100 American Foods Challenge: Tasso

Chicken fried chicken with a tasso gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans

I’ve been plugging away at my list. I haven’t blogged about everything on it, but I’ve eaten a few more, either on vacation or just in doing further research, I’ve realized that I have eaten them – I just didn’t realize that’s what they were called. So if you look on my list now, I’m almost halfway -47 out of 50 foods, with tasso being the 47th addition.

So, last night I set out to try tasso. Actually, I have been attempting to try this for a month and it always fell through. But last night, Nick and I went out to Maxie’s. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Maxie’s since living in Milwaukee and I have to say, it did not disappoint. The service was excellent and friendly and the food was so delicious. Today is actually our 6th wedding anniversary, so we went out last night in celebration of that. We went to Maxie’s and then we went to the mall and I got new Harry Potter slippers and then we saw Passengers. It was really good, I liked it, but admittedly, that genre is 100 percent in my wheelhouse for what I like to watch and read. Plus, it has Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. It was the perfect date night and it was worth waiting for. If we had gone earlier in the month, we wouldn’t have been able to see Passengers as it was just released.

So, to cover tasso, I had chicken fried chicken with tasso gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was soooooo good. It was spicy, but just the right amount. Not where it was so spicy I couldn’t eat it, but just enough to give it flavor, but you could still taste all the other flavors as well. I’d definitely eat it again if I had the chance to.

Have you ever tried tasso? Do you like it? Would you try it? 

NaBloPoMo Reflections

Wow! I can’t believe my last day of NaBloPoMo is here and that I’ve made it. Once I hit publish on this post, I will have completed my goal. I thought it was only fitting that I reflect on what I’ve learned and remembered during this month long project.

NaBloPoMo Reflections

I need to create.

There are a lot of things that I can turn to that I enjoy. I enjoy reading and watching Netflix. I enjoy playing board games and spending time with friends. But the need to create in me is strong. Nothing recharges my batteries as much as creating does. Usually, that’s in the form of writing – I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. It’s always been a big part of my life.

But sometimes it gets pushed to the wayside. It is easier to turn on Netflix at the end of a long day than to write, but only one of those two things leaves me feeling energized. I need to make this more of a priority in my life. Sometimes, even though I have written and regularly recognize the importance of self-care in my life, I still push it down. I make it a thing that only gets done if I finish all my other things. But finishing all my other things is sometimes impossible – I’m not superwoman. And then I’m left burnt out and crabby because I haven’t taken any time to stop go, go, going. It is okay to take time for myself. I need to repeat this like 100 times a day.

I have amazing friends.

Okay, this one feels a little like cheating because I have known this for a long time. But this is in here to say thank you. To all of you who supported me along this NaBloPoMo journey. Who liked and read and commented and asked me how it was going or told me you were enjoying it, I really appreciate it. I often feel like I have the greatest group of friends in the world. I feel all your love and support every day, in this endeavor and in other areas of my life, and I am really, really grateful for it. I thought about giving special shout-outs to a few of you, but that list quickly became too long to be practical. I love you all.

Goals are good for me.

One of the hardest parts about being a stay at home mom, I feel like, is that there is a lot of mundane stuff that never ends. I really do better with goals to work towards and structure in my life. Sure, I could set a goal like do all the laundry, but you turn around and there’s just going to be more laundry. A lot of household tasks are like that – hard to set goals for because there is no end point where you can be like bam! done. But having some kind of goal in my life gives me a purpose. And so, I need to brainstorm on ways to incorporate this because it really does help. Nothing is immediately obvious, but I need to keep kicking this idea around.

Anyways, that’s my reflections on NaBloPoMo! I’ve really enjoyed it. I hope you all did too. 🙂

101 in 1001: Take a Family Vacation

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So! Today’s post and then tomorrow’s and then I will have beat my challenge! So, knocking off another 101 in 1001 today and then tomorrow, a reflection on my feelings about NaBloPoMo and then I will have conquered the challenge! So today I am blogging about our taking a family vacation.

This vacation we actually took back in February. It’s funny. For the first five years of our marriage, we basically didn’t travel at all. We couldn’t. We were too broke. The kids were too little. Nick’s jobs didn’t allow for him to really have time off. But, this year, this year it has felt like we have done allllll the travel. We started the year off in Canada and then by February we were in the Dominican and then in April, Nick and I went on our first weekend away from the kids to the Dells, and then just getting back from St. Louis for Thanksgiving – it’s been a busy travel year! It’s a little tiring, but I don’t regret any of the trips we took.

So, our trip to the Dominican, that was my first time going anywhere like that. The other countries I’ve been to are South Korea, Germany, and Canada. So, that was a new experience for me for sure. And while we went with a bunch of family – it was a trip to celebrate Nick’s grandparents’ anniversary, after all – we don’t know anyone who lives there, so I am definitely considering this a family vacation. And, none of our flights got delayed or canceled this time and there was no airport vomiting, so winning. Here are some pictures from our trip! It really was a special year to be able to spend so much time with family that we rarely get to see.

Dominican Family Vacation Dominican Family Vacation

Did you travel this year? Where did you go? 

101 in 1001: Visit Nick’s Family in Canada

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When I was looking at my 101 in 1001 last night to cross off doing something epic/awesome with my sister, I realized that I have a lot that I can cross off that I didn’t realize that I could cross off. So for today and tomorrow’s post, I’m going to blog about two things I can cross off, and then on the 30th I have a reflection post planned, and then I might take a break for a bit or who knows! I might keep going too. But I won’t feel the self-pressure to post every day and I have a post that I am working on that will take more time to coordinate. So, we’ll see how it goes. But anyways, today I am blogging about when we visited Nick’s family in Canada. This was almost a year ago now at this point – I can’t even believe it! It was right after Christmas. We have a lot of pictures, so I put together some collages.

This was a lot of firsts for the boys. Their first time on an airplane, first time out of the country, first time meeting some of Nick’s family. First time being stuck in an airport. Haha, that part wasn’t as fun!

But overall, the trip was a blast and it was so good to be able to spend all that time with Nick’s family and I’m glad that we made this a reality!

Sledding for the first time in Canada

This was also Dominic’s first time sledding. I even got in on the action too as you can see.

Canada trip. Playing with cats Canada trip, mostly airplane stuff

They did really great for the whole trip! Especially with our delay getting back home, they were real troopers. Even though we had the worst time getting back home and Allen ended up getting sick on our layover (on day two, after our first flight was cancelled) they were still such troopers. Canada trip, Calgary skyline Canada trip, random pictures

I hope these pictures give you a little flavor for our trip! Hopefully we’ll be able to go back sooner the next time.

Have you ever been to Canada? What was the last trip you took? 

101 in 1001: Do something awesome/epic with my sister

I know I have already blogged a bit about our road trip, but I’m blogging tonight to check it off my 101 in 1001. Which I actually thought I had more left to do on, but when I look at it, I actually have quite a few things I can cross off already, so I may take some of these final days of November to blog about those things.

So, my sister and I in the car decided that this road trip we took, from Milwaukee to St. Louis and then back, counts as our epic awesome thing. I mean, we jammed out to throwbacks from the 2000s, as well as Harry Potter parodies and Smelly Cat. We talked about Harry Potter and other awesome nerdly things. We ate at Steak and Shake for my first time (delicious). We bonded and we won’t ever forget this and who knows when the opportunity like this will come to do something like this again.

So, epic thing done! Time for me to hit the hay <3 Love you all.

Top 5 Harry Potter Creatures That Would Make Terrible Pets

You know, sometimes blogging every day is easy. I have a genius idea and I’m like yes! I know exactly what to write about. Then there are other days I’m just like searching for ideas. But I’m so, so close that I can’t give up now. So, inspired by my road trip with my sister, here are the worst Harry Potter creatures to make pets. In no particular order. May contain spoilers if you have never read Harry Potter. Lol.

You do not want this as a pet!


The Lethifold will smother you to death and leave no trace of your body. I think that would make a pretty terrible pet if you ask me. You would die and nobody would even know what happened to you.

Mackled Malaclaw

If a Mackled Malaclaw bites you, you have bad luck for up to a week. Do you really want to risk being bitten by your pet and then having bad luck? Plus, they are lobster-esque and lobsters look like giant sea bugs. Giant, tasty sea bugs, but you can’t even eat a Mackled Malaclaw or you’ll get a rash.


These, as well as merpeople and other creatures of human or more intelligence, would just be cruel to keep as a pet. Not to mention, most of them do not like associating with humans, preferring to keep to their own separate societies. They would rail against being kept captive and you and your pet would be miserable. Just don’t do it.


Unfortunately, our beloved Hagrid thought somehow an Acromantula would make a good pet. This is like a what??? moment! Because who in their right mind would think that these kinds of creatures are an acceptable pet. These are gigantic spiders – like we’re talking up to 15 feet long, so like 3 times my size. They’re poisonous and violent. I’m going to have to give this a hard pass, Hagrid.


Banshees look like creepy skeletal women, so that’s the first reason not to want one. But the second reason is that their screams will kill you. Basically, if it can kill you quite easily, it does not make a good pet. Just like in the human world, it’s why we have house cats as pets and not tigers.

So, I hope you enjoyed this. What Harry Potter creatures would you not want to have as pets? There are many more I could have listed. But these are the ones that freak me out the most! I mean, dementors are pretty freaky too, but I’m hoping that nobody even thinks they would be a good pet. Plus, I wanted to shed some light on some of the lesser known creepy crawlies (or floaties – in the case of the Lethifold).

When Two Nerds Take a Road Trip

When two nerds take a road trip, they will spend copious amounts of time talking about Harry Potter. Read: almost the entire time.

When two nerds take a road trip, they will listen to Dark Lord Funk, instead of like normal people music.

When two nerds take a road trip, it will be a blast!

My sister and I are on a road trip right now, to see my family in St. Louis. Six hours – the longest the kids have ever been in the car – and they did great! (No, I don’t have magic and I really didn’t do anything special – they have always been great in the car). Sleep has been rough, but we are making it through it and I feel blessed to get to spend this time with family that I don’t normally get to see. Yes, we really did mostly talk about Harry Potter on the trip up here. It was like 95 percent Harry Potter talk and 5 percent other talk. My aunt asked if we thought we could do six hours about Harry Potter on the way back too. Our answer was “No doubt.” Lol. Maybe we will branch out and talk about some of our other shared fandoms, like the Hunger Games or Divergent series. But mostly, we spend a lot of time doing Harry Potter role play together and so, that it something we talk about a lot. If only you could see our text messages. Lol. This has been a good way for us to reconnect. I <3 her.

It’s been fun. I am thankful. Even though not every moment has been fun, the boys slept terribly last night. I’m hoping they sleep better tonight, though I can still hear Allen talking to himself. But, hey, at least it’s not crying. Silver lining. Silver lining.

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