Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 10

Road Report
None; we stayed in Tioga today.

Notable Events
When Susan was shopping in Grand Forks on Wednesday, she bought lobster tails for us to make for the family at Dad and Beverly's as a fancy meal for New Year's Eve.  However, Dad and Beverly had already arranged for us to meet others for a nice supper at a restaurant tonight, so we prepared the lobster for dinner at noon instead!  They were delicious with melted butter for dipping, roasted asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and creamy garlic potatoes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 9

Road Report
Today's route: East Grand Forks, MN to Tioga, ND on Hwy 2 (296 miles).  Severe winter weather is occurring in most of ND, and several blizzards are headed toward the Red River Valley this weekend.  Although I didn't relish driving through the gale-force winds, the drifting and blowing snow (and frequent whiteout conditions), and the negative temperatures with double-digit below-zero wind chill factors, I suspected that today was our best chance of making it across the state before things got even worse.  So the drive was a little scary until midway between Devils Lake and Rugby, but road conditions got progressively better the closer we got to Tioga, and we made it to Dad and Beverly's safe and sound.

Notable Events
Today was Suzanna's 13th birthday!  (And she spent a good chunk of it in the vehicle, perhaps viewing the weather outside and wondering if she'd live to see another day.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 8

Road Report
None; we stayed in East Grand Forks today.

Notable Events
Jay and Erin always make us feel so "at home" in their house; we sleep in, have delicious meals whenever it suits us, get to see lots of friends because Jay and Erin invite them over while we're there, and don't hear much from our kids because they're always off playing with Jay and Erin's kids (Hannah and Gabriel) and the children of our other friends when they come over.  Jay had a midday errand to run in Fargo, and Erin and Susan wanted to go shopping; so I stayed home with the kids (who spent part of the time sledding outside and then came in and made their own sandwiches for dinner before heading off to play--easy!).

Our friends started arriving by evening, joining us for sandwiches and snacks and beverages and games and stories and laughter and all the things that we're used to with that crew.  Jeff and Susie were there for a bit; Rob was feeling better tonight and accompanied Laurie and their son Ethan; and Jesse and Nicole brought their kids Ethan, McKenna, and Mya.  Jesse and Nicole just returned from a family trip to HI, so we envied their tans and listened to the highlights of their time swimming and sightseeing--and we appreciated their coming to see us when they probably would much rather have just headed home to unpack and collapse in their own beds.

I must note that the main game of the evening was Telestrations, one that Jay and Erin bought when we spent a weekend with them in Minot this past fall (remember?).  We laughed like a pack of fools while playing that game, both back in October with Jay and Erin and tonight with the larger group.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 7

Road Report
Today's route: Omaha, NE to East Grand Forks, MN on I-680 and I-29 (502 miles).  Roads were clear; driving was uneventful.

Notable Events
We got up fairly early, packed the vehicle, bid farewell to my sisters (after a very enjoyable long holiday weekend with them--thanks again, Cathy and Sandy!), and hit the road (well, after a quick stop at a drive-up coffee kiosk).  Eight-ish hours later, we made it to the home of our friends Jay and Erin, who had supper ready for us: Scandinavian meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, buttered corn, and homemade flatbread and lefse.  Delicious!  Afterwards our mutual friend Laurie came over without her husband Rob (who wasn't feeling well) but with their son Ethan, who played with our kids and Jay and Erin's kids while the adults had snacks and beverages, played games, caught up on the events in one another's lives, and laughed pretty much continuously.  It's amazing how easily we seem to pick up where we left off with this group of friends . . . and tomorrow, we're hoping to see even more people from that group.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 6

Road Report
None; we stayed in Omaha today.

Notable Events
Sandy had made plenty of homemade lefse for us to enjoy with our meals this past weekend, but she also kept her lefse griddle and related equipment handy so that all the ladies could make some lefse one day while we're all together.  Susan and our daughters have some experience making lefse (remember?), but this was my sister Cathy's first time:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 5

Road Report
None; we stayed in Omaha today.

Notable Events
My sister Cathy's roommate Kathy took a little road trip of her own this holiday season, flying to her mom's home and them driving with her from WY to MO to spend Christmas with family there.  On their way back, they took a detour through Omaha in order to see us! We all met at a nearby truck stop for dinner just after noon, and we shared Christmas stories and spent some quality time together.  How nice of them to go out of their way to see us!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 4

Road Report
None; we stayed in Omaha today.

Notable Events
Santa found our daughters in Omaha!  Although he dropped some of their gifts off back at home (for them to find when we get back), he did stuff their stockings (hanging from Sandy's fireplace mantel) and leave some packages for them here, too.  We all sat in our pajamas in the living room as the girls opened their Santa gifts; then we moved down to the family room to open the family gifts from under the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 3

Road Report
None; we stayed in Omaha today.

Notable Events
Our dad (back home in ND) wished he could have been with us, and he wanted us to have a special meal "on him" while we three kids were all together.  He had my sister Sandy pick up some tasty items from Omaha Steaks, and this was our Christmas Eve supper:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 2

Road Report
Today's route: Harwood, ND to Omaha, NE on I-29 and I-680 (429 miles).  I drove through whiteout conditions on snow-compacted roads from the ND border to midway between Watertown and Brookings, SD; but the rest of the way, the roads and weather were great.

Notable Events
Jeff had to work this morning, but we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Janelle and the kids before packing up (while the kids played outside in the snow with the neighbor children) and heading to my sister Sandy's home in Omaha.  She, meanwhile, was monitoring the flights of our sister Cathy, who was flying from OR to spend Christmas with us all in Omaha.  As it turned out, we pulled into Sandy's driveway at exactly the same time as Sandy did on her way back from picking Cathy up at the airport!  We enjoyed a late supper of homemade chili and relaxed after a long day of driving.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Road Trip: Day 1

Today was the last day of school for Susan and the girls until January 3, meaning the start of Christmas vacation for the family.  However, in our case, "vacation" means "1,673 miles of driving in Midwestern winter weather."  Fun for me (a.k.a. the driver)!  The upside is that we'll get to spend our time with family and friends, so let the driving begin!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Early Norwegian Christmas Meal

The past couple years, the girls have been involved in competitive swimming as a club sport, which has two seasons: a winter one and a summer one.  This fall, Suzanna was old enough to join the school's varsity swim team, too, whose season is in the fall.  So, Faithful Reader, although you've stopped reading about Suzanna's varsity swim meets due to the end of their autumn season, you're about to start reading about all three girls' club swim meets due to the start of their winter season.  Got that?!

Their first meet of this season was today in Mandan.  I stayed home to get some work done and prep for Scandinavian Saturday supper (more on that in a bit), but Susan kept me updated (via texts) after every event.  Each daughter improved on her best times from last season; and in a couple instances, they were pretty darned close to the qualifying times for competing in the state meet!  This is a great way to start the season.

For tonight's ethnic meal, I chose the recipes and bought the groceries and then enlisted Susan's assistance (she was my helper this week) once they were back from Mandan.  Here's what we made (thanks to recipes from Trina Hahnemann):

Drool and/or click to enlarge . . . and then proceed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Rhythm Got Us

Two highlights:
  • This month's activity for the seventh-grade Mentor Groups at church (remember?) was to go on a scavenger hunt!  I was surprised at how excited my boys were to do it!  Each group was given a $5 bill and a list of challenges to do and told to report back to the church in a half-hour.  No prize for getting the most things done, no prize for being the first ones back--just go do it.  Well, my group of boys were treating it as though we were on The Amazing Race!  They were yelling and rushing and plotting and scheming to get two or more things done at the same site, determined to get everything done and back to the church on time.  Well, we were the first ones back although we had to leave a couple items undone.  But we got strangers to sing Christmas carols with us in the mall, and we used the $5 to buy food for a local food pantry, and we found a house with a lit wreath on it and sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to the woman who answered the door, etc.  Afterwards groups mingled and shared funny stories from the night and ate cookies and drank hot chocolate.  My boys asked if we could do it again this weekend!  (Answer: No.)
  • Tonight was Abigail's music program at school.  Her sixth-grade program was much like Suzanna's was last year (remember?) in that all the students sang a bunch of songs before the kids in band played a bunch of songs; most of the songs were the same as last year; and a Moberg child had a featured solo!  Yes, Abigail did a great job playing saxophone in the band portion and singing along with the others in the first half of the program; but what really made us proud as punch was her solo during "The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You":
video

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Norwegian Pre-Christmas Christmas

This afternoon we attended the monthly meeting of our Sons of Norway lodge, followed by its Christmas supper and program.  Before the meal, Suzanna (who serves as Musician for our lodge) enlisted her sisters to help her lead the meeting attendees in singing the Norwegian Christmas hymn "Jeg Er Så Glad Hver Julekveld" ["I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve"].  After the meal, the program director asked everyone to share aloud a favorite Christmas memory, after which Suzanna and her sisters led the lodge members in singing aloud several familiar Christmas carols.  Fun and festive!

Our friend Monica brought Santa hats for the girls to wear this afternoon.  Here they are posing by the keyboard that Monica donated to the lodge for Suzanna to use in leading us in singing the national anthems and other songs for lodge programs.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Swedish Spice Mixes

Faithful Reader, do you recall that, back in March, Hillary and I bought some Swedish spice mixes at a Scandinavian store in Bismarck, ND?  Since then they've been waiting patiently in our pantry, and I decided to make use of them for tonight's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  Suzanna was my helper this week.  Behold the spread that we created:

Drool and then read on for details.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nice Basket

Some highlights from the week:
  • Sunday, I served as cantor at church in the morning and got some nice compliments afterward on my singing.
  • Tuesday, Susan accompanied me to the annual "President's holiday social" (Christmas party), hosted by the university's president and his wife at the Elks Lodge.  At one of the stations of food, we found the largest shrimp I have ever seen--seriously, about the size of lobster tails!  So delicious.  And it's always fun to socialize with colleagues in an off-campus setting about non-work-related topics.
  • Tonight, I accompanied Susan to her faculty Christmas party, arranged by a group of teachers and held at the Eagles Club downtown.  We had cocktails and a delicious meal followed by socializing, games, and prizes.  We didn't participate in the games (modeled after challenges in the game show Minute to Win It), but it was fun to watch others humiliate themselves!  And I won a door prize!  I received a basket labeled "Night on the Town":
two T-shirts from Mavericks Saloon and Casino; a gift certificate for two hours of cosmic bowling "for up to one person" at Paragon Bowl; $40 worth of gift certificates to Pizza Ranch; five free drink tokens redeemable at the Esquire Club; and a bottle of Ruta 22 Malbec 2008, a red wine

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Anniversary Surprise

Okay, Faithful Reader, earlier today I forewarned you that I'd be writing later on about an evening event that we had to attend.  We're back now from that event, so I can let you know that it was . . . a surprise party for Susan's aunt and uncle Kathy and Pat, whose 40th anniversary is coming up in a few weeks!  Their kids planned it and got Pat and Kathy to the St. Anthony Hall just off Broadway with the "white lie" that they were attending a relative's 13th birthday party there.  Surprise!

Kathy and Pat share a dance.  Awww!

Digital Story of the Nativity

Fabulous Frokost

[frokost = "breakfast"]

We've got an early-evening event to attend tonight (more on that in a later post), so I decided to make breakfast instead of supper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday meal.  I'm not always so good at timing a meal; I usually underestimate the amount of time it will take to prepare each dish.  I didn't want to do that tonight and end up late for our appointment, so I got up at 5:30 A.M. to make an ethnic breakfast instead.  Here it is:

Wanna know what everything is?  Read on . . . Oh, and remember: click on each photo to enjoy it in greater detail.

Friday, December 03, 2010

An Evening in the Underworld

Susan and I attended a play tonight at the university.  It was a production of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, an imaginative retelling of the myth that usually features Orpheus as its focus.  He is a character in Ruhl's play, too, but Eurydice is definitely the main character.  The production took place in the Backstage Theater, a flexible space that's ideal for more intimate productions than those done on the mainstage.  Susan and I had front-row seats; the actors were literally mere inches away from us at times.  We had a great perspective from which to take in the interesting set choices (an elevator in which people got rained on and a water pump, both of which used real water; a room established in the Underworld by lacing string through loopholes on the floors and walls; the river Lethe represented by a length of blue fabric that emerged from a sewage drainpipe).  Although each actor had his/her moments, my favorite performers were the three women portraying talking stones in the Underworld, commenting on the action to us and to the characters and serving as a sort of Greek chorus.  It was a creative production of an inventive play that reminded me of something our friend Darin would direct.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The End Is Near

FYI: The new movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is awesome.  I know because our family went to see it today.  We have all read all the books in the series, and now we have seen all the movies in the series . . . and certainly intend to watch Part II when it is released next summer.  Despite knowing in advance what to expect from the plot, we were still surprised by moments of suspense that ended with elements meant to shock (and Hillary screamed quite loudly at one point when a snake made an attack that looked as though it were coming right off the screen and into our laps!).  We gulped down our dinner in order to make it to the matinée showing on time, so we had no time or appetite for popcorn or pop during the movie.  But other than the lack of snacks, it was a perfect movie-going experience.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Suppe

I realize that it won't be Saturday until tomorrow, but I wanted to make my homemade turkey soup today from the stock that I made yesterday (remember?)--so this week our family's Scandinavian Saturday supper is happening on a Friday.

kalkunsuppe ["turkey soup"]

I didn't use a recipe for this one; I just threw in what seemed to "fit," and the result was pretty good.  I sautéed chopped carrots and parsnips in olive oil and butter with salt, cracked pepper, and herbes de Provence.  Then I added chopped celery, leeks, red bell pepper, and mushrooms to continue sautéing before adding white wine.  Then I brought in from the chilly veranda the turkey stock that I had made yesterday and skimmed off the fat before adding the flavorful stock to the simmering vegetables.  As that heated through, I chopped all the dark turkey meat and most of the white and then added it to the soup.  Then I added a buncha stuff: garlic cream of mushroom soup, a can of grilled chicken and noodle soup, a few packets of different seasoning mixes (meant for chicken stews and such), garlic seasoning, a dried dill seasoning mix . . . just whatever I could find in the spice cabinet that looked good.  After the soup had simmered a couple hours, I stirred in chopped parsley and fresh spinach to wilt.  The result was the thick, rich, full-of-flavor turkey and vegetable soup pictured above.

P.S.  We have so much dressing left over from our turkey dinner that I had Susan cut some of it into slices and toast them in the oven to serve as a savory bread to go along with our meal!  (That's what's on the plate in the photo.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All-State Suzanna

Last spring, when Suzanna registered for this year's classes at the junior high school (remember?), she wasn't able to fit chorus into her schedule; but the music teacher told her that she could sign up this fall for the honor choir, an extracurricular group that meets in the mornings.  She did that and is in that group (as well as in the jazz band, another extracurricular group) (as well as in the 7th-grade band, which meets daily as one of the courses that she's taking).  So she's as involved as possible in music at the school this year.

Well, another opportunity presented itself this fall: auditions for the all-state honor choirs selected to perform at the annual conference of the North Dakota American Choral Directors Association, which meets this year in Dickinson in February.  Suzanna (along with other students at the school) auditioned for the junior high/middle school honor choir, and her music teacher sent in her audition tape and application forms, and then they waited.

This morning Suzanna's music teacher e-mailed Susan and me to notify us that Suzanna has been selected to participate in the mixed honor choir!  In that choir, she is one of 25 sopranos chosen from schools across the state!  According to the list, she is the only student in the choir from Dickinson; except for four other students, the rest came from schools in Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks.  We're as proud as can be, and so is Suzanna.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Music, Sculpture, Theatre, and a Bonus Video

Abigail got up early with me this morning to clear out the driveway so that she, her sisters, and Susan could get to church at 7:30 A.M. for choir rehearsals, Sunday school, and church.  I stayed behind and finished the snowblowing and shoveling, which turned out to be a two-hour job.  Fun.  Then I did some school work, knowing that I'd have no time to finish it this afternoon or evening due to our jam-packed schedule of three main events:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Simon and Son and Snow

Just last week we attended one of the concerts offered by the Dickinson Area Concert Association in this year's series.  Well, the next scheduled concert . . . was tonight!  We skipped Scandinavian Saturday supper this week due to last night's Norwegian buffet, ate our usual Friday night meal of homemade pizza, and got ready to leave.  It was snowing and scheduled to continue throughout the night, and I knew I'd have to get up super-early tomorrow to start snowblowing and shoveling so that Susan and the girls can be at church at 7:30 A.M.; so I wasn't eager to forgo supper tonight in order to go out and clear the driveway in time for us to drive to the concert.  So we walked there instead.  Through the continuously falling snow.  And the cold wind.  And the piles of snow on the unshoveled sidewalks and unplowed streets between our house and the university.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Norwegian Night

The other day, Susan came home with an advertisement clipped out of the local newspaper.  Lady J's, a local club and catering business, was advertising a special menu for tonight's buffet: Norwegian Night!  How could our family not go to that?!  We decided to forgo our weekly Scandinavian Saturday supper at home tomorrow night and instead eat Nordic food at Lady J's tonight.  And it turned out to be an excellent decision!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inspiration

This month's activity for the seventh-grade Mentor Groups at church was to take a field trip!  We gathered first at the church, and then each mentor drove his/her group of mentees to the community center, where we sat in a meeting room to hear from one of the employees about "living in service to Christ."  This gentleman told tales from his life.  He was born in Colombia and lived his first few years with his parents, who put out their cigarettes on his head and eventually turned him out of the house because they couldn't afford all their children.  He lived the next few years as an orphan, surviving on the streets of Bogotá by begging and stealing and evading the hit men hired by businesses to kill any orphan children who loitered around their store fronts.  (He showed us the scars on his arm from when an irritated business owner doused him in gasoline and set him on fire.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Judgmental Again

Tonight was my second annual time serving as a judge for the third annual Miss(ter) Bluehawk Beauty Pageant at the university.  It's a fundraiser put on by students in the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program, and they donate all the proceeds to charity.  The format was the same as last year's event, but tonight there were 11 contestants (compared to 8 last year).  Everybody looked stylish for the formal wear competition . . . except for one guy, who wore a Burger King costume instead of a suit and tie or tuxedo, as the others did.  He was also the guy who wore a mermaid costume for the swimsuit competition instead of a man's swimsuit, as the others did (albeit with humorous variations: one guy wore arm floaties, another wore a life jacket, etc.).  He was also . . .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hillary's Gourmet Friend

Hillary spent the night at a friend's house for a birthday party/sleepover.  Susan picked her up this morning in time to go to Sunday school and church, after which we returned home for dinner and had our first chance to talk to Hillary about how the party had gone.  She had a great time playing games and watching movies with her friends but was sad to have to leave this morning before her friend's mom had served breakfast (danged Sunday morning church obligations!).  "Oh?  Do you know what she was going to make for breakfast?"  Why, yes, Hillary did, in fact, know . . . because it was printed on the menu that the birthday girl's mom had made and distributed for the sleepover!  Hillary pulled out her copy of the menu and showed us what it said:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Full Day Ending in Full Tummies

Another busy day.  Susan and Suzanna headed back to their rosemaling workshop today (remember?), and I dropped Abigail and Hillary off at church to help bake goodies for a bake sale tomorrow and then went to work myself.  After dinner, I took Abigail and Hillary to the senior instrumental recital of one of my students, who happens also to be Abigail's instructor for private lessons on the saxophone.  Susan and Suzanna were home by the time we got home, but then Hillary needed to be shuttled off to a friend's house for a birthday party sleepover.  It was supposed to be Hillary's turn to be my helper for Scandinavian Saturday supper, but Susan offered to serve as her replacement, and we made another tasty meal.

And (of course) I have photos to share!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Special Events

Yesterday Suzanna took her grandpa (Susan's dad, Roger) to a Veterans Day program held on the university campus.  Suzanna's geography teacher, himself in the military, encouraged his students to attend and suggested that they invite a veteran to accompany them . . . . so Suzanna did that!  She didn't have school yesterday anyway, so she phoned Grandpa and asked if he could pick her up.  Afterward I asked Suzanna for a debriefing, and she said that it had been interesting but that the speakers "weren't really talking with seventh-graders in mind"; she didn't know really what their speeches were about.  At least it was quality grandpa/granddaughter time.

This evening Susan and Suzanna went off to a rosemaling workshop (sponsored by our Sons of Norway lodge) that will continue all day tomorrow, so Abigail, Hillary, and I went by ourselves to a music concert, the next one in the Dickinson Area Concert Association's series for this season.  We thoroughly enjoyed Cahal Dunne, an Irish pianist and singer who has lived in the U.S. for a couple decades.  He told jokes (very funny) between songs and played instrumental solos (expertly--he's a classically trained pianist) and accompanied himself as he sang (with an easy-to-listen-to voice) and changed his suit coat often to match the kinds of songs that he would be playing (e.g., red/white/blue for patriotic tunes).  And it was a super-long concert; we definitely got our money's worth!  You can hear some of his jokes, piano playing, and singing here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Guy's Gotta Eat

Monday night our family ate international food at the Feast of Nations, a fundraiser for the business club at the university.  We went to the Student Center to enjoy food from the many countries of the international students on our campus, and we nearly burned out tongues out on the spicy Korean food!  There was entertainment, too, provided by international students; we saw dancing and heard some singing and instrumental music before we finished our meal and headed home.  The other adults at our table raised their eyes in wonder as our girls ate the unusual variety of food without picking at it or fussing or making faces.  (The girls were a little more critical of some of the out-of-tune "entertainment," though.)

Tonight we ate at Pizza Ranch after . . . (wait for it) . . . I worked a shift there!  Yep, as a fundraiser for the Western Wellness Foundation, several of us board members worked for three hours, busing tables and getting refills for patrons.  The tips collected (as well as a cut of the restaurant's profits during that timespan) were donated by the restaurant to our organization.  The girls do not have school tomorrow, so each of them has a friend sleeping over at our house tonight.  Susan brought all six girls to Pizza Ranch for supper, and I joined them to eat when my shift was done.  I have fond memories of working at the Ground Round as an undergrad years ago, but I was always busy there, interacting with the customers and getting food out of the kitchen and onto their tables.  Waiting around tonight for someone to have an empty plate for me to pick up just wasn't quite the same thrill.  But for a good cause (and some tasty pizza), I did it.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Susan's Handiwork

Look what Susan just finished:

Click on this photo--or any of the others--to see the item in greater detail.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fast and Delicious

Uff-da!  It's been a whole month since the last time that I and one of my ladies cooked up a Scandinavian Saturday supper for the family.  I made such a meal on October 9.  However, on October 16, Susan made ethnic German foods instead; on October 23, our family was in Minot, ND (and my Scandinavian food that weekend was a meal made by a woman from Norway!); and on October 30, our family had supper with Susan's extended family at a gathering at her aunt and uncle's home.  But we were home tonight, so Abigail took her turn as my helper, and this is what we served:

Intrigued?  Read on!

Friday, November 05, 2010

My Sister's Fancy Apple

My sister Cathy won an award last night!  The Chamber of Commerce in her local community honors deserving educators with the Crystal Apple Award; and at last night's dinner and awards ceremony, Cathy received one!  Cathy, would you comment to tell us all the details about your nomination, your selection, the evening overall, etc.?  In the meantime, here she is with the award (which looks very nice, btw):

Cathy and her Crystal Apple Award

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Brace Yourselves!

At our daughters' last dental appointments, the dentist recommended that all three girls meet with an orthodontist.  Susan selected a highly recommended one and scheduled appointments for the girls this morning at his office in Bismarck.  The appointment was for a consultation, after which Susan intended to contact a second orthodontist for another consultation as a point of comparison.

I had to stay at work today for several meetings, so Susan and the girls left in the wee hours of the morning, and I relied on text messages from Susan throughout the day to stay informed on what was happening at the orthodontist's office.  And, mind you, quite a lot happened!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

An Uncle Again!

Today I received a text message from Susan's sister, Cassie, mother of our darling nephew Davis.  It was this photo with this message:

"Big bro to a lil sister!"

We've known for some time that Cassie and her husband Nick were expecting another child, but they just today found out its sex.  A niece!  That's great news . . . because now we can unload a lot more of our own kids' baby stuff on Cassie and Nick!  No, really, congratulations to you two and Davis, too!

Monday, November 01, 2010

First Chair

Tonight we attended Suzanna's seventh-grade band concert at her junior high school!  Walking into the gymnasium and seeing it set up with chairs for the band on one side and risers for the choir on the other just took me right back to my own days as a music student at Tioga High School!  And it was very special to watch Suzanna walk out and take her place in the "first chair" position amongst the trombones, carrying the same trombone that I used to play.  She's quite a good trombonist (owing in part, I'm sure, to the private trombone lessons she takes from a trombone performance major at the university), and it was very enjoyable to hear the concert.  We were proud as could be!

The band teacher, Mr. Dykema, is great and gets good sound from both his choir and band students.


video
This song--"Woodland Odyssey" by Michael Sweeney--is Suzanna's favorite from among those that the band played tonight.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zombies for Dessert

I realize that Halloween isn't a national holiday, but when it falls on a weekend day, shouldn't I have it off from work?  Nope, not today.  I was required to attend a meeting this evening from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M., and I went in ahead of time to do some grading and be "on call" in case I was needed to set up for the student presentations that were a part of the events.  While I was gone, Susan and the girls tended to the essential Halloween festivities.

Wanna know who these be-costumed beauties are?  Read on!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Morey, the Merrier

Susan's uncle Frank and his son John are in town this weekend for hunting, so Susan's aunt and uncle Kathy and Pat invited all available members of the extended family to their house for supper and visiting.  Suzanna was out of town yesterday and today for a swim meet in Jamestown, but the rest of our family went over to Kathy and Pat's and enjoyed visiting and snacking (and our girls enjoyed playing with the little kids in the house: their third-cousins!) (and Suzanna got dropped off there when the swimmers returned to town, so she, too, got to see everyone).

Wanna see some photos?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Multimedia

Three interesting arts/cultural events from our week:

(1) Monday night, Susan and I attended a book reading by the author of Under the Twisted Cross, an historical fiction novel based on her father's experience as a WWII prisoner of war in German territory.  The author, Margaret Barnhart, happens to be a university colleague of mine.  A good-sized crowd gathered in the Alumni and Foundation House across from the campus to listen to Margaret read a chapter from the book.  It was a compelling section that ended in suspense; and before we left, we ordered a copy of the novel.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Not Minot?

We love that we continue to stay in touch with our dear friends from when we lived in Greater Grand Forks.  When we used to live there, we'd get together regularly with several couples and their children for "family game nights" or spur-of-the-moment suppers or elaborate parties; and at various times since then, we have reunited when they have come to southwest ND to visit us or when we have returned to the Red River Valley for holidays or more of those parties!  3.5 years ago we all met up in Minot, ND, a site about an equal distance away from home for all of us, for a weekend of swimming at the hotel's water park, shopping, eating, and most of all hanging out together and playing games.  And this weekend we headed back to Minot again for the same purpose!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fun, Food, and Friends

Three highlights from today/tonight:

(1) In preparation for a demonstration speech that Abigail will give in her gifted/talented class at school, she learned how to make Kuchen today with Mommy.  Kuchen is a pie-shaped coffee cake with a filling of custard and fruit, and it's quite popular in this area.  Susan walked her through each step and photographed Abigail in the process of making it so that Abigail can put those photos into a PowerPoint presentation to show her classmates.  At the end of the slideshow, she will take out the already-made Kuchen and slice it to share with everybody.  (Food-based demonstration speeches were always my favorite ones to have my students do in speech courses!)  And I've got photos:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Parents Night

Suzanna's varsity swim team career continues.  At this point in the season, she (and we) are more or less used to the early-morning and after-school practices and the out-of-town meets, although balancing all that with doing homework and practicing piano and trombone and attending confirmation classes at church and eating meals and spending time with family and sleeping is still proving to be a tricky endeavor.  Nevertheless, tonight was Parents Night at the home swim meet in Williston (recall that Dickinson co-ops with Williston for varsity swimming, so Suzanna wears Williston Coyote apparel instead of Dickinson Midget clothes when swimming).  I had to teach all day as well as attend a meeting led by my chair, our dean, and our president this afternoon . . . so I couldn't be gone.  However, Susan took time off from work to drive Suzanna to the meet and be there as a parent.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lutheran Labor

The confirmation program at our church includes Mentor Groups, assigning the students to small groups and matching each one with an adult who serves as the Mentor Group leader for monthly meetings and activities.  Each group is expected to carry out a service project during the year, and as a Mentor Group leader myself, I had to make arrangements for one such project for my five boys.  We decided to lend our muscle to the church women who spend all year making and boxing up hundreds of quilts to be shipped by Lutheran World Relief to those in need of them.  The quilters needed someone to unstack a year's worth of boxes of quilts being stored in the church, load them into vehicles, drive them across town, and pack them into the LWR truck.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Fine Arts

This morning at church, we enjoyed the music of Copper Street Brass, a brass quintet from Minneapolis, MN.  They are phenomenal!  They provided prelude and postlude music but also played brass arrangements of the liturgical music, joining the organist throughout the service.  If you are a lover of live music, you can probably imagine the feeling that we members of the congregation had as the full, rich sounds of the brass instruments filled up the church and washed over us as we sang along.  You can watch some videos and listen to several excerpts of the group's performances here.

This afternoon I headed back to church to lead my Mentor Group in a service project (more on that tomorrow) while Susan took the girls to a Sons of Norway lodge meeting.  You may recall that, at last month's lodge meeting, Hillary had the winning bid on an ethnic troll sculpture.  Well, today was Abigail's turn to submit the winning bid on another sculpture up for auction!  Hillary's sculpture was of a troll witch, and Abigail's is of a troll couple.  And Hillary happened to win a door prize at today's meeting: an autumn-themed candle holder.

Abigail's troll couple sculture and Hillary's door prize

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saxon Samstag

It's time for another Scandinavian Saturday in the Moberg household.  However, I am so swamped with work that Susan suggested I continue grading student projects, and she offered to take over the preparation of ethnic edibles . . . just with a German theme this week (to honor her own heritage).  Thus, Scandinavian Saturday became Saxon Samstag this evening!

Looks delicious, right?  Read on to find out what everything is.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Embouchure Tips from an Amateur

Tonight our family attended a concert performed by the university's jazz band, and we were amazed at how excellent they sounded!  There were just 15 musicians, but the sound was full and rich, and all the songs were polished and fun to listen to.  They had a guest performer: a saxophonist named Doug Drewek.  You can watch/hear Dr. Drewek's playing in some videos posted on his Web site.  He's a very good alto saxophone player.

Abigail takes saxophone lessons from a music education major at the university, who herself was excited to attend tonight's concert to hear Dr. Drewek . . . so Abigail got excited about it, too, and seemed very intent throughout the performance.  As our family walked home together afterward, Susan and I asked Abigail what she thought of Dr. Drewek.  She thought he was good, but she was amazed that he was using incorrect embouchure, as was the university faculty member who conducts the band and plays tenor saxophone for it.  Well, she admitted, at least the way he was holding the mouthpiece in his mouth and puffing out his cheeks was different from what her own teacher had instructed her to do.  At least we knew that Abigail had been paying attention!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sacred Drum and School Daze

Well, first it was Abigail, and now it is Hillary.  Abigail had one impromptu and one planned musical performance a few days ago; and Hillary just had a planned musical performance only a few days after an impromptu one herself.  Allow me to explain:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Leif Erickson Day Meal

What a happy coincidence that our family's Scandinavian Saturday should occur on Leif Erikson Day this year!  Faithful Reader, did you celebrate the occasion with Nordic songs, folk dances, crafts, literature, fine art, and food?  I'm sure that you did.  As for us, the extent of our celebration was eating our weekly ethnic meal.  It was Abigail's turn to be my helper this week; but because she was otherwise occupied all day long (remember?), I made everything by myself.  It turned out to be quite the tasty meal, thanks to recipes that I adapted from Trina Hahnemann and Astrid Karlsen Scott.

Want to know what everything here is and see photos of dessert?  Well, then, you know what to do! 

Abigail's Choral Festival Performance!


Can you spot Abigail in this photo?  Bigger question: do you know what's going on in this photo?  Well, I'll tell you!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Abigail's Viennese Orchestra Performance!

Abigail with Russell McGregor tonight in the auditorium of Trinity High School

Who is Russell McGregor, and what's going on in that photo?  I'll tell you!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dad's Purposely Belated Birthday Party

Although yesterday was Dad's actual birthday, we celebrated it with him today instead because yesterday we all attended my first-cousin-once-removed's wedding and reception in Bowbells, ND (remember?).  This morning Beverly made us a big breakfast, and then we went with them to her church in Tioga.  The last time that we attended there, the pastor and church musicians and Beverly all asked us to sing for church the next time we were there; so this weekend we came prepared to do so.  We provided "special music": I played piano while Susan and the girls sang "Come to Jesus," a song that we performed together most recently for Susan's grandma's funeral.  Then it was back to Dad and Beverly's for dinner before "birthday company" arrived.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Family Wedding: Warm Colors, Cold Weather

Dad

Today is my dad's birthday!  We're spending the weekend with him but will celebrate his birthday with company and birthday cake tomorrow.  Today was all about attending the wedding of my cousin Marsha's daughter Jennifer and her fiancé (well, husband now) Cody . . . and, of course, I have photos to share.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Live on Stage: Susan and Kevin!

Susan and I attended a performance of Lettice and Lovage, a comedy presented by Sneak Pique Productions, the local community theatre group.  Sneak Pique just started last year, and I have been involved on the periphery, attending organizational meetings and coordinating a play reading group as part of Sneak Pique.  Susan and I haven't directed or acted  yet, but we're sure that we will someday.  In the meantime, we attend the productions and always enjoy them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lutefisk and Lefse

After baking lefse and Scandinavian desserts yesterday, we were ready and eager for our Sons of Norway lodge's annual lutefisk supper this afternoon and evening!  During my morning reading (of on-line newspapers and blogs), I encountered these related tidbits:
  • The editor of the Dickinson Press wrote an editorial for today's paper in which he promoted our lodge's lutefisk supper even while making fun of lutefisk itself.
  • A columnist (whose writing appears in several ND newspapers) proclaimed this the start of "Norwegian Week" in the state due to some important Norske-themed events in Bismarck and Minot.
  • A blogger for the Sons of Norway wrote about an unusual event held in MN this weekend: lutefisk toss!
That put me in the right frame of mind for the day.  I chose to wear the Norwegian flag tie and Norwegian silver tie clip that I received for my last birthday; and whenever someone at church this morning would remark on my tie, I took the opportunity to promote the lutefisk supper and invite them to attend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All Hands on Deck for Scandinavian Cooking

Today was all about preparing Scandinavian food with our entire family involved in one project or another.  It was my turn to cook alone for our household's weekly Scandinavian Saturday supper.  Furthermore, we all helped to prepare for our Sons of Norway lodge's annual lutefisk supper, to be held tomorrow, by making lefse and treats to contribute to the dessert table for that meal.  And I've got lots of photos to share, so let's get started!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We Decided to Czech It Out

This morning the girls had Sunday school at our church, and then Susan swiftly drove them to Medora so that they (and other children's choir members from our church) could sing for the church service there that precedes the annual fundraising dinner and auction for Badlands Ministries, which runs the summer Bible camp that the girls attend.  Then she zipped them back to Dickinson so that we could make it to our Sons of Norway lodge's monthly meeting, one of two interesting ethnic events from our day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Movers (and, as a Result, Shakers!)

I AM SO WORN OUT!  Today I helped Susan's dad, Roger, move out of his apartment in town and into a house in Richardton, ND.  It was a long, chilly day that ended (for me) with a hot bath, despite which I cannot feel parts of my body--and those parts that I can feel are in pain!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Learning about Roosevelt

Today I participated in a Theodore Roosevelt symposium sponsored by the university (as I have done in past years, too).  In 1958, then-senator John F. Kennedy spoke on campus for a symposium that was part of a year-long celebration of Roosevelt's hundredth birthday.  In 2006, the university started hosting annual symposia dedicated to the study of Roosevelt (who lived for some time in this region, about which he once said, "I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota").  I'm no Roosevelt scholar, but the symposium sessions are always very accessible to lay persons and quite interesting, so I was pleased to attend those that fit into my schedule today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chef Susan: Watery Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday

(First, refresh your memory here and here.)

Last night and tonight, Susan continued to consult Food Network Magazine for recipes to suit our family's nightly supper themes . . . with continued success!  (Just ask her dad, Roger, who was our guest for supper tonight.)  (Or just take my word for it.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chef Susan: Mediterranean Monday (on a Tuesday)

(First, refresh your memory.)

According to our supper themes throughout the week, tonight should have been Take-Out Tuesday.  However, we did not do Mediterranean Monday last night because of the leftovers that we had to eat from Ice Cream Sunday.  Therefore, we moved Mediterranean Monday to tonight and will eat our Take-Out Tuesday menu another time so as to get back on track with Watery Wednesday tomorrow.  (Got all that?)

Anyhoo, here's what we ate tonight:

Click the photo for enlarged beauty and temptation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chef Susan: Ice Cream Sunday

Faithful Reader, do recall how, a couple months ago, our family used the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine to try new recipes that suited our supper themes for all the nights of the week?  (If not, refresh your memory here and here.)  Well, we're doing it again with the September issue.  Susan worked her magic tonight by making horseradish-crusted beef with carrots, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, and vanilla poached pears.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mobergs Had a Little Lamb, Little Lamb, Little Lamb

Time for another report on the Mobergs' weekly culinary adventures in ethnic cooking!  Susan was my assistant for tonight's Scandinavian Saturday supper, and we served up one delicious meal, if I do say so myself (and I do).  Susan was a good sport and allowed me to select a recipe featuring one of her non-favorite types of meat: lamb.  It turned out to be a great recipe that did marvelous things to the lamb (and, consequently, to our taste buds).  I'll tell you all about it . . . but, first, a tantalizing photo:


Good Neighbors

Our neighbors across the street, Roger and Audrey, are moving.  Roger accepted a job offer out of state, and he moved already, actually, after helping to get the house packed up and their belongings shipped off to their new home.  Audrey has remained behind to tend to the final "to do" items, including the closing on the house with the new owners.  Roger and Audrey have always been nice neighbors, friendly to us and to our daughters.  They even kept frozen treats in stock each summer in case the girls would stop over during a bike ride or on a break from playing outdoors.  And Audrey always prepared special treat bags on Halloween and set them aside especially for our girls when they would stop by to treat-or-treat.  Isn't that nice?  Well, Audrey had a final act of niceness in store for our girls this afternoon.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Milestone Swim Meet

Tonight's guest blogger is Suzanna, our seventh-grader who this fall started on the high school swim team.  (P.S. Faithful Reader, you should know that Dickinson co-ops with Williston for high school swimming.)

"I had my first high school swim meet today.  I got out of school at 10:30 A.M., and my friend Leah's mom had brought Subway sandwiches for us for dinner, and she gave us a ride to the West River Community Center.  Then we got into the van that took us to Williston.  It held our Dickinson coach, the eight girls on our swim team, and the driver, who was one of the swimmer's dad.  We left at 10:45 and got to Williston at 3:30 P.M. their time (we took a bathroom break along the way).

Monday, September 06, 2010

Name Game

Our girls like to play games, but they don't always play them according to the rules that come with the games.  I found this set up on the table in the family room.  This, apparently, is a tribute to my side of the family.  (You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it and read the writing on the slips of paper.)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Labor Day Weekend, Day 3: Fort Mandan

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area | Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery | Day 2: Spillway Pond Day-Use Area | Day 2: Riverdale High Lodge | Day 3: Lake Sakakawea State Park | Day 3: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center)

The entrance fee for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center grants a person admission to Fort Mandan, too, located just a couple miles north of the center.  It's a reconstruction of Fort Mandan, actually, because the original burnt down, and its remains are believed to be in the Missouri River, which over time has come to cover the land on which Lewis and Clark first built the fort.  Shortly after starting to build Fort Mandan, Lewis and Clark met Sakakawea, who joined their expedition as a guide and interpreter.  We arrived at the site just in time to catch a guided tour of the fort replica and to play in the children's area inside the visitor center before closing.

Labor Day Weekend, Day 3: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area | Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery | Day 2: Spillway Pond Day-Use Area | Day 2: Riverdale High Lodge | Day 3: Lake Sakakawea State Park)

On Hwy 83 between Bismarck and Minot lies the town of Washburn, ND.  We have stopped there often to use the modern, clean rest area just off the highway (for example).  It's part of a large building that is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, but we seem never to arrive during business hours, so we had not been able to look around . . . until today.  I planned our departure from Lake Sakakawea State Park to allow us a few hours to explore the interpretive center in Washburn.

Labor Day Weekend, Day 3: Lake Sakakawea State Park

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area | Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery | Day 2: Spillway Pond Day-Use Area | Day 2: Riverdale High Lodge)

We slept very well last night at Riverdale High Lodge, sleeping to a reasonable hour and then getting ready for the day and heading back to the Knights Bar and Grill for breakfast.  We sampled each other's dishes and thoroughly enjoyed everything: the pancakes, the French toast, the overstuffed omelet, the crispy breakfast potatoes, the meaty bacon . . . another fantastic meal.  Then we went back to our room for some quiet reading time before checking out, loading our belongings back into the vehicle, and driving off to the next destination on my agenda:
Lake Sakakawea State Park at Pick City at the west end of the Garrison Dam (just a couple miles west of Riverdale).


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Labor Day Weekend, Day 2: Riverdale High Lodge

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area | Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery | Day 2: Spillway Pond Day-Use Area)

After a day full of hiking and sightseeing and exploring, the troupe was still smiling from the non-stop surprises but looking a little weary, so I figured it was time for the big surprise: driving them to the Riverdale High Lodge to check in for the night.  Food Network Magazine had told me how cleverly the owners had transformed the old high school building into a hotel--and its cafeteria into Knights Bar and Grill (Riverdale High School's mascot used to be the knight)--but I had never been there to confirm, and I was hoping it would turn out to be a fun overnight adventure.  We drove on the road up the south side of the dam into the town of Riverdale and went up and down a few streets until the distinctive building came into view.

Labor Day Weekend, Day 2: Spillway Pond Day-Use Area

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area | Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery)

At the east end of Garrison Dam, the earthen structure has a concrete portion called the spillway.  Under normal circumstances, the water in Lake Sakakawea remains in the lake except for that which is piped through the base of the dam to the power plant to generate hydroelectricity.  However, were the lake level to rise too high too quickly (i.e., more quickly than the power plant's pipes draw it out for their use), it could spill over the top of the dam . . . and water pouring over the top of an earthen dam would erode it and likely cause a disaster.  The spillway contains 28 enormous gates that could be opened in the case of an emergency to release water from the lake and protect the integrity of the dam itself.

At the base of the spillway is a "pond"--actually, quite a large body of water--on the west bank of which is an area for boating, swimming, picnicking, and playing outdoor games such as horseshoes and volleyball.  This Spillway Pond Day-Use Area is just a short drive away from the fish hatchery, so we went to check it out.

Labor Day Weekend, Day 2: Garrison Dam Nat'l Fish Hatchery

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant | Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area)

Located between the power plant and the recreation area is the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery.  The same extended family group that attended the power plant tour with us showed up to tour the hatchery, too, at the same time that we were there!  However, the nature of the fish facility is such that too big a crowd would be unwieldy, so one tour guide took their huge group in one direction, and the five of us got a tour guide all to ourselves!

Labor Day Weekend, Day 2: Downstream Campground Rec. Area

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge | Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant)

Just a short drive south of the power plant is the Downstream Campground Recreation Area, which I thought would be a good place to spend some time in between the end of the power plant tour and the start of the next item on my itinerary.  Not that I wanted to set up a tent and camp for 45 minutes or something like that!  I just knew (thanks to the InterWebs) that the recreation area has an interpretive trail for hiking, so I planned a little more outdoors time for us.

Labor Day Weekend, Day 2: Garrison Dam and Power Plant

(See also Days 1-2: Jerrett's Birthday | Day 2: Audubon Nat'l Wildlife Refuge)

It was a 15- or 20-minute drive from Coleharbor to the Garrison Dam and Power Plant facility located between Riverdale and Pick City, ND.  The highway that passes through both those towns is actually laid atop the dam itself!  We have traveled it numerous times, and, as we drive, we always enjoy looking out across Lake Sakakawea to the north and down into the Missouri River valley to the south.  We often pull off the road at the scenic view spots on either end of the dam to take a closer look and get some photos.  From those locations, we have looked down at the buildings and structures on the dry side of the dam and wondered what's inside them.  Well, today we found out!