Tag Archives: Champaign

Moving Day

Hey there. Me again. Back after a brief hiatus with more photos and fewer words. I promise I’ll be back on a regular schedule once we are all moved in but until then I hope you’ll settle for a photo update of the last few days.

Friday was spent down in Champaign celebrating with family and friends before the 5th running of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Technically this year marks the 6th annual race but this was the 5th year of our family running let’s just go with that.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

It was so nice to see my Champaign family and to squeeze the little ones before we leave. We were blessed (and cursed) with nice weather throughout the weekend as well, making for a very hot race the next day.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

Jake and Owen came over for the youth run on Saturday well-prepared with their under armor superhero shirts. I missed the run but highlights included Jake getting a side stitch approximately 30 seconds into a 1K distance, Owen blazing to the finish and Jake asking the volunteer why he was getting a medal if he didn’t win.

Saturday evening we celebrated our move with some of our closest Chicago friends. I feel very blessed to have had these girls (and guys) in my life over the last 6 years and will miss them so much. It’s so nice to have a bunch of people to look forward to visiting each time we come back though.

chicago going away party, haymarket pub, friends, Chicago

Approximately 4 hours of sleep later we were onto Sunday where we celebrated the upcoming arrival of the first grandchild on Matt’s side. If you can’t tell by the shower colors, it’s a girl.

girls baby shower, tassel garland, candy bar, sweets table, diaper cake, pink baby shower,

5 or so hours of sleep later it was moving day. Chicago sent us off just about the same way it treated us all winter long with gray skies and wet conditions but we made the most of it. We had a bit of a fiasco with our movers last-minute so we called in some family to help us make the trip. Once the truck was packed, Matt and his brother started the trip down and I headed to Springfield to pick up my dad and Finn.

spring weather, chicago moving day, moving truck

I’m not typically one to consider signs but I am now convinced that Bloomington hates me. You may recall I ran into a big winter storm coming through Bloomington a few months back so I guess it’s only fitting to get hit with a tornado warning on my last trip home.

So dad and I hit the road early this morning with the hope of making it to our new home in a day or so. Matt and his brother are of course already nearly there thanks to a few naps and a lot of caffeine.

Next stop, Florida.


Let there be light…in the morning at least

Happy end of Daylight Savings Time, y’all! I hope technological advancements (aka your iPhone) made this time change a little easier on you than in years past. And congratulations to those of you whose car clock is finally accurate again after 6 months of ‘just looking at the minutes.’ Tricky little things, aren’t they?

Ok. So raise your hand if you’re more excited for the early morning daylight that comes when Daylight Savings Time ends than the extra hour of partying.

fall colors, springfield illinois, simply social blog

photo credit Mike Murphy

(Slowly raises hand)


You’re not too old yet points for those of you who still remember which college bar stayed open an extra hour for you back when you were more excited about the extra hour of party time.

Station 211. Excellent. (p.s. for all you U of I alums out there, Station is now the Red Lion)

Don’t get me wrong I still cry every day a little from November until April when it’s pitch black by the time I leave work. As a person who does a lot of activities in the evening, I often find myself thinking:


I’ve got a dog to walk, errands to run and a workout to get in before dinner. Why are you making it feel like midnight all the time?

But the older I get the more I realize how much I’m turning into my mom. Most days actually, but especially this time of year.

sarah and mom, simply social blog

You see, my mom is an early riser. Always has been. At least for my lifespan. Come to think of it, her early rising likely started because of my sister and I but that’s beside the point. On the average morning, you can bet you can scare find her in the kitchen, coffee brewing and usually paging through a cookbook deciding what to bake. If you by chance beat her downstairs, she’ll assume 1) you just got home, 2) something is incredibly wrong or 3) something is incredibly wrong.

The truth is, the older I get, the earlier I seem to rise as well. If I had to break it down I think it’s about 70% adulthood, 20% puppy-caused and 10% exercise-driven.

greater swiss mountain dog, puppy, swissy, gsmd

Speaking of puppy-caused, Finn got a little bored with the extra hour Sunday and decided to take up woodworking. He beavered the other side of this leg a few months ago. Guess he wants to keep things even. Can you tell how accustomed he’s become to the dog-shaming photos I make him sit for?

Anywho, whenever I’m home for a visit, I like to scare my mom and wake up early right along with her. I’m sure I’ll be the same way when I have kids. Constantly questioning why they aren’t still in bed and offering them an assortment of juice and milk before they finally convince me that their near-30 year-old self would actually like to drink the cup of coffee he or she just poured.

So in keeping with the early-rising/baking/mom theme, the end of Daylight Savings Time seemed like the perfect time to make a batch of my mom’s pumpkin apple muffins. That and I was up super early, drinking a cup of coffee and paging through cookbooks.

pumpkin apple muffins with streusel topping, simply social blog

Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping

  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C pumpkin
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples (I used honeycrisp)
  • 1/2 C golden raisins
  • Streusel topping (1 TBL flour, 1 TBL sugar, 3 TBL butter, cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and spices together.

In another bowl (or stand mixer) combine eggs, pumpkin, oil and sugar.

Add dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Avoid over-mixing. Add apples and raisins to batter.

Prepare muffin tins with non-stick spray or liners. Fill each 3/4 full. Top each with 1 tsp streusel.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack.

pumpkin apple muffins with streusel topping, simply social blog

These make a great breakfast or dessert. The apples melt into the muffin and the streusel topping adds a nice crunch. This batch makes 22-24 muffins but they are hearty enough to freeze for later.

I’m happy with the outcome but as most things, nothing tastes as good as when your mom makes it. And I know it’s just me because my mom is too nice to conveniently leave out recipe ingredients like I’ve heard some do.

If I’m out-of-pocket this week it’s because I’m traveling to San Francisco. I hope to catch up next week and share some photos of the city by the Bay.

Have a great week!

50 Years of Roasted Wieners

This weekend marked the 50th Anniversary of the Bosch family wiener roast. For 50 (or 51 if you ask my Grandpa) years, members of my mom’s side of the family have gathered together to roast wieners, complain about the Cubs and Illinois football and eat cow tongue. Don’t worry, I’ll explain the cow tongue later.

50th anniversary bosch family wiener roast simply social blog

For 29 of those 50 years, I thought the wiener roast was just an excuse to get an incredibly large family together for a big outdoor potluck. My earliest memories filled with woolly worms and football games at my great-grandma Bosch’s farm, followed by poker tournaments and can-crushing at my great-uncle Denny’s farm and more recently, the annual unveiling of babies at our newest location near Pesotum, Illinois. I seriously think we set a new record for babies yesterday. It wasn’t until my 29th year that I learned a return home for a great-uncle who was in the service 50 years ago was the spark that started the annual Bosch bonfire. (correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, Bosch clan)

50th anniversary bosch family wiener roast

Photo credit- Lindsey Nickel

Whatever the origin or wherever the location, you can be sure that on the Sunday before Halloween, one hundredish Bosch family members will be seated on hay bails around a fire discussing why the Cubs aren’t in the World Series, who should replace [insert Illini football coach name here] and which newbie hasn’t tried cow tongue yet. As a self-proclaimed full-blood I have somehow avoided the pickled cow tongue delicacy that this family treasures and I’m completely OK with that.

50th anniversary bosch family wiener roast simply social blog

I think I’ve mentioned before that my mom’s side is rather large (in number). She is the oldest of 8. My grandfather is one of 8 as well. There’s no shortage of attendance at any family event. For this year’s pilgrimage, we were fortunate to have beautiful fall weather and a great turnout. And since it was the 50th, even commemorative coozies for attendees.

50th anniversary bosch family wiener roast simply social blog

Speaking of pilgrimages, my former college and Chicago roommate and I made a trip back to Champaign this weekend for Homecoming. It was nice to be back on a campus where we spent so much of our irresponsible years and for the football team to be so kind as to play just about as badly as they did throughout our tenure. But hey, at least we got to see the Chief again. 

Illinois football game, champaign illinois, illini, simply social blog

Illinois football game, champaign illinois, illini, simply social blog

On Sunday morning, we walked around campus to see what had changed (Urban Outfitters on Green street) and what had stayed the same (KAMS). We reminisced and were reminded just how prevalent sweatpants are in a college town. I’m fortunate to have family in and around Champaign so I get to visit often, but it was really nice to get a chance to walk around our old stomping grounds rather than running past them during a half marathon. note for family: Price increases November 1. Sign up now.

University of Illinois homecoming, quad, campus, Altgeld Hall, simply social blog

Looking back on the weekend, I’m fairly certain I spent exponentially more time outside than in, spent more time with family and friends than alone and ate enough to last me until Thanksgiving when we can do it all over again.

I hope your weekend was fulfilling enough to get you through a workweek. Here’s to a wonderful week ahead. I can’t wait to go home and pull my Illini sweatpants out of storage.

Faith and Marathons


I read this blog post shortly after the tragedy in Boston and it really resonated with me. The author references this quote from first woman to run Boston, Kathrine Switzer.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon”

It wasn’t until I ran my first race that I realized the amount of love and support races bring out in people. And not just the runners themselves. Granted, you feel the support from your fellow runners in that you’ve all trained hard over X amount of weeks to get to this point and you have a long (or short) distance ahead to get through together, but it was the support of complete strangers that amazed me most.

Strangers turned friends who wake up at the crack of dawn to call out your name along the race route. Those who make signs, dress up in costumes or play music to keep you entertained as you push through the middle miles. The hundreds of volunteers it takes to secure the route, distribute water and administer aid to those who need it.

If you want to see the good in people, go out and watch a marathon. If you want to see people encouraging others and donating their time to help people they don’t even know, stand on the side of the road during a marathon.

running race group

The first year I ran Champaign it was hot. Really hot for April. Residents pulled their hoses into their front yards and made makeshift water stations in between the sanctioned ones. Some even sprayed runners who asked them to. Runners who fell ill to the heat were caught (literally) by spectators and taken care of until emergency crews could arrive. If you want to see the compassion in people, go watch a marathon.

Last year it was cold. Really cold and rainy. Cheerleaders still lined the park shivering through their chants to motivate the runners. Kids handed out tissues and paper towels so you could keep your face dry. If you want to see the generosity in people, go watch a marathon.

And even this year in what were nearly ideal conditions for a race, the support was overwhelming. As we waited in the stadium for the youth run to begin some 7.5 hours after the start of the marathon, they announced that the final marathoner was heading towards the finish. Hundreds of children cheered and their parents clapped as the woman entered the end zone behind a police escort. If you want to see dedication in people, stay until the end of a marathon.

I don’t know if it was the aftermath of Boston or the fact that I was running 7 less miles than normal so I was actually aware of my surroundings, but I really noticed all of the support that goes into a race this year. It’s amazing what a community can do when everyone is working for the same goal. And at the same time, what something like a race can do for a community.

I had a lot of fun this weekend. Spending time with family, celebrating birthdays, cuddling Baby Aaron, seeing intoxicated college co-eds at 7 a.m. and eating way too much food. But perhaps my favorite part was getting to accompany Owen in his very first race for the Youth run.

race running youth run champaign illinois
Wind, rain and an untied shoe couldn’t stop this little athlete from sprinting to a honorable time of 3:30 for his first 1K. Perhaps the lactic acid had something to do with it but I had to sprint to keep up at the end. Regardless, I was thoroughly impressed.

As for this weekend, I’m excited to head down to Indy to visit with some of my best friends and experience a new race. Help me in praying for good weather so perhaps some new people can go out and experience a marathon.

Have a great week!