Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring has Sprung in Minnesota!

For a couple weeks now I've really wanted to participate in this Writer's Workshop at Mama's Losin' It!{I love reading from Mama Kat, she just cracks me up!} I've just been waiting for something in one of the prompts that really trips my trigger and inspires me to write! This week there were actually two prompts that I really liked. The Has Spring Sprung? Photo journal and List the top 10 things you miss about being alone.
 I think for today I'll do the photo journal since last week you got to see what Spring was looking like out in Michigan from my oldest sister. Now, I do not have a green thumb like Sue, nor do I claim to. I do not dream about my landscaping, I'm more of a food dreamer. {Just last night I had this dream about what snack to bring for my son's special snack day at school today, nothing fancy, graham crackers with Nutella, but I still had a dream about it! Strange, I know.}
I'm so bad at landscaping that I barely know the names of the different plants/flowers/trees/bushes around our house. But I am bound and determined to at least try and make it look nice.
So here is a look at what Spring is looking like in Minnesota this year! It came early and we didn't have much snow, so Minnesotans are pumped! Because we've been inside for soooo long, when the weather gets above 30 degrees you will see us outside like crazy! This year I even think all the Christmas lights were off the houses in January!!! They weren't even frozen on!

Now, on to the photos!
So I've got lots of Hostas. Hand-me-downs from my Mom-In-Law & GMa-In-Law.

{Daisy wanted to be involved in the picture taking.}

Some are just coming up. {Side note: I'm replacing all my mulch this year too!}
I'm pretty sure I have a wide variety, but unfortunately, I don't know all the names of them. Sue you may have to come back and edit my post! :)

I have a clematis. 
I was worried this wouldn't come back this year. Last year in Minnesota it was kind of rough! Usually I have tons of beautiful purple flowers, last year, I had a small handful! Since I already have 5 shoots coming up, I'm hoping that means it is back!


{again, sorry to disappoint Sue, I have no idea what these are. The hubby picked them out...}

This is some ground cover we have on our berm. 

And last but not least, we have two onions that have decided to mysteriously come back this year, before we plant them in our vegetable garden! :) I can't wait to get this planted! I just love having fresh lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad, along with green beans and onions! Oh, oh, and all my fresh herbs!!! Yeah summer!

Deb – what's it doing in Oregon? What's your yard look like? Do you have any beautiful hydrangea's this year? Or didn't you have blueberry bushes one year? Why, oh why did you and Sue have to take all the green thumb genes from Mom and Dad and leave me with the mangy leftovers? It makes it so much harder for me!


Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garage Sale!

It's that time of year again...GARAGE SALES! I'm not a huge garage saler, but I do enjoy going to them every once in a great moon. I have to be in the right frame of mind and it needs to be nice weather. Plus, I really don't like getting up early, not a morning person, so I probably miss all the good stuff.
Here in my small little speck on the map, we have a city wide garage sale. It now starts on Friday afternoon through Saturday. So if you want to get the really good deals you have to take off of work on Friday and head out that morning.
If your an extremely organized person and prepared, a little OCD, you get a hold of the garage sale list that the paper puts together and you research it to see what sales have what you need and map out your plan...I've never been that organized, always wanted to be though.
This year I didn't go to any sales, instead my friend and I had our own garage sale {at her house, Thank God!}
My motivation to the kids to get rid of all the crap wonderful toys they have, is that they get to put their initials on the little colored dot and they get to keep the money! They are all about keeping the money! We went through all of their books from when they were babies. This was harder for me then I anticipated. Actually, I hadn't anticipated it being anything except cleaning out their closets. But many of the books brought back so many memories from when they were babies and toddlers. {sigh}
My big items to sell were my red couch and green chair/ottoman. They are both the over sized kind of furniture.
This is a picture of the red couch {kind of} it's off the Slumberland website, but remember ours was bought in 2000 or 2001.

This is the green chair and ottoman.
 source                                                      source

Now, WHY, you ask, am I showing you furniture that already sold? Well, let me tell you, it is a great Seinfeld worthy story.
On Friday afternoon, while I was working the garage sale solo, this lady comes in. She looks at the furniture, sits on it, walks around it and actually looks interested. We already bought a new sectional so at this point I just really, really want to sell it. It isn't coming back home with me, if I don't sell it I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. We talk about the couch, she lifts the cushions and sits on it some more. Finally, she asks me if I'll take a lower price than what I'm offering. What am I going to say but OF COURSE!
"Great" she says, "Wonderful" I say! SOLD!
Then she proceeds to go get a tape measure out of her mini van because she lives about 35 minutes away and she wants to take it home with her right now and she wants to make sure it will fit...In.Her.MINI.Van.
What?! Seriously?!
Now, I'm not a very good judgment of fitting furniture into vehicles, but there is NO way, my over sized couch, chair and ottoman are fitting in her mini van!
But after she measures it out and informs me that her seats all fold into the floor, that it will indeed fit in there, if we just manipulate it a little. Manipulate my a** - to me it looks impossible.
So she backs up her mini van into the driveway and takes everything out of the back, which includes a Little Tykes wagon, mind you! We each grab an end of the couch. I'm not a muscular person. I don't really have any upper body strength and my muscles are still sore from putting the trampoline together earlier in the week! She doesn't look like she has much upper body strength either and she is shorter than me, which means her arms are shorter than mine, which means it is really hard for her short, little arms to get a good hold on the over sized couch!!! {deep breath}
We take all the cushions off and set them aside and carry the couch to the back of her mini van. I'm already a little out of breath from this. {oh my!} There are a few people now that have come to the garage sale and are giving us strange looks like "you dumb women, you can't fit an over sized couch into the back of a mini van alone, but with an over sized chair and ottoman too? NO WAY!"
She thought that if we could get the couch in half way then FLIP {yep I said FLIP} the green chair over and onto the couch it should fit. So we get the couch in half way and it actually looks like it might fit. We get the green chair upside down and on the edge of the couch. Nope, not gonna go in, we have about an inch that we need to maneuver it to get it in. It's just too tight. we realize that if we take the small legs off the chair that helps, but we still just can't get it. It was like a big life size version of Tetris!

I love Tetris, but at this point I'm really starting to hate it. There is no *ksjkl*ing way this is going to work! I'm starting to get really sore and I've lost hope. The good news is that I thought this was really funny so I'm laughing hysterically while we do this. My laughter started getting a little manic I think. Not sure if the lady who bought it thought it was quite as funny as I did.
So we figure out if we take the chair out and turn it around while it is upside down it might just give us that inch that we need. Sure as Hell, it did. After quite a bit of shoving and sweating the SOB went in. I.CAN.NOT.F-ING.BELIEVE.IT! So here is the proof of what we did!!!
Here's the back of the van with all the cushions squished around it.

Here's the driver side door, not sure how she fit in the drivers seat! We stuffed all of those bags under the couch.
After I took this picture, she still fit the wagon in next to the couch on this door!

Well, all in all, it was a very successful garage sale. I still have some stuff left, but I got rid of that damn couch and chair!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Copycat Ham and Cheese Subs from Pizza Pit

Back in the day, at Iowa State University, life was so easy. No, I didn't realize it back then...I don't think you ever realize how easy you have it until it changes and you add more responsibility. I mean, seriously, I barely remember having any responsibilities in college besides paying rent, getting that paper written, trying to make it to class and where is the next party going to be?
I think I slept till noon every chance I could.
I have so many memories from my college days. The best, of course, is that I met my husband at Iowa State. Short version of the long story...he chased me for 2 years or so until I finally decided I couldn't live without him and I asked him out! As any young couple in love, we have our 'special' places in Ames, IA.
Our bench at the Reiman Gardens where he proposed!
{You can't really see our bench in this picture, but it is just to the right and that is the view - perfect!}
Side note ~ I see on the Reiman Gardens website that you can now buy time at the Gardens to propose. You can purchase champagne and a rose if you want to add to the experience. They will even hide the ring for you! That would have come in handy, cause I'm pretty sure the box with my ring in it was sliding down my hubby's pants where he was hiding it!
One of our other BIG places in Ames is the Pizza Pit.
 We would frequent the Pizza Pit more often than I would like to admit. I would always get the Hot Ham and Cheese Sub and my hubby would get the Hot Ham and Swiss. They served it with plain ol' potato chips and a pickle wedge. I would also get an order of their garlic cheese bread! MMMMMMMM! My tummy's just growling thinking about it.
Since we live almost 3 hours from Ames, I've tried to bring that taste to our home. The hot subs are now one of our staples!
Here's what you need {again, I'm not big on measuring but I'm trying to get it somewhat written down}:
 6 Hoagie Buns from the bakery at your local grocer
1 large package sliced ham {I like thinly sliced honey baked}
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Dried Basil
Sliced Mozzarella Cheese {or shredded if you don't have slices}
Sliced Swiss Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
6 large pieces of tin foil.
Here's what you do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with the garlic powder, garlic salt and dried basil. You can always add more or less depending on your families tastes.

Slice each hoagie bun in half and lay them all out so you can do an assembly line.

On the top half of the bun, spread a portion of the butter. I try to put a good heaping half tablespoon on each one. I like to divide it out before spreading so I make sure to use the same amount on each and not run out. On the bottom side of the bun, lay about 6 slices of ham.

Top the ham with either the Swiss or mozzarella cheese. My hubby likes Swiss, the kids and I like the mozzarella. Also, the hubby doesn't like as much cheese so his only get a single layer. I really pile it on for the kids and I. Again, this is where you do what ever your family prefers. Then on the side with the butter sprinkle a generous amount of the Parmesan.

Put the top on the sandwich and wrap the tin foil around it. Do this for each sub. I use a marker to make either an S {Swiss} or M {mozzarella} on the foil so we know which is which.
Bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Serve! The kids love to take the tin foil off, this is a very exciting step at our house!
I usually serve our subs with chips and corn {sauteed with a similar butter mixture as above}.
Ahhhh, the taste brings back the memories! How about you? Do you have any copycat recipes that you've tried? 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung
This is the time of year when I usually am walking around our yard thinking of all the gardening that needs to be done before the spring flowers and perennials start to come up.  Too Late!  The daffodils and hyacinth are almost done; the tulips are up and thinking about opening.  

 Our weeping cherry tree was all done blooming before April 1.  

 It is crazy.   
Our butterfly bush is going crazy already.  I can’t wait to see all the butterflies.   

The hosta’s are up about six inches.   

We built our house about 21 years ago.  We did all the landscaping ourselves.  My husband worked in a lawn and garden store when he was in high school.  He is very knowledgeable about plants, soil types, fertilizers and where things should be planted. 
 I’m more of an idea person.  
 He gets a little nervous when I wake up in the morning and say-
“I had this great dream about a flower garden!”   
That usually means he will be doing some landscaping.   
The last dream I had was our hosta garden around the deck! 
Our gardens are not perfectly manicured; we are going more with the “natural” look.   
We enjoy all the flowers and plants, sitting on the deck with a glass of wine 
and listening to the birds and frogs in the woods.   
We live in a very peaceful place.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bucket List

I've never really thought of having a bucket list. Are there things I want to do someday? Yes. Have I ever listed them and kept track of them? No. I know I want to travel. Go to Europe, Australia, Sweden, Hawaii. Oh and here's a weird one, I've always wanted to hold a monkey, not sure why just some strange fascination from when I was a kid. Don't judge me on that one.
I'm not real adventurous, so I haven't really wanted to do any of the athletic stuff like scuba diving, bungee jumping, jumping from an airplane, cliff jumping/diving…
Ah cliff jumping/diving, yep, definitely not on my bucket list, yet I seemed to have found myself at a location in Jamaica last week where that is what people were doing. YIKES!
We took a catamaran to a bar that is located on a cliff on the ocean.
Rick’s Café in Negril,Jamaica!

It was absolutely beautifu
l! They have been named on the Travel Channel’s “Worlds 10 best beaches”. I would have to agree, it was absolutely breath taking.
Many people swim from the catamaran to Rick’s, some take small boats. Which was very scary since the boats and swimmers were all going to the same ladder to go up to Rick’s Café.
I knew my hubby wanted to jump off the cliffs. I knew I didn’t. The first cliff my hubby wanted to try was about 25 feet high. There were locals all around the cliffs. Some standing higher than the 35 foot jump on a makeshift diving board plank thingy. {see it in the picture below, it is way up above the Rick's sign, there is a man on it!} Some in trees and some just on higher cliffs. They waive and jump up and down getting the tourists all excited. Then they jump/dive! 

WOW! Holy Crap! Did they really just do that?
I stood up on the 35 foot cliff and prepared to take pictures of my hubby braving out the 25 footer! I took that first step up on the landing and saw a sign. A warning sign to be exact. They said to me, “be sure to read the sign, Mon, before you jump.” I said, “oh no, I’m not jumping just taking a picture of my husband.” Then I looked at the sign. Big Mistake! I should have taken a picture of it, but all my breath had whooshed out of me when I stepped up onto that platform. But basically it said how dangerous this was, you could die or injure your back! Then that was it, nothing to sign, no waiver forms, no one to tell you all the risks! I’m in Human Resources, this is a very hard concept for me to understand that a company wouldn’t make you sign something before jumping into something so dangerous. And there my dear, loving husband stood. At the edge of the cliff getting ready to jump. I really couldn’t breathe now!
He let another guy go before him and I was stunned. He isn’t afraid of heights and he is the adventurous sort of person so what was he waiting for? Well, come to find out he wasn’t sure how to jump in order to not injure himself. But No Worries Mon. A local Jamaican climbed up the side of the cliff to tell him how to jump correctly…arms first out to your sides like a T, then down to your sides and straight as an arrow into the ocean.
See him climbing there, that little yellow speck? {sigh}
Keeping them out to your sides, I guess, helps you keep your balance to keep you upright. Yeah, whatever.

So there he went! Arms on their way to straight out to his sides.

HE DID IT!!!! And HE’S ALIVE!!!!
I was so proud of him!!!!
Then we walked around Rick’s, took some pictures, bought T-shirts for the kids. My hubby then decides he can’t leave without jumping off the 35 foot cliff! Seriously, I’ve finally recovered from you taking that last leap and actually surviving
! Now you want to make my heart race again!!!!! Yep, pretty much, he did!
He didn’t hesitate at all this time and my camera wasn’t working the best, but here he is in the light blue plaid swim trunks, standing at the top of the 35 footer looking down right before he jumped!!!!!!

And here he is after the jump!!

And again - he did it and he's alive! Whoop! Whoop!
On our way back down to get to our catamaran, there is a ‘little’ 15 foot cliff. My hubby says, “you need to do this!” I say, “what, have a beer?” Oh No, he meant jump off the HUGE 15 FOOT CLIFF!!!! Into the ocean where there is no one in there to help you swim or catch you!!!! Where are all the life guards anyway!? But then I see there is a little boy jumping, he’s probably 10 or 11. I can do this! I know I can!
I had to give myself a little pep talk, while the little boy and his brother probably looked on like, come on old lady, get to it, quit being such a chicken.
But I am a chicken, I’ve never done anything like this and it scares the complete crap out of me! I’m totally afraid to do it. I felt like I stood on that monstrous little cliff for hours. It was probably only 30 seconds, but still!
Then I reached up and plugged my nose and just JUMPED!!!!!


And I’m pretty sure I lost my top and in the very crystal clear ocean water flashed my boobies at all of Rick’s Café to see! But I don’t care I just jumped off a fricken cliff people!!! I’ve never been so proud of myself! ME. I did that! I can tell my kids that I did that and that I’m cool!
I almost ruined it by swimming the wrong way once I was in the ocean. I was so nervous to jump I didn’t really figure out how to get back out of the ocean once I jumped in. My hubby said it was like watching a kindergartner play Tball for the first time and run to 3rd base instead of 1st! I kind of swam the opposite direction of the ladder. But No Worries, Mon, I jumped off a cliff and my boobies are floating for the world to see and I’m swimming the wrong direction and I don’t know how to get out of the ocean.  I LOVE IT!
But alas, I did get out and had my top back in place and hugged my hubby and now have a great story to tell my kids! {deep breath}

So I guess I quickly added, then checked off cliff jumping into the ocean on my bucket list. What about you? What’s on your bucket list or even things you didn’t imagine should be or could be on your list? 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hair - Oh the Things We Can Do With You!

We are a little obsessed at our house right now with different hair styles. As I said in an earlier post, Cute Girls Hairstyles and Hair and Make-up By Steph have become must reads. 
The Cute Girls Hairstyles {let's just call it CGH, so much easier to type ;)} is mainly for my daughter, however, there are some in there that work on me as well. 
With The Hunger Games movie just out, Mindy from CGH has been busy perfecting those braids and I, of course, love anything to do with The Hunger Games. I just wish my hair or my daughter's was just a little.bit.longer so we could try those out. Patience. Patience. Quit whining, I know.
As we've been trying out these different hairstyles we've taken some pics. What I love best is that most of the time the braid or style I wear or my daughter has, is my first try! That just goes to show you how easy they really are.
I've always struggled with a simple French braid. Who struggles with a French braid? I had super long hair when I was in high school and I never perfected the French braid? Seriously? Nope, never, repeat Ne-Ver been able to do one! Frustrates the crap out of me. But tonight after watching just one little video {here} I went over to my daughter's freshly washed hair and by holding my hands kind of upside-down from what I would normally do {and then, of course, lose my grip on the three separate pieces of hair, and scream in frustration and...anyway}...VOILA! By George I Think She's Got It! A perfect French braid! Yeah me! She's already in bed though and time got away from me so I didn't get a picture of it. No problem Mon {sorry, I just got back from a getaway with my hubby to Jamaica and I can't seem to stop talking like the Jamaicans!} I'll get that picture another day, plus it is a simple French braid, I can do better then that!
So here are some of the styles that we've tried.
This one is on Mini-Me - it is the Bohemian Braid.
You can find the instructions from Cute Girls Hairstyles here. Mini-Me's hair isn't quite as long as Mindy's daughters but we still made it work. The bus arrived a little early this morning, so she missed it. But No Problem Mon! ;)

This one is one I tried on myself after seeing a bunch of pics here on Hair and Make-up by Steph
It is just a simple single twist. Super easy to do, just use lots of bobby pins and it's done. 

The last one I've tried on myself if a side fish tail braid. Again, my hair isn't as long as Steph's, but it still worked and I got tons of compliments.
You can find her instructions here.

All in all, we are just having a fun time trying out the different styles. We're telling our friends about it and they are trying out the different styles. It could be a great bonding experience for us, I guess, if we could figure out how to not bicker while I do Mini-Me's hair! If you can figure that one out let me know!
How about you? Have you tried any new styles lately? I'd love to hear about them or even see pics of them!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Don't we all need to escape once in a while, well this song will help you do that.  I love the song "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn.  It such a sweet little song and my girls love to listen to it as well.  Check out more of her songs on You Tube, truly amazing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life lessons

Life Lessons
Embarrassing things happen to people everyday, I just wish they wouldn't happen to me. I take a class at our health club, I believe it is called "Total Body Fitness".  I always love the description of these classes because they make it sound like your whole body will be transformed in a two or three classes.  This is actually a great class, lots of squats, lunges, free weights - you know the routine. I've been going to this class every Monday for the last couple of months. 

A few weeks ago I arrived a few minutes late so I had to go to the front of the class, not a big deal but I'd rather be in the back.  Anyway, about 20 minutes into the class we took a one minute water break after doing 100 or so squats when the woman behind me tapped my shoulder and said I have a hole in my tights.  I said excuse me, she said it again.  So I reached my hand back there to see if I could feel it and sure enough I had ripped a hole, the size of an Oreo, in my black tights.  Holy buckets, the hole is right at the seam in the center of my buttocks.  Help, Help!!  I hauled booty out of there, leaving my jacket with the keys to my car there, and headed straight towards the women's restroom. I stayed in there doing my best positive self-talk I could think of until the class was over. I kept saying to myself, no one saw anything except for the woman behind me, or so I hope. 

I proceeded through the day as if everything was great, the self talk actually worked, until I saw my husband.  He asked me how my exercise class went today.  Seriously, why is he asking me that?  He must have known something was up because he doesn't normally ask.  Needless to say, I hung in there like a champ, I lasted 5 seconds then I started a crying/laughing account of my story.  I am not too sure if it made me feel better or not by telling him but at least I got it out there. 

I didn't go back to the class for two weeks and when I finally did go back the woman who had told me about the hole gave me a hug.  I was hoping she would've forgotten but unfortunately my buttocks must have gave a lasting impression.

So if you ever have an embarrassing moment just think of me splitting my tights in an exercise class and you will automatically feel so much better.  And let this be a life lesson, always check your backside.