Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Catch Up

Ok - I'm back!  I'm ready to blog!  I'm tired of disappointing all of you who continuously send me emails - wondering where I am, if I'm ok, if I've dropped off the planet... and I'm ready to get back into my routine of gratitude and uplifting reminders that "life is good" indeed!  It's summertime - so why not?

Instead of going back and trying to fill in the past two months - I'll just do a quick catch up here.  So hold on - here's the exciting stuff that has been going on in my life!  (Yeah, that was sarcasm - could you hear it?)

**A dear friend, Morgan, came to Minnesota for a weekend to surprise another friend. I got to pick her up at the airport and spend half a day with her - so fun!  We went to my parents' house and visited with my dad and sister, Kayla, then headed to a favorite diner (Edina Grill) for a girls' lunch.  Our parents were friends before we were born out in Colorado, so we've known each other all our lives, but very rarely have opportunities to see each other - so these visits are a lot of fun! 
**I got to preach for the Easter Sunrise service at our church.  Too fun!  Let's just say it included noisemakers and audience participation - a great way to wake up on a holiday morning!  Alleluia!
(Pastor Penny let me bring home the flowers that she placed on the altar from her own garden. They were THE most beautiful tulips I have ever seen!)

**My hubby's 13 year-old nephew, Brandon, decided he wanted to spend his spring break at our house this year - the entire week!  We had a lot of fun - cooking yummy meals (many of his favorites - strawberry empanadas, chipotle mac, tacos, pancakes, guacamole and chips, etc), the hubby and he got to go to Mall of America and ride the amusement park rides, play disc golf, go hiking, camp out for a night, go rock-climbing, etc.  It was a busy week - but a lot of fun.  He's a great kid!  Saturday night, his mom and her fiance came up and we all went to our favorite restaurant (San Pedro Cafe) for dinner - a fun night was had by all!
**A few happy hour dates and casual dinners out with friends...  Always much needed.
(An evening at Sea Salt Eatery in Minnehaha Falls.  Scallop tacos.  Yum.)

**The hubby and I got up early one Saturday to go to another favorite restaurant - all the way across town in Minneapolis! Zumbro Cafe is a wonderful little neighborhood spot for breakfast and lattes!  We spent the morning eating in the cafe, watching people, and walking around the quaint little neighborhood, playing in the gift shops.  So fun.
**Our god-daughter's birthday party!  Woo-hoo!  We had a lot of fun hanging out with her family and friends, eating yummy food, and playing with her new toys!  Her mom is the queen of cupcakes - a wonderful birthday treat!  We got Elly the game, "Ele-fun" - a game where an elephant shoots butterflies out his trunk up into the air, and you try to catch them with butterfly nets.  So cute.  Elly just wanted to sit on my lap and ooo and aaahhh as the butterflies flew through the air.  I loved every minute of it!
**A visit with the kids from church to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Science Museum.  Very cool.  I love that museum - it doesn't matter what you go see, you'll have fun.  The best part?  The musical stairs.  On our way to the cafeteria for lunch we got to climb the stairs - each stair is a note.  So we all took turns running up and down and jumping around, composing our own tunes.  Even Pastor Penny got into it.  So fun.  After the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, they had several pages from the St. John's Bible - an absolutely stunning, beautiful, handwritten Bible.  Someday, I will own some prints of it.  Beautiful, I tell you.
**Dinner with our friends Henry and Joan, and their kids Marcus and Isabella.  Let's just say there was a lot of Wii playing between my hubby and Marcus (4 years old) - and Marcus was winning, but offering lessons to my hubby!  Ha!  (Marcus was so excited to continue playing after dinner that when my hubby told him he had to finish all of his dinner first, he crammed everything into his mouth...  swallowed... and promptly threw it up at the dinner table.  Once it was cleaned up, he asked my hubby - "can we play now?")  Ha!  It was a very entertaining evening!
**I preached again in April on the topic of "Celebration - Happy Birthday to You!"  The sermon was about how each one of us is unique, special, loved by God, and worthy of celebration.  I thought it would be kind of a "puff piece" - but I had more responses and requests of copies of this sermon than anything I've preached before!  I guess it's something we all need to hear once in awhile...
**And... We finished the month with my belated birthday present - and Amos Lee concert!  Woo-hoo!  We went for dinner at the Loring Pasta Bar - a very cool, eclectic kind of place.  And then went next door to the Varsity Theater for the concert.  It was clear this was the last concert of the tour - Amos seemed tired and a little ready to be done...  But man, does he have a gorgeous voice and soulful music.  Love him.

**The St. Paul Farmer's Market opened.  We've been going every Saturday morning to buy as many groceries as we can!  So far we've tried: asparagus, rhubarb, tomatoes, potatoes, scallions, butternut squash ravioli, butternut squash fettucini, honey, cinnamon honey (for my homemade bread!), gelato (too many flavors to list - but maple bacon and salty caramel are my faves!), cinnamon bacon, chicken breasts, rainbow trout, bison meat, cranberry orange chip dip (yum), farm fresh eggs, and we've bought several started plants (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, rosemary, and thai basil).  Uff da.  That's just in May - there's so much summer to come!
(We've planted a bunch of herbs to use in cooking.  So fun!)
(I've been bringing rhubarb home to prep and freeze...  hoping to make strawberry rhubarb jam when the strawberries ripen!)
(Rainbow trout and asparagus from the market...  A fresh summer meal!)

**We've started going to beer tastings at our local liquor store.  So fun!  The first one had a couple of Belgian beers - so we got to compare them to what we tried in Belgium.  Now, this week, we'll be going to an all-Belgian beers tasting.  So cool.
**The hubby's mom and her friend, Beth, came for a weekend.  Once again, entertaining = yummy food!  Country biscuits with strawberries and Grand Marnier, and chicken and morel mushrooms, to name a couple dishes.  We spent an entire day exploring St. Paul - driving up and down Grand Ave and Summit Ave, playing in Whole Foods (that was a funny experience!), visiting the Como Park Conservatory and seeing the latest flower show, and ending the day where else?  At San Pedro Cafe!  Delish!
(We couldn't pass up a rummage sale... and I got this pretty blue pitcher!)

**My baby sister, Kayla's, prom.  I got to take her to get her hair done at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis before the big event!  So fun seeing her all dressed up and being there when her boyfriend came to get her.  They both looked great - and ready to have some fun!
**On Mother's Day, my family came over for dinner.  Asparagus, proscuitto, and smoked mozzarella pasta.  Oh yeah...  I'll be posting that one!  We gave mom her lace table runner from Amsterdam.  So pretty.  And we played a rousing game of "fan tan"!  Way too funny!
(These are classic facial expressions from my parents!)
(Mom's feeling good about her deal!)

**The hubby and I decided to check out Stillwater's Rivertown Days on a Sunday afternoon.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, fun to walk through the craft and art booths, and we finished off the afternoon with a beer on a restaurant deck - watching the boats on the river and soaking up some rays.  Perfect.
**Our Book Group decided to put down our books for an evening at meet up at a Lebanese restaurant.  Very fun!  I tried a sampler platter.  It was good, but probably not my favorite ethnic food...  And yes, ladies.  You were all right about the tahini.  I won't do that again!
**I took a group of 15 to Feed My Starving Children - a local charity that uses volunteers to bag meals for hungry kids all over the world.  Our group, combined with about 40 other people, bagged about 11,000 meals that night - which will feed 33 kids for a year!  So cool.
**I got to try another ethnic food!  My friend, Jill, and I went to the India House on Grand Ave in St. Paul.  Ohmygoodness - I LOVED it!  I had shrimp in curry and coconut sauce with some garlic naan.  Jill and I had a great time chatting - it's so easy to lose track of time once we start talking...  So fun.
**My sister, Kayla's, last-ever high school choir concert.  I sat with Mom and Dad and kept a close eye on them - waiting for them to start crying!  I have to admit - their senior song was a tear-jerker.  It was really good!  And of course, they did an encore of "Bohemian Rhapsody" - head-banging and all.  So fun!  At the end, the alumni come on stage to sing "Amazing Grace" with the choir... I was determined not to go on stage this year (I did it last year) - but Kayla was almost throwing a fit on stage begging me to come up.... so I did.  It was cool.  Kayla and I held hands as we both sang our last song ever with the Eden Prairie choirs.  A good night.
(Kayla's in the center with the black headband.)

**I introduced the hubby to The India House.  Double yum.  Then we went for a walk on Grand Ave, and ended back at the Grand Ole Creamery for an ice cream cone.  We shared a chocolate banana malt cone, sat on a bench and watched the world go by.  A perfect evening.
**First baseball game of the season - we went to see the St Paul Saints!  So fun!  It rained for the first 1/2 hour we were there... and then the sun came out, we ate brats and drank beer, enjoyed the game and all the silliness that happens at Saints games, and ooohed and aaahed at the fireworks after the game!  Loved it.  On the way home, we stopped at the Happy Gnome for one last beer - it's a place where you can always try something new.  I tried a Odell's Bourbon Barrel Stout - dark beer that tastes like Bourbon.  Crazy good.
**The month ended with my family over for a Memorial day dinner - smoked ribs, cedar-planked mashed potatoes, asparagus, homemade salsa, and strawberry trifle dessert.  It was a good, fun, night!

And today I am thankful for:

1.  Snooze buttons.
2.  Yummy bran muffins.  (Watch for the recipe - it's not your usual bran muffin!)
3.  Our church secretary, Diane - she let me know I didn't need to come into the office today and we worked on stuff via email.  Lovely.
4.  Paychecks.  Gotta love 'em.
5.  Graduation parties - I can't wait to see some of my old youth group kids!
6.  Summer mornings.  I love waking up to cool breezes and bright sunshine!
7.  Yoga.  I've started doing it twice a week again via DVD.  It feels so good!
8.  Frozen marinara sauce - makes for a yummy, quick dinner!
9.  Our dog, Bailey - she's loving summer, too.  She can't seem to stop playing ball and frisbee!
(She's catching some shade between the brick wall and the hose box...  Apparently this is her new favorite resting spot between frisbee tosses!)
10.  I'm back!  And it feels good.  :)


Jill said...

yay - you're back!

Diane said...

I am exhausted just reading your update. You did more in a couple months than I do in a whole year!

Beth said...

Well it is about time missy! Miss you! You sure are a busy person! See ya soon

Kayla said...

Okay, even I'M glad you are back... gotta say after that reminder about the easter service... maybe for my children's sermon i'll talk about times to celebrate. Who knows!?
Happy you are back from Europe finally. :D

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