Cookiefest 2014

The womenfolk in my family got together this weekend to bake cookies…


IMG_440190385The little ones joined us eventually and helped us decorate…



IMG_440191120We made 5 different types in all: gingerbread, sugar, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and Italian almond. We did it ladies!

Also, the weather this weekend has been pretty great: up to almost 50 degrees. This is how that makes me feel:



Happy Birthday to Me

Photo (32)This weekend was my birthday, and it was hella busy and fun. A show at the Guthrie, all-day choir rehearsal, multiple dinings out, crafting (before and after post coming soon!), and a trip to an apple orchard! So much fun!

The above photo is from the corn maze.

image (1)The maze was much more difficult this year than in years past.

Here we are, desperately trying to get a texted clue from a sign:

imageIt did not help us (though one of us won a free soda…which seemed like a cruel joke, since we weren’t so sure we’d ever get back to civilization). It was so much fun though. And when we were starting to lose hope, and a train came by, we sang a little Folsom Prison Blues. “I hear the train a comin’, it’s rollin round the bend…”

Eventually, we made it out a live, and some of us shot an apple cannon. I stuffed my face with pumpkin pie and an apple cinnamon doughnut. Yummmm!!!

Photo (30)I also forced some of friends to try chestnut crab apples (only the best apple of all time!!). I have a young chestnut crab tree in my backyard. It produced its first fruit this year (3 apples), and they were delicious. But I wanted more, so I loaded up at the orchard. They’re about the size of a golf ball, and they’re sweet just like a normal apple. Absolutely no tartness (nobody believes me about that). You must try one!!

Photo (33)It was a really nice birthday. A beautiful day, wonderful friends and family, and good times. What more could you want?


Irish Fair

Hooo boy this weekend was busy!

Saturday, I went to the Irish Fair.

Got to see some sheep herding:

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Petted some Irish Wolf Hounds:

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Dat face!

Listened to some traditional musicians:

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And danced!


Then I went to a family get-together, where there was some kayak racing:

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And my nephew snagged my phone and took a selfie…

Photo (29)…and this really artsy one of me:

Photo (30)After that I worked on plans for a Renaissance Fest dress (yes, I’m going to attempt to make one).

Sunday, it was back to Irish Fair for more dancing!

Once more with feeling!

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And then I saw a Fringe Festival show! Ack! A busy weekend! I love summer because of the weather and because there are so many fun things to do, but I prefer the pace of winter. I need a weekend.


Elf House!

I was taking a walk with my nephew this weekend, and we came upon a cute little yard pond…

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With a cute little elf house!! (One of my favorite things in life along with 50s Diners, boots, and any and all animals.)

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Also on that walk, there was this very large tree next to a power line….and the power line held a large chunk from that tree. Look, is this not the weirdest thing?

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And one more thing, I just have to put this here because I think it’s funny and cute. When I told my nephew that I was going to take a picture of the elf house, he plopped himself down next to it in a very specific “I’m posing for the camera” stance, assuming that I must have meant that I was going to take a photo of him next to an elf house. His grandmother has taught him well. Look at his super serious “getting my picture taken” face:

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Family Camping

This past weekend, I went camping with a bunch of my extended family. Wellll….when I say camping, I mean this kind of thing:

Photo (43)It’s an actual camp, like that kids go to in the summer. We all grew up going to it, and they have these family weekend things that we do once in a while. It’s as close to real camping as this girl gets.

So guess what I did first. Find all the animals!!! The camp has a little nature center where they have various animals that you can hang out with.

Photo (41)When I was a kid camper, I would basically spend all of my time there. One year, they had like 6 baby goats. They were tiny and adorable and soooo friendly. They would all just come up to me and head-butt my legs and then play king of the hay bale with each other. They were the best! They also had a litter of golden retriever puppies once. So much fun!

This year they basically just had chickens, rabbits, and two goats that were really cute but weren’t as friendly as my old baby goat pals. They pretty much just wanted me to feed them weeds and then get the heck out of their lives.

Photo (50)I did get to go on a horse ride.

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Those velvet noses!

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Photo (45)My horse, French Fry, was a bit of a princess. She wanted to eat at all times (which of course, you’re not supposed to let them do). And she tried to trick me into letting her by acting like she was going to scratch her leg, but then surreptitiously grabbing a mouthful of greens. The little sneak. This picture is blurry because I had to take it very quickly before she tried to grab more food.

Then we hung out by the beach.

Photo (48)And watched people climb stuff. Like crates!

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This is the camp director.

Then the whole fam got together for a raucous late night Bible Trivia sesh!

Photo (32) - CopyIt was WILD! Really, though, it was probably my favorite part of the weekend.

We left the next day, but we had just enough time for a little relaxation in the woods overlooking the lake.

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Grandpa Earl

I was going through my “memory box” recently. You know that box where you keep all of your old awards, notes from friends, hard-copy photos, etc.? If you’re sentimental like me, you’ve got one. I have to clean it out every few years or it gets out of hand. I really hate having “stuff” that I don’t use regularly (knick knacks, etc.), so my sentimental side always fights with my minimalist side. This time around, I decided to finally do-away with all of the paper memories. But I archived them all electronically first, don’t worry!

In doing so, I came across some things I had kept from my Grandpa Earl, who passed away a few years ago.

Here’s the weird little painting that he won me at the Mall of America when I was a little kid:

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He had taken me to the mall (just the two of us), and we were walking around the Camp Snoopy area, where we came upon a carnival-type dude who guessed your age. If he couldn’t get it within 3 years (or something similar), you got to choose a prize. I remember telling my grandpa that the guy should guess my age (I was small, so people usually guessed that I was about a year younger than I was).

But Grandpa, in his wisdom (or just general common sense), knew that that was a stupid idea (I was like 7, how far off could the guy be?), and suggested that he guess his age instead. My grandpa always looked younger than he was (he had red hair, which stayed red till the end, and he had a youthful spirit), so the guy definitely guessed wrong, and we won!

Grandpa let me pick a prize, and I chose this painting. I’m not proud of my choice. My grandma wasn’t impressed either, but when she expressed her (justified) displeasure, my grandpa told her that I chose well based on my minimal options (which was true). And I’ve kept it all these years (clearly never cleaned it though 🙂 ). Thanks Grandpa!

I also found this birthday card from Grandpa.

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It says “[Happy] Belated [Birthday] 9/26 [my birthday is 9/21] If Granma was here this wouldn’t have happened. Love, Grampa Earl 1998”

He was saying that the card would have been on-time if Grandma had been around. Grandma had passed away a few months before this. Aw, Grandpa, it’s okay, I didn’t mind. Love you too.

Lovely Weekend

Nine Mile CreekFirst nice weekend of the year. Walked around Lake Calhoun and got a peppermint bonbon ice cream cone yesterday. Went to Nine Mile Creek (see photo) with family and watched my cousin’s hockey game today (we won). So great.