Saturday, July 31, 2010


Hooray!  It's wedding day for our two very best friends- M and B!  Wishing you guys the best, and thank you for allowing us to be a part of and play witness to your special day.  Love you guys!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I am Reading Wednesdays, Part III

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson, published 2009,  576 pg.
In Stieg Larsson's final novel in the Millennium Trilogy, the characters pick up right where we left them: in the emergency room of the hospital with Lisbeth fighting for her life, and Mikael sitting in handcuffs at the property where the epic fight between Lisbeth and her father went down.  The conclusion to the trilogy centers on the time that Lisbeth spends fighting for her life in the hospital with her biological father just down the hall from her.  The general public still believes that Lisbeth is responsible for the murders committed in the previous novel, but Mikael's sister agrees to represent her as her lawyer in the upcoming trial.  Mikael knows that Lisbeth is innocent, and spends the majority of this book investigating and creating another media frenzy to show the world what actually happened, and uncovering and exposing to the world one of Sweden's most kept government secrets.  Just as the first book did, the last spends a relatively long amount of time within the courtroom, but in a more engaging fashion.  This novel also gives one of the side characters (Erika Berger) more time in the spotlight as she forges her way into a new position at an esteemed magazine, but finds herself being harassed along the way.  Again, this is another great book, and doesn't let the reader down.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has read the previous two books, especially if they enjoy crime dramas.

What I am Reading Wednesdays, Part II

The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson, published 2009, 503 pg.
In his second novel in the Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larson focuses mainly on the storyline featuring Lisbeth Salander.  In my opinion, this book is better than the first, the reader really gets to know Lisbeth better and has a more rounded understanding of why she is the way she is.  After returning from some much needed time abroad, Lisbeth returns to Sweden just as some very high profile murders are committed in connection with the revealing of the country's sex trade industry.  Lisbeth's prints are found on the murder weapon, and she becomes one of the most wanted women in Sweden.  Her face is plastered everywhere, but no one can seem to find her.  It has been a long time since she had had any contact with Mikael Blomkvist, but he finds himself connected to her once again.  In Played with Fire, we see more into Lisbeth's past and her relationship with her biological father.  This book ends on a major cliffhanger after Lisbeth engages in a nail-biting battle with her father and half-brother, gearing the reader to jump right into the third and final novel in the Millennium trilogy.  If you have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there is no excuse not to read Played with Fire, and I wholeheartedly recommend this novel.

Catch Up... What I am Reading Wednesdays.

So, one day a family of tomatoes went on a walk.  There was a Momma tomato, a Papa tomato, and a Baby tomato.  While they were walking, the Baby tomato started to lag behind.  A frustrated Papa tomato turned around to the lagging Baby tomato, squashed it and yelled, "Ketchup!"

To "ketchup" (or catch up) on my book reviews, I thought that I would start with the Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy.  The three titles in this trilogy include: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, published 2008,  572 pages.
I started out reading Dragon Tattoo for an online bookclub, and was at first put off by the start of this novel.  The first 60-100 pages were dull and hard to get through.  Had I not been reading this book for a bookclub, I'm pretty sure that I would have put Dragon Tattoo back on the bookshelf and wouldn't have considered picking it up again.  Luckily I pushed through the first part and then the book finally started to pick up pace.  This book follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist while he is trying to solve a 40 year old missing persons/murder mystery for a wealthy elderly man named Henrik Vagner who is hoping to finally have some closure regarding his niece, Harriet's disappearance.  Along the way, he gets to know the strange, tattooed Lisbeth Salander, who is an advanced computer hacker working for a security company.  With her help, Blomkvist continues his life-risking investigation.  This book doesn't end on a note where one can just walk away from the trilogy, and leaves you excited and ready for the next one!  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in mysteries and crime dramas, with the warning that to really enjoy this book, you MUST push through the first 100 pages, and you'll be happy that you did.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coffee in the Garden

We've been on the hunt for the perfect bistro set to add to the brick area near our side door, and this this weekend, I finally found one for a reasonable price.  I had heard good things about Home Goods, so when I got the chance to check it out, I seriously wanted to bring almost everything home!  The store had several types of bistro sets (colors and styles), but I really liked the looks of the more weathered-white one the best.  This morning, L and I had breakfast in the garden on sitting at our new table set and really enjoyed it.  We plan on doing this as often as possible!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Before and After

One of my goals for this summer is to finish refinishing the hand-me-down patio furniture we received from L's parents.  Despite their age and history, the pieces are in pretty good shape so all I needed to do was lightly sand the original finish and then they were ready to be painted.

In order to get the look I was going for and even coverage, I decided to give spray paint a whirl for this project (though I highly underestimated how many cans of spray paint it would actually take to get these suckers done).  For my paint, I used the recommended primer for the first coat, and then the second coat was of Heirloom White.

Each chair required about 2 cans of primer and 2 cans of the color (and the total paint cost added up to be about $15/chair).  In the end, I am pretty happy with the results and am glad that I took on this project versus going out and buying new patio furniture.  Eventually we want to get new cushions for the set, but the leafy red ones work just fine for now!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Smashing, part deux

The drinkware we currently have...
I mentioned earlier that L's relationship with our dishware has not been a pleasant one since we've moved into the house.  At first, I just thought that he was somehow being clumsy, or not paying attention to how he washed the dishes.  Well, today I'm publicly apologizing to him because I have found out how fickle our drinking glasses really are.  While I was washing dishes this morning, I was scrubbing one of the glasses and it shattered in my hand.  And no, there wasn't any extreme temperature change, and I was being fairly delicate while washing- it just exploded on its own accord!  Needless to say, L and I will be taking a trip over to Macy's to pick up a new set of sturdier glasses with thicker walls to keep us from potentially being assaulted by our old drinkware.

 Any recommendations for drinking glasses?  Which of the following glasses would you pick?





Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Reviews

 picture from

I think I mentioned a while ago now that I would be posting reviews of the books I have been reading.  Well, I have most definitely forgot about that.  As you can see by the sidebar on my blog, I always update what I have just finished reading, what I am reading currently, and what I plan to read next.  So far I've been good about keeping that up to date, but my book reviews have definitely been lacking.  My mother-in-law's best friend has requested that I actually start writing up reviews of the books I've read so that she can get some better ideas of books she wants to read.  I'd also really like to get my blog on some sort of schedule, so perhaps a "What I am Reading" Wednesdays are in order...  As a person who has a teaching license in secondary English education, I feel that it important for me to model what I expect my future students to do, and these more modern book reports are a great way to keep children of the technology-era engaged and more interested in book reports, rather than just handing in a hard copy of a brief synopsis of the book they just finished.  It is also a great way to have students interact with each others' book reports by requiring them to post comments and pose questions for each other on an more technological level.  Please feel free to comment, discuss, and ask questions about any book that I have read in the comment section below. 

So Lori, these posts are for you (and hopefully other people find these posts beneficial to them too)!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

101 in 1001

Lately, I've seen a fair amount of people who are stepping up to the Day Zero: 101 in 1001 challenge and I've decided that it would be a good way to keep me motivated and active.  I've felt like I've been in somewhat of a rut as of recently, but I think that have a manageable list of 101 items/tasks to complete within 1001 days will help me remember things I want to do (plus just being able to check them off is a bit of motivation already for me!).  If you would like to follow my progress, I'll probably update this blog whenever I check off a new item, but just in case I don't... here's a link to my list of 101 items that I would like to complete by April 16, 2013!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swedish Chef

Who doesn't enjoy the Swedish Chef from the muppets?  This is one of their latest videos featuring one of my favorite muppets.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

1 year down, many more to go

L and I just got back from our overnight trip over to Stillwater to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary, and it was a lot of fun!  Although we spend a lot of time together already, we tend to be more homebodies, and I think it's important for us to get out of the house and spend time with each other, and just focus on us.  Exactly a year ago today, we were doing some last minute packing for our trip to Aruba and getting ready to board the plane in just a few short hours.  Today, we relaxed and were able to enjoy each others company without the stress of international traveling!  And now for a recap of our anniversary celebration:

As I mentioned in my last post, we ate our year-old cake on the 17th because we wouldn't have anywhere to keep it cool while we were out and about on the 18th.  And yes, we devoured it!  I had forgotten how good BreadArt's cake is.

The next morning (our actual anniversary date), we got up and made our way down to the MN Zoo, where we spent time watching the birdshow, walking the trails, and eating a picnic lunch.  We were kind of disappointed that they didn't have the dolphin show going on that day, but the night before we visited, one of their dolphins had a calf, so they were giving them their privacy, so it was okay.  I was really excited because I was able to see my favorite animal.  I freakin' love the tapir.  I know they look pretty ridiculous, but every time I see it, I want to bring it home with me.

We also spent way too much time watching the prairie dogs hanging out in the habitat.  I think it was because they resemble our degus with their mannerisms and such.

After we had exhausted all of the exhibits at the zoo, we trekked over to Stillwater, which is where we would spend the rest of our anniversary.  When we made our reservations with the Water Street Inn, I had mentioned in the "special requirements" box that we were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary, and reminded them that we held our wedding at the Water Street Inn exactly a year ago.  One of the nice things about the WSI is that in each of the rooms, they have a whirpool jacuzzi bathtub, no matter what.  All we really wanted was the bathtub and the balcony in a nonsmoking room, so we had booked the cheapest room they had available.  Unfortunately, the view of Water Street is not that impressive, especially when you consider that the other side of the hotel faces the lift bridge and the St. Croix river.  We were a bit disappointed that we wouldn't be able to have a great view, but we were okay with that.  When we checked in, the kid at the front desk gave us our key, and I noticed that the room number he assigned us was not the room I had reserved a few nights prior, but I just figured that they were doing some sort of repair on the original room, so they moved us just down the hall.  We were put in room 308, the James Mulvey room:

Neither of us gave our new room any thought, until we walked past the bedroom (I thought that the Water Street room only had one room to it...), and looked out the balcony and saw that we were in fact facing the river.  At that moment, we realized that they had upgraded us to one of their Suites at no extra cost.  You've got to love places that want to keep their returning customers happy (especially those who have spent thousands of dollars in their establishment...)!

The view from the balcony was amazing, especially that night.  We could see the gazebo and the lift bridge from the window.

After settling in and taking advantage of the cable television, we walked around town for a little while.  We went down to the gazebo and reminisced over our wedding and the time we spent by the riverfront during that day.  Since there was so much rainfall the night before, the water levels were way up, and the watcher was coming up onto the sidewalks, which was a huge change from when we were there last year!

When we had finished roaming around, we then went out to dinner.  A part of us wanted to eat at the WSI, but we decided to try somewhere new, so we had our dinner at Phil Tara's Hideaway.  The Hideaway is a great little Greek restaurant just on the outskirts of downtown Stillwater.  L' s parents had recommended it to us at one point and we're really glad we went!  Since it was packed, L and I grabbed a couple drinks at the bar while we waited for a table to open up.  We ate way too much, but the uncomfortable stuffed feeling was well worth it.  For an appetizer, we tried their gyros (who goes to a Greek restaurant and doesn't at least try the gyros??).

For our entrees, L had a steak with potato puree, and I had a pasta dish that included bell peppers, artichokes, and kalamata olives.  The meal was great, but we both found ourselves waddling to the car afterward.

We returned to the room to digest a bit before walking around some more, and when we walked in, there was a bottle of champagne chilling on ice waiting for us!  Next to the ice bucket was a note that said, Love, Mom and Dad K (my maiden name was butchered, and was spelled Klidberg on the note).  My parents were very sweet and had called the Inn to have them deliver the champagne to our room.

By that point, we were both tired, so we visited the Irish Pub located within the Inn for a nightcap, and then turned in for the night.

Today we went antiquing, got malts,  and visited the local winery just down from the Inn where we participated in a complementary wine tasting, so we were able to sample 10 of their locally made wines, and ended up purchasing a bottle to bring home.  Overall, it was a great day trip and I'm still in shock that it's already been a year since our wedding.  I'm definitely looking forward to many many more of these in our future!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quick update

So we survived the massive storm last night.  Funnel clouds, wall clouds and cloud rotations were popping up everywhere last night, and fortunately, we were not in the direct path of destruction.  Though a decent chunk of our normally upright standing flowers are now laying at a 45 degree angle, we feel lucky.  It was pretty eerie watching the spooky clouds coming together over our neighborhood and just off to the Northwest of us we could see everything rolling in and the sky turning pitch black.  I'm pretty sure that it was the closest I've ever been to potentially having a tornado rip through my yard (so of course, we spent a good amount of time standing outside after the sirens had been sounding, talking to the neighbors instead of heading for cover ASAP).  We had considered checking out the Ramsey County Fair last night after L got off of work, but instead we hunkered down in the basement with all of our animals (it was fairly comical to watch the two of us trying to round up Darla and Dwight, and then carrying all of the degu and bird cages down the stairs), watched Couples Retreat (which I would definitely recommend), and ate year-old wedding cake a night early.  The cake was surprisingly good for having been in the freezer for a year- thanks Mom and Dad for wrapping it so well and storing it for us in the basement freezer!

Today we're off to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and will update later this week with what we did and should hopefully have lots of photos.

Thanks again to everyone who have been there for use through out our nearly 7.5 years together and  witnessed us commit to each other for a lifetime, and then helped us celebrate afterward!

 copyright Studio Blue 2009