Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another Christmas Passed

Another year of phone calls and long distance Christmas wishes has passed us by.  Spending Christmas without family does tend to make the Holiday feel like "just another day" sometimes, but hubby and I had a very relaxing and peaceful day together.  We hope that all of our friends and family had as wonderful of a day as we did.  We were thinking of you all.  x

With the Holiday Season coming to a close, we now look forward to our annual Steak Dinner for New Year's Eve, and then getting back to the grind.  2013 is already shaping up to be a very busy year for us Colorado Ericksons.  So here's hoping for good health and happiness in the new year, as we take on all of the up-coming travel and sports adventures.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Cookie Day!

I received word from both my parents and my sister that today was the day to do our annual Christmas Cookie decorating.  Years ago, this all used to happen under one roof.  But after my sister and I moved out and started our own little families, we now have three instances of the messy, time-consuming, but delicious tradition.

The husband actually has a Christmas Cookie Day dance, which always makes me laugh.  I guess that's what happens when we make his favorite sweet treat only once a year.  They turned out tasting weird last year, so I'm happy to report that they are back to their wonderful selves this year.

Happy Christmas Cookie Eating!!

After most of the dough is used up, there always ends up being one mis-shapen weird cookie at the end.  Luckily for me, this is the husband's favorite part.  Monster cookie with all of the left-over sprinkles on top!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Apartment Tree

My husband and I have been together for a little over five years now.  We started dating in  July of 2007, and by time the year was up, we had already moved him from his apartment in Cincinnati to my apartment in Columbus.  At the beginning of 2008, we bought and moved into a condo in the same neighborhood so that we could have enough space for our combined belongings.  From January 2008 to July 2010, we had a place that we really loved.  A place where we could put up a big tree for Christmas every year.

In July of 2010, I moved us to Dallas Texas, and we were in a tiny apartment.  Thus was the birth of our "Apartment Tree."  The big one didn't fit anywhere, so we bought a miniature tree and miniature ornaments to decorate it.  In 2011, we moved to a larger townhome across the city, so we brought out the big guy again.  But this year, as we find ourselves in yet another too-small-for-us apartment in Colorado, we are glad that we didn't donate the mini tree after its stint in Texas.  Isn't it cute?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Successful Holiday Weekend

I admit that I was nervous about serving a Thanksgiving Dinner that I prepared by myself.  But it all turned out to be quite delicious.  The turkey breast wasn't quite as tasty as when it cooks with the entire bird, but we had the cornish hen to help fill that small gap.  The stuffing came out perfect, and everything else was simpler than I expected.

This year, as with every day of every other year, I am extremely grateful for my ever-supportive family.  I could not have dreamed up a better husband, for following me all across this country while I search for a job and a home that makes me happy.  However, I am so glad this year to finally be thankful for moving to a city and finding a job that truly fulfill that wish.  So thank you also for Colorado.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chez Erickson Holiday Weekend Menu

A la Chez Erickson for this nice, long weekend at home:

Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - MENU:

A delicious breakfast of Noosa Yogurt and Granola will be available, a la carte. Served with a side of V-8 Fusion Juice and Vitamins. Coffee refills are free.

For lunch, a variety of deli cheeses and meats will be available for personalized sandwiches. We will have honey roasted turkey slices, chicken breast slices, amish swiss cheese and hand-marbled colby jack cheese. If desired, we can also provide kraft singles. All served on wheat bread or a wheat bun, accompanied by mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and assorted vegetables. Kettle chips, pretzels or whole wheat gold fish available on the side. Liven up your lunch with a choice of micro-brewed beers.

Our Thanksgiving feast will consist of baked turkey breast and a cornish hen, stuffed with our world-famous dressing. On the side, we will have macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls. And for dessert, a Pumpkin Supreme pie will be warmed and sliced. Pie available with or without ice cream. Accompany your meal with a glass of fresh Pinot Grigio or a delicious IPA.

Friday - "Black Friday" - MENU:

Service for Breakfast and Lunch will be the same as the Thanksgiving Day Holiday. Thanksgiving feast left-overs will also be available throughout the day, at any time desired.

After a day of avoiding crowds but running some necessary errands, a Dinner of Shredded BBQ Beef will be served, straight from the crock-pot. Plenty of meat will be available, as these left-overs are meant for freezing and storing for the future. If desired, waffle french fries are available as a side dish. Pair the hearty meal with an Oatmeal Stout to complete your plate.

Pumpkin Supreme Pie with ice cream, or Ice Cream Candy bars are available for dessert.

Saturday - Game Day!! - MENU:


CLIF bars and Honey Stinger Waffles will be the center of the Breakfast meal, making the long, daily workouts easier to accomplish.

Upon arrival back at Chez Erickson, a full portion of Skyline Dip will be served during the football games. Accompanied by whole wheat scoops and delicious beer selections. This meal will be sure to fill you up!

If lunch did not quench your daily hunger, we will have a la carte freezer foods available at any time during the evening. Popcorn chicken bites, chicken taquitos, chicken rice balls, potato skin poppers and/or the renowned sturkey rolls can be whipped up! Please give 30 minutes notice for any of these dishes, as they will take time and preparation to cook.

Sunday - Rest Day - MENU:

As we try to get back into a routine for the upcoming week, we will return to a more subdued menu for Sunday. Breakfast is served similarly to Saturday's menu, as daily workouts will be in order again.

For lunch, the chef will be cooking up servings of a new recipe: buffalo chicken soup. This warming lunch can be cooked up on the stove in an hour's time, using the delicious cornish hen left-overs from Thursday's feast. Oyster crackers come on top of the soup to help make the simple recipe fill you up after a hard day on the bike.

By time dinner on Sunday comes around, we will be happy to serve the Thanksgiving feast left-overs, sandwich style. If this is not desired, an array of cereals or lunch meats will also be available.

Circuit of the Americas: Inaugural F1 Race

What an amazing experience my first Formula 1 race turned out to be.  Austin, Texas had every detail worked out, and I don't think it could have gone any smoother.  The city had brought in shuttles from all over, and they were lining the streets every morning and every afternoon, ready to transport tens of thousands of people to the track.  On top of that, the streets of downtown Austin were hosting nightly concerts, events and parties all weekend.

The track itself was beautiful, and I feel certain that every seat had a great view.  We did get a little toasted out in the Texas sun.  We really should have known better, just coming from there a couple of months ago.  But we did not prepare with sunscreen.

We are already talking about going back in 2013.  Maybe a new Erickson tradition?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Negative Splits

I've tried the "running thing" three times now.  My first attempt, while we still lived in Ohio, fizzled out early due to a hip injury.  We were concerned that I'd broken some bone in my pelvis, but X-rays showed nothing.  Unfortunately, that didn't help me feel any better.  I limped around for several weeks and decided that running just wasn't for me.  Too bad it was helping me lose that college weight...  I'd have to find something else.  Then, when I moved to Texas, and was living sans hubby for the first six weeks, I tried it again.  I was bound and determined to look as hot as possible when he arrived in Texas after finishing up his work obligations.  Running in Texas was horrible in the 90 degree heat, but then became wonderful as the fall/winter months arrived.  I loved it even more, as I watched the pounds fall off of me.  Sadly, my hip started screaming at me again, so I found myself on the bike and in the yoga studio more often instead.

This time, I'm employing a coach with years of running experience, who also has a current #1 ranking in local criterium bike racing.  He is a guru when it comes to running technique, heart rate zones, and how to listen to your body after pushing yourself aerobically.  Yes, I'm talking about my husband.  For once, I am going to listen to the guy, and take his advice on how to truly be good at these aerobic sports.  The slowness at which I run while monitoring my heart rate right now is embarrassing.  But it's working.  I have slowly but surely found a comfort in my running.  No more gasping for breath or walking in the middle of my work-out.  It's only been a couple of months, and I'm up to 3 miles.  Well, 3.1 miles...

I ran in my very first 5K race this past Sunday.  Ran for a very good cause and organization:  The Fetal Hope Foundation.  3,000 Coloradans showed up for the race in Washington Park, Denver!  It was 20 degrees outside, and I had three layers of clothes on.  My goal was just to finish.  If I could run negative splits (each mile faster than the last), then that would be bonus.  And if I could finish in under 30 minutes, then even better!  I ran harder than I have in a long time, and I crossed the finish line at 31:27.  I had run a 10:14; 9:58; 9:38.  I couldn't believe I'd run negative splits after all!!

After we crossed the finish line, we had vendors, a food truck, and a live band to help us celebrate.  I got a high-five from my coach, and an excited motivation speech on where we go from here: farther and faster!!  And what better song to greet me personally at the finish line than Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."  Perfect.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Today, I am an M&M.

Wish us luck in the office team costume contest.  They haven't told us what the prize is for winning, but I'm hoping for an extra week of vacation time!  LOL

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our First Colorado Snow

This morning made me feel very at home, here in Colorado.  We went to bed with the bitter cold rain thinking about turning into a small flurry, and woke up with a fresh white blanket of snow on the ground.  Snow for Halloween reminds me of years when my mom dressed me with two full layers under my princess costume / recycled dance recital outfit.  And then there was a full coat, snow boots, mittens and scarf on top of that.  I guess I was meant to be a snow princess??

The best part is that most (not all - it's never all) of the Colorado drivers this morning were pretty darn good in the snow!  When I was learning to drive, there was snow and ice all over the ground.  So I can appreciate drivers with a knowledge of how to handle weather like this morning's.  Quite an improvement from days when Texas drivers would slow to 15 mph at the site of a rain cloud...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Falling Into A Routine

There hasn't been much to post recently.  We are finally finding ourselves a routine that works, and now we're just allowing ourselves to get comfortable with it.  This make us fairly boring for the moment, but it feels nice.  We are working and exercising every day during the week; watching College Football and eating "cheat" meals on Saturday; then just running errands, doing chores and cooking on Sunday.

With the Holidays approaching, I'm starting to save up some money for Christmas Shopping.  I'm crossing my fingers that a pending deal comes through, and we get to go skiing for Thanksgiving.  And we are counting down the days until the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix!  Back to Texas in just five weeks now!!  Can't wait to see some family, friends, and my favorite little man ever...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Once Again, "Yes, We Live Here."

I called the hubs on my way to work this morning, and told him to just go take a look at the mountains and the blue sky.  It's been so cloudy and hazy here this last week, it was so nice to see such a clear, pretty view.

At the end of the day, he surprised me with a photo that he took while he was out there.  Beautiful.

Bravo, Ohio

Yesterday was our second attempt to become official Coloradans.  Our first venture to register the car to Colorado and get new drivers' licenses was kind of a bust.  After discovering that all but two of the many listed DMV locations on the Colorado government website don't even exist, we only arrived at the true location with an hour left in their day.  Needless to say, the line was overflowing out the door, and it was looking like a 2-3 hour wait until they called our numbers.  So we went in for attempt number two yesterday morning.  We arrived twenty minutes before they even opened, and stood in a line that already wrapped around the hallway outside the entrance.  Luckily, we were fifth and sixth in line, so it only took them a FULL HOUR to get us processed.  Seriously - an hour for the fifth and sixth person in line that morning.  And after all of that, we still only walked out with a piece of paper, hoping that the bars and airport would accept this as our official ID for the next 30 days.

I am horrified to report that this was almost identical to the DMV situation that we had to go through in Texas, just two years ago.  Go to the office, wait in line for half an hour just to get a number, then wait for multiple hours until anything productive happens.  When they finally do call your number, it takes all of three minutes to have them put your information in the computer, check that your eyes work, and take your picture.  And just like Colorado, Texas also only gives you a piece of paper, assuring you that it will be fine for your husband who travels every weekend from Ohio to Texas.  This folded piece of paper is just as good as any laminated, hologrammed piece of sturdy plastic.  Of course it is!

Both of these situations made me long for my home state of Ohio.  I have no idea how they've risen SO FAR above such states like Texas and Colorado, but they have their process down!  I've never had to take a number at any Ohio DMV, and the lines are usually a single roped off area.  I can only remember waiting behind maybe  five or six people at the most, and when they are all done, they GIVE YOU YOUR LICENSE!!  What a novel idea, right?  So I wanted to say, "Bravo to the Buckeye State!"  We had no idea how good we had it...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Raspberry Pie

I had to save this one for its own post.  I have not felt this connected to my wonderful late grandmother in such a long time.  Just licking the spoon after mixing up the berries in the cinnamon, sugar, and flour were enough to make my heart skip a beat.  It brought back memories from so long ago.  This is a treat that I will be mastering and making for the rest of my life.  Even if it's just to get that feeling back every once in a while.

Now - I do have to give all the credit for this particular masterpiece to my husband.  He mixed up the dough, and had the pleasure of trying to roll it out just perfectly.  This was no easy feat for his first time, and I should have warned him against using too much flour.  haha   But we figured it out.

Letting the pie cool for the necessary duration of time was probably the hardest part.  As soon as we possibly could, we both cut (very messy) slices, and scooped out some plain vanilla ice cream to top it off.  I have never seen my husband literally (using this word in complete earnest here) lick the plate clean for any food.  But this has happened two nights in a row now.  hahaha  He says it's the best dessert he's ever had.

I don't think I'll be hearing any protests whenever I want to make another one.  Maybe blackberries next time?

Monday, September 24, 2012

I think we have finally settled into our apartment.  A HUGE thanks to the hubs for taking all of our empty boxes down to the recycle bin this past week.  Why the moving company decided to leave that service out of our contract, I will never understand.  And why the apartment complex only has 1 trash room for our 4 story building - which is at least a 5 minute walk from our apartment, especially when carrying giant boxes - is also beyond me.  But we have space in our living room finally, and most of our belongings have found a place.

So of course, now that we're feeling settled, it's time to stock up the freezer!!

I was overly ambitious (as usual), but my wonderful husband rescued me from a day of hell.  He helped with everything and anything I needed, and he really should get credit for cooking more than half of the food.  I ended up being the dishes expert while he handled the food.  I would not have gotten done without him.  xo

So as a little bit of background info: We have an amazing friend, who attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York.  She is my endless source of knowledge when it comes to food, kitchen appliances, cooking, and baking.  A couple of years ago, she blessed our house with her personal cook book, and introduced us to some of its recipes at her annual Superbowl party.  She also showed me how to cook the items in bulk, and freeze them properly.  So now we like to have a fully stocked freezer full of snacks and meals.  It really makes the cooking process so much easier at the end of a long work day.

Before we left Texas, our goal was to finish all of our freezer foods.  We really had no way of taking them with us because of the odd timing that our moving company and apartment complex pushed upon us.  The empty freezer in our apartment for the last month has been kind of depressing.  So yesterday, we cooked up three different batches of snackable treats, and two batches of our dinner staples:

Fridge overflowing with ingredients in the morning.
Chicken for Chicken Spring Rolls, and Butternut Squash
Rice Balls; Pork for Shredded Chipotle Pork; Beef, Veal
and Pork for Italian Meatballs.

Hubbie cooked up the mix for the Chicken Spring Rolls.  These
are horrible for you, but they are possibly the most delicious
treats I've ever had.  We bought some fresh "meat market"
Chorizo Sausage this time, and we couldn't stop picking at it.

This meatball recipe is ridiculous.  It came from a relative with true
Italian roots, so you know it's one of the best!

I unfortunately didn't take any photos of our Loaded Potato Wraps, but that was on the list as well.  Once we finally got everything bagged up and in the freezer, we had spent 5 1/2 hours in the kitchen and we had run the dish washer 3 times!  It made for a very long day, but it's nice to have options ready to go again.  Anything to make life a little easier...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cycling Pros in Colorado

One of our first Colorado highlights was getting the chance to see the US Pro Cycling Challenge in person.  The 7 day race came through Boulder on Saturday, August 25th, so the hubs and I decided to trek over that way to see them up close.  We started out downtown Boulder, on Pearl Street.  The race was scheduled to pass by us on 7th Street, so we shimmied our way to the front of the crowd, and leaned against the railing.

Crowd Along 7th Street

I probably had a better view than the hubs, but I just remember screaming as they flew by at 25+ miles per hour!  Tejay van Garderen was holding the lead that day, so when he passed by, the crowd went crazy!!

After we re-lived the experience twenty more times over lunch at our favorite place, we decided to walk over to Baseline Road.  This is where the final climb of the day's race would start.  Apparently, we weren't the only ones with the same idea.  We walked with crowds toward Chautauqua Park, and waited by the side of the road.  George Hincapie flew right past me.  I had my fists flying in delight (lil' sister's "MO" style), and probably came a little too close.  Glad I didn't end up "one of those people" who knocks a cyclist off his bike during a race.  Especially because it was George's last race in a very impressive career.

We took the bus home after the events, and I got a little emotional.  The excitement of the day was enveloping, and I started to feel very sad about never getting a chance to see George race like that again.  But we will definitely be going back next year.  Maybe VIP on top of the Flagstaff finish?  haha

If you look closely, you can see people lining the road all the way up the side of the mountain pass!!

Jens Voight's bike: famously painted with "SHUT UP LEGS."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cruiser

Our second day in Colorado, my husband took me down to the University Bike Shop in downtown Boulder to get a cruiser bike.  I had wonderful intentions of using the cruiser for all of my local errands: grocery shopping, going to the gym, getting to the running trail, going to the local mall, going to local restaurants, etc.  In the last month, I've found out that: 1) the closest grocery store is a bit like Kro-Ghetto, so I've had to seek out another one where the shopping is a bit better.  This unfortunately means that I can't make it out there on my bike.  2) My new gym is practically in my front yard.  It's easier to walk than to get the bike prepped, ride the three minutes there, chain it up, and then go work out.  3) The closest running trail requires a more sophisticated piece of cycling equipment to get there.  Over a mile of rolling hills from our apartment, I can't make it there with my cruiser's three gears.  4) So far, I've had a hard time convincing the bubs to ride to the mall or the restaurants with me.  Coach has him working so hard every afternoon, that by time we go out to do those things, he doesn't want to think about getting back on the bike.

Alas, I regret to inform that my first outing on my cruiser was just this past Saturday morning.  I was sick of it just sitting in the apartment, so I ignored the quality of the local grocery store, and took a ride over there for my weekly trip.  I brought four bags with me, and figured I could put two of them in the basket, and two of them on my back to ride home with the food.  Unfortunately, our list was just a little too long, and I ended up with a straggling bag on my right forearm for the entire ride home.  Needless to say, the ride was a little wobbly.  But I made it!

Now that the inaugural ride has been completed, I hope to find more excuses to get on the cruiser.  It is so much fun to ride.  Almost as fun as it is to look at!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome to Colorado

I have officially decided to take over the maintenance of our shared page for a while.  Since our K.R.E.Design endeavors came to a halt a while ago, it only seemed appropriate to update the blog itself.  I'll try to encourage the hubby to add some new posts every once in a while, too.  But it's hard to tear him off of his bike these days.

So - we have finally made our way to Colorado!  After years of pining away for the mountain views, cycling scene, and crisp air of Denver, we finally snagged some local jobs and got ourselves out of Texas.  After two weeks, two moving trucks, and a car-full of belongings, we have finally settled into a small apartment in Broomfield.  The apartment complex is close to a ton of restaurants and stores, and the hubs is only a 20 minute bike ride from the mountains.  We love the area, and hope to stay in Broomfield for many years to come.

As a short update on what's to come:

1. My husband started racing his road bike in the winter of 2012.  He became a Cat 3 racer within the first 6 months, and now the racing season is winding down.  I only saw him race once in Colorado, and can't wait for next year's season to begin.  I will be sure to keep up with race updates and pictures as we go.

2. I have a new job, working for a western-wear apparel company in Westminster, CO.  The company sponsors several events every year, and I'll be sure to keep you posted on anything exciting.

3. We both have brand new TREK mountain bikes!  We've already taken them for a trail ride, and I'm sure there will be many more to come.  So. Much. Fun.

4. News to come as I train for my first 5K, and hope to step up my game with some other individual races this upcoming year.  Encouragement welcomed!

As we like to say to each other every day, as we look at views like this: "Yes, we live here now."