston in more ways than one.


The Happiness Diet:
A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood and Lean, Energized Body

by Tyler Graham & Drew Ramsey (non-fiction) – worth a read 


If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you’ll know that I hate the term “diet” because today it’s used as a term for a new fad or for a new fix to lose weight. Saying you are “on a diet” is a little silly because your diet is what you eat, whether you are on one or not.

I picked up this book because I wanted to learn the connections between food and mood. Are there any foods can truly improve how we feel emotionally? The answer is entirely yes. I loved that this book went into the science of why certain foods are good for us and make us feel better. However, most of the explanations are pretty complicated. The only way I’d ever be able to reiterate them is if I took a course on this type of nutrition and had to study it for an exam. Instead, let’s just say a lot of it is what we know: real food is what makes us feel good. But not only that… It’s the processed crap that harms us and makes us feel sluggish and down in the dumps.

I did like learning the importance of eating meat and dairy from pastured, grass-fed animals. I also found that some of the produce that’s best eaten organic surprised me, too. Oranges = yes. A dye is often injected to give the perfect appearance when sold. Onions = no. They’ve a natural resistance to pests. Another thing that was interesting to learn, but makes sense when explained is that regular sugar is no better for us than high fructose corn syrup. There is no nutritional value in either. On the contrary, natural sweeteners like honey, real maple syrup and blackstrap molasses have abundances of vitamins in minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

There are so many easy, healthy recipes in this book and very few that I wouldn’t make!


Which of these books would you read?