Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy birthday wishes...

To my fabulous friend, Lori! Hope your day is wonderful and filled with joy!! We need to schedule time to get pedis again at Sorrella's soon!
Thanks for being one of the "G's" in our GNO's!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nostalgia for NSU

Eighteen years ago, Steve and I both graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. While at Northern, my whole life was consumed by classes, tests, projects, friends, workstudy, roommate drama, etc. I really enjoyed the 4 years I spent at NSU... 3 of which were also shared with Steve after he transferred from NDSU to be at NSU.
On Monday, we went to NSU campus. Steve and I both experienced a rush of emotions and excitement reliving our college years and sharing it with our kids. We noticed all of the building improvements; even picked up some new NSU apparel from the bookstore. I showed the girls where I used to work and popped in to say hi to my former "boss" Judy Burgaard, who is a dear friend of mine.
We lived a completely different life while at NSU. Different priorities and focus. Essentially, we were discovering who we were, what we stood for and working hard to figure out what we wanted to do in life. Steve & I got engaged 5 months before graduating and moving to Marshall, MN. I'd like to think that NSU put us on the right path and helped us to get to where we are today. Thanks NSU! Go Wolves!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Storybook Land?

This is the answer...
It's because of these two girls. It makes my heart almost burst to see the joy on their faces!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Apron Number Three

Just wanted to quick share number three made for my BFF, Kathy. Abby again was my stand in mannequin. I seriously need to get one of my own some day.
Orange and green is my favorite color combination.
Fabrics are all from the Quilters Cottage in Fergus; the decision on which 3 fabrics to mix together was compliments of Lori. Thanks for helping me, Lori!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad's and their daughters

Wishing all dads a very Happy Father's day!

I knew when I first started dating Steve that he would be a great dad. He is so loving, patient and protective. I hope our girls always know how blessed they are to have a dad like theirs.

I have to say that I have a very special dad, too. My dad is always willing to lend a helping hand, has a fantastic sense of humor, gives meaningful and timely advise, and gives the best bear hugs ever. In fact, my dad is the only one who can hug me and fix my back at the same time! I couldn't ask for a better Grandpa for our girls. In fact, the only Grandpa that my girls have memories of is of my dad. They never got to meet Grandpa Stan Lindgren (Steve's dad), nor Great-grandpa Harold Officer (Steve's grandpa) and don't have clear memories of their Great-Grandpa Rudy (my grandpa). There is a rich legacy of great dad's that my kids get to experience through their dad and their Grandpa Rod and for that, I am truly grateful and blessed.
Since my dad loves chimes we wanted to find a set that were special to give to him on Father's Dad. We were able to find these beautiful sounding chimes called Corinthian Bells, which sound amazing. Click here to listen.
Dad was very impressed with them and hung them up right away on the porch. Dad, we hope the chimes sooth and entertain you and remind you of how much we love you!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ode to Rhubarb

Rhubarb is one of my favorite garden treats! Unfortunately, my own rhubarb patch has been rather measly, probably due to the lack of sun. So when I was at the farm last weekend, I took advantage of the massive rhubarb patch and cut up a large amount to bring home. My family loves rhubarb as much as I do, so I get to try out all kinds of recipes... like this one called Golden Rhubarb Pie.
It was a bit tedious... more work than I normally like to put into baking a dessert. Plus I can't even remember the last time I made a meringue. It was probably 25 years ago or so. So please forgive the unusual design that I did.
Despite what it looked like, the rhubarb pie tasted spectacular! The orange flavor combined with the rhubarb tartness and the fluffy meringue were delicious. The homemade pie crust was a tish-bit tough, but it was still good.
I don't know if I'll whip this one up any time soon because of the time factor, but if you are interested. Here is the recipe.

GOLDEN RHUBARB PIE
1 tbsp. flour
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp. softened butter
1/2 c. orange juice
1 tbsp. grated orange rind
2 c. cooked rhubarb
1 (9 inch) baked pie shell
Combine flour, sugar, slightly beaten egg yolks, butter, orange juice and rind to rhubarb. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour into baked pie shell. Beat egg whites with 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is brown.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Girls Weekend in Vegas

You know the feeling of planning and planning for an event and then when it finally happens, it feels surreal and you almost need to pinch yourself as a reminder that it IS real? That is how I felt on Friday morning as I was boarding the flight in Sioux Falls to go to Vegas for our Girls Weekend.

I would like to set the stage a little bit. The idea for the Vegas trip started being kicked around back in March. The last girls weekend that we (Kathy, Sherri & I) had been on together was November 11-12, 2004.... over 4 1/2 years ago! Although we did try to get together one weekend in March of 2007 in Minneapolis, Kathy ended up in intensive care due to a severe illness, so our trip was postponed. It ended up being postponed for 2 years and 3 months! As to why we chose Vegas? Well, I was just throwing out destinations and this is one of the ideas that stuck. We worked out the date for our trip fairly quickly and decided to go 4 days. Flights were booked by the end of April, but the question of where we should stay took much, much longer. With barely a week to spare, we settled on Mandalay Bay.
The main reason for Mandalay Ba was the beach... given the fact that all three of us are land-locked (2 in MN and 1 in CO), the thought of even a man-made beach is appealing. Being right on the strip - another reason. Plus the fact that the SUN doesn't want to shine very much in MN, I was certainly looking forward to some time in the desert.
Sandy toes... I never get tied of them.
I got a new beach hat and cover-up... had to try to look as stylish as my peeps. But I digress, back to the trip highlights. Sherri and I were on the same Alligent Air flight Friday AM, but were not able to sit together. The attendants were pretty fun and gave us the opportunity to do some gambling on the flight. To play, you put your seat number on the back of a 5 dollar bill. If your seat number was drawn out of the bag, then you got to have the whole bag of cash. I figured this was going to be the best odds I would ever have, so I marked my 5 dollar bill and added it to the bag of cash. I was so sure I was going to win. Turns out, the seat directly behind me won the $360 bag of cash. Rats! Lady Luck was still with me when I pulled a super dumb move exiting the plane in Vegas. I left my very, very nice SLR camera under my seat. I didn't realize it until Sherri and I were about to board the tram to get to baggage claim. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat or two and I shouted, "I left my camera!" to Sherri and sprinted back to the terminal. Luckily, they hadn't started boarding the next flight, so the attendant was able to go back to my seat and retrieve my precious cargo. I figured that was my WIN for the trip and didn't do any more gambling. Zero, nadda... nothing!
I was, however, still willing to ask for a room upgrade at our hotel. Previously, I had called Mandalay directly and gotten 30% off of our room rate. When we went to check in, I also asked for a room upgrade and what do you know? A very nice man helped us to get a fabulous suite at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay. Two bathrooms, plus two rooms.... 750 square feet of fabulousness. We felt like royalty and it was so nice to have extra room.
One thing about my girls... they are simply a riot to be around. More than once, we laughed until we cried. Plus, as much as we try to stay connected, there are just things that are not shared unless in a face-to-face situation. So, it was like a three-day therapy session just to be able to talk. We kept our schedule very loose. Our mission was just to spend time relaxing on the beach, check out the strip, see a show (comedy was the preference) and hang out together.
Check, check, check, check... did all 4 of those things.

We went on a gondola ride at the Venetian. Santo was an amazing singer and made it a lot of fun.
I wish I would have worn my pedometer because we did a ton of walking on our first day in Vegas. I would bet we walked 10 miles if not more. We went to the Luxar, Caesar's Palace, Hurrays, Flamingo, Bellagio, Venetian and more. Of course I took lots of pictures and the good thing is that I didn't forget my camera anywhere else! Check out this cool looking Las Vegas chopper. It was sitting in front of the Harley Davidson cafe and I just so happen to be wearing my "Love & Pride" Harley shirt. What a coincidence!
On Saturday night after spending almost the entire day at the pool, we got all dressed up and went to a comedy show at the Flamingo. It was Vinnie Faborito and he worked the crowd so well. I was just glad I didn't get picked on. It was definitely adult humor so we all were shocked that one couple brought their 14 year old daughter to the show! What were they thinking??
The night-time view on the strip was spectacular especially with the nearly full moon in view. I need to work on my nighttime photography though.
I did get one thrill ride in on Sunday. I rode the roller coaster ride at New York, New York. Met a really nice couple from Australia while waiting in line, who held my place after I found out that the credit card machine was broken and I needed to get cash. That was one of the interesting things about Vegas... it is a people watching haven! People were friendly, nice and helpful.
This post has been taking me days and days to write and I don't think I am doing a very good job conveying the fun atmosphere of the weekend. But trust me... it was spectacular! I have lots of memories tucked into my brain and if I work at it, I bet I could make myself laugh until I cry again. Thanks for the awesome time, Kathy & Sherri!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fun on the farm

We spent a couple days at the farm this past weekend. Russ & Kristy's boys were there as well as Randy & Anna's kids, which means all 7 grand-kids were hanging out. So what do you do for fun when you are at the farm? One idea is to have a contest to see who can find the most unique treasures. The results were pretty interesting. I ended up being the reluctant judge of their bucket finds.
Or you can ride your bike... Nixin was champion of that even though there aren't any paved roads. He is a biking machine!
How about building a fort out of tomato cages? Noah, Kippy and Logan created windows, doors, and separate rooms. They even pulled long grass and laid it down for the floor. So creative plus they entertained themselves for hours.
After having the kids work for an hour gathering branches and fallen trees, you can have a huge bonfire and roast some marshmallows. No pictures, but it was very impressive... and fun.

Clowning around with your cousins is a must. And notice the traditional bright red Kool-Aid lips.
Exploring in the barn and discovering a new batch of kittens was one of the highlights of the weekend for Noah, Kippy and Logan. They quickly named the 5 kitties (Ella, Alice, Mario, Marie & Patches). Noah desperately wanted to bring one home.
Or just spending time hanging out on the porch, telling stories and laughing. My favorite thing of all to do!
I had to grab Abby's traditional picture beside her birthday tree. Both Abby and her crab-apple tree are 12 years old.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Look who's forty and FABULOUS!

Cheers to you, Kathy! You are seriously, one-in-a-million. Enjoy your special day!

video

Friday, June 12, 2009

Trip-tease


Bet that title got you thinking!

I had a fabulous time in Las Vegas over last weekend, but due to work interfering with my personal-life, I haven't had time to get my "blog" together. So.... I will just throw out a little visual teaser of the trip...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Girl In Training

Here is the deal. I am not very good at being a girl. I have to work at it. I take advise from my girlfriends & ask lots of questions. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I am a tomboy at heart. I grew up on a farm with two brothers for pete's sake, so who was I going to learn how to be a girl from? I have a picture of me during the summer when I was 11 at my older brother's birthday party, without any shirt, just wearing shorts and as brown as all the other boys. I did learn how to throw a mean punch, burp really loud, finger whistle, drive tractor, race around on a motor cycle... just not a lot of really girly-girl things.

Without a sister for guidance, what do you expect?

Thankfully, I have a lot of girlfriends who are professional girly-girls. They consistently go to a salon; they know how to fix hair and deal with unique hair issues; they go in for pedicures and manicures; they wear jewelry and accessorize every outfit; they read Style & People magazine and know all the latest and greatest; they know how to do fancy make-up...

One really big thing my girlfriends are into are shoes. I mean shoes for every occasion and outfit! And many have different shoes choices for the same outfit {GASP}. I can honestly say I am just not that into shoes. My shoe collection used to consist of 5 choices... black heels, black flats, sandals, brown loafers and cream heels. I think my husband had more shoes than me for the first 10 years of our marriage. My girlfriends were always talking about shoes, shopping for shoes, wearing different shoes. I felt like I was missing out. Gradually, I began expanding my shoe choices. I am no Imelda Marcos, but I do have have a 12-pair shoe-rack in my closet that is full!

In planning last week for my girls only weekend in Las Vegas, I wanted to get a pair of new shoes, just so I could feel girly-girl and at least look like I belonged with my girlfriends. So, I tried on some shoes at Herbergers 2 days before I left on the trip. I found the cutest pair of 4 inch peep-toed-heels that I REALLY, REALLY liked. Only problem, they didn't have any small enough for me. Rats!!! The Herbergers' sales person tried to find the right size at any stores within 60 miles with no luck. The more impossible it became, the more determined I was to get those shoes. I even called the Herberger's store directly in Baxter, MN because my sister-in-law was going to be driving through there the next day... no luck.

So I turned to Google... and what do you know. I found an on-line store called Endless.com which had free overnight shipping and free returns. AND I found the exact same shoe that I wanted for my trip to Vegas.
So, I took a chance and placed the order. At 9:00 AM the next morning, UPS delivered the package.
I was nervous... I was doubting myself... I didn't need these shoes... was this a mistake?
I comforted myself with the knowledge that I could return them at no extra charge.
Madden girl... they even sound girly, don't they? Pink inner soles... definitely girly-girl. But how would they feel?
Oh - goodness, they make me feel so tall! They feel wonderful. These shoes are completely frivolous, but I feel good wearing them! Although I am still a girl in training... I have come so VERY, VERY far! A huge thank you to my girlfriends. The next thing you know, I'll be buying purses for every season or outfit. You never know....