Pumpkins and Apples and Pie, oh my!

As if the cooler temperatures and falling leaves weren’t clue enough, the turn of the calendar into October brought to reality that our beautiful Fall is far too short and will soon be ushered out by the harsh days of winter. We can’t let Fall get away without the obligatory visit to the nearest pumpkin patch and apple orchard y’all! I’ve noticed while driving back roads to the cabin recent weekends that we have several little local orchards and roadside pumpkin stands. Is there anything sweeter than a hayrack packed along the side of the road, loaded full of pumpkins and gourds and a simple box with a sign reading ‘Pay Here.” No one manning the stand, just good old small town honor system at it’s best. I love that in this day in age, growers are able to sell their crop this way and I’m assuming people are not taking advantage since I’ve seen no less than 3 stands operating this way. That’s the definition of Minnesota nice!

So even though we knew we could grab some loot pretty conveniently, we still wanted the whole orchard experience since we knew Reagan would be all about it this year. Sunday we headed out just before lunchtime and drove about 35 minutes north to Emma Krumbee’s.

 

store

 

First stop was lunch! Baked goods made from scratch and breakfast served all day, count me in! We knew we were off to a good start when the sign inside the door announced $3.50 mimosas, yes please :). I knew what I wanted as soon as I spotted it, biscuits and gravy served alongside hashbrowns and 2 eggs cooked to order.

 

breakfastedit

 

Completely delicious and worth every single unhealthy bite! Lloyd had a stack of pancakes that covered most of his plate and were some of the fluffiest and the best tasting I’ve ever had in a restaurant. We were tempted by the cinnamon rolls that were as big as my head, I kid you not, but decided against it when we couldn’t eat another bite after our meals. So we paid the bill and headed over to the Scarecrow Festival. Unfortunately many of the scarecrows had taken a bit of a beating thanks to a couple of super windy days earlier in the week, so after letting Reagan try out a couple activities, we headed for the patch.

 

tractor 

 

Can you tell by our apparel that it wasn’t the warmest of fall days?! I think it may have hit the low 50s, but the wind and lack of sun made it feel pretty darn cold. We were able to find some good looking pumpkins pretty quick – 1 daddy, 1 mommy, and 1 little Reagan sized, and hopped back on our return tractor ride to ditch our pumpkins in the car and grab bags for apple picking. The past 2 years we’ve gone to pumpkin patches where we were able to pick pumpkins, but this was the first we’ve been to that had apple orchards as well. Thus, our first apple picking experience. Rows and rows of apple trees greeted us.

 

trees1

 

The varieties were pretty limited since we are so late in the season, but there were still plenty of trees ripe for the picking of what was in season. Luckily we had someone along who could reach the high ones.

 

 picking2

 

The trick was getting her to understand that she can’t pick every apple she sees. My apologies to the orchard and our fellow pickers who had extra apples to dodge on the ground. I pray no ankles were rolled ;). In no time at all we had filled all 3 of our bags.

 

 boots1 

 

Then came my favorite part of all, into the general store for a sweet treat before hitting the road. I managed to twist Lloyd’s arm into splitting a piece of pie with me. Enter caramel apple pie:

 

pie

 

Oh yes, and they even warmed it up! I may have lost my mind momentarily however when I answered no to whether or not I wanted it a la mode. Yes of course, the answer is always yes. Next time I’ll answer better. Even without the ice cream, this pie was everything I could have wanted. And do you want to know a secret? I really don’t even like apple pie that much. It just seemed appropriate given the setting. When in Rome.

We hit the road and arrived home to the scent of chili ready in the Crock Pot. Perfect fall day! Already looking forward to a return trip next year, but we’ll definitely be back to the restaurant before then. It would make a great Sunday brunch spot to take visitors.

Until next time, have a great one!

Fall Weekend Perfection

Oh Monday, so hard to embrace you when the weekend was so much fun that I’m sad to leave it behind. Saturday started off bright and early with Lloyd needing to get in a 7 mile run since he’s training for a half marathon later this fall. While he was doing that, I convinced Reagan to hop in the jogging stroller and we headed out for 4 miles of our own. It was my first joggling stroller run in awhile, so I was ready for it be be pretty challenging, but with the gorgeous trail views to distract me and the crisp and cool early morning temps, the miles flew by. My sweet little running companion helped too since she kept up a running commentary. We finished our runs at just about the same time and after quickly showering, headed over to the lake.

 

lake

 

Fall is officially upon us and the leaves are falling. You wouldn’t know it based on the weekend temperatures however. We were in the 80s all weekend which definitely made it feel like we’re still clinging to summer even if the scenery tells a different story. No lake day is complete without a sunset cruise on the boat.

 

sunset

 

This scene never gets old. It is one of my most favorite things in the whole world.

Sunday morning Lloyd and I left Reagan with my mom and headed north into Minneapolis. Our destination:

 

UM 

 

The University of Minnesota campus for the Vikings game! The team is in the process of building a new state of the art stadium, but since it won’t be completed for 2 years, the U of M is sharing their facility. Their former facility was a dome as will be the new stadium, so it was a completely different experience being in an outdoor stadium for a Vikings game.

We grabbed some pre game fuel first.

 

chipotle

 

His and her Chipotle burrito bowls photographed oh so quickly since there was a line stretching to the door and I didn’t want to look like a total nerd :). We also split some chips and guacamole. Afterwards we walked around for awhile to check out the tailgating festivities since we had plenty of time before game time.

 

us1

 

The hot sun made us really miss the old dome environment but we were glad we weren’t sitting in snow :) We grabbed some refreshments to keep us cool.

 

redds

 

I tried a Redd’s Apple Ale for the first time. It looked and sounded pretty good so I figured it was worth a whirl. It kind of just tasted like a mild apple juice? It was just sort of ok. I think I would have liked it better in a bottle since that’s always my preference but wasn’t an option in the stadium. And the hot day warmed it up a little too fast so I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more crisp and cold.

 

board1 

 

This was the scoreboard before the game began and I forgot to snap one at the end, but I can tell you we emerged with a 41-28 victory over Atlanta, woo hoo! We try to attend at least one game every season, and we definitely picked a good one this year folks! Since it was an afternoon game, we didn’t get back to the cabin until late so we spent the night there before getting up super early this morning and heading home to get ready for work. Back to the grind.

Hope everyone had an equally happy weekend and your new week is off to a great start! We’re hoping for some more fall fun this week/weekend. I’ll be back with updates for sure.

So long summer

Howdy strangers,

I took the day off today so I could hit up the outlet mall and get some new fall/winter clothes for Reagan. The plan was to head there right away in the morning, but while I was enjoying my cup of coffee, I pulled up their website to check on hours. Good thing I did, they don’t open until 10 am, ha, #shoppingfail! Funny story, whenever Lloyd or I make a dumb parenting mistake, we tell Reagan #mamafail or #daddyfail. Now she’s started saying it herself! I was driving her home from daycare the other day and can’t even remember what it was now that I said to her, but I hear her say from the backseat “mama fail.” Ha ha, she tends to forget the hashtag :).

Blogger fail is more like it. I’ve been so neglectful lately, I figured a little late summer recap was the perfect way to use up this free time I’ve ended up with this morning. Our weekends have included a lot of lake time of course since our weekend weather has been amazing! Labor Day weekend our neighbors let us take their paddle boards out for a spin. I’ve wanted to try paddle boarding forever, so I was so excited when I saw the neighbors using them and they offered to let us give them a try.

 

 

paddle

 

I have a feeling that Minnesota paddle boarding is a little different than say, Hawaii paddle boarding, if ya know what I mean ;), but it was still so much fun. I actually felt really stable on the board and did not fall off. Lloyd had one really close call that had me laughing hysterically which just about knocked off my balance. That would have made a fantastic video if it had happened.

In other lake recreation news, the cabin got kayaks!

 

kayak

 

Reagan tested them out first to make sure it was cool  with her ;). We tested them out last weekend, but it was kinda chilly and windy. My assessment is that there is a little bit of a learning curve involved with kayaking. I ended up with a lot of water on my lap. There is cover like a skirt that goes around the hole that you sit in, but it can only do so much. My paddling technique is lacking at this point. I think the waves from the wind had a lot to do with it, but I had a tendency to bring water up on my paddle and deposit it on my lap when I went to dip in on the other side :). We need to head over to the lake on a nice calm evening and give it try under gentle conditions while we are learning.

Did I tell you guys that we got a bike trailer?

 

 

ride

 

 

Remember those parenting fails I described earlier? Here is a good example of that. The internet safety police will see this and find it appalling that we are biking without helmets. I know, I agree. Here’s what happened. With the exception of the ride Lloyd and I went on earlier this summer just the two of us, neither one of us had ridden a bike in probably 10-15 years, no joke. This takes us back to high school and college days when safety wasn’t exactly on the forefront of our minds. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never owned a bike helmet before. I grew up on a farm and no one wore helmets riding around the farm. So when we set out for our first family ride, we kind of forgot about helmets. Until we saw other people out on their bikes and all were wearing helmets, #parentingfail. In case you are concerned, all three of us now own bike helmets and wear them every time :).

Quick little preview for you before I head out for my day o fun, aka shopping. The DIY bug has hit me in a big way this summer. I found something online that I quickly became obsessed with, but wasn’t excited about the price tag. So after a little Googleing, I found out I could actually make it myself with a little manpower and a LOT of patience. A complete tutorial will follow when I’m finished, but see if you can figure out what I have planned ;)

 

 

stump

 

Have an amazing Thursday everyone!

Princesses and Vikings

We’ve had all kinds of fun things keeping us busy around these parts. My baby girl turned 3 years old last week (tear)!

 

donut

 

Which meant donuts for breakfast of course!

 

birthday

 

She finally got that swing we’ve been promising since we moved. Our last house had a ground level deck so we couldn’t hang a swing from it. It’s so nice that we have the option with our new house, cause the girl loves to swing and it’s nice not to have to go to the playground every night for her to get her fix. Her actual birthday was on Wednesday and Saturday we had a princess theme party to celebrate.

 

banner

 

We’re so fortunate to have awesome family and friends that were willing to travel to come to the party. We had a house full, and it was awesome to have our first real opportunity to entertain in our new house.

 

party

 

I have yet to tackle thank you notes, but I know it is going to be quite the challenge. Reagan made it a little hard on me by ripping through her mountain of gifts so fast I had no chance to keep track of who brought what. It is amazing how much things change from one year to the next. Last year I had to keep her on track the whole time and keep coaxing her onto the next gift cause she just wanted to focus on and play with the last one she had opened. This year it was open one, toss it aside, and onto the next. Clearly we have a little learning to do in the gift opening etiquette department :) My apologies to anyone who gets a completely generic thank you note. I guarantee we love the gift, I’m just not sure which one you brought :)

 

cake

 

Monday night we headed out for a super fun outing. Minnesota Vikings training camp!

 

Sign

 

We’re huge Vikings fans and are super spoiled now that we live in the same town where the team holdings training camp each year. Last year was our first time attending. Funny that we had no idea at the time that a year later we would be living here and have the opportunity to attend every year now.

We hung out near the field entrance to watch the coaches and players come out for practice. It wasn’t a designated autograph signing session, but some of the players and even coaches were nice enough to stop for fans.

 

Turner 

Norv Turner, new Offensive Coordinator

 

Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver –  I remember seeing him come out last year as a rookie and spending a good amount of time signing autographs. It was cool to see that he was still so accommodating this year too.

 

team 

 

We hung out for a couple of hours watching their practice before we had to head out to get the little one to bed. Great way to kick off our week! The rest of the week has been pretty uneventful. No big plans on tap for this weekend and I kinda love it that way. We’ll probably head to the lake tomorrow afternoon but hopefully we can get some cleaning, grocery shopping and meal planning done on Sunday. I’d love to be able to go into the week feeling organized for once.

Happy Friday and I hope you have a fun and safe weekend! Our summer weekends are numbered!

Catch up…weeks in review

I owe you a quick recap of the past few weeks. We left off with Lloyd and and I in the car, headed to Minneapolis on a Monday night. We parked near the Mall of America and took the light rail downtown.

 

train

 

Less than 30 minutes later we were dropped off just down the street from Target Field, host of the 2014 MLB All Star game!

 

flags 

 

The actual All Star game would be played on Tuesday night, but Monday night they held the home run contest.  We didn’t have tickets, the prices were absurdly high, but we just wanted to walk around and take it all in. Starting with dinner at Sneaky Pete’s, also known as the Ultimate Fun Bar :). We just grabbed a couple of beers and burgers, but I guess it was pretty fun ;).

 

 burgers

 

We each ordered a different burger and then split them. That’s half a pizza burger and half a tater tot casserole burger with tater tots on the side! The tater tot casserole burger was cream of mushroom soup and green beans on top of a hamburger patty and topped with tater tots and a bun. Total comfort food, which was nice on a rainy day.

 

us

 

We walked around the stadium for a while after and grabbed another beer just outside the gates before grabbing a train back to our car and heading home. Not a bad little Monday.

With Reagan staying with my mom for the week, we used the rest of our free time working on some landscaping in our backyard. Nothing too exciting, just rock underneath our deck.

Now the past two weeks we’ve been busy every evening with Reagan taking swimming lessons at our local YMCA. We’ve been meaning to do it for the longest time, but when I checked online and saw that the intro class for babies and toddlers accompanied by a parent only goes to age 3, and Reagan turns 3 in August, we knew it was now or never.

 

swim 

 

It took awhile to get my little diva to lay back. She didn’t want to do it because she didn’t want to get her hair wet! She was hesitant with the whole swimming thing initially but she ended up doing so great and she loved going every day. It was hard on us though since lessons were from 5:30-6pm every evening. By the time we got home and had dinner it was time for bath and bed and that was our whole night. Hence my lack of posting lately. I just haven’t had a spare minute. And now I’m in party planning mode. A certain someone turns 3 today and we’ve got a princess party on the agenda this weekend. If I don’t get a chance to check in before then, I will be back with a party recap next week.

Just wanted to say hey quick, hope the week is treating you well!

Bikes and patios

So it’s the middle of July and I’m sitting here wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Say what?! Some kind of crazy cold front has moved in this week and it’s only hit the mid-60s today. It’s fine by me actually since it makes for great sleeping with the windows open and does wonderful things for my running abilities.

Let’s flash back to last Thursday though when it was hot and sunny. Night number 2 without Reagan at home provided the perfect opportunity to hop on our bikes and explore. Lloyd’s bike had been sitting in his dad’s garage since he was in high school and I just recently picked one up second hand. So basically what I’m telling you is that we have really awesome top of the line equipment :). Maybe not, but they are both in great shape. I’ve been scouring Craigslist in hopes of scoring a deal on a bike trailer so that we can go on family rides, but no luck yet.

After throwing together a quick grilled dinner of marinated chicken and brown rice, we rolled out of the garage, through the backyard, and onto the trail. We hit quite a few downhill areas in the first half of the ride, so we knew we were in for some nice challenges on the way back. We ended up riding along the river and stopped to survey the scenery.

 

river

 

bikes

And of course the obligatory selfies

 

us river

 

Ha, it was a little windy, please excuse the hideous flying hair. Our destination was the downtown area of Mankato in hopes of finding an outdoor patio calling our name to take a breather. Mission accomplished.

 

beer

 

Blue Moon for me and a Michelob Golden Light for him. It was so nice to just sit, enjoy a drink and chat with nowhere else we had to be. We paid the tab, hopped back on the bikes and headed for home. The uphill portions we hit on the way back were just challenging enough but totally doable. We made it home right at the 14 mile mark. Decent workout and a great time.

It was a great couple of days just the two of us but we were so ready to see Reagan when we picked her up on Friday night. She had so much fun with her aunt and uncle and was plenty spoiled. We spent the night at my dad’s house then continued on our trek south to Des Moines on Saturday afternoon.

 

happy hour

 

Patio numero dos :) After hitting up a couple of stores, we stopped for happy hour, Coronas, chips and salsa. Reagan had a milk ;).

 

mall

 

We walked around the lake area at Jordan Creek mall for awhile and watched the ducks. You can guess whose idea that was.

 

bridge

 

Heart completely melts every time I see these two walking hand in hand! We killed some time walking around before it was time to head out to visit our friends that we stayed with for the night. They’re little boy turned 2 so we were in town for his birthday party. It was nice to see some good friends that we definitely miss now that we live further away. It was a long drive home Sunday afternoon, but as soon as we got home we had to turn around and pack Reagan’s stuff back up so we could take her to stay with my mom at the cabin for daycare vacation week two. We are so fortunate to have family that has been able to help us out these two weeks. Saving us a lot of money not having to pay for backup care but best of all giving Reagan a chance to spend time with people who love her so much.

More free time for us this week! We’re in the car right now heading north into Minneapolis for the evening, I’ll be sure to fill you in on the nights adventures! This week is off to a great start. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday as well! And if you’re experiencing the same cool weather we are, try to enjoy it, humidity and 100 degree days are likely right around the corner.

Would love to hear about what you have going on or are looking forward to this week.

Living it up

Hey guys, I’m car blogging this afternoon. We are heading back to Iowa this weekend. First on the agenda is picking up our baby girl! Little stinker has been a complete angel according to the text messages I’ve been receiving. I’m definitely glad that she’s being exceptionally good for my brother and sister-in-law, but I wouldn’t mind if she’d act this good for us once in awhile ;).

Tomorrow we are heading to Des Moines for a birthday party. We’re going to do a quick drive by our old house. Will be so weird to see it now that it’s not ours anymore.

We’ve been taking full advantage of our free time the past couple of nights. Wednesday night was date night. We started out with dinner at Bonfire, a restaurant we hadn’t had a chance to try out yet. It’s technically a franchise, but just a Minnesota one. Most of their locations are in the twin cities area. We were early enough for happy hour, so we started out with a 1/2 price appetizer.

 

app

 

That’s hand rolled pockets that were filled with gorgonzola, cream cheese, rotisserie chicken and buffalo sauce, served with a side of sweet Thai chili sauce. So good that I forgot to snap a pic until we had already finished half of it.

My meal was the Thai Chicken Salad, which included fried wonton strips, crispy chicken and a spicy peanut dressing. The best part though was the mandarin oranges and fresh pineapple slices on the side.

 

dinner2 

 

It was really good! I’m always a little leery when ‘spicy’ is in the description, but the dressing was actually not that spicy at all and they used just the right amount. I had a couple of bites of the roll but I wasn’t that impressed so I left most of it. It would have been really good with some oil for dipping though.

Lloyd had the rotisserie chicken, which I had seriously considered and will probably try next time. I stole a bite or two ;).

 

Lloyd food1

Really juicy and flavorful, served with buttermilk-bacon smashed potatoes and green beans. Great dinner overall and we will for sure be going back sometime.

After dinner we ran around to a couple of stores, I wanted to pick up some paint samples, and then made our way to the movie theater at the mall. It had been ages since we had been to a movie. Pre-Reagan we used to go to movies all the time, so this was on our must do list for this week. It’s really slim pickings right now. Where are the summer blockbusters?! Considering that we hadn’t been to a movie in so long it should have been easy to choose since we hadn’t seen any of them. Most of the options sounded really awful though. We settled on Neighbors. We were in the mood for comedy so it was either this or Tammy. I had heard a lot of negative about the latter so Seth Rogan and Zac Efron it was. It wasn’t great, but it was decent and we left feeling pretty satisfied with it. I did laugh several times so we’ll call it a win! 

Thursday night recap to follow. We found a fun activity that we had been looking forward to having the opportunity to do for awhile which included doing a little exploring around our new home and a beer on a patio. Score! ;)

Time to turn my phone into a hot spot so I can publish and then a quick dinner stop. If you’re reading this then I guess it worked, ha. Have an awesome weekend!