Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am not cool

This is just a quick story to explain some of the comments on the birthday cake post.

I finally was able to get my car in to the body shop after hitting the bear. James came home the other night just as I was going to leave with my friend Christa, and he saw a brand new pimped-out Cadillac in the driveway. Our insurance only covers $20/day rental, so he was a little perturbed I would upgrade to a Cadillac. It's true, I did upgrade, from a little Chevy compact car to a mid-size. (I couldn't drive that little can around for the next 10 days... sorry!) For another 10$/day I could have a Saturn Aura, which was fine with me. However the Enterprise rep really wanted me to have that Cadillac, and he kept lowering the price until he gave it to me for the same price as the Saturn. Now, Cadillac's just don't do it for me. Way too flashy and over the top. But I will say, it is very fun to drive. You feel like you are floating, and the smell of leather...mmmmm......

Aidan thinks the Cadillac is "magic" because of all the luxuries it offers, like his own climate-controlled backseat. Yesterday I picked him up very late from daycare because they had been out at her son's baseball playoffs all day. Vicky hauls the kids around in a big 15 passengar van. Last night Aidan informed me that "Vicky's van is not cool to ride around in, mom. But our new car is really cool."

So I asked him what he thought about our old Subaru. And apparently it is not cool either. I thought the "you're not cool" conversation wouldn't come for another 5 years or so. I guess I was wrong.

I am already not cool.

A camping we will go

Last weekend we went camping in southern Minnesota by Sakatah Lake. I am not going to say alot about the weekend, because prior to leaving (and maybe a little bit while we were there) I had spent alot of time complaining about the heat and the bugs and "Why weren't we on the North Shore??!!!?" I honestly do enjoy camping, but it has to be under ideal circumstances. I don't consider heat, bugs and busy, noisy campgrounds ideal. But I made it through, thanks to a nice combination of Nyquil and limon-lemonade. We also decided that it is probably about time to skip the state parks and start taking Aidan to the Boundary Waters. You just can't beat the quiet and solitude you find there.

Aidan claiming our spot.

What camping trip in Southern Minnesota would be complete whout a trip to the local Wal-mart for ice and other neccessities?

Mexican for supper. James doesn't like Mexican food very much, but since it was my birthday.....

Our fire was pretty sad. They make you buy your wood at the campground, and it was very wet and just smoked alot. You would think that smoke would have kept the mosquitos away.....

Already in his jammies, striking the perfect pose!

A local playground.

Aidan said, "Mom, I want to go back to the big water that crashes down." Lakes just aren't as cool after you have been to the ocean.

We went to a turtle pond at a local nature preserve.

Every since we hit a bear, Aidan is constantly on the lookout for another one!

This was my view for much of the weekend!

Flying James' trick kite after they did some golfing. (while I was reading!)

We went to a local town for their Czech fesitval. We stayed less than an hour, but when we tried to leave half the town was closed down for the parade and we could not find our way out!!!!!! It took us more time to get out of that little town than we actually spent there. And for the record "Kolacky's" are not as yummy as they sound.

The worst thing about camping is getting home and having to put everything away.

Another use for your herb garden......

Flowers for you.

If you look closely you can see some rosemary, lavendar, parsley and basil included in the bouquet. Mmmm, smells wonderful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This box

has been sitting by the door in our living room for over a week. It does not belong to me. If it did, the box would not be sitting by there, unopened. When I order something, I check the tracking numbers daily, and plan my whole life around the anticipated arrival time so that I can be home the second it arrives. I can't wait to rip open the box and admire the contents, and I will let my child cry, my lettuce wilt, and my ice cream melt in a puddle on the floor while I open my packages. So like I said, the package obviously isn't mine, or it would have been opened, put away and the box recycled by now. It is James pacakge. He knows what's inside, (since he ordered it, silly) so he is content to let it sit there until he needs to use it. Just goes to show, once again - we may never understand each other.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birthday Cake

Aidan was very concerned that my birthday passed by without a cake, so tonight while I was enjoying a pedicure and a dinner out with a good friend James and Aidan were busy in the kitchen.

I found these pictures on the camera and this cake on the counter. Thanks guys.

Anyone want the recipe?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Many of you know

I have an addiction. (Those of you who know me well are probably wondering about which one I am going to write about today. Let's see, clothes, shoes, hair color, Cook books and cooking gadgets, home decor..... There are a lot of options. ) However, the addiction we are dealing with today is Keen shoes. I know, you are probably disappointed to read that. They are not feminine, or sexy, or anything other than practical. That just goes to show you my age. I no longer dress for style, but for comfort. I can wear them at work, at home, with socks, barefoot, through all the seasons, and they look great with my Subaru! :) For those doubters among you, let me add this: They do come in an amazing array of colors, although at this point, I choose to keep the amount of colors I own my little secret.

The whole point of this little blog note is this. My J.Jill catalog came while I was lounging around the house sick for a few days, so I had plenty of time to pour over all its pages. I checked out all the outfits, accessories, and I paid a lot of attention to the clearance section in the back. There they had the cutest pair of Keen’s ever..... and while I debated and vacillated and argued with my conscience about whether or not I really needed them, someone else bought them, so by the time I went to order "plum/rose Keen’s, in size 9.5," they were gone. GONE.

So you be the judge, was the lack of available shoe a sign I should save my money? Stop buying Keens? Personally, I like to think it is this; As soon as your clearance catalog comes, rush to the couch, phone and credit card in hand, and be ready. You don’t want to let a good deal pass you by!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


This week my Sundance catalog came. I can drool over that thing for hours. I have been sick all week, so I have had plenty of time to lay around and drool over things. (between naps, mind you) I Love this dress. And I could definately find a place for this on one of my fingers. Why is is that even though they have tons of reasonably priced items, I am always drawn to the most expensive?

And imagine the sweet dreams you would have in this bed?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last weekend

we celebrated my friend MB's 30th birthday party for the entire weekend! First we took in a Beth Moore conference at the Target Center, and then we stayed at our friend Sara's house for a true Martha Stewart experience. We nibbled on chocolate fondue and homemade marshmallows, sipped wine and giggled into the wee hours of the morning. The next day we enjoyed lunch at W.A. Frost, and then we all went home to nap and recharge for our next day of celebrating, when her husband Ken created a gourmet feast for us all. She definitely celebrated 30 in style. I am going to have to start saving money and PTO for her 40th!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

KRAFT really is the cheesiest!

After subsisting on a diet of iced coffee and Nyquil for the past week, I decided to branch out and eat some cheese and crackers. We had two slices of Kraft American cheese, and a whole package of Crystal Farms, so Aidan and I did a taste test.

Who would have thought? Both of us preferred Kraft. Or as Aidan put it, "the most yellowest cheese." Now you know. Kraft really is the cheesiest.

Here he goes. Trust me, if there is one thing this kid knows, it is good cheese and crackers.

Trying out the double stack.

Moving on to Crystal Farms....

Yep, the "most yellowest" cheese wins. Hands down.

Here he is dumping sand on his head. Do you really want to take his advice?????

Favorite Summer Salad

I don't know if that is really the appropriate use of the word "favorite" because I love making salads all year round, but I have been making this one alot this summer. Unlike alot of salads, this one stays fresh in the fridge for a few days. I don't have an exact recipe, because I just kind of made this one up, but I think you can get the idea. I invented it one day when I was trying to use up a spaghetti squash, but I didn't want to turn the oven on and have hot food.

Spaghetti Squash Salad

First, microwave a spaghetti squash. Poke holes all around it so it doesn't explode in your microwave. Cook it for 15- 20 minutes, rotating it a few times during that period. Your squash is done when you can easily indent your finger in the side of the squash.

Slice it in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and gunk. Then, when all that is cleared away use a fork to loosen up and pull out all the pieces of spaghetti squash.

Let that cool. (at least to lukewarm.) When it is finished add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and/or lemon juice to taste. Also add some fresh ground salt and pepper and some fresh garlic and minced onion. Chop up some yellow and green zuchini squash and slice some little grape tomatos in half. When you are just about to serve it toss in a bunch of fresh basil, parsley, or thyme. (mostly lots of fresh basil)

There you have it. Fresh, colorful, healthy and easy. Now, you might be able to fool your kid into eating it, but mine knows that it isn't really spaghetti. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tall Iced Coffee To Go

I have long been a fan of iced coffee. I used to make a pot of coffee in the morning, and then drink it over ice and milk all day. Then I came up with the brilliant idea to put my coffee in the fridge right after it brews, and I would drink that for one or two days, but it would be so bitter by the end of the first day that I would have to use tons of milk and sugar to overcome the taste. Recently I was reading an article in Domino or somewhere like that promoting this great coffee maker, and mine finally came while we were on our trip. I have used the Toddy only twice since I came home because each time it make enough coffee to last for a week. And I also believe that my chronic heartburn is from my chronic coffee consumption, so I have been doing a little experiment and not take my Aciphex for two weeks. And voila, no heartburn.

The original article I read about the Toddy promoted it by saying that was how coffee had been made and served for many years in South America. I didn't really find much to back that up on my google search, but I did find some interesting facts, for those coffee drinkers among you.

1453: Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, open there in 1475. Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he fail to provide her with her daily quota of coffee.

1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America.

1920: Prohibition goes into effect in United States. Coffee sales boom.

1971: Starbucks opens its first store in Seattle's Pike Place public market, creating a frenzy over fresh-roasted whole bean coffee.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I got into the car to go grocery shopping, and after I started the car I looked down in horror to see I was still wearing the paint and bleach-stained cut-off sweatpants I had worn to bed the night before, and it was now 2:00 in the afternoon! I had changed my shirt, brushed my teeth, etc, but somehow I forgot about those sweatpants. And yes, in case you are wondering, I did turn the car off and run inside for a quick change.

I often watch Oprah when I am at the gym, and it seems like she always has these moms on who have somehow forgotten to take care of themselves, and I swear to myself that will never be me, and there I sat in my sweatpants.

I also remember cringing once when I talked to a mom of an eight year old who hadn't lost her "baby weight" yet, thinking, I will never be that mom. Well, I am halfway there folks!

So there. For any of you you might have this misconception that I always have it together, now you know the vain truth about me!

A few more......

I hope you don't mind, but I still have alot of photos to share, and I figure I can get quite a bit of "blogging mileage" out of them if I keep spreading them out over the next couple weeks. Besides, can you every truly tire of seeing photos of the ocean? Or of cute little blue-eyed boys enjoying the ocean?

One of the things I was really thankful for on our trip, is that we still can take trips. Granted, gas cost us almost a fortune, but we live in this amazing, diverse country and we have the freedom to come and go and explore as we please. I hope that we never lose that freedom here, that we can teach our chidren to never take this country for granted.

Isn't this perfect? This elderly man spends his retirement days painting scenic vistas on the East Coast. I wish I could paint, I think that would be a splendid hobby to take up in my old age. Aidan loves flags and maps. Here he is with a pirate's flag, courtesy of Uncle Jakob.
A boat, far off in the distance. My camara couldn't zoom in super close, but I like the grainy effect.
Remember Julia Roberts in this movie?
Mystic Seaport, Groton CT
The sky and water were a perfect hue that day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

When we were on our road trip we enjoyed staying at few KOA's. I haven't stayed at one for years, and wow, they have come a long way! Playgrounds, mini golf, trampolines and all sorts of other entertainment for the family. Aidan loved playing with the chess and checker boards, and no, he is not a chess genius, he just made the black and white pieces fight. Boys.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

While driving around the coast

I fell I love once again with all the hydrangeas that seem to grow so effortlessly out East. Everywhere you look there are borders, rows, even entire plots overflowing with the blue beauties! Here in the Midwest we have a much harder time with the colored hydrangeas. (or at least I do) I planted one last year that promised massive pink blooms and it has yet to bloom. I also have a hedge of white Hydrangeas in my front yard, and they are lovely too, it's just that I want the blue ones. A few summers ago one of our friends turned his flowers blue by pouring a little uric acid around his flowers. He gave me some, and I went right home and doused my plants, imagining to myself the reponse I would elicit from my neighbors. I imagined that when I woke the next morning they would all be crowded around my front lawn, amazed at my gardening prowess.

I was so sure and proud of myself, that I was totally unprepared for what I saw in the morning. Nothing but brown, burned remnants of plants, where once huge white blooms and lush green leafs had been. Once again, "Pride goes before a fall."

This year I will just enjoy my white flowers, and maybe someday I can change my zip code.........

This is why........

...............we don't go out very often! No matter where you go, boys will be boys! Even if it means romping on a harbor memorial site while you wait for your table at a classy restaurant. I think that even if they were dressed in suits, the call of the green grass would have prevailed against the voice of reason that was calling from the sidelines, urging them to behave.
That's right, that voice is mine. Someone has to be the "mean one."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Make Way for Ducklings

Have you ever read this book? It is one of my favorites from childhood. Aidan loves it too, and when we were in Boston, we retraced the steps of the birds in the book. They say you can't go home again, but after over 60 years the Boston Public Garden and Beacon Hill area look just as they did in the book. We had so much fun on our little field trip that I thought I would share the pictures with you!