Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Here’s a quick summary of our top 5 Family Happenings during 2011 -

  • Our son, Anthony, started Kindergarten! He has quickly become such a great reader – we are so proud!

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  • Hubby started running and has kept at it. He has been running an average of 5 miles, 4-5 days per week! He has ran several 5K’s, is signed up for a 10K, and is even considering running a 1/2 marathon!

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I love this picture – it was taken by our son in Chicago!

  • Hubby also had his first official patent granted! He’s a smart one!
  • This was our year of Planes, Trains and Automobiles – we considered taking a BIG vacation (like an Alaskan cruise) and decided to take 3 smaller trips instead while enjoying having some $$$ left over! In March we flew to Seattle to visit hubby’s sister and her family, June we drove to Duluth, MN (one of our FAVORITE places to visit) and in July we took the train to Chicago. We enjoyed 3 great trips!

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Split Rock Lighthouse – north of Duluth, MN

  • I worked too much in 2011… But, I still managed to squeeze in some projects at home – our biggest projects were a pretty major landscaping project, hubby built a shed, and we gave the laundry room and the master bedroom an overhaul. Plus, I started this blog!

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Goodbye 2011, bring on 2012!

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making Lefse!

Each December it is a family tradition at our house to make lefse. We both grew up making lefse with our grandmothers, and it’s a tradition we have continued. It’s a TON of work and makes the kitchen look like a flour bomb has exploded, but it is oh so good!
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Transferring a piece to the lefse grill
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While some people make super big pieces of lefse, we like to make them smaller. It makes them easier to work with when eating!
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Our Assistant even stepped in to help a little bit!
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The end result was 80+ pieces of lefse!
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Doesn’t this look delicious?!?
We are lucky that our Grandma’s gave us everything we need to make lefse (grill, Bethany board, rollers, and sticks) as wedding gifts so that we can continue this tradition.
Our families will be happy to see that we have lefse to share at our family Christmas celebrations!

Merry Christmas!

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Our home all set for Christmas
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Q & A

Here’s a little Christmas Q & A - I saw this questionnaire at Primitive and Proper and thought it looked like fun!

1. egg nog or hot chocolate? BOTH!! Hot chocolate with peppermint or egg nog with a little rum…. YUM!
2. does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa is busy, busy, busy and wraps EVERY present!
3. colored lights on tree/house or white? I definitely love the crisp look of white lights.
4. do you hang mistletoe? I haven’t yet, but I would if I had some!
5. when do you put your decorations up? Depends. I used to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. This year I started the weekend before Thanksgiving!
6. what is your favorite holiday dish? Ooh… This is TOUGH! I am definitely a fan of appetizers and desserts – I could skip the regular holiday meal! I think I would have to say the pineapple cheese ball we have always had on Christmas Eve. My Mom used to make it every year and now I make sure that we always have it. Another favorite that we always have for the holidays – lefse! I will be making some this weekend!
7. favorite holiday memory as a child? We always used to go to my Grandparents on Christmas Eve and my parents always made an excuse to run home to play Santa. It was fun to come home and open up Santa gifts late on Christmas Eve.
8. when and how did you learn the truth about santa? I honestly don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with my parents excuses to run home on Christmas Eve.
9. do you open a gift on christmas eve? The last couple of years we have opened our family gifts on Christmas Eve and then just had Santa gifts for Christmas morning. This works for us!
10. how do you decorate your christmas tree? Which one?!? Our downstairs tree is all Santa ornaments by Inge-Glas this year and our upstairs tree is a random mix of ornaments, mostly by Inge-Glas. Our son has a little tree in his room and it’s full of his ornaments, mostly given to him by his birthfamily.
11. snow! love it or dread it? Both! I love looking at the snow, but I am not a fan of the cold anymore. The older I get, the bigger the wimp I have become… I do enjoy watching the snow fall from indoors with a fire going!
12. can you ice skate? It’s been years, but I think I could do it!
13. do you remember your favorite gift? I’m pretty sure my favorite gift is under the tree this year! :)
14. what's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Finding time to spend with friends and family – given that our family and closest friends do not live near us, this is really tricky.
15. what is your favorite holiday dessert? Ooh, there are so many it’s hard to pick! Probably Grandma’s Refrigerator Dessert – this is another task I have taken over making – it wouldn’t be the holidays without it!
16. what is your favorite holiday tradition? Getting hot chocolate and driving around town to look at Christmas lights.
17. what tops your tree? At the moment, 2 trees have nothing (gasp!) and the small tree has a lime green glittered star.
18. which do you prefer: giving or receiving? My favorite is to give, especially when I have ideas that I know the recipient will love!
19. candy canes: yuck or yum? A little of both. I’m not a fan of how sticky candy canes are, but I do like the peppermint flavor.
20. favorite christmas show? Definitely Charlie Brown!
21. saddest christmas song? Ummm….. I don’t know?
22. what is your favorite christmas song? Probably Jingle Bells.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A White Elephant

Last night I went to a Holiday Party with some of the ladies from work. Everyone brought a White Elephant gift (random items from their home, or things they have received as gifts and wanted to re-gift) and we played the Dirty Gift Game to exchange them – it was fun! If you are not familiar with the Dirty Gift Game, everyone draws a number and whoever has #1 picks and opens a gift. Number 2 can choose to steal the gift from #1, or open a new gift. Each person can choose to steal a gift or open a new one until the gifts are gone. Once the last gift is opened, #1 gets to choose to steal from anyone in the room. There are definitely perks to drawing #1 in the Dirty Gift Game!
Lucky me – I drew #1! To start us out, I selected the most beautifully wrapped gift – glittery gold paper with a shiny metallic red bow – it had to be good, right?!? WRONG!! I opened my beautiful gift to find a hot pink ceramic pig piggy bank with a red Santa hat. WOW… The funniest thing is that the person who brought it had actually BOUGHT it to bring for her White Elephant gift! Since I had #1, I was able to sit back and watch the fun of everyone opening and stealing crazy items from each other and then choose the best gift to bring home.
One of the gifts had this funky light-up water fountain thingy and then a small little treasure – a glass Christmas ornament. When the gift was opened, I tried to check out the ornament, because I had a feeling it was something special. The card with the gift noted that the ornament was from the lady’s mother in law’s estate. Lots of jokes were cracked by others about her MIL – what kind of MIL did she have if she was willing to give away her Christmas ornament collection??
This was the gift I selected, especially once I saw the star crown cap on top of the ornament. I knew this was an ornament from the Inge-Glas of Germany collection and would perfectly join all of the Inge-Glas ornaments already on my Christmas tree at home. My husband’s aunt has run the Inge-Glas of Germany company in the US for years and we have been given (and purchased!) many Inge-Glas ornaments over the years.
If you are not familiar with Inge-Glas, the ornaments are all mouth-blown glass and hand-painted in Germany. They use many antique molds for their ornaments and they have a traditional look. We sure like them at our house!
I’m not so sure the lady I stole this gift from was too thrilled to have a hot pink piggy bank to take home to her twin boys though…
Inge-Glas of Germany ornament – the best White Elephant gift I could have hoped for!
Sorry for the iPhone photo…
This is definitely not the cutest Inge-Glas ornament (which may be why she chose this one for White Elephant gift), but I still feel like I came home with a treasure!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Change in Plans…

We are supposed to be spending the evening celebrating at a Christmas party with friends and thanks to the weather, we ended up staying home. While bummed that we are not with our friends that we celebrate with each December, we are definitely making the most of the day. Instead of traveling nearly two hours to see them we decided to head downtown to see Santa in the snow!

2011-12-03 (2)Waiting in the wet snow for Santa!

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After waiting for what felt like forever, Anthony had his moment with Santa!

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Heading out to check out the winter market (there were some neat copper ornaments there, I think I should have brought one home with me!)

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On the way home we had to drive by this house...

We drive by this house many times each December just for giggles. We call this “The house where Santa threw up”. We are all about having Christmas lights, but this house always has such a mix of every type of lights that it’s definitely over the top for us. The man that lives there dresses up as Santa and hands out candy to strangers like us who drive by. The sign on the driveway says when Santa will be available, but we couldn’t read the sign because of the snow. (He was off-duty tonight). Even Anthony recognized this as “the house where the fake Santa lives”!

So, tonight instead of spending time with our friends, we were able to see Santa arrive on the roof of the old City Hall, sit on Santa’s lap, go out for pizza and then home for treats in front of the fireplace while watching the Big Ten Championship Game (Let’s go BADGERS!!!).

Sorry friends, we are enjoying the eggnog and rum, dried beef dip and chocolate cake that we had planned to share with all of you. Miss you guys!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If you sell at least 25 items….

At the start of the school year, Anthony brought home a fundraising packet and was convinced that he was going to sell enough items (25) to get a limo ride. We definitely were not so sure – 25 items is a lot! He made a list of who he wanted to try to sell his items to, and started out with one of the grandparents, who bought 3 items. A few days later he stopped over to the neighbor’s house to make a sale. She “borrowed” the fundraising books for a couple hours and came back with an order for 22 items! Anthony sold a few more items after that, but his fundraising push definitely slowed once he knew he had “earned” the limo ride.
Last Monday all of the kids who sold 25+ items had the chance to jump in the limo and take a spin to the new McDonald’s for an ice cream cone. They were THRILLED!
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A Hummer limo!
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This was the first group, all ready to go!
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SO excited for the chance to cruise around town in a limo!
After a ride like this, I can’t help but wonder what the expectations will be when this fundraiser comes around again next year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A New Sign….

Last weekend my hubby and son decided to put up our Christmas lights. Since we live in Minnesota, it is definitely necessary to put them up before the snow and ice that will be arriving soon. Especially since they have to go up on our roof. But, let’s not talk about the snow - it's too depressing! I belong in a MUCH warmer climate!!
They did all of our decorating outside, including bringing up the little trees that we set by the front door. Once the Christmas decorations were out, they decided my pumpkin welcome sign had to come off the post and my son quickly set to work making a new sign. I apologize for the poor quality iPhone photos, but here is the sign he quickly made to welcome friends and family to our home:
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I love the “Welcome” sign with the little Christmas tree – it’s perfect!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Photo Wall Update

A couple months ago I changed up the wall of photos in our bedroom. I posted about that here. I promised to post an update when the pictures were all finally changed and the wall was officially done. It took much longer than anticipated (lost motivation anyone?!?) but it’s finally “done” – at least for now! Most of the photos were taken by us, however there are a handful of pictures that were recently taken by Krissy McCabe. We have known her for years, my hubby actually went to school with her – pretty sure they met in 1st grade, maybe even kindergarten. If you are in need of a photographer, check her out!

Here is the updated photo wall:

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Please don’t look too closely at the curtains. They still need ironed. Remember that lost motivation? Guess there are still things to complete in this room…

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Like the pic of the super cute 5-year-old with his face in his hands? We do too! That’s the work of Krissy McCabe Photography. So are the pictures both above and below. We love them!

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Here’s a bonus shot of the display on the other side of the room:

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The painting was painted by my Grandma years ago. It’s a painting of a cat we had when I was in high school. We are lucky enough to have at least 9 oil paintings that my Grandma painted.

The photo wall is complete! Once I finally get those curtains ironed, I will share the bedroom before/after pictures.

Linking to: KristenDukePhotography

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This year 11-11-11 brought not one, but TWO family weddings! Since the weddings were in different states, we could only attend one of them. The wedding we attended was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, the food was excellent, the reception was fun, but what I really want to share is the gift!
Thanks to Pinterest I decided to frame their wedding date as a gift. There are some awesome examples online, but after finding some “11’s” online, here is what I ended up with:
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I wish I would have had time to go out and take pictures of my own “11’s”, and if I do this again, I will definitely find a way to make that happen. Don’t you think this would be fun on a wall with some wedding pictures?
I am hoping that both couples like their framed “11’s” and of course the $$$ that we added to the gift!
Best wishes to both couples!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

DIY Sign Post

A few weeks ago I found this sign post on Pinterest, and knew that I needed an interchangeable sign post by our front door.

Pinned Image

It only took a little convincing before my hubby made one for me!

He used some scrap wood that was leftover from another project (I’m lucky – he’s super handy and always working on building something for our house!). This sign post really is just random scrap wood put together and with a little paint, no one will know it's scrap wood. Unless you tell. Which you won't. :)

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Here is the finished post by our front door with a new slate Welcome sign I just received as a gift at work.

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It's going to be fun swapping out the signs I already have with the seasons/holidays, but this may lead to some shopping too…..

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Who doesn’t love carving pumpkins??? I can remember carving pumpkins as a kid and it took FOREVER! I had to keep adjusting and tweaking to make sure my pumpkin was “just right”. I can honestly say that some things never change… :) This year we waited until the last minute (the day before Halloween) to carve our pumpkins. Now we are all set for Trick or Treating tomorrow night!
I used a cookie cutter on mine (great idea from Pinterest) and the boys drew scary faces.
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Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

DIY Tab Dividers

Over the past couple years I have transitioned from attempting to scrapbook (I couldn’t keep up) to making cards. Making cards has allowed me to continue paper crafting without feeling the stress of not being able to keep up with scrapbooks. I do still scrapbook some, mostly I designate 1 weekend a year to scrapbooking with the girls and crank out 1 album for the year for my son. Right now this works for me.
Anyways…the making of cards has led to the need for storage. Initially I was able to keep them in my old card box that had ready-made organization – printed dividers, folders, etc. As I continue to make more and more cards, I had to find a new storage box. As you can see, I was using a pretty fancy system for sorting my cards….Love those Post-It Notes!
I have been planning to make dividers for awhile, it’s all just a matter of time. This weekend I enjoyed a couple extra days off from work, so the time was now!
First I cut out a pattern and then I used some cardboard leftover from some packages we recently received. I made a total of 9 dividers.
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Then I cut out some scrapbook paper and glued it on. The last step was to print some labels with my labeler (it’s a Brother - I’ve had it for years and it works GREAT!). I used the clear laminated labels so that the words would “pop” off the page.
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I am pleased with my easy DIY tab dividers – it was the perfect upgrade to my card storage system!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Love Pinterest!

Pinterest has become one of my favorite sites to go to for inspiration. There are so many great ideas for projects, home decor, DIY gifts, clothing, yummy food, etc. Here are some of my recent pins on Pinterest:
Repinned from Crafty by Shannon Emrich
You could make different sayings for the Holidays - Haunted, Thanks, Xmas, Easter, etc. and change them out for the different holidays/seasons.

Repinned from yum by Lana Katsaros
Seriously, these look sinfully delicious! I may have gained 5 lbs just looking at them!

Pinned to Yummy by Shawna
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for.
I love the vintage look of these decorations from West Elm.

Have you joined in on the Pinterest fun? Click HERE to follow me on Pinterest!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A New Bag!

My Mom retired a couple years ago and has been busy sewing non-stop ever since. She makes all kinds of things, mostly quilts, but has been having fun making some new things too. We recently visited my parents in Wisconsin, and I was fortunate enough to bring home some of her hand-made goodies. She made me a new scarf, an iPad case and this super cute bag!

The colors of this bag are crazy and bright!

Check out the flower she made to dress it up - cute, huh?

And look at all the space on the inside! The pockets add some much needed function.

I sure am lucky to have such a talented Mom!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Corn!

In late summer we are lucky enough to enjoy delicious fresh sweet corn. Several times each week we stop at a local farmer's stand to pick up some sweet corn that was picked fresh that morning. We always buy a dozen ears (usually it's 14-15 ears) and we cook it all, knowing that we will only eat about 1/2 of it. The leftovers are always cut off the cob and frozen, to be saved for the perfect side dish later in the fall. When we are freezing corn, we usually put about 3-4 ears worth of corn per bag. Each bag is squeezed to eliminate air, dated, and then the bags are double-bagged into another freezer bag to help keep it fresh.

One evening we decided to buy 4 bags (approx 70 ears!!) to freeze, to ensure we would have LOTS of corn for later. Here is about 25% of the corn that we froze that evening:

After 2+ hours of work, we had 17 more bags of fresh corn to put in our deep freezer.

So delicious!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Foto Frame Fun

We recently took on the task of giving our Master Bedroom an overhaul (more on that later - promise!) which inevitably led to additional projects. Painting the bedroom a cool blue required a new duvet cover, which required new curtains, updating the photo wall, etc. What started out as a painting project ballooned into a much bigger project, that still is not done, over a month later....

While thinking about re-doing the photo arrangement, I spent some quality time researching on Pinterest for ideas. If you have not explored Pinterest yet, I highly recommend you check it out. You do need an invitation to join, but lots of people are willing to share invites - check out Pinterest on Facebook for more info. Here are a few of the pics I found on Pinterest (sorry, I don't have the sources) that were inspiration for the changes to our photo wall -

love the photo display photo display Great photo display - like the ceiling too

I really liked the idea of adding our initial to the wall, so I put my hubby to work building/painting an "F" - thankfully he is SUPER handy! After laying out all of my frames on the floor in a new and improved arrangement, I decided that I should cut out magazine frames to tape on the wall to ensure the placement of the frames would be perfect on the first try. Young House Love had great success with this technique, so I had to give it a try.

Here are some pics of the process -

First I made a plan on the floor.
Then I cut the magazine pages to match the frames.
Once the magazine "frames" were on the wall I was able to adjust them until
they were right where I wanted them.

Most of the frames on the wall. Somehow I forgot to take a "final" picture...
All of the pics except the frame in the lower right are really our family, although the pics are all at least a year old. It's definitely time to update to some new photos! Plus, it's time to add some color to these walls - no more B&W photos for now! Doesn't the F look great?!?

Once the frames are all updated, I will be back with an update. We are having family pics taken in September, so I may just put this project on hold until after the new pics are taken. We'll see how impatient I get looking at the faces of some strangers on our walls!

Following the magazine frame idea used by Young House Love was definitely an excellent decision. I can say with confidence that it pays to watch and learn from others!