Monday, July 12, 2010


Hi. I've been gone for a LONG time. I am sorry. I will probably be sporadic for a while.

But, I did want to say hello and post this picture. Mostly because I love the app my husband used to take the photo... and because I love my birthday.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day!

How great is this poster?!

Hope you've been enjoying the last days of Spring; seven more days 'til summer!
{photo source: wikipedia}

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Earlier today I purchased soup from my work's cafeteria. I picked up a soup spoon and grinned. I love soup spoons.

Here are a few other simple pleasures that make me smile:
- Sporks.
- Cherry slurpee from 7-11 (or a Cherry Icee from anywhere).
- Lattes.
- Solving a crossword puzzle.
- Tomatoes + Basil fresh from the garden.
- Spontaneous, unsolicited expressions of love.
- Fresh baked bread.
- Farmer's Markets.
- Cool, foggy mornings.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gotta be quick

Oh my - It is already almost 1:00p!

I have been a busy lady today:
- Went grocery shopping
- Made caramel buttercream frosting, followed by the act of frosting cupcakes
- Baked half a dozen bagels
- Prepped an appetizer for a party tomorrow
- Cleaned up my kitchen mess
- Packed
- Showered
- Took the dog out x2

All because... I'm going to Fargo!! My friend Gina should be at my house in four minutes. Several months ago she asked if I would be interested in running the Fargo Half Marathon with her and I said sure. The race is tomorrow morning. It's her first half and my second 'official' half. I think we'll have a lot of fun. I just hope the rain holds off.

I had intended for this post to have pictures of the cupcakes, bagels and more... but I just ran out of time.

With all that, I still needed to blog because I offered Round II of Pay it Forward. Okay, it really is still Round I, but since it involves a second trip to the Post Office... you can see my thought process.

The winner is: Jen! Congrats Jen! I'll get your stuff in the mail soon.

Oops - gotta run. Gina's here and I still need to shut down. Have an outstanding weekend! [Sorry... I didn't have time to proofread. I hope this post is coherent.]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pay it Forward, take II

Back in October I posted about an opportunity to Pay It Forward and send gifts to five readers of this blog. I never posted a follow-up, probably because it took me until the end of January to send them, but I did indeed ship out five gifts to the lucky winners.

One was returned. Apparently because of my incredible delay in getting the gifts assembled, I missed one of the winners and she moved. To Korea. Seriously.

So... does anyone else want to play? If so, leave a comment on this post. Winner(s) will be selected on Friday. The package will be mailed soon thereafter, because I am in desperate need of stamps and must go to the Post Office.
{the goods: a tea wallet + four bags of tea, a dish towel avec hearts, a note pad and lip gloss*}
*Outside of my uncle, I don't believe there are many other male readers of this blog. But if a guy wants to play (and wins), I will put together a more masculine version and select a female recipient for the girly gift.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. If your name was a verb, what would “to Nicole” mean?
Oh gosh. I know I've used my name as a verb before too, but I can't remember what I had done. I'm sure it was something forgetful or clumsy or caused a mess.

2. What myth have you always wanted to prove or bust?
I received a forward on this a month or so ago. It's a video of people around the world using their cell phones to pop popcorn. Kind of alarming.

For the record, it isn't true. I searched to find out if it was real or not and it isn't. In fact, there is a full CNN story with the person who created this video. It was an advertisement. Here's a link to the story (scroll through the egg cooking part, the popcorn portion is at the bottom).

3. If you had the ability to get a message out to the entire world, what would you say?
Babies are born without 'traditional' knee caps; it's just cartilage until they are 3-5 years old. It's crazy and true. I mean... it's mentioned on wikipedia, after all! I share this interesting tidbit with everyone I know who has a baby.
*I realize this question is meant to be much more profound, but I'm just not in a profound state of mind right now.

4. I know you’ve answered a similar question before, but it’s been awhile. Please name your current top 10 blogs.
I follow a variety of blogs: food, fitness, crafts, friends, parties and misc. Sometime I'll post some links, but for now categories will need to cut it.

5. Do you have a junk drawer?
Yes. It's actually a portable plastic drawer. I think it's stackable, but we only have the one. We keep stamps, flower food, rubber bands and other 'stuff' in there.

6. Bottled water or tap?
Tap. It's free. I'm cheap.

7. As a kid, did you have a favorite Biblical story?
Noah's Ark. I have a lost of little trinkets, sewed a pillow and recovered a chair, in Noah stuff too.
8. What is your favorite black and white movie?
To Kill a Mockingbird

9. Aside from your engagement/wedding rings, what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Does it have a story behind it?
I really love the pearl necklace and earring set Rich gave me for our wedding day. I very rarely wear them, but they are very special to me.

10. What sports/activities do you hope your kids will be involved in? (Answer for both a boy and a girl)
Boy or girl, I would like him/her to try something with music, either sing or play an instrument. Definitely complete swimming lessons and try a team sport.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up (sans photos)

Eh. I don't feel like adding photos to this post. So you'll just have to take my word for it that these things really took place.
Speaking of pictures, I've heard wordpress allows you to drag and drop photos into a post. Is that true? I don't use wordpress so I don't know. What I do know is adding and arranging photos in a post is a tedious task. Is there any advice you can share to make it easier?

:: Baked cookies. Ate lots of cookie dough and then ate no less than five cookies fresh from the oven.
:: Added fresh mushrooms and jalapenos to our $4.99 Papa Murphy pizza. Such a bargain.
:: Ran 20 miles. Fort Snelling to St. Anthony Main and back. C-R-A-Z-Y!
:: Culver's: one scoop vanilla custard + numerous chocolate chip cookie dough pieces = one very happy girl
:: Inspired by an opportune meeting with his BBQ mentor, Rich smoked two pork shoulders. Y.U.M.
:: Hosted an impromptu dinner with the family to share said delicious pork.
:: Made bagels. From scratch.
:: Outlet shopped with my mom and aunt - bought new crocs, kitchen stuff, plants.
:: Watched my mom plant our new lilac bush.
:: Quested for potting equipment.
:: Plants planted!! [Separate post to come, with pictures]
:: Walked the dog and lamented on the incredibly pleasant weather.
:: Rested and readied for the upcoming week.

It was a truly lovely weekend.

What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What was your high school superlative (if you didn’t have one - what would it have been)?
I'm pretty sure I didn't have one but if I did, I forgot what it was. If I was to pick one now it would sound so incredibly sad, it's not even worth mentioning.

2. What sports did you play in high school?
No sports for me. I am not a 'natural athlete' as my brother once pointed out. However, I was in choir and ensemble 9-11 grade, if that counts for something.

3. What was the best part about your wedding (if you’re not married yet, what are you looking forward to)?
We were really looking forward to the trolley ride we took with the wedding party after the ceremony. I thought it was a fun way to explore the town, take some pictures and relax a bit too.
4. It’s your last meal– what Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Entree and Dessert would you choose?
Appetizer - Bread, with olive oil & balsalmic vinegar for dipping
Soup - Tomato Basil, sans cream (or French Onion Soup)
Salad - Wedge Salad w/ tomatoes, bacon + blue cheese; blue cheese dressing on the side
Entree - Crab legs, Lobster, Steak, grilled asparagus + hollandaise, sauteed mushrooms, mac & cheese
Dessert - A scoop of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge on the side.
*Phew! This sure would be a LOT of food! And apparently I want to go to a steakhouse.

5. What song is your guilty pleasure?
This one is kind of embarassing. I really like anything that plays on Delilah. When I work late, I love to drive home and listen to her program. The people who call in to confess their love? So cute! Plus I love the singable love songs.

6. What is your favorite professional sports team, and why do you like them?
The Minnesota Vikings. I just really like football. I think it's a fun sport to watch, especially when they win.
My second favorite right now is the Minnesota Twins. Mostly because of the new stadium.

7. What is your favorite reality show and why do you like it?
Biggest Loser, I guess. Though I haven't watched this season.

8. How would you classify your home decorating style (modern, classic, french country)?
A combination, I guess? I'm not good at decorating. Our house definitely isn't modern, though it has some modern stuff. It's not classic either, in fact I'm not sure exactly what is classic. And it's not country, though I'm sure there's some of that too.

9. Pizza- deep dish or thin crust? White sauce or red sauce? What toppings?
From your standard (read: Dominos, Papa John's) pizza joint: I like a traditional crust pizza with red sauce, mushrooms, jalapenos and pineapple.

10. Favorite weekend getaway within a two hour driving radius?
Visiting Rich's family in WI.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Do you prefer markers, crayons, or colored pencils?
My immediate answer was crayons. But after further thought, I love the wide array of Sharpie markers available nowadays. So much that I have asked for (and received) sets for Christmas. Love them!

2. As a child, how did your parents celebrate your birthday? (Parties, cake, you pick the dinner, etc.)
Ice cream cake. I have a summer birthday and my mom loved it, so I had it ever year. I am not the biggest fan, but I always knew my mom loved it, so I let her get it every year.

I also remember the parties my mom threw for me and my friends: kids games like 'pin the tail on the donkey' the year after Kindergarten, trips to the wave pool or movies (if and when it rained), a trip to the beauty school for fancy hairstyles and manicures, a sleep-over (complete w/ running around the neighborhood in the middle of the night). Fun memories!!

3. How do you feel about leggings?
Unsettled. My mom bought me a pair this winter that I have yet to wear. I did try them on once, and they aren't terrible, but I'm pretty sure I cannot pull them off.

4. How do you prefer to follow directions? With a map? Words?
WORDS!!! Maps are nice in addition, but I prefer words with arrow icons indicating which direction I need to go.

5. What do you eat for snack?
It varies, but today I had blueberry yogurt with generic Grape Nuts mixed in. [Originally they were packed for breakfast, but was eaten at 4p.*]
*In case anyone is curious, I did eat a lunch. Food was consumed prior to 4p.**
**And clearly I wrote this answer on Monday, not today.

6. Have you ever ordered anything from an infomercial or bought any As Seen on TV products?
I ordered Nad's hair removal gel. What strikes me as really funny is that I am not a hairy person. I have blonde, fine hair that is practically invisible. So it wasn't really the number one product that I need. But I ordered it and tried it. I guess it works for some, but I was just sticky.

7. What’s your favorite thing about summer?
Blue skies, skirts, sandals, painted toes, tanned skin, warm sunshine, thunderstorms, grilling, outdoor parties, ice cream, long daylight-filled days.

8. Do you have a tattoo? What and where is it?
No I do not, though my husband got a tattoo during our honeymoon that I call "our" tattoo.

9. Are you good at journaling?
No. Isn't that evident by how infrequently I update this bad-boy?!

10. What’s your favorite way to eat a hamburger?
I really liked the burger I had from Five Guys with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, grilled onions, mushrooms, pickles, fresh jalapenos and A1.
Last week Rich made wonderful burgers topped with a spoonful of chili garlic sauce and a slice of horseradish cheddar cheese.
Other times I'm happy with a plain ham or cheeseburger. But the concoction I want to try soon is: a hamburger topped with cream cheese and freshly diced jalapenos. I saw it on the Travel Channel's Chowdown Countdown and looked t-a-s-t-y!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Ahhh... the weekend! Every Sunday night I seem to end up wishing there was more to come. This weekend was no exception.

Here are the details, bulletized.
  • Ran 18 miles in Mpls + St. Paul + Bloomington
  • Organized (+ purged) an enormous magazine stack
  • Baked cupcakes fit for Sunday morning consumption
  • {cupcakes pre-cream cheese frosting}

  • Celebrated Dad's birthday w/ a fast 18 holes
    • [the first time I had golfed in >10 years!!]

    {birthday boy}

  • Followed by cinnamon roll cupcakes + coffee in the Clubhouse
    • [where my Dad's name adorns the walls boasting each tournament success]
  • {Sixsome, minus mom-the-photographer}{self portrait with mom-the-photographer}

  • Talked of our next trip to the golf course
    • [soon, we hope!]
  • 30 minute nap
  • Wake
  • More celebrating my dad, this time with birthday dinner + two desserts
  • Resting up for the week ahead
Not incredibly productive [read: around the house], but most definitely a pleasant respite from M-F.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Think back a decade, do you remember what your first cellphone was? Was it as cool as Zack Morris’s phone?
I got my first cell phone when I was 21. It was a Kyocera. Shortly after getting it, I left it in the car on a hot summer day and it never worked again. Thankfully I had purchased a warranty. My replacement was a Samsung flip phone and I used it for 3 years.
2. What is the first children’s book you remember being read to you?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I'm sure this wasn't the first book that was read to me, but it was the first that came to mind.
3. What was your first car? Did you love it or hate it?
A 1984 Toyota Cressida. It is my understanding this was Toyota's version of a Lexus. It was ahead of it's time when it came to features. It had automatic everything: locks, windows, side mirrors, rear-window defrost, locks. The car met an untimely death thanks to me, but I was very fortunate to be given such a great car when I turned 16!
4. Who was your hero growing up?
My mom. And she still is.
5. Think back to your first kiss. Was it everything you dreamed of?
I don't remember hating it.
6. What was your first BAD hairstyle choice? (Extra points for embarrassing photos)
Second grade, wedge-cut with a perm.
Mom came through and found a picture!!
7. What was your first realistic dream? (One where you had to think “Oh dang, was that a dream?”)
Oh gosh. I've had a few. Usually someone I love dies in my dream and when I wake up, I (thankfully) remind myself it wasn't real. Not cool.
8. What was the first phobia you remember developing?
I don't think I have any phobias. Though there are plenty of things I am not fond of such as: spiders, WORMS, rats and larvae.
9. Which character on Sesame Street do you most identify with?
Cookie Monster. Right now all I want to do is eat a cookie. Om Nom nom nom!
10. What was the hardest goal you ever accomplished?
Gosh this one is really tough. There are a number of things I have accomplished that I am immensely proud of: summiting Mt. Whitney, running a marathon, baking my first yeast bread (seriously), passing Cell Biology and thus graduating from college, getting married to a wonderful man, having a loving family and being a parent to our dog, to name a few.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What two cities should be moved closer together?
San Francisco and New York, but I really just want them moved closer to me so I can visit whenever I want. I love both cities and every time I leave I feel like there is so much more to see! Plus, I really love NY style pizza and San Francisco clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.
2. What was the first plane ride you took?
I'm not positive, but I would venture to guess it was to visit my grandparents in Mission, TX.
3. What continent would you most like to visit?
Europe. I want to go to Italy and Portugal (as mentioned last week). I'd also like to go to Poland to meet my sister-in-law's family and tool around the Mediterranean Coast. [Yes, I know that Poland is not along the coast... that was just a series of thoughts strung together.]
4. What’s your favorite place to window-shop?
Anthropologie. There are so many things I would love to have, but I don't necessarily have the funds for them.
5. What’s the least fun you’ve ever had at a place specifically tailored for fun?
The day before our wedding I had planned a luncheon with my mom, aunt and bridesmaids followed by mani & pedis at a nearby nail salon. I called a few weeks in advance, made an appointment and asked if they would have enough room to do eight sets of nails/toes simultaneously. They said yes.

Well, when we arrived for our 3:00p appointment and they only had two people working AND let a customer who walked in after us go before us!! I had all of the bridesmaids, my mom and aunt get their nails and toes done first to make sure they got through. Meanwhile I was practically pacing the joint. By the time it was my turn I didn't even care whether or not mine turned out nicely. I just wanted to get out of there.

Our rehearsal started at 5:30p and I had expected to have at least an hour of relaxation and get ready time post-mani/pedi. By the time we got out of the salon we only had 10 minutes to get to the hotel, change and get to the church. Needless to say, it was not the least bit relaxing experience.
6. You’re stuck on an island with plenty of food, a companion, and a relatively stress-free lifestyle. What do you say when the rescue ship comes?
Rich's answer was to ask if they have TV. But I guess I would ask if they have a phone. In my mind, my companion would be my husband, but if not I would want to call him and then my parents to let them know I'm okay.
7. Which day of the week do you look forward to most?
I really like Wednesdays. When I was younger Wednesday meant I had fun church activities after school. Now it generally means I get to work remotely. But most of all, it means the work week is half over!
8. What’s your favorite place to enjoy the great outdoors?
My uncle Rollie's cabin. It's fun and rustic, complete with an outhouse and all. I haven't been in nearly five years! We used to go every year around the 4th of July and then we'd also celebrate my birthday. So fun! [Fun story: Rich and I had only been dating a few months when went to the cabin. My uncle said, "Now that you've brought her here, you'll have to marry her." Three of my cousins had visited the cabin before us with their boy/girlfriend and each couple had gotten married. Guess it worked for us, too!]
9. What’s on your “to do” list this summer?
Enjoy the weather, create a potted garden, and run two marathons!!
10. Which natural disaster freaks you out the most?
Gosh, being in the path of an erupting volcano would be pretty scary. Or a tsunami - definitely a tsunami. In fact if I'm ever on the coast, tsunami's do cross my mind. When we were in French Polynesia on our honeymoon I mentioned several times how if a tsunami came in we would be goners. Thankfully that didn't happen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

Whew! What a great weekend! It was fast (aren't they all?!), but really wonderful. It sure didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely outstanding!!

We started the weekend off on the right foot with friends and the Twins vs. Royals game at the brand new Target Field. Such a cool night [literally and figuratively]!
{our seats}
{scoreboard} {our view} {Hrbek's} {batter up}
{Minnie & Paul}

Saturday morning we woke up and started about our day. Twenty minutes later, Malin's face looked like this.
{poor swollen puppy}
A dose of Benadryl later, he was on the mend. And after a few hours of surveillance, Rich and I left to check out a newly opened restaurant in the neighborhood.
{five guys burgers and fries}
It was delicious!!! The menu reminded me of In-N-Out burger and the food was really, really tasty.

Here are the perks: bulk peanuts available while you wait in line to order and as you wait for your burger to be prepared and the toppings (excluding cheese and bacon) are F-R-E-E!! I'm talking lettuce, tomatoes, onions, grilled onions, mushrooms, pickles, fresh jalapenos, ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce and A1. And you guessed it - everything in bold was added to my burger. Yum.

Did you see the fries?! There are two varieties: Cajun and Regular. They are from fresh-cut potatoes and scrumptious! [Frankly the fries are like the ones from the State Fair and they have malt vinegar on hand, which made for some tasty dipping. BTW - the fry portion is huge, we could have done with one order, but I insisted on getting the Cajun too. While they were good, next time I'd stick with the Regular and douse them in malt vinegar followed by ketchup.]

After our yummy lunch, Rich did yard work while I put on a sundress, grabbed a few magazines and caught some rays on the deck.
{sun city}
Post-sun [and sufficiently feeling like a bum], I changed clothes and helped in the yard for a few minutes before transitioning to indoor housework. Our evening came to a close reclined in our Adirondack chairs, me with wine, Rich with beer and Malin lapping up water. Lovely.
{our family, including a cured dog}

Sunday was equally splendid, but not as eventful. We slowly woke up, no impromptu hives this time, reviewed the paper. I ran some errands, came home, painted my toenails and then left on more errands. I came home again to Rich making his famous charcoal chicken.
{the chef and his grill}
Our friends stopped by to pick up a crate we used when Malin was just a pup [they bring home their own puppy this Saturday!]. We chatted about summer plans and dog play dates while snacking on pretzels and dip. Before long it was 9:30p, our friends departed and it was time to clean up, get ready for work and head to bed. Another delightful weekend come and gone.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What book, movie or song has made you want to travel to a particular place? (eg. I went to Prince Edward Island because I was such a Anne of Green Gables fan)
After we watched the movie Sideways, we have talked about taking a trip to taste and tour a few wineries in Napa Valley, CA.
2. Aside from your significant other, who would you want to take with you on a dream trip?
My mom.
3. Where would said dream trip be to?
4. If you were hosting guests or providing tips, what three things would you show visitors to your hometown? (be it where you live now or where you grew up)
- Walk around one or more of the following lakes: Lake Calhoun, Isles or Harriet. In high school we went to Calhoun multiple times per week; it was our place to hang out. Plus it's pretty, bustling and great for people watching!
- Swing by the Farmer's market. This is more for me, than them. But I want to go... so my guests can come with. We'd purchase fresh produce, meats, bread, cheese and olives before heading back to our house to have Rich grill up a delightful dinner.
- Most people want to go to Mall of America so if that's something they are interested in, I'd take them. If they would rather stay outdoors, I think we need to see a Twins game at Target Field!
5. If you had a long weekend ahead of you, where do you head – beach, city or country/mountains?
I'd like to go to the country and hang out at the beach before heading into the city. [We don't have mountains 'round these parts.]
6. Do you have a passport? If so, did you get it for a particular trip or just to have, in case?
Yes. I got my first passport so I could visit my brother while he studied abroad in London.
7. Are there any travel souvenirs you collect? If not, is there something else you collect?
Nope. While I do have a lot of stuff, I don't have any collections.
8. If you could name a paint colour, what colour would it be and what would you call it?
Hmm... right now I would pick an orangeish-red and call it: August Sunset
9. If you were heading away for a weekend citybreak solo, where would you go? (forget about practicality here and flight times, assume you can get to any city in the world for the weekend)
I'll be by myself, so as I was looking up "Pedestrian friendly cities in the world" I came across the Five Best Cities in the World for Women Travelers and picked Lisbon, Portugal since it's along the Mediterranean. And because I looked up images and came across this one.
{Photo Source: Destination 360}
10. Is there a song or a smell or something that you strongly associate with a particular holiday/place/time, such that it always takes you back?
There are a few songs that remind me of high school, such as:
"Kiss from a Rose" by Seal = Riding the bus my freshman year of high school.
"Angel" by Sarah McLachlan = Working at the local coffee shop my senior year of high school.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Spring has sprung. Trees are budding, grass is greening and I am day dreaming of flowers, plants and gardens.

However, I am not a gardener. My mom is. She has skillz I can only dream of. So instead I hope that she has enough time to work in her gardens and help me with mine!

Rich and I would love to have a full-fledged garden, but I can't seem to conceptualize where I would put it. Thus, this year we will attempt container gardening. We tried tomato plants at our old house, but squirrels and chipmunks harvested the fruits of our labor before we could. At our new house we have a different layout that I think will lead to more success.

I don't know what types of crops we'll plant - but for sure there will be herbs. And I've got a head start on those already!!
Last Sunday (3/28/10) we bought this herb kit. By Saturday (4/3/10) we had germination and growth of basil and the start of chives. And Monday (4/5/10) we had full on cotyledons!
Come on parsley! Get growing!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. If you could travel back in time, would you? What decade would you visit?
Sure! I would want to go back to the 1920s. Is that crazy? I'd like to experience a week on a farm and then in a city, just to see what life was like.
2. What was your best Halloween costume? (fun to make? most creative?)
My senior year of college I had a nurse costume: white smock, nurse cap with a red cross on it, bright red lips and a pair of white tennis shoes. I loved the ensemble and have kept it on deck ever since, just in case I'm invited to an impromptu costume party.
3. Do you like your name? If you weren’t called by your name, what would you want to be called?
Eh. I've went in phases, but I'm not changing it so it's here to stay. I don't have any other names I want to go by, so this one works for me!
As an aside, for some reason I don't like when Rich calls me Nicole. It just feels weird to me. However, I love when he calls me Nic. Unfortunately, that is a rare occurrence.
4. In the past year, what is the BEST recipe you made. Please share it!
I tried making a number of things this year. While many were tasty, very few were made more than once. But Julia Child's Coq Au Vin I made twice, including once for a dinner party. The recipe consists of a number of steps, but the results are delish and most of it can be completed well in advance of your guests arrival.
5. Look around – what is the nearest object or picture hanging on the wall?
A television.
6. What was the last movie you saw in a theater? Would you recommend it?
Alice in Wonderland. It was my first 3D IMAX film ever and the visuals were awesome! Consider it recommended.
7. Did you go to summer camp? Will you/do you send your kids to camp?
Sure did! I went to a Camp Wapo in Amery, WI. It is a Lutheran bible camp and I always had a great time. I would love to provide a similar opportunity to my future kids some day.
8. What kind of ringtone do you have?
No songs for me, my ringtone is your basic telephone ring.
9. Where is the farthest away from home you have ever been?
With a loved one? Tahiti. By myself? California.
10. Has anyone ever written a song or a poem for or about you?
I don't believe so. Though when I was a kid my mom changed the lyrics of "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" to our last name instead. I was pretty old before I learned the true lyrics.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

Our Easter weekend was once again wonderful. Rich hung out with some friends Friday night, and I hung out with the dog. While Malin and I were on a walk we saw this. I wasn't able to get my camera out very fast, but...
{...that is a water skier on the back of a boat. On April 2nd. Craziness.}
{Malin, leading the way}
Saturday morning we woke up, packed up and headed to Wisconsin to visit Rich's family. We met up with Rich's parents, sister Tina and brother-in-law Paul at Tina and Paul's house. We also introduced Malin to his dog-cousin Cosmo. They were fast friends and chased each other around the yard for a while before the humans left for lunch at a pizza buffet. Yum!

After lunch we went back to Tina and Paul's, picked up Malin and did some shopping before heading to the farm. We unloaded, let Malin loose and enjoyed the warm (but windy) weather for a while before heading to the local watering hole.
{we played dice}{enjoyed a local brew or two and racked up the drink tickets}

After a while, I left with Patti to get some rest while Rich and his dad practiced their pool game.

Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning before heading to brunch with the family. I neglected to take pictures though, which is a shame. We followed up brunch with another trip to Huron. The boys, Rich and his dad vs the son-in-laws, played their annual pool tournament [the son-in-laws won the title this year] while the ladies chatted.

Once it started getting late and we started getting hungry, the crew headed back to Rich's parents' house for a lovely dinner.


After supper, Rich and his dad took on the son-in-laws for two more rounds of pool at the house. This time with money on the line the son + father team came out victorious x2!! Hmm... makes you wonder if they threw the title series?! :) Too soon it was dark, time to pack up and start heading home.

Always too short, it certainly was another wonderful weekend spent with family.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

So I'm not back 'up and running' like I thought I'd be. I'm in a serious blogging rut and beyond lazy when it comes to uploading pictures. So... once I'm over that I'll be back? Maybe. On to the questions & answers.

1. What television character do you identify with?
Elaine Benes from Seinfeld; I certainly dance like her (unfortunately this is unintentional).
2. Describe your morning routine.
Alarm goes off. I hit snooze. Ten minutes later, my alarm goes off again. I hit snooze. (repeat multiple times). Finally I get out of bed, go to the bathroom, weigh myself and then brush my teeth. I start the shower (for whatever reason it takes a long time for hot water to reach our bathroom), then a few minutes and many gallons of water later, I shower. Next up: pick out clothes, dress, blow dry hair, apply make-up, take dog outside, fill water dish, fill food dish, grab work bag, purse and lunch bag and drive to work.
3. How do you do lunch? Bring from home or dine out? Same thing every day or mix it up?
During the work week, I almost exclusively pack a lunch. Occasionally I'll eat out. Generally those occurrences are more like lunch meetings w/ friends.
4. What is one moment that, although seemingly trivial at the time, changed your life?
Martha Stewart Living magazine, February 2003. This issue contained instsructions on how to knit. I don't knit nearly enough, but without this particular publication I wouldn't have picked up the skill.
5. Name your top three beauty products.
Face Lotion (w/ SPF, please); Eye Liner; Mascara
6. What do you do when you’re alone in the car?
Sing like I know the words.
7. What is the ideal city for you to live in? If you can, take this survey and tell us the results. Do you agree with them?
- My initial answer (considering distance from family and $$ are not factors): San Francisco/Sonoma County, CA
- Results from the quiz: # 1: Portland, OR
(2. Baltimore, MD; 3. Corvallis, Oregon; 4. Frederick, MD; 5. Charleston, WV; 6. Champaign-Urbana, IL; San Fran was #20)
- Based my answers, I think this assessment is fair. I've briefly visited Portland and considered it as my initial response to this question.
8. Are you waiting for something?
I'm looking forward to a few things: planning our next vacation, nice weather, flowers, spending time with friends and family.
9. What was the last shocking news you heard?
My uncle's property was searched by police, a SWAT team, 3 police K-9s and 1 bloodhound during a manhunt a few hours ago. The police think the fugitive ran through his yard. Crazy!!
10. What are three things you wouldn’t do for a million dollars?
- Eat buffalo testicles. [I know that sounds random, but remember the show Fear Factor? They did it once and it was disgusting to watch. No, thanks. Actually there is a lot from that show I wouldn't do.]
- Anything that would cause me (or anyone else, for that matter) harm and/or pain.
- Traffick drugs or humans

Interested in playing too? Put your answers in the comments!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


At 6:30p tonight I was given a deadline for work. The deadline? Tomorrow morning. My response when asked if I could meet it: "Oh sure! After all, I have 18 hours!"

I'm not sure if most people are procrastinators or not, but I am one. So instead of buckling down and getting to work, I went for a walk w/ the dog and then started watching The Real Housewives of NYC on Bravo. I'm on hour 2.5 of this programming and intend to watch another half hour.

As an aside: NYC is my favorite of all of the Real Housewives series. Bethenny Frankel is my favorite and Alex McCord is probably my second fave. Jill Zarin used to hold that spot, but based on how this season is going, she might not be any more.

While watching Housewives, I made dinner, talked on the phone, read some blogs, checked Facebook and now I'm blogging myself.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I did do some work mixed between everything else. I generated five reports and have spent quite a bit of time waiting for my Excel to catch up with me. But I've goofed off quite a bit!!

Editedto add: Last night I completed my necessary data pulls and assembled most of the metrics requested. I still have more work to do, but just one portion is left. I didn't stay up too late, but I did fall asleep watching television once again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Sorry for the extensive vacay from here. I hope to be back up and running this week. In the mean time, here is this week's Ten on Tuesday.

1. When you were a senior in high school, what career did you think you’d choose? Did you? Why or why not?
I had thought being a microbiologist would be awesome. I had read an article some where that listed their salary at $180K, which sounded pretty good to me. I did graduate with a BS in Biology, and while I was successful in labs I knew lab work wasn't for me. I spent the summer before my senior year of college working for an adhesive company supporting the VP of Global Operations. It was then that I realized I really enjoyed working in a corporate atmosphere, running reports and playing with data. The good news is - that's precisely what I do now!
2. What one thing about the “real world” did you find most surprising once you were on your own?
I was surprised to find out you have to pay for garbage collection service. I'm not sure why I didn't realize this. After all, I remember my parent's switching garbage collectors throughout the years, but I guess I hadn't realized they paid for that.
3. Name 3 things you think your closest friends DON’T like about you.
I have spent way too much time thinking about this. I'm not sure what my closest friends don't like about me, but I'm hoping, because they are my closest friends, there isn't much. If anyone would like to comment on what they don't like about me, feel free to fill me in, I guess.
Here is one for sure: I appear to disappear off the planet for months at a time. [I need to get better about that! Many of my friends I haven't seen in MONTHS! Not cool.]
4. In order to sleep, do you need background noise or absolute quiet?
I am fine either way. Most nights I fall asleep watching television, but on the rare occasions I actually go to bed before I go to sleep I prefer no noise.
*BTW - I really need to work on physically going to bed before I fall asleep!
5. Why do you choose to reside in your current city? Yes, you have a choice
When we were looking for our new house we had two cities in mind. Our goal was to be closer to my family (though we ended up being virtually equidistant) and to gain a yard. We ended up picking our current location because it seemed calmer than the other city and we have everything we need within just a few miles from our house.
6. Are you close to your parents?
Yes. I love them and couldn't pick better parents if I tried. I am probably closer to my Mom, because I talk or email with her daily. I don't talk to my Dad as frequently, but I still think we are pretty close!
7. What is your favorite fiction book? Poem? Blog?
Book: James and the Giant Peach. I have always loved that book!! And while I don't love peaches, this book makes them sound so juicy and succulent!
Poem: I'm sure there is some adult poetry I like, however I still really enjoy Shel Silverstein poems like: Peanut Butter Sandwich and Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.
Blog: I check a crazy number of blogs. When I check for updates, I tend to scroll to my favorites first and am thrilled to see an update. One the first ones I check is my good friend Krystle's blog. I'm not sure if she would be okay with me linking to it, since it includes her last name, so instead I'll just mention it.
8. Do you enjoy cooking or is it a chore?
I love to cook. I am not good, by any means, but I like to do it. In fact, my husband is a much better cook that I am, but he rarely gets the opportunity anymore because I'm always in there. I am trying to get better!
9. Be honest. What one thing would (the majority of) your blog readers would be shocked to find out about you?
I was very afraid of dogs before we got our pup, Malin. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before on here, but most people tend to be surprised by this statement. [For example: I used to have to cross to the opposite side of the street if an owner and dog were approaching. And once I cried, full-out bawled, when three dogs (off their leash) ran by me and Rich while we were on a walk.]
10. If you were given your own national holiday, what would you require people to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Day of You? Would there be a parade? Greeting cards?
Breakfast: Eggs Benedict (or anything w/ Hollandaise sauce) + bacon
Lunch + Dinner: This would be a combo of both, so maybe it should be called "Lunner" or "Dinch," either way it should include a gathering of your favorite people to enjoy a plethora of appetizers, drinks and board games.
Parade: Not necessary to celebrate, but not forbidden. (only rule: you must give the free stuff to everyone, no age restrictions)
Greeting Cards: Again, not necessary. In fact, I would prefer potted herbs be exchanged as gifts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: Rich's answers

Guest starring Rich. I started throwing these questions at him, and captured his answers. I think whoever wrote these questions has either recently watched Shawn of the Dead or read Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. [We did do this last week, but I wanted to re-read the answers before I published. It all seems fine so here goes...]

1. Quick! Zombies are coming!! What do you do?"Get them in their eyes! Their weakness is in their eyes"
2. Whew, that was a close one. …I think your phone is ringing. Oh, it’s your best friend! She thinks she’s been bitten by a zombie. What advice do you give her?"Take two Tylenol and call me in the morning. That's dumb... that's stupid... Call the doctor. If he's not available call Dr. McGillicuddy's... that's stupid too"
3. You realize it’s time to leave your current location because it’s clearly not safe anymore. Are you going to move at night or day? Defend your reasoning."Day. I have a curfew"
4. During your relocation, you come across a weapon superstore. My, that’s convenient. What kind of weaponry do you choose?>"A semi-ak-glok-oozy-with an optional pump action" [me: how do you spell that?] "You aren't getting my humor... this is my best stuff here and you chose to ignore it." [Rich claims he was misquoted with the whole humor bit, but I thought it was funny.]
5. As you leave, an old lady on the side of the street begs you to help her. Do you? Why or why not?"Is she hot? haha... stop it. You are typing this. You can erase that. I'm done playing" [me: I had accidentally skipped this question and had to come back to it. Good thing this was actually treated as the last one or we wouldn't have had the comic genius that is below. Rich jumps back in:] "You can erase that please. Can we change the old lady one? What's the question again?"
6. Good choice, you’re clearly a good person to have around in a zombie apocalypse. Oh hey, there’s a wifi signal here! You can’t stay long but this is your chance to gather some intel on the current situation. What’s the first website you check?KSTP [me: Rich's real answer was: "", but I thought that was crazy-talk]
7. SHH! What was that noise?!"It's my deodorant" [me: Rich didn't realize we were still playing]
8. I think it’s time to get out of here. I hope you have a plan. Where are you going now? "That's kind of a dumb one... umm... happy hour"
9. Wait a minute, that looks like a bite mark on your arm… You may be infected too! Will you tell other people? "Hickey"
10. How does this story end? "It doesn't; there's a sequel"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Isn't it nice that I found this so I at least blog once a week?! Things have been pretty sparse here lately. I ran into a computer issue the day before the Olympics and things haven't been the same since. Hopefully I'll get things straightened out in the next few weeks or so. In the meantime, thanks for continuing to check up on me!!

1. Of your current hobbies, which would you choose to spend more time, money, and effort on? Why?
In the last couple of years I've picked up a number of hobbies. Most recently I've wanted to work on sewing my own things - clothes, blankets, stuff. Rich bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and I've used it a few times. I want to get more daring. In other words, I want to graduate to trying a pattern.
2. List the two other hobbies/habitual activies (not chores) besides the one listed above that you regularly do now and didn’t choose in question one.
Knitting & Baking
3. Why are you spending time on the above two hobbies/habitual activies at all if you really wanted to spend your time on the first one you chose? …or to put it another way, what are these two hobbies/habitual activities fullfilling that the first one doesn’t if you don’t want to put all your effort into the first hobby?
Like I mentioned in my first response, I've picked up a bunch of new hobbies recently. I seem to enjoy meddling in a series of things. The other two hobbies are things I'm more comfortable with and can do while watching TV. And to be honest, the sewing thing will require much more attention and focus.
4. Read John 3:16 in the bible… In what way does this passage affect you? What are your feelings towards these words, positively or negatively?
I like it and find it comforting. It also makes me really want to go to church. On Palm Sunday. My favorite service of the year.
5. M&M’s: nuts, no nuts, or peanut butter?
Easy. Peanut Butter.
6. Putting away the feeling of pride being a bad thing; what secretly/openly are you proud about yourself?
This is nerdy, but true: when I create a complex report at work and it works - I am thrilled. I have been known to pump my fists in the air out of excitement.
7. Given one room in the house to do with what you want, not changing the actual size of the room and with all the money you would need, what would you do, and be specific? (this can range from bouncy floor,walls & ceilings; to hard wood floor with wood paneling and purple ceiling with a chair; to nothing)
I really like our kitchen and don't need a single change; however, in a dream world scenario I wouldn't be opposed to the following enhancements: industrial gas range, granite counter tops, a pair of stacked ovens, new refrigerator+freezer (fridge on top, freezer on bottom), walk-in pantry (!), wood floors that are magically scratch resistant, a funky new back splash, new cabinets (Rich says re-faced, but whatever money is no object, right?). And as long as we're on the subject, I'll take a self-cleaning kitchen, at that.
8. What’s the next movie you’re going to see? Not what you’d LIKE to GO see, but the next movie you realistically are going to watch.
Well, the next movie in our Netflix queue is The Time Travelers Wife and we are borrowing Gran Torino from my brother, so either one of those is likely.
9. Use the keyboard only and make your best smiley/funny/cool face –> like this! 8^)
In Yahoo! Instant Messenger, this was my favorite :(|)
*It's a monkey and awesome.
10. What makes you cry? What makes you pray? What makes you laugh?
Onions make me cry. And crying over onions makes me laugh. Hard. My mom and I have taken photos of our onion-tear-stained faces. We fake cry and laugh and then laugh and cry more onion-induced tears. Ahh... such a great time.
I wish I prayed on a more consistent basis because of my true answer: most of the time I either pray when I've done something bad or when I want something. I have prayed because I'm happy or reveling in my blessings, but I should do that more.
*Oh, back to laughter. Are you familiar with Mitch Hedberg? Rich just introduced me to his comedy last week. He was funny.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Thought I'd give this another whirl.
1. If you were given an hour to use a $200 Amazon gift card, what would you buy? According to the emails they send me, I'd buy cookbooks. But with $200, I'd get a magazine subscription and... okay, so that's the only thing I know I want right now. That leaves me with 59 minutes to browse other stuff. I'd have no problems spending the money, that's for sure.
2. Are there any fairly common foods that you’ve never had? I never had beef stroganoff. Not sure if you would consider that common, though.
3. What was your favorite way to use your imagination as a kid? We had polka-dot curtains in our bedroom and I would love pretending the dots could teleport you (via a Jetson's-style car) from one place to another. It was awesome! [One of the stops was K-mart... they had a quarter-operated miniature carousel and Icees, who wouldn't want to go there on a whim?!]
4. What’s your favorite state? Why? I tried thinking of other states I love, but Minnesota is my favorite. It's my home state, and I love it. [I also like NJ, but only because it is shaped like a peanut.]
5. If it was our culture to have our parents choose our spouses, do you think yours would make a good choice? Gosh, wouldn't that be different? It might work, afterall it's worked for people before, though it is hard to imagine. I'm pretty happy with what I've got, though.
6. What’s your favorite herb? Basil. Runners up are: rosemary, flat-leafed parsley and cilantro.
7. If you could have dinner with one celebrity, who would you choose? This is a tough one. I know there are famous people I really love and would love to talk with. But whoever they are, I'm drawing a blank right now. So instead I'd like to learn a little something - how about Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis or Martha Stewart. One of those three would be great!
8. What’s your favorite Disney movie? Hands down, The Little Mermaid!
9. If you had to listen to the same song over and over for 24 hours, what song would you choose? I gotta feeling, by the Black-eyed Peas. Yes, I still love that song!
10. How do you order your steak? I usually look to Rich for advice, but I am finally starting to learn what I like - medium. (For years I ordered 'well-done' only and was freaked out by any pinkness.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

The weekend, sans photos

This weekend Rich's sister Cheryl came to visit! She was gifted "Gloria" a GPS system from her sons this Christmas. She plugged in our address, packed up LB (her pup), followed Gloria's instructions and came for a visit!

Friday night my brother and his wife joined us for dinner. We snacked on fresh WI cheese curds and crackers before sitting down to the main course: stuffed chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. For dessert we cracked open a boxed assortment of Jelly Belly's and some fudge. It was casual and fun!

Saturday Cheryl and I shopped 'til we dropped at the outlet mall. I was pretty sure I didn't need a thing before we headed there, but sure enough I walked out with quite a bit! We did score some pretty great deals, though!!! After all that shopping we came home for some R&R with the pups and Rich. We got pretty cozy at home, so we ordered pizza and stayed in.

Sunday we went a quest for some grub and ended up at Lone Spur. Rich wanted to introduce Cheryl to the "onion loaf," which is similar to an onion ring, but in bread loaf-form. It's tasty. Especially with their BBQ sauce. We ate and then headed to Ikea to look around. We again found some good stuff and I couldn't help but get the $1 soft-serve. Yum! We came home, said our goodbyes to Cheryl + LB and turned on the US/Canada Hockey game.

All-in-all it was a super fun weekend albeit very few (1) pictures were taken!! I hope Cheryl and LB come again soon. Next time I'll do a better job of documenting the visit!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, my first edition

I thought I would play this week and answer 10 (well, in this case there were eleven) questions. Hopefully I can add this to my weekly repertoire.

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Gosh, it sure is hard to choose. I've enjoyed the home made ice creams I've made. Especially the "Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwiches" - yeah... probably need to think of a shorter title for that one.
2. What is your earliest memory?
I remember laying on the couch with my mom when she was pregnant with my brother. I was 2.5-3 years old. As the months progressed, pretty soon there wasn't room for me along side her and I got bumped down by her feet. That was my spot for a long time after that, but I loved it!!
3. What is your earliest memory of a dessert?
I remember getting to help my mom bake when I was younger. I'd pull up a chair, stand on it and help her out. I also remember making Christmas cookies (she makes terrific spritz cookies) and decorating Valentine sugar cookies. Yum!
4. Do you have any recurring dreams?
Yes, though not consistently - and oddly enough, I can't recall any specifics.
5. Have you ever dreamed about dessert?
Probably. Though again, nothing specific comes to mind.
6. What is one thing (aside from a cell phone or computer) that you cannot go the entire day without?
Clothes. I would prefer to be clothed.
7. What is one dessert you could go your entire life without ever having again?
I could live without chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream or brownies. Don't get me wrong, if you put one of those three things in front of me, I will eat them. Also, I will make them.
8. If you could go on vacation tomorrow, where would you go? (Assume someone else is footing the bill, but within reason…so “the moon” won’t work)
I would love to travel Europe with my husband, including a long stay in Italy along the Amalfi coast.
9. If you could have any dessert tomorrow, what would you have (assume someone else is buying it for you. Within reason though, no “gold sprinkled ice cream cones.”)
With all this talk about ice cream, I would love a large scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with really thick hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry.
10. What was your first impression of your significant other? If you’re single, what was your first impression of your best friend?
Quiet, but sweet.
11. What is your first impression of dessert pizza? (Personally, I think it’s weird. I love dessert but I don’t want any on my pizza.)
I've had both fruit pizza and dessert pizza and find both delightful. It's not something I traditionally go out of my way to make or purchase, but I will eat it and have been known to enjoy it. So I probably liked it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


it's what's for dinner.My mom has stovetop-popcorn-making skillz. I haven't mastered her abilities in the least. In fact, I couldn't even say I'm close. But I love that popcorn.

Growing up we had it every Friday night. As I got older, it sometimes appeared more frequently. Sometimes my Dad would even make it, and then smother it in delicious melted butter. {Both renditions are outstanding.}

I have, and always will, loved popcorn. Rich, however, doesn't really care for it.
Well... he wasn't home for dinner tonight, which meant: I made myself a meal of popcorn. No protein. No greens. P-O-P-C-O-R-N!

Simply lovely.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrimp + Coconut Milk

Make this recipe. Tonight. It is seriously delicious.

Some dinners I make are just okay, some are good enough to eat and then there are the few that I simply cannot wait to make again. The dinner I made last night fits into that last category.

We had leftover coconut milk from when Rich made us Poisson Cru I wanted to use. Coincidentally, my mom sent me a recipe last week that called for coconut milk and shrimp, among other things. Before I committed to a recipe, I intended to do a comparison. However, after I reviewed the first result of my coconut milk and shrimp recipe query, I called Rich for an inventory of what we had at home and hit print. I did tweak the recipe to my own preferences; my changes are listed in full below.

Shrimp + Coconut Milk
{adapted from Food and Wine}
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 can Red Gold diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (from two 15-ounce cans)
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
Lime wedges, for serving
Bed of cooked basmati rice (optional)
{ingredients in photo form}

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat.
Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

{onions+garlic+ginger+spices, mingling}
Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, water, and salt and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, stirring frequently, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes.
{scrumptious sauce+shrimp}
Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
{ready for plates}
Serve with the lime wedges over a bed of rice.
{dinner time!}
For fun, I assembled nutritional information for this recipe. As far as I am concerned the numbers are pretty good. Though the stats exclude the optional rice; if you use 3/4 c. cooked basmati rice, add an additional 150 calories to the total number. Oh. I forgot to mention, this recipe is fast and flavorful, too!