Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Hello twist on the beautiful Brussels sprouts salad!

2. FYI if you get the bag of preshredded Brussels sprouts from TJs, there are 4 cups in there.

3. I love bacon.

4. This is my 8th winter in Minnesota and yet there is still one thing that I can't figure out: how to keep our entryway clean. Yes our house is small, no we do not have a mudroom. You come in, your boots are filthy. The tile is now filthy. At the moment we're stepping on towels that I can wash everyday.

5. My new favorite wine - Edmeades Zinfandel.

6. Yesterday I finished Eleanor & Park, so good.

7. The kids have been having me cut paper for homemade Christmas cards everyday. The smart thing to do would be to put together a card making kit for next year so it's ready to go for my crafty offspring.

8. I'm thinking I can read 2-3 more books before year's end.

9. Three more days of school til Christmas vacation!

10. Here's hoping for a vacation filled with sledding, skating, reading, and good food:)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. The best thing I did in November was this plank challenge. Actually it was the best thing I did for my abs after carrying two fat babies and then having them cut out of my body.
2. Today I sat on the couch with the tree lights on and finished a book, Navigating Early. This felt luxurious, but it is a goal in our family in December. To carve out time for those simplest activities that elude us during the busy [school] months.
3. It's been chilly running lately! Single digit highs and wind chill advisories, but we're still out there getting our fresh air runs on, our feet happy to be running on snow instead of ice. That's the silver lining of frigid temperatures - too cold to melt and cause ice and slush.
4. Do you have a favorite, go-to side dish/vegetable for everyday dinners? I love slices of roasted sweet potato but don't want the family to tire of them!
5. My next book - the much talked about Eleanor & Park!
6. A few Sundays ago, the kids reading together.

7. This past weekend, Alla had a terrible cold. She's still getting over it, I can still see the cold in her eyes, but at least she's on the mend. Days like that force us to shut down and just read. Quiet.

8. Fisher is becoming quite the reader, too! He recently loved the Hey Jack book I got him.
9. It's been ages since we've been out to see a movie.
10. How are there only 15 days left til Christmas? Every year I wonder how it got to be this time of year again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. I had a little brunch here on Sunday and my favorite eat from the shindig were the bacon-wrapped dates. I've made them again since, and have plans for them tomorrow as well. Yum.

2. In other food goodness, I made bacon and brussels sprouts salad yesterday and it was amazing. I definitely did not use a mandolin, but rather the pre-shredded bag from TJs and cut the recipe in half.

3. Just finished Counting By 7s. Wonderful.

4. It's going to be a quiet Thanksgiving around here. I'm very much looking forward to doing lots of reading.

5. We got started on the cooking today. The kids and I made the [paleo] cranberry sauce. Yum!

6. The kids and I are reading Ramona Quimby.

7. They are reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with Daddy.

8. We went to a workshop at the library on Saturday given by local author David Larochelle, who spoke of the importance of writing letters and showed dozens of creative ways to write and send them. The kids have since been on a letter writing kick and have each written 2-3 letters. I remember sending and receiving lots of letters as a kid, and it's a bummer that kids these days probably won't have quite the stash.

9. I am a sucker for end of the year book lists, and we are headed into that time of year. I will mostly likely add way too many of them to my to-read list for 2014.

10. I am guilty of forgetting all the other meals leading up to and following Thanksgiving. So tonight it was taco shells filled with refried beans and cheese, baked in the oven. Side of peas. Kids thought it was the best dinner ever.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

10 Things: Fisher.

Fisher's turn!

1. You are kind to others.

2. Today you read me The Cat in the Hat.

3. You love to be outside. Running around with all the neighborhood friends, biking, playing Zombie Tag, football, tennis, baseball, Frisbee, soccer, swinging while screaming singing "Footloose."

4. Today's breakfast was a waffle-sausage sandwich.

5. You love Legos.

6. When you come out of school, you are always playing Rock Paper Scissors Shoe with your friend Colton. All the way to the car. This better change as the temperatures approach single digits, buddy.

7. You've started saying that awesome things are epic.

8. There's a 50-50 chance that you'll get your undies on the right way each night after shower. You just don't really give a hoot.

9. Holy bagumba, you have one heck of a duck (pouty) face.

10. You tell me I love you to infinity and beyond!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

10 Things: Alla.

I am directly stealing this from Kristina's blog, because it is just such a great idea to do every now and then. Without further ado, 10 Things About Alla...

1. You are always humming or singing or whistling. I wonder if you do it in class!

2. You are still wearing that bracelet on your ankle, and this picture was taken almost a month ago.

3. You are 2/3 of the way through all of the Maud Hart Lovelace books.

4. You looked through both the Toys R Us and Target toy catalogs this weekend and declared that there was nothing in there you wanted. Except maybe a giant stuffed panda. Right.

5. You are going to be Star of the Week in your class next week, and you have been looking forward to this immensely.

6. You love granola, sugar snap peas, ice cream sundaes on Sunday, Pizza Friday, and pomegranates.

7. You sleep with Lily and White Bear, and, most recently, your "pocket bear."

8. It's been awhile since you've lost a tooth, but you did manage to chip one in gym a few weeks ago.

9. You come up with some crazy outfits, which I love.

10. Your heart is very very big.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Did you miss the Halloween post?

2. It's the most exciting time of the year! The Goodreads Best Books of the year voting has begun. I generally haven't read the majority of the books in any one category, but I do love to vote for something I did particularly enjoy reading, and also it's a great list of stuff to put on my to-read list. Go vote!

3. I am currently in the middle of a memoir about a girl growing up in a house with a father who hoarded. Wow.

4. The kids and I are in the middle of Flora and Ulysses, which is also Wow.

5. Snow is forecasted for later today, piling up a few inches on our green grass. We're not too worried.

6. When should it snow here in these northern parts, on average, though, you ask? Well typically we have a white Christmas (otherwise, BOO). And also typically, our family members like to guess the date of the first plowable snow. The littles have dates in November, and the more sensible grown-ups picked December dates. We shall see.

7. Alla saw our guest room all cleaned out and bed made extra prettily and made a wish that we'd have a Thanksgiving guest to sleep there. Any takers?

8. Our living room ceiling finally has lights, after almost seven and a half years in this house! It is my most favorite house upgrade ever.

9. Alla made her bean soup for dinner on Sunday and is so excited that she has a thermos now to take leftovers for lunch. Everyone is curious about what she has in there, and she had to bring two copies of her recipe today for people who thought it looked delicious yesterday!

10. I better get in a run this morning while the kids are at school and before the snow comes!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Halloween 2013.

I know you were wondering, so here it is. What the kids wore for Halloween this year. 

The one on the right. sure, he is wearing the same firefighter costume for the third year in a row. Score! The one on the left basically wanted something that involved a wig, so she created her own and called it Luna Lovegood. I love it. They lasted an hour or so with Daddy, then came home to sort their haul into safe/not safe piles. We ended the night with Charlie Brown!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Fall is here, and I know this because it was barely thirty degrees when I came back from my run this morning.

2. There are several good things about fall, such as soup. We made one of our favorites, Lentil Soup, over the weekend. Thankfully, there are enough leftovers for Fisher and I to eat for lunch.

3. Another good thing: books. Lots of new releases, and of course, they all came in for me at the library at the same time. The kids and I plowed through Neil Gaiman's new one, Fortunately the Milk, over the weekend, and I am refusing to return it to the library until I read it again. Delightful.

4. We are now onto The Year of Billy Miller, and are then moving onto Flora and Ulysses.

5. Might as well celebrate new releases in music, while we're at it - John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and The Avett Brothers, yay!

6. This past weekend was a 4-day for every student in the state of Minnesota, and we did it up right by having a child come down with a terrible cold, thus cancelling both a birthday party he was supposed to attend, and a date night his parents were supposed to attend.

7. We really enjoy date nights in, though, so we got ourselves some Chipotle and Redbox and made the best of it!

8. Since we had extra time this weekend, with gloomy cold weather, and more gloomy cold weather on tap for the week, we broke down and got out the winter clothes. Which is more or less how I spent my entire Sunday. And that was just for mine and the kids clothes. Still have the coat closet to do.

9. Saturday is Alla's half birthday, so that equals Date with Daddy. I think she wants to go to the Science Museum, but so far neither of our children has chosen for a date to go to a restaurant other than Red Robin.

10. Friday is the Fall Parade at the school. Should be mighty chilly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Picture Day.

Back when it was still warm, oh, less than two weeks ago, the kids had picture day at school. Everything is significant this year, because it's the first "real" picture day for Fisher, at "real" school with big sister. I hope he didn't smile like this in his official picture, or it might be the first year we utilize the re-take day.

I realize that I am indeed a photographer, and therefore have a gazillion photos of my kiddos, but, yes, I do order school pictures. One goes in their School Days books, so they can easily flip through and see what they looked like each year, and I frame an 8x10 to display until next year's picture. There's just something traditional about having school pictures, like a rite of passage, and I'm nothing if not a sucker for traditions.

But I am indeed a photographer, so, yes, I do grab a few snapshots on their way out the door when they're all snazzed up, especially because I know the school photographers are not going to capture my daughter like this.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Reading in a box.

I'll bet there's a witty Dr. Seuss quote somewhere about all the places you can read! In a box, with a fox, while you have the chicken pox!


Well, around here we read any chance we get. Reading outside in the fresh air is best, but if there's a slight chill, however too slight to warrant a blanket because the rest of the kids are wearing short sleeves, then just find a box big enough for your eight-year-old body and finish your book right there.

Here's to reading wherever, however, whenever you can!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Oh, happy day! A week from today we are getting our very own Trader Joe's!

2. Had our annual allergy appointment yesterday and skin-tested Fisher for almonds and pistachios, and what do you know, he just may be able to eat the latter (after a food challenge in November). Ron's mind went immediately to one of our all-time favorite desserts, Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust. I immediately started considering how I could Paleo-ize it.

3. If you're local and haven't heard about The Chickadee, here's a link to the cozy boutique, and the gallery of images on the photo blog.

4. When we came home from The Chickadee on this past rainy Saturday, Alla made a soup she's been thinking about for a few weeks. It was delicious and fed us for three dinners! Tons of beans, ground beef, canned tomatoes, tons of vegetables, a spice mixture she whipped up herself, and two different kinds of broth. I'm so happy my family loves soup.

5. Especially because it appears to be Soup Week around here. Before Alla's soup, I had already planned for Tortilla Soup and Carrot Soup with the meatballs I am so thankful I froze back in August.

6. That girl has also, without my asking, taken on making her own lunches this year. I really cannot tell you how I managed that, only that I am so thankful, because making lunches is not one of my favorite things in life.

7. After a weekend of cool weather, we are back to 70s, which of course means shorts and t-shirts for Fisher.

8. Alla has made no secret of her dislike of sweet potatoes, except for maybe a whole baked sweet potato if she has free reign over the amount of honey she can pour on it. But somehow, chopping them into fries with oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon has made them one of her favorite veggies. Prepared that way, of course.

9. Only three more weeks of our Farmer's Market.

10. I am eagerly waiting on several new chapter books for bedtime read-aloud time, most especially Kate DiCamillo's newest. Ron has gladly suffered through the A to Z Mysteries series for his nights to read to the kids, and they are up to N. I think a library trip is in order!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Yes, I'm aware it's Wednesday.

2. I must get my hands on some apple cider. I was reading an article yesterday about cooking with it - using it instead of water in your steel cut oats, or replacing half the water with cider in a pot of beans. Sounds delish.

3. We have been in the 70s for a long time now, even 85 last Friday. Consequently, Fisher has been in shorts and a t-shirt since about June, and I'm pretty sure that, due to him being 5 and therefore not having a ton of long-term memories, he figures he'll just go on with that uniform, as it's become.

4. According to our local paper, my son is in for a big shock when the rain and cold come dashing in this weekend.

5. I mentioned Fisher using all of my clips to give me a hairstyle at bedtime, so I thought proof was in order. All the great hairstylists had to start somewhere. You can all say you knew him when.

6. This past weekend, on the only cool rainy day in ages, a day sandwiched between two gorgeous warm days, the kids participated in the Kid Garage Sale at our community center. They sold books, toys they'd grown out of - basically all the stuff they cleared out of their room and toy boxes over the summer. It was a huge success and I would be surprised if they didn't do it again next year!

7. This is the stack of books we returned last week.

8. I am currently reading Golden Boy, which is about an albino boy being hunted in Tanzania. Fascinating.
9. Alla is reading all of the Maud Hart Lovelace books for school. Out of the three she's read so far, her favorite has been  Out of My Mind.
10. I have a package of chicken somewhat defrosted. Must think of a dinner recipe...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


We are in the midst of September here, almost into fall already, so perhaps it is a perfect time to revisit our last summer vacation - California! We were there to celebrate the nuptials of the kids' Aunt Renee to her beloved Will, but we headed out a bit early to spend time with our old friends The Laughrey's.

The kids were very excited to be at the beach, to try and catch seagulls, and Alla in particular was in awe of the local flora and fauna.

That girl is convinced that she'll catch a bird one of these days.

I have always loved how her curls curl up at the shore.

Either I was a good vacationer or just lazy, because I didn't take my camera out too much. I did get a few shots of Fisher and Lorelei, but the other two of their girls never got their "bench portraits." Ah, well, another visit.

And then we were onto San Diego for the big wedding festivities, like getting our hair done. Here's Grandma and Aunt Ronna showing off their beauties.

Did I mention that all four of us were in the wedding? OK, so I didn't really take any photos that day, what with being a bridesmaid and mother of the "ringbear" and flower girl and counting carbs in Fisher's meal and all of that, but before things got underway I did catch just a couple of the all important getting ready moments.

What a fun day. What a beautiful bride.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. We are one full week into the school year, and starting to figure out those routines. I'm still quite stunned at the fact that I'm expected to pull up to the curb and let both kids out. And then drive off.

2. The kids and I just finished Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, which they loved. We may have to hit up the library for further Judy Blume/Fudge reading.

3. Before we sit down to read at night, Fisher likes to gather all my hair clips and brush. He gives my hair a good brushing, then proceeds to give me the world's greatest up 'do with every last clip. He's quite proud of himself.

4. While he's up 'do-ing away, Alla loves to give me hand and foot massages. I know! I'm the world's luckiest mom!!!

5. I personally am reading Me Before You, which is just great.

6. It was treat-making afternoon. Fisher and I made frozen salted chocolate banana bites, avocado pudding, and sunbutter bread.

7. Then we hit up the Farmer's Market. I got corn and carrots. I need a new veggie. Ideas?

8. I feel busy season approaching on the business front. If you're still in need of a fall session, shoot me an email! I currently have three October dates left.

9. Anyone have any ideas for good Friday night kid movies? The Sandlot was the last one I loved watching as a family:)

10. Fisher is all about the samples at the Farmer's Market. Today - a tiny Paula Red apple and a toothpicked summer sausage bite. Minnesota grows the best apples.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

First days!

We, and by we I mean I, survived the first day of both kids in elementary school.

I felt quite emotional yesterday, and this morning, and walking into the school, but there was so much commotion, kiddos eager to get to their classrooms everywhere, that it just went too fast to be too sad.

I can't believe they both go to the same school, every day.

Daddy joined us for the celebration of school this morning, and saw them into their classrooms, too.

They both reported having good days, and are looking forward to going again tomorrow. What more can you ask for, huh? Here's to a great year!

Monday, September 02, 2013

The last night.

This is the last night of summer.
Tomorrow begins third grade and, sniff, kindergarten.
So the little boy got a big bed, finally, in celebration of this big step to elementary school.

Last night was his last night in that snug little crib, which I think he would have slept on right until his feet started pushing through the slats. He loved that bed, has been in it for five and a half years.

Tonight he sleeps in a big bed, well, a twin bed, the biggest bed that will fit in a small shared room.

And tomorrow he wakes up a kindergartener. Wow.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ten on Tuesdsay.

1. We are in the midst of a true heatwave here. Two things that keep me cool: frozen grapes (I froze 2 bags on Sunday), and water bottles full of ice water. I can sit out there til the cows come home with a bottle filled with ice and water. Once the ice is gone, I'm done.

2. This is our last week of summer. School starts a week from today. Why on earth does it have to go so fast? I guess we're as ready as we're going to get, by which I mean we've sharpened the required 60 pencils.

3. This morning we took advantage of the hot weather and stayed home. Ha! We watched Epic, made Buckwheat Krispie Treats and Frozen Salted Chocolate Banana Bites. Yum!

4. It's too hot to run. I have no problem with running in five degrees, but running in 85 or 95 is completely out of the question.

5. I feel like the kids and I are torn between doing a lot of nothing this week and a lot of stuff. I think nothing is winning out. I see Alla with her nose in the third Benedict Society book, and Fisher constantly playing outside (95 does not bother him), and I have to remind myself that they are happy doing those things, that we don't have to fill up our (last) days with going, going, going. A slowdown might ease us into the school year.

6. That said, I'm sure we have one beach day left in us, maybe a cool morning for us to canoe.

7. Just.one.more.thing.

8. If I'm being honest, it will be more of this. Thanks, Buddy, for capturing what I do best.
9. The kids got to see the Okee Dokees at the fair this past weekend, but they played an even longer, less hot show last week, and we stuck around for a picnic lunch and a photo with the greatest Minnesota band.

10. My favorite part of the fair, and it's always over in 10.3 seconds? The Giant Slide!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Though I am in no way a heat-loving person, I went out of my way not to complain about the 90s when they visited in July, because they're good for a beach day, and also it gets quite cold here and we try and stockpile sunshine while we can. Anyway, apparently I was so welcoming in July that the good old 90s are back this week! Woo!

2. Yesterday we celebrated with a late afternoon at the beach. Two hours of Alla trying to catch a fish.

3. Today we celebrated summer's heat with our first trip to Como Pool. The pool has a way-cool zipline that Alla got up the nerve to try three times!

4. Two weeks from now we enter school mode. I'm not thinking about it.

5. The kids won a gift card to Creative Kidstuff last week so I think we might take a break from being in the heat tomorrow and venture over to pick it up and spend it. Alla had her eye on a fairy cape, and I'm sure Fisher will find a Lego set of some sort.

6. This weekend is the State Fair!

7. It's still supposed to be in the 90s!

8. Alla has embraced The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and as she's now on the second book, I am reading the first. Definitely for Harry Potter lovers.

9. From the Famer's Market today: rainbow carrots, three-color green beans, cucumbers, and big tomatoes. I only grow the cherry variety in our garden, and now I'm thinking some bacon is in order!

10. Had this delightful summer meal tonight: zucchini and corn taco seasoned quinoa - a favorite of mine and Ron's, and edible for the kids - win!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ten on Tuesday.

1. I'm thinking everyone is dying to see pics from our trip to California, so since I haven't even plugged in my camera yet, you're stuck with iPhone pics. Here we are on the way to the wedding of Renee and Will! Kids in the backseat...Mom and Dad up front.


2. Full length, minus Fisher's suit jacket. Sorry, you can't have them, they're mine.

3. Boys in the limo.

4. Girls in the limo.

5. The following are a series of photos taken by my iPhone camera obsessed children who walked around the reception like a bunch of crazies with iPhones.

6. Aunt Ronna and Keila.
7. Oh look, there is one of the crazies. This was in the first 5 minutes that there were any exposures left on any of the disposable cameras.

8. I love this one!

9. A little shot from the bachelorette wine festivities.

10. That's it for wedding iPhone pics, but if you want to see photographs, as in taken with my actual camera, head over to J.J. Killins Photography for a recent summery session!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soccering: The Boy.

Soccer is so highly anticipated around here. Starts at the very beginning of June, you can play in the city program from the time you're four, it's great exercise, 90% of the games are played at the park that's close enough for us to ride bikes (albeit carrying snacks, chairs, water bottles, bug spray, etc), and it's FUN.  

So it's a little sad when you've gotten used to the routine of packing up and heading to a field three nights a week, and suddenly, end of July. End of soccer. (Of course there is fall soccer, but that can be darn right freezing around these parts.)

This kid went out there every night to have fun, to play with his friends (his friend's dad has even coached the past 2 years), and has gotten better and better. He is a leader, always helping kids get to their positions.

He has been very fun to watch, and I'm sad, too, that the end of July is here and we have to wait another ten months for this kind of fun.