Author Archives: Carrie @ Season It Already!

5 Books + New Beer!

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Another week has come and gone and *sigh*…. I still haven’t posted on anything except books! I have a lot I’d like to share; but I’m still in that “don’t want to be on the computer after sitting and working on one all day” mode.

What’s more? Our friends opened a new brewery in Shakopee last night! I did stop by to support; but instead of the old me, snapping photos at every opportunity, I did not take a single one. Instead, I just enjoyed the experience. It was really fun to see a bunch of our friends there, too! If you haven’t yet, please take a time to check out Shakopee Brewhall. They did an amazing job with which I thought was going to be the narrowest space tucked between Turtles and Arnie’s in downtown Shakopee. Instead, it feels quite roomy and is a perfect space for socializing!

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One reason I like to post about the books that I’ve read is that I want to remember themSince I went a whole month between stretches of posting on this blog, there are a few books that I don’t remember very well! That makes me sad. I teetered on whether I should post about them or not. I decided to post about them anyway!

Many of the books this week are how-to and cookbooks, but I’ve saved a little fiction for last. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Dinner: The Playbook
by Jenny Rosenstrach 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

After loving Jenny’s (can I be so bold to address you by your first name, Jenny?!) first book, Dinner, A Love Story, I knew this would be another good one. It’s a different approach, though. Whereas Dinner, A Love Story was quite literally a story, Dinner, The Playbook is, well… a playbook. It’s your guide and how-to to get dinner on the table every. single. night… if you so desire. While it does focus on families and how to encourage picky eaters, I still felt this book could apply to me. With a husband who does not cook and would be content to eat out every night of the week, I sometimes need this. While she suggests enlisting the help of everyone in the family, even if it’s just to set the table, I find that one difficult. If dinner is anything but ordering and paying for it, my husband considers it too much work and not worth it! If I want to eat at home, I have to do the cooking and the dishes. (The trade off is that I don’t do any yardwork or vacuuming!)

One of the suggestions I did like, however, was when asked what is for dinner to casually say, “Hmmm… I haven’t decided yet,” even when you do know. That keeps any backlash at bay and makes things so much easier for you! I feel like this would work with my husband because whenever we would have something planned for an evening meal in, he wouldn’t be feeling it and would suggest going out instead. I have yet to try this on him!

After returning this book to the library, it promptly went on my PaperbackSwap.com and put it on my wishlist.

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Lose Weight by Eating
by Audrey Johns 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read?

Here is one of the cookbooks that I don’t remember much about. I don’t know how I hears about it; but I do know that I chose it because it focuses on real food. Still, I don’t remember the content nor the recipes! I liked it enough that I gave it 3 start out of 5 on Good Reads and put it on my PaperbackSwap.com. Hmmmm.

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Home Cheap Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Great Decorating
by Budget Living (non-fiction, how-to) – skip it

Truth be told, this is a book from 2004 that I think I’ve owned since then, but have never read! I had it up for grabs on PaperbackSwap.com. When someone requested it, I figured I should probably give it a quick read, or at least flip-through, before I mailed it off. Now I know why I did not read this book – it is Not. For. Me. Surprisingly, I don’t think it’s really that out-dated in terms of style; but the ideas where not ones I would use. I hope the person who requested this book gets much better use out of it than I did!

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Organizing Solutions for People with ADD:
Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

by Susan C. Pinsky (non-fiction, how-to) – worth a read

I have never been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder; but I do believe we all can suffer from distraction from time to time. This book was written in 2006. I will say that some of the tips sounded condescending, even though the author has family members with ADD and has been helping others for years. I’m sure she didn’t intended it to be that way. Maybe I’m just sensitive to the language. In any case, I can’t even remember some of the tips. All I know is that simplifying seems to be best. Ease and efficiency is more important than special organizers or how something looks.  Items should be in reach and never take multiple steps to get to or put away because otherwise, they will not happen! I think that is good advice for anyone, not just those with ADD.

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Hello Sunshine
by Laura Dave (fiction) – worth a read

I loved the opening of this book! It was recommended by another blogger I follow. While I liked the storyline, I felt like the book fell flat by the end. I’m not sure there was any true climax. When I started reading this book, I was in the throes of watching Next Food Network Star. I kept seeing commercials for a show called I Hart Food with Hannah Hart. Hannah became my image of this book’s main character for that reason! Although I didn’t love the way the book fizzled out, I’m still intrigued to read her book Eight Hundred Grapes, which takes place in wine country!

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What are your favorite how-to books?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

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Hello? Anyone Still There?

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This post has been sitting in my in my draft box for a month! I have been working so much that the last thing I want to do is be on the computer at the end of the day. But I really do miss writing and this little old blog of mine, so I’m hitting publish on this one today! Hopefully, I’ll garner up the time and energy to share little tidbits about what’s been going on these parts this summer.

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My reading lists (aka Five for Friday: What I’ve Been Reading) are the easiest posts I can get out these days. I may need to take a different approach with this blog… I want to share more… especially on my travels… especially because we won’t be a for a while… but after being on the computer all day for work, I need to step out of my office and get OFFLINE. This is just how it is right now.

In any case, here’s what I’ve read recently.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain 
(fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

After listening to Pride and Prejudice on the Audible app for free with my Amazon Prime subscription, I felt like it was time to listen to Tom Sawyer, a classic book of which most of us know the story; but I’ve never read. Bonus: the narrator of this version is Nick Offerman – a comedian {you may know him from Parks and Rec} whose voice is perfect for this story, in my opinion.

I love the insight during the fence whitewashing scene is that nothing is fun if you get paid for it, but if you have the “privilege” of doing something instead of getting paid, the more likely you are going to want to do it for fun. Perspective!

Also, either it was common in literature use and write the word “presently” often during this time period, or this was a favorite word of Twain’s to use. So frequent, that you may find yourself getting drunk easily if you turned it into a drinking game.

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Cocaine Blues
by Kerry Greenwood 
(fiction) – worth a read

I learned about this book/series from Mel Joulwan, author of the Well Fed cookbooks that I adore. She did a post on Reading Day {which is somewhat like the unplug day Rob and I try to have a few times a year} and this was one she listed. I liked the fact that the story takes place in Australia during the 1920s. I tried to picture Melbourne during this time!  It’s a nice little mystery with a likable heroine. {No correlation with the title there! HA!} I liked the feminist themes, too.

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One Pot Paleo:
Simple to Make, Delicious to Eat and Gluten-free to Boot

by Jenny Castaneda (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

For those of you who eat Paleo, this book is not 100% Paleo. This doesn’t matter to me. I’m just a sucker for one-pot recipes with fresh ingredients! The author eats Paleo most of the time, but does also include some things in her diet such as rice. She is of Fillipino descent, so there a many interesting adaptations from that. What I didn’t know all this time, but learned from this cookbook is that there is much Spanish influence on Filipino cuisine!

I didn’t cook any recipes from this book, but still enjoyed flipping through it.

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Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager
by Brett Laidlaw (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

I found this book doing a trout search on my library website because I was in search of more trout recipes. {I have yet to post on our Lake Superior fishing trip earlier this summer!} This cookbook is great for the stories! {And you know how I love to read a cookbook like a novel!}

I enjoyed reading about how the author and his wife moved out to land to live in pretty much a shack in the middle of the woods, right here in the good ol’ Midwest! They do a lot of foraging and tend to eat off the land as much as possible. I didn’t find a trout recipe I would actually make but I did get a popcorn appetizer recipe that has me so intrigued!!!

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The Breakdown
by B.A. Paris (fiction) – worth a read

After reading Paris’s Behind Closed Doors, I put myself on the library waiting list for the her next book to hit the shelves. While I did not love it as much as Behind Closed Doors, I did devour this semi-thriller in a day while Rob was out of town. Her books are just hard to put down! I also liked reading this interview with the author. She didn’t start writing novels until she was 50!

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What’s been you favorite summer read this year?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Friday Five: 2 Great Books + 3 Cookbooks

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Has it really been a month since I’ve last written? Well, I’ve been working my butt off, but also enjoying summer!

Anyway, I’ve been very lucky to have picked up two excellent books this time around. I didn’t know much about them, which I prefer. The cookbooks were mainly flip-throughs!

Love Warrior
by Glennon Doyle Melton 
(non-fiction) – MUST READ

I have not been through anything that this author has been through, nor did I know anything about the book going in. But I felt all the feels. It’s weird that I could relate to her probably for no other reason than pure, raw emotion.

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The Tucci Table
by Stanley Tucci 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

To be 100% honest, I found this cookbook because I did a search for “trout” on my library website. We recently went on a charter fishing trip with my parents and the haul of trout that we brought back will not be consumed by Rob nor my mother. I need recipes! This cookbook, while it didn’t deliver on the trout recipe I looked for, it does have a few really great traditional recipes and I loved reading the stories behind them. I found a recipe for Tuscan Tomato Soup, that I believe I’ll be making all winter long when tomatoes are not in season and I can use my fave canned San Marzanos! The author looked familiar to me and when I looked him, I realized why: Stanley Tucci is an actor.

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Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One
by Joe Yonan (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

 

Oh how excited I was to check out this cookbook! I’m not sure how I discovered it… I will tell you, it’s not for the novice cook. There are some great foodie-lover recipes; but other than the 12-Hour Tomatoes, I probably won’t be making anything from this book.

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DASH DIET DETOX
by Kate Barrington (non-fiction, cookbook) – skip

I was just looking for a few healthy recipes here, but I didn’t really find anything new.

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This is How It Always Is
by Laurie Frankel (fiction) – MUST READ

This was a popular book on my library wait list and on the Modern Mrs Darcy blog. A description I read at some point described a quirky family with secrets. This book is so much more than that. And it is a book that needed to be written now. It’s a book that I want to scream at the top of my lungs for everyone to read. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Highly Recommended. 

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What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Shamrock Gets Loon-y!

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It’s truly wonderful to enjoy the lake where Rob’s parents live when it is not a holiday weekend and the crowds are gone. We were there for the week after Memorial Day this year.

I call this one Sunlight Dancing on the Water:

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We took out the neighbor’s paddle boat a few times. Rob would fish, where I would help net, read, or just relax and pedal. A couple of times, though, we opted to bring the pooches. The dogs really like fishing and since Rob likes to just catch and release, he lets each dog sniff and give the fish a quick kiss before throwing them back in. It really is sweet. As much as Benny loved to fish, too, we really couldn’t do this often with him as he would bark the whole time!

We went into a little cove of the lake where a loon resided. As we pedaled in he didn’t move away from us at all. In fact, he came a bit closer to us. At one point, I can’t say he was more than 15 feet away. I was really nervous about this because Shamrock is such a bird dog. Was he going to jump in?!

 

It wasn’t long after that that Shamrock’s urge got the better of him and he did jump into the water.

“Do something!?” I cried. Shamrock had jumped off the paddle boat on Rob’s side and was swimming towards the loon.I had noticed how long and sharp the loon’s beak was after a good amount of time watching him up close. I could just imagine a sweet little loon pecking Sham’s eyeballs out.

“What do you want me to do?” Rob exclaimed back. I don’t know what I expected. For him to dive in? He had a fishing pole in his hand, equipped with a hook. We were seated low in the paddle boat. Sophie was also on board. The image in my head was a movie-made dive. But if he were to do that, it wouldn’t be quite as pretty!

“Come here Sham,” Rob said calmly. I probably rolled my eyes. Sham never listened when he was on the hunt. It’s why we always keep him on a leash unless he is the confines of our fenced-in-yard. If he were to chase something anywhere else, he’d never come back.

The loon did not move. He was not intimidated by dog paddling noisily his way.

But Rob kept repeating himself calmly.

About halfway to the loon, Sham turned around and swam back. I have no idea why! At Rob’s request? Did he get halfway there and then wonder what he was actually going to do? Was it that he realized he could not touch the bottom like he can when he swims near the shore? Was he getting tired? But for whatever reason, we are grateful our wet Bugaboo returned to us unharmed.

It’s always a happy day at the lake, even on land when Rob likes play “chase the bobber”. (There is no hook on the line for this game, of course!)

Ahhh… summer!

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Cheers~
Carrie

Five for Friday: What I’ve been Reading

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Here’s what I’ve been reading/listening to lately… Things I may not have read had a known more about them!

The Bafut Beagles
by Gerald Durrell 
(non-fiction) – skip

Remember this book that I DNF because I left it behind in Michigan last fall when visiting my in-laws? Well, it was still on the night stand right where I left it when I returned over Memorial Day! I picked it back up because I really did want to finish it despite my first review:

 It was the last book I was reading on our trip to Michigan and I was having such a hard time pushing through it. It is an account of the author’s trip to the Cameroons in the 1949 for the collection of zoo specimens. I believe that is is non-fiction; but the book reads more like a novel and some of the accounts just seem unbelievable or embellished. But what do I know about such things or that era?

It was a difficult book for me to read because of some of the treatment of the animals, but would we know about so many animals in the world today if someone had not collected specimens?

I tried to take a different approach to reading the remainder of the book. Perhaps this could be one of the first travelogues! I tried to look at it from the perspective of someone visiting a new land. I got more of out of it this way, but it still wasn’t my favorite. Somehow, someway, another one of Durrell’s books ended up on my bookshelf. I just noticed it the other day. I wonder what that one will be like.

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Pride & Prejudice
by Jane Austen 
(fiction, audiobook) – worth a read/listen

I will admit that I had never read Pride & Prejudice until now. And this audio-version was highly recommended. I’ve shied away from audiobooks as of late just because I won’t be commuting for the next six months and won’t have too many long stretches alone in the car.

Still, when I learned that there Audible.com has free channels that Prime Members can listen to, I jumped on board! I don’t want to pay for an audible subscription, so this option was perfect for me. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can download the free Audible App and after signing in with your Prime credentials, go to Channels. There are podcasts and such, but if you scroll down to the bottom there is a link to Audiobook Collections. Pride and Prejudice can be found under Celebrity Voices / Classic Stories. You can only stream books; however, you cannot download them, so keep your data plan in mind if you somewhere without wi-fi. (I downloaded this one only for walks, so that I’d want to get out there and walk so that I could listen!)

I will admit that this took me a bit to get into this book and my mind sometimes drifted. But I still followed the storyline without absorbing every word. With Audible, you can also slow down or speed up the audio. I find that depending on the book, 1.25 to 1.5x speed works well for me. I have no idea how anyone can listen to a book at 3x the speed, but I’m sure you can train your brain to get used to it!

I find that the book is a little slow-moving at first, but I do love the story! Coincidentally, I discovered the 5-hour, 2 CD British television version of this book (starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) sitting on our shelf in the weight room in the basement. My friend Jen lent it to me back when I had my back surgery back in 2013! It was time to return it. When Rob was out of town for a weekend, I watched it all… and this was during the time that I was listening to the book! I’d go for a long walk and listen and then I’d watch a section. I really did absorb more that way. And I will tell you that this is not an adaptation of the book like most movies are. This is almost word-for-word. I loved it and highly recommend both!

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Lucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran 
(fiction) – must read

I need to write a post about how I don’t like movie trailers because they reveal too much. I think the same is true for me and books. If I know too much about a book’s plot or premise, it may actually deter me from reading it. I’ve found there are many books that I never would have chose on my own have been some of my favorites!

This book is no exception. I read the book’s description after picking up the book from the library where I had it on hold. Hmmph… I thought. It was about two different mothers and their relationships and journeys through motherhood. There was no way that I was going to be interested or able to relate to this, having never been a mother myself.

But I was so wrong. 

This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. One of those books where when I was interrupted, I didn’t even realize that I was reading a book or that there was anything else going on around me – I was that present. I had to be jolted back to real life.

The thing that maybe I forgot when reading the description is that I didn’t have to relate to enjoy the book. It just has to be a well-written book that takes me to another time, another place, another life, another world. I mean, I loved Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers and as an American-born woman, I obviously can’t relate to the immigrant experience. And Lucky Boy is about so much more than motherhood.

I highly recommend this book.

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Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook
by Andie Mitchell (non-fiction, cookbook) –worth a read

I read Mitchell’s memoir It Was Me All Along about her struggle with weight after having followed her old blog Can You Stay for Dinner? (It’s where I found this recipe!) Her writing is so heartfelt and her insights are so helpful having dealt with my own struggles on and off over the years.

After losing over 100 pounds, Mitchell found that her new challenge was to learn how to eat healthy but not deprive herself of the foods she once loved. This is what she describes as “Eating in the Middle”. You will find healthy recipes and tips on things she learned alongside recipes for sugary-made-from-scratch-make-for-company-or-share-with-friends indulgences. Still, I found that only a handful of the recipes appealed to me. Not always in terms of if they sounded good or not, but whether or not I’d actually make them. (I don’t bake, for example.)

One of the best parts I find about cookbooks, though, aren’t always the recipes, but what you can learn from the recipe creator. I love how Mitchell declares that she found that eating healthier in the morning set her up for a healthier day in general. Or that by making a point to eat a big healthy salad at lunch, she’d be sure to get her veggies in! Or that if she wants to eat something indulgent (like a pizza, which is tempting to overeat) to always fill up with veggies alongside.  All of these things aren’t new concepts; but when you hear them again, reiterated in how they were incorporated into someone’s life (not just as a “tip”), I think it goes a long way in seeing how it can be incorporated into your own.

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Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty (fiction) – worth a read

 

This is the second Moriarty novel I’ve read. What I love most about her novels – every character is flawed. Nothing is cut and dry. But with this book, all I kept screaming in my head, “So tell me what happened at the barbecue already!!” I may have felt that way for a good while; but you do eventually find out. 🙂

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Does a book’s description deter you from reading a book?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Butcher & the Boar

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On that beautiful afternoon last August when we took my mom down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, we decided to take a little walk further. Rob and I hadn’t yet been to The Butcher and the Boar, but we had heard that it had a fantastic patio. We had to wait a bit in a line outside because it wasn’t quite yet open.

 As you may guess, Butcher and the Boar is all about the meat! The outdoor patio is huge and meant for a crowd. It’s a little oasis downtown.

And I’m guessing they are dog friendly. 😉 The poster below shows the weekly dog event last summer! I’m not sure if it is going on again this year… But if I lived much closer, I’d probably be there!

Butcher & the Boar is known for their chef-crafted meats. In the Twin Cities, you can find their sausages in some of the local grocery stores! We ran the gamut on our choices that day…

To be quite honest, I don’t remember if that was a sausage or a brat or what, but I’m guessing Rob ordered it! Their menu changes all of the time, so what we ate last August might not be available now anyway.

I’m guessing this is what my mom ordered. She loves a good burger! But I could be wrong, maybe Mom got the sausage and Rob the burger. All I know is that they both loved their meats!

I have no idea why I chose wings. I’m not really a wing person, but they must have sounded good at the time. Though I don’t remember why, I do remember that they were a little disappointing. Carrie, next time get the real meat! I remember also enjoying some local craft beers and ciders and that Bourbon was a big deal here as well.

Looking at these photos has me wanting to get back to the Butcher and the Boar soon. Anyone want to join us?!

What’s your favorite meat of choice?

Cheers~
Carrie

Family in Town {Last Year!}

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I wrote most of this post last August, but never published it!  I changed nothing, but added the end… Enjoy!

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Written 8/31/16…

I have been anxiety-ridden for about the past month. I always thought I dealt fairly well with change, but apparently not! Luckily, my mom came to visit me for a week. Having family in town distracted me from thinking (or feeling frozen) too much.

You know your mom loves you when she comes to visit you for a week, without a car, even when you have to work!

Why did she not have a car? Because the first weekend, my brother and Co. dropped her off. We had a lovely time, but unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the usual stuff – like playing poker or taking our annual trip to Burger Jones.

However, for some reason we decided to capture the moment my brother introduced all of his home brews! I find the expressions in these photos funny, so I thought I’d share them with you:

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My brother has a decade+ long obsession with duct tape. That’s why labeling his bottles with such is so fitting! I was quite impressed by his brews. We are looking forward to trying more in the future.

While our dogs both have really taken to all four of the kids, for some reason, Sham usually will end up hanging with Max.
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The kids had their usual swimming and MOA time, but we had a bit of adult time, too. We didn’t take JR on an afternoon-long brewery tour like we did for his birthday that one time, but we did introduce him to the one not too far from us that had finally arrived south of the the river – Nutmeg. Let me tell you, they have really upped their game since the first time I posted. There are new brewers that craft some exceptional beers in the smallest room possible. The food is exceptional… and there are even cocktails on the menu now.

This photo of her cocktail and a Nutmeg brew is courtesy of my brother’s wife, D. I like how she got the photo of Rob’s and my noses almost touching!

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My mom really likes those keg lights hanging from the ceiling^^. And we have to say, dessert there is divine, too. But there is a total disagreement on which dessert is better, the Porter Brownie Sundae or the Amber Toffee Cake.

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The reason I never finished that post was that I had more to say. I often try to put too much into one post and then it never gets published! I need to remember to break things up. What I wanted to add was more of what happened that week with my mom!

For example, on a beautiful afternoon, we took her to Nicollet Mall to enjoy some of our favorites: such as a Cheese Toastie on the rooftop of Brit’s Pub while watching Lawn Bowling, a pint of cider or a Big Ginger at The Local and these Brie Curds with Blueberry Ketchup at The News Room:

It was such a lovely day that day (I remember it well!) that we took a little walk to a hip outdoor patio to which Rob and I had not yet been. I’ll leave that one for another post. 😉

Better late then never, right?

What photos have brought back wonderful memories to you lately?

Cheers~
Carrie