sparklin’ fireworks

“You flip a nickel, and heads means you stay with him and tails means you try the next one.” – Kally, 9
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Should I tell you about my weekend, or write about the gorgeous sunset descending upon Minneapolis right now?  Would you mind if I avoided both subjects and wrote about what’s on my heart?
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Thing is, I spent the weekend adventuring with my husband, and I’m sitting here wishing the weekend could go on and and on and on (and on).  Would they call that a perma-weekend?
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My weekend plans for vineyard tours and pizza farm dinners came crashing down when the forecast revealed 48-hours of thunder, lightning and rain.  Maybe not a big deal in the South, but we cherish our sunny days up here in the Midwest.
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Jon, a sweetheart and hard-worker extraordinaire,  dislikes the rain even more than I do (truth), and we half-heartedly planned a weekend of indoor picnics and House of Cards.
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Then my creative mind ran the numbers:  Minneapolis enjoys warm weather May-October, and that means we only have  24 weekends to enjoy activities out-of-doors (and free of snow).  Rain or shine, I decided we were going to have fun adventuring in the countryside.
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Rain poured, pit-pat-pit-pat, as we drove 2-hours to a vineyard Midsummer’s Eve party.  Touring a vineyard in a rainstorm? Sounds crazy, right?  Well, maybe, but we stopped five different times (interesting barns and tractors begged for a visit), and we had adventures (taste-testing taffy and flavored-pop) all the way up to St. Croix Falls.  And when we got there?  You guessed it- the rain stopped.
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Summer is too warm and wonderful (are those words synonyms?) to let slip away, and so we made plans for July and August on the drive home.  Lucky you, I created a graphic of our conversation:
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And that quote at the beginning?  It has little to do with anything in this post, but I’m famous for mixing and mashing thoughts.  That said, I came across some endearing thoughts about love:

“Eighty-four! Because at that age, you don’t have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom.”      -Carolyn, 8

“Many daters just eat pork chops and french fries and talk about love.” -Craig, 9

“You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, ’cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding.” -Allan, 10

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.” -Greg, age 8

as gold as it gets

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I’m not really lukewarm about anything.  I either ignore it or love it so much that I want it/gotta have it/ can’t live without it.  This character trait of mine is turning out to be a big problem, and I’m blaming the Internet.

Photographs on Flick and projects on P-interest and the creatives on Blogger provide inspiration that keeps me wanting to try this that and the other.  With Minneapolis positively melting, the desire to be outdoors and making the most of the season is in full spring (pun absolutely intended).
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To make sure spring doesn’t pass me by, I’ve made a checklist (which doesn’t include cleaning) to make sure that the days and weeks are filled with memories.  Inspiration for my checklist came from all over the web, and so it got ambitious pretty quickly.
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  • Apple Blossom Scenic Drive – The Great River Road along the Mississippi River boasts gorgeous views and colorful blooms during the spring.
  • Farm Babies – Does the name say it all, or do I need to explain?  The Wells Fargo Family Farm will showcase baby chicks, piglets, lambs, calves, and bunnies during the month of April.
  • Road Trip – With the masses of men planning summer trips, now is the perfect time to pack up the car and see the sights without the crowds.  Jon and I have heard promising things about Duluth?
  • Plant Something – Can you believe I’ve never done this? I have an urge to create something either a) bouquet-worthy or b) salad-worthy.
  • Baseball Games – Opening day for the Twins is scheduled for April 1, and so the excitement starts now.
  • Tulips for a Stranger – I love flowers, you love flowers, and yes, I’m planning to share some flowers.
  • Pizza Farm – Two words that make me oh.so.happy.  Locally sourced pizzas shared under the blue sky? Yes please.
  • Hikes and Bikes  – It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold – just right for spending the day on the trails.
  • Celebrations – St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day.  Time to drink green beer and hide some eggs and plan a champagne brunch.

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behind-the-scenes

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We take pictures to remember moments, but how do we capture inside jokes and ‘pinch-me-perfect’ feelings of joy?  
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Jon and I roadtripped across the painted desert, into the Navajo nation, and right up to the Grand Canyon.  We spent nearly 15 hours in the car, and we filled them with giggles and loud music and foreign languages and silly excuses to get out of the car.
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The scenery was more gorgeous and inspiring than I could have imagined, but my favorite memories are the jokes and the mis-turns and all the ‘behind-the-scenes’ action that made the trip an adventure.  All the memories that, unfortunately, cannot be captured on camera.
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Perhaps my blog is a place to record those memories?
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 If so, I never want to forget our accidental foray to Meteor Crater (the world’s largest impact!!), how Chuck’s Trail took us to Devil’s Bridge instead of St. Teresa’s Hill, or how we couldn’t find a restaurant that served anything we could pronounce.  
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I hope I always remember the quaint Italian restaurant covered in twinkling lights and the way we stayed in the hot tub while the stars sparkled above us.
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What is your favorite part of a vacation? Do you have a fool-proof way to make sure you remember your special moments?

absolutely yes

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A polar-vortex brings swirls of snow and bursts of cold that can only mean one thing: time for a road trip.  Not a typical reaction, perhaps, but the promise of white-capped mountains and glistening pines had us cruising down I-95 by 9am on Saturday morning.  That’s right – we wake early enough to shower and nosh and pack before even Target is open.
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Mashed up pictures from the weekend, but only the top right is actually in the car: bottom right is the pup, top left is a gift from Jon, and the bottom left is a murder mystery party from Friday night.  For inquiring minds — we did not solve the murder.
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Totally changing topics: I wanted to make a fun game that encouraged thinking about people & things you love.  My solution?  Sweetheart mad libs.  Perhaps sweetheart isn’t the very best descriptor since this mad lib is good for best friends, pets, books, and, well, just about anything else you love.  Problem is, ‘things you love mad libs’ just didn’t sound as good.

The quirky mad lib is a simple & silly way to reflect on the unique reasons you’re grateful for the people and things in your life.  If you want to see the game, you can download it here.

To get a little rah rah rah with the mad libs, I brought them on our road trip and left them in small town cafes between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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The best part of the weekend happened when we got home and I had a letter from my dear friend Emily asking me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  Emily and Mike are the type of infectiously happy couple that everyone wants to be around, and I’m so honored to help them celebrate their big day.  Can you tell I’m excited?
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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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