good things grow

goodthingsgrow
Every now and again, I read words that speak to my heart and inspire my way of living. Emerson’s conviction that, “the more experiments you make the better” guided my college years (& inspired many adventures), Thoreau’s mandate that we “simplify, simplify, simplify” saw me through graduate school, and the wisdom of Goerthe colored my post-grad years, “Never let the things that matter most be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”
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Recently, I’ve been living by my own motto to embrace the future and remember how much time I still have: enough time to try new things, meet new people, discover new places, and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
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I’ve always looked forward to the future, but it seems even more important to ‘dream forward‘ as I grow older.  The past is important, yes, but it doesn’t need to determine what comes next.  I remind myself that ambitious projects might take a while, but the time will pass anyway – might as well pursue things I’m passionate about.
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I’ve gone and done it again — shared many more thoughts than necessary to simply tell you that a Rainbow Rowell quote inspired me so much that I made a graphic and corresponding PDF (download here :goodthingsgrow).  The other thing I meant to tell you about?  The urban flower garden that recently popped up in St. Paul.
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The garden uses painted rocks instead of flowers, and a two-story mural provides a fun backdrop for the space.  We had fun exploring the area, and there just so happened to be *free* BBQ during our visit. Fast fact: BBQ is my favorite food.
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Do you have any guiding philosophies?  Favorite food?  Have you ever been to an urban flower farm?  Check out The Ink Nest for drawings like the flowers in my graphic.heart

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beautiful leprechaun

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Seventy and sunny feels like opening the mailbox to find ‘just-because’ and ‘thinking of you’ gifts waiting to be opened.  I just opened all the windows in the apartment, and I may be typing with my fingers, but my mind is planning a day of exploration and adventure with two of my favorite girls.  
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It doesn’t take much more than sunshine to get me excited about an otherwise ordinary day.  How’s that for easy to please, huh? It’s not that the other seasons don’t have their charms, because they do, but there’s something about putting the top down and blasting music and knowing that you can go go go go and not worry about rain or snow or catching a chill.  If we get too hot, well, it’s a good thing Minnesota is ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ right?  Pull over, grab a bikini and jump in the water.  No problems here.
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We had our first BBQ of summer last night, and I painted my nails bright teal for the occasion.  I was feeling pretty stylish until Jon walked in the door and told me I looked like a leprechaun.  A leprechaun?  Is it common for men to describe their wives that way?  I questioned Jon about his word choice and he quickly corrected, “you’re a very beautiful leprechaun sweetheart.”  
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honey bbq fried pickle ice cream sandwich

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I ran into a dilemma this morning when 4 turkeys wouldn’t fit into my fridge because 20 cucumbers were hogging all the space.  Sounds somewhat like a high school algebra problem, right? But this is real-life people.

Figuring that the turkeys need refrigeration more than the cucumbers, I dumped the veggies on my table and decided to take action: I would turn them into 5 jars of pickles and a dozen honey-bbq fried-pickle ice cream sandwiches. Naturally, right? My favorite foods are ice cream, pickles and BBQ, so that recipe seemed almost obvious.  It’s also the first recipe that I’ve created entirely on my own. Aunt Millie gets all the credit for the delicious sweet pickles though.
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Okay, y’all, the honey bbq fried pickle ice cream sandwich is an original recipe, and it goes something like this:
1.) crush up honey bbq potato chips:
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2.) create a light batter by adding an egg to the chips:
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3.) Dip the pickles into the mixture:
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Bake the pickle chips in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, and then allow to cool for about 90 seconds.  Now, the fun part: put vanilla ice cream between two of the pickle chips, and then top with honey and extra honey bbq chips.  Enjoy!
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flower children riding bicycles for maple syrup

alright, the title is a bit misleading, but there really isn’t a surefire way to find a linkage between today’s events. it all started with a call from a friend, asking if i wanted to spend the morning biking the greenway (a trail running through minneapolis). since my favorite things about minneapolis are 1) the lakes 2) the dog parks) and 3) the bike trails, i was up for it.

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she wanted to meet in ten minutes, so i put my hair in a bun, grabbed a flower from the the table, and hopped on my bike:

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tobin (our friend who lives across the street) invited us to a bbq when i returned from the bikeride. he asked me to bring a cocktail, and i figured that it was about time jon and i had a signature drink. since the only person who loves maple syrup more than i do is buddy the elf, i decided on a maple leaf concoction:

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that’s buddy, but to make the drink, you mix 4 parts bourbon, 2 parts lemon juice, 2 parts water, and 1 part maple syrup (or more maple, if you’re buddy):

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shake it all up:

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then, if you’re anything like me, take the last flower in your house (the one not in your hair) and use it to stir:

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delicious:

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then off to the bbq — the drinks were a hit! note jon drinking with the flower stir…. 🙂

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time flies with the pigs

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Hot off the heels of country fest, Jon and I loaded up the jeep to drive to Iowa for a wedding.  Google maps confirmed that the trip from Cadott, Wisconsin to Des Moines, Iowa was 6 hours, and so we left at 8am – plenty of time to get to the 6pm ceremony.  Or so you would think.  Views of the gorgeous countryside had me begging Jon to pull over so I could take pictures:
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And then we came across the greatest restaurant I have ever seen:
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I love BBQ the way Jon loves pizza, and so we headed inside to try the town’s 12 homemade sauces. The waitress suggested the famous spam burger (miracle meat, apparently), and told us to feel free to shop for piglet trinkets while we waited:
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The piglets got us thinking about selling pets, and I asked Jon how much he would sell Kinzie for. He valued her at ten thousand, and I told him I would never forgive him if he lowballed our sweet puppy.  He agreed, but said that he would have to let her go for 20k.  I asked him what we would tell his parents, our friends.  Simple, he explained — we lost her.  My reaction:
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With all the amusement of the piglets, BBQ and countryside, we realized it was 2:30 we were still in Minnesota- with three hours to go.  We cranked it up up 85mph, force straight, changed in the car…

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and made the wedding (on time):

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