Monday, July 28, 2008

Top of the Morning

After almost 12 hours of sleep, I am a new woman! I'm not sure how I was able to stay up all night when I was younger, but let me tell you those days are definitely behind me. I was like a walking zombie at about 1PM Dublin time yesterday.

So now that I am completely refreshed, and Nate is leaving to go pick up the rental car, let me tell you a few quick stories (still without picture....i.e. still without luggage).

Due to my zombie-like state, we tried checking into the hotel early...around noon. The guy told us that our room wouldn't be ready until 2, so we checked our luggage. We asked the guy at the counter where the restrooms were and he looked so unbelievably confused, and points to the lobby area and says, "well you could rest here I guess since your rooms are ready." Then we tried bathroom, still no luck. So finally, Nate gave "toilets" a try, and SUCCESS! we had bathrooms people.

So we walked around for about 2 hours, although it was more like Nate leading me around, and making sure I didn't get run over because I was pretty much falling asleep standing up.

We came back to the hotel and I told Nate to only let me sleep for 1.5 hours. He fell asleep too, and miraculously we both woke up after about 2 hours. We rushed to get ready, and headed to all the top sights at Dublin. Ironically we were about a half hour late for everything..Book of Kells, Trinity Church, delicious pastry shop called Queen of Tarts, etc. But while we didn't get to check out all the attractions, we did walk around a ton and got to see lots of beautiful churches and took in the scene at the Temple Bar area.

Well, today is the big test. Nate gets behind the wheel in a "wheel on the right, drive on the left" road situation. YIKES! Good thing we are operating on a full nights sleep before we get behind the wheel. I can't imagine doing that yesterday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We Made it!

First post from Ireland! Nate and I both made it to Ireland in one piece, which was a relief since we weren't on the same flight. We didn't have any trouble meeting up at the airport, and we were both ready to be done with the first leg of the air travel.

Here are the highlights to date:

11:30: Greta drops Nate off at Airport, says see you in Dublin.
3:30PM: Greta leave MSP for Dublin
3:35 PM: Greta sighs a huge relief when she finds out the woman next to her is a normal human being, and there are no small children or drunk men ahead of her or behind her.
3:40 PM: Take Off! Hunkering down for the 7+ hour flight
4:30 PM: Discover the in-seat entertainment system is free and go to town on the movies (see side bar)
6:00 PM: Receive first round of crappy airline food. Pasta, a chunk of processed cheese with two crackers and some Pepperidge Farm cookies. I stick to the cookies...
8:00 PM: Darkness settles in and I start to get anxious about whether or not I should try to sleep...
9:00 PM: Awww..screw it. I can't sleep anyway..let's pop in the 3rd movie.
10:30 PM: Receive second round of crappy airline food. This time it is breakfast because it is actually approaching 6AM in Paris (my layover destination). It is a really weird and nasty egg, cheese and bisquit combination. I eat it out of desparation.
6:30AM Paris Time: Arrive in Paris, and pull out all Amazing Race stops to try to get on the 7:15AM flight, but fail. Now it is time to wait until my flight leaves at 10:15.
10:30: Receive 3rd round of airline food. This time it is brilliant! Chocolate Crossiant! Air France doesn't mess around.
Sometime: Arrive in Dublin. At this point, I am so confused about the time because of the initial time difference, and then apparently I lost/gained an hour from Paris to Dublin. I still don't really get it.


11:30 AM: Nate breaks it to me that Northwest lost our luggage...yup....not kidding.
1:00 PM: Arrive at hotel, take a 2 hour nap, and then hit the town. We did a ton of walking including a 5 mile detour so Nate could just look at the Guinness Brewery. A good dinner at Wagamama, and then more walking.

I would have pictures to share, but the cord that we need to connect the camera to the guessed our luggage.

More to come! Cheers!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tour de Backyard

Nate and I are very lucky to have a pretty good sized backyard so close to the city. We were also lucky to have a home where the previous owners knew what they were doing when it came to flowers/bushes/etc. I haven't quite aquired the eye or passion for landscaping quite yet.

So we do the basics. You know, water, weed, repeat.... Well, that is until I have discovered our backyard is a utopia for all the creepy crawly critters I hate.

First...there are the SPIDERS! YUCK...I no longer week because I was attacked by a fairly large brown (I swear it was a brown recluse) spider. They are everywhere..small, big, black, brown, yellow...yes...yellow.

Check out this web that a spider wove. It's like a little spider mcmansion.

Then, the other night we were strolling around our backyard checking out the foilage, and notice these flowers in the corner of our yard were DEMOLISHED. And much to my dismay, we discover our backyard is BEETLEMANIA!!! I am talking about hundreds upon hundreds of these things. YUCK.


Pesky, disgusting infiltrants aside, the apple of my eye in the backyard is our 'garden'. Let me tell you that this started much more peppers, green peppers, beans and tomatoes. But after a hail storm, and huge enormous bunnies, we are down to tomatoes and a few green peppers.

HOWEVER, I bought some killer fertilizer or straight up cow manure at Home Depot (like I said, not really completely with it on the gardening stuff yet), and the plants that survived are OUT OF CONTROL. We are going to have millions of tomatoes...

Nate already has plans to build me a huge garden next year that the bunnies cannot hop into and destroy, so we'll see what next year brings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Great Food: Episode 10

It was back to basics this week with Rigatoni with Goat Cheese. Since we are busy getting ready for Ireland, we decided our meal this week had to be quick and easy.

And it didn't disappoint. First, you all know by now that I adore goat cheese---so it wasn't a stretch for us to love this dish.

It was super easy...1 lb. of RIgatoni, 4 oz of Goat Cheese, some fresh Paremsan and then mix in your ingrediants of choice.

We put sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fresh basil.

Nate did all the heavy lifting, so it sure seemed easy to me... :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Weekends

This weekend I experienced one of those rare semi-spontaneous evenings that turn out to be so much fun!

Friday night, Nate and I met up with the Wong-Plonske's for a wicked round of mini-golf at the Walker Sculpture Gardens. They do this exhibit where they pretty much make the golf-course art.

Anyway, it was lots of fun, and proved tricky. Let's just say I didn't win either of our 2 7-hole rounds.

At times, you had to bike your ball into the hole......

Other holes required you to navigate around a million water bottles filled with water (ok maybe only like 50, but it was HARD).

And when golfing got boring, we just goofed around.

Then we decided to check out Psycho Suzy's, this bar in NE MPLS that caters to summertime. Read: Crazy Nice Patio, Tiki Drinks, and delicious appetizers. By the way, the tiki drink are ridiculously strong. When we left, Nate said that we were pretty much the tourists because everyone gets the tiki drinks the first time they come, but after that they stick to beer....guess we got suckered into the atmosphere.

Hands down was the "Pu Pu Dogs" appetizer. Basically, you take a little smokey mini hot dog, and flame broil it on this mini grill, and then stuff it into this micro bun and fix it up with one of 10 toppings.
All weekend Nate kept saying, just think of how much fun we had Friday night. If I was stressed, or tired, or grumpy, or fill in the blank, he just kept reminding me of how much fun we had Friday night, which I thought was pretty cute....very true...and very cute.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Great Food: Episode 9

This week, Nate and I had to channel our inner vegetarian for:

Lentil and Walnut Burgers with Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce.

Now, I am pretty sure I can see my Dad rolling his eyes right now and shaking his head. BUT, Nate and I were so surprised at how much the 'burgers' looked, and tasted like real burgers. For having zero meat, the consistency was pretty good.

We spiced ours up a little with some extra red peppers flakes. The Yogurt/Cilantro Sauce made the meal though. It was so delicious.

We also made a side dish: Sauteed Summer Vegetables. Very creatively named--I know, but take it up with Martha. It was good, nothing fancy, super simple and very fresh tasting. You literally take whatever veggies you like, sautee in a tablespoon of olive oil, and throw in two crush full cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper them. It is nice for when you forget to get those veggies marinating for the grill!

Here is the professional take:

And of course, here is our take...notice the WAY oversized hamburger bun..hehehe

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight

Nate and I got to go to the sneak preview of Batman last night through my work.

Let me just say it was incredible.

I have never seen a Batman movie before, nor do I care at all about Batman.

But all the comic stuff, legacy of Batman, blah blah blah was a freakin awesome movie.

BUT, for those with kidlets, I definitely think it shoudl have been rate R.

Go see it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Love Lucy

My cat, Lucy is:

Getting On
Older and Wiser
Part of me



Poor Lucy is not feeling well, and doesn't seem to be getting better too quickly! The bounceback from illness doesn't come as easy when you are 21 in cat years.

Get better soon Lucy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Great Food: 4th of July Episode

I realize this is oh about a week late but here it is! Nate and I headed back to Viroqua for the Fourth.

We decided to do a little Mexican Fiesta (which Rachel comically pointed out is pretty much anarchy on the 4th of July), but it was seriously delicious.

We made Rum Glazed Shrimp and Mangos, and Steak, Avacado and Radish Tacos (not pictured). Yum, Yum, and Yum. The only thing missing was a huge pitcher of mojitos.

Tell me you wouldn't eat this vs. a crappily grilled burger and some Lay's potato chips?

For those of you still shaking your head in disgust over our anti-fourth of july dinner, you will be happy to know that we had good old BBQ chicken, cold beer and some corn the next night.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I read about this website:
Basically, you go to the website and pay $10 to be surprised.

Literally, there really isn't anything to look at except some FAQ's, and a sheet to enter in your credit card information.

You pay $10, and in about a week you get "something" in the mail. It could be anything....a hat, a calendar, and on the website they even said some lucky buyers will get big ticket items like an iPod, or designer jewelry.

So I took the bait, afterall there are very few times in life that you can be truly 100% surprised, plus I've probably wasted $10 on worse things before.

Last night, I came home and my "something" had arrived. As soon as I felt the package my hopes and dreams of free iPods and a Tiffany bracelet quickly vanished. For what I felt, was light, but clunky, and made of some rubbery/pleathery material.......

What was it you ask?

A fairly ugly wine carrier.....

But it was all for fun and games and lucky Mom..she's got a birthday coming up! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Great Food: Episode 8

This week, Nate and I scoured the cookbook for what would require us to buy the least amount of new ingrediants since we were heading home for the 4th.

That led us to Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers.

These were surprisingly easy. It did require a food processor, but I think you could do it without if you didn't have one.
You take chicken thighs and just pulse chop them 12-15 times to get the thighs cut up and then you form very small patties and throw them on the grill.
Put two in a pita, add some cucumber, cilantro and a homemade yogurt/cumin sauce...and you are good to go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Best Weekend Ever: Part 2

The review of the wonderful Keaty family visit continues...

Saturday morning, Becca and I decided to run a 5 mile race for Minnetonka days. Actually Becca decided and talked me into it, which I am so glad she did because it was really fun. And I experienced something warm-ups before the race. We pretty much laughed through the whole thing. There are some seriously uncoordinated people out there.

Here we are after the race. We both got to cash in on some free massages after the race since it had started raining, and most people left right away!

And of course there was more napping. Can you get any cuter?

And then there was Saturday night....we went out to Kozy's for some delicious steaks, and then afterwards we headed to DAIRY QUEEN, for the ultimate "limited time only" flavor: Cotton Candy! Becca and I had been talking about this all weekend long.
I even snuck a few bitest to Finn. After the first bite, every time I lifted up my spoon he began to giggle. I thought it was hilarious...but I'm not sure Nick did! But considering it

We headed to the park at Lake Calhoun on Sunday morning. Finn loved the swing. I think the teeter totter proved less exciting for him.

It was a great weekend, and Nate and I had so much fun having the crew in town. Finn was such a good boy even though he started not feeling great toward the end of the stay. He has all sorts of new tricks, and words, and personality!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Best Weekend Ever: Part 1

This weekend was so great--it will require at least 2 blog entries to feature all of the great pics. The Keaty Crew made the trip up to Minneapolis this past weekend for a long visit. It was so great having them here and showing them around the city.

Our first visit was a bookstore called Wild Rumpus. I knew this was a must see for Becca because this is a one of a kind bookstore, with animals running wild all over the store (literally...chickens, cats, ferrets, etc).

Finn was such a good boy all weekend. This kid seriously loves to read. I see a grounding from his books in a future just like his mama. He has started to say so many more, cow, car, baba, car, tata (for Greta), car...did I mention he says car? He loves cars.

AFter a day of running around the city, Finn was pretty tired. Nick walked him to Qdoba so that he could partake in his afternoon snack (burrito...mmmm). And Finn fell asleep in the stroller...

We had Katie, Summer and the boys over for a BBQ Friday night so that Becca could meet Max, and Finn and Max could have a playdate. The play date didn't exactly happen because it was so close to bedtime, but it was very fun. Finn turned on the charm immediately once Summer and Katie arrived.

Finn had a pre-party bath so that he smelled sweet....he loves bathtime too!

The weather semi-cooperated, and we were able to enjoy being outdoors. Thursday night we played bolo for like 3 hours, while the boys consumed a multitude of beers. We played until it was pretty much pitch black out and I was on my death bed from mosquito bites. Finn liked crawling around in the yard too!

Doesn't this look like a herd of elephants with a baby calf?

More to come from our wonderful weekend tomorrow!!!!!