Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Very Own Mr. Fix-It

Growing up, I used to always help my mom around the house in fixing things that had broken or hanging things on the wall.  It was the two of us that assembled the Jet-Ski Shore Station one cold Memorial Day weekend, and who I remember helping set up the camper on our weekend trips.  I’ll put it nicely, my dad is not blessed with a handy hand.  Luckily, my grandpa (my mom’s father) is Mr. Fix It and there was always a LONG list of things for him to do around the house when he came to visit.

I on the other hand, have been blessed with a husband that is one of the most talented Mr. Fix It’s I have ever met!

Installing a garbage disposal including wiring a switch and rerouting the dishwasher….not a problem

Setting up our entire home theater system….practically did it with his eyes closed and one hand behind his back

Brakes getting a little squeaky in the car….nothing a little time in the garage can’t fix

Installing blinds on every window in the house with the mess of screws, bolts, and brackets….piece of cake

It is definitely something I had DREAMED of in a husband, and was thrilled when I learned how handy Bob truly was.

But…I did find out that there is a limit to his talent and it came in the shape of a DVD player/recorder that was dropped off by my cousin to be fixed.  Knowingly, Jake brought his broken electronic to Bob in hopes of returning it to its original glory of recording each and every Packer game.

Minutes after Jake left, the almighty tool box came out and there were screws, wires, and pieces scattered across the dining room floor.  I laughed at his little Tinker Toy project and headed upstairs knowing that he wouldn’t quit until it was working again.  Soon it was time for me to go to work, and yet the pieces were still spread across the floor

I came home from work the next morning, shocked to find the DVD player still in disarray and asked Bob how it was going.  Frustrated he admitted that he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong….and that evening I found this:

The player put back exactly as it was…complete with the same problems it had before.

My husbands weakness lies in a small electronic that managed to evade his magic touch….

Don’t get me wrong though….I am impressed by my husbands astonishing ability to fix (nearly) everything and couldn’t ask for more!

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The Bonfire of the Year!

Traditions are some of my favorite things in the world, and moving to a new house in a new neighborhood we look forward to learning and anticipating traditions that are familiar!  For the past 2 years Bob has enjoyed going to the annual Christmas Tree Bonfire out on the Lake.

This year, over 300 Christmas trees were lit on fire….and I was so disappointed that I had to miss out.  The lighting was scheduled to take place at 10:30, but knowing I had to be at work at 11 put a damper on the festivities. I joined for the social hour before…but was sad to head out the front door as everyone left through the back to go out on the Lake.

The celebration started off with an ice bar built on the frozen Lake….

There were torches, tons of pictures taken, and smiles all around…..

The pile of trees was lit….

The flames grew….

The heat was immense…..

Everyone watched in awe…..

The light was blinding….

Within 20 minutes…..

The fire dwindled….

And I missed it all….

BUT thanks to my amazing husband got some awesome pictures to blog with 🙂

Hopefully NEXT year, this tradition will be one that I will have the honor of participating in!


Shopping with the Girls

I LOVE having days off during the week (although that typically means I work on the weekend) but it is so much fun to be able to meet up with friends! Stacy, Emily, and I met at a mall midway between our three homes for a great afternoon!

I wish I would have taken a picture of the mall, because believe it or not it was an outdoor mall! IN MINNESOTA! Are people crazy!?  Definitely a bizarre notion being there was snow covering the fountains and it was 30 degrees outside!  Sure, this is a great idea if you live in the South, but what crazy soul is going to go out shopping when it is below zero or snowing outside!

After shopping, we had dinner at a restaurant in town called Wild Bill’s that none of us had been to.

I was so excited when they had a huge barrel of peanuts at the front door and small pails to fill and take to to your table! LOVE this!  And….best part was I didn’t have to worry about Bob having a reaction with all of the peanuts around!

Emily & Stacy

I love spending time with these girls and am looking forward to seeing them all of next weekend!


Thrifting

One of my biggest issues of moving to the Metro area was leaving behind my beloved thrift stores in south central MN.  Over the course of 5 years, I had become a frequent customer of one store in particular and looked forward to going on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons when everything was 50% off.  Rarely did I leave the store empty handed and my book collection thrived from these bargains!

Upon moving to the TC, Bob promised he would help find a treasure store for me. So far, I have been disappointed with each place we have gone, but know there are tons more spread out in the Cities.

 I am not an antique shopper, and mostly I look for books and cute clothes.  I refuse to pay anywhere close to retail (sale) prices for used clothing and each store we’ve been to has been a huge disappointment.

Last night, we were out and about and stopped at a store and I was thrilled by the book selection they had!  Although their prices were more than the 40 cents I was paying at my beloved thrift store, I was very pleased with the results!

Bob doesn’t quite understand my desire to own books after I have read them, but I have always loved to REread books and enjoy having certain authors and select books on my bookshelves!  I was excited to add these titles to my collection!

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (list price $14.99)

In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischiske (list price $13.99)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (list price $14.95)

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (list price $14.99)

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard (list price $13.99)

Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston (list price $13.99)

So…total list price = $86.90

Actual paid price = $7.27

Total saved = $79.63

Time spent thrifting….PRICELESS!

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And…to make the story even better…. I have often found things tucked in books that I have bought secondhand.  Bookmarks, postcards, pictures, you name it! On our way home, I opened one of the books to find a special surprise!  A gift card for one of the grocery stores near us!  Bob laughed and was sure that there would be nothing left on it…I called the number on the back of the card and was shocked to hear the automated voice say….

‘Your remaining balance is $15 dollars’

What a deal!


Snow Day!

For a wedding gift, Bob’s ‘G’ grandparents got us a brand new snowblower!  After last winter and the amount of snow that Minnesota got, Bob was ready to ditch the shovel! Grandpa George didn’t get us just ANY snowblower…..this Toro even has a joystick!

My excitement did not quite mirror Bob’s, as he could hardly wait for it to start snowing! We got a few inches right after our wedding and shockingly it hasn’t snowed since!  Our January has been crazy with temperatures ranging from 50 to -20 (with the windchill) within a week!  But still no snow!

Bob was SOOO excited when we woke up this morning to a white lawn that seems like it is actually going to stay!  I, of course, did not snowblow during the day and saved that special task for Bob once he got home.

Like a little kid on Christmas Morning!!!


The Wonders of Netflix

We decided last week to sign up for Netflix through our Blu-Ray player.  Bob did all of tech set up and within minutes we were watching!

I was a little disappointed in the lack of shows available for ‘insta-view’ but for only $8 a month, I am sure we will be able to find things!  I had heard great things about the television show Friday Night Lights from NBC.

From the first episode, I was hooked and I think there was enough ‘manly’ content for Bob too!  The show focuses on a variety of ‘issues’ each episode.  I love the characters of Coach Taylor and his wife Tami.  Focus often lies on their relationships and the struggles that many couples face.

Although the show does portray mainly high school kids (especially football players), I was quickly impressed with the content and intense issues that arise while still seeming somewhat realistic.  Of course, I also love the football aspect and get almost as excited about the Dillon Panthers now as I do for the Packers (I said ALMOST!).

Finally, I love the inclusion of Christianity within the show.  It is definitely not a main focus, but so rarely do you see church and prayer on prime-time television!

We are almost finished with season 1 and are excited that there are an additional 4 more seasons left to watch! It is SO nice to have shows that we enjoy watching together…..I have to admit that I have a few guilty pleasures on TV including the Bachelor that Bob does NOT appreciate but as much as I want to stop watching the horrible drama keeps me coming back week after week 😦

Bob is simply thrilled to have Netflix and have so many movies available to him, I am a little worried about his productivity although  watches most of them after I go to work!


Book Review

I LOVE to read and have always been this way.  Growing up you could always find a book next to my bed and one in my backpack.  As I’ve grown older, I have always tried to find time for this ‘habit’ and for my birthday last year Bob bought me a Kindle which I was thrilled about!  The best part is being able to have access to Library books to rent without ever having to leave home to go to the library! These are a few of the books I have read recently….

The Help

By: Kathryn Stockett

This book was fabulous and although it was quite lengthy, was such a fun read!  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is set in the 1960s in Mississippi and follows the story of a woman and she delves into the lives of African American maids.  This book held my attention and had me laughing and crying.  For all you non-readers, I would highly recommend watching the movie because as far as books made into movies, this one is phenomenal!

Night Road

By: Kristin Hannah

I have already read this book twice and loved it even more the second time!  Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors as I love how well she creates her characters and how emotionally connected you feel with them.  This story follows the lives of three teenagers, two of which come from the life of luxury, and one who has struggled to find a place to call home.  Their relationships and love are defined in a single moment when tragedy strikes.  This was a riveting story that focuses on love, loss, and family.

The Hunger Games

By: Suzanne Collins

This book was referred to me by a co-worker and I was extremely leery to read it as I thought it was ‘too out there’.  Little did I know, I was sucked in and finished within a day!  This book follows the life of a teenager, set in a future world in which the government shows its power through a competition called the Hunger Games.  Each year, one child from each of the districts (like separated communities) are selected to battle for survival.  The story ends in a compelling act of love and rebellion and I was so anxious to get my hands on the 2nd and 3rd novels in the series.

Catching Fire

By: Suzanne Collins

This 2nd novel follows Katniss as she is thrown back into the Hunger Games as she hopes once again for survival.  She is oblivious to the fact that she is the integral piece of rebellion against the government.  The story line kept me reading as action, love, and sacrifice are the main focus.

Mockingjay

By: Suzanne Collins

The final piece of the Hunger Games Trilogy took me a bit longer to read as it is written at a much slower pace.  Confusion, rebellion, and loss are the main focus in this novel.  After miraculously surviving her second Hunger Games, is thrown into a new district and a new ideology that she is the face of rebellion within the nation.  The future of her nation rests on her decision to embrace this rebellion or face destruction by her own government.  It’s action packed ending  was the most thrilling part of the novel and kept me reading.

I would highly recommend The Hunger Games trilogy, they are quick reads and I was fascinated with the ‘future’ world Collins created.

Stuck in the Middle

By: Virginia Smith

This story of family, love, and finding the Lord was a wonderful read.  Rarely do I find books that capture Christianity and have characters who are strong Christians.  This novel wove a beautiful picture about the relationships between and within generations and the struggles that these relationships may carry.  I loved the strong, solid characters who showed their weaknesses in a realistic way.

Remember Me?

By: Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic Series)

I loved this book and the riveting and hilarious story it told.  When a twenty-something woman finds herself in a hospital without remembering the past three years, she is totally thrown for a loop.  I couldn’t stop laughing  throughout the novel.  The main character wakes up to a near perfect body, husband, and life.  But quickly realizes that while on the surface things might seem perfect, she truly misses her past.  Sophie Kinsella is a quirky author who definitely knows how to write a novel!

Body Surfing

By: Anita Shreve

I have typically liked Anita Shreve’s novels in the past, but was thoroughly disappointed in this slow read.  I never felt connected with the characters and felt the story was disconnected.  The main character, broken after being widowed and divorced and still in her twenties, decides to tutor a young teenager whose family summers in New Hampshire.  The two older brothers both pose romantic interests, but my attention never was captured by either of them.

The Things We Do For Love

By: Kristin Hannah

Once again, Kristin Hannah writes an amazing page turner.  The novel follows a woman, devastated from infertility and eventual divorce who finds solace in her energetic sisters, faithful mother, and the family’s Italian Restaurant.  The woman’s life is turned upside down as she embraces and takes in a troubled teenager whose life is thrown off course.  Kristin Hannah’s ability to capture relationships in their purest form has always been my favorite aspect of her writing.

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These are just a few of the books I have read since we got married and I have MANY more on my list to read!

Other recent favorites include:

1) Water For Elephants by: Sara Gruen

2) The Best of Me by: Nicholas Sparks

3) A Love That Multiplies by: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

4) Sleeping Arrangements by: Madeleine Wickham

5) Who Loves You Best by: Tess Stimson

6) The Year of Fog by: Michelle Richmond

7) Something Borrowed by: Emily Giffin

8) Something Blue by: Emily Giffin

9) Baby Proof by: Emily Giffin

10) Love the One You’re With by: Emily Giffin

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My next reads include:

1) A Secret Kept by: Tatiana de Rosney (currently 1/3 through)

2) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by: Stieg Larsson

3) The Girl Who Played With Fire by: Stieg Larsson

4) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

5) Home Front by: Kristin Hannah (released January 31st)

6) Lone Wolf by: Jodi Picoult (released February 28th)

7) The Gatecrasher by: Madeleine Wickham

Any other suggestions??


Fun with Mike and Michelle

Bob’s buddy Mike (who he lived with for 6 years during school) and his wife Michelle are such fun friends to spend time with and we were excited to have a weekend that we were all free!  We drove to their house (about an hour away)….and made a pit stop along the way at one of my favorite outlet malls.

Bob was SUCH a patient shopper and he even found a few things that he liked (some with my help some without) 😉

We had a great time visiting and just catching up since we hadn’t seen them since our wedding!  Mike was one of the groomsmen and we had such a great time!

Mike and Bob

Michelle mentioned she had lost her diamond bracelet at our wedding, and I was so excited when I told her that someone had picked a bracelet up off of the dance floor and handed it to me.  I had no idea how to begin finding it’s owner…but she found me!  What a relief!

Michelle and Bob excited!

We ended the night playing one of my favorite games, Just Dance on their Wii.  I am by no means a dancer, but it is so much fun to attempt to mimic their dance moves!

 The guys even grudgingly agreed to play and I am pretty sure they enjoyed it as well!

Bob showing off his moves

A High Score!

Mike got a little tired before we were finished 🙂

We had a great time with them and just wish we lived a little closer to each other!


Red Bull Crashed Ice!

Bob has been excited about this event for weeks and we were both looking forward to spending the evening downtown!  A brief synopsis of the event….an ice ‘track’ is built downtown that started at the St. Paul Cathedral and had dips, sharp turns, and jumps that the skaters had to battle while racing to the finish line.  I somewhat relate it to a roller derby race on skates.   This was the World Championship event so it was kind of a big deal within the sport 🙂 Here is the website

We started the evening with dinner at Cossetta’s since it was just a short walk to the event.

 Their lasagna is delicious and it was a quick meal so we could go early to watch. (Thanks Bob for the super cute picture- ha) 🙂

St. Paul Cathedral…so gorgeous!

It was super cold outside compared to the past few weeks (only 10 degrees) and although we were bundled up, it wasn’t quite enough!

The track was built to bridge over the road in front of the Cathedral!

We were so excited to get a spot right next to the boards so we could see the skaters up close!  This was the semi-finals night so there was a TON of competition within the heats to place first or second and advance!


There were tons of people, but we were able to switch to a few different spots to see different parts of the race but unfortunately my camera battery died because it was simply too cold! We had a great time but I was SOO excited to warm up in the car and unthaw my fingers and toes!


Cake Pops!

Saturday Night Bob and I went to my college roommate, Emily’s parents house for dinner.  Their home has always been my ‘home-away-from home’ and I LOVE spending time with them!  Emily gave us a cake pop maker for Christmas and of course we had to try it out!  Our friend Stacy was over as well, so poor Bob had to deal with a lot of estrogen!

Stacy mixing up the batter

Emily, Kelly, Stacy

Stacy was the pro, having make cake pops before so she took charge in filling the machine.  Although last time she made them she did it all by hand!  I think I like the shortcut way!

They looked like cute little donut holes before we dipped them!

Then we melted almond bark and added some fun blue food coloring to make the cake pops aesthetically pleasing!  And just as an FYI, almond bark has no almonds and this was proven true after Bob ate all but one of our finished product that we took home with us!

Struggling a bit with covering the cake pops!

Finished product!

(Bob mostly watched football with Emily’s brother and dad but he did contribute with the final touches of sprinkles!)

The cake pops turned out great and Bob is really hoping that I make them again soon!  And best of all, I had a blast with my friends!