King George Roscoe P-Coltrane the First

King George Roscoe P-Coltrane the First
Viva and Jerry, from Viva and Jerry's Country Music Videos, love our little (relative term) basset hound. Jerry thinks he swaggers like a king, so we all started calling him King George. This is the picture we took of george this year (his crown is from BK) that we framed and gave to Viva and Jerry as a Christmas present.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Is there anything better than the state fair? I love the state fair, it doesn't matter what state you are in the state fair is always a blast. When I was a child and I went to the Wisconsin State Fair, I remember the roasted corn, the baked potatoes, the piglet races -- talk about a cute spectacle! Loved the piglet races. I also remember the cream puffs. A egg puffed pastry cut in half, made into a large sandwich with a HUGE dollop of homemade whipped cream and topped off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. According to most, one could not go to the WI State Fair without consuming at least one if not TEN cream puffs. The craze has become so big that people get cream puffs to go and they've installed a cream puff drive through so that non-fair goers can still enjoy what most consider god's gift to the human race. Would you be surprised to hear I am not a big fan? That's why they banished me to Minnesota, HA, just kidding! But more seriously, I really don't like the egg flavored "puff" its just not my kind of pastry, whipped cream sure, but puff -- I'll pass. Now take that whipped cream and plop it on a bowl full of fresh strawberries and now we're talking. (Yeah, I know, I have a strawberry problem -- I go to SA - Strawberryaholics Anonymous, but its not working.) So missing out on the Cream Puff has not upset me over the years.

Now to talk about the "Great Minnesota Get Together"... Now growing up in Wisconsin, I thought the State Fair was a big deal. Next to Summer Fest, there was nothing bigger in WI than the State Fair. Boy was I in for a surprise when I moved to Minnesota. Minnesota is home to the LARGEST State Fair in the country. And it is a BIG DEAL. It is directly next to the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus and the land mass is expansive. I'd say its not terribly larger than the WI State Fair but it is noticeably larger.

For a non-country girl, who doesn't have any farm animals to show, it is my job to eat LOTS of food and check out all the exhibits. And let me tell you, there are a lot of exhibits and vendors. Thankfully, this year they had an app for that - I know kind of goofy but SUPER helpful! Typically, the following foods are a must: The Mouth Trap Cheese Curds, Dairy Goodness Bar - Sundae and Malt, and Tom Thumb's Mini Donuts. (I feel like I am missing one but I cannot remember what it is.) We also sometimes get Sweet Martha's cookies, paired with an endless glass of milk, roasted corn on cob, saltwater taffy, Vescio's pasta, Taco, strawberries and whipped cream (told ya), tatter tots, etc. We try to try something new every year. This year we hit the must stops and also tried some tater tot crowns and spicy sour cream dipping sauce (not recommended) with a glass of beer at 10 AM. Now that's the way to start a day. Then we meander through the Horticulture building and got a glass of Apple Cider, now that was refreshing! Then at 11 on the dot we hit up the cheese curds.

Mike's eyes were bigger than his stomach and he went for two orders this year! We sat down between the Food Building and the Horticulture building to munch. Half way through our orders, we were stuffed. So we combined the curds and went in search of something to top off Mike's tum-tum. I continued snacking on our deep fried cheese while he tried to decide what he wanted. He initially was thinking Pizza, but with all the dairy planned for the day I suggested something with less cheese, so we found a Taco bar outside of the food building and Mike ordered a Taco. When we sat down I checked out the cheese curd stash and I was down to one cheese curd! Now how did I manage to do that? Mike was distraught since his Taco hadn't been that good and I had ate all his cheese curds so he refused to allow me to eat his tomatoes. Whoops. He finished off the last cheese curd and we went on our way to work off the calories and find the next meal.

The next place we head was OF COURSE the University of Minnesota booth. They were giving away mini-backpacks at Noon and it wasn't even 11:30 yet and there was a huge line. Man, I love free stuff, but I don't like free stuff that much -- never mind the fact that Mike doesn't care for free things like I do and wouldn't wait 5 minutes for a free thing (until I get them home and he realizes their utility -- like my MPLS aluminum water bottle which he basically claimed as his own.) So we meandered through checked out the apparel booth where a dad was trying to get his three year old sun to wear a goldy gopher baseball cap, so cute. Then we checked out the Heisman Trophy from Bruce Smith and then we saw it... the FLOYD OF ROSEDALE! That's right all of you Hawkeye fans, you were smelling blood in the water after our terrible season last year, which is why you all caravaned to MN to watch IA blow us out of the water and what happened? Oh that's right, we kicked your booties and took the pig. All rivalries aside, sorry I will be more civil now, it was kind of a big deal to see Floyd. I was super psyched, especially because I was at the game and rushed the field. Did I mention I rubbed his ear? Sweet. 

From there we went to a number of the exhibit halls. We saw the 4-H building and giggled at the entries for "clothes you buy", was inspired by the "clothes you make", was in awe of some of the photographs by the kids, checked out all the things they built and left with the determination to take more photos and finally start on my long in the making sewing projects which were referenced in the Digs Studio post (still on the to do list.) Then we stopped in the Fine Art building, toured the Progress Center, checked out the Pet Center, tried out the John Deers, stumbled back to the food building where we found our Mini Donuts at a soda (that's right, I'm from WI, its not pop.) By that time we were pooped and my feet hurt, but it was time to meet up with some friends, so we headed over to the animal barns.

We started with the horses. We saw the horses from the MN Zoo. We saw a donkey. We saw a bunch of horses, whose breeds I don't remember and wandered around the stables until we ran into a... MINI HORSE! A real life mini horse, it was funny. Then we reminisced about "Rob and Big" for a while and discussed the episode where they took their mini-horse in a murdered out black SUV to a mini-horse competition where they test out Mini's training. Ahh, Rob and Big what an outrageous yet funny show, I miss Meaty - what a cute bull dog. Back to the Fair! We also checked out the Pigs, the goats, the cows and the sheep. I love seeing all of the animals. Then we went to a part of the Fair that I didn't know existed - Heritage Square - It was kind of an old timey area - to see if we could enjoy some music. The music we found was a fiddle competition... not what I was looking for but it was nice to sit.

After a while, we decided to keep moving on so we parted ways with our friends and headed over to the Coliseum to see if I could find the booth for my FAVORITE candy store Trembley's Sweet Shop. At this point, Mike was in need of additional food because his blood sugar was dropping and the crabbies were coming out -- so when we I took us the wrong way we decided to bail on the idea, but not before we found a vendor who was selling Cincinnati Chili! How bizarre, unfortunately for this vendor MNans, like myself, don't understand the excitement surrounding putting cocoa and cinnamon in our chili and poring it over spaghetti noodles and topping it with cheddar cheese, so needless to say the lines we short. Still funny though.

From their Mike decided he wanted to try for the first time ever, which is kind of nuts because they are very popular at the fair, a Pronto Pup! Its a Corn Dog but its not made with corn meal. Unfortunately, there weren't any close by and we were pooped so we headed over to the Dairy Building for our Malts and Sundaes. Mike and I both got sundaes this year, no surprise I got Strawberry, but Mike took one bite of his caramel sundae and regretted not getting his standard vanilla malt. It was still good. We walked over to the Barn by the entrance where all the babies are born and sat down to finish our sundaes before catching the park and ride back to TCF stadium where we left out car. It was a fun trip to the MN State Fair. We got some deep fried things but didn't get anything on a stick (everything at the fair is fried an on a stick, like the deep fried candy bar or twinkie on a stick.) We hit all of the "must" food items and saw all the animals. We did miss the vendors in the grandstand but all in all it was a good trip to the fair and I am already looking to going back next time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Digs Studio

The newest and coolest store has opened in my neighborhood... ok, not MY neighborhood technically (technically its Kingfield), darn close though. Its within walking distance. In fact while it was under construction, George and I walked past on Saturday mornings and peered in the windows. We were impatiently waiting to see what it would become. It was worth the wait, it opened last Thursday and its pretty cool!

It's called Digs Studio. Its located at 3800 Grand Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55409. Its across the street from Victor's and next to the Grand Cafe.

They've got a ton of cool stuff. When you first walk in you are greeted by the "completed" projects that are for sale. For example, they have homemade cards, neat hand made jewelery, one-of-a-kind stuffed animals, etc. The jewelery ranged from beaded pieces to hand made pendents that were pieces of map -- I was tempted to buy the "Minneapolis" pendent. They also had these fun hand made stuffed animals that looked like kind of like monsters. I think they resembled some toys that were popular a year or two ago, but no kids -- so I don't know the name of the toys. They were fun and cute and they all had special original names. The cards were all so beautiful - they looked like the cards my mother-in-law make. She would totally love them, but then she wouldn't have anything to make. :) Which reminds me I totally have to take here there!

They also had project books. REALLY cool project books, like there was this one, that I am so going back for called "One Yard Wonders." I flipped through it and it had some ingenious projects, cute modern projects. Cute organizers, adorable little aprons, purses, dresses, ugh just so neat and they can all be made with one yard of fabric - Awe-Some! Did I say I am going back for the book? I am going back for the book, never mind that I haven't made anything out of the book my mother-in-law bought me (which I love as well, I've marked the projects I want to complete), or the fact that I really need to make something for my sister-in-law's baby boy who could show up at any moment but technically isn't due until October, or that I owe my sister a pillow of pink Badger fabric, that I promised her when she graduated from the UW two years ago... ok so, I have enough projects to keep me going without adding another one but I love books and I NEED it! I need to start sewing again first or my husband will give me the rolley-eyes when I buy it. Bless his heart he knows I don't need it but ehh, don't care. :) Another amusing book that I saw was a book on how to knit a replica of your dog, it was hysterical and when I saw they had a pattern for Bassets I was pretty much sold. They are all really cute! I think it would be a really neat project to do on the side -- knit people's dogs into personalized toys for themselves or their kids. If I had a little girl or boy I would totally buy a George look a like for them to snuggle with while they are snuggling with the real life George.

In addition to hand made pieces and books they have fabric, yarn, tools, antique buttons, ribbon, the list goes on! And everything is neat, unique and beautiful. Things that are too cool and too trendy to be found at your local Jo-Ann (Bleh!) Don't get me wrong, Jo-Ann is serviceable and has neat things but the patterns can be quite boring and blah. These fabrics were vibrant and beautiful. I just wanted to touch everything. The yarns weren't your standard Lion Brand or Red Heart yarns, although they did have Lion Brand Wool-Ease I believe but I actually really like Lion Brand yarn so I shouldn't poo-poo it. But the brands at the store seemed like they were neat independent shops with neat colors and unique textures. I know my sister Heidi, who as a Park Ranger, appreciates green independent products would love these yarns -- if only I can get her to visit from Kentucky. Hmm... or I can get her some for Christmas.

Speaking of gifts, all of my family can expect to get cards and gifts from this store. I was already considering something for my sister Tracy, but now that I think of it I can't remember what it was... Guess its time to go back and visit the store! If you can't tell I highly recommend this store if you like buying neat hand made gifts or if you like making neat hand made projects. This place will have the unique trendy fabric or gift you're looking for. Check it out!

The Black Tie Basset

George decided that it was time to create a YouTube channel so that he could showcase his sparkling personality and also his friends. All of his silliness can be found here:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Perfect for the 4th of July: Mama's Chive Chip Dip

Fast, Easy and Big Crowd Pleaser

I made this recently for my niece’s 2nd birthday - except I doubled the batch and thought maybe I'd made too much. WRONG - It was all gone within an hour!

1 Brick of Neufchatel Cheese
1/4 C. Water
1 Tsp. Beef Bouillon Granules
1 Bunch of Chives (or one or two Green Onions) (I like chives best, they are milder but still give a little crunch)

Set the cheese out to warm to room temperature. Once warm place in a bowl and smoosh with a fork. Now boil water and add beef bouillon, stirring until the granules are dissolved. Now add some of the water mixture to the cream cheese, mix/smoosh with fork until worked in. Continue alternating bouillon water and mixing until the cream cheese is soft and smooth enough to dip a chip. Now chop the chives (or green onions) and add to dip. I like to have enough chives in the dip so that each scoop of dip has some chives in it. (keep in mind you don't need to use all of the bouillon water, just enough to thin out the cream cheese to a smooth consistency.) Once the chives are added and you've worked the dip into a smooth consistency (little to no lumps) place in a cute bowl and chill until ready to serve. When you serve the chips serve them with ridged potato chips (I think they stand up better to dip than regular potato chips.)

This recipe can easily be tweaked to fit your taste, personally I love the beef bouillon and chive flavors so I kick both up a notch (more granules per same amount of water and more chives per same amount of dip.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

State shutdown? Let us know how it's affecting you...

So as with most days, I have two choices - get work done or read the articles on the Star Tribune's website. As you can imagine, since I am at work of course my decision was to load up the Star Tribune's website. When my computer pulled up the site, the first article I saw was "State Braces for Friday Shutdown." *Groan* Really?

OK, I won't go too much into the politics of it all because it just makes my head buzz -- don't get me wrong I vote and I know it is my duty to involve myself in politics because if I won't stand up for my own views, who will? But really -- as a late 20 something, I just kind of like to avoid those topics. Mostly because I am confident in my views, and I really don't appreciate my friends drunken discussions where they try to tell me I am wrong -- So, I just stay out of it!

So back to my making a point about not making a point. From my stand point, I am a very average Minnesotan who has a salaried position. As a salaried employee - If I have work to do to keep the company running, I am expected to get it done even if I have to stay late -- And I don't get paid to do it. (Thanks, sucky corporate America.) For this reason, I don't think our state legislature should get special treatment. They signed up for this job and they should be expected to get their work done, no matter the hours, in order to keep the company (government) running. The people who elected them have to, why do the elected officials get to be irresponsible? You cannot chance losing business or ticking off your customers. You have a job to do, get it done. Stop acting like whiny little children and make a compromise so that other people don't suffer. Because many Minnesota families WILL suffer because of their recklessness. I truly hope that voters hold these elected official responsible for what they didn't get done, because they shouldn't need or be allowed to have a special session.

Which brings me to my initial point... After glancing over the article about the shutdown I noticed another article where the Star Tribune asked readers, "State Shutdown? Let us know how it's affecting you." My first thought was, ha ha suckers! It's not affecting me! But then I realized how much a jerk I was being because it really will be hard on a lot of Minnesotans who count on the state for jobs/income, assistance, entertainment, etc. It sucks! Then I started to think about how many things it will truly affect -- And that's when I realized I was one of those suckers. Hey dummy -- you bought a car yesterday, how are you going to title it? *GROAN* Oh, I forgot about that.

The DMV website is already down and I have the title and Mike hasn't signed it and he's the person on it. Poo. There's no way we can get it done today and even if we could, can you imagine the lines? Uffdah! (Yep, that's my adopted MNan coming out.) Can you get insurance for a car you don't have a title for!? How long is our car going to be titled under someone else's name? -- This could lead to some serious issues!! So now I have some dilemmas - Stupid July, why'd you have to come so soon? I wonder how long the shutdown will last, there's no way it could last for more than a week or so, right? Yesh, despite my planner instincts, I just don't think I want to think about this one at the moment -- BACK TO WORK! (Please make note of the previous sentence, because you won't see that last phrase very often.)

- Emily

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buying my First Car!

Last August, Mike had the pleasure of buying his first car, well if you don't include when he bought the GAGT (Grand AM GT) from his folks, when he bought the Vue Redline. I was a little jealous because he had to fly to PA to get it so I didn't get to participate. (One ticket was expensive enough and someone needed to take care of 'Ole King George.) I missed out on the haggling (there was none) and the fake banter and OK, I didn't miss out on much except the weird Italian Ice stuff they had that apparently is all the rage in Philly. But I still would have liked to have been there, to have signed the paper work and to be on the title. Since really, it is my car and I wanted to be present when she was added to the family (we are very fond of our cars.)

But alas I missed it. But I'll be present for the next one! Mike's folks gave us their old '08 Oldsmobile Intrigue a few years ago because, lets be honest, we were too poor and had too large of a house payment to afford a car payment. It wasn't what either of us would have chosen for ourselves, but it got us from point a) to point b) and really that's all that matter. I drove it and got accustomed to her until Mike's GAGT finally gave out at 260,000 miles. Then we bought the Vue, which was a stretch, and Mike took over driving the Intrigue. Well at 235,000 miles the Intrigue finally decided that she had had enough. She got Mike home safely last Wednesday, but that was her last trip. We had her towed to Parents Automotive and after finding out she had a $1,700 operation ahead of her we decided it was time to put her down since she wasn't even worth that much and honestly we didn't know how much longer she would last even after a new upper intake manifold, new thermometer and something else. So she's still at Parents - waiting for us to pay her last bill and send her off to a charity somewhere.

In the mean time, Mike's been looking for a replacement. Mike's parents have been nice enough to loan us enough to buy a replacement. Mike's been searching and has found two good replacements - his friend's 2006 Mazda Speed Six and a random 2007 Cobalt SS in Hutchinson (featured in the photo.) Mike is test driving (or test drove) the Speed Six and after work we're heading over to US Bank to pick up cash in case he decides to purchase the one in Hutchinson we're going to see at 7 PM today. I am so excited! Just thinking about having all that money in one place makes me nervous but I can't wait to be present to buy it. I am sure its no big deal but I still think it will be cool because its the first car that I will be present for the purchase (not counting mom and dad's.) Can't wait to see what Mike decides on and really, I am just as excited to stop carpooling with him - I am sick of getting up at 6:20 - too early!

So basically, I don't really know what's going to happen today - other than I get fast food for dinner and George is going to be mad at us for ditching him for a few hours - but I am excited about it either way! I'll share results as soon as I can. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grandma B's Rhubarb Sauce - Very Easy, Very Basic Recipe - but tasty!

This recipe is from my grandma, so needless to say its kind of "unmeasured"? The recipe calls for 2 parts Rhubarb and 1 part Strawberries (although recently, I've been doing equal amounts by accident because Dad said mine had extra strawberries but that he liked it.)

So it might go something like this:
2 Cups Rhubarb Chopped in small bits
1 Cup Strawberries Chopped in small bits
Water to cover
Sugar to taste

Put the strawberries and rhubarb in a sauce pan and put enough water in the saucepan to just cover the top of the rhubarb and strawberries. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and simmer until there are no longer "chunks" in the sauce (the smaller the bits the quicker it breaks down). When its done it will almost look like an applesauce. Now add sugar to taste (grandma likes it tart, Emily likes it sweet.) Once cooled either freeze or apply to desserts. My dad likes it so much he'll just have bowls of rhubarb sauce, but its best over icecream or other desserts. Yum!