Apple Holler (Sturtevant, Wisconsin)

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Family Life, photography, Travel

The correct thing to do if you’re from Chicago and heading north into Wisconsin is to stop at Mar’s Cheese Castle. I think most people have intentions of picking up cheese curds, but there is also craft beer, pastry items and dried meats. Oh, and you can stop there for lunch as there’s a concession-like stand and a tavern. We did the concession-like stand.

Mars Cheese Castle
Here are the kids waiting for their food

Afterwards, we went on our merry way thinking we’d go straight to The Osthoff to meet our friends. But I kept seeing signs for Apple Holler and curiosity killed the cat….

Apple Holler sign

So yeah, we made a little detour to see what the Apple Holler was all about. Honestly, I thought it was going to be an apple stand, and we’d just drive past it.

When we got out of the car, this was the first sign I saw. Naturally, I made the kids take a picture in front of it:

Apple Holler

I didn’t realize that this was an apple orchard, and when I did realize it, I was pretty much into this place. There was a shop selling food (hello, cider donuts) and like other orchards, there was a corn maze…

Apple Holler
…which we got lost in

There was also a pretty big slide that the kids really loved going down:

apple holler wisconsin

The best part of the Apple Holler though are THE GOATS!

goats at apple holler


goats at apple holler


goat at apple holler



Since it was July, we were one of the few people there so we each had our time and space to feed the goats with the food that the people on site gave us. The Girl was very much not into the goats (she’s pretty much afraid of animals that aren’t Giada) and The Kid had to be eased into it (“The goats lick me!!!”).

feeding goat at Apple Holler

And then there were baby goats!

baby goats at apple holler


baby goats at apple holler

[I can pretty much tell you that if it pops up on the menu, I won’t ever be ordering goat again. These guys – or kids I should say – were too cute.]

The Hubs and I were pretty happy about this accidental find. We’re hoping to come back again this fall (because you know, apple donuts…).

Vroom vroom!
“We’ll be back! Vroom vroom!”

Alexa & Happy August

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, Stop Motion

“Alexa – you scary, guuuurl.”

It’s been a pretty eventful July. (How are we already at August?) I met up with a friend who was in town earlier in the month, stayed local for the 4th of July, caught with a few other friends, cooked a lot, finished up swim classes for the kids, did an annual vacation up at The Osthoff with my college friends & their families and my mom came into town (!!!) to spend time with us (and the kids…and my brother & SIL). Oh, and the job is going great! (Yay.) I’m typing this and realizing that I have a lot of pictures I want to share. I’ll try to make that my priority this month.

In the meantime, Happy August. 🙂

Before their swim lessons
Before their swim lessons. (Slow down, summer!)

Skull dress

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Stop Motion


How cute is this dress? My friend C got it for The Girl, and it’s perfect for her.

I have a pile of pictures that have to be edited. One of these days I’ll sit and share them here. I also have to throw them into a photo book so that I can look back on this year – it’s been a good one so far. 🙂

Ciao for now.

Stop Motions

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, Stop Motion

Hi there,

It’s been a hot minute. Not sure what my explanation is except life. Nothing crazy or over the top. The Hubs is embarking on a few home repairs this summer (replacing the A/C and throwing in a new garden/bay window in our kitchen) & I’m trying to keep the kids out of his way – it’s kind of reminding me of two summers ago when he redid the kitchen himself. When the PTSD wears off from that, maybe I’ll share pictures of that….but we both are still traumatized by that summer, lol.

Here I am in the kitchen last month.  No idea what I'm doing. Probably about to clean up someone's mess? The Kid took this picture - he's very much into taking pictures with my point & shoot camera. I need to talk to him about not leaving smudges on the lens though.
Here I am in the kitchen last month. The Kid took this picture – he’s very much into taking pictures with my point & shoot camera. I need to talk to him about not leaving smudges on the lens though.

Anyway, I do want to get back to sharing my work here, and I seem to be in my stop motion phase. I do share them on my Instagram page, but I’m suppose I should share them here too. So here they are:

Stop Motion Hard Day's Night


Liz Johnson's black and white cookie recipe from Food and Wine magazine




Gotta watch out for those office weirdos –

That’s all I have for now. Over and out! 😉

Weekend Tidbits

Posted Leave a commentPosted in photography

Hi hi,

The Girl had a fabulous about you?
The Girl had a fabulous weekend….how about you?

I pass two Starbucks in the morning on the way to work, and I’m not sure what it is about Fridays but last Friday, both drive-thrus were super long. When I approached the second Starbucks, I decided to park and walk inside. Figured it’d take less time.


The place was nearly empty. Except for the lady who was putting in her order. I stood behind her and waited another 15 minutes while she put in her 2 drink order. I kinda expected her to pull out her checkbook at the end of the transaction. (Miraculously, that didn’t happen.)

This was me many, many, many minutes later outside of Starbucks:
(This was fun to do, by the way. And the hazelnut soy latte was muy bueno.)

On Saturday, I took Giada on a walk post-lunch. We passed a bride posing for pictures in front of her house with her bridesmaids. “Congrats,” I said. She said thank you while the party stared at Giada and smiled. In contrast, her next door neighbor was sitting in his driveway picking his nose.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have pictures of that.

We went to our friends’ place later that night for their son’s third birthday. I think I need a bubble maker.

suburban summer
The suburbs aren’t so bad. 😉 Also, it’s refreshing to take pictures of people other than my roommates. (Don’t tell Giada.)

As I’m typing this, I’m ending Sunday in the best way – New Girl on Netflix and going through cookbooks for recipe ideas. Hope everyone has a great week!

Weekend Recap [in photos]

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, photography

We work very hard to have low key weekends around here – it helps us to regroup as a family and more importantly, it’s good for our sanity. 🙂 It started with an egg breakfast on Saturday morning (scrambled for The Girl and me and sunny side up for the other two).

The Girl eating breakfast

After breakfast, I gave the kids slices of watermelon while I put dishes away. I looked up at one point to find The Kid trying to share his watermelon with his sister:


He’s doing pretty good with the sharing things these days. She – yeah, not so much. LOL.

After breakfast, we went to a fire station open house near us.


They loved hanging in the driver seat.

They didn’t like posing for me so much though.

The Hubs and The Kid looking like they’re having a moment. In reality, they were arguing. 😉

Later that night, the four of us went to Salsa 17 with The Hubs’ BFF. It was such a busy night that I didn’t get too many pictures. But I’ll share one:

Salsa 17
This is the salsa recipe I’m trying to chase. I can’t figure it out completely yet, but this recipe from Cookie and Kate is pretty close. (I’ve made it 3 or 4 times now when people come over for dinner – each time, someone has commented about how good the salsa is.)

The food was awesome at Salsa 17 – as was the one mojito I had. I was tempted to order a second, but the kids kept me busy all night. The Kid had to go to the bathroom twice. The first time, he did his thing and flushed the toilet. The flush was pretty loud that he screamed. The second time, he was prepared for the noise. So much so that after he flushed the toilet, he dived under the locked door to bolt out of the stall. Screaming, of course.

And The Girl….

Oh man, she was was overstimulated in the restaurant, so I took her outside to see if it helped. It did. I came back inside to see The Hubs’ BFF sitting alone at the table. “After you went outside, The Kid ran down the aisle and into the kitchen,” he said.


When The Hubs returned with The Kid, I took both of my sweet angel children outside.

That helped a lot.

The Hubs said he’s never going out to eat with the kids again. LOL. (I don’t know why I’m laughing because I’m pretty sure he’s serious.)

Sunday involved Domesticated Fun. I cooked. The Kid helped me make won tons – some of which we had for lunch and the rest we froze.

His and mine. 😉

And then, I watched the two kids eating lunch quietly as The Hubs researched bay window options (we’re getting one in the kitchen – yay!). It was a nice Sunday.


Actually, was a pretty good weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Food

This past weekend was The Hub’s birthday. Because it was his birthday weekend, I did what he wanted to do – stay home. So for the most part, we did stay close to home. Saturday was Birthday Eve. I had ordered lobsters from The Lobster Guy earlier in the week, and it arrived just in time for the weekend. So. Good. After a lot of screaming (“Lobster look scary!!!!!!!!”), The Kid decided he wanted to try a bite.
(He was also into the melted butter.) He might be an addict now.

Then again, the whole family might be:

I wish I had thought to get a picture of the lobsters pre-meal. But in case you need a quick review of The Lobster Guy: the lobsters are really good. Both kids also devoured the clam chowder. I liked the lobster cakes and stuffed shrimp we ordered too, but next time I probably will just stick with the lobsters and chowder.

Earlier in the day, I made a marscapone cheesecake from the green Gourmet cookbook. It’s legit the best cheesecake recipe – I tell people that this is the cheesecake that you make and use to buy friends.

I can’t ever seem to keep a clean work area as I bake.

I also can’t seem to do anything in the kitchen without an audience:

And do you think I have a picture of the final product? Nope. LOL.

On Sunday, we went to a hibachi place near us with The Hub’s BFF. I have to say that the sushi was awesome:

I’m a sucker for sashimi.

The kids were really excited for the grill:
Or was this their hungry faces? 😉

I didn’t take too many pictures because of that whole being-in-the-moment thing. 😉 But here’s the fried rice that I was planning to eat until The Girl stuck her hand in it:


The next day, we had our neighbors over for a BBQ. This is the only photo I took:


I’ll admit that the outside temps stunted my thinking this weekend. (Seriously, it hit 100 degrees at one point.) Also: I’m a fan of keeping things simple and I once heard that all you needed to put into burger meat is Lipton Onion Soup Mix. I did just that without telling anyone, and everyone said the burgers were really juicy. (I haven’t had one to validate this, but if people keep saying the same thing without being prompted, it has to be true, right?)

And the weekend ended nicely with Spiderman sharing the last of the birthday cake with me:

last of the Lutz cake

Sweet. 🙂

Daily Design – Week 21

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

You know what’s funny? I was going to take this week off from this self-imposed Daily Design Challenge* and I ended up designing things anyway, so I thought, Why not just share what you’ve done?

My doodle game isn’t strong. But it’s consistent.

And for those of you looking for ways to decompress, I’d recommend doing this at the end of everyday. Especially if you have kids people in your life that say nonsensical things – it’s fun to go back and remember the things that came out of their mouths. On similar note, I came across a Twitter account from a designer – seemingly from Chicago, no less – who does next level “doodling” (it’s actually beautiful sketches)…and I totally love her work.

Yup, a dinner menu for next week. We are having our neighbors over for Memorial Day, so I was trying to think ahead. As I’m typing this, I don’t feel like this menu is yet set in stone. When I was in LA for the photo shoot last week, there was a craft service table set up for every meal catered by City Kitchen. The food was amazing. I told Lulu – the girl who set up every meal – that I was going to kidnap her and bring her to Chicago. She seemed to be down with this plan, lol. In any case, I am going to use their catering menu as a starting point for ideas anytime I’m in a rut. So somewhere in that menu are my sides for Monday’s BBQ. I think. (Er, I hope.)

On note about the weekly menus: lately, I seem to be editing it throughout the week.

But I’ll still insist that it’s good to have this guide to lead me into the week. 🙂

I felt like it was time to get back into the photo book because March 2017 still needed to be tackled. In the morning, I culled 103 photos from that month. I probably need to whittle it down further, but here’s my favorite picture from that month:

Highlight #1 of the day: I texted my neighbor to see if she had any Diet Coke on her. She didn’t….and went to 7-11 to get me a bottle….with 4 little kids in tow. F-ing rock star mom.

Highlight #2 of the day: having dinner with an old friend. It was nice because she lives in the city but works out in the suburbs, so we got to do something 5 minutes from the house. I really wish all my friends lived nearby.

Woke up early. Feeling groggy. Opened a book on Illustrator – there’s a lot more I could learn about the program. (Speaking of Illustrator, how awesome is this artwork?) Read a page…and then felt like creating something. So here’s me on the hotel bed from last week:


I was trying to think of what to create this morning with 10 minutes to spare. I thought of this apology letter that I got in the mail about a year ago from a former friend. Let’s call this a lesson in how NOT to write an apology letter. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

*I don’t know if I never put an end date to this project. I was initially thinking 52 weeks, but since I will be returning to work full-time in June, this may be a 26 week (6 month) challenge. Then, I’ll go back to posting work at random. 🙂