This Page

has been moved to new address

Simplicity in the Suburbs

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Friday, July 30, 2010

Checking In Again.

We arrived in Virginia Beach Thursday night and we are happily settling in with my aunt and uncle.

This afternoon after picking my dad up and bringing him to his hotel on the beach we had our first trip to the ocean. {My dad came to Virginia for business and decided to extend his stay a few days to enjoy some of our vacation with us!}

The kids loved the ocean. Seeing them jump and run and play in the waves today was worth every second of our, at times, very, long car ride. They were in heaven.

We are having a great vacation and we are happy to be getting settled and no longer on the road. I've got two guest blogs scheduled next week and am hoping to have the go ahead on a big giveaway and even a small one too but besides that I think I'm going to enjoy all of the days and moments before we send J and the bigs on their way next Thursday. {The littles and I are flying home a week later.}

With that said, I decided that I'm extending the 37 Good Deeds until Sunday. Mostly because I know there are so many of you who can still do a good deed in honor of J's birthday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Checking In.

I write this completely exhausted and spent but so full of life after some really great, full, fun days with our family.

*Yesterday we spent the day in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We visited the infamous Chocolate World which was just as fun and neat as I thought it would be.


*We came back to the hotel and had the outdoor pool to ourselves which was fun because we swam and jumped in and had a fun afternoon together.

*We celebrated J's birthday with donuts and coffee in the morning and dinner in the hotel restaurant at night. It wasn't his most glamorous birthday yet but we had fun.

*This morning we got up and drove to DC.


*We didn't have a ton of time downtown today but made the most of what we could. We took the Metro down to the National Mall and went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. {IE the dinosaurs!}

*Two out of four kids reported that museum was their favorite part of the day.

*One of the four claimed that eating pizza on our hotel room floor at 9pm was their favorite.

*I'm pretty sure the other one would say eating ice cream outside on the way back to the train was her favorite.

*We came back from downtown exhausted, sweaty and just wanting/needing a quick dip in the pool. We were shocked (and pretty disappointed!) to find out the pool closes at 8:30pm. We decided to take a walk to the pool anyhow just to see it and decide if it was worth a morning swim.

*I asked the lifeguard who was locking up the gate and about to leave if we could each just jump in one time and he said YES!

*I'm not sure I've ever wanted to swim and cool off as much as I did in that moment. Those jumps in were well deserved!

*We are having a great vacation so far and looking forward to a full day in DC tomorrow before heading to Virginia Beach. For those who've been to DC before, is there anything we must see or do tomorrow? We're heading back to the National Mall to scope out the monuments and probably another Smithsonian or two but if you have ideas, pass them along please!

A friend of mine has asked to write a few guest blogs while I'm on vacation so I'll be posting them soon. I'm excited to share his ideas and hopefully encourage him to start his very own blog too!

Finally, it's not too late to do a good deed for J's 37th birthday, so if you remember please do something kind for someone this week and tell me about it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

37 Good Deeds.


Day one: MN to Elkhart, IN! (M's laying down in the back so you can't see her.)


Day two: Elkhart, IN to Harrisburg, PA!

Tomorrow J turns 37 and we're on the road for celebrating this year.


I don't think he minds in the least.

We're staying here and going to make his birthday as special as we can away from home.

I love birthdays and I always want to make everyone feel so special on their day.

There won't be a party or any pre-planned celebration. After 1100 miles Sunday and Monday, we're staying put in Pennsylvania until Wednesday for a catch up and relax a bit day.

But still I've been racking my brain of how to make it special.

And I've finally come up with something that will mean a lot to him. More than lots of presents and streamers and even the homemade cake. {He has no idea what I'm doing right now.}

Between Tuesday morning and Friday night, do something kind for someone else.

Maybe that means helping an old woman at the grocery store walk her groceries to the car. Or giving that overwhelmed mom with her hands full your set of arms for a minute.

Maybe it's doing the "Drive Thru Difference" and paying for someone elses coffee. Or fast food. Or something.

Maybe it's sending a card to someone terminally ill who doesn't have long left but deserves a reason to smile.

Maybe it's not getting into it with your spouse when they come home 20 minutes late or leave their dirty clothes on the bedroom floor.

Whatever it is that you can do, do it.

Come back here and leave a comment with what you did in honor of J's 37th birthday.

{For those of you who like to read but tell me you never comment, it's really really easy and you don't need an account. Just click on anonymous and sign your name with your comment. It's safe, promise!}

If we can get 37 {or MORE!} good deeds in honor of J, I'll have choose a winner for a $10 Starbucks giftcard.


Starbucks off of the turnpike in OH. I-80.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It was hot. Oh so hot.

And I had running list of about a gazillion things I needed to do.

But I had promised just one ride.

We'd been at a birthday party at the zoo and right there next to where the party was is this amusement park that looks like heaven when you're four.

"Come on." I said. "Come on, I'm hot and E's tired."

He was dragging his feet finding just the right ride and here I was rushing him about because of my running list. I had promised just one and he just wanted to choose the best one he could.

We walked around the entire park once. Then twice and by the third time I was wondering if this was a good idea at all.

And then he found the ride he wanted to do. The smile he gave me and the way he patiently waited as we bought his points to do the ride made me realize that rushing him like that makes me feel like a crummy mom.

He was so good.

Even when I wasn't.

Smilin' at Como Town.

The Noodles sandwich card winners are: Comment #5: Gina (picked by and the other winner I picked myself because I loved her comment and idea, Kim. She said her and her family have given up eating out all together for the month! I felt like her and her husband deserved a sandwich from Noodles. Email me your addresses and I'll send those off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I didn't intend to go M.I.A this week but it happened all on it's own.

We've been busy spending some afternoons poolside.



Playing and making up for lost time with some friends before we head out of town.

Some friends of mine and I went out to PF Changs {my favorite!} the other night for dinner and spent hours gabbing and laughing and chatting. I wish there was a way I could carve out a girls night out weekly.

Yesterday, my littles and I headed to to a luncheon for bloggers put on by Noodles and Company. We love Noodles and enjoyed sampling their new sandwich menu.

My fave the new spicy chicken ceaser. Their fave, the meatball sandwich. Go figure!



H also enjoyed making several noodle necklaces which are now thrown about my car.

We've been packing and making lists and doing laundry and picking up things here and there for our big vacation coming soon. I really, truly can't wait to be on the road and on our way.


And I've spent several hours the last few days very frustrated about my lack of internet connection here on my home computer. I am hoping the problem is fixed but a part of me worries I am on borrowed time even this afternoon, so forgive me if I don't send an email back right away or visit other blogs right now. I'm pretty swamped with life.

Last night, as is the tradition, we went downtown for the Minneapolis Aquatennial and had a blast of course. But I have to say that my favorite part of the parade has nothing to do with the parade at all, it's the joy that comes from buying an ice cream treat from the street vendor at 10pm at night for our wide-awake littles and watching the treats melt as they lick. E's hands were still blue this morning.

Nothing a good bath this morning couldn't take care of.

How's your week going?

My new friends at Noodles gave me some coupons for a giveaway. So leave me a comment and tell me something. Whatever you feel like saying today.

I'll choose two winners Saturday night at 8pm. Each winner will win two coupons for a free sandwich from Noodles so you can bring a friend, a spouse, a child!

And before I forget, the winner from last weeks Safety Tat giveaway is: Comment #5 darcie.

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated for attending Noodles and Company's luncheon. They did feed myself and my kids lunch and gave me a goody bag including some coupons for the future. The coupons I am giving away were given to me by them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

After The Storm.

Big, bad storms are, we've learned, a big part of our summer in Minnesota.

In the six years we've been in this house, we've had more storms than I can count and siding and roof damage a couple times over.

When tonights storm started rolling in I wasn't too worried but as I sat in my house and heard the rain from miles away before it started here, I was scared.

With two sleeping littles, a husband who was 45 minutes away and the wind, rain and lightning, I was a wreck for almost an hour.

At bedtime tonight, I sang the kids that old Sandy Patty song about Noah and the floody, floody and as I heard the storm and the winds the lyrics of the song were going through my head. Especially the part about the sun coming out and drying up the "landy, landy" and everything being "fine and dandy."

The storm ended. The yard is a mess. The pool toys have been scattered all over, the playhouse is unhinged from it's roof and other heavy plastic items are tipped over or moved.

But we are safe, our home is unharmed and there are reports on the news of others who weren't as fortunate. Tornados touched down, there are powerlines down, homes damaged, people inevitably hurt. As I type this, the worst isn't over for many Minnesotans yet.

The worst is over here. Everything here is fine and dandy.

After the Storm

Thankful for this rainbow tonight.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.


{Just so you know, she did this herself.}


{I love her. Her smile. Her humor. Everything about her.}

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Balancing Act.

One of those weeks where I'm not so sure I'm doing such a great job at the balancing act that is summer.

It's that conflict of inside time and outside time. Family time and get-things-done time.

I'm finally getting caught up on some inside things ranging from bill paying and online shopping and organizing and even some blogging giveaways/reviews/stores to pass along. Dining room tables anyone? Bet you didn't know you could shop for those online!

Detroit Lakes

The littles, J and I had a quick trip to Detroit Lakes earlier this week as J had a work thing going on. Was sunny and warm and we had fun exploring a new little town.


Friday's appointment was better than good, it was great. This little girl has astonished us all and those ears of hers are looking great. We will go back again in six weeks and I am still hoping that it's not a seasonal deal and instead true relief.


Soon these four will be spending a lot of time like this. {Without the rock candy!} We're getting things squared away for our big vacation. And we are all very excited.

In preparation for our vacation and visits to lots of busy places, Safety Tat sent me some of their very cool quick, stick, write on tattoos. You can read my review and enter to win some for yourself over here.

I also was invited to review a new Neutrogena sunscreen product and have some coupons to giveaway along with the possibility for YOU to review it too. Check it out here.

Finally, have you heard of On their site you can buy everything from bath toys to dining room tables. They have everything and most items offer free shipping. They are sending us a useful product we have been in need of for our upcoming road trip. Full review AND giveaway to come soon. {Spoiler alert: We just might be adding one more stroller to our collection!}


Even Miss E is excited about all of this!

I've got one more giant giveaway coming hopefully this week. Think $$. I will point you in that direction as soon as I get the go-ahead.

Comments are closed today in the hopes that you go and leave some comments over there.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The View From Here.

Sometimes when I'm getting ready for the day, this is my view in the bathroom.



We're off to a big appointment with her ENT this morning. And I am feeling hopeful.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


So we took our kids camping.
Most times when I say that I am met with a surprised, eye brows raised look and sometimes even a chuckle with a "And how'd that go?"

I admit, this family of ours, doesn't seem like the camping type.

And I admit that on the way to the state park H asked if there'd be a microwave in our tent and M asked how we'd cook spaghetti on sticks.

But that doesn't mean we haven't wanted to camp.

I'd been camping as a kid and also as a youth. Big, huge, real camping trips into the boundary waters. But that was years ago and I'd never been the one in charge.

Besides popping up some kids tents and making smores, J and I were both pretty clueless to the extent of work and adventure camping would be.

A couple months ago on a trip to REI, I saw a brochure about the I Can Camp Program. A partnership between MN DNR, Conservation Corps and REI.

The goal behind the program is to better equip and teach families about and how to camp. So they provide everything that you need: tents, air mattresses, camp stove, firewood, dishes....and so on except for your linens like sleeping bags, your clothing (obviously) and your food. They do however provide you with a packing list including important groceries to include.

As soon as I read that all the {expensive} necessities for camping were included, I was sold. So we pulled out our summer calendar and went over the options for an overnight camping trip.

Beyond the provided supplies there were trained staff there the entire time to help and assist as little or as much as we wanted. They demonstrated how to set up camp, how to cook on the camp stove and gave us all sorts of information that campers like us wouldn't have know any other way.

While we were only gone 36 hours or so it was a great experience. We learned a ton. The kids enjoyed every iota of the time we were there. From hiking, to learning about geocaching, to fishing and swimming. Setting up camp. Doing the dishes. Making meals and smores.

For anyone in Minnesota, I would highly recommend the I Can Camp program if you're looking to get your feet wet with some camping experience and see that really, if we can do it, anyone can. There are a lot of dates still open this summer and for $55 you can't go wrong!

Just a few more thoughts on our experience and then it will be picture overload.

They do not recommend infants and toddlers. I was bound and determined to have a family camping trip with all four kids so we did still bring E. This was challenging at moments but not as much as I had anticipated. If anything, the hardest part for me personally was the balance of having two older kids who are quicker and ready to move on to the next thing quicker than the littles ones can get adjusted. Also, if I could go back in time, I would have made H rest in the afternoon at the campsite because he was exhausted and while E could nap in transit, he couldn't.
Speaking of being exhausted, we all were exhausted by the end of day one and by the time we got home the next day. Being outside exclusively wears you out and then add to that the physical aspects of camping and wow, you end up t.i.r.e.d!

Will we rush out and invest in camping gear and all that jazz?

I don't think so quite yet. While we loved it and learned a ton and definitely want to do more things like this with our kids. I am not sure with the ages and stages of our kids right now we would be able to do it on a regular basis yet. I would love to participate in this program again though the true purpose is to equip you so that you can do it on your own.

With all that said, take a look at our camping trip:

Setting up camp.
Dishes. One of M's favorite parts.

Widdling wood.

Our campsite.


{Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way by sharing any of this information about REI or Minnesota State Parks and the I Can Camp program. Our family paid for our own camping trip. I shared my own personal opinions because I think it is useful information.}

Monday, July 5, 2010


We had a crazy, busy, beautiful weekend over here, starting last Thursday.

And now we're unwinding and relaxing. Not a one of us was up before 8am this morning and in this house that is rare.

We played hard.

We took all the kids camping and there are so many stories to tell. Things that make me laugh so hard. And just a few things that make me remember how very tired it made us all.

We came home and saw friends, we swam at the pool, we got work done at home. We celebrated E's 19th month at a drive-in movie and while I walked the perimeter of the outdoor theater while she fought sleep I looked into her over-tired face and told her; "You are so loved."

The bigs have been here for ten days and go to their mom's today until next Monday. The downsizing from four kids to two is a transition. The house will inevitably be quieter and in some ways calmer, in other ways not.

There is much to share, the pictures and the stories will unravel but first, just today, we're going to catch up on life, like groceries, eating popsicles and laundry. (You'd never guess I've done eight loads already since Friday, would you?)

Here's hoping your 4th was as bright and sunny as ours!

Henry and Evelyn 4th of July 2010
Taken in the early morning on 4th of July when just my littles and I were awake for the day!