October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from our family to yours. Hope everyone is being safe while out and about tonight.

October 24, 2012

Food and Thoughts - Greek Lentil Salad Recipe

I had a great lunch yesterday that was easy to make the night before and made 4 full servings.
  • 1 cup French green lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 small cucumber, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Place lentils, onion, bay leaves, and 6 cups water in large saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Drain, remove onion & bay leaves, and cool.
  2. Stir together shallot and lemon juice in large bowl.  Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and oil; stir to combine.  Season with salt & pepper, if desired.  Chill 1 hour, or overnight.  Serve topped with feta.
Thank you to Vegetarian Times and their 28 day vegetarian boot camp.  Click here.  I was in desperate need of some new healthy lunch ideas that didn't come in a frozen box.  This website gives you 4 weeks of ideas and everything looks really good.  We'll be trying a few of these over the next few weeks.  

I MUST EAT MORE VEGETABLES.  See?  If I keep telling myself that, I know I will be successful.  

After my awesome lunch, I was making my year end goals for work and cleaning up old stuff on my desk and I took a second to read my happiness calendar for the day.  I thought the quote was very thought provoking.  It made me think about my team at work and where each of them are headed in the future.
"In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it.  They must not do too much of it.  And they must have a sense of success in it."           -John Ruskin
Happy Hump Day.

October 23, 2012

Minnesota Seasons

As October is winding down, I find myself clinging on to every single colorful leaf left on my street.  My favorite red tree is almost completely bare as of this morning.  This is the most beautiful time of the year. It never fails to remind me that I could never move somewhere that doesn't have seasons.  Watching the leaves turn in the fall is such an awesome experience.  It falls right in there with the first snowflakes of the year, watching the tulips open in the spring and spending hours on the lake in the summer.  Thank you Minnesota for having some awesome seasons.

I had an especially peaceful moment on Saturday morning.  We were dog sitting for our neighbor and I ran across the street with my coffee & my Kindle to spend an hour or so with Pal (the adorable pup.)  It was about 7:30 in the morning and there was a thick fog that had settled over the neighborhood.  It was so nice to sit wrapped up in a blanket on their deck with my coffee and read and take in the awesome smells of autumn.  It felt like I had the neighborhood to myself.  Even our street was quiet and peaceful.

The rest of the weekend didn't disappoint.  We had the BEST vegetarian tacos at Rojo on Saturday for lunch.  We stopped to see Miss Mary on Saturday afternoon and met the man she calls her future husband - she warned us that we may be going to a Vegas wedding soon.  We played some pretty intense video games on Saturday evening with Annika.  My father made a brief appearance and witnessed "rockband" for his first time - he even made his drumming debut.

We had a classic Gregerson household moment when the John's pizza delivery guy was standing at our full view storm door and we were mid-song... he just told us to finish up and laughed.  Annika was making eye contact awkwardly while singing her heart out.  I appreciate his approach to the situation and would have loved to been in his shoes at that moment.

Sunday was the perfect FUNDAY.  Kirsten put together a ladies lunch in Hopkins so I dropped off Justin and picked up Kelsey - that way the boys could kick it.  We had a nice little lunch and returned to Kelsey's to find the boys on the patio soaking in the sun and enjoying the 70 degree weather (seriously, thank you Minnesota).  We finished off the afternoon with a little Honey Weiss and a few mimosas.  I was home and cuddled into my couch by 5:30 and was able to catch up on the episodes of SNL stored on our DVR.  All in all, an awesome weekend.

October 17, 2012

Good Neighbors

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." - Benjamin Franklin

My husband & I started to look for houses in the end of 2008.  We ended up touring 60 houses in Minneapolis & St. Paul.  57 were in Minneapolis and we loved many of them, we even made an offer on one, but St. Paul was where we were meant to be.  We moved into our house in May of 2009.  During the course of the first few days, we met all neighbors except one - we still don't know her name - but 3 out of 4 is awesome.  One came with a 6 pack of beer, one with fresh made banana bread and one with an Ivy plant.  My husband grew up in Southern California and apparently they don't greet new neighbors in his old neighborhood.  It was eye opening for him and I think he was pretty impressed with our new location.

A neighbor should be willing to keep an eye on your house when you're gone, be honest if you're being too loud on a Tuesday night in the summer, give you a holiday card and possibly even remember your birthday.  You should know a few little tidbits about your neighbors - a hobby they are really into, their grandchild's name or their favorite flower in their garden.  At the same time, it's a relationship different from a friendship, it's closer geographically but there is a little less sacrifice and obligation.  It's a community of people instead of a one on one relationship.

I was reminded of my awesome neighbors today twice, but in the opposite direction.  I woke up this morning and went downstairs to the kitchen to let the dogs out.  As soon as I opened the door, I realized that there were two St. Paul police officers in my neighbor's backyard.  Instead of minding my own business, I found myself extremely concerned about what was happening.  It turns out that when she left in the morning, she must have set her alarm and reopened her door so they were quickly and quietly responding to the alarm trigger.  It was a simple little visit for the officers, but I felt better that they responded so quickly and filled me in on what was happening.  This evening, my doorbell rang when I returned home and it was my neighbor across the street.  He was in need of a dog sitter for his adorable little dog.  Obviously, I love dogs so I had no problem saying yes.  Such a simple gesture, but it helped him out a ton.  Feels so good to be a good neighbor, plus it's SOOO easy.  Try it.

October 15, 2012

Dear Mr. Peters

I know a young lad named Joe
Who dreams of beer, boots & snow
He looks great is plaid
Cuts wood with his granddad
And finds time to bike like a pro.

Some friends use Yosef as his name,
Traveling and talking are his games,
He has a passion for maps
And loves to take naps
He is enjoying the hunt for a dame.

Red Wing each day is a haul
But he loves his home in St. Paul
He pounds shots of wine
His dance moves are divine
Happy Birthday Dear Joe, have a ball!

I usually save my lyrical genius for my journal, however I felt it was necessary to craft a little something for my dear friend Joe to celebrate his 28th birthday tomorrow.  This may not seem like a milestone birthday by any means, but each year we survive is an important step on the journey to that place they call "adulthood."  No one really wants to get there, so you should at least have a blast on your journey.

I have very much enjoyed the last year with you.  We said goodbye to Whitney Houston, watched the Red Bull Crashed Ice (or attempted to), became regulars at the Lowertown Bulldog, started & ended the wine shot fad, found your doppelganger and celebrated lots of little moments.  

Moving to St. Paul was one of the best decisions you've made and as you contemplate your next move, I want to make sure you indulge yourself into all the best parts of the city you currently call "home."  Here is your list of to-do's and I will treat you to any of the following as your birthday present:
  1. Ice Cream Cone at Grand Ole Creamery
  2. Midnight grease meal at Mickey's Diner
  3. Wintertime stroll through the tropical flowers at the Como Park Conservatory
  4. Ice Skating in Rice Park 
  5. Pizza or Pasta at Cossetta's
  6.  A burger at the Nook (I can't participate in this, but I'll cheer you on)
  7. Margarita at La Cucaracha and also at Boca Chica
  8. Taking in the torchlight parade to end the Winter Carnival celebration
  9. Meat Raffle at Schroeder's on Saturday afternoons
  10. A quiet lunch at W.A. Frost (preferably in the spring/summer - their patio is GORGEOUS)
We can obviously add more if we feel the need.  The Gopher Bar night was a BLAST and it's awesome how often we have been to the Bulldog.  Let us know where you would like to celebrate your birthday - our Sunday brunch this week didn't really count... no bloody marys - no brunch.  Hope you have a lovely day tomorrow.   

Your Pretty(?) Friend

I Don't Know How She Does It

The title may lead you to think I'm writing today about the Sarah Jessica Parker movie with the same title, but she's weird and I usually avoid her movies.  I'm actually giving a special shout out to any women that have more than one child under the age of 4.

After spending Friday in Eau Claire with Kendra, I was reminded again how easy I have it in my life only being responsible for myself (and sometimes my husband) and my dogs.  She just had a baby a little over two weeks ago and she also has an adorable 16 month old.  We ventured out to Target and to the Mall.  Both kids were extremely well behaved the whole time, but it just takes so much extra work.  We had a stroller for Ava (the 16 month old) and we put Jack's car seat in a cart, so just maneuvering around the stores was hard.  The task of getting them in and out of the car is definitely a two person job.  The kids were incredibly mellow and well-behaved - total pros.

I don't know how she does it.  Diapers, meals, clothes (because you know they have to wear at least 3 outfits a day), car seats, baths and on top of it, normal adult life... It's crazy.  I was amazed just watching Kendra start creating her new routine as a mom with two young children instead of just one. I know a few mommas like that and they all amaze me.  At least my mom had 5 1/2 years between me and my brother, I was pretty independent and starting Kindergarten.  If I ever find myself pregnant with a second child (or even a first), I hope these women are able to devote hours to giving me advice on how to make it look so easy.

Here are my favorite pictures of the 2 munchkins:

As far as I'm concerned, Kendra can have babies whenever she wants.  Her children are gorgeous and well behaved and hilarious.  I love love love them and I'm so happy I was able to spend the day with them.  Thanks Ken!!!  I hope to bring Uncle Justin to meet Jack soon.

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. 
William Makepeace Thackeray 

October 8, 2012

My First Week as a Stuck at Home Wife

That title might be a little extreme, but Justin got a promotion (insert applause & "WOOHOO's" here) and he is going to be traveling more for work.  I am stuck at the main office still every day.  I know people always think it's crazy that we work together, but it's how we've met and we have for our entire relationship.  It works great for us.  We carpool together and a few days a week, we have lunch together.  It has been great.  Working here while he's traveling more will just take some getting used to.

On the other hand, it's kind of fun to have a few nights on my own each week.  There are some things I like to do that my husband dislikes.

1. Having my sister-in-laws & their children over to our house to play (he loves them all, but not all at one time with Taylor Swift blaring nonstop)
2. Watching Real Housewives of _______
3. Coming home to see my online purchases waiting on the steps (this doesn't happen too often)

OK, so I thought I would have a long list.  Either way, it is good quiet time for me and it makes me even more excited to see him when he returns from a few days on the road.

Last week while he was out of town, I went for a great bike ride and had a girl's night at our house.  My three nieces and their mothers all came over for a night of brownies, beer bread & vegetarian hot dogs.  I think I listened to Blown Away by Carrie Underwood 17 times and they made me listen to the different songs sung by the Chipmunks a bunch as well.  I hit my pillow hard that evening.  Thank goodness for these girls.

Happy Monday to all!