4.17.2014

* fitbit

Winter is nearing an end, Well sort of... lets just pretend mother nature didn't just dump close to 6" of heavy wet snow on us (at least that's the case in my neck of the MN woods).

OK back to what I was talking about... with the snow soon to be a distant memory, I always tend to amp up in the department of "staying active" and this time of year is especially hard. I am digging my way out of boots, sweatshirts, jeans and heavy coats.... and let me tell you, pale skin and a little extra warmth isn't a pretty sight.

Ton help me out... I have been hearing a ton and seeing more of the Fitbit and have decided to buy one for myself. Its a fun lil tracking device (i went with the 'force', which looks like a bracelet) that will track daily steps, burned calories, food, activities and sleep. It syncs up with an online account and an app on my phone. 

Because I have only had it on for just about 8 hours I don't have a grasp on its full potential but I have a feeling that I am really going to like it. Who doesn't love instant gratification, and seeing that I walked 6,000 steps while I worked for three hours at Millers tonight, was/is AWESOME! 

 SO if you have a Fitbit, lets be friends. If you don't have one, yet, get on out and get one!

4.16.2014

* kid's sales!!!

my addiction. my obsession. kid's sales.
 I am not against gently worn clothing for the little. 

A. kids grow too fast to spend tons of money on the clothes, shoes, jackets, etc... all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I do buy new for Avrie often.... too much, more than I ever need to but most of the time its reduced to clearance and or marked down. 

B. its kind of fun finding things that are not hanging on the racks and every other toddler around is wearing the same thing...

C. I dig to find the good condition stuff and anything that is cute BUT has a stain (big or small)... instantly goes into the "no pile". Same goes for anything TOO worn i.e. stretched out, faded, has holes and/or those little fabric piles.

D. I don't go to a sale to buy used bedding, swim wear or underwear... ew.

E. Again anything (before purchase) gets a good once over and everything (after purchase) goes right into the wash. good as new. 

My typical routine at any sale is to skip over the big items b/c its not likely that I am ever in the market to buy a used potty chair, pack and play or stroller- most of the time (not always) these items show a lot of wear and tear. I first head to the toy section and see if there's anything that Avrie is into and the currently moment in time. This year, I am looking for a really cute barn yard toy. She played with a 1980's set at GG's almost two months ago and STILL talks about it. 

 [photo via: yahoo image search]

I had this said Fisher Price barn toy as a kid toy.... you know the one I'm talking about.... the barn door makes a sick cow sound when you open it.... anyone???

Next, I head to the books- there really is no need to buy a book brand new. ever. Then the puzzles and games. These can be tricky you either have to be able to open and inspect and or trust that all pieces are still there. I've had pretty good luck with all puzzles I have picked up.

Then I make my way to the clothes. ONLY show in the size you know you NEED. Avrie is in 3T right now so I headed for the 4T rack. I told myself that I was NOT getting any jammies this year (she has soooooo many. too many!) I typically look for good condition jeans and long pants, holiday themed stuff and based on the sale (Spring/Fall) basic shorts/tees/tanks or track suits and long sleeve stuff.
Most of the time I am out the door under $100! 

I kicked off this season with my favorite sale in Lakeville; From Yours To Mine, LLC. Its huge but not overwhelming, its organized and neat, everything is clearly labeled, its spacious and generally just a well oiled machine! It's by far my favorite. 

After and hour and 15 minutes (and spending an average $2.88 per item) I ended up with the following clothing items;

[Christmas, Valentine's Day & 4th of July]

[3T, 4T & 5T!]

 [bottom right: the orange shirt has a KANGAROO on it, 
AV flipped, like i knew she would!] ;)

 Not pictured a large wooden block 1-20 number puzzle, a Very Hungry Caterpillar game, Dr. Seuss easy read flashcards, a set of play dishes for her outdoor playhouse, a keyboard, a barbie laptop, a princess cash register and a number of books. Same as the clothes, all toy items are cleaned before use.

My mom and I checked out the WBL ecfe sale too (whomp whomp) I found three items, I felt the need to wash my hands after that one.... ekk! Ironically, I sound like such a consignment sale snob, don't I. well.... I'm not going to lie, I am ;)

Next on my agenda is the HUGE Forest Lake ECFE sale at the high school and following that, a new sale (for me) down in the Hastings area- a Mom's Sale and thennn every single garage sale I can manage to pop into. Tell me, what's YOUR favorite sale and tell me your HONEST opinion on these sales- no feelings hurt because I am set in my ways and really do LOVE them. ;)

Happy Sale Season! :)

4.15.2014

* howl at the blood moon!

you know I woke up for this....

 
 
a little bit later than I had planned on, but my dreaming about the blood moon woke me up, none the less.
I headed for the the living room and what I saw was.... blurry (then i realized i had forgotten to put my glasses on) as soon as I found my specs, the beauty was clear.
I returned to bed tapping Aaron on the shoulder knowing that he should see it too. Reluctantly, he got up to check it out. He agreed that it was "neat" but then fell right back to sleep.
Here's the best 'real' photo I could get, with my camera phone, out on the deck. I was way too lazy AND cold to grab my camera, figure out the setting AND get a coat.


So.... did you wake up to see it!? What'd ya think?

4.01.2014

* March Cook & Dine

For March cooking class, I was able to attend the Tuesday night class (a week earlier than normal) on 3.4.14. It was a fun night cooking with some of my favorite ladies.


The second class, on 3.19.14, I would have LOVED to be at as well- but I had to work at Millers that night. It would have been super fun meeting Mn blogger Sally's daughter AND to be apart of Matt & Mimi's date night! Yes.. date night. Matt planned "surprise date night" was a cooking class. I thought this was super fun and thought it would be fun to recreate sometime SOOOO if there are some couple out there wanting to do something like this- let's plan it!!


The theme for this month's class was making items that were quick! That they were- the three items also went together really well as a meal. The menu for the night included; Chicken Saltimbocca, Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries & a Greek-Flare Couscous. We incorporated the product of the month Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Blend


With everything being so good, it was really hard getting a favorite item. With the chicken being the main course, that automatically sets it up for gold. I personally REALLY loved the sides, just as equally if not more.

 

After dinner we cleaned our palates with a super smooth and very tasty mint, green, grasshopper. This was a tasty treat that was fitting for March and also 20 times better than the Mickey D's shamrock shakes that I was somehow able to avoid all month!


With class seeming like it was FOREVER ago, I am looking forward to class on again next week. For April we are likely cooking with ham- perfect with Easter coming up in a couple of weeks! Also-- again if anyone is interested in a "date night" cooking class, I'd love to arrange for that and put it on the calendar!

3.25.2014

* ALL of Fall 2013!

alright, i know it's getting old that i am so far behind in posting, but in all honesty i have just lost all sense of time in my days. i know its a result of feeling SUPER unorganized at all times. SOMETHING that i am currently working on and finding resolution to. Along those lines of figuring out how to get back to being organized, i have allowed a small window of time to do blog things if i feel that there isn't anything else pressing to do on the day/night that i have dedicated to reading my favorite blogs, commenting on their posts and or posting onto my own blog. anyway, with that being said and i know i have said it time and time again- that this blog of mine is basically a diary of our daily/monthly events, shared with friends & family. 

it's OK that i decide to blog about sept-nov of 2013 in mid march of 2014... and to eventually follow that up with a post all about the holidays of 2013 that whizzed on by and to maybe wrap up this MISERABLY long, cold and snowy winter- i will work on sharing everything that we've been up to during one polar vortex after another. i have VERY high hopes of being "on top of things" for the spring and into the summer... BUT summer is where i usually fall apart in the blogging world. i will give it another try and see how far along i get. i REALLY do love my blog and all of the memories that it holds for me. 

and now... let's rewind back to those last few warm & sunny evenings before the crisp fall air set in. [fair warning this is the longest post known to mankind [you might just want to skip it]].

***
I really enjoy the little hometown feel of our bank, Lake Elmo Bank in Lake Elmo, Mn. Other branches include Oakdale and Stillwater. Every year they hold the Lake Elmo Community Day with a petting zoo, informationals, grilled hot dogs, hot! hot! sweet corn, ice cream, balloons, BINGO and a great sense of community!


Like the year before- we headed over to the Lake Elmo Branch for a little dinner on the lawn... followed by free ice cream!


Avrie pretty much thought she was the coolest kid walking around with her very own ice cream cone!


After we ate, we went to check out all of the animals. Avrie always gets a kick out of feeding animals. She made sure to feed all of them... over and over again.


I took SO many pictures of her eating this ear of corn- I pretty much feel like it was the cutest thing ever. We've discovered that she really likes her corn on the cob!


***

Mid September we heard that our nephew Ethan {Avrie's buddy!} would be playing at the Metrodome for a little tikes all conference football game of sorts. It was an 8pm game against the USC Rebels with the final score being 6-0. Ethan played on defensive team as a cornerback.

 [Evenson #12 standing in the tunnel!]

We were so happy to be there for Ethan's big day- we know that he loved having his biggest fan sitting in the seats cheering him on. This was also Avrie's first and ONLY time at the Metrodome. This was a pretty special event as the Metrodome is no more- it was demoed January 18th, 2014. Avrie had a blast cheering on her favorite Maple River Eagle and also getting her picture with Ethan down on the field after the game.


   ["touchdown!!"]

[Metrodome selfie with my girl!] 

***

Nearing the end of our sunny summer days we had a Newport Girls gathering at The Afton Apple Orchard. We had two more that had planned to join us but other events such as a car accident just miles from the orchard that BOTH of them were involved in had them either headed to the hospital or without a car. It was not the best mood setter- we all felt awful about it BUT the good thing was that EVERYONE was ok and no one was hurt. We all decided to take advantage of the beautiful Fall afternoon and chatted away as the kids played on the park, fed the goats and all the while snapping away with our cameras. It's TOO fun that us friends from elementary pretty much all have kids the same age! 


After a fun tractor ride around the orchard we hopped off and had a little picnic before the bees chased us up and away. Cassie's hubby was AWESOME and tagged along which in turn nominates him as group photo taker- he did a great job!


We couldn't let this photo opportunity of our littles hanging out with the piggy statues- they all took to them knowing that it was a Kodak moment. It was adorable.


***
 
With Fall comes the time to harvest! Before we get into the field, I wanted to share Avrie's apple picking with Grandma Ertle right in Grandma's backyard. We picked a variety of apples to make homemade applesauce. Avrie figured out how to efficiently carry more than one apple to the basket...


After a ton of peeling, coring, slicing, boiling, stirring and simmering we had fresh, sweet and tart homemade applesauce. We snacked on some right away and took a few jars home to enjoy and freeze.


My mom made fun of Avrie and I saying that we were dressed up a little too much for an afternoon of apple picking... but oh well- we got the job done!


***

Onto field harvest down in Minn Lake- on the weekend of Oct 19th Avrie and I went along with Aaron for a weekend of Harvest. As usual, Aaron is home and in the field as much as he can be- but Avrie and I aren't always along. This weekend, we were- we love being able to have Avrie experience real life tractoring.


She LOVES it when we are saying that we are headed to Grandma and Grandma's farm and even more so when she finds out she gets to see Uncle Brad and all of the tractors and combines. Right away she got to go for a moonlight ride with daddy followed by a lesson on corn at Uncle Brad's bin site.  

      


Avrie had the best time driving the tractor with daddy, talking on the radio with Uncle Brad over in the combine and we also did a little bit of facetime [actually 'ooVoo' via droid] with Auntie Jamie and Gabriel. Gabriel LOVES the combine and every year we encourage them to visit- maybe next year he will want to come after seeing Avrie driving the tractor! We also timed it right were Avrie was able to help daddy eat his dinner and snack in the tractor. ;)

      

Before we headed out from a fun weekend in Minn Lake- we had to take a couple of pictures of Avrie on the newly restored John Deere MT by Grandpa Sonnek's. Ambrose bought this tractor from my Grandpa Schlomka. He did an awesome job and had a lot of fun with this project. Below is a before and after picture with Avrie as the driver. The top picture is before the drop off at Oak Grove Farm and the bottom picture being the finished product- project JD complete!


***

Once again, just like last year {as in Oct 2012} Mom, Jamie and I attended Cranberry Fest in Stone Lake, WI. Getting there went a little bit differently, as Avrie had her first dance class starting that same weekend {i am saving that for another time!} but we made it there none the less!

[auntie jamie & gabriel!]

After dance class we headed north in our jam packed car. We stopped for a little Mickey D's and a potty break, then arrived in Stone Lake just after 4pm. It was raining, booooo, and everything was only about an hour away from shutting down. It was enough time to walk around with the kiddos, find some snacks and the potty. I don't think they would have lasted much longer than an hour anyway. In this little bit of time, Gabriel and Avrie had a blast exploring the rainy grounds & snacking on mini donuts!


 I chowed down a cranberry brat, which was DELICIOUS!


From Stone Lake we headed into Hayward to stay at the cabin- it's always a different game at the lake when it's cold and rainy but we always find ways to have fun anyway.


Mom's friends Jen & Kay were also along for the weekend so we spent time eating everything delicious made by Mom, manicures by Jamie, girl talk while we dipped our hands and feet in wax and a hilarious game of SPOONS!

[what happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin]

Meanwhile, Gabriel and Avrie ran all around chasing one another & having a million giggle fits. These two are just the best of buddies. Two peas in a pod and always competing for who can be more of a goof ball. Avrie loves being at the cabin and her true little goofy funny girl self comes out- she was even MORE excited to be having a sleepover with Gabriel- best! weekend! ever!


The next morning before we headed home from the quick weekend in WI- the kids wanted to go out by the lake once Grandma Ertle was done with her Kayak. They each got in a little bit of Kayak time. Jamie and I headed back home with two tired and exhausted kiddos. Mom & Kay closed up the cabin and did a little bit of shopping and wine tasting on the way home.


 ***

Fall can not come and go without me making it to the From Yours to Mine Kids Sale in Lakeville. This year I encouraged my new mommy friend Rachel to join me. At the time her little Ava was just under 3 months old. Over a planned lunch date, we discussed the details of the sale and the very next headed to the sale. I LOVE these things and always find SO much for such a great deal! I'm totally addicted. Rachel ended up with a bunch of really great items too- she also had a great time MINUS the little hiccup of no diaper bags allowed.


We had fun sitting off to the side showing each other all of the cute things we found and weeding out the 'not so great items now that I am really looking at it' items.


I usually head to this sale with my sister, Jamie, but had a great time with this little beauty & Rachel. Oh and most people would agree in saying that Rachel and I could pass for sisters as well... must be the hair! ;)
 ***

Fall is nearing the end when Deer Opener presents itself. While Aaron was up north tracking down Bambi's father- Avrie and I spent an entire day at Mom's doing Freezing Meals.


Jamie and Gabriel were also up to make freezer meals. We put in a long but fun day whipping up more than I can count in items of food for the freezer. It was another bonus day for AV & Gabriel, more play time!! They did pretty good entertaining each other all morning & afternoon. 

    
[spaghetti/pizza bake, breakfast burritos and not pictured enchilada bake]

With all the mention of food, that Thursday {or maybe it was Friday} I was busy all day baking banana bread, a greek orzo salad and spicy pretzels for the deer hunters.
 
  
[avrie's opener, send off, outfit & my care package of food]

So to say that I had my fill of cooking for the weekend [all of which i didn't get to eat right away or at all] was a HUGE understatement. I will say- the breakfast burritos were a success, they are SO good and it's so nice taking one or two out of the freezer for a quick breakfast every now and then.

***

This same weekend we had the #MMTOTKE wedding.


Avrie was my date and while I remember this wedding being super fun, Avrie was having a day, meaning just being a pain in the butt. But a cute one... so I forgive her, looking back she was just restless.

[i found a theme of circles this night]
R to L: the coasters, a ring around the rosie circle, 
Avrie's glossed up lips & the GORGEOUS church ceiling

Playing in the leaves with Grandma Ertle while we walked a mile back to our car! We found ways to make it a fun walk though.

[it was SUPER windy this day!]

She was pretty much a pill from the moment the wedding ceremony was over until she was let loose on the dance floor. She did great in church but the cocktail hour and dinner was a different story! haha She's never really a "problem" but she was certainly full of attitude and at one point she was laying on the floor under the dinner table while waiting for our food to be served and there she laid until she realized she had to go potty... #2... and then it was like she was a whole new girl!  Well anyway with that being said... it was a good thing I was driving that night because from the looks of it below, girlfriend had had way too much cherry pop...

[hahaha]

Even though she loves hanging out with cousin Gabriel she was not really into hugs or pictures at this particular moment! See that face... it was cocktail hour and she was sporting A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E!


After dinner... LOOK OUT! She was tearing it up on the dance floor! She was quite entertaining, it never got old hearing how cute she was and seeing how much fun she was having, she was just happy to be dancing. She had so many funny moves- and was in awe of Amanda's pretty wedding dress. She kept wanting to touch Amanda's dress and to have Amanda pick her up to dance. When it became time to head home, I remember telling Avrie that we needed to check on Kangy in the car. Naturally she was not ready to go, but the fun had to end at some point right!? We look forward to all of the wedding dances that we have this year to come!


***

Middle of November I spent some much needed and appreciated quality time with my best bloggy friend Dawn. We decided on dinner at Fat Lorenzo's in Minneapolis. After waiting a little while for a table in this cute little pizza shop, we were seated and ready to gab the night away! We enjoyed monster plates of Italian food, a glass or two of wine and FREE gelato!

[the best from the 20 pictures we took of ourselves]

We had a great time anticipating a glass of ANDERRA wine only for them to come back and tell us they were all out! BUMMER! We proceeded to talk away, 2 maybe 3 hours, into the night. At one point we stood up to leave but decided to sit back down as we weren't quite ready to end our fun 'blate' night. We were having too much fun making up stupid hashtags on the table cloth & watching our gelato melt and drip everywhere- we were SO full!

 

While on the topic of Dawn at Mom-a-Logues a week or two later I participated in the St Jude's Walk at Target Field with Dawn and her family. Dawn had put together a team for the MN Bloggers group and I was very happy to be apart of it. We were walking for such a great cause. Lo was our other musketeer that morning and when the THREE of us are together- it's a REALLY great time, so I just couldn't let this day slip under the rug. I wouldn't change anything from the day besides the fact that it was, what felt like, a bazillion degrees below zero. Little did we know now- it was probably actually really warm that day- this winter has been AWFUL! We followed up this chilly walk with brunch & pie!


***

Ending this GINORMOUSLY long post I want to make note of Aaron and I's Dateversary. We happened to be out 'just us' on the weekend of us being together for 12 years! Aaron's parents were in town and we had asked if they would hang out with Avrie while we headed up to Stars & Strikes to watch Chase in his fight. Kay & Ambrose were more than happy to push us out the door- so out we RAN! haha We had a good time sitting at the bar, chatting it up with a private detective {that.. was.. interesting..} and reminiscing on the fact that Aaron and I have known each other as long as a K-12year school career. Let's just say we were feeling geeky...
 

***

annnnnd so that ends this fall chapter of 2013. our old anniversary of 11.17 pretty much marks the 'calm before the storm'. we always have SO much going on b/w then and the new year. next up i will post the details/photo memories of our time spent celebrating the holidays. this includes; thanksgiving, a blogger holiday party turned sleepover, christmas and everything related- tree cutting, santa & comet, 3 family christmas celebrations, visits with friends and NYE {which I already wrote about}! GOSH, I am just all over the place with my blog this year, it's insane- but again that pretty much sums up my brain, i am all over the place! until then. the end! ;)