Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Racing at the Iowa Speedway


A few weeks ago my family all convened at the Iowa Speedway in Newton IA to watch my dad drive a race car on the track. For Christmas we had all gone in on an Experience Gift that was 24 laps on a Nascar racetrack. 


My mom ordered shirts for all the grandkids as a surprise for my dad. They said "Papa's Pit Crew". They were the hit of the race track, and many people commented on them. 


My mom and dad. 


Dad with all of his grandkids


Many, many Talledega Nights jokes were being tossed around at this point. Dad was getting into the car and we had to pass the time as he got situated. 


We now refer to him as '99'



That is their Papa passing the finish line behind them. 


He LOVED it! He is already talking about doing it again, and looking into other race tracks that feature this event. 


Papa with all his grandkids. They were tired at this point being in the heat. We were all ready for some lunch and AC. 


They guys {L-R; Tony, Gavin, Mike, Steve, Ryan, John}


The Original Laue 5!


My brother Mike booked the gift using this website - Great American Days

Although we are not a family who watches racing, Nascar, or anything like it, this was still a really fun way to gift someone something unique. My dad loves cars, and loves to drive fast, so this was such a perfect gift for him, and one he was not expecting. At Christmas, he was convinced that my mom had gotten him AC/DC concert tickets. So much so, that we played along, and Tony turned on an AC/DC song on his phone while my dad was opening the gift. He was shocked to see that we all had something else up our sleeves. 

Also- Iowa Speedway and all the staff we encountered were wonderful. I had called earlier in the week to get details on some logistics with bringing our small children. I wanted to know where the restrooms would be, if I could bring a cooler, etc. They were very helpful and very patient as my mom and I peppered them with questions. It's a great place and another example of Iowa shining. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Minnesota 4th of July!


On the road again up north. The kids do so well these days in the car. With activities such as coloring, and stickers, they can pass the time. We usually break out the DVD player or kindle/leap pad during the last hour when they start to get a bit squirmy. 




We got to my parents house on Saturday just in time for the guys to go golfing and my mom and I to take the kids swimming. 






Oh, and Uncle Mike joined Snapchat...




More from our fun weekend later this week. We were up for several hours last night with the kids in the basement as the storm sirens were going off. I'm gonna need some more coffee today. 







Monday, June 27, 2016

Our Kids' New Playfort {Using the hidden space under the stairs}

When we finished our basement, I had told the drywallers not to bother with this area, as it would only be storage. They didn't listen to me and finished it out anyways. Then I told the carpet installers not to bother with putting carpet in there, but Tony overruled me when they came to measure. He knew the kids would love playing in here, more than I would love the storage. I don't need to keep that much stuff anyways. 




I did a little project on Saturday night that has been on my mind a while. The twin mattress in back of the nook kind of kicked it up to the top of my ever-evolving list of items to do around the house. 

We ordered a daybed with trundle for the lower level guest room to provide sleeping options for our family and friends when they stay over. The mattress we ordered for the trundle was defective. It had a very lumpy portion to it. I contacted Amazon to return it and as usual, their customer service was outstanding. Since it was next to impossible to re-package the mattress as it came, they told us to either donate or dispose of it and they issued a complete refund. So I went ahead and ordered another mattress for the trundle. 

So we were left with a defective twin sized mattress. So we decided to put it under the stairs for a kids reading/play area. 


This is what the area has looked like for months. When I was cleaning it out, I found an alarming amount of forgotton cheetos. #MomFail


Still messy. The area goes around that corner and has a small table and chairs hidden back there. 


I had a credit on my Amazon account, so after buying Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, I decided to buy some puck lights for this space. I wanted the kids to be able to use it at all times, and Gavin is currently obsessed with closing doors. All doors. 


I placed the larger light on the wall to shine toward the back of the space, and used 2 of the smaller disc lights on the ceiling of the shorter flat area. 




 Gavin and I also had a short adventure to Target on Saturday night {my goodness, that was the best time to go! No crowds, wait, and lots of time to peruse the Dollar Spot with no one else jostling their cart at you.}

 We found some of these Dr. Seuss posters. I had had a few of them from my cousin last summer and I bought 2 more to hang in the play fort. 




Here you can see the twin mattress tucked back in the corner. It just fit and I covered it with an inexpensive fitted sheet from Wal Mart. I wanted a pattern to help hide those cheetos fingerprints I am sure will be happening again. 


 I cleaned out the wicker basket and sorted through the toys. We have a tent and tunnel packed up in there along with the larger pieces of Gavin's matchbox car race tracks. We also picked up a few stacking boxes to keep the toys organized. I am loving Target's new Pillowfort line for kids. It is so on trend and not too pricey. 



The dry erase board was also a Target Dollar Spot find. I love that I never caved and bought the $30 Pottery Barn version...this was $3, and I like the light blue border better. 


The kids both loved it when we showed them on Sunday. Avery even took her nap in here on Sunday. The defective mattress didn't bother a 40 pound 5 year old, so I think we will keep it. 



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thoughts for Thursday -

Hello Friends,
How has everyone been? We had a great Father's Day weekend, complete with a trip to the pool with the kids to play.





Last night our neighbor was having a pop up shop for her Agnes and Dora business. 


I had never heard of it, but that doesn't mean much. I don't get out much these days past home, daycare, Hy-Vee, and work. So, another neighbor and I headed over after dinner and browsed the clothing, and IT WAS SO CUTE! There were a ton of legging options, along with dresses, tops, and kimonos. I ended up coming home with a floral kimono and a red and white striped top. 




I am finally wearing my red shoes I wore in a wedding about 2 years ago. I am also excited to use the kimono as a swimsuit coverup over my black suit. 

What is everyone up to this week?











Friday, June 17, 2016

Contemporary Ranch Home



This is a custom home that I recently completed. It turned out so gorgeous, that I just had to share it with you all. This is a modified version of a floor plan that I love and could see the Bower family living in {No, we are not moving. I just pretend to move my family into each house I work on...it's a sickness}


We used Cambria Quartz on the countertops and waterfalls the edge on the open peninsula. Wood looking tile from The Tile Shop was also used throughout a large portion of the main floor. 




 We used a linear 42" fireplace on the main level to continue the contemporary look. Floating shelves continue with that as well. 




The stair spindles are not your traditional black iron vertical piece, but rather sleek stainless tubes in a horizontal pattern. 


Also, the ever popular barn style sliding doors. We upped the design element using 5 panel clear glass so the homeowner can maintain a working privacy without totally cutting off this room from the rest of the home. 



 The owner's suite bath features dual sinks, and a tiled walk in shower with no door. 



On the the lower level, and entertainers dream!

Another 36" fireplace with floating shelves, and look at those gorgeous windows!



We used stone on the bar to protect the wall from scuff marks as stools and guests will sit there. As we were planning this out, we designed it so the cabinets would accept the stone wrapping all the way around the bar, for a complete look.



The bar has everything you could need. Full sized fridge, dishwasher, microwave, and wine and beverage center. There is also media hookups for a future TV on the wall. 


See, stone wrapping completely around the partial wall. 


 The covered deck is like a cherry on top, and the view is not bad either!



That green space behind the tree line is there to stay, so this was a premium homesite. 


Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the home, design advice, or finishes used. 

Happy Weekend!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Easy French Dip Recipe


I made a really great French Dip sandwich for dinner last night, and the recipe could not have been easier. 

We started with 1 pound of deli Di Lusso medium roast beef



I put 1 can of French Onion Soup {I added about 1/2 can of water to this}

and 1 can of Beef Consomme 


to a soft, rolling boil with the roast beef. It took about 15 minutes. 

I had also bought provolone cheese from the deli counter and used that to top the sandwiches. 
{Tony is not a huge cheese fan (Horror, I know!), so I used the provolone on his sparingly}


I scooped up the roast beef using a slotted spoon to drain the liquid from the meat. I took care to make sure some of the onions stayed on the roast beef. Then topped with the provolone cheese. I set them under the oven broiler set to 425 for about 8-10 min.

I saved the liquid for the dipping sauce and it was very tasty.



They were very good, and the kids even ate some of it. We kept it simple on a weeknight and served with corn and some waffle fries. 


I got the recipe from a southern blogger I read, and I am so glad I did. 

*Recipe from April at A.Liz Adventures
 Link