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":

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.