the return of hobbies!

Brett and I LOVE hobbies! 🙂 We have quite a few of them… and often times don’t seem to be able to make time for anything of them. There are entire weeks in our academic lives where we get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, work some more, and then go to bed…with some doggie loving happening whenever possible while at home 🙂 BUT this post isn’t about research or work or grad school…its about the stuff that we LOVE to do when we’re not doing all of that other stuff! (though many already probably know that Brett’s hobbies and his research are often heavily mixed, haha).

One thing that I love to do is bake. 🙂 I wouldn’t say that I love to cook…because while I do cook dinners and make lunches…sweet things are my absolute favorite and I seem to only find the motivation to spend over an hour in the kitchen if what I’m making is SWEET 🙂 This past weekend I made some of those shortbread, caramel, chocolate layered desserts that I have talked about before . I made them again and they didn’t take nearly as long this time and turned out buttery and wonderful 🙂 Here is a picture before the chocolate was poured over the caramel…


Brett is pretty big into photography… I owned a DSLR before we met but he has gotten me WAY more into this fun hobby and talked us both into purchasing better lenses about a year ago. Here are a few shots that I took after getting the fun new lens




Just as a side note…all of the pictures that I have previously posted to this main ‘blog’ portion of the website (all the ones besides the three above) have all been taken with my iPhone…crazy right?! 🙂

Lately, Brett has been experimenting with time-lapse photography and has been seeing if he can’t rig something together with supplies that we already have at home. This is him toying with something in the kitchen


The return of warmer weather has meant some awesome running in the neighborhood with the pups. We have found exercising to be a really fun way of spending time together…especially when we go through periods of time when we need to get some serious miles on those sneakers while training for races! When the wind dies down a little though, we really LOVE biking 🙂 It takes us about 15 minutes of biking to be deep into the corn fields for some really nice road riding. This is us at our ‘half way point’ for water, food, and a picture break during a 21 mile ride this past weekend.


Everyone once in a while we splurge on a weekend brunch. 🙂 Here, we’re waiting for our names to be called


Lately, some of our hobbies have taken a complete back burner. Over the winter, Brett and I got really into stained glass…but since school and research got super busy and then the weather got warmer we haven’t gotten any closer to finishing some of those projects. I’ll be sure to post some pictures though when we get back to them! Another thing I’ve really been wanting to try is candle making. My dad got me this awesome kit 2 Christmases ago and I still haven’t made them. The kit came with wax, jars, wicks, colors, and even scents. Brett’s interests go in and out depending on what his research requires…for a while over the holidays, we had a downstairs FULL of poster board cut outs for potential holiday yard displays. 🙂 Most of all though, I think we spend most of our time being goofy with one another. 🙂 Here is one of Brett’s signature faces


What kind of hobbies do you and your spouse/significant other/roommates like to do? Do these change when the weather gets warmer? 🙂

Superbowl and Dinner Parties

We have been quite “adult” lately if I say so myself haha 😉  On Superbowl Sunday my dad was visiting (there is a picture of his visit here ) and we had a few people over for the game.  We had great food, great homebrewed beer, and great laughs 🙂  I’ve been having a great time using our new stand mixer (thank you to my research advisor and his wife for that great wedding gift!) to make shortbread desserts , cookies, cookies, and more cookies!  With toll house by my side and a recipe book of desserts I am unstoppable!

Last night we went to dinner at our neighbors’ house.  What a wonderful, socially active, and engaging group of couples to spend an evening with 🙂  The food, drink, and dessert were just as satisfying as the conversation.  Brett and I have lived in Champaign for a chunk of time now, slowly evolving from undergrad campus dwellers to home with fence and backyard occupants 🙂  The community here is full of culturally active and involved people and we live among many of them.  One of our neighbors is part of a group dedicated to creating a bike trail from Champaign to Danville.  Another one volunteers at the Champaign County Library in his retirement.  Two are professors who are an active in sustaining the humanities and the arts in the face of cost cuts and budget crises.  I find it a good break from the everyday grind of basement offices and labs when Brett and I take time to visit with and learn from those around us.  🙂

Today is a rainy day of errands, research, and lounging with the pups.  I wish the backyard mud would freeze and the snow would come back because this rainy winter day is boring 😉


Fred came to visit!

Fredrik, an old roommate of ours, came to visit this weekend and Raj is officially back in town!  Adam, Brett, Raj and I took the opportunity to eat at the awesome, Original Pancake House (or OPH as I like to call it (pronounced ‘opah!’)).  We had a really fun wine and cheese party at our house where everyone was supposed to bring a hunk of cheese or some wine…though we ended up with a cooler filled with beer present at the evening too 🙂  Much of the evening was also filled with self-imposed ’90s hits, singing and dancing!  I made a really yummy shortbread, caramel, and chocolate layered dessert for Joanie’s birthday and some chocolate chip cookies that were completely gone by the end of the night.

The shortbread caramel bars looked just like these from 🙂


Fred, Raj, Brett, and I played 3 games of raquette ball….there was supposed to be another round of that over the weekend so that Fred and Mal could reap some revenge but we never quite made it back to the gym.  🙂  The boys passed a lot of that time spent not at the gym playing a bunch of halo, and we ate some great German food in nearby Gibson city 🙂  Here are just a few pictures from the weekend

Happy Monday!