Sunday Sunshine 08.16.09

Good gravy, this mommy is creative.  She must never sleep!

Speaking of creative mommies, here is a very compelling post (and discussion following in the comments) about living simply.  I would love love love to hear your response to it.

Freebies for Photoshop and Vector.

A beauty of a post from Aunt Ruthie.

I’ve long been a fan of Caroline Tran’s work, but this wedding stood out to me because of the incredible attention to detail.  The bride did a fabulous job of putting it all together, and Caroline did her usual stellar job of photographing everything.


A Minnesota Staycation – Day 7

Day 7 of our staycation included:

  • NOT the Uptown Art Fair, where we had intended to go.
  • Some working on my behalf, even though I had promised myself I wouldn’t.
  • The end of Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
  • Eggs and hashbrowns made by Husband for supper.
  • A game of Stratego and some bottled root beer after Anja was in bed.  He won.

All in all, a very relaxing week.  It was nice to (mostly) sleep in our own bed, come and go as we pleased, change our schedule at will (or because of weather), and just spend time together as a family.  I forgot to add up receipts from the last couple days, but I think we did the entire staycation for under $500, including the B&B, all the eating out (those splurges are worth it to us), the activities, and quite a few “souvenirs” (mostly things I’d been wanting/needing around the house, like a juicer, new couch pillows, a piece of art, some cookie cutters…).  If you add gasoline in, it’s probably more like $550, but still, not too shabby considering that would have bought us two plane tickets and nothing more.

A Minnesota Staycation – Day 6

Day 6 of our staycation included:

  • A good sleep.  The bed was comfy (I rarely get a good night’s rest when I’m away, but I slept quite well here).
  • Breakfast at the Inn: heavenly bananas (bananas and blueberries with granola and creme fraiche), Eggs Benedict and fried potatoes, raspberry peach cobbler with ice cream, OJ, tea/coffee and water.  I thought the eggs were a little bland, but Husband maintains that was just because I still had a slightly stuffy nose.
  • A stroll, in the rain, through the downtown area of Stillwater.
  • A little shopping. My favorite shops: Interior Motive, Rose Mille,The Chef’s Gallery, and St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers.   Also, someday, I’d love to take Anja here.
  • A late lunch at The Freight House.  We split the meal that Husband got last time he went there, the smoked brisket sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries.  Oh. My. The Deliciousness.  The meat was smoked perfectly, and the toppings complemented the meat so well.  Ours came without mayo, but we decided that was fine.  The fries are very crispy on the outside and sweet potato sweet and soft on the inside–great with just a dash of salt.  If it weren’t for the leaky roof (we had to walk around 6 or 7 bus tubs catching dripping water at the entry…haha!), I could have given this meal, if not the restaurant, five stars out of five.  The wait staff has always been friendly, the service prompt, the joint fairly clean.  I’ll have to be unbiased and give it a 4 out of 5.
  • A trip home to share some “thank you” goodies from Tremblay’s (yes, we stopped there again) with Husband’s family and see our baby girl.
  • Began watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua (oh, help me!) with Anja before bed.  She remembered the dogs’ names after only 20 minutes of watching (Delgado and Chloe, in case you care).

A Minnesota Staycation – Day 5

Day 5 of our staycation included:

  • A workout.
  • Salads from Target for lunch.
  • Cleaning and laundry (I know, doesn’t seem like much of a vacation, but I figured if we stayed on top of it, we wouldn’t have to do it all the week after).
  • Husband’s folks coming to babysit.
  • A night in Stillwater, MN, just the two of us!  We stayed in the Aurora Staples Inn, in The Peacock Room. Hors d’oeuvres and wine/sparkling juice greeted us upon arrival.  Just a short drive from the Twin Cities, it is like you have entered another world.  Stillwater is small, yet enchanting, with its lift bridge, adorable shops, and idyllic setting on the St. Croix River.
  • A stroll around the neighborhood–there are so many attractive homes in Stillwater.
  • Supper at Savories—yum!  Husband had steak frites with homemade pommes frites and homemade ketchup.  I had chicken penne with sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce and mushrooms. The complimentary sun-dried tomato focaccia bread and dipping sauce, a rosemary olive oil with balsamic-infused honey, were delicious.  The only downside to our meal was that Husband’s meal only came with about a tablespoon of ketchup for half a plate of fries.  He was told if he wanted more, he would have to pay for it.  When you’re already paying $22 for your steak bites and fries, is it really that hard to throw in another tablespoon of ketchup?  Four out of five stars.
  • A soak in our jacuzzi tub–so relaxing!  And we had picked up a few chocolates from Tremblay’s in town and ate those for a late dessert.

A Minnesota Staycation – Day 4

Day 4 of our staycation included:

  • A morning at the MN Children’s Museum.  Anja much preferred this to the Science Museum, and who can blame her?  It’s geared toward children ages 1-12.  Her favorite exhibit was Habitot, basically a glorified play area for those 4 and under.  If you have a card at a local library, and you have impeccable timing, you can often snag a pass that gets up to 6 people in for free.  We were unable to procure that pass, so we ended up paying $8.95 a person (anyone over the age of 1), which is a little steep for a few hours of exploration, but since we were on vacation and all, we figured the splurge was worth it.
  • Café Latte for lunch.  There are a LOT of online reviews for Café Latte, ranging from “best desserts ever” to “way overrated.” Their overall rating is pretty high, though, so we decided to give them a chance. We went around 1:30, when we thought the crowds would have died away.  Not so.  It was nearly impossible to find a seat, much less one that would accommodate a high chair.  The three of us split a couple things, as usual. We got a turkey avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread (which, for $6.95, comes with a side salad or chips or pretzels and a pickle) and a bowl of roasted potato garlic soup. Both were very yummy—the soup had great texture and flavor, with chives and spinach to complement the garlic and potato. I got the sandwich with some provolone, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, all which enhanced the avocado sauce well. We saved room for dessert. I had read nothing but good things about their Classic Vanilla Cheesecake, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It is probably the best cheesecake I have ever tasted in my life. At $4.95 a slice, it’s a bit pricey, but no more than you’d pay for a slice of dessert at any sit-down place, and oodles better-tasting. I told Husband next time we’ll have to just get a whole cheesecake (“Thank you,” say Heidi’s thighs.). We also got a piece of their chocolate cake to go, since that was the other dessert everyone raved about.  It was good, but not better than my homemade.  The addition of a scoop of ice cream from our own freezer probably made it better than it would have been sans mode.  Four out of five stars.
  • Cereal/salads for supper.
  • A bike ride
  • Watermelon
  • A cost of $52.25.

Help! I’m in an eating rut!

After a week of staycation, and eating out almost every day, I am continuing to crave unhealthy foods.  I am back to making healthy breakfasts and dinners, but during the day I gorge myself on leftover pizza and maple fudge.  That can’t be good for the little one growing inside me…

Any ideas on how to re-set my brain to crave healthy stuff again?

A Minnesota Staycation – Day 3

Day 3 of our staycation included:

  • Morning at the MN Science Museum.
  • Boca Chica for lunch.  We weren’t terribly impressed with Boca Chica. It hadn’t come recommended by anyone and didn’t have stellar reviews. The three of us split an order of chicken flautas and a pick-two lunch of a beef and bean tostada plus a chicken soft taco. Each plate comes with your choice of Spanish rice (which had peas and carrots in it…strange…) OR black beans OR refried beans. I think it’s the first Mexican place I’ve ever eaten at that didn’t give you both rice and beans. The service was poor. We had to ask for our beverages twice and also had to ask for the free chips and salsa. The flautas were decent—covered in Mexican crema, cilantro and guacamole. The tostada and taco were fine, but nothing above average. I’d give it probably two out of five stars.
  • National Night Out for supper.  This is often the only time of year we get to talk to our neighbors, but unfortunately we couldn’t stay long…
  • Perkins with out-of-town (as in California out-of-town) friends for dessert.
  • A cost of $36.


Husband had Anja tonight for the last hour before bed; I went to the gym.  She was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle,” and Daddy, being Daddy (why do all daddies do this?), decided to change the words.  He sang something like “Twinkle, twinkle little ear…”

Anja looked at him, shook her head, and said, “That’s cwazy!”

A Minnesota Staycation – Day 2

Day 2 of our staycation included:

  • A stroll around St. Anthony Main and Nicollet Island.
  • A cruise down University Avenue.
  • Lunch at Pizza Nea.  A few months ago we tried Punch’s Neapolitan pizza for the first time. Nea, which is just up the street, offers the same fare, but more of a sit-down experience (including the need to tip). We ordered essentially the same pizza we had at Punch’s, a Siciliana, and we both agreed Nea’s version was better. The crust was slightly firmer and had a little less oven char, the ingredients were both more plentiful (less plain edge crust) and more flavorful. That said, either is a great option if you’re looking for something different than Domino’s. Service was fine, not bad, but not exceptional. Four out of five stars.
  • A workout.
  • An evening at the beach, where Anja PLAYED WITH OTHER KIDS.  This is fairly monumental, in case you didn’t know.
  • Root beer floats and books.
  • A cost of $19.00.