Monday, September 14, 2009

Good Ol' Fashioned Football Rivalry

Our good friends, Jim and Sara, invited us over to watch the Packer game last night on TV. Here is how we showed up. I guess it's lucky they let me come inside!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The (almost) Best Day of Summer!

Each summer I say that the Best Day of Summer is the day I get to go to the Minnesota State Fair. It really is incredible, and such a wonderful day each summer! Well, this year, I'd say that Our Wedding Day was the best day of the whole summer, but last Sunday was a close second!

I was really excited to have Brent experience the whole fair, but I also wanted to not overwhelm him. As my friend Aimee said, I'm a die-hard when it comes to the fair! I really wanted him to like it, but I also wasn't sure if it would be just up his alley or not. It even got to the point that I said to him a few days prior "if you don't love it, could you lie to me just this once and tell me that you had fun, just so I won't be disappointed?" He laughed at that request, and then agreed to follow it!

We drove to the Twin Cities last Saturday, and after church on Sunday headed over to the fairgrounds with my parents. As we were just inside the fairgrounds and Brent got to really see what it was all about, he said "it's not just a fair, it's a Food Fest!" He was right! The first stop on our Food Fest was the "Hog-On-A-Log" stand, where I had a wonderful porkchop on a stick. If you're not familiar with the Minnesota State Fair, it's famous for selling everything on a stick. (It's also the largest fair in the country, based on the attendance-per-day numbers, and has many other wonderful things to offer!) Anyway, Brent decided to buy something different, so that we could have a taste of each other's meals, so he opted for the turkey drumstick. They were both wonderful ways to start our day!

After the meat-on-a-stick lunch, we started wandering around to find some of our favorite things. This is my mom's most-loved stand, and not being a pickle fan myself, one I stay away from.
Another favorite place, and not food-related at all, is the Creative Activities building. It has all sorts of amazing quilts, wood-working projects, and other handmade goodies of the edible and non-edible type. It's my favorite building to walk through.
Cheese Curds! Yummy!!!!! These are one of my favorite things ever! It's funny, because now that I'm a Wisconsinite (yup, got my driver's license and everything!) I'm learning that people from Wisconsin are really in love with cheese. The whole cheesehead thing is pretty real. There are entire stores dedicated just to cheese (they might throw some bread or meat-sticks in for good measure, but it's all about the cheese) and you can walk through the grocery store and see that the cheese cooler is twice as big as I've seen in any of the other five states I've lived in. Anyway, back to the story.... in Wisconsin, another name for cheese curds are squeeky-cheese. They sell cheese here that is basically just cheese cut up into bite sized pieces, and since it was made earlier that morning (the fresher the better so says my husband) it actually squeeks in your teeth when you bite into it. It's not deep-fried at all! That's the only way I ever knew cheese curds to be made! It was good to be home again....

A quick picture at the top of a little hill just so you could see how many people were there. I just looked it up and found out that there were 186,324 people there that day and 2009 set a new overall attendance record! Almost 1.8 million people! It was crowded, but do-able, and the weather that day was just perfect: not too hot, and not too cold!
In one of the dairy buildings there are sculptures made out of butter! They are heads of each of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way women, and get this... at the end of the fair, each woman gets to take hers home. Now, I'd like to hear, just what would you do if you had a huge carved block of butter sitting in your deep-freeze?
I snapped a few pictures in the horticulture building, where they were showcasing dahlia's for the day.
Lots of color! It's fun to see what people can grow or make or build and then win blue-ribbons for their effort.
Another annual stop, mini donuts! I'm not even a huge donut fan, but this is a state fair must!
And one my husband was pretty thankful for!
We decided to do something I haven't done in years, and took a ride on the sky glider! We were at one end of the fair, wanted to get to the other side, and realized this would be a great way to get there!
While riding along, I saw this scene and thought it might make for a good picture. It was fun to see the sun at just the right point behind the clouds.
Looking down over some of the things we had just walked by, like the tractor area (machinery hill) and the carvings done by chainsaws.
A far off look at some of the rides. A funny story.... during high school, my youth group went up on the tall spire (you ride the round thing in the middle and it goes up to the top and circles around so you can have a 360-view of the Twin Cities) and while we were at the top, something happened to the ride and we ended up being stuck up there for quite a while! Obviously we made it back down.
A look at one of the trolley's that gives free rides around the fairgrounds. We didn't choose this option this year.
More Midway rides:

I caught a glimpse of one of my favorite stands where I had forgotten to take an earlier picture. Two years ago while enjoying the fair with my cousin, Krista, I tried a chocolate-dipped-salted-nut-roll and really, well.... fell in love. It was magnificant! I'm glad I was able to enjoy the sweet and salty treat again!
Taken just before getting off the sky-glider. Glorious!
A perfect way to end the day, with Sweet Martha's Chocolate Chip Cookies, and milk! It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.
We were able to enjoy fun foods, see some beautiful projects, do a lot of people-watching, see some interesting animals, and enjoy a fun day together! It was great to introduce Brent to one of my favorite things about Minnesota, and get this.... at the end of the day, even though his feet hurt from all the walking, he told me he didn't even need to lie about it, he really did have fun!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Lakehouse

We've been busy getting settled in at The Lakehouse, so I thought I'd show you our progress! We've been unpacking my boxes that have been packed up for two years, Brent's stuff either from his townhouse or things he had had in boxes for a while, and then of course all the wonderful wedding presents we were blessed with. We have more to sort, but here's a little tour of what we've done so far.

This is our kitchen, with a wonderful counter where we also have two chairs to sit at. You can see my Kitchenaid mixer in the back, a Cuisinart food processor we bought with gift cards, and other fun wedding presents as well.

Here's the other angle, and the white door you see leads to our one-car garage where I am the blessed one to park there, and we put together our storage shelves and set up one of them at the right height for Brent to have a work-bench. The double door is a closet/pantry.
Our dining room, opposite the kitchen (the long counter separates them). I haven't finished unpacking all my stuff that will go in my hutch, so I'll do some creative rearranging once that happens. My dining room table expands to 104" so when we had Brent's boss' family over for dinner last night (hence the clean-enough house for pictures!!) there was plenty of space. I'm SO thankful for that! Hosting dinner's will be a breeze!
From the dining room, there's a long hallway that has doors to the basement, guest room and bathroom, with our bedroom on the end. On the opposite side of that, is our living room. Here are a few pictures of it. You can see some of our wedding gifts like candle holders, Swedish vases from the Nordic Galleri, and picture frames that are waiting to be filled! The cool wooden chair was Brent's great-grandmother's, and she got it from a neighbor who once hosted Billy the Kid at their home. We like to think he probably sat in the very chair that's in our living room! It got chopped a bit by a shorter person, and now fits my mom perfectly! :)
I wish we were able to paint the walls, but the landlord said 'no' when I asked. It looks especially stark in this picture, and seems a little better in real life.
The bookshelves are from Ikea, and you can maybe guess that I'm going to paint the TV stand eventually, recover the mauve wing back chair sometime, get a different coffee table. I do like the chest we're currently using, just might use it for a different purpose.
The two windows go out to our front yard, which is still pretty private as it sits back far from the road. It would be nice to have the living room off the lake, but it also means that the dining room goes right to the deck, and our bedrooms face the lake instead. The couch is a fun story.... We bought it when I first moved into my apartment, as I had no couch and Brent didn't have one for me to use either. We searched and searched for just the right thing, but couldn't find something that we both "fit" well, and that I liked the looks of. We ended up buying a cheap couch at Goodwill to just tide us over until we found the right thing. We quickly learned that we actually really enjoyed it, just found it to be terribly ugly. After many months, we decided that instead of getting something new, because we really did like the feel of it and it fit us well, we would recover it instead. I was able to find some great fabric at an incredible deal and with the original purchase price, the cost of the fabric, and the cost of recovering it, we have an amazing couch for a fraction of the price we would normally pay for it!
Behind the couch we made a good "hallway" that leads to our hallway, and then our office space. It's maybe hard to tell exactly from this picture, but I've got this little desk for my laptop, as that's really all the space I need. Then Brent's got this bigger desk and printer stand and file cabinet for his area. Sometimes I laugh when I really look at the proportions of the two areas! By the way, in the picture, the door you see in the hallway is our bathroom, then our bedroom is to the left, and the guestroom to the right, followed by the dining room and kitchen.
Another angle of the office space so you can see where we put my Grandmother's secretary (which I just realized I haven't decorated the top of yet) and then that's our front door. The picture is one I had already framed and there's a nail there. I can see all this white-wall space and can hardly wait to get more things on the wall!
Brent's desk and printer stand are also from Ikea.
Our bathroom has a long counter and almost a "second" room for the toilet and tub. Just an opening, though, no actual door.
Our guestroom is ready and waiting for you!
And finally, our bedroom. We just got a different bed this past weekend. We both came to the marriage with a double bed but are now blessed to have a queen. We rearranged a bit, and now I know what and where I want things on the wall. I also need to find my queen-sized dust ruffle that I have in a box somewhere....
So, there you have it! There is still more to unpack and sort, but I'll keep making progress on that, and decide what else can come upstairs and have a home, what will stay in storage until we have a bigger place someday, and what will go into the garage sale pile!

We'd love to have you come visit anytime, and see it all in person!