Tag Archives: Family

Weekend Edition: The unexpected trip to St Cloud

Happy Monday!  (This is my new approach to the work week – kill it with optimism!)

This was the best kind of holiday-time weekend.  Relaxing with a fire and twinkle lights, baking, a fun party, and just enough relaxation time.

The weekend started at 11:30 on Friday, and in one of my happiest places.

A blissful two hours later I had a sassy new haircut.

My salon is right next to Kowalski’s (my favorite grocery store BTW), so I popped in for a few baking/appetizer ingredients.  I also found a hostess gift and some specialty candy for my boss.  And a treat for me!

Look at that adorable tiny Mt Dew.  It was only 7.5 ounces so I don’t think it even counted as a non-weekend soda!

And the rosettes were divine!  They had granulated sugar instead of powdered, but they were light and sweet and airy.  I may have eaten one or four before I even got home.

So it’s a good thing it was still early afternoon and light out so I could take Scout for a nice long walk around and in the preserve.

After our walk I plugged in all of the lights, lit a few candles, and started dinner.  While that was cooking I did the dishes and even had time for a little of this.

After dinner we did a little picking up, Gary worked in the bathroom, and then we snuggled in for a Hallmark movie.

I was up early Saturday morning so I quickly cleaned the bathroom and then plugged in the tree and sat in the early morning dark and caught up on my blogs with Pandora playing Christmas music in the background.  I love being up by myself in the quiet morning and watching the sun come up.

We bundled up and took Scout to LEPR for a 17 degree (air temp 4 degrees) hike.

He stayed toasty warm in his new jacket!

I finally had time to make wild rice soup while Gary and Craig worked on the bathroom.

I like to cook up a few extra pieces of bacon to season the pan (and munch on while I make the rest of the soup!).

I ate a bowl and then headed out to do a little Christmas shopping at one of my favorite stores.

I managed to get out of there with just two small things for myself and a few gifts.  When I got back home I had to quickly whip up an appetizer for the ornament party.  I made Mix and Match Mama’s Maple Pecan Sausage Bites.  I left out the pecans and they were very tasty.

We had a big group for the ornament party this year.  Lots of great food and fun!

Sunday was going to be my baking day, but I woke up at 6:00 to a text message from Megan asking me to come get her in St Cloud.  She had come home on Thursday with some friends and then got a ride up to SCSU to surprise Hunter for her birthday.  She had made arrangements with another friend for a ride back to our house on Sunday but that friend got sick.  So, I quickly made my first batch of cookies, and then hit the road at 9:15 to get her.

We were home by about 12:30 so I jumped back in with my next batch.

I cleaned up and was ready for a double batch of spritz.

I had a tough time with the first batch.  They kept burning and I was totally frustrated so I took a little break and then went back for another batch.  These turned out perfectly.

I cleaned up after THAT batch and we took a break to run and get some dinner.  Then it was back for one more batch of sugar cookies.

I used a new recipe from the Lindgren Ladies cookbook and they are amazing!  I just wasn’t up to rolling and cutting this year and with the interruption to my day, I was glad I had planned this easier recipe.

I mustered up the energy to wrap my Secret Santa gift for work, and then poured a glass of wine and poured myself into a chair for an hour of television.

I have another four day week this week, with some Secret Santa fun thrown in.  It’s not actually the traditional Secret Santa, it involves trivia and stealing!  I’ll fill you in once I figure it out.  Hope you are enjoying the holidays, and have a great week!

Weekend Edition: Burnin’ down the brush

Happy 4th of July Weekend!  If you are one of the lucky ones who have today off as part of the holiday – CONGRATULATIONS!!  I am working, but only because I have to take Thursday off for that dreaded colonoscopy.

We had such a great weekend.  I started off Friday evening with a thorough cleaning of everything on the main level except the kitchen and bathroom.  Those are both rooms that I can only clean in the morning.  Is that strange?  I think I just need more energy to tackle those rooms.  Meanwhile, Gary was making this mess in the backyard.

It’s a horrible picture through the screen, but what you are looking at is huge piles of brush that were stacked up around the firepit and are now stacked up in the yard ready to be burned.

While I was cleaning I also did a little subtle decorating for the Fourth of July.

We went downtown to the Farmers Market Saturday morning, then stopped at Menards for lawn fertilizer and weed spray.  We also picked up some new tiki torches for the fire pit.

Gary is planning to sell his motorcycle, so Amy asked him to take her on a ride.  They went out to lunch together and I made a sandwich and rested on the couch.

When they got home, the fun began.

We burned for about four hours and got every bit of it taken care of.  Gary had also moved rocks from in front of the shed to replace the old edging we had around the outside of the fire pit.

We showered and I made an amazing pork loin with roasted carrots and asparagus.  I’m not sure that it was really all that amazing but we were pretty hungry at this point!

We were completely out of milk and water so we ran to Target and then brought Scout to the new dog park in our neighborhood.  It isn’t quite finished, but he had a great time with a one-year-old coonhound.

Once back home, we grabbed a couple of beverages and relaxed on the back porch.

We got up early Sunday morning, walked around our preserve a few times, and then went grocery shopping.  I got laundry going, cut up some watermelon, and then ordered pizzas for lunch with Amanda, Ryan and Hayden.  Caesar came along to hang out with Scout and they did so well together.  Their training time with Jack is really paying off!  We had a very relaxing afternoon visiting and enjoying the beautiful day.  And we also enjoyed some root beer floats.

After the kids left Gary and I did a little more yard work and cleaned up the garage.  It always seems like there are a million little things to do on Sunday evenings.  We had to give Scout a bath because he had rolled in something in the preserve, finish and put away laundry, cook and eat dinner, cut Gary’s hair, and on and on.  I also had to run to Target to pick up my prep supplies – cleansers, Jell-O, clear juice, Gatorade – yuck!

We are going to try to find a small town celebration tomorrow, maybe a street fair near a park with hiking.  We want to get Scout around crowds on his leash, but nothing too big yet.  We won’t stay up for fireworks because we have to get up so early for work.  There were a few going off Sunday evening and they didn’t seem to bother him so I hope that holds true Tuesday night.

I’m hoping the week goes by quickly, and that all goes well with my test.  Then it’s another wide open weekend that we hope to kick off with our first dinner on a patio with Scout Friday night!

Have a great week!

Weekend Edition: Ladies Weekend 2017

The hectic pace continues this week, but I have to get this post up before I forget everything we did!

We had another fabulous Ladies Weekend this year.  The destination was Taylors Falls/St Croix Falls, and the group consisted of Aunt Marion, Lynn, Barb, Mikkie, Missy, Amanda (for Friday evening), Amy and me.  Absent this year were, Nicole, Rachel, Patty, Annie, Chris, and Jaimee.

We met at the Holiday Inn Express in St Croix Falls, and then drove over to the Frost Top Drive-In in Taylors Falls for dinner.  It was a beautiful evening and we sat at a table in back overlooking the mini-golf course.  This has definitely been added to my summer to-do list.  But let me back up a minute to describe my evening prior to arriving at this little oasis.

I left work a little early because I hadn’t packed yet and we were planning to meet at 6:30.  I got home to discover that Gary was in the process of moving the washer and dryer from the basement to the garage.  He, Amy and Megan had managed to get the dryer out, but the washer was much heavier and needed an extra person.  He strapped it to the two-wheeler with bungee cords and away we went.  One terrifying step at a time.  There was dirt and cobwebs and water leaking out but the four of us managed to hoist it up those stairs without serious injury.  Note to self…make sure delivery is available before purchasing appliances.  After that I packed my bag and was ready to go but Amy wanted to share a new television series she has started watching.  We sat down and watched the trailer and a few key scenes, and then she and I headed out.  But first we had to stop in Lake Elmo for gas.  We were finally on the road and were only about 15 minutes late.  Fast forward to the lovely drive-in restaurant.

Mikkie and Missy joined us just as we got our food and we had a very nice picnic dinner of hamburgers, fries, onion rings, cheese curds, sweet potato fries, deep fried pickles, root beer, shakes and freezes.  Very yummy!

We needed to walk off some of that food so we drove over to look at the glacial potholes in the state park.  We took a quick walk under the bridge to look at the rapids and I played around with my slo-mo app.

We noticed a huge flock of birds circling above the hills.  Not sure what they were or what they were doing.

Then we walked around the potholes and down to the river.

Amanda headed back home and the rest of us went back to the hotel and called it a night.

The next morning dawned hot and windy.  Really hot and really windy.  Our first stop was the Luhrs/Bjornson Artworks.  I didn’t take any pictures, and they don’t have a website, but this is from an article published in the St Paul Pioneer Press in 2014:

Leif Bjornson and Meg Luhrs opened their art gallery Luhrs/Bjornson Artworks in an old granary their renovated in St. Croix Falls in the 1980s. Bjornson creates pottery while Luhrs paints.

It was such a great stop and we learned so much about the couple.  They were both in the shop and shared numerous stories about their work and the building.  We spent over an hour and I could have stayed several more.  I bought a small plate with an hydrangea-like pattern carved in the bottom.  You rub a raw clove of garlic over the sharp pattern to mince it and then pour oil over it for dipping bread.

Next up was the Chateau St Croix Winery and Vinyard.

We did a wine tasting accompanied by a cheese, meat and cracker plate.  They had several good wines and we all left with a bottle or two.  Then we hustled back through St Croix Falls and over to the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours for our 1:00 boat ride.

Mikkie wasn’t sure she could do the boat ride because of ear issues, but she went for it and it wasn’t a problem for her at all.  We sat up top and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  And the heat.  It was very, very hot.

More fun with the slo-mo app.

After the boat ride we split up again.  Amy and I went back home to get Gary for a couple of grad parties and the rest went back to the hotel to rest and cool down.  They later had dinner at the Dalles House supper club, and there were excellent reviews about the popovers, meals, and desserts.

We met back at the hotel around 7:30 or so, and hung out in our room visiting for a couple of hours.  Everyone headed back to their own room so Amy and I went down to the fitness room where she worked out for awhile, and then grabbed a bag of microwave popcorn and watched Say Yes To The Dress.  It was a long but very fun day!

We met for breakfast the next morning and saw that some heavy storms were rolling into the cities.  We packed up and headed out knowing we were going to drive right through them.  It was not a very fun time.

My biggest concern was the leading straight line winds, and they socked us good.  I finally had to pull over for a few minutes next to a stand of trees for a little protection.  We continued on for a few minutes and then joined a whole line of cars that were pulled over.  There was a tiny bit of hail at this point, but I needed to catch my breath so we waited a little bit until the group moved out together and then noticed the piles of hail on the side of the road.  I’m guessing that was why they were all pulled over and we had just missed it by those few minutes we had stopped earlier.  I’m calling it divine intervention.  The rest of the ride was uneventful.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur.  Laundry was done in our brand new machines, we went grocery shopping and then prepped all of the fruit and veggies for snacks for the week.  We napped for about 90 minutes.  We gave Scout a bath, unpacked, and did other random Sunday stuff while it rained off and on.

This is always one of my favorite weekends of the year.  So much laughing and catching up and getting to know a little bit more about each other and our history.  I’m already looking forward to next year!  Except it’s my year to plan so the pressure is on.  I’m thinking I may just throw a dart to pick the location 😉

Friday Favorites: Every day was special

Well this has been a whirlwind of a week!  I need to jot down the highlights before I forget, and of course, I have limited photos because I was just too busy enjoying the time.

Sunday:  Megan’s grad party.  It was awesome!  The weather was perfect – sunny, warm, light breeze.  The food was great and probably the best idea I had.  We overcame the road closure, had a large crowd, Scout behaved himself for the most part, and Megan had a great time.  And I couldn’t have done it without the help of Lynn, Barb and Amanda.  You guys are the best!  I did manage to get one picture of these sweet kiddos giving Scout ice cubes.

And this one of the flowers I got for the centerpieces.  But that’s it.

Monday:  I took the day off to recover, return the chairs, and get stuff cleaned and packed up.  It was another beautiful day and I started it off with a walk at LEPR.  Scout and I came across this big old snapping turtle.

I also did laundry, and when I went down to put the last load in the dryer I discovered that the washer had died at some point during the rinse cycle.  Dang.

Tuesday:  I called HomeSmart first thing in the morning and set up a visit over Gary’s lunch hour.  Turns out that the bearings are shot and so is the motor.  Parts alone are $1,200 and not covered by HomeSmart because it’s a front loading machine.  Zach was flying in at 4:50 and I had planned to pick him up but he changed his plans so Gary and I decided to go to Lowe’s for a new washer/dryer set.  But first we stopped at Lift Bridge brewery for a fundraiser so I could see how they had it set up.  And so I could have a beer.  We brought Scout and he did so well.  A couple of people asked to meet him and he got a little excited, but otherwise he laid in the grass by us and didn’t make a sound.  We had hoped to have the new appliances delivered the next day (per the online ad), but discovered that they were two weeks out with deliveries.  Dang.

Wednesday:  The highlight of this day was dinner with Gary, Amanda, Ryan, Zach, Amy, Megan, Dick and Theresa at Buca in Eden Prairie.  It was the only night Zach was available so we joined together so we could all see him.  The food was AMAZING, and it was a really fun night.  As you can tell by the expressions on Amanda and Zach’s faces while we were singing Happy Birthday to them.  But really, it’s my photography skills, not them.  We all had a great time.

Thursday:  Megan’s graduation ceremony.  I held it together – barely.  It was another beautiful night and I was so proud (and relieved) as she walked across that stage.  The group photo is her classmates from St. Peter’s elementary school.  I love how they are all still friends.

And now I am ready to head off to Ladies Weekend, my favorite trip of the year!!  I also have a couple of grad parties that I will need to duck out for on Saturday afternoon, but I am so looking forward to spending time with some of my favorite people.  We are so lucky to get this time together!  I will try to take more pictures.  Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites: Purple Thursday

Friday Favorites 01

I decided Monday morning that I am so over working five days a week.  And now I am dragging myself across the Friday finish line and so looking forward to a quiet weekend.  I’m linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea to share a few favorites from the week…

Fall Favorites 1

It’s United Way time at work, and we have several new fundraisers this year.  One of my favorites is Taco Tuesday!


We also have Egg Bake Wednesday, and a dart tournament which I am participating in.  Throwing darts.  Which is something I have never done before, but they gave me the nick-name Gunner Glaus so there’s that.

Fall Favorites 2

I have finished my fall decorating, and thanks to some items from the wedding, I even have a welcoming front porch!20161009_17283420161009_170703

And here are a few indoor shots…20161013_20275720161013_20283320161001_192959

I love the colors of fall, and I’m so excited about how they look with my new white walls.

Fall Favorites 3

Thursday was Prince Day in St Paul.  Everyone who works or lives downtown was encouraged to wear purple, and we were even able to wear jeans if we participated.  The Prince Tribute concert was Thursday night, and several of the building we lit in purple lights.


Gary and I drove downtown just after sunset to check it out.

Fall Favorites 4

Thursday was also this guy’s birthday.IMG_1937

I got up early and made him French toast and hashbrowns for breakfast.  We are going to drive down to Winona on Sunday and have dinner with Amy to celebrate.  I am so grateful for each day I get to spend with him.  Some days he drives me crazy, but I wouldn’t want to be sharing my life with anybody else.

Fall Favorites 5

I’m still thinking about our wonderful Ladies Weekend last weekend.  These women (and those that couldn’t join us this year) are my favorite, and we always have such a great time.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

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Well that’s all I’ve got for this week.  I’m so excited to dog-sit my grand puppy tonight!  It’s his first time staying overnight with out Mom and Dad, so I hope he does alright.  He’s a tiny bit spoiled so I picked up some special treats for him.  And other than our lunch with Amy on Sunday, our weekend is wide open.  Hope you have a great one too!