Monday, March 30, 2009

Nate's New Toy

It's a bird..It's a plane...oh wait...
It's Nate! Going a zillion miles an hour on his sweet new bike!!

Nate got a road bike for his birthday (courtesy of his adoring wife...and some help from Mom and Dad and Cathy too!!). He has it all spiffed up and decided to break it in with a 24 mile ride yesterday.

I have to admit the bike does look pretty sweet. I am so proud of Nate for all of the hard work he has been doing getting ready for his FIRST Triathlon. I am not sure who thought it would be fun to swim and then bike and then run, but apparently Nate has bought into the concept and is in full-force training.

I am pretty sure Nate needs a matching outfit and helmet for his bike, but he doesn't agree. He refuses spandex. Sorry to disappoint the li-zadies out there who were looking for that show. Do you get style points during the Tri? You should. I am going to look into instituting that rule.
All that is left is the new name for the bike. Nate's old bike was lovingly referred to as "Frankenbike"...wonder what he will come up for this one!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Good Times

That about sums it up. Good times are unavoidable with Amy around. And this weekend was no exception. Sure, we have graduated from the drunk celebrations of our college youth to civilized drinks and conversations. But what we haven't graduated to is taking ourselves too seriously.

I love that we can both be totally and utterly goofy together in one hour, and the next have a theraputic conversation about what is going on in our lives.

Friday night we checked out Black Sheep Pizza, a new gourmet joint downtown, and then headed to Chatterbox in Edina for some "Chocolate Fondue" (read: Hershey's Chocolate Fudge served with chocolate chip cookies, oreo browning and rice krispie bars), and some good old-fashioned board games.

This brought lots of good memories of my TGIF Friday's growing up, playing Sorry with my Mom and consuming an entire bag of Sour Cream and Onion Chips.

After the game all hell broke loose with Amy's camera, where she posed the challenge of "how big can you frown without pushing out your bottomw lip?" Here are the decide.

And then there was this face....which really speaks for itself. This is my husband folks.
After a great night out we put the record player on and had a rockin' dance party.

Saturday night was pretty much a Mexican Fiesta in the Hanson household. Amy and I ran around town picking up all sorts of groceries (including Amy's virgin voyage to Costco). And Amy brought these red velvet cupcakes from Milwaukee that were as big as your face, and so good.

After eating so much I had to change into my PJ's before entering into the dance party...

Ah was a great weekend. I am so lucky to have such great friends, and I count those blessings every day.

Luckily, saying goodbye wasn't so sad because I found a flight for $100 and am flying to Milwaukee in early June to pay the Joyce's a visit.

BONUS PICTURE: When we were at Chatterbox, this picture was hanging above our booth. I am almost 100% sure that this same 'painting' was the one above Grandma and Grandpa's couch for years. Can someone confirm?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good News!

I thought since my last post was a hopeless downer, I would share some random good news:

1) I started a new class tonight. It is International Strategy and I think I am ACTUALLY going to really enjoy it and get something from it. BONUS!

2) I have an incredible husband who basically got the house looking spotless for our houseguest while I was at class.

3) Amy is going to be here in like 16 hours.

4) Lucy is still alive. Not that that was ever in question...but's good news. The cat is ancient. Meow....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Funky Fresh

I am in a funk.

A bored, unexcited, easily annoyed, kinda crabby, apathetic funk.

I am not fun to be around and I know it. And the worst part of it is that I am REALLY horribly bad at hiding it.

The good news is that Amy is coming to visit us this weekend and if anyone can pull me out of a funk it is this girl. And the weekend after that I am going to Chicago for some Keaty action. So I am not lacking in things to look forward to.

In the meantime, I am trying really hard to:
1) Not get fired from my job
2) Not get kicked out of school
3) Not get kicked out of my house by my husband.

Who knows...I may just show up on your doorstep with my sleeping bag and asking for work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 8

This week we decided to make one of the more indulgent items in Nigella's book:
Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This worked well since we were going home and would have more mouths to help eat the cookies (although I still think I ate the majority of them).

We had one little consumer who especially enjoyed the treat. So much so that he got an entire cookie all to himself. And if you ask him who gave it to him he says "mama" so don't look at me.

Unfortunately, I had an epic camera fail or there would have been an awesome video of Finn crushing the cookie (in his mouth that his) but apparently I need some camera lessons.
If you are wondering if these cookies are good, the answer is yes. But don't take it from is what FInnegan had to say about it.
(Scene set-up: About 30 minutes after consuming said cookies, Finn is running laps around the living room for a good 5 minutes. He pauses at my chair)
Greta: Finn, who is your best bud?
Finn: Cookie!
Finn: Again? Cookie! Again?
Finn takes off running in laps until he is out of breath and the sugar high has worn off. End Scene.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Deal or No Deal: Red Peppers

You thought I was kidding about our investigation into Costco?
No joke people, we are serious.
Welcome to our newest weekly (or so) column: Deal or No Deal........Costco style.

This weeks victim: Red Peppers.
A huge freakin 6 pack of them.

Cost at Costco: $6.34
Cost at Cub: $1.68 per pepper or $10.08

There are other factors beyond just price though. Spoilage for example---how could we possible eat 6 red peppers before they go bad?

Well we did. We stir-fried them, dipped them in hummus, and I ate at least 3 plain..just like an apple. Can you really eat too much red pepper?

Beyond spoilage there is quality. Costco has Cub beat hands down in this area. Not even a competition.

On the con side, buying bulk in anything subjects the buyer to an abnormal fixation on how they will use said bulk item so as not to suffer from bulk buyer's guilt.

But even with that the verdict is in:


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 7

Nate and I hit the Nigella jackpot with this weeks meal: Sesame Peanut Noodles.

I would say that this was our first official Asian meal that turned out well (beyond stir fry).
While the noodles were difficult to find, and in the end we ended up cooking about 4 times the amount needed, the meal was a success.
I think we were most excited because you make a homemade peanut sauce complete with peanut butter, sweet chile sauce, sesame oil, etc. It tasted amazing. The sauce alone will almost certainly be a staple in our house.

Remember the 4 extra servings of noodles? Well have no fear because this stuff makes GREAT leftovers. Lucky Nate....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Next Facebook?

I realize this may be a little progressive for some of our more technology-avoidant readers (DAD), but bear with me....

Twitter is a website that connect everyone through short (14o character max) updates on what you are currently doing, reading, etc.

I have been on for four months or so but have found it not as fun as facebook primarily because no one else was on it.

Now that more people are joining, I think it will be interesting to see how the two websites fare.

For all of my Twitter fans here are two websites that I came across recently:

1) Want to track your favorite brands and companies tweets? Find them here.
2) Get your celebrity gossip fix by following your favorite celebrities Twitter pages.

So...I want to know: Are you on Twitter, and which website do you like better?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

I am gearing up for the weekend.

Must be the 'vacation hangover' but I am so tired this week.

I have spent 3 days in consumer focus groups listening to what they feel about ads, packaging, etc and I am ready to break out of the dark room and enjoy some sunshine.

I am also gearing up for some serious March Madness!! You know it is going to be a good tournament with a lead-in like the Syracuse game last night.

Anyone have any good tips on the teams?

I need all the help I can to beat my Dad....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It's official. Nate and I are total sell-outs.

After months and months of rolling our eyes, and poo-pooing our friends comments about how FREAKIN great it is, we have become Costco members.

Now before keel over from absolute shock, know this:
  • I found an offer from The General where if you ordered your membership through this website, you got $40 worth of coupons, thus reducing the membership costs to $10 vs. $50.
  • I have decided for $10, I will use my year-long membership to do an in-depth investigative analysis on whether or not you can make your membership pay.

That's right. I am pretty sure 20/20 is going to call me up to do an expose on my findings at the end of the year.

Our first trip was really concentrated in the food section, specifically the produce that everyone RAVES about. Literally every conversation that I have at any sort of event or party leads to Costco...without fail.

And I have to admit, I am kind of starting to understand why. The produce is incredible. Huge containers of strawberries, blackberries, lettuce, carrots...for very reasonable prices. And it is some seriously quality stuff.

On the downside...their rotisserie chicken. YUCK. Nate and I were not fans, and will definitely get our from Cub in the future...good old Jennie O.

So that about sums it up...we are Costco members. I will keep you updated on any 'treasures' that we may find, and any of my big investigative findings. Try to contain your excitement. Here is our virgin receipt. Notice all of the great coupon savings....that's right.

BEST FIND: 100 Lawn/Yard bags for $14. Nate and I are pretty sure this is about equal to a 5 year supply for our dinky yard. NICE! The real trick is remembering where you put them in 2014.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Parting Shots

Ok...I is taking me four posts to recap our amazing Mexican vacation. But that is mostly because our last night there requires it's own post.

And that is because I can say that we most likely left a lasting impression on the Discoteque at our resort.

Whether it was from Ryan jumping into the DJ box and throwing some mad beats down (yeah..I just said that), or me deciding it would be a good thing to rap to TI's "Whatever you like" using a microphone while bopping around on the dance floor and then RYAN deciding it would be a good idea for me to do it TWICE...we definitely made an impression.
And I just couldn't deny you our amazing dancing skillz...
Dance-off: Greta and Katie

Movin to the Dance floor---check out our Soulja Boy action...

Fake smiles vs. Real smiles....

This is one of my personal faves from the entire vacation. We were all dancing to some good tunes and decided we needed to get a picture taken immediately. So we give the camera to some dude from the UK, and the proceeded to get into group formation, but CONTINUE TO DANCE...I am sure the UK dude thought we were completely obnoxious..

But if he thought THAT was obnoxious, I can't even imagine what he thought of my rapping skills...

Now you can see why I couldn't just leave this last 'glory' night out of my recap...

We had such a great time and are so lucky to have such amazing friends that make every moment memorable. P.S. Becca you would have LOVED our disco because it was decked out with skeletons everywhere. I snapped this shot just for you..check out the bow...

Sunday, March 8, 2009


There was LOTS of time to relax by the pool, but we managed to fit in a few activities presented by the "activity committee' at the resort.

On the whole these people weren't big fans of working in general. Everything was "come back in a half hour," "not right now" or "not until tomorrow."

But we perservered and got some good action in anyway:

There was poolside Bingo..

There was reading...

There was beach volleyball..which we lost..
There was windsurfing (and windsurfing cheerleading):
There was scuba-diving lessons....

And perhaps the favorite activity: FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS. The boys had a great time making fun of us for doing this..but c'mon..who doesn't remember saftey pinning a bracelet to your pillow and making bracelets for your friends?

On the whole, there was just general poolside merriment all around...

Dia de los Adventuras

Tuesday brought a trip around the island in a one-of-a-kind Jeep. This Jeep was earned by Nate and I attending a god awful timeshare presentation. I really can't believe I agreed to this given the disaster that occurred in Vegas, but we did it and it wasn't half bad...and we got the Jeep for free.

The adventure included a few roadside stops to check out the beaches. We fell in love with Playa Bonita...the water was like a natural pool. The sand was white and soft. It was perfect. We also found some black rock beaches (pictured below).

The boys needed a beer so we stopped at a popular beach-side spot called Coconuts. This place was one of a kind with bras and underwear hanging all over and oodles of binders at the bar filled with pictures of liz-adies flashing their very own coconuts. Lucky for us we didn't discover these binders until the end of the meal.

The spot was great..on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Great view, great food...which by this point in the vacation was greatly appreciated.

I saw this sign at the bar and had to capture it for Uncle Todd...I thought he would appreciate it.

The adverturo continued with a stop at the tequila distillery. The boys went in and Katie and I stayed in the Jeep for an afternoon siesta and to soak up some more rays.

Next stop was to go see the Mayan Fertility ruins....which we never ended up seeing because when we got there the poster at the front door had a picture of the ruins an dI am not kidding you I have seen rock gardens in Minnesota bigger than these 'ruins.'
But all was not lost as Ryan felt that it was a great time for Greta to learn how to drive stick. So I did....and we did not die. Score.

We ended our Dia de los Adventuras in San Miguel checking out the shops and taking in a great dinner at Panchos Backyard. Knowing the food was going to be good we decided to celebrate Nate's birthday this night. We got some great key lime pie and a tequila shot for Nate!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATE! Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes you sent to Nate while we were away. More to come on Nate's actual birthday night...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We're Baaack!

Hola mi Amigos! We are back in the states, and already pining to go back to white sandy beaches. It is daunting to try to wrap up our vacation into a neat, concise little blog post so get ready for a trio of Mexican blogs.

We had a great time, soaked up a lot of rays, and enjoyed spending lots of time with Ryan and Katie. Our first day is definitely a contender for the most memorable as Ryan hit the margaritas with full force at noon and didn't stop until about 1AM. I am not embellishing at all when I say the next morning, everyone we came into contact with either a) asked about Ryan's condition or b) came up to Katie/Ryan like Ryan was a celebrity.

At dinner that night, Ryan was FULL of stories, and ordered up some tequila shots....that came warm. GROSS.

The beach was very nice, and VERY coral-y. Nate and I went on a beach run the second night, and enjoyed the sunset. We headed into town for dinner that night, and some dancing. We got some good authentic Mexican at La Choza. This picture cracks me up because our waiter took it and clearly it is very important that we get what is under the table...
Enter: Senor Frogs, and yardsticks of alcohol. AND, Nate getting roped into a frozen drink chugging contest. AND, Ryan getting pulled onto the dance floor by an 'older lady'...who turned out to be staying at our resort.

And then Katie was done with Senor Frogs, and we ordered up some waters..only to be made fun of by Ryan the rest of the vacation. Here is is doing his new dance move: "The Grandma". Note: this move cannot be done without a chair to use as a walker.

Katie and I did an extreme amount of researching before booking this trip. In none of our research did we find any reviews that said "Warning: you may spit out more food than you consumer." But it should have said that...and we did. The week started out on a light note, with us making lots of jokes about how bad the food was. We went around the table each meal and said what the worst thing was. But by the end of the week the jokes had stopped. Ryan was in protein withdrawal, and I was in an overdose of guacamole and ice cream.
This was our sentiment after the first ala carte restaurant Los Olivos:

After a highly-disappointing dinner, we walked down to Albertos (a little oceanside place) for a good lunch, and a $150 lobster that we did not buy.

Stay tuned.....