Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Haunted Halloween

We had lots of pumpkins this year because of our Blue Bird CSA as well as a trip to Potters Way. Kippy was the most enthusiastic about carving them.  She carved one on Saturday night and then both Abby & Kippy carved additional pumpkins on Sunday night.
 While Kippy was carving her dragon pumpkin, Abby decided at the last minute that she wanted to dress up for Halloween after all and needed a Little Red Riding Hood cape.  I found a free pattern on-line for a cape made out of polar fleece.  It was a little tedious taping together the 30 pages necessary to make the pattern.  (Our friend, KZ, was a great helper with taping part.) So with $12.50 in supplies for the fleece & ribbon, a costume was born.
 For some reason, there were no salvageable pumpkin seeds from Kippy's first pumpkin.  They were all flatso & weird.  But we got lots of seeds from the Sunday night carving so I made Martha Stewart's sweet & spicy pumpkin seeds, which are officially the bestest ever!

Pumpkin carving is so much easier than I remember from when the girls were little.  Now they both can handle it from A to Z, so all I have to do is take pictures of their masterpieces.  From past Halloween carving experiences, I remember having sore wrists from the elaborate patterns that the girls would choose. Now they are 100% on their own and I like it that way much better.
Kippy's creepy kitten
Kippy's terrifying dragon

Abby's bewitching bat scene

Kippy created her own costume after doing internet browsing for some DIY ideas.  She is a hunchbacked witch with a baby on her back.  She was able to recycle and re-purpose everything she needed from home except for the witch mask.  She got a lot of great compliments on her illusion costume.

Steve took Kippy and her BFF, Madi out trick or treating.  They had a fabulous time running all over the neighborhood gathering sweets and treats.

Abby's cape turned out great and she put together a wonderful Little Red Riding Hood ensemble, which unfortunately doesn't show up well in the picture because it was black.  She is still all about being a fashionista.  I was happy to see that she was still willing to participate in the haunted Halloween festivities at some level. 

The spooky sisters.

On a side note:  I only handed out candy to 9 kids, even tho the weather was fabulous (around 45 degrees). The Veteran's home across the street from us was doing a booming business and the parking lot was crammed full.  Perhaps all the T-or-T'ers had too much loot after their visit to the Veteran's home and couldn't walk all the way to our house?  Luckily, I sent all the leftover EVIL candy to work with Steve.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I am obsessed with colorful autumn leaves.  Every year my absolute favorite thing to do in the Fall is to find the most BEAUTIFUL tree in Fergus Falls and proclaim it as the BEST EVER!  My kids are used to me frequently gasping, pointing and sometimes stopping the car when I see a lovely candidate with bright Fall foliage.  On September 28th, I decided to photograph some of the trees in Fergus Falls, but I found so many beauties, I just couldn't decide which one was the BESTEST TREE EVER.  

So, I decided to ask for your assistance and created my own personal Fall Foliage Beauty contest.  Please help me with this difficult decision.  Click on the collage below to enlarge the photos and after carefully evaluating the color composition, shape and overall impression determine which of these 11 contestants is worthy of the title BESTEST TREE EVER.  Let me know your vote by entering the respective contestant number in the comments section.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Craptastic Moments

No one should expect life to be constantly filled with sunshine and fairy dust. It would be nice, but it is just not real. Lots of things in life are tough. There are disappointments, failures, sadness, heart-aches, illnesses, emotional and physical wounds which sometimes happen all at once. I believe it is through these trials in life that we become strengthened and are allowed to really appreciate all the blessings & gifts God bestows on us. Trials can make us feel vulnerable, but through vulnerability, we can develop humility, compassion and empathy and even heighten our sense of humor. The whole reason I got to thinking about this more, is because one of my girlfriends said to me, "If I didn't know & love you, I would HATE you because you are so perfect." We laughed as it was a joke, I am so obviously NOT perfect.  She was trying to point out that we each have very different strengths.  However, I think maybe I build a false impression because I certainly like to share the "Highs" in my life and am pretty guarded with the "Lows". The whole reason I blog here is to create an electronic scrapbook for my family, a way to share bits and pieces about our lives through stories, but primarily through pictures.  Each year, I print out this blog into hard-copy as our family scrapbook.  I now have three years of blog books, which are really fun to review and reminisce about, but it is just one aspect of our Lindgren-style life.  It doesn't contain all the details of our daily happenings; it is a one-sided view created by me for my daughters to one day have and to help Steve & me remember when we one day succumb to dementia.

It is in the spirit of giving a broader view of our Lindgren-style life (with a tiny bit of humor mixed in) that I share a few of the lows craptastic moments from the past week:

  • On Monday, Kippy came home from school and as usual, Bella went bananas barking. Since the front door is always locked, the girls have been told to ring the doorbell once and then to be patient until I finish up whatever I am working on in my office and unlock the door.  The official rule goes like this:  "Only knock or ring once, because twice is annoying and three times - you are in trouble!" and has been in place now for the 9 years I have worked from home. As I was coming upstairs to let Kippy in, I heard her start pounding hard on the door and saw her slapping the window repeatedly with the palm of her hand. I furiously unlocked the door and lit into her, "WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU ARE GOING TO BREAK THE WINDOW!!"  Kippy tried to interject, "But Mom, I wasn't..."  I cut her off and chewed her out about being patient because I was finishing up with a phone call.  Kippy started crying and ran into her bedroom.  After I calmed down, I realized I had over-reacted and went into the bedroom and apologized.  It was then that Kippy was able to tell me why she was making all the commotion - she had just seen Bella grab one of the hibiscus blossoms which had fallen on the floor and had started chewing on it.  Kippy was trying to distract the dog so she wouldn't eat it.  Life Lessons:  Listen; Get more information; Don't jump to conclusions; Harsh words hurt feelings 
  • Also on Monday, I went to Kennedy Secondary school to help with the AAUW baking in preparation for the Tour of Homes.  When I arrived at 7:00 pm, the baking was almost all done.  I was 1 1/2 hours late!  It had started at 5:30 pm, but I mistakenly "thought" it was at 7:00 pm.  Life Lesson:  Get Organized! 
  • Plucked a 1/2 inch long hair from my chin - GROSS! Life Lesson: Look in the mirror more often.  BLUCK!!
  • On Wednesday, I made beet chips from our surplus CSA supply. 

Steve was the only one who liked them.  Even I didn't like them! However, I made pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins from fresh pumpkin for the first time and they were all delicious.   Life Lesson: Not everything you do will be successful, but if you don't try, you won't know.

  • This week, I threw away 5 rotten grapefruits, 1 moldy head of cauliflower, 2 questionable looking cucumbers, a number of tomatoes which were actually oozing some weird juice and some type of mystery leftover I found in tupperware. Just because I buy and even grow healthy food, doesn't mean that we remember to eat it all.   Life Lesson: Get organized and just keep on trying to feed my family the best that I can.
  • We had parent/teacher conferences on Thursday night at two different schools for the girls. Steve & I heard such wonderful things about both Abby & Angelique and I have to say I was honestly surprised.  I was thinking, "Wow, are they talking about my kids?"  I seem to go into conferences expecting the worst and just hoping for the best. Life Lesson:  Maybe it is my weird coping strategy, but I think I need to work on dishing out praise more often to the girls instead of quizzing them, "Do you have all your homework done?  Do you need to study for any tests?" all the time. I found myself wondering if I recognize the girls enough when they do things right or if I am constantly in "correction" mode.  I am going to work harder on praising.
  • On Saturday, it was my birthday and when Steve asked what I wanted to do, I said if the weather cooperates, I want to go hiking as a family at Maplewood State Park. As luck would have it, it was a gorgeous, cool, yet sunny, Fall day.  Even tho Abby was less than thrilled, she was a trooper and the family (including Bella) loaded up the van by 10:30 AM and headed to the park.  I was beyond excited because there still was some beautiful, colorful foliage clinging to a few of the trees.  The trails were layered with crisp, crunchy leaves - my favorite!  And then I tried to snap some pictures with my camera, only to find out that the battery was dead.  It was the perfect setting, but I couldn't take any of the high quality pictures I had dreamed about including the elusive family photo for the annual Christmas card.  I was a bit disappointed, but then I remembered I had a cellphone, so I captured the moments anyway, just not as perfectly.  Maplewood was the highlight of my birthday for sure.  Life Lesson:  If you wait for everything to be perfect, you will always be waiting.

  • I will end with one more craptastic moment, this morning was particularly cold. So for breakfast, I made oatmeal complete with chopped honey-crisp apples & walnuts.  Then I decided that I would add a splash of Almond milk on top.  I reached into the fridge, grabbed the carton and poured liquid egg whites on my oatmeal by accident!  GAG!!  I think my autopilot is broken.  So, I proceeded to pour the egg whites off the best I could, stirred it up, grabbed the RIGHT container and splashed on some almond milk instead, and ate it up.  Lesson Learned: Pay attention to what you are doing or be prepared to face the consequences.
 Life is a roller coaster and it is the ups and downs that make it a thrilling ride.  I will continue to focus on the highs and learn from the lows.   I will work on being grateful for the blessings in my life, especially during a week where one of my best friends has a sister-in-law battling breast cancer, and a fellow church member has a daughter in the hospital with a broken neck. I will also try to remember not to judge others because none of us know the trials each person is facing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to make kale chips

 I have been a little obsessed with kale chips since making my first batch a couple of months ago.  The whole family likes them and a batch never last more than a day around here.  There are super delicious, very easy to make and good for you (BONUS)!
 First start with a bunch of kale.  Kippy and I had picked ours at Bluebird Gardens CSA, but you can buy it at the grocery store.
Wash it up.
Separate the leaves from the stem (which is woody) by tearing it with your hands. Pat the leaves dry with a towel and pull the leaves into bit sized pieces.
Coat a pan with some Pam, add the kale leaves and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  I like to then gently mix the greens with my hands and then sprinkle liberally with sea salt. I have also used garlic salt and made a batch with chili powder, but our family prefers the sea salt.
Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Check periodically and mix the greens around until they are all crisp and crunchy.  I once burned an entire batch and smoked up the house because I thought I could set the timer for 10 min and walk away.  The baking time depends on the water content of the kale.  The fresh kale that we picked had to bake a little longer, but the store bought kale is the batch I cremated.  Learn from my mistakes. 

Enjoy the crunchy goodness!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Potters Way 2011

Potters Way has become a tradition over the past several years for pumpkin picking and corn maze craziness in the Fall when we come to the farm.  The more cousins we can get to come with us, the more fun we all have.  This year Kaleb and Makenzie, along with Grandma Rose participated. 

Despite the super windy day, the weather was warm enough for t-shirts.  We road the "Pumpkin Express" hayride over to the giant patch were each kid carefully selected their perfect pumpkin.  Angelique wanted a HUGE pumpkin and I told her as long as she could carry it, she could have it. I thought I was being so wise, but that little bugger carried that immense pumpkin back to the Pumpkin Express herself!  I need to come up with better rules in the future because the trunk of our car barely closed once everything was loaded.

Unfortunately, there was a terrible wind storm that hit the Oakes area in early July, which decimated the original corn maze at Potters Way.  So as a fun substitution, a scarecrow walk was created and we each got to vote on our favorite scarecrow.  We had a lot of laughs selecting and imitating our favs. I certainly have happy memories of that day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recap of Angelique's 11th birthday

 Kippy had a number of gatherings to celebrate her 11th birthday.   We started out her birthday morning on Wednesday, September 28th with our traditional off-key singing of Happy Birthday to wake her up.  That was followed by breakfast at Perkin's before school.  It was a bit early (7:15 am), but worked out the best so all 4 of us could be together since that evening Abby had other activities.  We had a huge breakfast and opened gifts, which included a couple of pillow pets, a Harry Potter book & a mood bracelet.  Abby had time to get to pep band practice, which started at 8:30 AM and Steve got to class on time.

I had taken the day off of work since Kippy had a 2 hour late start at school.  We had time to get treats for her school classmates (ice cream bars from DairyLand - YUM!). I had time to pick Kippy up from school and thanks to the beautiful Fall weather, we got a nice afternoon walk in with Miss Bella.
 Her birthday was completed with a special treat - time with her BFF, Madi.  These two are just the best of friends and I absolutely love the energy that surrounds them when they are together.
 The girls picked deluxe treats at Dairy Queen and gorged themselves.
 After getting all sugared up, they ran off their energy at Grotto Park.  The poor Otter statue had his little nose stuffed with leaves as these two scampered around - coming up with crazy ways to entertain themselves.
We waited to have birthday cake until we got to the farm on Saturday, October 1st.  Aunt Claire decorated a scrumptious red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and beautiful marine animals (Kippy's favorite).

 It was a busy field day at the farm, but cousins Makenzie (18) and Logan (9) along with Abby were able to join in on signing and blowing candles out before we headed to Potters Way to pick pumpkins.
On Sunday morning, I took pictures of Angelique next to her 11 year old tree at the farm.
 It was a great time honoring our beautiful daughter  {Kipper-doodle, Kippy Grace, Angelique} on her 11th birthday!