Category Archives: Fun

New Computer, Good Fun

For the past 5 months this little blog has been quiet, not because I forgot about it but because my computer died. It has been rough. Alex would let me borrow his but I didn’t have the freedom of my own computer to load pictures, edit them, and spend the time to write posts. But, my new computer is finally here! I got the Yoga Pro 2. This thing is fancy schmancy. It can fold back on itself to act as a tablet, stand in tent mode, or be a regular computer. It is the same computer as Alex has and I use tent mode in the kitchen all the time. It ah-mazing. It was nice testing out the computer before getting it. Hopefully Alex doesn’t mind too much that I have the same computer as him!

Here is a quick update of things that have happened!

Christmas/Holiday Season. Yay for crown’s in our poppers this year


Mardi Gras in St Louis. So much fun! No pics because I was having too much fun taking pics with my friend Andy’s camera instead of my own

My first Chicago Blackhawks Game!


Went shopping with my favorite girls for bridesmaid dresses!


Played in downtown Chicago with one of my besties, congrats to her on her first big girl job!


Went cake tasting for the wedding! Yumm cake


Also, lots of good food made by me and eaten out. Many hours spent in the gym. I have a 10 miler planned at the end of May with my Dad. It will be his first big race. I’m pretty pumped for him. It’s been too cold to run outside, still in the low 40s, so there have been many miles clocked on the treadmill. I’ve been loving my Nia classes. For those who don’t know what that is-it is a sensory based movement/dance class that uses moves from latin dances, lyrical dance, tai chi, and more. It is great to dance it out once a week. Love it! I’ve been trying to squeeze in more weights and yoga to tone up but I tend to slack in these areas.

That is a lot of random in one go. I have a few recipes I want to share here on burgers n berries. Hopefully those will be coming shortly after this!
What has been new with you since I was last in the blog world?


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The Big Build 2013

Happy football Sunday every day. Hope your team(s) did better than mine. I’m hoping the Bears will have a good season but we may need to just consider this year a building year with the new coach. Its rough to watch your team stink it up for three and a half quarters before finding their groove. Just cannot make up for a whole games worth of mistakes in about 4 minutes. I’ll leave it at that.

Yesterday Alex and I had the privilege of helping out at a service event at my hometown church. We attended this event last year and I could not wait to do it again. It is called the Big Build. Over the course of 3 hours, the 10+ teams built a total of 91 walls for a duplex. The house is going to two families in Indiana who are in need of a home.

We started the morning with breakfast and a short prayers service followed by instructions on building headers and lining up wood on walls. Once we were given a pep talk each team headed out to their station and grabbed the wood to the first walls they would be building.


Our team consisted of Alex, my parents, little brother, two men from our church and myself. Last year, I was little to any help because it was so cold and the nails would not go into the wood. With the warmer weather this year, I was able to hammer more! Made me feel more worthwhile this year. One of the rules of the build was no power tools. The leaders wanted us to build it with our own strength and hands. It made it more rewarding that using power tools. Last year I was in charge of writing the bible verses or words of hope or strength on the walls. Here are some views of the teams in progress.






Once all of the walls were built the teams began standing up half of the duplex. Each home had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom along with adequate closets/storage areas. The other half got loaded up in the truck.

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Once everything was either loaded or standing we were able to tour the inside and see our work. We had some kids working to add the bible verses or words of love to the walls this year. My mom and I wrote on most of our own walls but the kid’s walls were my favorites.


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Can we say too cute for words? My favorite is the bless this tree one! It was a great way to show the love put into these houses. The new owners will likely not see these words added within their walls but will hopefully feel the love, prayers, and fellowship put into the building of their home.  This is one of my favorite community mission events we hold each year. Being able to see the fruits of your labor standing there in the parking lot of your church is amazing.

The house was left standing throughout church today so that the entire congregation could tour and see what their fellow members had built with their own hands. I’m already looking forward to hopefully doing this event next year! I say hopefully because it will likely be the weekend before our wedding and who knows what kind of errands/meetings we will be doing at this time.

What is your favorite mission trip/event that you have been able to experience?

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Iowa Family Fun

This past weekend my parents and I headed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit with my Aunt Lorene, Uncle Ken and little cousin Zach, My grandparents happened to be driving home from Arizona and joined us there too. Iowa is one of those places that you think corn fields and tractors and not much else. At least that’s what I used to think. My aunt and uncle have introduced me to the fun side of Iowa-wineries, little shops and food. And, of course, my family! When we got in we made our way over to the Czech museum. My mom’s side of the family is Czech and therefore holds a special place in my heart. Czech food, heritage, ornaments, antiques and a love for not letting anything go to waste. Back in 2008, the Czech museum was under water when Cedar Rapids flooded. It was moved from its old location to higher ground and restored. Below is a beautiful crystal chandelier in the museum that was underwater in the flood.


Our next stop was NewBo market, an adorable indoor market with crafts, food, jewelry and beer. We bought a few different dips and veggies for our lunch the next day. Then, those of old enough to partake, tasted a few different beers before settling on one to enjoy inside. I chose a wonderful brown ale. Delicious.


Poor little cousin was the only one not able to join in. At least he makes up for his age in height. Kid is tall. 20130427_155617

We went to a little bar/restaurant in Czech Village for dinner after roaming some antique shops in the area. No pictures but trust me when I say the food was good. Mostly traditional Czech food in a little bar was quite interesting. I got a mushroom tart with chicken and a paprika sauce with dumplings and sauerkraut.

Then next day started off with wine tasting at Cedar Ridge Winery. Zach had driver’s ed so he joined us at the second place we went. I had a few different whites and reds and tried 2 of their hard liquors. Both of which were very strong, but tasty. I’ll stick to my wine over plain hard liquor though.

My beautiful picture

We headed home to enjoy the sunshine and have some lunch out on the patio. Lunch was a spread of veggies, dips and chips. We had hummus, guacamole, two creamy based dips and salsa. Below is my grandma and grandpa with the spread.

My beautiful picture

Once we had our fill, the boy headed out to grab Zach from driver’s ed while the girls went and got Zach an apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Since he couldn’t partake in all of the drinking fun, we figured we could make the pit stop and pick him up something fun to eat while we tasted wines. We then headed to my favorite winery in Iowa that I have tried, Fireside Winery. It’s beautiful and the wines are awesome. Each family/pair got a bottle of wine to enjoy and we drank it outside with some snacks (cheese plate, brie apple dip, and bread) while listening to live music and enjoying the beautiful weather. It was about 72 and sunny. The perfect weather in my opinion.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

The winery re-corks your wine for free if you don’t finish it there which is awesome because the three of us didn’t feel like drinking an entire bottle of wine at 1pm on a Sunday. We drank about half and re-corked the rest to enjoy at home. And, because we never eat enough food, we headed home to make a real meal for dinner. We had pork chops, asparagus and my cheesy mashed cauliflower which got rave reviews from almost everyone.


I didn’t even come close to finishing this plate. My stomach was still full from our lunch snacks and drink snacks throughout the day. But those pork chops were holy cow amazing. My uncle cooked them on the grill with this awesome seasoning blend. I can’t remember what it was called but I was a fan. We ended the night watching celebrity apprentice. I’d never watched before and I don’t think I would watch another episode but we had fun laughing at it.


Monday brought work/school for the Iowa residents. Grandma and Grandpa took my other cousin out for breakfast at University of Iowa. Mom, dad, and I headed back to Czech village for baked goods to bring home then went to Amana colonies to shop around. No pics but the weather was great.

Now I am back at home ready to start packing for Germany! Alex and I leave for Germany on this Friday. So, expect me to disappear for about 10-12 days come Friday. I’ll be travelling. Don’t worry. I’ll take a bunch of pictures.

What trips have you been on lately? Any family fun trips?


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My Holidays in Pictures

Here is a quick idea of what the holidays looked like for my family and me (and loved ones).

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1-5. Baking cookies with my siblings. So many cookies! We still have some hanging out around the house.

6. Our Christmas tree with all the presents. It was so pretty this year.

7.  My dinner plate minus the veggies that I had forgotten about when making my plate. Imagine a nice heap of roasted root vegetables there

8.  Christmas poppers with paper crowns are a family tradition

9. “frogger” our new family drinking game. Grandma and I got plastic frogs in our poppers which my aunt immediately turned into a variation of quarters.

10. Family outing downtown for dinner at Bandera (post to come sometime this week) and to see Potted Potter.

11. Diners Drive-ins and Dives lunch and dinner in KC. Pizza with chili, nacho cheese and tator tots at Grinders and Alex’s Dead Texan at Swaggers

12. Alex and I before heading out for New Year’s Eve in Kansas City. This is the only picture I have from the night. It was a lot of fun.

13,14. Zoo lights at Lincoln Park Zoo. This actually happened before Christmas but I never got the post together. 😦


There you have it. My holidays in pictures.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts

Hello everyone! Sorry for my long hiatus from the blog. Holidays picked up and I found myself spending as much time as I could with my family and have not found much time for this little blog. One of my new year’s goals is to be better about posting even when life gets busy. This post has been in the making since before Christmas because it is about gifts I did for my friends. One friend hasn’t gotten hers yet but I wanted to put this up. So Ang, if you see this close out now! Or get a sneak peak of your present.

Having a part time job means being on a strict budget. Now, I am not the best sticking to my budget but I make an honest effort to not overspend. For my friends this year I decided to go the homemade route for Christmas gifts. I am not a very crafty person but I wish I was! I made three different things this year. A pumpkin sugar scrub, a coffee/coconut sugar scrub and holiday cookies in a jar. 20121213_110710

I used this recipe for the pumpkin scrub and this one for the holiday cookies. I have a progression of pictures for you for the holiday cookies because the other post does not and I was worried it wouldn’t all fit. But it does! Look!


For my coffee loving girlfriend, Katie, I decided to make a coconut coffee sugar scrub. I used finely ground coffee (a mountain blend with deep rich flavors and scents), melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and granulated sugar. It all was mixed together and put into a mason jar. It smelled amazing.


Coconut Coffee Sugar Scrub (makes 1 cup)

1/2 up melted coconut oil

1/2 cup finely ground coffee

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add more coconut oil if it is not wet enough. Should resemble slightly wet mud, weird comparison but it’s true.

I decorate the jars with little labels stating what was in each jar, directions for use and ingredients used.


They were a hit with my friends and I hope they have enjoyed using them the past few weeks. The whole process of making gifts for my friends was even better than I expected it to be. I loved putting so much love and my own personal touches on their gifts. Definitely want to try making friend’s more gifts throughout the year.

What have you made as gifts in the past?

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Chores, Errands and More

Hello again, I have had a very busy and productive day. Before I tell you about today, let’s catch up with the rest of my week. Tuesday I worked and had Zumba. Work was crazy busy with meetings and an interview with a physician at Loyola. I’ll tell you more about it when I get more information. My poor Zumba instructor is having back pain/problems and had to stop class a little early. We all told her to get better and cancel classes if that is what she needs for her body. I’ll be sad if my life is lacking in Zumba but I want her to get better.

Wednesday, I worked again then headed to tap. It was a killer class. I was struggling trying to remember a couple of the basic steps. The broadway step stopped me up for about 5 minutes. My teacher had to show it to me about 6-7 times before it clicked in my head. I was exhausted when class ended.

Today was filled with errands, chores, Christmas baking/gift making and wrapping. I started my morning off by throwing in a load of laundry. Party time over here! Then I got to work making some Christmas presents for my girlfriends in my hometown. I’ll share them after I’ve given the three of them their presents. Don’t want to spoil the surprise! But, let me tell you that I am very excited to give them their gifts. I had a lot of fun making them today.

Next up was more laundry, laundry, laundry! I still need to fold the last load after I finish writing this. Anyone else ever make the mistake of going weeks upon weeks without doing all of your laundry?? I’m not sure how I made it through I think 3 weeks without doing anything but my darks. Boy did I pay for it today. Feels so nice to have a full closet again. Below picture is only part of load one. The family room has since exploded with clothes and piles.20121213_112825

I took some time today to catch up on wrapping Christmas presents for my family! I had all of my parent’s presents from us children in my closet and I couldn’t close the doors anymore. Definitely time to wrap them and get them out of my room. Both of my parents worked today so it was the perfect day to wrap. Look at that pile of presents! I love gift giving!20121213_12051020121213_132559

I cooked up a Ree Drummond recipe from her cookbook that Alex got me for my birthday. It was my second one so far since I got it last Thursday. I made her Spicy Lemon Shrimp for dinner on Tuesday. No picture of it because I was too excited to eat it to remember to take a picture. Whoops. I made Ree’s Italian Meatball Soup tonight for Adam and I. Delicious! Tasty! I went back for seconds. Yummy and packed with tons of nutrients and veggies. It makes a cauldron full and I’m debating whether to freeze the rest or keep it in the fridge for leftovers for the next week.20121213_173555

On the agenda for tonight is folding the last of my laundry and my reps for the Closeout Workout Challenge. I may add some yoga in there too since I missed Monday’s class.

What have you been eating lately? Anything good?

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Monday Funday

My birthday has come and gone and I had a blast. I left after work on Friday and headed down to St. Louis to see my friends from my dietetic internship. It was a whirlwind trip! We had an ugly Christmas sweater birthday party for me and my two friends: Alyson and Sarah. Check out Alyson’s blog for awesome recipes.


I started my Monday off with a 40 minute treadmill run and 7 min walk/cool down followed by my reps for the 2012 Closeout Workout Challenge. Finished another 70 reps and I may do more later tonight. I had taken my weekend off from working out in St. Louis and this run was difficult. My face was bright red and sweaty.


Afterwards, Adam and I headed up to Chicago for a sibling afternoon with Amanda. We hit up Chriskindlmarket which is a traditional  German holiday market. There were a bunch of booths filled with Christmas ornaments, homemade trinkets and German food. We browsed around for a few hours. Amanda and I bought ornaments for an ornament exchange we are going to on Sunday. The ornaments at these booths are beautiful. I’ll get pictures of them after the exchange has happened. We, also, picked up a new pickle ornament for our pickle present competition on Christmas. It was a cloudy and cold day in Chicago but we saw a couple snowflakes! well worth freezing a bit. It also made getting hot chocolate in a ceramic boot mug totally needed! Tasty chocolate yumminess. 20121210_101058

Somewhere in the above picture is Chicago! I promise.

Adam and I then headed back home. The rest of my day was boring I went to the grocery store, watched some Glee and made a dinner. We had chicken, mashed potatoes and salad. Boring but tasty. I used Simply Potatoes Garlic Mashed Potatoes that we received for free when Mom bought some beef at the store last week. It was the first time I’ve tried them and they were pretty good. I’d buy them again for a lazy night.


How was your weekend and meals recently?

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My Day in Eats

I mentioned how I joined in on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s 2012 Closeout Workout Challenge , I’ve also joined in on the Fitnessista’s Dine in December Challenge. I love these challenges because they both are something I am passionate about: food and fitness! For the Dine in December the goal is to eat in as many days as possible during the month of December instead of letting the holidays get the best of us and eating out for every meal. I thought it might be fun to show you what a day of eating looks like for me.

Breakfast started out as a waffle with cream cheese and chia seeds plus 2 cutie tangerines. I, also, had my chocolate from my advent calendar. It was a little sad looking. Good thing I went grocery shopping today!


After yoga I had a chia energy square from an organic market. It was ok, not my favorite thing ever. I’ll eat more because we have a bag of them and I hate wasting food.


Lunch was a honey ham and italian cheese sandwich on a Seeduction roll with mini bell peppers and an apple.20121203_124708

For dinner, I was supposed to make a skirt steak with roasted carrots and parsnips but my skirt steak was bad. Instead I adapted the original recipe to chicken breasts and made a gravy to put over the chicken and veggies. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow for anyone that is interested. It ended up being really good. Got two thumbs up from Dad.


Unpictured eats include my advent calendar chocolate and some chocolate fudge that Alex brought my family over Thankgiving. Good thing its almost gone because it tastes soo good and I cannot say no to a little bite each night after dinner.

What did you eat today?

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Raw Vegan Restaurant Experience

How is everyone’s Monday going? I have the day off which means cleaning, chores and errands. It also meant I was able to go to my favorite yoga class at my health club today. My arms are still sore from my workout Friday night (and babysitting Saturday night, 3 year olds sure do love airplane) so I struggled a bit with my yogi pushups today. I started my morning off with my closeout workout challenge completing 122 reps today.  Followed by the 1 yr power flow yoga.

I wanted to share with all of you about a restaurant my mom and I went to last Thursday. The name of the restaurant is Raw Vegan Cafe in Lockport, IL. This was my first time doing the raw/vegan experience. I have to say I am more of a fan of the vegan than the raw. But, definitely worth the try.

Mom and I started off our meal with a beetilicious juice. This was made at the organic market next door to the cafe. It included: beets, carrot, apple, orange and ginger. It was refreshing and earthy. I’m thinking I need to try recreating it on my own. 20121129_132939

Next up on our lunch was stuffed mushrooms. These were mushrooms with a pumpkin seed pesto. It was very garlicky and interesting. Pretty tasty.


For my entree i got the rawfredo: cucumber noodles with raw cashew cream alfredo and marinated mushrooms. Mom got the red lettuce wraps with spinach, carrots, cucumber and the pumpkin seed pesto. Mom’s also came with two salads: one mixed spring mix and orange vinaigrette and the other a apple/fruit salad with cinnamon cashew cream. The fruit salad was my favorite thing of the entire meal. So so so so good. Next time, I’m getting an entree that comes with that salad!



I only ate about 1/3 of my “pasta” because it was really filling and a huge portion. I wish we had enough room for dessert in our stomachs because they had some kind of apple dish that sounded really good but I was stuffed. It was a wonderful veggie-filled meal. If you haven’t tried a vegan/raw restaurant yet, do it! It’s definitely a fun experience.

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Sorry I went MIA for almost a week! We hosted Thanksgiving at my house and the week was filled with work, cleaning and meal prep. I’ll be posting one of the recipes tomorrow or Sunday for my great grandmother’s dumplings. But today, I want to share with you some of the pictures from yesterday.

The day started with waking up early and starting the turkey. Alex, Adam and I were in charge of making the stuffing while mom prepped the turkey and Amanda made a pie. We, also, made our crescent rolls in the morning before the oven got filled with other tasty goodness.  Once the rolls came out, we stuffed our turkey, rubbed the skin with some butter and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and caraway seed. The turkey was then tented in foil and into the oven it went.

After the turkey was in, Alex and I changed for a quick run around the neighborhood. I wish we would have done a turkey trot but the plan had been to get to church after putting the turkey in. That ended up being cancelled because of logistics of getting 6 people showered and ready for church along with prepping other dishes and getting the turkey into the oven. We ended up doing about 3 miles.

Family started coming over around 2 and we had some appetizers while drinking wine and catching up with family members. Once the turkey came out we let it rest while the brussel sprouts roasted. Before we knew it, the turkey was carved and the rest of our sides were put out. In all we had: turkey, stuffing, sauerkraut, gravy, dumplings, broccoli casserole, mashed rutabagas, mashed sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, crescent rolls and cranberry sauce. It was quite the spread.


After dinner we set out the dessert, we had cheesecake, chocolate cake and whipped pumpkin pie. I had some of the pie and cheesecake. I finished dinner and dessert feeling extremely stuffed. I have to say I love thanksgiving. It’s possibly my favorite holiday. One for all the good food and two for my family that I get to spend it with.

How was your Thanksgiving holiday?

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