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Maddie’s Birthday Weekend

Maddie’s Birthday Weekend

We had lots of fun celebrating our big 6 year old this past weekend.  On Saturday morning, Chuck and Maddie worked on making a birthday cake. She wanted to make and decorate her own cake this year. Chuck helped her bake and she did the decorating. (One was chocolate and the other cake was rainbow with white frosting.) She was so proud of herself!



Saturday afternoon, we had a girls outing and went to see Fancy Nancy at the Stages Theatre. It was a really cute show with lots of singing and dancing by kids. The girls loved it. We took my mom, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece.





The amazing Grandma Linda made Maddie a Merida dress (from the Disney movie Brave). Now, here is a picture of the image she was modeling the dress after:File_000


I honestly think hers is even better than the ones you can buy in the stores. Amazing!

That evening we had some family over to celebrate and eat all the cake Maddie made. She also got a few other Merida accessories to go with her dress. So cute!



Then on Sunday she wanted to go to brunch. So we took her there and then we went to the Mall of America because she wanted to go to the Crayola Experience and spend some birthday money. We had also planned to ride rides, but since it was a holiday weekend, it was really busy there and we decided to skip rides.

On Monday, I had plans to meet a friend at the mall (we knew it would be a potentially terrible idea with everyone in town planning to be there, too). So we took the kids on some rides and had lunch. Since it was President’s Day there were some events going on and the kids got crowns and got their picture with some presidents. Winking smile







After lunch at the mall, we went to our friend’s house to hang out for the afternoon. It was a fun-filled day (and weekend) and we were all exhausted by the end of it. I think Maddie had a great birthday filled with fun, family and friends!

Now we are thankfully back to our regular schedule. Smile


Yogurt Parfaits

Yogurt Parfaits

A friend posted a recipe for yogurt parfaits. I thought I’d give it a try and see if I could add a new breakfast to the handful the kids will eat. Turns out, it was a huge hit. I was happily surprised by how much they ate. The ingredients have now been added to my weekly shopping list. As an added bonus, I even like eating it. I hardly ever eat breakfast, but when I’m craving something sweet, this hits the spot for any meal or a snack.

My friend also posted a recipe for her own granola and I may try it at some point. For now, I have just bought a couple different brands of granola to try. I’m excited to have another healthy meal for the kids to eat. They can be so picky, and I feel like I should give myself a win for finding something new…even if this should have been completely obvious to me. 🙂

Do your kids love fruit and yogurt? Do you? I just learned how yummy granola can be on it. I’m weird about textures, so I’m excited about this yummy find!

High Tea

High Tea

My dear friend, Lauren, suggested that some friends try high tea at the St. Paul Hotel. It was such as fun experience. You get to drink tea served to you by cute men and women in their serving uniforms, sip champagne or wine if you choose, and snack on delicious food. It’s a fun experience that only costs a little over $40/person.


They have vegetarian options as well as caffeine free tea.


Those were all from our first tea visit. We had so much fun that we scheduled a second outing and invited a few more friends. This is definitely something we will continue to do. Maybe we’ll be old and grey and talking about how long we’ve been going to high tea with our girlfriends. 🙂 I’d love to take some other friends or family with me. It’s worth having the experience of high tea in this gorgeous hotel.

Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Fritata

Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Fritata


First, I know it’s supposed to be “caramelized”, but I spelled it wrong on my picture and I didn’t have the originals anymore. So this is what you are getting. 🙂 I came across the recipe HERE and knew I had to give it a try since it had so few ingredients and looked amazing. It was SOOOO good. We made it a couple times and now that I think about it, it’s been ages since we made it. I’m going to have to get this one back in on the meal rotation again.

It was so simple to make. Here is the recipe:


  • 2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 8 eggs


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet. Add the onions and saute’ on medium heat until caramelized to a golden brown but not burnt, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs lightly, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the rosemary leaves and give it one more quick stir.
  3. Scrape the caramelized onions into the bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Wipe the skillet clean and add the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil. Reduce heat to low. Pour the egg and onion mixture back into the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the eggs are no longer runny.
  5. Turn broiler on low and place rack on center position. If your oven does not have a low broil setting, then place rack on one position below center.
  6. Place the frittata in the oven just for one or two minutes. This will allow the top to puff and brown. Be sure to watch the frittata to prevent top from burning or becoming tough.
  7. To serve, gently slide a spatula underneath the frittata to loosen it and turn out to a warm plate. Or just cut in the pan and serve directly from there.
  8. Frittatas make great leftovers but for best taste, eat within one or two days.

Happy eating.

Birthdays: Alex (2) & Dannie (4)

Birthdays: Alex (2) & Dannie (4)

Alex and Dannie had a Curious George birthday party again this year. I am not sure how I convinced Dannie to have another one, but it turned out great. It was so nice to be home for their birthday, although their birthday in Seattle will always be so special to me because I got to spend it with our friends there before we moved back.

My amazing friend and neighbor who owns Ganser’s Goodies made the cupcakes for the party. I told her what Dannie wanted and then I popped in the cupcake toppers. They were delicious and a huge hit!

I can never get these two to look at the camera at the same time, but I really wanted a picture of them in their Curious George shirts I found for them. This was the best I could do.

We had family and some friends come celebrate with us. We played, opened presents, ate and socialized. I think this might be the last family/friends party we do. It’s starting to get too big with all our family and the kids are going to want more friends at their parties soon. But it was so fun to have everyone over to celebrate these two monkeys.

Alex really got the hang of presents this year. He LOVED opening presents and tried to get some of his sister’s opened, too. We just did gifts from guests at the party and opened ones from us on each of their actual birthdays.

When we went to light the candles, I didn’t take off the cupcake topper and it started on fire. There’s a couple funny pictures of me when I realized what had happened and this was the funniest picture of me.

My babies are very quickly becoming not babies anymore. I’m sad and also really excited about this. They are all so sweet to each other and love each other to pieces. I love that they are friends and can’t wait to see what kind of people these kids will grow up to be.

Happy birthdays my sweet little monkeys. We love you!


Sushi Skills 101

Sushi Skills 101

Last month, for a date night, I signed us up for a sushi making class through Cooks of Crocus Hill. This class taught us all about sushi (which is the rice) and how to make it correctly. We also learned how to make nigiri and some rolls. There was a lot of great information and it was so much fun to try something new!


Their kitchen was so pretty!



We were given some recipes in our packet and the chef made the most amazing soy sauce mixture we have ever had. We wanted to drink it! We also got the recipes for sushi rice, and a few rolls.

We watched the chef demonstrate and cook a bunch of stuff and then he set us loose to try all the stuff he taught us.





I really like nigiri and found I liked the cucumber rolls. I didn’t think I would, but I was pleasantly surprised. I also liked the spicy tuna rolls the chef made.


At the end, while we were asking questions, the chef just continued to make rolls for us to pass around and eat. He got fancier as we neared the end of the class.


We had a lot of fun and Chuck wants to try making some at home. I usually say I don’t like sushi, but a couple weeks ago I finally had my first sushi craving. Apparently you just get hooked on sushi and want it all the time. I didn’t think that was possible, but it happened. So Chuck was happy to run out and get some for us for dinner!

I really enjoyed taking this cooking class and I plan to sign us up for another one sometime in the future. It was nice to go do something other than just dinner and a movie (which is wonderful). There’s just something about going out, learning something and making it that is so satisfying and perfect.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? Or done a fun activity or something out of the ordinary for date night? I love suggestions!


A Visit From Seattle

A Visit From Seattle

Our long-time friend, Kelly, and her daughter, Aria, came to visit us a couple weeks ago. I literally squealed when she told me she booked a flight here and was even more excited when she decided to stay with us! That meant loads of baby snuggles and Kelly-time!


Chuck also made his best batch EVER of pretzels!!!


We went to one of her favorite restaurants one night for dinner. It was fun to bring all the kids there. Thankfully, it’s not a super classy joint, so we weren’t bothering anyone with all the kids (whom were all very well-behaved). We also spent a morning at the zoo and had lunch at Noodles.

The kids were really good with Aria and liked to play with her. Maddie was especially loving of her…and Aria liked Maddie a lot!



It was a brief, but wonderful trip. I am so thankful that she came all the way here (after staying a number of days in Georgia) to see us and let us meet her sweet little girl!

I am hoping to plan a trip out during Chuck’s July trip to Seattle. I am really excited to go out and see some of my dear friends there! It’s so good to be back home in MN, but I still miss my friends there. Thankfully, 2016 makes it pretty easy to stay in touch with each other!


Some New Meals

Some New Meals

It’s been almost a month since I posted something here. I am slacking! I’ve been trying to make some new meals here and there.

The most recent one we tried (and I loved…even the leftovers) was Spicy Grilled Tofu. I didn’t take any pictures, but trust me! It was so yummy! I made some brown/wild rice in the rice cooker to go with it and sautéed some peppers/onions/garlic to go with it. Yum! I used only 1/4 cup syrup instead of the 1/3 cup and I didn’t actually grill the tofu. I just seared it in a pan. Still delicious. The only things the kids ate was a little bit of the rice. I can’t remember what I had leftover in the fridge for them to eat for dinner that night.

Tonight, I am making Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats. I have seen similar recipes to this one online many times, but decided to finally try it. I’m really excited. The kids probably won’t touch this. I’ll give them some to try, but most likely they will eat a cheese quesadilla.

I am planning to make some tofu lettuce wraps next week, as well.

We have made these Veggie Packed Pizza Roll-Ups many times and we love it! We make a bunch of sauce and freeze leftovers for another time. They are so filling since you make whole wheat dough for them. We like to add some extra spices/seasoning in them and sometimes some bacon bits. The kids will usually eat these, but Chuck also uses some leftover dough and makes them some breadsticks with them (which they dip in ketchup…weirdos).

Some of our favorites are:

  • Onion Rings, homemade pizza (sometimes we make the dough and sometimes we just use store bought)
  • Taters & Veggies (I could eat this for every meal, and they can be modified with whatever veggies you like best.

  • Spaghetti (we sauté a BUNCH of garlic, peppers and onions and add it to the sauce, which makes me eat less pasta because the sauce is so filling)
  • pancakes/waffles and eggs
  • Veggie Soup (which we had last night for dinner)
  • I made the Chicken Noodle Soup I like with tofu instead of chicken and it turned out great!
  • Fish tacos

I’m trying to broaden my food horizon and try some new things, but I still throw in some favorites. Making a new meal too often can be challenging and even make you less excited to try more new things. So I am trying for one new meal a week. I like having a big arsenal of go-to meals. Smile And another thing I do is add the meals we are eating to our shared calendar. Then we can see what is coming up or adjust as need be if something comes up.

Do you have any favorite vegetarian meals that you love that we should try? If so, please send along the recipe! What do you do for meal planning/prep?


Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

I made this a month or so ago when Chuck was out of town last time and it was so yummy! I think I found this recipe through Pinterest, but it came from Cooking Light so I wanted to give it a try. I am definitely making it again…maybe this week!






This was really flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised. I think it helped to use stock instead of broth. The only thing I would do differently next time is have some extra stock to add in after. It was a little light on the liquid. I would have preferred a little more. When I saved the soup, I added a little water to each of the servings and that helped.

I’m getting hungry just looking at it. Guess the ingredients are going on my grocery list! It was a tasty dinner and was great for lunches.

*UPDATE* I made this again today. I added two 32 oz containers of stock and no extra water. I also cooked the veggies with some garlic (which I did last time, too). It was much better liquid-wise. The taste was still really good and I ate a small helping for lunch and have about 5 lunch portions leftover.


I also didn’t mention that I love how tasty this soup is and it only takes about a half hour to cook. This is going to be a definite go-to meal for me.


Oatmeal & Berry Bars

Oatmeal & Berry Bars

This recipe for Berry Bars popped up in my Facebook feed the other day. I happened to be going to a friend’s house that morning and I told her about it. Her reply was “that looks easy and delicious. Let’s make them. I have all the stuff!” So we did. We whipped them together and had the kids “help”. They were a huge hit and I will definitely be making them again and keeping them around for breakfast and/or snacks.


We sprayed the pan lightly because she didn’t have any parchment paper. Make the oatmeal mixture and press it onto the pan. I did this with my fingers and shaped it. I’d say it was maybe 1/4-1/2 inch thick or so. Then add the jam/fruit layer (we used raspberry jam and frozen blueberries) and add the rest of the oatmeal mixture on top.

The fruit layer was a little hard to spread around and I was skeptical there was really enough, but it turned out to be just fine. I decided to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the top layer of oatmeal crust down flat since my hands were not doing the trick.


You may need to perfect your own technique, but you should definitely give them a try. My kids loved them, her kids loved them, they were simple and you know everything that went into them. And the kids can help. What more can a mom/parent ask for?!