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it's easy today

It's halfway through the week, the sun is shining and we are headed into a holiday weekend. On days like this it's easy to be thankful.

109. lettuce and spinach straight from the farm

110. celebrating fathers

111. an old steam boat

112. a Big Island with a past

113. ideas that flow

114. free furniture

115. voices raised in praise, outside, sun shining down

116. a parkway walk

117. Domino's pasta bowl. seriously - this makes me happy

118. a husband that helps

119. hot leather seats after being chilled in a cold building

120. a grandmother's garden

121. pie crust

122. a new room mate!!

123. filling up on salad and bread sticks

124. leftovers

125. making three lunches instead of two

126. a husband's safe return

127. celebrating one year of life of a beloved little boy

memorial day weekend

I do realize that Memorial Day was an entire month ago, but it takes me a long time to get my act together and put pictures on the computer. Don't judge.

This will mostly be a picture post. I'm just warning you.

The guys hard at work. It was work weekend after all. I wont show you what the girls were doing. Dusting and vacuuming and then reading magazines is hard work too!

The infamous food table. The girls may have been snacking too. I'll never tell.

These are fish beds. Crazy right? See all those dark spots? That's where the fish lay their eggs and then they sit there protecting them.

Like this guy. Or girl. Or whatever.

Have you ever played this game? SPOONS!

In my family it's a very intense game.

And if someone doesn't come away with a battle wound, it's not spoons.

We were able to witness a performance of a lifetime while at the cabin. The world premiere of Jacob and Shaun. It was truly incredible and mind blowing.

And of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without rope swing time.

We'll be headed up there again soon, so you'll probably see those pictures in....3 months.


Let me tell you about something cool. Something hip. Something downright sassy.

It's called Ruffle.

Doesn't that sound like everything I promised it would be??

It's an online magazine and you

I will warn you, it's slightly addictive with all its hip trips, party tips, ruffle chicks, and creative fixes.

Find it here

You're welcome.

my sister the model

My sister is back to school. At the Aveda Institute to be exact. I have been in love with Aveda for quite some time and am a salon snob when it comes to getting my hair done. I only get a few hair cuts a year, but it has to be done at an Aveda salon. I really just don't trust anyone else. And beside, the products just smell so good!
Anyway - recently while at school someone approached her and said, "oh my word! You would be perfect!" What they meant was, you would be perfect for us to chop all your hair off, take pictures and submit it to a national competition. Most people would respond with "thanks but no thanks" but not Kellie. She jumped in with both feet. Just for some shock value, I'll show you what she looked like just a few weeks ago:

Check out that beautiful long, lush dark hair she was sporting. To say I was a little nervous for her to cut of that bounty is an understatement. She is so brave.

Now, without further ado - I present the post cut, color, photo shoot Kellie:

What the what?? Totally crazy and gorgeous Kell! Love it.

Isn't it ironic?

I rarely speed. Honest. At least on the highway. I rarely accelerate beyond the "five over" that is generally allowed. Apparently side streets are a different issue for me. My foot, that is usually not lead, was quite heavy this morning on my commute into work. I think you know where this is headed. I hate the feeling you get when noticing flashing lights pull up behind you. If you've ever been pulled over, you know exactly what I was feeling. Dread. Embarrassment. Stupidity. Actually, all I could hear was the "cha-ching" of dollar signs. I could almost see the money drifting out of my wallet and into the city of Robbinsdale. I'm all for contributing to my city, but not in this way. PLEASE not in this way. The officer was actually quite nice and for this I was thankful. She didn't make me feel stupid and I didn't even feel like crying like I thought I would. As I sat there waiting for her to come back (why do they make you sit and wait FOREVER?!) I thought about a conversation I just had with my family a few days ago. The one in which I claimed quite fervently that I didn't speed. The one in which I adamantly declared that I was a great driver. Isn't it ironic....don't you think?

Even though the officer was nice and I was respectful, she still came back to my car with a white slip of paper that I didn't want to take from her. As she was handing me the ticket she said, "now get to where you are going safely and have a better day." Thanks.

and the thanks continues

92. heart swelling with pride at sibling talent

93. homemade spanish rice

94. green strawberries growing on the vine

95. news of new life

96. a puppy's head cocked sideways trying to comprehend

97. large-ish dinner parties

98. stories of far away lands

99. the quiet after all have left

100. the rain holding off just.a.bit.longer

101. rocking chair/porch time

102. being under budget with groceries!!

103. memories re-visited

104. family surprises

105. kindness of a stranger

106. an age-old tradition

107. bread, cheese and fruit

108. sisters on swings

The Middle East!

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of having the band The Middle East stay with us. We were hooked up with the band through our dear friends Caleb and Amanda. The Middle East are on a US tour with the band Mumford and Sons, and needed a place to stay while they whisk their way through the land of 10,000 lakes. They came all the way from the shores of Australia, and were an absolute delight to have around....for the 10 hours they were here. The band has 7 members, and 4 of the guys stayed with Jess and I. The stay was a whirlwind of concert, late night talks, laundry, and breakfast burritos!

The basement was well prepared. Jess even put sea salt caramels on their pillows. It was pretty amazing.

All and all we had a wonderful time, and I can't wait until they get back to Minnesota to stay with us again.

Note to readers: You guys should listen to their music. You'd be crazy not to like them. Check them

Note to The Middle East: NEXT TIME; Jessica will be home. She'll be in charge of having plates out for breakfast burritos, and photography. Plan some extra time, and we'll have a NBA JAM tournament.

summer time joy

77. wind in my hair

78. belting out tunes on a long drive

79. "pick out whatever you want to listen to."
"Moulin Rouge??"

80. battle wounds from an old family favorite game

81. laughing with my siblings

82. pontoon rides

83. eagle sightings

84. brunch at the Sawmill

85. smores by the fire

86. giant marshmallows

87. Bumpa quoting Seinfeld

88. budget overhaul

89. seeing young faith grow

90. travel dreams

91. bedtime laughter

t to the raffic

Traffic, to me, is a mystery, an enigma, its dipped in secret sauce. I'm talkin' rush hour traffic. Traffic at other times of the day, when it flows at a decent, regulated speed is understandable. But rush hour traffic is a whole different beast.
I sit in pretty bad traffic on my way home most of the time. I'm not talkin' LA or NY traffic. I don't think I would last one day in that stuff. I'm referring to Minneapolis traffic which is bad to me. It's all relative.
Anyway, I don't understand how one minute you can be at a dead stop, then you get going at a decent clip (25 mph - which is a decent clip compared to a dead stop) and then just as soon, you are at a dead stop again. I don't get it.
I recently made a discovery, however, that greatly improved my rush hour traffic experience. For the past few months traffic has been getting worse (again with the mysteries) and I was approaching my tolerance threshold. I seriously couldn't handle it anymore. Classical MPR wasn't even helping to soothe my road rage like it usually does. When I get on the highway, it had been my routine to make it to the far left lane as quickly as possible. That's what you do when you want to go faster, right? I started to notice, to my surprise, that lane may not be the fastest one. I certainly couldn't fathom staying in the right lane with all the entering, and merging, and exiting. The right lane is a nightmare.
But what about the middle lane? The previously ignored and under appreciated middle lane. Where have you been all my life?? I discovered that the middle lane is actually the fastest! This discovery has revolutionized my commute. Granted, it has only lessened my drive by a few minutes, but those minutes are glorious.
Thank you middle lane. I heart you.

I also talk to other cars. Does anyone else do that?

the stinkin' truth

For the past few months I have been on a quest. My mission: to find a deodorant that not only is aluminum free, but actually works.

I'm sure you've heard about the harmful effects of aluminum on the body, but in case this is new to you, let me explain.

The problem really lies with the "antiperspirant" part of deodorant. Aluminum is widely used in deodorants to clog pours and thus prevent sweating. Unfortunately, harm is being done in the process. With higher exposure to aluminum, you have a greater risk of developing breast cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. As bad as aluminum is for you, there are other harsh chemicals in most deodorants that are best to avoid such as parabens. Parabens mimic estrogen which also ups your chances of contracting cancer.

Here's the rub. It's difficult (in my experience) to find an aluminum free deodorant that I can trust to get me through the day stink free.

One of the most common brands of natural deodorant is Tom's of Maine.

There are many different scents and even a few different lines of deodorant offered by Tom's such as "24 hour coverage" and yada yada. Bottom line: doesn't work.

I also tried Kiss My Face brand.

I love this brand for their organic lotions and body washes...but not their deodorant. Strike two!

By this time I was getting a little frustrated, and let's face it, self-conscience. I don't know about you, but body odor is something I want to keep to a minimum!
But thankfully, third time's the charm. I present to you the winner of this little experiment:

Origins Organic Deodorant

It's a little spendy, but realizing how much I value not stinking, to me it's worth it. I do have a recipe to make my own deodorant and I'm sure someday I will try that (and give a full report to be sure) but for now, I'll stick with my Origins stuff.

Have you tried any aluminum free brands? Have you found any that work? Do share.