18 September 2010


Guess where we went today?

Wench, little wench, and mini wench

I couldn't wait to get us all dressed in our wench outfits. Aren't we cute? I was hoping Mimi could wear Bella's and I would make a new one for Bella, but alas I ended up sewing a little one for Mimi which will never get worn again. Oh well! It's cute!

The littlest wench!

I didn't use a pattern for this one, I just sort of traced Bella's vest in a smaller size. I can hardly be bothered with patterns anymore. In fact, I can hardly be bothered with pins or matching thread anymore. Rebel without a cause!

Daddy and his girls

Brent says he'll wear a costume if I make him some ring mail. And when he says "ring mail," I'll just assume he means "kilt."

My favorite part of the Renaissance is the fairy hike through the woods.

Fairy Hike through the woods

Bella's favorite was the pickle.

Pickle Princess

Emily's favorite was dancing to minstrel music. She also liked clutching wood chips picked up from the ground.

Mimi Fairy

The girls loved dancing with the butterfly fairy.

Butterfly Fairy

She was wonderful! She had the girls twirling and dancing. It was right at the end of our day--what a great way to leave.

But I get ahead of myself. We enjoyed much in between pickles and the butterfly fairy! We made a wand and rode the butterfly carousel. And bought some butterfly wings.

Butterfly Carousel

We loved the parade--live snakes! Belly dancers! Royalty! Then we ate some fish and chips and beer cheese soup in a bread bowl and watched some shows. It was pretty great. Bella even got knighted. Which I thought was kind of a guy thing, but I didn't want to reveal my ignorance.

Bella gets Knighted

Brent and I had a heated discussion about whether Harry Potter re-enactors belong at the Renaissance. I said no but he said yes. Why? "Because they use wands." Usually I defer to him on the fantasy stuff but that is just wrong. Why don't we just have Buffy the Vampire Slayer walking around too? She has a stake! Sheesh.

But it was a stupendous day, as you can imagine. You can't go wrong with those two super cute girls, a beautiful day, and a magical place like the Renaissance!

16 September 2010

How fun was that

What a day for the apple orchard! Look at this cute little family.

Apple Orchard Picnic

We had intended to go to Costco and buy toilet paper and cheese. But then Aunt Sally called and had the great idea to go to the apple orchard!

Sweet Sisters

We went to Pine Tree Apple Orchard, which is kind of like a movie set apple orchard since you're not allowed to touch any apples. But they have apple donuts. NUFF SAID.

View from the Hayride

We went on the hayride! What a beautiful view of the sparkly lake. We got some caramel apples for a snack.

Caramel Apple Picnic

Then, we frolic.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

I am no stranger to the apple orchard (an apple whorechard, if you will?), but this weather... this WEATHER! Amazing! I've never had apple orchard weather like that. Nobody wanted to leave. 

We got home in time for leftovers for supper and movie night. And we still need toilet paper and cheese!

15 September 2010

A tribute

Both the girls love to watch this video. And so do I! Mimi says "BEBEEE!!" when she sees herself and Bella tells us each time to "Wait for it....wait for it!" for the fireworks part. She also noticed the lack of me in the video, so I told her that I was in it but I was wearing a cow suit. She only hesitated a second before shouting, "NO! You were holding the camera!" So smart.

13 September 2010

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming

Well sort of. It's still going to be Fair-related! Because I have trouble letting go!

I thought one way to ease the let-down of the first weekend after the Fair was to host a Fair-themed dinner! So we called up our trusty Fair-friends Alison and Jed. This idea was especially good because it a) was super fun and b) made us clean the house (which had fallen into disarray of EPIC proportions during the Fair).

Jed and the 1919

Here is Jed next to the pony keg of 1919 he got special for the occasion. We drank the whole thing, just the four of us. BURP!

Corn Dog Pizza

Our menu was a little last minute, and we have big plans for our next Fair-themed dinner. (Also, the usual Fair-themed meal around the Baker house would include Spamburgers. But this hostess is a little self-conscious about that, so didn't put it on the menu, and in fact for the same reason stores the Costco 12-pack of Spam in the basement behind old magazines.) Anyway, here is the menu:

  • 1919 Rootbeer (worth mentioning again)
  • Schell's Oktoberfest
  • Olives on a stick
  • Pickle Dogs (pastrami-cream cheese-pickle, rolled up)
  • Corndog Pizza (I am the only one who had this at the Fair this year, but I thought it was great)
  • Crepes (with cranberries and brie, but we were too stuffed so we just did fresh blueberries and whip cream)
  • Sweet Martha's Chocolate Chip Cookies (baked fresh from frozen)
Next year--watch out, because I am going to setup a salsa chopper sales booth replica in the kitchen and Alison mentioned something about honey ice cream and of course this menu was a little weak without mini donuts, but we had just made those and they are a little labor intensive. Also we might consider planning more than 24 hours in advance and therefore being able to invite more of you. Because who doesn't need a Fair tribute dinner 5 days after the Fair closes?

In other news (still Fair-related), I almost forgot to pick up my knitting. Thursday afternoon (officially the last minute) I had to race down to the Fairgrounds in a lather. I have no idea what made me remember, I just did one of those moments where you sit bolt upright, "MY KNITTING!" Maybe it was communicating with me, like when people's children are in car accidents and they JUST KNOW right at that same second. Like that.

Anyway. That wraps up our Fair blogging for the year I think. waaah. 

06 September 2010

State Fair: Day 11

It's over! Today was my final day at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair! What a GREAT Fair. Epic. One to remember. The kids are at such sweet Fair ages. It was just perfect. I can live on these memories for another long winter.

Fine Arts

Today I left the kids home with daddy. I knew I would be staying late--you know, saying the Minnesota Good-Bye*.

I revisited Fine Arts, your favorite and mine, where I had somehow missed some good stuff. Like this moose!

Moose in Fine Arts

Olmsted County Panorama in Fine Arts

I also really enjoyed this panorama of Olmsted County (where I grew up). At first I was like, "Farm fields. CLICHE!" (Like the person I heard in front of the dead bird drawing: "There's always got to be the dead bird." So true. Maybe I should put it on the scavenger hunt next year?) But then I realized I would recognize SE Minnesota in that picture even if I saw it in the Louvre. Which is kind of amazing.

Micro-Doodler in Fine Arts

There was a real live artist working on "micro-doodles." He was mobbed and all I heard him keep saying was, "I USE A REALLY SMALL PEN!" and "I'M A LITTLE OVERSTIMULATED!"

Then I wandered around and absorbed all that is the Fair. Gotta fill up the Fair tank for a whole year.

Green Roof

I think this would look so cool on our porch.

Oceanspray Cranberry Pond

The OceanSpray tent had their own cranberry pond!

German Shephard Show

The German Shepherd therapy dog show.

3rd Lair Show

The bike/skateboard show was Great. Capital G.

Medieval Madness

Medieval Madness--Pinball on a stick

For supper I sat down in a canoe paddle chair at the Leinie's stage, listened to some guys playing pianos, drank a beer, ate some corndog pizza (!), and thoroughly enjoyed my last sunset over the Fair.

Afterwards, I met up with Alison and Jed. They introduce me to the pickle dog. For which I will be forever grateful. I am so adding that to my at-home Fair food repertoire. Jed is quite excited for us to vibrate ourselves at the Dick's sporting goods booth. Bzzzzzz. We all feel kind of sick after. Let's have hot cocoa and ride the Giant Slide! Then we sneak to the back of the Sweet Martha's booth for a behind-the-scenes peek at the cookie making operation. That inspires us to hash out our plans for a new Fair food (one of our favorite topics of discussion). Except our plans get more and more confusing and complicated and by the end involve liquid Nitrogen and a custom Scamp trailer. Gaah. We watch the fireworks from the Grandstand. Then I somehow end up on the new roller coaster, screaming my lungs out and quite possibly scaring the little boy who was next to me. The perfect adrenaline rush to end on.

I can't believe it's over. It went by so fast this year. But it was definitely a GREAT FAIR.

*The Minnesota Good-Bye, if you're not from around here, is where you get up to leave and say "I should really let you go then," and then two hours later you're still standing in the doorway or driveway or trying to hang up the phone and have gone nowhere. For the Fair version, it is pretty much the same, except instead of saying "I should really let you go then" to the Fair, I instead moan "FAIR! FAIR!!! Oh FAIR!!!" for a couple hours before it closes.

05 September 2010

State Fair: Day 10

Today was magic. Pure FAIR MAGIC. I hope I remember today forever.

Top of the Fire Tower

Just Bella and I went. We didn't mean to, but we stayed for 7 hours.

Climbing the Fire Tower

We climbed the Fire Tower with Alison and Jed.

Space Tower

Then the Space Tower!

From the Space Tower

Bella wanted to show Alison the Disney stuff in Creative Activities. And I was excited to watch the peeler guy.

Bella loves this Disney case

We checked out some more of the amazing Creative Activities. Here are some favorites.


 Knitting Gnomes!

Harry Potter Quilt

Then Bella wants to play some skeeball!


She has a lot of fun but is unfortunately the worst skeeball player ever (balls were flying out onto the sidewalk) and manages to get NO TICKETS, which I didn't even think was possible. Luckily I have 90 tickets stashed in my purse and sneakily produce them... GOOD JOB BELLA YOU ARE AWESOME AT SKEEBALL! She picks out a bunch of prizes, the highlight of which is a tiny Care Bear (so exciting!).

Pretzel for supper

We share a big pretzel for supper. De-licious! Then we Spin-A-Paint.


After that we go up the Grandstand ramp just so we can race the stroller down it ("we're out of control!!!!"). It's starting to get dark and I realize Bella's never been to the Fair at night. She is fascinated by everything that has lights on it. We get some roasted corn and she inhales the whole ear. We decide to cap off our day with a Sky Ride. Right as we're launching out of Heritage Square, KISS starts their concert. OMG! AMAZING! We have a great view.

KISS concert from Sky Ride!

Then it is suddenly 10 pm and I am starting to get frightened--I've never had Bella at the Fair this late! What if she turns into a gremlin! We head for the exit. She is mesmerized by the Midway and is very interested in how old she needs to be to ride those rides, especially the zipper and the huge swings. I tell her she has to be completely grown-up. On the walk back, we hear a siren and I tell her I think it is coming from the KISS concert. She says, "Maybe KISS was dancing and broke his leg!" Maybe!

When we get home she jumps into the house and shouts at a stunned Brent, "I SAW KISS!"

(Brent says, "You took her to the KISS concert?!")

Then she yells, "I NEED TO FLOSS MY TEETH!"

(from the corn)

Oh, the Fair with a four year old. Just magic.

03 September 2010

State Fair: Grandparents Day (Day 9)

You know how I start most of these posts out with "it was a day made for Fair.." or "I pity the fool not at the Fair today..."?

NOT TODAY! It was freeeeeezing. Today was my first ever day wearing LONG UNDERWEAR at the Fair. I think I said, "I am chilled to THE BONE!" like a dozen times. Br. Brrr. More hot chocolate please!

I STILL pity the fool, though, because this is the Fair and we are tough stuff and it is always great no matter what. It takes more than 60 degree weather to keep us from having fun. We're Minnesotans for goodness sake. I am almost embarrassed to be complaining about 60 degrees.

Today Nana and Grandpa came with us! Luckily they are Minnesotans too and just happened to have polar fleece jackets in their car.

Hamline Dining Hall

We start out going to the Hamline Dining Hall for breakfast, where it is nice and warm and I have the MOST DELICIOUS French Toast. I'm usually kind of a pancake girl but I know good French toast when I see it. Yum.

Then we JUMP.


Very exciting.

Next it's time to give Fairborne and Fairchild their shirts! Yes, we made them silk screened shirts! Didn't you? We meet them at the main information booth. They are pretty excited. See?

Bella and Fairborne

Me and Fairchild

Fairchild even "tries it on." He is pumped.

Fairchild likes his shirt!

Next we pilgrimage to see the blue ribbon jumper! Emily spots it!

Mimi checks out her blue ribbon dress!

We immediately lose my parents, who separately call me on their cell phones. Mom has wandered into a different building and is totally confused and my dad is "near some quilts."

We manage to reunite and head over to get Bella her long-awaited FAIR-DO!

The glittering


Bella's Fair-do

We stop to get Mimi her first mini donut.


Will you look at that baby?? Priceless.

We run into our friends Ellie and Jake and go on a Kidway frenzy.

Tiny Ferris Wheel

Then we have some lunch and camp out to watch the parade.

Mom and Dad

As you can see, my Mom has finally gotten her chicken hat. She lost hers last year and was sad all winter. Because apparently she wants to wear her chicken hat around town? She did wear it all day at the Fair. Maybe it was keeping her warm.

After the parade, we hustle into the Horticulture building to try to warm up. Dad gets me a glass of wine which helps considerably. (Because I am complaining that I am chilled TO THE BONE!). We visit the scarecrows again (very popular with the girls!) and the crop art, buy some blueberry honey taffy (great), and see the bees. 

Emily falls asleep so we take a nice walk around, stopping to get malts at the butterheads and also some corn fritters. Then we are by the giant slide. Let's ride! Brent goes with Bella and I ride alone. I haven't slid solo in years. YEEEEE HAW!! I slide so far at the bottom I almost crash into a worker who is tying his shoe. He doesn't even flinch.

Giant Slide Girl

Mimi wakes up so we stick her in the Giant Slide photo opp. She is not amused.

Giant Slide Girl

We take her on the Merry-go-Round. Also, not amused.

Merry Go Round

What's the matter, Mimi? 10 hours of Fair and a 45 minute nap is not agreeing with you? What if Nana buys you a treat?

Mimi finally gets DO-DA!!

DO-DA!! All better.

We stop in the Grandstand, which is PANDEMONIUM because, surprise, it is warm in there. And I am chilled to THE BONE. I buy my Nellie's laundry soap for the year, get a back massage, get Bella some marbles, and lose my parents several times. 

We decide to cap off our day with some Schell's Oktoberfest at Heritage Square. Ahhhh! And we meet up with Alison and Jed there too. We shamelessly devour their Cinni-minis and then dispatch the boys to get Turkey-to-go sandwiches. Bella and Alison work on the Fair alphabet. We are completely stumped by about half the alphabet, because we have been at the Fair for 11 hours and are basically brain dead.

A cute couple

Mimi eats half of my turkey sandwich (gobble gobble) while dancing around to the country music. She has definitely gotten a second wind. Uh Oh.

We finally make it home all in one piece! What a great day at the Fair!!!

Home from the Fair!