Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It started with a beautiful morning, the birds were singing, the sky was brilliant blue, and a soft breeze whispered through my bedroom window. Charlie brought me a cup of coffee, just the way I like it.
I was showered with wishes, and cards, and gifts, and treats from my family and friends, and all of the selections were perfect.
I dreamed on, and some very kind grandparents came and picked up my son and took him away for a long weekend at their cabin, to play with their grandson.
My husband took me all around the town, we played tourist in our own cities. We drove through Northeast Minneapolis, and stopped for breakfast at the Ideal Diner. It only has a counter, and has been around since the 1930's. We drove on, and walked across the Stone Arch Bridge, and looked in awe at the new bridge spanning the Mississippi. We shopped at Surdyks, for cheese and salami, olives and bread, and tasted new wines.
I dreamed on-we circled the Lakes, and drove through neighborhoods full of beautiful mansions, and imagined living in them. We watched the walkers, and bikers, and sailboats on the water. We stopped in Linden Hills for handcrafted ice cream and coffee, and shopped in their little hardware store.
We arrived home, and sat in our back yard with our gourmet treats, and a special bottle of Artesa Pinot Noir, and listened to Frank Sinatra. As the sun sank towards the horizon, we agreed that yes, these are the salad days. (name that movie...)
And still, I dreamed on. We woke in the morning to another postcard day, and drank our coffee and read the Sunday paper snuggled in bed with our cat. Then we loaded up with sunscreen and sunglasses and set out on the road in our 19 year old Miata.
We traveled east, to the roads we love in Wisconsin. Funkie Gardens was our first stop, in Prescott (and if you have not been yet, you must surely do so), where I found wonderful perennials to add to my garden. We traveled on (along with about 5 million motorcycles) to Maiden Rock, where we made a stop at the Smiling Pelican bakery, and bought a crusty loaf of bread.
Lake Pepin was shimmering, and alive with sailboats, and motorboats, and fishing boats. The trains rumbled by during our stop in Stockholm, where I made a pilgrimage to my very favorite garden spot-Stockholm Gardens. The family who owns and operate it are so passionate about what they do, and it shows. I found morning glories, and my favorite oregano "Dittany of Crete".
I dreamed on, and with stomachs rumbling we pulled in to Pepin. The Harborview Cafe was our destination, and we didn't even have to wait (that is how I knew I was still dreaming....). Mike ordered morels on toast, with fresh asparagus, and I had salmon poached in parchment, with wild rice and snap peas. Words can't describe the flavors.
We left the River Road, and headed into the hills. We drove the twisty county roads, heading down into lush valleys, then climbing out of them again to the rolling farm fields. Tidy farms and red barns popped up around the corners, and the cows paused in their chewing to watch us zip by. There was much less traffic here, as so many are unaware of the pure joy of a Wisconsin county road (and that is just fine with us). The sun warmed our winter white skin, and we soaked it's rays into every pore.
We traveled on, and ended up in Hudson, where we entered the San Pedro Cafe, and bellied up to the bar, and had golden margaritas, and mango majitos, and the best chicken nachos ever.
And still, I dreamed on. We crossed the St. Croix river as the sun was setting, then jumped off and traveled the back roads, winding through the country until we made the final leg of our journey on Shepard Road. We passed the glimmering city of our hometown, with the capitol gleaming, and the cathedral pointing to the sky.
We pulled in to our own little driveway, and buttoned up the convertible top, and went inside to feed the cat.
And I pinched myself, and I wasn't asleep.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Baked Potato Wedges
(from the Crisco website-with my own modifications...)
6 baking potatoes (I used russets)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
paprika (I used Smoky Sweet)
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425, line a jelly roll pan with foil, spray with cooking spray.
Scrub potatoes well, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges. Combine the oil, paprika, salt and pepper (you be the judge on how much) in a zip top bag-add the potatoes. Close the bag securely and shake things up, until all of the potatoes are well coated. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet, skin side down, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. I made this Seasoned Sour Cream to dunk them in (make it about 30 min. before serving to let the flavors blend):
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
This would be a nice addition to the grilling you may be doing this Memorial Day weekend. I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing three days-bring on summer!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Did you know that the average person in the US uses 80-100 gallons of water a day (mostly flushing the toilet)?
Did you know that there is nothing more satisfying than a really good shower?
We just got ours upgraded yesterday, we have been having problems with it for a REALLY LONG TIME. My dear husband, in his usual way, thought he would just fix it for us. While I am convinced he can do nearly anything he sets his mind to, some things are best left for the professionals.
I firmly believe this plumber was worth every penny he charged. (Thanks for the tip Tracie!)
And I now have an amazing shower. So if you can't get a hold of me in the next week or so, I will most likely just be in the bathroom.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sometimes you will even find things you DO need, at greatly reduced prices. I used to be the neighborhood finder...looking for a Little Tykes red car? Found it! Baby Bjorn carrier? Here's one! Hanging pot rack (Crate & Barrel, brand new, still in box)? Yup, $10. That was back when I was quite obsessed, and would hit them up on Thurs., Fri., and Sat. each week. I filled most of Charlie's bedroom shelves with books from rummage sales, and also found him great clothes and toys.
Now I only go when the mood strikes, or when my mom and sis come to town. We started at a sale on Thurs. evening (invitation only, I get the call every year) and scored a Ralph Lauren black leather bag for $1, an Ellen Tracy black leather coat for $10, and some other bargains.
Saturday morning we were up and ready with our coffee, it was darn chilly and very windy. We even needed gloves! But that did not deter us....our first stop was on Summit Avenue, Heather grabbed a Sherpani purse for 25 cents (yes, you read that right, and if you don't know what they are, just Google them to see how cute (and pricey) they are). I found a brand new Therma Rest for camping for $5, a Nike stuff sack for Charlie for $1, and an adorable picture for my dining room for a buck. Heather found a nearly new pair of jeans for 50 cents, and other clothing bargains.
After a coffee stop at La Patisserie, we headed over to the Desnoyer Park area for neighborhood sales. At one stop, I got a whole handful of jewelry for $2 ! Some of it was pieces that just need minor repairs, or earrings missing their mates, but I can turn them into fun finds with the twist of my pliers. Heather found some adorable tables she will repaint for her new porch, and I scored a box of office supplies for $5 - there was at least $5o worth of stuff in it.
But our favorite stop, was our last stop (mostly because the car was full...). Tables and boxes full of dishes, and pots and pans, and glassware. Oh my....
If you are out looking for your own treasures this season, have fun, and good luck!
Monday, May 18, 2009
As soon as Charlie got out of school on Friday, they headed down to Theilman for a weekend of dirt bike riding. Charlie is getting pretty good at it, and will be in his first competition in just a couple of weeks. And I am just praying that all of his bones stay unbroken.
I know many think I am nuts to encourage him to do this sport, as it can be a very injury laden activity. But he is learning from the best (the broken collarbone and two broken feet Mike has experienced shall not be mentioned here...) and he is a very careful rider. That being said, I always send his insurance card along with Mike, for that first emergency room visit.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Which means today is cleaning day.
Most days and weeks are just about maintaining a home that doesn't require a stop by the local haz mat team. But when your mom is coming to stay, some additional tasks are required. Time to pull out the Magic Erasers (my favorite new cleaning product) to scrub walls and trim, my Method cleaners for the bathroom (love the eucalyptus/mint scent), and my Oreck vacuum (which is truly the king of clean).
I actually had to make a list, so I wouldn't forget anything. And on top of the inside of the house, I feel compelled to have my yard in good shape, for those warm nights when we are sitting outside drinking wine.
It isn't going to rain, is it?
Heather and I are going to Keith Urban tomorrow night (what are the chances, two amazing concert experiences in one week?), we will be hitting up local rummage sales, shopping at our favorite stores, and just spending time together.
Which is the best part of all!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Fate jumped in, to let me know it wasn't quite that easy. After nearly five years, lots of medical intervention, miscarriages, money, and seventeen cycles of AI, we were blessed with our miracle kid, Charlie. We had already been married for 10 years at that point, so we were more than ready.
Pure joy and elation was often tempered with reality in that first year-I would feel guilty if I wasn't absolutely happy being a mom all the time. After all I had been through, I had no right to complain!
But I realized that it was okay, as being a parent is awfully hard. The best part about becoming a parent: letting go of any resentment I harbored over my own childhood, as I realized that my parents (who had me when they were 19, after 9 months of marriage) did the very best they could.
Every night, on my way to dreamland, I think about the day, and hope that I have done the best I can for my son. Without doing too much, and letting him grow into the person he needs to be. Hoping I am giving him the skills to be strong, yet kind, and to provide a home that he will always want to come back to, ears that will always listen, and arms that are ready for a hug.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful moms I know. I have learned much from all of you, and am so happy to share this really good life with dear friends, as we watch our children grow.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Happy Anniversary to Mike's parents.
Happy Graduation to all of those May graduates.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms I know!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The softball field across the street ringing with the crack of the bat and loud cheers.
Soft breezes blowing through the window screen, cool air caressing our skin in the evening.
And the first bowl of Sun Dried Tomato Pasta, brimming with fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, juicy grape tomatoes, and fresh basil, sitting on the countertop waiting to be devoured.
Oh yes, the best days of the year are here.
And in case you missed my post of this very favorite warm weather recipe last year, I shall post it again!
I present to you one of our favorite summer meals-Ina Garten's Sun Dried Tomato Pasta - with my own twist. (She is one of my favorite cooks, if you don't have one of her cookbooks, get one! Or you may borrow one of mine...)
1 box pasta (a pound is too much, if you have a full box just cook about 2/3 of it, or buy 1 of the boxes that are the same size as the old 1 lb. box, but actually only have about 13 oz. inside)
salt and olive oil
a pound of ripe tomatoes, med dice (I sometimes use grape tomatoes, which are a little sweeter, Romas work well too)
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
a pound of fresh mozzarella, diced up (or buy the little pearls in a cup, so yummy)
6 sun dried tomatoes (the naughty ones packed in oil), drained and cut up-I usually use a few more than 6, as I am a big fan of sun dried tomatoes
the dressing consists of:
5 more sun dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil (use the good stuff here)
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pepper (freshly ground, if you can)
and to top it all off:
1 cup Parmesan (freshly grated, please)
1 c. basil leaves (use more or less, depending on your taste), chopped
Cook the pasta with the salt and a dash of oil so it doesn't stick together. Drain and cool. Add the tomatoes and olives and mozz. Throw all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor, and whip up until smooth. (Her original recipe calls for 1 tsp of capers to go in the dressing too, but I am not a caper fan. If you are, by all means throw them in.)
Pour the dressing over the pasta and mix well, sprinkle with the parm and basil. I usually make it in the morning and stick it in the fridge, so the flavors can all get happy together. When you are ready, get a big spoon, a hunk of crusty bread, and a nice glass of wine.
Aren't we glad it's finally May?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
As many of you know, I have been struggling with chronic back pain for nearly two years, and have tried chiropractic, physical thereapy, steroid injections, acupuncture, and good old vicodin. I have been longing for a day when I can take a good long walk, or ride my bike, or just haul in my own groceries.
My chiropractor felt I needed to head to Mayo, since I had already been to the best ortho in the cities, and had tried everything else. Unfortunately, he was not able to refer me there-due to insurace purposes I needed to be refered by my primary care doc. Who was reluctant to do so. They finally agreed, but my referrals were being denied-a long story.
Luckily, my brother-in-law had a friend in high school who just happens to be a physician in the Mayo Spine Center, he reviewed my case, and I got in! It only took four months.
Mayo is truly the finest medical establishment in the WORLD. No wonder everyone wants to go there.
Everything there just works. From the admissions desk, to the MRI facility, to the radiology department, you really are dealing with the very best. The facilities are just beautiful, with amazing art throughout. They even offer art tours in the afternoons! Everything is impeccably maintained, both inside and out, and the architectural features of all of the buildings are breathtaking.
A big thank you to Bob, for knowing people, and getting me where I needed to be. I am one lucky girl. Now just keep your fingers crossed for me that the procedure I had will leave me pain free! We will know in a week or so if that happens.
And thanks to all of you who wished me well (and to Tracy and Mike for taking care of Charlie). I have the world's greatest friends. Kind of like the Mayo of friends.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
1 bag broccoli slaw
1 red pear, peeled and diced
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 a 16 oz. bottle (or so) of your favorite prepared coleslaw dressing (we like Hidden Valley)
Mix it all together at least an hour prior to dining. delish!
Now if only I could have found some good corn-on-the-cob to go with it...
Monday, May 4, 2009
Back in the day, when Charlie was a fresh faced kindergartener, he was in the spring play. At the time, he had the World's Greatest Elementary Music Teacher (Mrs. Rita Behrens), and he absolutely loved to sing. And to put himself out there, and give it his all, with a giant smile on his face. See the evidence:Now the only singing he does is in his room, with his door shut. Or around the house, if he thinks we aren't paying attention. And it would be like pulling teeth to get him to take part in a play today.
But we still have our memories:So if you have a young child, who is in a program this lovely month of May, take lots of pictures, and enjoy the fun while it lasts.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
(if that doesn't work, just search for 'Priscilla Ahn Dream' in You Tube and click on the orginal video)
Think I may have to take up the harmonica.
Friday, May 1, 2009
I used to LOVE May day as a little girl. My Grandma Doris (my mom's mother) would spend days making me May baskets to give my friends. Each year, they were different, and sometimes incorporated crepe paper, or pipe cleaners, or Dixie cups, or cottage cheese containers that she had covered with contact paper. She LOVED contact paper, and used it to cover her coffee cans so she could deliver freshly baked cookies. Or covered a cigar box for us to use for our cash box at the twice yearly family rummage sale. She was a master recycler, using everything she had, and was ahead of her time. (not really, she just grew up during the Depression!)
Charlie has always delivered May day goodies to his friends.In keeping with my Grandma's tradition, we make them a little different each year, (even though one year we cheated and used little gift bags-hey, we are busy people!)
This year, Charlie has decided he is too old for such frivolity. sigh...
And a Happy 48th birthday to my sweet hubby! How lucky to be born on May Day.