14 July 2014

A Celebration of All Nations. But Mostly America.


I believe if I was 5 and 8 and was holding balloons while eating ice cream sandwiches the size of manhole covers and getting my face painted, I would pretty much consider it the best day of my life so far.

Which they pretty much did.


This is at Marketfest in White Bear Lake, THE place to be on Thursday nights in the summer. We had decided to go spur of the moment, just me and the girls--because Thursday is Girls Night HOOOOLLLA! and we are three crazy spontaneous girls like that.

The only drawback of this maneuver was that I was completely unprepared in my shoe selection and was wearing my Swedish Hasbeens with no emergency purse backup shoes. I did get three shoe compliments and one great shopping tip (Sven's Clogs in Lindstrom--squee!--I would like these and these and every color of these), so all in all, totally worth it, but I also had to piggy-back Mimi for 6 blocks while concentrating on not falling down. Which I didn't. (fall down). Best day ever.

The Little Mermaid

Here is my nephew being a very proud seahorse! The girls and I love going to musicals and when our cousins are in them: EVEN BETTER!! This was not at Marketfest. It was the next day. Try to keep up.

We walked to my brother's house after and he set up a Lego playing cabana and grilled up some lunch.

Playing Legos

Actually aside from a little grilling, he watched the World Cup most of the time--with lots of emotional investment and yelling--which was fascinating for the girls who have almost no exposure to passionate sports fans. Or any kind of sports fan. He also had the song "Fathoms Below" stuck in his head from the musical and would occasionally just shout that out at the game too.

And look, wearing his Fairchild shirt I made him! He loves me.

Uncle D

And then it is the fourth of July already!


Here is my fancy treat for us. I call it "A celebration of all nations. But mostly, America." (that is a quote from one of my favorite muppets, Sam Eagle).


We gobbled it up for happy hour, because even though fourth of July "is not a present holiday" (I guess Mimi doesn't count FREEDOM and LIBERTY), we can still rock it out with foodstuffs. And no I didn't get this from Pinterest. I made it up. Because Pinterest is MY bitch, not the other way around.

Then we are off to White Bear Lake to settle in and have us some fireworks. And ice cream!

Ice Cream


Hula Hooper



Mimi zonked right before they started. And then cannons literally going off right in front of her didn't wake her up. She was quite indignant the next day that we had somehow done the fireworks without her.


4th of July in White Bera Lake

The next night our friends did a "Drive-In" in their garage with tacos and zucchini muffins and root beer floats. EPIC.

Garage Drive In!

I call it Drive In Coon Rapids Style because I never saw people just sitting in chairs hanging out in their garage until I went to Coon Rapids. It's like a whole suburb said, "Hey, we have all this square footage out here, and it's closer to the beer, and I get to admire my yard machines, and we get a better view of the neighbors, why would we sit in the house?"

We contributed a sextuple (sextuple not in spell check. that worries me it is something dirty rather than six times) batch of caramel corn, which I brought over in a giant canner (canner also not in spellcheck. probably also dirty) with a scoop to shovel it into our faces. This is the easiest caramel corn ever. You will be done in less than 15 minutes. And cannons going off literally right in front of you will not stop you from shoveling it into your face.

Caramel Corn for a Crowd

Microwave caramel corn
Note: I make this in a 750-watt microwave that is older than some of my readers. It is actually significantly older than my house, which seems weird to me. Like it was here and they built the house around it? Anyway, the point is, you will need to cut cooking times if you have one with more wattage, or maybe cook at 50% power.
Batch of popcorn--like a pretty big batch. Maybe like 16 cups? I usually make two whirly-pops full. But it's not an exact science. What's the worst that could happen? It's too caramel-y? I don't think so.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white corn syrup (Karo)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pop the popcorn and dump it all into a paper grocery bag. Melt butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and salt in about an 8-cup microwaveable bowl for 2 minutes in the microwave. Stir. Microwave 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in baking soda and vanilla, the caramel will be a nice soft brown color. Drizzle the caramel over the corn in the paper bag. Fold over the top a couple times and then jam the whole bag in the microwave. (Trust me). Microwave 1 minute. Shake and rotate around a bit. Repeat this 3 times. Pour onto wax paper. 

The Original Pancake House

Have you been to this place before? Original Pancake House. One opened in Roseville. Their pancakes are kind of bready and unique, definitely good. Their chalkboard art is GREAT. Their waiters are cute and attentive. In addition to an absolute crap load of pancakes--because that's how we roll--we ordered hashbrowns (hashbrowns not in spellcheck?! I need a new spellchecker) to try because they are described as "buttery" which is exactly how I would like every thing I put in my mouth to be described. They were buttery! I recommend.

And just look at Mimi's hot chocolate! Holy cocoa-moley!

The Original Pancake House

I am totally in love with these mugs. I want one to use in the morning with my Keurig in the Bedroom. I dropped A LOT of hints so I better have a mug bulge in my stocking this year. You know, on the first day of Fair. After we hang our stockings for Fair Santa.

The Original Pancake House

You do that too, right?

And last but not least, Mimi washing the van! So cute!

Car Wash

We washed and cleaned the whole thing, inside and out, in preparation for our road trip to Wisconsin. In hindsight, washing the van BEFORE the road trip is kind of like losing ten pounds BEFORE going to the all-inclusive. It's all gone to hell in the first two hours. But still. SO CUTE.

Car Wash

Hope you have a great week! Next time will be one of our famous trip reports, from our amazing road trip to Door County, Wisconsin!

30 June 2014

How not to go to Hell and it only costs you a quarter

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

Jam Testers

It's been an exciting week! We started with our annual migrant worker immersion experience, where we pick strawberries for all of about 30 minutes and then go drink beer and eat fish and chips and congratulate ourselves on how local and organic we are. Gosh being a migrant worker is AWESOME. Wish I had my career to do over again. Well actually I should be honest. I didn't really pick strawberries for 30 minutes. I took photos for 15 minutes and gorged myself for about 10 minutes and picked for about 5 minutes. Then I found a full box of picked strawberries mysteriously sitting in the field and bought that. So the "pick your own" was more of a GUIDELINE. Still congratulating myself on being local and organic though.

Then I came home and realized we had accidentally on purpose picked 27 lbs of strawberries. Can I just say. That is a holy shit ton of strawberries. Here is what we made with them, otherwise known as a list of everything but pickles:

  • 42 half pints of strawberry-vanilla bean jam. I only intended to make 16, because that seems a reasonable amount for a family of jam consumers, but then somewhere along the line I started drinking significant amounts of alcohol and one thing leads to another and bam! You've got a husband and two kids and wonder where your life went. Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about jam. My bad.
  • Strawberry Daiquiris. I think I already mentioned these.
  • Strawberry Smoothies.
  • Strawberry Crepes. Do I really need to be putting "Strawberry" before everything? Because the whole point is to use up a holy shit ton of strawberries so I think it's kind of implied.
  • Sour cream pancakes with strawberries inside and on top. With whipped cream. OMG favorite food ever.
  • Waffles
  • Pink lemonade
  • Fondue
  • Strawberries on cereal. On yogurt. On the side. Up high. Down low. TOO SLOW!
You get the idea. Strawberrypalooza. I'll move on.


Brunch at the Loring

Brunch at the Loring

Brunch at the Loring

Brunch at the Loring

Brunch at the Loring

Yarn pole

We went to brunch at The Loring Pasta Bar with our dear old friends A&J. They had not been to this rather epic buffet before, and when I had previously tried to describe it to them I pretty much completely blanked on everything except the sushi, bacon, cookies, and teddy bear pancakes. Luckily they trusted my enthusiasm over breakfast specifics and a good time was had by all.


With a tooth pick

The best part was as we were parting, we awkwardly wave at Al's Breakfast. We love you Al's! Hi! We already ate somewhere else!  They understand of course. You can't have a family double date at Al's. There are GUIDELINES about these things.

Lemonade Stand

Lemonade Stand

Then there was the super adorable lemonade stand. Which brings me to a point I feel I must bring up. 

If you see a super adorable lemonade stand, run by children, selling cups of lemonade for a quarter, YOU MUST STOP AND BUY LEMONADE. OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL.

And that is all. I'm sorry if you are not thirsty. You can pour it out the window of your car. I'm sorry if you don't have change. Kids will barter for a button or an acorn. I'm sorry if you don't have one minute. Kids will run it to the driver's side of your car like a carhop. BUY THE LEMONADE. This is really not negotiable. I'm fairly certain this is NOT A GUIDELINE and is, in fact, THE LAW. 

The lemonade stand idea actually started as Bella's idea to sell toast with homemade jam. Which I still think is a great idea! We just may have to add that to our menu. Now that you all know that you have to buy it, or risk hellfire and damnation, it should be a great success! We need to make a new sign: Buy this toast and you won't go to Hell! And forward this blog post to 25 friends in the next 5 minutes as well. And send me $10.



Yarn on the swift

Well I know you all have lives to lead, so just one last exciting thing from the week: Bella's Wonderful Wallaby is finished! I finished Mimi's eons ago and then, I'm not going to lie to you, I got totally bored of hot pink stockinette stitch. I typically knit at least an hour a day (while watching TV so don't be too impressed). And with this project, I'm like, hey! That toilet needs scrubbing! I should do that instead! So Bella had to wait until it is approximately 85 degrees and 100% humidity to get her wool sweater.

Well at least it was the oldest kid that got the shaft instead of us youngest like usual. Uh huh. I just went there. 

My next project is a rather strange looking shawly thing that I saw at Shepherd's Harvest. I keep looking at the pattern and thinking, I like this? I like this. I like this? But when I saw it in person, I adored it. So knit on.

We balled the yarn on the deck and the girls left the trimmings for the robin to put in her nest (which is also on the deck), WHICH SHE TOTALLY DID.

Thank you mommy robin. You get it. You are definitely not going to robin hell. Also, enjoy your hand-dyed cashmere. xoxo.

20 June 2014

It's Finally Summer and It's Great

Stub & Herb's

Pre-K Bake Sale

Swimming lessons

Swimming lessons

Blooming Yarns Tencino

Goofy girls


Disney World Scrapbook


Swedish Hasbeens



Project Life



Here is what we do: race home, have something awesome for dinner like cheese and raspberries and scrambled eggs and caramel corn, and then: OUTSIDE! We frolic. Sometimes with bubbles. Sometimes in a sandbox. Usually with small, giggly friends. Also: grownup happy hour, swimming lessons, gymnastics, adorable 5yo run bake sale, and epic new sandals.

Indoor time we spend catching up on crafts and petting the bunny. Because what else would you do? Well besides take pictures of your new sandals with greater care than you do your own children. There's that. And sit on the couch and watch Sherlock. There's that too. But in general--FROLICKING. Because it's finally summer and it's great.