Chicago {Part Three}- Navy Pier

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Our last full day in Chicago, we headed downtown to check out the sites. We ended up only going to Navy Pier due to a lot of the side streets being closed for a marathon.

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I got a lot of great pictures but am choosing only to share these pictures so that this post, isn’t picture heavy. My mom and I both love lighthouses and we were able to see this one from the end of the pier.

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My mom was driving the hubby crazy with wanting to take pictures of us. He doesn’t like having his picture taken, while I love having these memories to look back on in the years to come. 

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These seagulls were everywhere and would just stand there posing, waiting for us to take their pictures. It was to funny.

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I was trying to make the hubby do funny poses in these pictures.

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I was super excited when we got to the end of the pier and and found this big anchor. I have an obsession with anchors these days. As I was taking a picture of it, a few couples came up to take their pictures sitting on it and I ended up being a “professional” photographer for a moment; as I think I took pictures for probably three different couples. I like to be that nice person who offers to take a picture for random strangers so that everyone can be in the picture.

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This was the building at the end of the pier. This picture is straight out of my camera, with no editing or special settings when I took the picture! I can’t believe how it came out! And there’s something shooting through the sky in the top left of the picture. Love it!

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We had so much fun while we were in Chicago! Thank you to my aunt who played tour guide for us! We can’t wait to get back more often, now that Southwest flies out of our local regional airport for super cheap.

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Chicago {Part Two}

  Day two of our trip to Chicago was spent with family. We headed to Joliet to the casino. There’s a reason why I don’t gamble… because I don’t win anything. I should of stopped when I was up $20 in the first five minutes we were there, but what fun would that have been. The hubby had a great time as he had never been to a casino before.

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The casino trip was an excuse to get my uncle {my mom’s brother} out of the house for the day. He turned 65 at the end of April, but my aunt had a party for him early since my mom and I were in town. He was definitely surprised when he walked in the door.

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Happy 65th Birthday Uncle Gene. Glad we were able to celebrate with you.

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My mom and her sister-in-law started out as best friends when my mom was 18 years old. Eventually my mom introduced her friend to her brother and they ended up became sister-in-laws.

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My mom and I. I hadn’t seen my mom in almost two years. Life gets hectic and lets face it, it’s not much fun visiting Iowa. It was great to be able to spend a few days with her and other members of our family. It was also a special occasion because I wore a dress! I don’t think I’ve worn a dress since my wedding day almost FIVE years ago! But I loved this dress! And now that I think about it, I’m gonna wear it to a birthday party next weekend.

ChicagoAmDawnMy Cousin Dawn & I {if she see’s this she’s going to kill me!}. When I was in college I would drive the six hours to Chicago every few months just to get a way for a weekend and also to get my hair done. She’s one of the few I’ve allowed to touch my hair in my lifetime. I miss her dearly and wish were able to spend more time together like we did when I was in college. I also blame her for my addiction to McDonalds Coke. When she was pregnant she craved Coke from McDonalds so when I was with her, we always had to stop by Mickey Dee’s for Coke. And now I constantly crave their Coke over any other fountain drink.              

It turned out to be a great day and we enjoyed spending time with our family. That’s the one thing that I don’t like about living so far away, is not getting to spend time with my mom as much as I would like. Thankfully we talk almost every day.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother I could have ever asked for. She has been through a lot in her lifetime that has made her a stronger person. No matter what, she has always been there for me through the good times and the bad. She supported my decision to move 700 miles away from home. She allowed me to spread my wings and fly. I love and miss you dearly mom! I wish we were able to see each other more often.

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Happy Mother’s Day to the best Grandma ever, who has always been more of a second mom than grandmother. She helped raise me and helped shape me into the person I am today! Thanks to Grandma, I’m the frugal, crafty, creative, baker/cook that I am. Grandma taught me my love of baking and hosting big family holiday dinners. She taught me how to be a good thrifter and allowed me to tag along to the thrift stores and auctions as a young girl. She taught me the value of a dollar and the importance of being frugal. Love you so so much and miss you dearly Grandma.

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And thank you God for blessing me with the best Mother-in-Law, that I could have asked for! She’s not only my MIL, but a best friend, who listens to me, who supports me and who shares the same passion for cooking, planning and being frugal that I do. Who doesn’t mind my late night phone calls to get advice on various topics. And who has spent 30 plus years working as a nurse. One day we’ll be relaxing at the beach together ;o) Love you!

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God truly blessed me with some great mothers! And I know that one day I’ll be just as good as a mother because of their influences. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mother’s out there, to the mother’s of four legged fur babies and to the future mother’s who are struggling with infertility.

{Photos curtsey of CoreyAnn Photography.}

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{PS} If you live in Northeast Ohio and are looking for a great photograph CoreyAnn Photography is amaze balls!

Chances Change Lives

“If life gives you a chance, take it; If it changes your life, let it.”- Harvey MacKay

This was a quote that my roommate my freshman year of college had posted in our dorm room and I grew to love it. It’s been one of my favorite quotes of all time and I’ve used it many times to get myself through various situations over the years.

If you could believe it, I was very shy and quiet in high school and growing up. I was always involved in activities and worked throughout high school, but I was always afraid to speak up or to be called on in class. It even took me a long time to get comfortable around my friends. So it came as a little bit of a shock to those closest to me when I decided I was going to move 700 miles away from my hometown in Iowa to attend a private college in Ohio; where, I knew absolutely no one! IMG_2131

I took a chance when I made the decision to move far away from my comfort zone, to a state where I knew no one. I had no idea what to expect when I stepped foot on the college campus, situated in the center of a quant little town; where Amish buggies trotting through the street dividing up the campus, were an everyday occurrence. Some days I wondered what I got myself in too. Other days I was so thankful that I took the chance to see what else the world had to offer outside of the small farming town I grew up in. IMG_2129

A chance that changed my life. A chance that allowed me to come out of my shell, to open up and figure out who I was as a person. A chance that allowed me to meet my best friends. Friends who have embraced me with open arms, making me feel like I’m a part of their family when I had no family around me. A chance that lead me to my husband.

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A chance that changed my life. A chance that I am so thankful for, as I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. IMG_2132That chance that changed my life, specifically changed my life when I graduated college seven years ago today. I wonder where the last seven years have gone. There have been ups and downs, career changes, moving from renting an apartment to owning a home, dating turned to marriage, the loss of loved ones, struggles with infertility, but through it all, it’s that one chance that I took almost eleven years ago that changed my life forever!

I’ve spent the last seven years continuing to work in the same quant little town, with the Amish buggies still trotting down the streets. I’m lucky that I still get to enjoy the beauty of the campus every day while passing through. One day last week, I was able to go down memory lane when I went for a walk through the campus, enjoying the beautiful tulips that were in bloom. Spring time was always my favorite time of year during college. I was able to capture these gorgeous pictures while strolling through campus.

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That same day, I came across this field of dandelions, that I just thought were beautiful. This field reminded me that beauty is all around us.

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Chicago {Part One} Stalking Chicago Fire

Welcome to all of my new readers from the UBP13. I’m still working on replying to all of the comments and visiting everyone’s blogs & FB pages. I’ve been a little busy this past week.

You see, I’ve been busy stalking the TV shower Chicago Fire. Last weekend, the hubby & I flew to Chicago to spend some time with my mom, who we hadn’t seen in almost two years. She drove the six hours from Iowa and met us in Chicago where she was born & raised. After finding a sweet deal on airfare, we decided to fly in order to give us more time there.

Our flight out was delayed due to a “fuel leak that was no big deal” according to the airline when they made the announcement of the delay. We all busted out in laughter, thinking, you’ve got to be kidding us, “No big deal, huh?” Even with the delay, we still made the 45 minute flight into Chicago by 10am on Friday. My Aunt {who my mom has been best friends with for over 35 years} and my mom picked us up from the airport and drove downtown Chicago. The hubby has never actually been into Chicago so this was a fun trip for him to see new things.

But our main mission of the day was to stalk the set of the TV show, Chicago Fire. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we thought it would be cool to go see if they were filming. After searching Google, I found a site that tells you where shows and movies are filming at each day. My wonderful Aunt is such a great tour guide around the city and took us right to where they were suppose to be filming. But it looked like we had missed it.

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As we turned the corner to go back around the block to another spot we had a lead on, we found the casts trailers lined up along a block by an empty warehouse. There were security guards stationed at each entrance. Of course my aunt had to drive around the block a few times & the hubby thought we were going to get arrested for stalking lol!

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While we were driving around, we passed an actual Chicago Firehouse that was making a run. You see, my hubby used to be a fire fighter until knee problems caused him to have to leave the department. So we have a slight obsession with Fire Fighting stuff.

Our next brilliant idea in our stalking adventures was to find the tavern that three of the characters had purchased in the show.

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The real name of the tavern is “Lotties” where as on the show, it’s named “Molly’s”. Lotties was situated in a residential area.

Then we figured out the address of the Firehouse and set off to find it. Which turns out is right near my aunt’s doctors office. I’m pretty sure she will be doing some of her own stalking when she’s downtown.  ;o)

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When we pulled up, two of the SUV’s {usually what the Chief’s drive} were parked outside. We stopped to take a picture. My mom wanted to take a picture of me in front of the station, which looked horrible thanks to Chicago living up to its nickname of the Windy City. By the time we drove back around the SUV’s were gone.

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Looking to the east of the department is this beautiful skyline view that is sometimes seen in episodes. As we were leaving the station, a couple had pulled up and informed us that they were going to be filming at the station on Monday at 4am to 10am. We were super excited and were planning on going {OMG how cool would that have been?!} But after thinking about it, our flight left to go home on Monday and we didn’t want to be rushed with getting packed and to the airport and so tired when we got home that evening.

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The next stop on our mini Chicago vacation? None other than my favorite place for Beef Sandwiches up the street from my aunt & uncles. The hubby was being rebellious and ordered something else on the menu. I could have ate three or four of these while we were there, but I refrained from my friend Jaclyn yelling at me when I got back for killing my diet.

After resting for a bit, us girls went shopping. Where else do you go shopping while your in Chicago? Kohl’s & Target of course! LOL. My aunt had told us about some recent purse thefts in the downtown area and since we were headed to the Pier on Sunday I decided to get a cross body purse for safety reasons. ;o)

Stay tuned for Part Two: Family Time & A Surprise 65th Birthday Party.

 

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Ultimate Blog Party 2013

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I’m Amber and want to welcome you to Luv, Laughter & Happily Ever After! I like to call this my little corner of the web where I share my latest deals, DIY projects, recipes, struggles with infertility and life!

This is my fourth year {wow, can’t believe it’s been that long already} participating in the Ultimate Blog Party {UBP}  hosted by 5MinutesForMom.com.

I started blogging over four years ago when I started learning more about couponing and began getting great bargains that I wanted to share with my friends and family. From there it evolved into sharing more than just deals, but our life and our struggles. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but as Gary Allen’s song says, “Life isn’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”

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I’m an underpaid Martha Stewart with a taxi service by day {okay, so I’m a social worker} and a domesticated wife by night. I’ve been married to my jack-of-all-trades-husband for almost five years! This is double the trouble when we both have idea’s that we want to do around the house and have to come to a compromise!

I’ve called Ohio my home for the last eleven years, when I up rooted myself from the cornfields of Iowa and started my new venture in Ohio when I moved here for college. One of these days we’re planning on moving to Myrtle Beach to get away from the cold winters and be closer to the in-laws.

We’ve spent the last four years battling infertility and PCOS. It’s been an emotional roller coaster ride. Ten rounds of infertility treatments later, we’re still struggling with this huge hole in our hearts that is empty, just waiting to be filled with a precious newborn. Last fall, I had a procedure done called Ovarian Drilling, a procedure that was once used before the invention of infertility medications, that has helped my cycles get on track. This has given me hope that one day we will be holding our miracle.  I keep trying to remember that his timing isn’t necessarily my timing.

I hope you will continue to join me on my journey as I post about recipes, crafts, travel, photography, our adventures and our life.

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Please excuse the very vague post, as I’ve procrastinated and have been rushing all evening to pack for a weekend trip to Chicago. I look forward to meeting tons of new readers and partying it up all week!

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Package Pals

 

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I participated in Package Pals from C.R.A.F.T. & Stars & Sunshine this year. I’ve never done something like this before and I had so much fun getting to know Megan, whom I was matched with and putting together a package for her.

I was super excited to receive my package in the mail today from Megan. We both share a love of all things pink!

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I just loved all of the cute goodies she sent!

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I haven’t mentioned here on the blog yet, but I have a new obsession with all things anchors. I’m currently in the process of re-doing our master bedroom, which will be blue with an anchor theme. So this cute wall hanging will go perfectly!

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Oh My Gosh! I’m in love with these flower accessories! The pink flower on the bottom, is actually a ring! How cute is it?! There’s a matching bobby pin too! Along with a gold and while flower hair clip! I’m not a hair accessories girl, but these might make me change my mind!

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Megan and I also shared a love of our dogs and these scrapbook stickers are perfect for that scrapbook I need to start of the never ending pictures of Diesel.

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And this letter “A” made out of buttons is too adorable! I can’t wait to frame it and hang it in my craft room. The funny thing is, I sent her a pink letter “N” for her last name.

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She included a cute little note as well.

This was my first time participating in Package Pals and I loved it so much! I really enjoyed coming up with ideas for the other person. Plus it was so much fun getting to know another crafty person and looking forward to emails the first week or so of getting to know each other’s likes.

Megan doesn’t have a blog, so I thought I would share a few pictures of the package I sent her.

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Megan had mentioned that one crafting tool she’d love to have was a rotary cutter, so of course I was super excited when I found one in pink! Through a little Facebook stalking {okay, not really}, I found out that she was interested in learning more about cake decorating. So how could I pass up these cute cupcake liners? And what do you need while baking cupcakes? A cute little apron that I sewed up. I also included a framed craft print, cutting mat and the letter N for her last name. 

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Everything was sent in this cute photo box.

Thanks Megan! It’s been a blast getting to know you!

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Spring in Ohio

 

On the first day of Spring last week, this is what I woke up too. This beautiful sunrise. In fact, it was so beautiful, I accidently popped the screen out of the window when I attempted to raise it up to take this picture. Don’t let the beauty of this picture deceive you, it was still really chilly that morning!

SunriseAnd this is what we woke up to this morning… Four inches of the most beautiful, fluffy, white snow Ohio has seen all winter. The only problem is, mother nature has forgot that it’s officially spring in Ohio. Snow3.25.13(2) We should be having warm, sunny days right now. Instead, I’m enjoying a morning of no work {don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about that} and deciding whether or not I should brave the roads to work this afternoon with another pending storm on the way. Snow3.25.13(3) Until I decide to make that decision, I’m going to enjoy the beauty of this scenery that I’m so thankful I get to view from my front window. Normally, I hate winter, but this year, I have embraced the beauty of the landscapes it provides and have been taking tons of pictures. {Follow me on Instagram at LuvNLaughter to see them}.

Snow3.25.13  Good bye winter… Spring is moving in next weekend with 50 degree weather!

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