Tuesday, May 31, 2011

weekend Lens

Weekend Lens memorial day

Memorial Day Weekend :: Project Flower Bomb :: Farmers Market finds {flowers, herbs, asparagus, rhubarb, kettle corn} :: planting my potted herb garden :: grilled steak :: new bistro table :: pulled pork from the smoker :: a walk with the dog :: new baseball cleats :: rhubarb torte :: spring storms :: family time

Monday, May 30, 2011

Project Flower Bomb

Yesterday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and my little piece of suburbia and I volunteered at "Project Flower Bomb".... and I am so glad that I did.

Last weekend a tornado devastated many neighborhoods in North Minneapolis. I had seen the photos in the newspaper and had seen video on TV, but I was in no way ready for what I would see when I drove down Jen's street. It was unbelievable...and remember that this was a week later!! A week of people working hard to clean up and rebuilding their lives. It was unbelievable.

From the time when the first tweets started coming last weekend about the tornado I knew I wanted to help. I think it is just a basic human instinct to want to help and even more so when there is so much devastation. But what could I do?

So when people started talking on twitter about wanting to help a fellow blogger and someone that was hit hard by the storm, anyway they could, Jen responded by saying that she had everything she needed but would love to spread cheer in her neighborhood. (Really how cool is that? She wanted nothing for herself but rather to give back to others less fortunate!)

And so some lovely bloggers came up with the idea of getting together and making some flower pots and then distributing them in her surrounding neighborhoods and Project Flower Bomb was planned. I had never met Jen, but have followed her blog for about a year now, and just felt that this was an opportunity that I wanted to help with and something that I could do. So I rsvp'd and jumped right in.


And so yesterday about 20 people gathered at Jen's house. She gave us a tour of the neighborhood. It was surreal and I just can't even imagine it right after the tornado hit!



And then we got busy planting flowers into little pots.

We quickly filled 130 pots with flowers and then filled out little cards to tuck into each flower pot. We split into two groups and started knocking on doors and handing out the flowers. It was so touching and moving to see how grateful and appreciative that people were to receive that little pot of cheer!



I felt so privileged to be part of this group and it was a perfect way for Jen to honor her neighborhood. Like she said; "The idea is simple. It is that flowers will continue to be a visual reminder of solidarity and hope."
I love that!


Thanks Jen for sharing your neighborhood with us! And I am hoping she took away some cheer from the day as well!

And here is a link to the Pioneer Press article that was written about the event. It made the front page today! Pretty awesome!

And we were each given as a thank you, a little flower to take home. I am going to find a pretty little pot to plant this in as a way to remember such a special day!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday favorites

Friday Favorites

I am starting a new weekly post about some of my favorite things. This will include just random things that make me smile, make my life easier, or things I am loving at the moment.
  • The first thing that caught my eye this week is this cute iPhone case by Kate Spade.
kate spade

and this one is cute too. I would love either one of these to add some color to my iPhone!

kate spade 2

  • Lilacs!!

I love this time of year when the lilacs are in bloom. The beautiful smell and color make this flower my very favorite! I just wish they were in bloom all summer! Love.
  • This ice cream is amazing!

The Samoa Girl Scout cookie is my favorite and so I knew I would love this ice cream! But what makes this even better is that it is a lower fat ice cream and so I don't need to feel too guilty indulging in this treat! :) But it is probably a good thing that it is a limited edition flavor!

It is a great way to for saving ideas and things I see online or in person. What is really neat about this is that you can sync your phone and your computer and all your notes are in one spot.  And it works with most computers and phones. I have used this so much!!

  • And my last favorite thing this week is a recent restaurant find: The Happy Gnome.

This is in a great little neighborhood in St.Paul. The bar area has a great atmosphere with brick walls and just a cozy feel. A cute little touch was that there were little gnomes tucked all around the bar/restaurant. The beer list is very extensive and the food was great. I had the:: Vegetable Smörgåsbord  hummus, bruschetta, baba ganoush, pita, sourdough:: for dinner and it was amazing! We can't wait to go back!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cookies & Creme Cake


1 package white cake mix
3 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Oreo's, coarsely chopped
(plus additional cookies to garnish)
Butter cream frosting {recipe following}

Grease and flour two 9 inch round or bundt pan.

Combine cake mix, egg whites, and oil in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 1 1/2 cups oreos. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 28-31 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
Frost cake and garnish with additional cookies.

Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk

Beat butter, shortening and vanilla until creamy. Add one cup powdered sugar and mix. Add 1 T milk and mix. Keep alternating sugar and milk until all is mixed.

**Linking up to Kelly's Korner --Show us your Desserts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

wordless Wednesday

lilacs 2

Spring Beauty.

Monday, May 23, 2011

quiet weekends

The past couple of weekends have been super quiet and while I have liked the quietness it is also kind of an adjustment form the busyness that we are used to.
But it is a good adjustment.
And this quietness has opened up time to do other things.

We moved Tyler out of his dorm and home for the summer.


Bella and I went for a walk around Lake Harriet.

We enjoyed a back yard bonfire.

We went out for dinner at a new {to us} restaurant:: The Happy Gnome.
This was a great little restaurant with an impressive beer list and good food. We will be going back soon.

Finished a puzzle.

Cleaned our master closet.


We went out for a family movie night and saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The reviews on this movie haven't been great and so we weren't sure what to expect but we all thought it was a pretty good movie and worth seeing.

I made a new Lasagna recipe and baked a batch of butterscotch oatmeal cookies.


And just relaxed. {I love this picture of Ty hanging out in Drew's room.}


I am hoping for more quiet weekends this summer.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

project 365 {107-113}

I am only about a month behind-- but am trying hard to get caught up on my 365 picture a day posts.

Day 107
{April 17th}



Day 108
{April 18th}


Bella back from a day at the 'doggie spa'.

Day 109
{April 19th}


Jake's 'baby box.'

Day 110
{April 20th}


Easter eggs.

Day 111
{April 21st}


Jake's 16th birthday party.

Day 112
{April 22nd}


Drew and Bella relaxing with Ty who was home for Easter weekend.

Day 113
{April 23rd}


Bunny Cakes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

project 365 {100-106}

Day 100
{April 10th}


Blogging away.

Day 101
{April 11th}


My favorite banana bread recipe.

Day 102
{April 12th}


Drew amd friends spending many hours outside playing basketball.
Enjoying the spring weather.

Day 103
{April 13th}


Easter decorations.

Day 104
{April 14th}



Day 105
{April 15th}


Snow in April!

Day 106
{April 16th}


Really not fair!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I love Trader Joe's

Yesterday, I was at the book store looking for a different book, when I came across this cookbook that was calling my name.


I flipped through the cookbook and found quite a few recipes that I would love to try and so I decided that I must get it. Now I just need to figure out what to make first!

Even though the closest Trader Joe's to me is 20 miles away it is one of my favorite little grocery stores and I still manage to make the drive to the store quite a bit. I love the uniqueness of TJ's and I really love poking around the store to find new foods to try. And I also love the prices!


This is what I came home with from a recent trip to TJ's.


These are a few of my favorite must haves when I get to the store.
This Sunflower Seed Butter is probably one of my favorite finds and I eat a lot of this on toasted whole wheat sandwich thins. Yum!


These are good for a quick dinner and they are really quite filling. 
{For both enchiladas the calories are 260 and 8 grams of fat.}


The whole family likes this Mandarin Orange Chicken.  This is another great idea for a quick weeknight dinner. This is great served with brown rice and brocoli.


This Gnocci has a really good flavor and texture and can be cooked right in the microwave.
{The serving size is 1 cup, 170 calories, 2.5 grams fat. I usually have about 1 1/2 cups and it totally fills me up.}


These Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions are so good!!!!! I usually pick up several bags of these at a time and we use them in things like fajitas and quesadillas.


These Chicken Lime Chicken Burgers are a good alternative to hamburgers and I usually pull one of these out when our family is having burger night.  {Each chicken burger has 150 calories and 6 grams of fat.}


This is the first time I bought salad dressing. It has a ton of flavor and is still low in fat and calories.


This Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa is so good and is definately something I pick up every time I shop at TJ's.


Items from another trip to Trader Joe's.
The Roasted Corn is another awesome discovery. We go through bags of this corn.  It has such a unique smokey flavor and it is so good just cooked but is also so good in soups and salads.


Maybe my only complaint about Trader Joe's is that there isn't one closer to my house! :)