Wednesday, March 30, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

..almost missed it.

soooo busy, but Heather sent me this link for Tiramisu cupcakes, and OMG (which is officially a word now, in the dictionary, so I feel I can use it on my blog), I HAVE to find time to make these:

Heather has the Steamy Kitchen cookbook-it is wonderful!  So if you have time, check out more of this blog, she is an amazing cook and has wonderful recipes to share.  (the photo is taken from the blog, to show you how amazing these are).

Once I get done with all of my shows they will be the first thing I bake. 

And if you are wondering why my Etsy shop is empty, I put it on vacation mode until Monday!

Monday, March 28, 2011

spring break, day one

Charlie is installed in his favorite chair, playing video games.

Mike is working at ACES as it is crazy busy (wahoo!)

I am busily preparing for two Matilda Jane trunk shows this week.

Wishing we were here instead:

(Key West, Florida, several years ago).

Oh well, another year!

Friday, March 25, 2011

hoarder, or collector?

Since there is now a reality show for apparently every single possible way a person could live (Gold Prospectors, Ax Men, Rehab, American Pickers, and of course, Hoarders....) things have been brought to light that perhaps should have stayed buried.

Now when I look at all of my collections of things I wonder if I have a problem....

But then I defend myself.  That display of old cameras, most of which were picked up for cheap at yard sales?  My grandfather's camera rests among them, and every time I look at his camera it brings me back.  I can see him in his work clothes, carefully aiming it at me, with a smile on his face, and being temporarily blinded when the big bulb flashed.  And every once in a while he would even agree to be in a picture.

That collection of china in the hutch?  Yes, there are stoneware creamers I found for less than a dollar, and purchased as I liked their shape.  But they are nestled amid my great grandma's dishes, and when I see them I think of her in her dresses (always dresses), and the smell of her kitchen when I crossed the threshold of her little house on the river.

This mish mash of objects displayed in an old printer drawer?  The dice remind me of playing Yahtzee with my grandmother, on holiday afternoons, cigarette smoke encircling the room and coffee cups clanging, and her laughter, always laughter.

In the summer, when I put up displays of camping supplies and old fishing reels, I will also display the picture of my great grandfather, who was a fishing guide on Lake Bemidji.  And I will think of countless fishing trips with my dad, and the wonderful memories they hold.

(That's George Port on the left, my dad's maternal grandfather.)

I am proud to be a hoarder, colletor, historian, whatever you want to call it.  Sure, I could weed out some of this stuff, perhaps I will have a treasure sale in my yard this summer.  But everything tied to a wonderful memory will be staying put.

I have a card posted on my fridge  that says "Old things connect us to our past, and for this reason alone, are worth saving."  Indeed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

spring in the snow

We got six inches of wet goopy snow, after a day and night of rain.  My basement is already leaking, my sump pump was working while the snow came down.  Now it is so cold that our roads and sidewalks are a nightmare.  And to think I found a tulip coming up just a few days ago.

Choosing to ignore the view out my window, today I am focusing on preparing goodies for a show I am doing next week!

On Saturday, April 2nd I will be sharing a table with my friend Helen Yarmoska at Westonka Horticultural Day.  (full details here: )

It is from 8 am to 4 pm at Mound Westonka High School.  There are all kinds of workshops to attend, from raising chickens in an urban setting, to learning about mushrooms, "Shady Plants", to Helen's workshop "Container Gardening with Vegetables".  There will be a Continental Breakfast, a Flowerpot Lunch, and I will be manning our table at the Resource Fair.  The vendor area is open to the public, you need to register to attend the workshops.

I will be selling button bracelets and necklaces with a flower and garden theme,

as well as floral vintage zipper pins.  And if I get to them, antique silverware plant markers and cards.  Helen will be selling honey (not only is she a Master Gardener, she is a beekeeper!), and garden 'recipes' with customized seed packets.

So good to have a fun, springy event to look forward to. Stop by and say hi if you can!

(and if you can't make it, you will have another chance to buy a broader range of my things at the Spring Boutique at the Carlson Center Rotunda on April 20 and 21 from 10 am to 2 pm-more details to follow)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

recipe box Wednesday

It's snowing, again.

Big flakes.  The melted fronted yard is now blanketed again.

Time for some chocolate cake, don't you think?

( I actually made this last Saturday, when we  needed a chocolate fix.)

This is from Bylery's first cookbook-it's a classic from 1985.

(found this image on-line, I was too lazy to take my own picture...)

There is not one healthy thing about this cake, but every now and then it is okay to indulge.  It's not like you're going to eat the whole cake in one sitting....

Black Russian Bundt Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (no pudding in it, please)
1 6 oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 c. vodka
1/4 c. kahlua
3/4 c. water
Glaze (below)
powdered sugar
1/4 c. kahlua

Grease and flour 12 cup bundt pan.  Preheat oven to 350.  In large mixer bowl combine cake mix, sugar, pudding, oil, eggs, vodka, kahlua, and water; mix at low speed about 1 minute.  Beat at medium speed 4 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake until cake tests done with wooden pick, 60-70 minutes.

Prepare glaze:  Combine 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 1/4 c. Kahlua, blend until smooth.

Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto wire rack or plate.  Poke holes in cake with fork; slowly pour glaze over cake.  Cool completely, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Charlie has been requesting a slice in his lunchbox every day this week....can you blame him?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Minute

The rain is melting the snow like acid.

Sunny skies bring smiles everywhere, please come back soon.

Flood prep is underway in downtown St. Paul, need to find a new route for carpool.

Grilling steaks tonight to celebrate the arrival of spring, even if it's only on the calendar...

Getting ready for THREE shows!

Snow back in the forecast this week, ugh.

Too busy for blogging : )

Time's up!

Taking more than a minute to share some flowers to brighten this dreary day:

Friday, March 18, 2011

here at the O'Pohls...

... Charlie decided he needed a special breakfast yesterday.

When he was little, I would cut his toast in a shamrock shape, or tint pancake batter green.  This year I didn't have the energy for a fun breakfast, so Charlie took over.

He decided he needed green eggs. 

He was disappointed to learn we had no ham.

Green milk was a lovely addition.  Artificial green dye everywhere!

I did make Irish Stew for dinner, and it was delicious.  You can find the recipe here:

And yes, I did use Guinness.  YUM!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

just a year ago-

-this is what was happening in our little corner of the world:

and we thought hitting 50 this week would be amazing!

But it is so nice to read this, and know that even though spring will definitely be arriving later this year, that it IS coming.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

time flies, part XIII

Mike and Charlie spent Sunday at the ski hill, those days are definitely winding down, and with all of the rain and warmer temps forecast for the week, it may have been their last outing.

How HANDSOME are they?  We found out at Charlie's checkup that he is 5' 2".  Catching up to his dad really quickly!

I found this photo a few weeks ago-it was from the first season Mike started dirt biking again.  Charlie was 2.

Time surely does fly...

Monday, March 14, 2011

a random act

Friday afternoon found Charlie and I waiting endlessly at the clinic for a simple check-up.  Friday afternoon appointments have to be the worst ever, it's late in the day at the end of the week, and the chances you will be seen on time are rather slim. (insert peaceful photo that is completely unrelated to topic)

An hour after our appointed time, the doctor fnally walked through the door and checked Charlie out.  He has started getting migraine headaches, so the doctor told him no more caffeine, of any kind.  We also needed to set up an echocardiogram for him, as Mike has just been diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (say that fast three times...) and Charlie needs to get screened for it.  Poor kid, he got migraines from my side of the family and possible heart issues from Mike's.  Charlie and his doctor had a discussion about genetics, and how they influence your life (Charlie has been studying it in science class).

Finally set free, we walked to the parking lot realizing that getting to St. Paul from Edina at 5 pm would not be a quick run.  I chose American Boulevard to make our way home, it parallels the freeway and is usually faster.  But we found out that nowhere is fast at 5 pm on Friday night. (insert another peaceful photo)

Spying a Wendy's on the horizon, Charlie suggested we stop in and grab a fish sandwich.  First off, we are not big fast food folks, we will pick it up on a drive somewhere, but even then it is usually Subway.  So it is a pretty rare occurence for us to be in a drive through lane, let alone after 5 on a Friday night in March, in Bloomington, no less.

But we really like Wendy's fish sandwiches, and they only sell them during Lent, so what the heck. (insert photo of fish from Como Conservatory, clearly not Pacific Cod)

We wound our way through the lot, placed our order, and pulled up to the window.  As I was reaching in my wallet the young man at the window said "The person who was in front of you asked me to give you this."  It was a note from "Sarah, the person in the car in front of you" and she had paid for our dinner!

I had heard about random acts of drive-through kindness, and today, harried and hungry, we were recipients of one.  It kind of turned the whole day around, and we drove off, smiling and singing to a song on the radio.

Thanks Sarah, I only saw your taillights as you pulled out of the parking lot, but your kindness was greatly appreciated.  And as you suggested in your note, I will be passing it on.

Friday, March 11, 2011

as promised

Sit back, scroll down, and enjoy.

The first view after walking through the glass doors:

Nearly overwhelming, in contrast to the gray day outside:

Riots of color:

And it smelled amazing.

I adore the fountain

camelias, close up

so peaceful

so gorgeous

lilies for Tracy L!

Stop and rest, and drink it all in

My hubby was busy shooting pics, the ones I share today are from my camera

A blanket of cyclamen

I adore foxglove, I actually got some to grow in my garden last summer!  Nothing like this:

How gorgeous are these?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

a sure cure...

...for those winter blahs.

I talked my hubby into an afternoon at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory yesterday.

Going on our 4th day in a row of no sunshine, it was a good idea.  Lovely giant pots of amaryllis greeted as at the door:

I love entering through the first room-moss and green and cascading water.  The humidity felt so good, the skin on my face drank it in.  You could smell things growing.

The Conservatory was built in 1914-I adore it's architecture.  It has been added on to several times, the oldest part is always my favorite.

I felt like we were traveling the world.  Each plant/tree/shrub is tagged with it's name, and where it comes from.  We went to Madagascar, China, Brazil and Australia, all without leaving St. Paul.

I took so many pictures, but I am not a photographer.  I don't know an ISO from a shutter speed, just give me the camera ready for the conditions so I can point and shoot.  Mike has tried to teach me, but I am a reluctant student.  I have his old camera, and it works for me (once he sets it up for everything, thanks hubby).  We both took our own photos, I was happy to take them of HIM taking photos.  Today's pics are all straight from my camera.

Pretending you are walking along this green path, you can hear water soflty flowing in the background:

and it feels so warm...

I will be posting pics from our outing over the next few days, to help us all get through the last of winter (hey, the calendar says so!)  Tomorrow? 

We enter the flower show in the sunken garden.  Be ready for giant bursts of color!

And a thank you through the years for those who had the foresight to build such a beautiful haven in our fair city, and a thank you to those who continue to support it these many years.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

on a wing and a prayer

Fifteen years ago today, a tiny little shop in a strip mall in St. Louis Park opened it's doors to the public.

It was the result of months and months of planning, sleepless nights, hard work, painting, building, and help from so many people.

I seriously can't believe ACES has been around for 15 years.  When we started this, we never dreamed where it would take us.

We have upgraded simulators, built them for other people,  Lockheed Martin, and schools.  We have donated gift cards to numerous organizations-both big and small-needing our help.  We have made many "Make a Wish" dreams come true.  We have provided employment for dozens of people, and worked with tiny vendors across the United States.  We have gone through good times, and bad times.

And here we are, at the Mall of America, and people still come to fly and have fun.

Being married to your business partner brings challenges, and perks.  I really do need to write a book about it someday.

How do you mark 15 years?  I wanted to make an amazing scrapbook for Mike, but the pictures are scattered throughout the house.  Cupcakes should definitely be eaten.  We should probably go out for dinner, and celebrate.

On our 10 year anniversary, we had a big party and Mike made this movie.  It tells our story better than any scrapbook I could ever put together:

Happy Anniversary Mike! And thank you to everyone who ever had a hand in making our dreams come true.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

the winter of my discontent

Sorry to have been such a lazy blogger these past few weeks.

Well, not so much lazy, lately I feel I have not much sunny to share.   I want my blog to be a place where you can come for a smile, or a pretty picture, or a good recipe.  A place that will make you feel good, or laugh, or put a smile on your face.

But the last few months haven't felt very smiley, and my glass has seemed half empty. 
In the last few days I have tried to pull myself up by my bootstraps, clear the cobwebs (quite literally, the spiders have been busy in my house this winter), and I am hoping that on the next sunny day I can be cheerful again.  And find myself, the person I have lost.

I've tried lights, aromatherapy, beautiful music, mind-numbing movies, atmospheric books, and looking at sandals.  Being with friends provides a reprieve from the grayness.  And snuggling with Sir Claude is never a bad thing.

Thinking changing my environment would help, last weekend I took down the heavy curtains in the living room, and replaced them with pretty blue drapes.  I rolled up the rug and put down one with a soft pile that will feel good on my toes ( if they ever come out of wool slippers). 

I cleared off every wood surface and polished them with lemon oil, now the tables and mantel hold bouquets of bright flowers in cream pitchers, sweet birds,

and even a rabbit come to visit early.  I went to Home Depot and bought 10 pots of English Primroses in bright pots and placed them everywhere.

I pulled out my garden books, and have been doing a little green dreaming.  I spent a good bit of time with "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" this weekend, marveling over her beautiful drawings, and drawing inspiration from her diary entries.  I am headed in the right direction.

Classical music plays quietly in the background, when I have the house to myself and am busy going about my tasks.

I even took it so far as to clean out my kitchen cupboards, and throw out every expired item.  I emptied the refrigerator, and the shelves sparkle.  Perhaps I was thinking by cleaning out my house, I could clear the cobwebs from my mind as well.
Snow is still in cement-like piles everywhere, with more in the forecast, but I do not want to be pulled under again.  There are tulips in the grocery stores, and spring magazines have recipes with asparagus, and I have cleaned up my Liberty rainboots in anticipation of splashing in puddles soon.  Trader Joes had gerber daisies, and they are such a happy flower.

And even when it is still gray and gloomy outside, I can just pull up my blog and be reminded of a sunny day.


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