About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

how we met

Maybe this post should be called "how we got together." I think that would be more accurate. See, my husband and I have actually known each other since...kindergarten? If not then, then first grade at the latest. We went to elementary school together, although we went to different high schools. That's probably why I didn't know Darren was joining the National Guard.

All through high school I worked at the bank in my hometown. One day Darren's dad came in and said, out of the blue, "Darren is AIT (Advanced Individual Training; sort of like basic, only a step up) for the summer. If I give you his address, will you write to him?"

It was so random, so out of nowhere, and I stammered out a "sure."

Some time later, I got this:

Well, what's a girl to do? I was afraid Darren's dad would ask me if I ever wrote to him, and you can be darn sure back in those days I didn't disappoint anyone. I remember some of my first letter to Darren. I'm pretty sure I rambled on about the TV show "Friends" for quite a while since I was watching an episode as I wrote. Darren thinks he still has the letter; I'd have to do some digging around at his parent's house, but if I find it and it isn't too embarrassing, maybe I'll put it up here.

In any case, I wrote and he wrote back. All that summer we exchanged letters. We had a disastrous first date (which I should write about some day), reconnected a year later, and got engaged a year after that. And through it all, Darren never realized his dad had pressured me to write that first letter to him.

You can bet I was laughing my butt off the day he found out.

So thanks, Pat, for pushing me towards a better future than I ever could have imagined. I couldn't ask for greater in-laws. Love to you both.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

garage sale finds: part three

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I got this DVD rack for some of our movies. Darren was mad at me and said we didn't have room for it, but all of our movies wouldn't fit in the drawer any more, especially since I bought a bunch on garage sales.

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I spent about $15 on tools for Darren. He said he wanted screwdrivers and the first place we went to had this nice heavy ones with magnetic ends.

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I got a Lia Sophia necklace for $15, which I thought was pretty good. Especially since I looked at a catalog at another sale where the woman sold Lia Sophia. The necklace retails for $98! So definitely a good deal.

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I got some great movies! I'm always looking for more girl movies, since we mostly have war movies. Although I did get some of those for Darren. All the tapes were twenty-five cents and the DVD was two dollars.

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I got an old school Pictionary for twenty-five cents! You can't buy these in stores anymore, so I was pretty happy about it. It also has a second set of cards to use.

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I almost bought a file cabinet from Target a couple months ago and it was about thirty dollars. I got this one for free! Definitely a good deal! It has a couple dents but will serve it's purpose.

Monday, May 24, 2010

garage sale finds: part two

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I got some pretty nice heavy picture frames in really good condition for only one dollar each. Still need to find pictures for them, though.

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I also got this cute winter wonderland decoration. I don't have many decorations, except for Christmas, so I was looking for some. All the decorations I got were a dollar each.

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I don't do any halloween decorating really, mostly I just do fall stuff, but this little ghost guy was too cute to pass up.

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Another snowman, this one on an old rusty cheese grater. He's pretty cute too. And the nice thing about snowmen is that they can stay out all winter, instead of just at Christmas.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

garage sale finds: part one

I hit up some garage sales with my mom and aunt a week and a half ago. I'll put up pictures of my favorite finds over the next couple of days.

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I was looking for some decorative plates to use to serve cookies and I found these two. Not exactly what I was looking for but they're pretty, all the same.

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Also got this cute blue serving bowl and a nice heavy white serving tray with a leaf border.

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Another cake pedestal. I have a white one but wanted a clear glass one too. This one is actually pretty similar to my mom's.

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I got this crystal serving bowl for a couple bucks.

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And these Pampered Chef scalloped bread tubes for $1.50 total.

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I love corn on the cob, but I didn't have any corn cob knobs so I got a set of 11 for fifty cents.

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And, the best find of the day, I got this unused fondue pot for one dollar. I love fondue so I'm pretty excited to break it out. I wish it was an electric one, but it's fun to old-school it, too.

Those are all my kitchen items. Tomorrow, decorations.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

not again...

Sunday night when Darren and I came home from Hollywood Video my uncle came out of the house and told us the car was smoking.

Not good.

He and Darren spent a while looking at it. The power steering fluid leaks, which we already knew, but that's what was causing the smoke. Unfortunately, while they were crawling under the car looking around, my uncle noticed the transmission was leaking.

The new transmission. The one we put in in January when the car wouldn't go in reverse anymore.

That was fun.

So yesterday we decided to bring the car up north to our local mechanic and drive one of my mom's extra vehicles back down so we could both have a vehicle this week.

I worked from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm and then drove two and a half hours to Backus. Then we turned around and drove all the way back to the cities. Not fun.

But the best part: we were ten miles from home and the "check engine" light came on in the truck.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Hollywood Video

Last night Darren wanted to watch "The Edge." I have never seen it. It's with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Something about them being stuck in Canada chased by a bear. I asked Darren if it was super cheesy. He said, "No, it's really legit." Apparently it's the best movie ever. Or some such thing.

Normally we just get Redbox, but since The Edge isn't at Redbox we had to drive over to Hollywood Video. We pull in to the parking lot and there's all these signs about the store closing. "Everything must go!" "60-80% off!" "Last 10 Days!"

You get the picture.

Darren was all sad because we weren't going to be able to rent "The Edge." I was all excited because there were going to be some cheap movies to buy.

Here's what we ended up with:

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past--$3.99
New in Town (unopened)--$5.99
Lions for Lambs--$2.99
Delta Force--$1.66
The Sum of All Fears--$1.66
U.S. Marshals--$1.66
Rambo III--$1.66
Xbox 360 Guitar Hero World Tour (unopened)--$8.99
Xbox 360 Band Hero--$10.49
Xbox 360 Guitar Hero Smash Hits (unopened)--$11.99

We still have to get some guitars to use with the games, though. I did see a drum set on a garage sale last week for $7, and now of course I wish I had gotten it. But oh well, you never know.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

curiouser and curiouser

Two weekends ago Darren went up north and I stayed in the cities. And I bought two bags of dark chocolate M&Ms.

I ate one of them.

This weekend I was thinking I maybe needed a little dark chocolate while Darren was gone taking his last final. I went to get the remaining bag and it wasn't there.

Now, I'm almost 100% sure I didn't eat both bags. I'm pretty sure I had a hard time just finishing the one, because Darren came home early on Saturday afternoon, and I still had to finish my pint of chocolate-brownie ice cream. And last weekend I was up north. I didn't bring my chocolate with me, either.

Which begs the question: what on earth happened to my other bag??

Did I forget where I hid it?

Did I eat it and I can't remember? (Which is truly sad...)

Or, worst case scenario, did my husband find my secret hiding spot and hide the bag from me?

I'm afraid to ask. But almost desperate enough to do it anyway.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

movie review

Who doesn't know the story of Robin Hood?

Answer: my sister. I spent half the movie explaining what was going on. Although, to be fair, it wasn't your typical Robin Hood story. It was more like the story before the story, if you know what I'm saying.

I'd probably give this movie an A. It's a great date night movie (unless you have a third wheel in the form of your sister--you know I love ya, Lex) with plenty of action for the guys and a nicely written hint of a love story for the ladies. And you get your money out of this bad boy; we're talking about two and a half hours here.

But there are worse things than staring at Russell Crowe for two and a half hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I Love...

...chocolate-covered strawberries.

For Mother's Day yesterday my family went up to eat at the casino about thirty minutes away from our home. They put together a nice brunch for Mother's Day, complete with ice sculptures.

After all, what's a brunch without ice sculptures?

Probably my favorite thing about the brunch was the dessert table. You could not even imagine all the pies there were. Apple, strawberry, pumpkin, chocolate, banana cream, and cheesecake, to name a few. Not to mention trays of bars and cream puffs. And, best of all, chocolate-covered strawberries.

I ate about nine of them. Not even joking. The tangy/sweetness of the strawberry, mixed with the rich crunch of hardened chocolate...mmm...what's not to love?

Friday, May 7, 2010

alarm clock

My body has turned into an alarm clock.

I'm a pretty scheduled person, and since I have to get up around 5 am for work I tend to hit the sack about 9 pm every night. Day in, day out. It gets easier the more I get used to it. I was worried at first because I used to sleep close to 9 hours a night. My last semester at school I swear I slept more than I ever have before in my life.

But my body is slowly getting used to sleeping for around 8 hours a night. In fact, I usually end up sleeping for about 7 hours and 45 minutes.

Maybe you can guess what has happened to me...

Now, on the weekends, when I don't have my alarm set and I know I don't have to get up for anything, I always wake up 7 hours and 45 minutes after I went to sleep the night before. No matter what time I went to sleep.

That means I woke up at ten to six this morning. On my Friday off. Which doesn't really bother me, since I like to be up early and get things done, but it's the principle of the thing. I'm still kind of tired but after lying (laying?) in bed for another 15 minutes without falling asleep, I gave up. It's kind of annoying when you want to sleep in but your body won't let you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

it's only a matter of time

The client I'm at right now is located in downtown St. Paul. Every morning I park in a garage on 7th and Jackson and walk the couple blocks to work. It's about a 7 minute walk, so it's not bad at all. In the winter I walked through the sky way since it was, you know, cold. But now that it's nice out I walk outside.

One of the blocks I walk crosses under a section of the sky way. And in that section of the sky way live pigeons.

I like pigeons in general. I think they're kind of pretty. And I like watching them peck food bits off the ground when I walk by.

I do not like them to be above my head. The ground underneath the sky way is littered with you-know-what. And I'm thinking, as anyone would be, it's only a matter of time until the worst happens.

I'm tempted to start carrying an umbrella.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

found wanting

Do you know how it feels to be judged and found wanting?

Most of the time, I feel pretty good about myself and the way I look. I used to be fat.

Yes, it's true, and although some people would say "you carried your weight well" I know the truth to be that I was considerably overweight.

I lost 35 pounds, for Pete's sake. You can't lose 35 pounds and still look like I do unless you were very overweight to start with.

But lately I haven't been feeling very great about the way I look. It all started with p90x. And without the intent of placing blame on anyone's shoulders, I feel like I'm not good enough.

To be truthful, I've always been very sensitive about my weight and likely always will be, no matter what the scale says. I know I need to lose ten pounds. I don't need someone to tell me. Nor do I need someone to tell me how to do it and imply I'm not doing it well enough. Believe me, I know how to lose weight. And how not to lose weight.

Been there. Done that.

Sometimes I feel like my weight loss is discredited because it wasn't "the right way." Or "the fastest way." Or "the healthiest way." Or any other kind of way you can imagine.

If you lost a considerable amount of weight and you felt pretty good about yourself most of the time, and then someone came along and implied it wasn't good enough how do you think it would make you feel?

Devastated? Frustrated? Angry?

Me? It makes me feel all three of those. And it also makes me lose hope. I mean, if 35 pounds isn't good enough, who's to say 10 more will be? Why should I even bother? Why should I work through the pain and shovel three pounds of meat down my throat every day if this is all for nothing?

Because, honestly, it's not worth it. Not to me, it isn't. Not when it interferes with my peace of mind. If there was any one thing I learned in the two years it took me to lose 35 pounds, it was that I have to do it for myself, and myself alone. I have to do it because I want to see the change and I want to feel better about how I look. Not because anyone says I should.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

who knew?

It's almost that time.

Rhubarb time.

Mmmm...I love rhubarb desserts. You can see some of my favorite recipes here. And good news: today I saw frozen rhubarb in my grocery store. I had no idea you could buy rhubarb! I just thought it was one of those random hick-ville things, but apparently not. So now there's no excuse. I highly recommend you make the custard cake first. It's delicious. If it weren't for p90x I would have made some today. Instead, I ate half a bag of M&Ms, which is considerably less calories than a cake.