Saturday, July 31, 2010

And I Did It All by Myself!

This week it was my turn to work alone in the kitchen to prepare our family's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  When planning each week's menu, I don't generally consider the difficulty level of the recipes or the expertise level of the kitchen helper working with me.  Thus, I have sometimes ended up making relatively simple things when it's Susan's turn to help and pretty complicated things when it's Hillary's turn . . . or when it's my turn to cook alone.  I really should think that through better!  This week's menu is a case in point.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hillary's Second Ninth Birthday

Faithful Reader, you may recall that, for Hillary's ninth birthday, we were in Missoula for a Sons of Norway convention.  She did a lot of fun, available-only-in-Missoula kinds of things that day, but she didn't get a birthday like what our kids are used to.  Usually we let the birthday girl make a lot of decisions on how we spend the special day: what to make for breakfast, what restaurant to go to for dinner, what kind of birthday party to have and where to have it, whom to invite for a sleepover--that kind of thing.  Since Hillary didn't get to do that on her actual birthday, we let her do it today and made this a "do-over" or substitute birthday for her!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swimming, Singing, and Dining

Three notable events today:
  1. The girls had their final swim team practice for the summer season.
  2. Our family joined our friend Monica for dinner.
  3. Our family joined the swim team for supper at a new restaurant in town.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Outdoor Concert

Each summer, Arts on the Prairie sponsors free outdoor concerts at the Phil Patterson Memorial Bandshell in a hillside park just a few minutes' walk from our house.  We often forget each week that those concerts are happening, but we have attended several of them over the past few summers.  Last summer we tried to attend one featuring the male a capella group aka'Fellas, but it was canceled after just one or two songs on account of rain!  Not so this year, though, so we were at the bandshell tonight to hear them sing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Girls' Italian Meal

Last summer Suzanna started making supper for the family every once in a while.  This spring Abigail took a turn doing the same.  Hillary joined her sisters this spring to make a meal for Mother's Day.  And, Faithful Reader, you know that each of them takes a turn being my assistant in the kitchen for our weekly Scandinavian Saturday suppers.  Well, they were all back in the kitchen tonight to make an Italian meal for the family, and the results were just wonderful.

Bible Campers

At church today, Suzanna was taking "worship notes" (about the church service; it's required as part of her confirmation class work) and came to a question about what was notable during the past week.  She wrote something to the effect of, "I went to Badlands Ministries for Bible camp and left my voice there."  Yep, she came back hoarse from a week at Bible camp.

Which reminds me that I haven't written about the girls' week at Bible camp!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Recipes that Didn't Know They Were Norske!

It has been awhile since the last Scandinavian Saturday supper, hasn't it?  At the beginning of the month, Suzanna and I opted to make a Scandinavian Sunday breakfast instead.  The next week, we were out of town at my cousin's anniversary party having homemade-by-Scandinavians supper.  Last weekend we were out of town at our university friends' homes, so we had a late supper (fast food) on the road.  But tonight we were home, so Susan and I made some recipes that we had intended to make as part of our week of Food Network Magazine recipes a couple weeks ago (remember?).

Want the details?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chicago, Days 5 and 6

I'm home now from Chicago.  The conference ended yesterday, but it was cheaper for me to stay one more night and return today than to fly back yesterday--so I didn't leave until this afternoon.  That also gave me yesterday afternoon to shop The Magnificent Mile, the noted Michigan Ave. shopping district.  I was looking for souvenirs for my blondes back home, but it was fun, too, to see the variety of specialty stores that sold stuff I wasn't looking for (and couldn't afford).  And, of course, it was a fine opportunity to take just a few more photos.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicago, Days 3 and 4

Status update: still loving Chicago!  The conference continues to be informative and enjoyable (with delicious food), and there is time each evening for fun in the city.  Faithful Reader, you know you want to know what I've been doing each night . . . and to see the photos!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicago, Day 2

It was a great day in Chicago!  I'm here primarily to attend a conference: the LiveText Collaboration and Assessment Conference.  Our department at the university uses LiveText's software, and I got a lot of resources and practical ideas today to put to use throughout the school year.  During a break at midday, I stepped out on the patio area just off the hotel's conference center, and this was the view:

That's the Dearborn St. bridge over the Chicago River looking east-ish.

After the conference's afternoon sessions, a colleague (Lou) and I took a double-decker bus tour of downtown Chicago (we sat on the upper level, of course), and I have more photos to share with you.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chicago, Day 1

I'm in Chicago!  This is my first visit to Chi-Town//Second City/The Windy City, and so far, I'm impressed.  I'm here for work to attend a conference, and I'm looking forward to learning what I'm here to learn and, later, sharing with my colleagues what I have learned.  But I'm also eager to look around the city a little bit and ooh and ahh at its fantastic downtown architecture.  Wanna see some photos?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Theatre Reunion

A couple months ago, we went out to dinner in Bismarck with Travis, a friend from our university days.  He, his wife Sedie, and their son Vladimir live in MA, but Travis and Vlad have been spending the summer outside Mandan with Travis' parents.  Travis has been writing, and Vlad has been enjoying living in the country, playing with the animals, swimming, and generally being carefree.  Sedie stayed behind to work but has now joined them, although they will all be returning to MA together shortly.  But first, Travis arranged for us to join them for an afternoon of fun!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lakeside Wedding

Not even a full week after this extended family get-together, we had another one tonight.  And this one was in  Dickinson, so no travel required!  My cousin Darren's daughter MaKenzie and her fiancĂ© Kenny got married in an outdoor ceremony beside the lake, followed by a supper and dance at a hotel in town . . . and I've got all the photos you've been waiting to see!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Magazine Menus

Because HGTV and the Food Network are reliable sources of safe-for-children programs, they are two of our first choices when our family sits down to watch television together.  Considering that as well as my own fondness for experimenting with new recipes, you won't be surprised, Faithful Reader, to learn that we enjoy Food Network Magazine.  The July/August issue is chock-full of tasty-looking recipes.  Susan heard me ooh-ing and aah-ing as I paged through it, and she told me to choose some recipes for us to try--so I did!  Go pick up a copy of your own and follow along as I review our week of menus from the magazine.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Family-Filled Weekend

Although my sister Sandy is no longer married, she has remained close with her ex-husband's sons, the elder of whom (Aaron) got married yesterday.  While I was texting Sandy photos from our cousin's anniversary party throughout last night, Sandy was texting me photos from Aaron's wedding and reception!  Wanna see some photos?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Silver Anniversary

We're spending the night at my dad and stepmom's in Tioga.  We came up today to be able to attend a party this evening for my cousin and her husband, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary.  Wanna see some photos?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Superb Salad for Supper

Our friends Leslie and Dave invited us and another friend, Michael, to their house for supper last night.  We drank Leslie's famous Bloody Caesars, they grilled chicken, Michael brought fresh fruit, and Susan made cookies as well as a delicious salad that I highly recommend you try, Faithful Reader.  Susan searched the Interwebs for a new recipe and found this one:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bunny of the Day

This morning I espied a rabbit on the lawn beneath our bedroom window.  Hillary was nearby, so I beckoned her into the room, and she watched the creature nibbling at some weeds while I left and tended to some other tasks.  A little later she told me that the rabbit had leapt away but that she had gotten our camera and snapped a photo first.  So, thanks to Hillary, here's your bunny photo of the day:

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Total Knock Out

This spring Susan planted a rose bush in one of the flower beds in our back yard.  It's called The Knock Out Rose, and it has done really well.  Wanna see some photos?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Suzanna the Missionary

Tonight we had to say goodnight to our oldest daughter via telephone.  She is about 250 miles away from us tonight . . . and tomorrow night, too.  We'll get to see her again Wednesday, but it's an odd feeling to have our 12-year-old daughter so far away being so independent.  Wanna know why she's gone?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Two Holidays for the Price of One

Faithful Reader, you will recall that we spent Father's Day in a vehicle driving home from Missoula, MT--almost 12 hours, what with stops for food and gasoline and restroom breaks.  I got some great gifts in the morning and enjoyed spending the entire day with my four blondes, but we didn't find a day's worth of driving to be an especially fun thing to do for Father's Day.  So we had a "re-do" today!

Nordic Morning

According to our weekly menu rotation, yesterday should have been Scandinavian Saturday in our kitchen.  However, we still had plenty of homemade pizza from the night before, so Suzanna (my helper this week) and I decided that we should finish the pizza for supper last night and have Scandinavian Sunday morning instead.  After getting home from our day-long family volunteer project, Suzanna and I went grocery shopping and then returned to prepare the main dish and pop it in the refrigerator overnight to be baked this morning.  Here's what we made:

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Family that Volunteers Together . . .

Today, as a service project for our community, our family volunteered to help a local non-profit organization during one of its fundraising events.  Volunteering together was a fun thing to do as a family.  It was satisfying to know that our efforts were advancing a good cause; it was fun to interact with people throughout the day (and people who were in a good mood because they were there to have fun); and the weather was gorgeous--just perfect for a day spent outdoors.  We got to spend quality time together as a family, but Susan and I also got to watch our daughters "in action" independently as they carried out their assigned duties and made us simultaneously proud (our babies are growing up) and melancholy (our babies are growing up).