Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hiking, The Swarm & Shanna's Birthday

Last weekend was a busy one and with all fun events. We woke up Saturday morning and got our stuff ready to go hiking. Patrick wanted to try out his new hiking boots, so we decided to head to Jordan to the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. It ended up being a good day to try out the boots, but a miserable day to go hiking. It was cold and rainy and I had tennis shoes on so my feet were soaked by the time we were done. I guess if I am going to get into this hiking thing, new shoes are in order. Patrick's new boots worked awesome his feet were actually dry when we were done.

After our little hiking adventure we had a couple hours to relax before we were meeting our friends at Nick's new house. Our plans for the evening were to go to a Swarm Lacrosse game at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul. Nick and Elysia bid on a Swarm Suite at silent auction and won, so they invited some people to join them. I had never been to a Lacrosse game or sat in a suite. Lacrosse is much more violent than I expected. They even stop the game for fights just like hockey.

Swarm Game

A dedicated fan in the suite next to us.

Swarm Game

Swarm Game

Swarm Game

Swarm Game

It looks like a nail biter from this photo of Jachin, but it really wasn't. I think I just caught him at the right moment.

Jachin at Swarm Game

Here is the fight they stopped the game for. It seems like hockey fights are quite a bit more intense.

Swarm Game

The best part of the game was this cheer everyone did after the team scored.

Swarm Game

Swarm Suite View

On Sunday we headed down to Shanna's house for her annual birthday brunch. She served us some tasty breakfast burritos. We also were able to meet her boyfriend Blake and play his version of ladder golf. Overall it was a weekend full of fun activities. It makes me excited for summer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Garage Clean Up

Apparently we are in to cleaning things up lately. In January, I cleaned up the corner of the kitchen & just recently we cleared out the garden. In August we will have lived in our house for four years, so I guess the timing makes sense. We keep accumulating more and more things, eventually it just makes sense to get rid of stuff.

I wish I had a better before photo, but this was all I could find. Basically before Patrick cleaned up the garage the right hand side was filled with stuff. Since the garage is not very wide, it can be very annoying to get out of either car without the door hitting the other vehicle. When Patrick said he would be able to get rid of and entire shelf and move enough to stuff to clear the side, I didn't have a lot of confidence that really could be done.

buick in garage

He ended up moving things we don't use as often to a shed in the back. We also got rid of a lot of stuff that was broken and some other things we never use. The garage looks so nice and everything is very well organized.

Garage Clean Up April 2012

All the camping and sporting good are together on the shelf on the left. The next shelf has a bunch of misc automotive stuff, party supplies and our extra light bulbs.

Garage Clean Up April 2012

The white cupboard system is now home to painting supplies, garden stuff & all our nicely labeled tool bins. And the second photo is of the new empty space on the right side of the garage.

Garage Clean Up April 2012

This took Patrick almost the whole weekend to get everything organized, but it is so nice to have done. Maybe it will even inspire me to get rid of some things in some other areas of our house.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring is Here

Last week Wednesday as I was waiting for Patrick to pick me up for our date night, I went around the office and took some photos of the gorgeous spring flowers. Aren't they just beautiful. And even better I get to look at them everyday without the work of taking care of them.

When Patrick picked me up we decided we would just walk around the lake by the office instead of Lake Calhoun. After our walk we went to dinner at Pei Wei and then went to the movie American Reunion. With the early spring we have been doing more and more of this kind of stuff. It has been really nice.

Spring Tulips

Spring Tulips

Spring Tulips

Flowering Trees

In addition to the spring flowers, we have also had a new addition to our group of friends. Adam and Maran had their baby girl Hailey a little over a week ago and on Saturday I got to hang out with the whole family and take some photos for them. Here is one of my favorites, more are on my Pear Tree Blog.

Baby Hailey

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Garden Clean Up

The weekend before Easter, Patrick went on a one night backpacking trip with his friend Rickard. That meant I had a couple free days to get things done. I had a photo session on Saturday morning and it ended up being freezing cold, so I spent the rest of the day inside getting photo stuff done. On Sunday the sun came out and I spent the entire day cleaning up the garden in the backyard. And this was only the backyard, I had spent a few hours the Sunday before on the front garden.

Here is what it looked like when I started.

Garden Clean Up


Garden Clean Up

And After

Garden Clean Up

The next weekend I took a couple trips to the yard waste site to get rid of all the excess.

Garden Clean Up

As much as it is a hassle to do this, it is so nice when it is done. And now that everything is growing like crazy the gardens are looking very good. Now, if only I can keep the weeds out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kendra's Wedding Shower & Easter

Last Saturday after some morning errands we headed to Mankato for my cousin Kendra's wedding shower. The shower was a couple's shower and ended up being pretty fun. They did a baked potato bar for food. There were also lots of games including dress the bride in toilet paper, the newlywed game and cookie decorating.

Baked Potato Bar

Ben had fun chasing the balloons around the party. It kept him entertained for quite a long time.


Everyone was getting into the cookie decorating.

Cookie Decorating

And here are Patrick's creations. He was into making the most obnoxious cookies. He even decorated one with baked potato toppings.

Cookie Decorating

Patrick's Cookie

Ben & Patrick


After the shower we stopped at Kokomo's in Cleveland for some drinks and appetizers. Later that night we went over to Tim & Jeanne's for a bonfire.

On Sunday it was Easter so we were up bright and early for church. This year Patrick and I had to share an Easter basket. And that meant for the first time ever I didn't get frustrated finding my easter basket because Patrick found it for us. After church we went back to my parent's house so everyone else could find their baskets. Ben's basket had some fun balloons in it so we spent some time playing with his presents.

Ben with Easter Gift

Nathan and Nickie recently got chickens so before we went to Mary Lou's for Easter we stopped there to check out the baby chicks. They were pretty cute.

Nathan's Chickens

For Easter we headed to my Aunt Mary Lou's house for lunch. It ended up being a beautiful day, so we hung outside playing bean bag toss, watching the kids look for easter eggs and watching the guys play a game of football.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts

I don't post a lot of recipes on here anymore, but that doesn't mean we aren't trying new recipes. I have been pinning recipes we like on a Pinterest board named Recipes We Tried and Loved. This pasta salad is something I have been making for years and we love it. The recipe is buried in the archives, so I thought I would re post it with a much more appealing photo.

Orzo Pasta Salad

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup orzo
1 /4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped pitted oil-cured black olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add kosher salt. Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender but firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the pine nuts in a dry small skillet over medium-low heat. Shake constantly until evenly toasted on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Drain the orzo and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the dressing to the hot pasta and toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add pine nuts, raisins, olives, red onion, and basil and stir to combine. Add the feta and toss lightly. Adjust seasonings with more salt and pepper as necessary.