Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer in Minnesota

You all saw how beautiful my oldest sister's yard looks in Michigan and my middle sister's yard looks in Oregon, so I figured I would show you what my yard looks like in Minnesota! 

So without further ado, here are my flowers. 

Then here is our garden:

It is still pretty little, but big enough for our family. We have a row of cucumbers, 2 rows of green beans, 2 rows of onions, 3 green pepper plants, 2 bushel boy tomato plants, 1 cherry tomato plant, a few different types of lettuce and a couple strawberry plants (which have yet to produce strawberries!)  

Here are my herbs:

I have, from left to right, parsley, oregano, chives, cilantro and basil (my favorite!).


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Around middle sister's outdoors

you're getting a quick tour of my outdoors. we are very lucky because we have so many pine trees in this neck of the woods so this is my view from our backdoor - Juniper galore.  we live in a neighborhood but we don't have anyone behind us right now so we have a great view. 

here's our patio. when we built our house we wanted a large patio and i am so happy we went thru with that idea. also, we put in a gas fire pit which i love. when we first designed the patio we were thinking of a circular fire pit but couldn't make it work. finally, our builder suggested a rectangle one, more like a fireplace.  we live near lava fields so we used lava rocks for the fill and we use it year round, lots of fun. 

we eat dinner on our patio all the time.  i want to replace our current outdoor table with a couple of picnic or farm tables.  the table we have is in great condition but with the girls getting older we just need more room - two tables would be perfect for gatherings. if older sister lived close i know she'd snag the current table up in a second, she likes a good deal.  

our patio actually sits up higher then the yard - so you walk down into our backyard from the patio (think brookside sisters). one of my favorite things about our backyard is our sandbox. the girls and their friends will play in the sandbox for hours. you can actually buy beach sand for sandboxes now so it just brushes off them and no big mess indoors. 

our front porch is actually divided into two sections, one section is by the front door and the other off to the side so we have little areas for cozy looking chairs. i wish i could say we out there all the time but we're mainly in the backyard - but it looks inviting.

 i hope you enjoyed the tour. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer is Here--Yeah!!

Summer is Here--Yeah!!
It is only mid June, but the flowers and plants think it is the middle of July. 
 Our gardens are going crazy! I love it!!  The day lilies are already blooming,

 the hibiscus is starting to come up (that doesn't usually happen until around July 4th),
the little yellow flowers are out (we started with a few of these several years ago and now they are everywhere, it is so pretty). 

I love to sit on the deck, have a glass of wine,
listen to the birds and frogs and enjoy all the flowers--that is a good evening!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Graduation Day

Graduation Day
My son graduated from high school last Sunday.  We had an awesome day! 
I have to admit, I thought I was doing pretty good with all of this--
but I think I am having a harder time than I expected. 
I have been telling everyone--and myself, that I am so excited for this next phase in our lives,
 and I am. 
 My husband and I can spend more time together, I will have more time to catch up on reading and relaxing and of course, cleaning and sorting through things
(that is a different blog that I can't write yet because i am still in denial
and if I write it then i have to deal with it!). 
Anyway, back to graduation--I guess I am a little sad about it. 
 I was pretty much a stay-at-home mom, and when I wasn't home I was at the school. 
 It is so cliche to say, but here it goes, "Wow, where does the time go?" 
Going through old pictures for the graduation party has made me laugh and cry. 

 I am so proud of both of my kids!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY Glass Vase Makeover with Rope?

A while back I received an email from my dear friend Martha, Martha Stewart that is...OK, she's not really my dear friend, but she did send me an email...OK, SHE probably didn't send me an email, but I signed up somewhere along the lines to get her newsletter. So in a squiggly round-about way I guess she did send me an email. It was one of her crafty DIY ideas with a pot, some rope and some glue! I thought it looked really cool, but didn't know what pot to cover and wasn't really inspired by it.
That is until I read this post
here by Pam from Simple Details . When I read this post, I was really inspired to create something! My main level of my house is very open with vaulted ceilings. The people that built the house put two indents into a couple of the walls.

On the one above the stairs I had a tall glass vase filled with, well my kids call them jewels, I guess to describe them, they are those clear colored smooth rocks...purple, deep red and clear/white were the colors I had. Then I had made an arrangement with purple and green leaves/twigs and such. But this was made way back in 2003.
I forgot to take a picture of the vase with the flowers in it before I took it down, but here is the only picture I could find of it. {Oh and look, there's the red couch we put in a frickin' minivan people! I still can't believe that!}

Definitely time for an update!
So off to the store we go. I hate to admit this, but we went to Walmart. We live in a very small community and Walmart is my only real option. But that's OK, all I really need is some rope, right?! 
I bought the thickest rope I could find and got one package. Surely that would be enough!
I remembered reading that I need to wrap the vase before I start to glue. Good thing I did too, since I didn't have enough rope!
So back to lovely Walmart! UGH! And guess what, they didn't have any more rope that big! So I bought the next size down and thought I would try to make it work.

After dumping all the jewels out and becoming "THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD" since I gave all the jewels to the kids, I cleaned the vase.
Then I put an old blanket on the floor and got my rope ready. I decided to use a glue gun to glue the rope on the vase. Note to self: buy a regular size glue gun, not a mini! Bigger projects will go a lot fast with a real adult sized glue gun!
I decided to layer the rope with one large and then one medium size. To do this I put them on top of each other and glued them at the same time while I wrapped them around the vase.

It actually went pretty quickly and smoothly!

Then I had some really thin twine that was a darker color than both the ropes and decided to wrap that around to try and give it a little more dimension! It actually turned out really good! I am so proud of it!!!

I bought a $10 bouquet? Is that what you call these things when they really don't have flowers in them???? And I got it from, you guessed it, Walmart. {I feel like when I use a little font for Walmart, you read over it really fast and forget I said it even faster}

So what do you think? I'm really trying to look at what I currently have in my home for decorations and seeing if there is something simple and cheap that I can do to it to give it a new feel! 

Linking up with:


Blissful and Domestic

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Headache Journey Part 3 ...... We've finally found a solution!

This is a 3 part post about my journey to being headache free.
To read Part 1 click here.
To read Part 2 click here.

So where we last left off, I had just received a shot on each side of the back of my head in my Occipital Nerve to test if that was the cause of my pain/headaches. At 3 hours after, when I called in, I was still at a 0 for pain!

We were then headed to Michigan to visit my oldest sister, Sue, and her family. My nephew is graduating this year and he wanted us all to come out to Michigan in September rather than June for his graduation 'party'. He's a football player and wanted us to watch him play a game! How cool is that!? So we got in the truck and made the long ass trip to Michigan from Minnesota with two small kids! Thank God I just had those shots and am feeling no pain, cause being in a car that long could very easily induce a headache!
I'm proud to report my entire visit to Michigan was pain free. I don't remember the last time I went an entire week without pain or a headache! It was so refreshing! 
However, right on the 1 week date that I'm supposed to call with a follow-up of how I'm doing, you guessed it, I woke up with pain on the left side. So I call and report this and talk with his medical secretary to figure out the next step. 
The next step is supposed to be a procedure called Radiofrequency Ablation. What the hell is a Radiofrequency Ablation? The only ablation I've heard of is the procedure you have on your who-ha and that doesn't sound like fun. It makes me think of burning things, and things being a part of my brain!

But, says the medical secretary, your health insurance won't allow us to do the ablation procedure until you have had another injection to prove to them that this is a needed procedure! UGH!!! Are you F'ing kidding me?! My husband is on the phone with the insurance company, I'm on the phone with the medical secretary, we are just trying to get this all figured out so
I can let them burn my head for God's sake!
Then, all of a sudden she says, we got it approved! What? We're really going to do this? Yep, can you come up here tomorrow? Seriously!!!! Of course we can come up tomorrow. I'm scared to death about this procedure, but the shots helped with the pain, they are hoping the ablation will help too!
That night my husband and I are all over the Internet trying to research this procedure and the risks. It was hard to find information on this. But the risks didn't seem to out-way the positives. GAME ON!

For the purpose of this post I looked all over the Internet again to see if I could find a good definition of what a Radiofrequency Ablation is. I didn't think me telling you they gave me a bunch of drugs, made me goofy, asked me if I felt pain then electrocuted my head would suffice!
So, here is the description I found here:

Procedure Description:
Radiofrequency Ablation is a procedure which creates a nerve lesion produced by localized heat. When the lesion is placed over a painful nerve, pain signals are interrupted and pain perception by the brain is decreased. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting. The treatment is done with local anesthesia along with IV sedation when needed. Before the procedure begins your physician starts by cleaning the skin over the injection site and injecting a local anesthetic to numb your skin. Another needle is placed through the numb tissue and the entire procedure is performed using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance. When the needle is in the correct location, an electrode is introduced into the center of the needle. Stimulation is initiated first with sensory stimulation and then with motor stimulation. When the correct needle position is verified, local anesthetic and sometimes a steroid medication are injected. Radiofrequency thermo-coagulation – The electrode is heated to 50-80°C and kept at that temperature for several minutes. Electro-thermal heat is generated, which allows for destruction of surrounding pain fibers, thereby decreasing your pain. After a brief recovery period, you are able to go home after the procedure. You may have some discomfort when the local anesthetic wears off.

Ah, yeah, what he said!

So we get to the clinic for my procedure. This next part I should have my husband write because I was so nervous about the procedure that it is kind of foggy. We basically get there, I put on a robe {but luckily get to keep my pants on}, they put an IV in me and start the sedative. I get loopy. No really, I remember walking into the procedure room, laying on the very skinny table {face down} and he starts to clean off the areas he is going to do the procedure. 
Dr. Spight said that during the procedure, the reason I have to be awake and alert is because I have to talk to him the entire time to tell him if I feel pain or not. Oh joy! I remember feeling a little discomfort similar to when I would push on my head and induce a headache. But it isn't unbearable. Probably the drugs, I'm sure. Gotta love those sedatives! I do remember once during the procedure one of the surgical techs saying something about Mike and I asked for a Mike's Hard Lemonade. I'm pretty sure they just laughed at me. 
I'm honestly not sure how long I was in the procedure.   I don't even think it was 20 minutes. The next thing I remember is sitting in a lazy boy on wheels and going back to my husband in the little check in room {not really a room, check in curtain area?}
At this point the back of my head is really sore, not a headache sore, but just sore. Probably from the procedure itself. So the nurse asked me if I wanted any pain meds and I said yes. I think she gave me Vicodin...whatever it was it knocked me out and my husband said made me goofy. 

So, that procedure was October 2011. I had to meet with him at 3 weeks after the procedure. In those 3 weeks I had some slight pain in my head, but not like it was. I can't find a spot on the back of my head to push and make it go away like I used to. It's like I can't pinpoint the pain. Dr. Spight said this is normal and about 6 weeks post procedure I should be feeling great! That is just the nerve trying to heal itself. 
 One of the weirdest things that happened is my hubby and I went out with some friends, had some cocktails, OK, a lot of cocktails and the next morning? Instead of inducing one of my headaches in the back of my head that would last the entire day? I had a headache in my forehead! Can I get a WHOOP! WHOOP!
Seriously, how awesome is that? I know it sounds strange, but it was a great feeling. I took Ibuprofen and wallah - it was gone!
At that follow-up appointment Dr. Spight  said to keep in touch. If the pain comes back let him know. As we left that appointment I broke down. Tears started streaming down my face. My hubby couldn't figure out what was wrong and when I could finally get my words out I told him that I just can't believe that he fixed me? I didn't think it was possible. I was just going along for the ride, I didn't really think it would work! It was a great sigh of relief, weight off your shoulders kind of feeling!

I didn't realize how demotivated I was when I was having pain. I wanted to just sit around and read my Kindle. I didn't  want to get any of our projects completed, I was always behind on laundry or cleaning or whatever needed to get done. 
The month of November we got soooooo many projects completed at our house! It was A.MAZ.ING! I'm like a new person! Looking back at my pain, I know I was having more headaches than I was complaining about. But it was like I was in a constant dull pain, I got used to it. Didn't even recognize it. Crazy!
So how am I doing now, almost 8 months after the procedure? 
I'm still pretty much pain free, put my orthopedic pillow in storage baby! Wake up pain free! 
I did have a couple times where I would get tightness in my neck, but took a little Tylenol or Ibuprofen and it went away. In March, though, I did get a headache and was worried about it. It was during my period though and the same thing happened in April. But after being pain free I wanted to stay that way. 
I called Dr. Spight and they said that at 6 months after the procedure you could have it done again. But {here's that but again} he wants to meet with me first to see what is going on. 
So on up to the cities we go. After telling him everything, he thinks that I just need to do some stretches. My pain isn't back like it was.  And, he said, I will know without a doubt if my pain is back. Sometimes when the nerves heal they heal the correct way so to be pain free and not so excited. Sometimes they don't. If they don't we do the procedure again. And I'm OK with this. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Strangely enough one of my favorite meals growing up was my Mom's meatloaf. I know most people don't say that, but I love meatloaf. There, I said it!
I remember if I was coming home from college and needed my Mommy Meal fix my request was meatloaf, a big ol' baked potato {with tons of sour cream!}, and cream style corn. Oh yeah, baby!

I think at heart I am just a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

Meatloaf has changed so much throughout the years. I've adapted what I remember my mom doing to what my family likes and my tastes. I add more spices to it, mainly because those are what I am obsessed with.
When I make my meatloaf, I don't really follow a recipe, just add stuff here and there, but the last time I made it, I was sure to note how much I was adding of everything. Well...kind of. I make this recipe for my family of 4 and still have some leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich or meatloaf roll-up {so yummy}.
So without further ado, here is my meatloaf recipe...drum roll...
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
2 slices whole wheat bread
2-3 T ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T dried basil
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat over to 375. In a food processor chop up the bread to make bread crumbs. I then use my kitchenaid to mix everything together. First add the eggs, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Mix this all together. Then add the beef and bread crumbs until well combined. Spread the meat mixture into a greased pan. 

I don't like to use a loaf pan because it takes way too long to bake! I'm a little impatient that way. I use my little mini baking dish. 
Now mix up the topping. I put it all back in my kitchenaid so I don't have to dirty any more dishes. Once that is all mixed together, spread evenly over the beef mixture. 
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. This will all depend on what size of pan you use. Like I said, mine is usually pretty thin, so it doesn't take as long to make. 
Then serve!

Yummy - great comfort food.

But have you noticed all the new, crazy recipes out there for meatloaf?

Awwwwwww, cute little baby meatloaves!

They are stuffing it with Mac-N-Cheese and wrapping it in bacon? What? I'm not saying I wouldn't try this if it were in front of me. I might spend the rest of the night in the bathroom, but I'd be willing to give it a try. What? TMI?

Now this is just gross...they put an egg in the middle?

Spinach Meatloaf? My kids would never eat that, hell, I wouldn't eat that!

This one is interesting...Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf...I've heard of substituting ground turkey, but never have tried it. I think it still goes back to I'm a beef girl. ;)
Picture of Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches Recipe

I really like this idea. My hubby wouldn't eat it, but the kids and I would L.O.V.E. it!
Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes!

Or how about a cake meatloaf! My birthday is just around the corner, maybe I'll request this! Only Martha would do this!

I would definitely make this meatloaf...Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins!
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

And finally, last and certainly the most disgusting, as in so disgusting that if I ever showed this to my hubby he would probably never, ever eat meatloaf again!
The hand meatloaf!
Seriously - makes me want to puke!

I know, I'm so, so sorry. I sincerely apologize for showing you all of those and possibly making you hungry to just end it with that!

Sooooo, on that note...what are your favorite meatloaf recipes? Have you tried any of the unusual recipes? There are a couple up there that I think I might have to try even though I will always go back to my favorite. But not the hand one, please not that one!