What’s been making me happy…

February is in full swing… lots of fun things to look forward to!  But here’s a quick look back on January goodness….

In January I visited some new places:

  • Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park – right around the corner from Marissa and Adam’s home is the local hangout.  Good food!  Went there with Chris and Kevin during a quick trip to Microcenter – had to get some Nana time!
  • LTS Brewing Company – Cosmo Girls goodness, as usual, at a local brewery. LTS = Life’s Too Short – and ain’t that the truth!  We had some great conversation with one of the proprietors and learned a lot about beer making and about his life philosophy.  Cool place.  Must go back.
  • Five West – owned by the Loop, a beautiful location out in western Rochester.  A great night there with Chris, spending the Powerball money we didn’t win. :)
  • HyVee – we wandered around the new HyVee out by Five West. It is monstrous! Fun to see. Would love to take a class there!
  • Radisson Hotel LaCrosse and the Three Rivers Restaurant – Chris and I were able to go to my dad’s retirement party with his work peeps.  Lots of wonderful and fun stories told about dad – nothing surprising!  He’s a wonderful and fun man!
  • The Breakfast Club and Pub – a cute theme joint in LaCrosse where we went for breakfast the next morning. They take the theme seriously, which is always good to see! All John Hughes all the time!
  • Treasure Island and Xtreme Bowling – Chris’s LOL work party. We ate, we drank, we bowled and we gambled.  And the only thing I lost was my lipstick!
  • Eat Street Social – Minneapolis – girl’s weekend with Marissa (and August!) and Trisha. Met Deadra and Maya here Sunday for brunch and it was delish!  A fried egg BLT. Oh my.  Yum! Saturday Marissa, Trisha and I ate at Surly’s Brew Pub Hall – delicious food there, too!  Busy places…

Other than all that goodness, January has been filled with basketball, Emma’s first birthday party, date-night and double-date night, Scrabble with Kevin, book club in Preston, and only one movie in the theatre!  We saw “The Big Short,” which was so smart and complicated.  Uff. That stuff happened … and is happening again????  Yikes.  We attempted to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” on TV for the sake of Oscar’s, but it is really just too something-something. NOT my style of movie. Hard to watch, even in my own living room.

So of the best picture nominees, I have only seen “The Big Short,” “The Martian,” and “Brooklyn.”  LOVED Brooklyn. Sweet movie.  Not a banner year for my movie viewing! Too much other goodness… I did get two books read, which is a great thing for me!  Yay!  Maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!

Much to look forward to – hope the same is true for you!

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Oscar nominations 2016 –

Nominees: BEST PICTURE
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”

Nominees: BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)

Nominees: BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)

Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)

Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)


Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (“Bridge of Spies”)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)

Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (“Straight Outta Compton”)


Nominees: BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Drew Goddard (“The Martian”)
Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”)
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”)
Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre”

 

#marriedlife2015

Our life in a nutshell… readying for more goodness in #sweet2016!

#marriedlife2015 * Emilee Ashlynn Overton born* Basketball * LaCrosse, WI * Dahl Automotive Museum * Tony and Tien * Starlite Lounge * American Sniper * Take Note! Choir Monday nights * Madison, WI * Flaming Mos * Ella’s Deli * The Imitation Game * Signing to SDSU * Osaka Birthday lunch with Mom * Art Show open house * Double Dates with Beth and Doug * Paddington * Soccer World with Kaydee * SocialICE * Brrrrr * Beersicle * The Doggery is a favorite * Birthday by the pool * Marissa is 27 * Basketball * Oscars 2015 * Still Alice * Almost Maine * Lanesboro, MN * Mini Cooper * 2015 4 door 200 hp * Go-Kart Handling * 100% more doors * Thirsty Belgian * Beth’s Birthday * Blues Fest * Cinderella * Gracie is 13 * The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel * La Poblana * Chris’s road trip to Rhode Island * Relocating friends * McFarland, USA * broken tooth * Baseball * Lakeview Drive-Inn * Texas Roadhouse * Gunnar is 18 * Danette is an LICSW * Such relief * Johnny Holm * Mac’s Restaurant * breakfast all day * Book Club * Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show * Winona, MN * Minnesota Marine Art Museum * Blue Heron * Lake Winona * Casablanca * Kentucky Derby * Take Note! * Gender Reveal * It’s a boy! * Billy Joel * Singalong at Gluek’s * Ike’s Food * 25th Anniversary party for Chuck and Carolyn * Graduation party for Sierra * Trajan is 16 * Pitch Perfect 2 * Memorial Day in Lanesboro * Thursdays on First * Gunnar Graduates June 2015 * We’ll Always Have Paris, a Memoir * Campfire with Friends * Road Trip to Chippewa Falls * The Leinie Lodge is booked up * Showdown in Curd Town * Ellsworth, WI * Tractor Pull * Spy * Mississippi Sippin’ * June birthday vacation at the Lake * Once * State Theatre * The Local * Hoy’s Resort * No pelicans this year * Ted 2 * Minnehaha Falls * Lola’s Lakehouse * Waconia, MN * Parley Lake Winery * All-Star Football game * hottest day ever * Mankato Air Show * Food Truck Summit * Inside Out * 4th of July * Minions with Kaydee * Book Guilt * Not reading much * Magic Mike XXL with the girls * Trainwreck * Tooth extraction and implant * live music * rooftops * The Afterwhiles * Marissa and Adam buy house in July * #2015isamachine * Gunnar goes to SDSU * Family time * Ferragosto * Hoy’s Resort for meals * National Day of Relaxation * August 15 * Mini in the Mountain road trip * Mitchell, SD * Corn Palace * Wall, SD * Wall Drug * Mount Rushmore National Memorial * Rocket Motel * Iron Mountain Road * Needles Highway * Wyoming * Loveland, CO * Denver, CO * Kristyn and Andrew and Natalie * Snooze * Estes Park, CO * Rocky Mountain National Park * Vail, CO * The Arrabelle at Vail Square * Continental Divide * Pikes Peak * Nebraska * Iowa * Derek’s shouse * Football * Berne Wood Fired Pizza * Macy is 13 * Thursdays on First * Sierra is 19 * The Afterwhiles * The Great Minnesota Get-Together * State Fair * Everything on a Stick * Hot September * Ricki and the Flash * Cosmo Girls * Bowling * Garden Party * Meals * Cosmos * Thankfulness * Rees is 10 * RYFA Rees’s turn *Me Before You *  Taylor Swift * I’m a Swiftie * hugs * A Walk in the Woods * Sierra and Aaron buy a house in September * Pickle Factor * Pepin, WI * On a Budget * Painful / Not Painful * Birthdayversary week * August Edward Rother born* Nana ‘Nette * Terza Rooftop * Pizzeria Lola * Couples massage * Covington Inn B&B * we’re on a boat * Surly Brewing * Christos for anniversary dinner * Love Greek * The Martian 3D * Sierra and Aaron get married in October * This queen gets a crown * Dentist work is no fun * Tyler is 23 * The Intern * Medea at SMU * baby cuddles * Satellite Sisters * You’re the Best * book signing * Satellite Misters! * The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 * Glen Hansard * State Theatre * Ethan is 10 * Worked during Thanksgiving * Kevin is 17 * Bendson Cousins get-together * found a Cuban café in Rochester * Messiah Singalong * Take Note Christmas concert * Winona Brass Band * Cosmo Girls * Kaydee is 4 * Creed * Nana Duty * Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Twice * 3D Imax * Brooklyn * Pho * Honda CR-Z * One-Year * Almost a record *  Netflix Binges * Long Way Round * Gracie and Frankie * Orange is the New Black * The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt * Mad Men Finale * Refinance at Forest Knoll * Books * Book Club * #sweet2016 ahead

A Month of Gratitude

I failed at the Daily Gratitude Posts on Facebook this November, so I thought I’d attempt a wrap up of the month.  There is, indeed, so much to be thankful for!

Oh-So-Grateful

I am grateful for the arts – music, movies, theatre… 

  • Chris and I saw Madea at Saint Mary’s University in Winona – a translation from Seneca which was creative and interesting to see!
  • 10 years of Take Note! Amazing… 10 years ago we created a group with people who loved to sing showtunes. We moved on a few years ago to incorporate different genres, but we still have a great time!  We have put on 10 Christmas concerts (our final one with our current director is this Sunday!) and 9 spring concerts. We have performed at community events, nursing homes, and with college students.  It has been a touchstone in my life, keeping me connected with the community where I grew up and raised my daughter, with my friends, and provided me with great visits with my parents.  Let’s see what the next journey is!
  • Koni, Gracie and I saw the final installment of the Hunger Games series, The Mockingjay Part 2.  We went to a late show and sat holding hands through the entire movie! Just a little stressful, that final flick.  A war film with monsters. I watched some through my fingers and asked for spoilers (Gracie remembers the story better than I do!). Glad to see it through!
  • Chris and I saw Glen Hansard at the State Theatre in Minneapolis! I don’t know what it is about Glen, but his passion for his art moves me. I had tears in my eyes for the first four songs!  He started the concert unamplified with strings. Wow.  Chris appreciated the live music and got a handshake as he came up the aisle!  A fun night! Tickets were purchased in August – the anticipation was worth it!

 

I am grateful for family – 

  • We had a great weekend in Rushford during opening buck season. Many cuddles with baby August, Gracie’s first buck, Rees’s first hunt (with the big ones that got away!), and movies and relaxing together. Only thing that would have made it better would have been having Derek’s family and Chris there!
  • We had a delicious tuna casserole (made mostly by Chris) at Sierra’s house, with games and books and good times!  We also had Kaydee over to help decorate our Christmas tree – complete with hot cocoa and cookies!
  • I worked during Thanksgiving so I missed all of the family time in Rushford. But Dana and Koni invited us over (via an email from Rees!) for a Thanksgiving Feast on Saturday night! We had great food, great family time, and played some fun games (Suspend for the win!)!
  • Sunday we drove to the Cities for time with the Bendson Cousins! Kristyn, Andrew & Natalie  and Emily and Andrew were home and we joined them with Ruth and Steve and Marissa, Adam and August for snacks and chili. All was delicious and the company was fantastic. A great celebration of family!
  • The basketball season is underway, so we have made a few games with many more on the calendar!  I hope to make as many as possible!  Trajan, Gracie and Rees are all playing, so it’ll be a whirlwind!
  • It’s hard to get enough snuggles of that new little grandbaby. He’s giving us those precious smiles and it’s hard to stop looking at him. Love him so!  Marissa is counting down the days left at home, so send special wishes and prayers her way!
  • I’m looking forward to December and hoping for some quality family time, grandbaby snuggles, and Christmas cheer!

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I am grateful for friends – 

  • Cosmo Girls met at my house in November and the focus was gratitude. How appropriate, eh? We watched YouTube videos, TED Talks, discussed what we’re grateful for, and of course there were laughs.  We left everyone with a notebook to keep track of the things they’re thankful for and Thank You notes to send.  I’m going to start my daily journaling in December – so that’s tomorrow!  Looking forward to getting in to a habit of writing again!
  • The Satellite Sisters were in Minnesota for a book signing and us faithful followers drove up to be with them and get books signed by them!  They are amazing women/sisters, and it was fun to see Sheila and Liz in person and hear the stories they chose to share. There were many laughs and a few tears.  We had a great time and I’m so thankful that my Satellite Mister from NYC was able to  come to Minnesota and spend a little time with us.  He Periscoped from the Brooklyn signing and it was so fun to get that glimpse into the next-generation of women who wrote for the book, and it wasn’t too hard to convince him to trek to MN!  We had a great time with the Sisters as well as over dinner at Parma 8200.  It was such a fun day!
  • Work has been a little calmer than earlier in the fall.  I worked a lot of afternoons, evenings and overnights during November, so I am not used to getting up in the morning but I am working on it. :)  I’m thankful for my coworkers who work hard, are supportive and fun.  It makes the difficult stuff we do a joy.
  • I am looking forward to some intentional quality time with friends during this holiday season, as well!  I’m going to start making plans soon!  Time is precious!

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I am grateful for so much.

  • For the cookie dough I whipped up, which is in the refrigerator waiting to be rolled out into stars.
  • For Hulu and Netflix – I love commercial-free television.
  • For books – I’m hoping to spend more time reading and less time on Facebook in December.
  • For quotes and words and pictures.
  • For the wonderful autumn we have experienced so far – it has been amazing!
  • For Trader Joe’s.
  • And most of all for my daughter, the beautiful new momma, and my husband, my confidant and rock.

Life is good.

affirmation-gratitude-800x450

 

Eternity

William Blake, 17571827

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

A Catch-Up

Is it possible to write a post which can summarize June through October 2015? I’ll hit just a few of the highlights…

A few photos from June 2015

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That Grandbaby

  • Baby August Edward was born on 9/27/15 at 3:08 PM.  I had the pleasure of witnessing the birth, and it was amazing and beautiful. Marissa was so calm and excited to meet her little man and he is perfectly beautiful. He was born on what would have been his Auntie Abbey’s 31st birthday, and that night was the Harvest Blood Super Moon.
    Ah, I love being Nana Nette.

A few photos from July 2015

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Travels

  • Early June, we took a drive on windy roads to Chippewa Falls in an attempt to go through the Leinenkugel Brewery. It was a popular destination that day and we couldn’t get a spot on a tour, so we bought some beer and drove on home. On the way home we drove through Ellsworth, WI and saw signs for “Showdown in Curd Town,” a tractor pull, so we stopped in!  We had a burger and curds and watched FOUR HOURS of a tractor pull! What good people watching that was!
  • Later in June was our week at the Lake. We had family time, alone time, time in the Cities and time at the end of the dock.  We enjoyed searching for a winery in Waconia on our way to St. Cloud to watch the All Star Football game on a blisteringly hot Saturday.  We saw the touring company of “ONCE” at the State Theatre in Minneapols and watched an airshow in Mankato. No pelicans at the lake this year, but it was still great to be there!
  • The 4th of July was filled with family fun, minus Chris as he had to work.  The boat parade was fun, the weather was hot, and the food was good.  Due to the epic road trip coming up in August, Ferragosto was condensed to a weekend this year; relaxing time with girlfriends, meals at the resort, and good cocktails at the end of the dock.
  • After Ferragosto we took a whirlwind road trip in the Mini – across South Dakota, through Wyoming, and to Colorado.  We drove beautifully scenic roads through Rocky Mountain National Park, stayed in Vail, and then drove to the top of Pike’s Peak. We slept in a retro motel, stayed at a beautiful resort, and in the lovely company of family.  It was a great time with great weather and great roads.  Chris is a great driver but I was still very nervous on those windy roads!
  • Late September into October we celebrated the Birthdayversary in the Cities. We planned to stay close to home due to the impending grandbaby arrival, and he arrived just in time to complete the celebrations that week with hours of baby cuddling.  :)  We also had great meals out (Pizzeria Lola, Salut, Louis Ristorante, and Christos), and went on the Surly Brewery tour and ate at their delicious gastropub.  We stayed at the lovely Covington Inn – a B&B on a boat – and had wonderful family time.

August 2015

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Taylor Swift

  • Koni and I accompanied Gracie and her friend Taylor to the Taylor Swift concert in St. Paul in mid-September.  We thought we were going to hang in the Parent’s Lounge, but Dana surprised Gracie with floor tickets and we took her seats she had since her birthday.  Gracie and Taylor were noticed by Taylor Swift’s mother and got backstage passes after the show, and we tagged along to chaperone and moderate the emotions. :)  Ms. Swift doesn’t have to meet her fans, but she does and it was really a sweet time.

A few from September 2015

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Movie Minutiae

  • Spy – Melissa McCarthy vehicle; was fine, but not very memorable :)
  • Ted 2 – I never saw the first Ted movie, but I indulged my man and saw this one. Maybe I should have seen the first. :)
  • Inside Out – a great movie; that’s all.
  • Minions – I haven’t seen Despicable Me, so the love of Minions is lost on me. But it was fun to take Kaydee to her first movie in the theatre.
  • Magic Mike XXL – a great time with the girls. I still am going to try to get Chris to watch this!  it was so much lighter than the first and a lot of fun.
  • Trainwreck – Saw this one twice; I’m an Amy Schumer fan and this movie was great. So much fun. LaBron was amazing!
  • Ricki and the Flash – This was an unexpected treat! Fun to see Meryl Streep in this role alongside her daughter. Very thought-provoking and it had great music!
  • A Walk in the Woods – An adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book with Robert Redford (looking old!) and Nick Nolte (acting old!). A fun romp.
  • The Martian – a great movie! I don’t like to feel tense during movies and this one was light and fun.
  • The Intern – pretty predictable, but still lots of food for thought. A fun night at the movies!

October 2015 – just a few on the computer so far!

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Book Briefs

  • The Rumour – for book club; Elin Hildebrand’s Nantucket is always a fun place to visit.
  • Paper Towns – I didn’t see the movie, but the book was fascinating.
  • We’ll Always Have Paris – a memoir about mother/daughter travels and facing mortality
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe – an actress-wanna-be in NYC; light and fun.
  • Summer Blowout – a good summer read; very light
  • You’re the Best – the Satellite Sisters ode to friendship – great essays and conversations.

Work continues to be challenging and humbling, the Cosmo Girls are up and running for another year, the baseball season turned into the football season and now we are looking forward to basketball.  I love getting to as many events as work allows!

At the last football game of Trajan’s junior year I was talking with Kai, a 5 year old we know and love, about my new grandson. He was very astute when he said, “So you’re a grandma AND an aunt!”

“Best jobs ever,” I said.  The best.

Baby books!

I’m going to be a Grandma!

I’ve known for quite a while now.  I picked out my name (Nana ‘Nette), bought a 4-door car for car-seat ease, and helped plan the gender reveal get-together with the families.  But I haven’t purchased an outfit or a piece of equipment yet – so far all I’ve bought is baby books!

Upon learning the news, I bought The Belly Book for Marissa

The Belly Book - documenting the 9 month journey!

The Belly Book – documenting the 9 month journey!

and From Dude to Dad for Adam.

From Dude to Dad - the Diaper Dude's Guide to Pregnancy

From Dude to Dad – the Diaper Dude’s Guide to Pregnancy

Then for fun (and because it’s so brilliant), I bought Hickory Daiquiri Dock by Tim Federle.

Hickory Daiquiri Dock - Nursery Rhymes with a twist (of lemon!)

Hickory Daiquiri Dock – Nursery Rhymes with a twist (of lemon!)

I know that I’ll be buying little boy outfits and nursery items soon enough, but I also know that this little one will have a great library of books at his disposal!  Woot!

Do you have favorite books – for mom and dad or for baby boys?

What’s up?

It’s been a while since I did an “update” blog, so thought I’d ramble a little.  I listen to a new podcast by Gretchen Reubin about Happiness and she said that a tradition that she and her family have is weekly email updates to each other.  I think it’s a great idea and wonder if it’s something that we could establish in our family.  I started a “Grimsrud Women” Facebook group, hoping that it is somewhere we can use, so we will see!  I love communicating and remaining connected with those I love!

Deadra and I used to email each other weekly – we should do that again.  Last time I spoke with Deadra she mentioned that she thinks of this blog as a way that I keep people updated, and I suppose it is.  It’s also my way of remembering – storing the activities and thoughts of the moment in one place.

So in an effort to update

  • Not so many movies, in the theatre anyway.  Pitch Perfect 2 at the late show on a Tuesday is about it since McFarland.  I have caught up on some Netflix, though.  Binge-watched Grace and Frankie, which was fun. Now watching Season 2 of Orange is the New Black – season 3 comes in June.  We watched Non-Stop the other night – a Liam Neeson scary thing – and a few others from our DVR that aren’t memorable right now.  I am watching the finale of Season 1 of The Outlander as we speak – using the blog to distract me from it!  It is a little more violent and graphic than I like.  Uff.
  • I really enjoyed reading Me Before You – a wonderful story! SO original an interesting.  Really captivated me, which is good for my reading slump.  I finished listening to The Weird Sisters this morning – that was fine. Took me a while, so the continuity gets lost.  Now what to read next is tough.  I started one on the Kindle but it is not grabbing me, so I’ll move on, I think.  Maybe my DNF (Did Not Finish) list will exceed my TBR piles.
  • We celebrated quite a few things in the past few months – so much to celebrate!  I passed my LICSW test, Gunnar turned 18, Trajan turned 16, Chuck and Carolyn were surprised with a 25th wedding anniversary party, and Sierra passed her GED!  We also celebrated with our Christmas gift of Billy Joel tickets!  It was a great concert, even from way up high!  He is a fun performer to watch.  To add to the evening, we had dinner at Gluek’s before the show and they were playing all Billy all the time, and believe me, there was a lot of singing aloud at every table!  Because, who else can you sing to, but Billy Joel!  There was a moment when three women – all strangers – were singing at the top of their lungs together in the bathroom – and we sounded great!  Good times…
  • Cosmo Girls went bowling in April and had a Garden Party in May!  It was a great way to end the year… in a seasonal porch, listening to the rain.  So much fun with those girls!
  • We had our Take Note! Spring Concert and it was great!  A good concert with SMU students there to add to the show!  Singing is just sooooooooo good!
  • You know what isn’t good?  My new haircut.  Uff.  That was a tough lesson.  I don’t believe I’ve ever cried over my hair before – I don’t think I’m that kind of person.  But I cried on Friday.  I’m over it.  I hate it but I’m over it.  I can handle a bad hair day, but I guess a bad haircut is a different story.  Luckily it’s summer and my hair will grow fast! And I won’t need it cut for quite a while!
  • We tried some new restaurants – Schweich’s Hotel in Kenyon, Casablanca’s in Rochester, and Riverside on the Root in Lanesboro.  It’s so fun to try new places, especially locally!  We also took the MINI to Winona with Jenny and ate at the Blue Heron cafe, explored the Marine Art Museum (a MUST SEE!) and walked around Lake Winona.  Was a perfect day!
  • And of course, we learned the gender of my new grandbaby!  It was a wonderful meeting of two families to support these two youngsters as they journey towards parenthood!  They had the ultrasounds with the reveal in an envelope and picked out two outfits at BabyGap and the clerk was the first to know!  She wrapped up the little BOY outfit and the moment we all learned was priceless. Chris and I joked that we were going to show up in t-shirts that said “We’re here for the SEX,” but we held back.  It was a great night.  So much joy with babies.  Can’t wait.

So there’s an update.  I would like to challenge Marissa to spend a little time with her blog, as she is an incredible writer and it would be a great way to remember her thoughts and feelings and joys during this time!  Are you up for it, Mo??

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Well, off to read!  For real!

Cookbooks

I certainly don’t cook as much as I used to, and my baking (which I love to do and used to be good at) is often sub-par, but I still love to look through cookbooks! Although I have a cupboard full of them, I use the internet and iPad apps most of the time to search for whatever recipe has the most positive reviews (or has the most ingredients in my house!).  Last night I was at the grocery store trying to figure out what ingredients I would need to make a delicious chicken casserole and I remembered my mom’s recipe from the old Highland Prairie Cook Book.  I did my best guessing and today I pulled it off!

Cook Book Cupboard - well-stocked!

Cook Book Cupboard – well-stocked!

I know that my cookbook cupboard is missing some staples, but I’m thankful that they have traveled with me through the years.

The cookbooks in my cupboard can tell stories, for sure.

  • Some I’ve had since I was a child (Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls),
  • some are discarded library books (Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook, Russian Cookbook, Cookbook of India), 
  • some are books – fiction and non-fiction – filled with recipes (A Homemade Life, Bread Alone, Lunch in Paris),
  • some are basic and standard (Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray),
  • and some are specialty (coffee, chocolate, Christmas, party food, Trader Joe’s).

I have a few years of Eating Well and Cook’s Illustrated magazines tucked up in there, as well. I have one old blank journal that I filled with handwritten recipes, with numbered pages and a typed index in the front and back. Quite a hodge-podge mixture of recipes in there – literally soup to nuts!!   I also have a recipe box which is filled with hundreds of hand-written recipes – mostly desserts and sweets!

In the cookbooks, you can tell the well-loved recipes by the stains on the page. The Gingerbread People recipe in Betty Crocker is on a torn and stained page with notes for future reference – obviously a well-used recipe!  Those old church cookbooks are fun, especially when you know the people who contributed the recipes.  From the Highland Prairie cookbook I always make Karla Holland’s banana bread recipe, Darlene Johnson’s sugar cookie recipe is amazing, and of course, recipes from Mary Jo are delicious! I bookmarked every single rhubarb recipe in there – there are quite a few!  And where else do you find the classic Norwegian recipes or the favorite “funeral sandwich” meat you love?

Today I made these delicious Brownie Cookies at request.  They are delicious.  They’re from the Pioneer Woman website (click here for the recipe), and I wrote it down to share with the requester.  And I’ll write it down for my recipe box – it’s a keeper!

Brownie Cookies - delicious!  An internet recipe

Do you have a favorite cookbook?   What are your favorite cooking apps or websites?

Club Day Chicken ‘N Dressing – Mary Jo Grimsrud, Highland Prairie Anniversary Cook Book 1854-1979

1 (8 oz.) package seasoned bread stuffing
1 stick margarine/butter
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups cooked diced chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
grated cheese (topping)

Mix packaged stuffing with melted butter and water, toss lightly to blend.  Place half of mixture in buttered 12×8 baking dish. Mix chicken, onion, celery, mayonnaise, and salt. Spread over stuffing.  Top with remaining bread mixture. Beat eggs slightly and add to milk.  Pour over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Take out one hour before baking, spread with soup. Bake uncovered at 325 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle top with cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Serves 8-10.

My own MINI March Madness

keep-calm-its-my-half-birthday-2

Here we are again – the beginning of a new month!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I have an affinity for the 1st of any month.  April 1 happens to be my half birthday, so now it is also my SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY!  Wahoo!  Seems like that just happened AND that he’s been in my life forever… life is so good.

Here’s a recap of all the goodness of March –

We started the month off with a double date with Beth and Doug to see “Almost, Maine” in Lanesboro.  It was such a great play and a fun night out in Lanesboro!  Highlight (outside of the theatre) was asking at the Legion if they served any food and the (harried, busy) waitress said, “No.  We just have pizza.”  We chuckled, ordered it, and it was sooooo good! Hegge’s pizza is the bomb!

We ended the month with celebrations for Beth’s birthday at Osaka for a Tepanyaki style dinner, followed by a Blues Fest at Wicked Moose.  I got Chris on the dance floor, which was a first (and won’t be the last time!) So fun!.

Singing the birthday blues!

In early March, Chris and I attended the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Show at Target Field in Minneapolis!  Jenny and I had planned to go for months, but she was ill so Chris went instead.  We didn’t get even close to falling down drunk, like some that we saw, but we did enjoy the little corner of spirits and made sure to stop sampling with plenty of time for metabolizing before driving home.  It was a lot of fun – and a lot of people!

Outside Target Field on a beautiful day!

March brought me my MINI!  Chris and I drove to the Cities to look at a few cars one beautiful Saturday.  I was certain I was going to get another Honda, but manual transmissions are becoming fewer and fewer… so we went in search of some different car dealers in the Cities.  We never got past the first, as I knew I didn’t need to look any further after I drove the MINI Cooper S.  So we went back the next week with my car and did the trade and then back the next week for my “Second Delivery Date” with an expert and to get the bonnet stripes installed.  Ah.  It’s a fun ride!

My MINI! Woohoo!

March also brought sunshiney warm days and a big snowstorm.  We looked for patio dining and couldn’t find any yet, so we encouraged friends to open their patio and enjoyed a roaring fire with s’mores.  Good stuff.  And then the snow came and schools were closed.  Crazy Minnesota March.

A campfire at the Chalet

March brought $2 burgers with the family a few times.

During Lenten season, I went to confirmation with Gracie and got to talk with her about what we think it means to be a Lutheran.

A 3 movie month is pretty solid!  I saw Cinderella with Gracie, the March birthday girl.  We loved it – it was beautiful and romantic.  The story you know and love told wonderfully.  I saw The Second Most Exotic Marigold Hotel with Jenny – and it was very fun!  Many laugh-out-loud moments, some tears, and a big old dance scene!  Yay!  And last night I saw McFarland, USA with the crew in Rochester.  What a movie!  It was so good.  A story about coaching, field-working-high-schoolers, and the community.  It was very incredible – and the end with the real guys was the best. Just so good.

I binge watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and that is a hoot.  Very clever and fun!  (Dang, now I have the theme song in my head!)

I read The Kitchen House for book club and am listening to The Weird Sisters.  It’s hard to know what to read next, as my TBR piles continue to grow and grow!  Someone, help me out here!

And lastly, we celebrated Tony’s last night in Madison with Supper at Bandung Indonesian followed by champagne cocktails and martinis at Opus Martini Lounge.  Tony and Chris left early yesterday morning for their trek across country to move him to Rhode Island. They arrived safely this morning, a mere 24 hours after leaving Madison.  Tomorrow Chris will get to New Hampshire for some family time in before flying home to me on Sunday.  Ah.  Next time I’m going with.

Looking forward to April, although it will be a different sort of month with Chris starting to work overnights.  I work overnights the rest of this week and again the end of the month, so that will keep things interesting around here!

Happy April, all!

February Fairly Flew!

Time just keeps “March”ing on, doesn’t it?  Hard to believe we are moving into the end of the first quarter of 2015 – and creeping up on the 6 month anniversary of my wedding/birthday!

So far #marriedlife2015 is just grand.  We both work crazy hours at our job, which means we have random days off during the week and every other weekend off together.  We try to make the most of our time off.  In January, we had a daytrip to LaCrosse, WI where we met Chris’s friend from high school who is moving from Madison to Rhode Island in a few months.  We visited the Dahl Automotive Museum and Pearl Street Brewery, Buzzard Billy’s and the Starllte Lounge and then drove to the Ponderosa for movie time by the fireplace.

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Two weeks later we drove to Madison to see them before Tien moved mid-February.  We weren’t able to make the going away party, so had our own time with them, which was very fun.  Chris and I got there early and enjoyed a Restaurant Week restaurant, a Mustard Museum, and then we enjoyed a pub meal before retreating to their bar for darts and drinks.  Saturday we walked on State Street, went to the Madison Modern Museum of Art and then visited my old “haunts” – Ella’s Deli and Few Street!  Was quite a blast from the past.  My old stomping grounds revolved around a 4 year old, so they weren’t too exciting, but it was a great reminiscence.  We also had a delicious Vietnamese meal before we travelled back to Rochester.  It was a great weekend.  Next time we go there it will be to drop Chris off for his road trip to Rhode Island / New Hampshire with Tony!  Less than a month away!

Mom, Marissa, Gracie and I had a little daytrip to the Cities for Mom’s birthday in early February.  We went to Marissa’s apartment and said hello to the kitties, and then went to an art open house at Pam Weisdorf’s home  Afterwards we had a delicious hibachi meal and avoided all malls.  It was a nice little road trip!

In January, Chris’s new little granddaughter was born – Emilee Ashlyn.  What fun to hold a baby!  And what fun to witness Chris’s discomfort at the same.  He says he’s afraid he’ll drop her. She is a little peanut, but growing every day, as babies are supposed to do.  We took her big sister, Kaydee, to Soccer World one bitterly cold morning and played during their open gym time.  That was a hoot.  Fun to be inside, warm, and running around on fake grass.

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January and February means there is basketball almost every day of the week if you want.  It was fun to watch Rees, Gracie and Trajan play basketball.  And fun to witness Gunnar sign with SDSU for his collegiate football career. And I made it to section wrestling to see Trevor wrestle a few!  Phew, there is an abundance of sports in the winter!

February also means SocialICE – a yearly festival of the cold!  They moved it back a few weeks, so it coincided with Marissa’s birthday weekend.  They were hoping that it would be warmer, but it just wasn’t to be.  Chris and I went for about 45 minutes on Thursday night and it was sooo cold (-5).  Hot drinks were not hot, cold drinks were freezing – literally.  Chris had a beersicle.  We eventually moved inside for a cocktail at the Doggery.  Saturday we went back during the daylight with the kids, because the ice sculptures are really fun to see, but it got cold and windy and crowded fast, so we didn’t last long.  We celebrated Marissa’s birthday with the family tradition of pizza and ice cream cake!  Delicious…

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And the Oscars 2015 happened, as well!  I haven’t seen all the movies up for Best Picture, including the winner, but I did see a few.  I already loved The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood.  I thought The Imitation Game was ok and American Sniper was very hard to watch.  I haven’t seen Birdman (the winner), Whiplash (looks painful), Selma or the Theory of Everything.  I have seen a few movies in the theatre in 2015 – Into the Woods (Rees’s “worst movie ever,” but I loved it!), The Imitation Game (just OK, not super-great), Paddington (sooooooo fun… used to LOVE Paddington!), and Still Alice (the book is SO much better – this is a watered down version, but with a great performance).

At home we’ve watched The Long Way Round series (documentary about a motorcycle trip around the world! Love it!  Ewan McGregor, so fun), The One I Love, The Wolf of Wall Street, They Came Together, The Hundred Foot Journey (nice little movie – I read the book!), The Edge of Tomorrow, and 84 Charing Cross Road (such a sweet story about this eccentric woman – so fun! Very true to the book!)

And speaking of books, we had book club last week.  We read The Perfume Collector and had great fun planning our French food theme!  Lots of fromage, French Onion dip, potatoes au gratin, quiche and croissants.  Topped off by French silk pie!  What was the book about?  Hmmm…   It happened in France in the 50s and was about gifts and independence and the role of our senses.  I read it in December, so had trouble with the details but we had a good discussion anyway!

Other books I’ve read in 2015 include: The Beautiful Daughters (see review here – it is released soon!), Yes Please (audiobook read by the author, Amy Poehler!  Loved it!), The Supreme Macaroni Company (Adriana’s book continuing with Valentine’s life in NYC), and Apple of My Eye (sooooo good!  Helene Hanff is quite the character and brings NYC in the 70s to life!  Loved it!)

I can’t decide what to read next… so I’m catching up on magazines.  Looking forward to diving into that next good book, though!

Would love to hear what you’re reading, what you’re watching, what you’re doing, while waiting for spring weather to arrive! Comment below!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland