Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Shop

Great additions for a little's Easter basket!
 Here are a few new photos from the shop in Clear Lake. We have added quite a bit including 2 teapots (a Village Green Red Wing and a really cool art deco) that I bought at a thrift store in Elk River on our way to Clear Lake. Good day thrifting :)!

Three photos above - updates to the buffet

A slight rearranging to the handmades

I just LOVE the empty frame with the doily in it as a window treatment! My very clever mother-in-law's idea!

Our Weekend In Review

The Minneapolis skyline from Interstate 94 - I have always loved this view
 We had a wonderful Saturday this past weekend! We started the day at a Floor Hockey tournament with our oldest. They got 2nd place! It was so exciting! We are so proud of them!
Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul
 We finished the day by visiting friends who were up to the Cities from Rochester. We went to Grand Ole Creamery for pizza and ice cream (SO GOOD!!!) and then went back to their hotel for swimming and games. We had such a nice afternoon and evening!
The ice cream flavors at the Grand Ole Creamery

Above and Below - a church along Summit Avenue in St. Paul

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vacation Reading

With 54+ hours spent in the car I was blessed with a lot of time to read. I intended to do a lot of embroidery and knitting but when I wasn't looking out the window (which I did most of the time) I felt like reading. I read three wonderful books!

The first was The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. I loved it but then I love all her Elm Creek Quilt books. This particular book though was particularly wonderful as it told a story of a family who ran a station on the Underground Railroad and the role of a specially designed quilt. It was so well written and I couldn't put it down.

The second book was The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. I couldn't have a picked a more perfect book to read as we drove through Kansas considering the book takes place during the Depression in the Flint Hills area - which we drove right through! It was a desolate area and I can't even imagine what it looked like during the Depression when a terrible drought ravaged the area. The story was a wonderful tale of the friendship of a group of women of all ages united by their love of quilting and each other. The strength of their friendships for each other was inspiring and how it left me feeling will be with me for a long while.

The final book I read was Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah. My mom had this book waiting for me when we got to Mesa and warned  me that I would need tissues - and she was right. This story of a mother and her daughters was the best book I have read in years - and that is saying a lot because I read a lot. I have always had a love of Russian history and this book gave me a look at a piece I have not studied (the siege of Leningrad during WWII). It also was an amazing story of the strength of family and love. I feel that I really can't do this book justice - all I can say is READ IT!

I now have my post-vacation books lined up.  I am currently reading A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick and am enjoying it. It is another tale of women drawn together by quilting. More to come...

A Wrap-Up From Our Trip

I couldn't recommend more highly a car trip even when you just have a week. We loved it! The worst day was the last when we all knew home and our own beds were waiting for us at the end of the day.

To finish up where I left off...

Tuesday we visited the Arizona Museum of Natural History which we highly recommend for all those dinosaur lovers out there. They have a dinosaur mountain that "flash floods" every 10 minutes, a place to pan for gold and a place to dig for dinosaur bones. We all enjoyed ourselves! We finished out the day swimming and playing mini-golf at Grandpa and Grandma's.

A blooming Prickly Pear cactus

Digging for dinosaur bones

Dinosaur mountain

Playing mini-golf
Wednesday we started out at the Phoenix Zoo. We have been there before and really enjoyed it so were really looking forward to this visit. We were very disappointed! In the 5-6 years since we have been there it really has gone down hill and made us really appreciate all the work that our Minnesota Zoo has been putting in. Next time we visit we will skip the zoo and head for Apache Junction and Tortilla Flats for some ghost town action. We rounded out the day with swimming, mini golf, grilling and picking mandarins and grapefruit and Grandpa and Grandma's.

Koala at the zoo

A BIG grapefruit for a little boy!
Picking Mandarins - they taste so GOOD right off the tree!
Beautiful sunset!

Thursday we headed home. We built in some extra time on the way home so we could make a few stops. We spent the first night in Albuquerque so we could visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History - yep - more dinosaurs (and we're not done yet :)!). It was a wonderful light-filled museum that took you through the history of New Mexico by time line - creation to modern day. We rounded out the evening by eating at the Route 66 Diner where we had fabulous diner food.

Up close and personal with a triceratops

Examining a mammoth tusk

Friday we started the day by driving to Tucumcari, New Mexico for some Route 66 nostalgia and you guessed it - another dinosaur museum - the Mesalands Dinousaur Museum. What a great museum for a LITTLE desert town. Well laid out and lots of hands-on for the kids. They got to put their hands and feet in dinosaur prints, dig for bones, ride a dinosaur and really study these animals they are so fascinated by.
Touching a T-rex's print

Stepping in a Sauropod's foot print

Once we left the museum we headed into the Texas Panhandle where we spend some more time visiting some Route 66 spots. We ended the day in Wichita and were ready for the final haul home on Saturday.

Remnants of the past (above and below)    
Someday we want to spend more time driving this famous route before it all disappears

First Phillips 66 station in Texas

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We are home! Sorry I didn't post anymore after Monday but early mornings and late nights left me with little energy to do anything but go to bed. I hope to take some time tomorrow to post some more pictures and details of our trip. See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Great Day In Tuscon

Today we spent the day exploring Tuscon. We first made a stop at Mission San Xavier Del Bac. What an amazingly beautiful place. Even the boys showed great reverance and awe with what they saw.

We then went on to explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and we LOVED it! Great place for all ages to get to know the desert and the plants and animals that live there. We spent 4+ hour there and learned so much about so much. The Older's favorites were the Mexican Wolves and the Little's were the Bighorn Sheep. We will definately go back there again!

Our final stop of the day before heading to Grandpa and Grandma's place in Mesa was the Casa Grande Ruins north of Tuscon. It was a nice way to end the day. Not alot of walking but a nice piece of history to add to our day of learning.

Tomorrow we are off to the Arizona Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs then off to Grandpa and Grandma's place to swim and play mini golf.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We Are Here!

Minnesota Boys in Arizona
After appx. 26 hours in the car, 1,718 miles and 8 states we are in Arizona - YEAH! The boys did wonderful and so did we :)! Tomorrow we are off to the desert museum in Tuscon and hopefully, the Casa Grande Ruins. We are then on to Mesa.

Tonight the boys shocked the other people at the hotel by swimming in the outdoor UNHEATED swimming pool. I assured them that for those Minnesota boys it was nothing compared to winter back home.

Wind farm in Iowa
Will write more later but for now he are some pics from the trip so far - most taken from a moving car.
Older keeping busy
Younger keeping busy

Ghost town in New Mexico
Pronghorn in New Mexico

Daddy driving

Great food at a wonderful restaurant in Tuscon (below)


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our Big Adventure - Preparation Part #2

Our Growing Stack of STUFF
We are now down to days before we leave on our Grand Adventure and we are all getting excited. The Little has been having a rash of tantrums and we are all hoping that this little step away from the day-to-day routine will help move us past this stage.

Fabric Buckets
(I have been saving this license plate fabric for just the right project!)
I have wrapped up all the sewing I intended to do. The fabric buckets for the boys are done and I stitched up an organizer to hang between their seats. The DSi and Leapster cases are complete as are the zippered pouches for their markers and colored pencils. All the books are packed and a selection of movies have been put aside. I have my goody bins ready for when "are we there yet?" requires a new diversion.

Zippered Pouches for Colored Pencils and Markers
The Dinosaur Playmat

To help with one of the things in the goody box - a tube of dinosaurs (the Little's new FAVORITE subject is dinosaurs) - I made a felt play mat that he can put on his lap. It is complete with stuffed rocks, bushes a stream and lake and a volcano. I backed it with burlap to prevent it from slipping off his little lap. He has seen it but is eager to put it to use in the car.  Tonight I am off to the library to pick up some books on CD. I am thinking Harry Potter (the hubby and I have both read them but our Older hasn't been interested - hope this will help) and some more Gary Paulsen (we have been reading his Francis Tucket series out loud and are LOVING it!).  We also have Car Bingo and maps and all kinds of other distractions to make the hours in the car a little easier for them.

I have also packed my books and selected my embroidery and knitting projects for the car. I am looking forward to some solid creating time as the scenery rolls past.