Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Great American

My great uncle (my mom's uncle), Judge Gerald Heaney was laid to rest in his hometown of Duluth, MN yesterday.  Here's the local news video with the details.  There is a really good story about the flag draping his casket...something about the Americans wanting to one up the Russians in a patriotic parade. I'll get the actual story and write more soon!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yes, We Are Those Granola Type-People

I regularly make granola. Nothing fancy, just an easy recipe I received in a recipe box as a wedding gift.  This one is a family favorite and one that I usually make to have on hand for snacks and to bring along on trips for breakfast.

It only requires 4 ingredients. You can add any number of other foods: raisins, nuts, etc.
Basic Ingredients: 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 5 cups of Oats. I use the Old Fashioned Oats.
Reminds me of Wilford Brimley who was a celebrity spokesperson in Quaker commercials.  And, here is a piece of trivia...I attended my Uncle Chuck's funeral on Friday and saw a poster board full of pictures of his life, one was a picture of him and Wilford Brimley.  The connection?  My Uncle bred and trained Border Collies for a living. He traveled the world to show his dogs and held dog trials on his farm for years. Mr. Brimely appeared as a character in the 1984 movie Country (starring Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard, former Stillwater residents).  Uncle Chuck's dog, Nell, also appeared in the movie, a small cameo appearance.  I guess Chuck and Wilford hit it off.  No pictures of Sam or Jessica though. Maybe they were too Hollywoodized for Chuck.

Anyway, back to the granola...

Measure and put the ingredients, minus the oats, into a microwave proof container. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Stir mixture. Mixture should have a drippy and gooey consistency. I always test it by licking the spatula. Don't tell anyone.
Pour mixture over oats. Oats should be pre-measured in a 9x13 pan.  Stir mixture into oats.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and stir. Bake about another 17-20 minutes depending on how chewy or crispy you like your ganola. We prefer it chewy.  It looks like this when I take it out of the oven.  I love all the brown in this picture!
I let it cool for several minutes, then transfer to a covered container.  My favorite way to eat it?  Topping Trader Joe's Plain Greek Style Yogurt and fresh blueberries. To die for. A wonderful breakfast or snack.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Done With Being Fancy

We were walking into church yesterday. Let me back up. At about 10:12am, exactly 18 minutes before mass begins, we realize no one is dressed or ready in any way to walk out the door.  Izzy slept in til 10, which hasn't happened she was about two weeks old, so we were all thrown off.  So, we had our usual church scramble - combing hair, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, finding clean, pressed "church" clothes and matching shoes, maybe a sweater if the church is air conditioned. You never know what to expect.  Amazingly, we are walking into church just past 10:30, but still in time for the opening song.  Kate turns to me and asks, "Why can't we wear jeans to church?"  I answer in a calm tone (having had to answer this a thousand times already), "Because they are too casual."  She responds, "I like casual, I'm done with being fancy."  Well, I had to suppress a laugh because it was cute and unexpected, especially since I hadn't even mentioned fancy and purposely don't use that word, since I have never expected "church clothes" to be "fancy". We just can't afford that. And I can't keep that many nice clothes nice for very long.

But, I can't help thinking that Kate's statement wasn't just a protest for that Sunday. She is nine after all. And maybe making more of a statement like, "I'm growing up now mom."  Or, maybe we need to sit down and talk about words like "fancy", "casual", and "church clothes" so that the next time we have a clearer understanding of what is appropriate.  I feel like we have done that already, but it may be time to re-visit. Do it again. And if my experience as a kids tells me anything, we'll talk about it again, again, and then again.

Did you know that once I had to wear my school uniform to church?  Well deserved and very effective. I will never forget that embarrassing Sunday.

I am sure Kate will get over this one too. She looked great by the way.

Here's the nine year old on our camping trip.

Simple Sewing Project - Great Gift Idea

My sister in law invited us over to decorate onesies for her baby that is coming very soon. She had all the supplies ready: cute fabric, some with patterns, some plain; scissors; clean white onesies in various sizes; and one roll of Heat n Bond, an iron on adhesive. She also provided fabric markers.
We each choose our favorite fabric(s) and let our imaginations run wild as we designed a shape to adorn the front and/or back of the onesie.
We cut out the fabric and ironed it on to the adhesive, trimmed the fabric to the exact shape we wanted, then ironed it on to the onesie. Finally, we either hand stitched around the edge of the shape, or used the machine. Izzy choose to use fabric markers to further embellish her onesie. She wrote "BABY" across the front. Cute to have her four year old writing on the itty bitty onesie for her cousin-to-be.
And, in a matter of a couple short hours, we had created some really cute garments for Little Cunningham. Layering fabric worked too as you can see with the car (Grace's creation), the lady bug squares (Maddie's creation), and the elephant (Judy's).
This last picture doesn't include them all, but displays the bulk of them. How cute would it be to give one of these (like the car) to a new mom and include a little book about cars? Or one with an animal and pair it with a book about the zoo?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Beautiful Eeriness

The night Kate the Great turned nine, our skies were in full form - at least, the clouds entertained me for awhile.

The Great Outdoors

Our first camping trip of the summer was the weekend of Father's Day.  We stayed at our usual place, Interstate Park, but at a new camp site.  Our company was our friends, The Wild Winks - not really their name, just a fun one we coined for them and can't seem to shake off. They seem okay with it.  We keep coming back to camp with them each year. I guess that's a sign of a good friendship. I wonder what they call us?

Highlights included teaching the kids new soccer skills; sittin' and talkin' in the back of the Wild Wink's new truck; roasting the perfect marshmello (Christine takes the prize this year); photographing the kids; photographing the photographer; me learning how to do a Sudoku puzzle (finally); whittling sharp points on big sticks; rock climbing; and getting to know the Wild Wink's dog, Jake (in the shot behind Maddie).

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Races

We topped off Father's Day weekend with a trip to Stillwater to watch the final stage of a professional bike race.  We caught the end of the women's race and stayed for the beginning, middle and end of the men's.

I think Ben really enjoyed having his four gals along to share in his love of cycling. Can you tell?
He may have been the loudest fan out there.

They came fast and furious for 20 laps around the streets of this quaint and popular small town. 
Good thing these hay bails showed up.  A wipe out on this turn would prove disastrous.
Then its up the steep hill where the finish line awaits.  At this point of each lap, the riders have to reach into their suitcase of courage to reach the top (a favorite line borrowed from the Tour de France.)
Some of us felt as tired as the riders.  Well practically.
Oh, did I mention it was sunny as all heck?

And, since we really couldn't see first hand the riders reach the finish line at the top, we followed the peleton's ascent via the large screen we happened to plant ourselves in front of.
It was an exciting, hot, a little nerve wracking (given the crash within the first few seconds), hot, brutal, hot, fun, makes-me-feel-guilty-that-I-don't-bike-more kind of day.

Happy Father's Day, Ben. We love you and your passions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Grateful

Maddie says, "Mom, I really  like our fridge. I mean its really dirty and the light doesn't work, but it has these two drawers."

So, I'm grateful for my fridge with the two drawers today.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Always hold hands across the busy street.
I see it! I see the park!
Yep, here it is. Target Field. Home of the Minnesota Twins.
Mom, I's scared. These seats are REALLY high.
Our view.  You betcha we were high up.
But the view was amazing.
Hey, what's that little white dot there in the middle?
Oh, that's Joe Mauer. #7. Last year's American League MVP. Now I recognize him. 
Need to see the sideburns just to be sure.
Whew, now that we got that out of the way, we can work at staying warm.  You could sail to South Africa and catch a World Cup game in about 5 minutes with these gusts.
A seventh inning what? Oh, a seventh inning stretch...What's an inning? 
They didn't win. It was a shame.  But we had a blast anyway.  A memorable first time at the park and an all time first baseball game for the girls.  I am predicting, one of MANY.

One last note. If I drank beer, which I don't and really don't plan to...I'd sit here.  What a fabulous idea.  Just an architectural gem, this place.