Sunday, July 26, 2009

Don't look for me here.

Because I am here, enjoying a vacation with my parents.

(If we make it- our car is behaving badly)

We'll catch up with you when we return!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do you Raclette yet?

We do.

Aidan does.

My boss had a "raclette party" earlier this year, and all I could think about afterwards was, "If I had a raclette grill my kid might eat more vegetables!"

And I was right.

(That is his chubby little finger pointing to his little basil sandwich!)

If you follow the link it will tell you all about the history of raclette and what the Swiss traditionally cook on their grill. When we grill, however, I usually par-boil a variety of veggies and then Aidan gets the biggest kick ever out of cooking his own veggies with meat and cheese.

Last night we grilled bread, basil and turkey to make little sandwiches, and Aidan was shoving leaves of basil in his mouth like it was his job.


Friday, July 24, 2009

When your CSA gives you lemons..........

make limoncello and lemonade!

(or put your child to work squeezing lemons!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

For Val

These are some pictures I took during a reconnaissance mission we went on, and as you can see we put a minor to work for us as well.

The rest of you may not ever find out why we took those, but I hope someday you will!

Val's Visit

Hmmmm...... already a week has past and I have barely had time to sit at the computer. This week all the blueberries and cherries I ordered from a local orchard arrived, so I have been been busy canning jams and freezing berries for use this winter! We also are getting ready to leave for a week, so I am trying to keep up with laundry/yardwork etc, while I am packing and shopping for the trip. I could really use a few more hours in my day.

Anyway, we had a delightful visit with Val and friends, and we spent a few days wandering aimlessly around the Cities. You would be proud - for all the great shops we visited none of us really spent any money. We tried, but there was always someone around to talk you out of your purchase.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch here. Our table spent most of the meal "oohing and aahhing" over each other's food and its presentation, all of which was amazing! Definitely a "must eat!" And for sure a place I plan to revisit.

I took lots of pictures, but thanks to some glitch with our Microsoft upgrade I can't rearrange them without major headache. So they are out of order and that is how they are going to stay.

He really is a good little shopper.

He wanted to buy these for James but I told him "Daddy would think the picture was just as funny!"

We did buy a bag of marbles at the Essence of Nonsense. It is one of the all-time greatest toy stores ever. Although I may regret my decision to buy the marbles. We have played nonstop all week, and I keep stepping on stray marbles on my way through the living room.

One of my favorite little shops. Again - we walked away empty-handed! Pretty amazing!

Eating lunch at Blondies.

Fun in the fabric store

Val talking Barb out of some fabric... that I had just tried to talk Barb into buying!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Last week we enjoyed a visit from my "Auntie Val" as I have always referred to her, and Barb, a lifelong friend of Val's. We had a delightful time that I will tell you all about later. But I can tell you one thing we did- and that was eat. We ate some really good food, and no I am not bragging about my cooking. We ate out a lot. And when we were home we all pitched in. One night Barb made rhubarb fool from this book. While we were discussing desserts both her and Val both suggested I should make a pavlova, which was ironic because I had just read about one here a few weeks ago.

Today we had some company and some extra creamy filling from our "fools" that I thought I should use up, so I tried my hand at a pavlova. I ate one piece and was looking forward to more, but alas - James' friends ate the rest.

But now that I have made one and enjoyed it with raspberries I cannot wait to make another. You should try it too. Super easy, so delicious, and actually not too bad for you. Sounds like the perfect dessert.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm done.

With school shopping, that is. Granted, I still need to battle the crowds at Target and buy pencils, crayons, etc, but as his list hasn't arrived yet, I am not worried about it.

I am done with clothes shopping! And yes, I let my fingers do the shopping again!

Aidan has to wear uniforms to school, which is proving to be somewhat challenging as Target, Macy's, Old Navy and Herberger's are sold out of most of the necessary sizes and colors. To be quite honest I had once thought I would dress him as the rebel child. You know- cargo's instead of flat-front, and untucked Oxfords in rumpled cotton instead of neatly buttoned polo's - but the uniform companies and schools must be working together to prevent mom's like me from finding the appropriate colors in the rumpled look.


So I guess Aidan will join the ranks of nerds I turned my nose up at my entire school career and wear flat front navy pants and light blue polo's.

I finally found the clothes we need in stock at, and then the shopping came easy- 5 of each - pants and shirts, a few sweaters and vests and we are good to go! I sadly deleted the blue pirate skull tie out of my shopping basket as I don't want to get him in trouble the first week. But I did let him buy the pirate printed Converse.

They don't have rules about shoes at Yinghua.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday James!!!!! or "Ode to the Grill"

No............... his birthday is not for another month. But we couldn't help ourselves!

This is James' grill. We received it as a wedding gift from his high school friends eight years ago. It has seen many, many barbeques and also has noticed a vast improvement in the meat that it's produced over the years as well.

This grill could tell a lot of stories too, like the story about the time I tried to help James out by pre-heating the grill and pretty much melted it. (I since repainted it and fixed it up, but that is why the handle is missing)

Or the time I asked James to make a pork loin and a few hours later we had a small brick the size of a chicken breast?

Or impromptu gatherings with friends from far and near that have visited us over the years? Brian and Stacy, Doug and Bonnie, Jen and Eric, Caleb and Elisha to name a few. It seems like all good gatherings are around the grill.

I remember once we had been married a little over a year and my parents were visiting us in our little duplex in Northeast Minneapolis. I was preparing a cranberry-raspberry marinade for the chicken and my dad turned up his nose at the idea of fruit and chicken. Well - he went out to grill and after enjoying quite a few pieces while he was grilling he eventually admitted that was some good chicken.

And remember the big surprise 30th birthday party that you totally figured out, James, because your friend stunk at keeping you away from home for the day? And Ken Habel grilled up a vast array of chicken on that tiny little grill?

Yes- call me sentimental but that grill has been the center of many meals with many friends over the past decade.

But now.......... (drumroll please!)


we have a bigger grill! To make more memories with!

When do you want to come over?

(this was supposed to be for James' birthday in August. But we found one at Target clearanced from 199.99 to 49.99. So now James will be able to grill his own birthday dinner.
And Aidan has a fort.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hydrangeas and Beebalm

The other day I came home and found half my hydrangea's had been broken to the ground. I quizzed Aidan, "Did you- ? Did your friends-?" But when I looked more closely I saw all my bushes were knocked to the ground and I realized my blooms are so large this year they are literally breaking the branches! Apparently this cooler summer must be what they like because they are now taller than my head. They are so large, in fact, that they are preventing my clematis from getting sun, and so this year it only bloomed at it's tip - where it actually sees the sun's rays.

My beebalm has also spread like wildfire this year. I love the hot pink in contrast to the white.

Don't you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do you need more time in your day?

Yes. This is a commercial. Sorry, but when I find a good thing I just have to share.

See the fort Aidan is coloring?

Do you like my product placement?

I tried a new service recently, All you have to do is go to their website, open an account and shop for your non-perishables like shampoo, laundry soap, cleaning products etc, and it will be delivered in 2-3 days, in fun boxes like you see above that are perfect for little boys forts. You can choose how often you need new products: monthly, bi-monthly, etc, and they will kindly send you an email reminder. The prices are comparable to most of the stores around here (obviously not the same as Costco or Sam's) but you don't even have to get out of your car! Amazing! I am sure in the long run you save money on impulse purchases as well! Personally when I run to Target for laundry soap and milk I usually come out with two bags full of great clearance buys.

I also decided to start having grocery service too. I know... James is unemployed. But grocery shopping for him is pure torture and even if I provide the most specifically detailed list he usually comes home with only half of what I needed, and lots of bargains from the scratch and dent aisle. And while grocery pick-up may not be the cheapest route to go I have saved lots of money because there are no impulse purchases. They also regularly email you coupons and gift card offers, and you can add things to your cart as you run out of them, so you don't forget things.

I know this may not work for everyone but I feel like in the past few weeks it has saved me considerable time and effort. I pick up my CSA boxes every week, pick up groceries and now have non-perishables delivered? I think I just saved myself 4- 5 hours this week! No wonder I have been able to squeeze in some extra time for reading! I think a girl could get used to this!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend in Review

We covered a lot of ground this weekend, and I feel like we accomplished a lot too! I weeded all the flowerbeds, James mowed the lawn, and we both did some projects around here that have been waiting for us - although I have yet to finish painting the trim. I was hoping to have it completed before Val comes this week, but it's not looking good.

Saturday morning they were having a Kidsfest at the McPhail Center for Music. We thought we would go and check it out.

The kids were given the opportunity to try out all sorts of musical instruments.

Aidan's favorite

Making his own little noise-maker.

Listening to the student's perform.

Afterwards we went to the Farmers Market and then walked along the riverfront.

Why do boys love throwing rocks so much? All he did was hunt for rocks and then throw them all in.
Flowers for me. That we left there. In the ground. Where they came from. Nice thought though guys!

Taking the short-cut back up the hill!

Enjoying some yummy Thai food at Kindee. I will learn how to make these lettuce wraps and share with you. The filling was so good I wanted to lick the bowl!

Someone loves peanut sauce so much he licked the bowl clean.

Saturday we had dinner with the neighbors. All the kids dressed up like super-hero's and ran around the neighborhood.

James impressed me this weekend! He finished up some little odd jobs around here AND he replaced the was seal under our toilet. (The previous owners had caulked around the toilet. And then rust stains would appear and I would scrub and scrub and re-caulk again.......... so if you ever are house shopping and there is caulk around the toilet..........

We also were having some leaking around our faucet and it was corroding like crazy. James installed this new faucet and not only does it look amazing in the bathroom, the stopper actually works! (Our old one never did.) Thanks so much. I think it went so well I am going to keep my eye out for a new faucet for the kitchen sink. Bet you just can't wait James!