Friday, September 30, 2011

More photos. Again.

You can totally skip this one if you aren't interested in more day trip photos.  I will understand - promise.  But you will miss out on the most adorable children ever, and that's not just bias talking, I swear.

So.  Where did I leave off?  Ah yes.  With the goats.

Well, after we ate some authentic Swedish food (some of us did anyway.  Some of us ordered UNauthentic mac and cheese and ate almost none of that regardless.  No names mentioned...) we took a short drive over to one of the most beautiful state parks around.  We ended up on a little beach on the bay - same place we last went camping (and that was when bug was like 18 months old...).

mini was very taken with the waves. 

And apparently with the sand, too.  She'd never been so close to such a large body of water before.  

And she quickly became engrossed when Grandma showed her the tiny rocks and shells.

bug immediately started throwing rocks in the water.  What a boy.

It was pretty chilly by the water.  Every time mr's parents come to visit we end up freezing them in some capacity or other... It never fails. 

I have no idea what she finds so interesting in Grandpa's hands, but they were having a lot of fun together.

Here's an attempt at a "sand castle".  Although it mainly consisted of bug tossing sand around and mini trying to crush the hill.

We thought we'd take advantage of the surroundings and have a few spontaneous family photos taken.  Ha!

My children are about this cooperative ALL THE TIME.

Well, at least they look more natural in this one... although you can't really see me or bug...

And that is just a hilarious look on mini's face, as she says "oooooooooo!"

I do believe this might be my favorite one from the trip.  I so seldom look decent in pictures, and I am usually the one taking them, not IN them...

Despite the wind, it really was a beautiful day on the bay.  It made me wish we were there camping for a few days.

Thanks for humoring me and my insane amount of photos - consider this warning for tomorrow.  I'll post the last of them then.

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

("Tales From the Crib" is my normal Friday ritual - though I miss a Friday from time to time.  What's "Tales From the Crib"?  For that, look here.  Then look here.  "Things My Two Year Old Taught Me" morphed into "Tales From the Crib" in the beginning of January - so I could include both my daughter and my son - neither of whom are two right now.  I thought the change was appropriate.)  

Conversations with bug often seem taken directly from an Abbott and Costello skit.

Me: You are getting SO tall!
bug: And I'm GROWING tall too!
Me: That's what I said.
bug: No you didn't.
Me: Well, can't you stay small?  Why are you getting so big?
bug: It's why I'm turning into a man!
Me: Because.
bug: Because what?
Me: Because you're turning into a man.
bug: That's what I said.
Me: No, you said 'It's WHY.'
bug: Why what?
Me: 'Why I'm turning into a man."
bug: You're turning into a man?!?
Me: No, I mean why YOU are.
bug: Because I'm getting tall.

I'll miss these moments when you actually are a man, bug.  I'll miss those baby-blues and whispy curls.  I'll miss kissable cheeks and sticky peanut butter and jelly hugs.  I'll miss your jabber, your silly songs, your stories and dreams.  I'll even miss comforting you in the middle of the night and probably - though it seems unlikely right at this moment - I'll miss our incessant "game" of "why?"

Don't get too tall too soon, bug.

(For your entertainment...)

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life's a Picnic! - that's a wrap.

It's time to wrap it all up!  I had a lot of fun with the picnic party - especially hosting all of my fabulous guest bloggers - what great ideas they all had!  Hope you found some inspiration along the way to make your life more like a picnic!  
Here is where you will find all things picnic - feature posts, guest posts, and my projects.  All nicely summarized for you in one convenient location.

So, here we go!

Wonderful, Fabulous Guest Posters:
Picnic on a Stick - Delia from Delia Creates
Picnic Photography and Good Ideas - Diedre from A Craft A Day
Veggie Burgers - Jamie from C.R.A.F.T
A Picnic Menu - Jess from Craftiness is not Optional
A Strange but Delicious Recipe - Bree from My Crafty Crap

Giant Beach Bag - Robin from The T-Shirt Diaries
Pocket Picnic Tote - Amie from Kitty Cats and Airplanes
Picnic Wraps - Jessica from Two Shades of Pink
A Picnic Pick-Me-Up - Carrie from The Rowdy Stroudy's - All That is Sweet in Life
Adorable Picnic Themed Attire - Shannon from Googiemama

featuring: Two Shades of Pink

featuring: Sugar Bee Crafts, u, Welcome to the gOOd Life

featuring: The Lady Behind the Curtain, funkytime, Sew Can Do

featuring: Blissful and Domestic, Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats, I'm a Mom Not a Professional

featuring: Fake-it Frugal, Joyful Baker, I'm a Mom Not a Professional, My World Made By Hand, Made it On Monday, Mommy by day Crafter by night, Kristina J, Emmy Lou BeeDoo, Two Shades of Pink, Something Created Everyday, My Handcrafted Creations, LaDeeDa Creations

My Picnic Projects:

Brazilian Lemonade

And for more picnic goodness, check out my picnic board on pinterest:
Life's a Picnic Board
I'll be adding to it as well.

And if you're on pinterest, you might be interested in checking out these boards as well:
Crafty Board

That was definitely the longest series on this blog.  Thanks to all my guest posters - who are AWESOME, so go check them out!  Thanks also to everyone who linked up to the party.  If you were featured, grab a button!

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And that, my friends, is a wrap.

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Winner alert!

I almost forgot!!

And as I know you're all waiting on pins and needles - all 13 of you - I'm glad I didn't.

The winner of My Memories Suite Software giveaway??  Ready?
badabadabadabada... (say it really fast and it almost sounds like a drumroll)

Numero Seis!

Who is: Lindsey!

So, if this is your comment:

Lindsey said...

I love the Sweet Caroline Kit. And it's on sale!!! :)

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sooooo, remember that one picnic thing??

Uh, ha-ha!  (sheepish laugh)  Didn't I promise you a wrap up of our "life's a picnic!" event with features and all?  Like, oh, I don't know, forever ago?  Actually, it was supposed to go up on September 5th - that being Labor Day and all, it seemed like the most appropriate day for a picnic!  But then there was all that craziness with mr's parents coming, and mr's dad's birthday and then my surprise birthday, and, well, you know.

So, the good new is, I'm wrapping it up now!  I couldn't leave you all hanging.  Actually, I couldn't leave myself hanging - I HATE loose ends.  A lot.  And the other good news is, you can still put these ideas to use for a few weeks, right?  Maybe longer depending on where you live! A fall picnic could be considered even better than a summer one, right?  No bees trying to kill you, no crazy insects climbing all over you terrifying your children, no sun beating down on you burning you to a crisp... I'm just trying to look on the bright side, here.  

So today I'd like to point out some amazing projects.  Then tomorrow I'll really wrap things up nicely with a neat little bow.

Our fun "Life's a Picnic!" party got 50 links.  I wish I could feature all 50, but that would be an incredibly long post.  So I'll stick to just a few.  Go check out all of the great ideas.

Tasty Picnic Treats:
1. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dessert Dip by Fake-It-Frugal
2. Oreo Cookies and Cream Cheesecake from Joyful Baker
3. Corn on the Cob Cupcakes from I'm a Mom Not a Professional
4. Kool-Aid Slurpees from My World Made By Hand

Adorable Picnic Attire:
1. Ants in My Pants from Made it on Monday
2. Polka Dot Dress, found on Mommy by day, Crafter by night
3. Anthro-Inspired Vappu Dress, found on Kristina J
4. Sunshine Sunsuit, by EmmyLou BeeDoo

Picnic Party Inspiration
1. Picnic Party Invites from Two Shades of Pink
(She also has a whole post of fun picnic games, one with cute favors and decor, and another post about the picnic party itself - complete with a lemonade dresser (you HAVE to check it out) and a photobooth.)
2. Patriotic Picnic Decor by Something Created Everyday

Miscellaneous Picnic Mayhem
1. Napkin Holders at My Handcrafted Home
2. Picnic in a vintage suitcase from LaDeeDa Creations

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Monday, September 26, 2011

An Idaho staple.

While mr's parents were visiting, we took the opportunity to have dad IL make his specialty - which is exactly what I'm sharing with you tonight.  However, this recipe comes with a story, and I believe it should be told - although I may not be the best person to do it, having heard it second-hand.  So, if you just want the yummy recipe, I'll understand if you skip to the bottom.  BUT, if you want to be entertained and learn how these ingredients:

Create a delicious dish that came to be known as:

Then you should read first.

mr's parents are from Idaho.  The end.  No, no, just kidding, there's more than that.  Ok.  So mr's parents are from Idaho.  As are their parents.  mr's Grandpa Phil grew up eating his mother's spaghetti - something she apparently had been making for years and years, way back before they even lived in Idaho.  When Grandpa Phil married his sweetheart, Verna, his mom had a little talk with her about spaghetti.  (I actually don't know what prompted this talk - if it was Grandpa Phil instigating it out of love for the recipe, or if it was his mom handing down her beloved brainchild)  In any case, Grandpa Phil's mom taught her spaghetti recipe to Verna who continued to make it for Grandpa Phil.  When their kids came along - including mr's dad - this spaghetti recipe was a favorite at their house.  In fact, it was so well-loved, that none of the kids knew there was a different way to make spaghetti.  When dad IL got older (and again, I don't know the particulars here, but we're talking about a man who had never eaten pizza until he served a mission for our church when he was 19) he was served what someone called "spaghetti" and was utterly disgusted.  This was NOTHING like spaghetti was supposed to taste like!  Spaghetti sauce from a jar??  Unheard of!  
Time went on, and eventually mr's dad married HIS sweetheart.  And in the spirit of tradition, Grandma Verna taught mom IL the secret of great spaghetti.  It was obviously different from what mom IL was used to, and therefore, in order to distinguish between the two spaghetti's, the recipe from mr's great grandma became known as Idaho Spaghetti.
Why Idaho when she was actually originally from Indiana?  It might make more sense, considering mr's mom is also from Idaho and had never heard of it before... but alas, it was dubbed Idaho Spaghetti and the name stuck.  
And so, mom continued making this recipe for dad, and later for mr and his siblings, until finally one day she declared - mostly to herself, I think - "I just don't like it."  
Turns out, since she had grown up eating spaghetti spaghetti, she just couldn't get used to the new stuff.  From that day on, when she made spaghetti, she made it her own way.  Which meant mr's dad wouldn't eat it.  And when mr's dad made spaghetti he made it HIS way.  And mr's mom wouldn't eat it.
I was first introduced to Idaho Spaghetti before mr and I were married when I joined his family for a winter trip to Yellowstone.  I was skeptical.  I mean, look at those ingredients!!  But in complete amazement, I had to admit that I really liked it.  A lot.
I don't know if or how the recipe was handed down to dad's siblings and their kids, but I do know that as far as we go, the tradition has definitely NOT stopped with mr's parents.  mr loves Idaho Spaghetti so much more than normal spaghetti that I've stopped making it.  The first time mr made Idaho Spaghetti for all of us, bug ate more than I'd ever seen him eat in one sitting.  Obviously, we quickly put it into our normal dinner rotation.  Now our kids will likely have an experience like mr's father did - a moment of shock when tasting what the rest of the world considers spaghetti.

So how do you make it?  Interestingly enough, dad informed us that we were actually making it wrong which automatically turned it into an entirely different dish - albeit one that was remarkably similar to Idaho Spaghetti.  According to dad we were making Wisconsin Spaghetti.  And that's how mr's dad came to be cooking for us while on vacation at our home.

Just so you know, there are a few VERY SPECIFIC details that MUST be in place in order for Idaho Spaghetti to BE Idaho Spaghetti.  Things mr and I hadn't realized the importance of.  First off, the ingredients (you saw them above, but I'll show you again):

You must use normal spaghetti.  Not "spaghettini," not "spaghettoni," not capellini or bucatini (and yes, those are all real things...).  Just spaghetti.  Also, you must use Campbell's Tomato Soup.  Not Roundy's or Aldi's or whatever generic store brand you've got there.  And apparently, it's only Idaho Spaghetti with French's Mustard and Heinz Ketchup.  No other brands.  Now you know.  Use only a white onion.  That's important too.  You don't have to buy the cheap ground chuck, like I did there... 

Here is the recipe:

Idaho Spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
1 box spaghetti
1 can Campbell's tomato soup
1/2 of a white onion
4 Spoonfuls of white sugar
Squirt of mustard
dash of salt and pepper
Ketchup to taste

Heat a skillet over medium.  Coarsely chop the onions and add them to the skillet.  Add the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste.  Start boiling water for the spaghetti.  Once the beef is browned, drain it and add the tomato soup, mustard and sugar.  Mix it really well.  Cook the pasta al dente.  Serve by placing the sauce on a plate, topping it with some spaghetti noodles and cover it with ketchup to taste.

So, coarsely chop some onions.  Brown the ground beef and add the onions.  Lightly salt and pepper it.

 Put the spaghetti in a pot of boiling water, lightly salted.  What's that?  I'm insulting your intelligence by showing you how to cook pasta?  Oh, ok.  Moving on.

Side note: this is what happens when you ask the three yr old to set the table.

Once the beef is all browned and the onions are translucent and soft, add the tomato soup and stir it up.

Then add a squirt of mustard.  Like this much:

And although I don't have a picture of this, add about 4 spoonfuls of sugar.  Now just mix it all together.

While you're doing all of this, make sure you don't overcook the spaghetti.  mr's dad couldn't stress that enough.  He even threw a noodle at our cupboards to make sure it would stick.

The way you serve it is also important.  Slop that beef sauce down on the bottom, pile the noodles on top of that and top it all off with ketchup.

And then mix it all together.  You can decide how much or little ketchup to add.  That part is up to individual taste.

And that is how you make true blue Idaho Spaghetti.  Although in our house, it's called "Spigdaddy" thanks to bug who can't quite pronounce it the correct way.  But it makes sense.  When this is on the menu, it's always mr who makes it.  Definitely a Mueller tradition.

PS - I know it looks weird, but I SWEAR it's good!  BUT, if this doesn't seem like your cup of tea, check out my other favorites:
Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
Cafe Rio Knockoff
Authentic Schnitzel and Red Cabbage
Potato Croquettes
Creamy Parmesan Pasta and Tomato Pie
Fish Tacos with White Sauce
Lemon Pull Aparts
Lemon Cake Pie
Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Coconut Chicken

(Or you could just click "cook" over in the categories...)

OH!  Seriously, people, don't forget to enter the My Memories Suite Software giveaway!  It's NOT just for scrapbook templates or even just for photo albums.  AND it's a sweet deal!

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!
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