Saturday, December 20, 2008

SnowBot 1.0

Updated below! (most recent on bottom)

What do you do when the snowplow throws Titanic-berg-esque blocks of compressed snow onto your driveway? (2 times in 2 days in fact..) You make a 7' snowman! .... (then realize it looks more like a robot and tell your kids that was the goal all along.) Of course this being Marshall, I received confused expressions from a couple of rubberneckin' drive-by's.. But at the end of the day I have a Snowbot in the middle of my driveway and they don't! so HA ! hmm.. middle...DOH!

Sorry for the landscape viewing - no rotate option on Blogger it seems. So either park your left ear on your shoulder or tilt your monitor and enjoy the cuteness that is Mika.

(hint..It's a video.. so click on the triangle to play)

Sunday Morning - Dec 14th update

Saturday was beautiful but all through last night and this morning there's been 20-35mph winds gusts. Surely at some point in the night the fragile and top heavy Snowbot would have toppled. But low and behold! the winds have merely 'bent' him backwards into some sort of pre-limbo pose. Ya.. it's a slow news day ;-) but I'm having fun playing with the still cameras video features so just click below!

Friday Afternoon - December 19th update

(click on pictures to enlarge)

the slowest limbo-ing snowbot in history
... ( I guarantee I'm the first person to type that sentence...)

The last five days have been.. well.. gravity defying.. additionally, The local paparazzi have been relentless in their coverage. Yes, Snowflake made front page news in the Marshall Independent newspaper. (See video below)

I'm baffled at what's keeping his 30+lb head on. This morning my truck nearly did what 5 days of strong winds and gravity could not, as I nearly clipped Snowflake's cold cranium with my driver side mirror.

Not really much else to say about this.

Before.... and 5 days later.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Scrapbook Page

Although I've done many pages since my last slide show post, I just wanted to post this one quickly since I spent a bunch of time on it and I like it so much. Since the surgery, it was more comfortable to sit on the couch or in bed, so I did loads of stitching on this layout and it reminds me of all the crafting my mom did. Also, since our family photo is the main focus of the page it really makes Matt and I think about how much we miss our moms. Since both of us lost our moms in October and it's breast cancer awareness month it really drives it home for us as well. (They both died of cancer, my mom had breast cancer) The thing I know that we really miss is them seeing the kids and vice-versa.

Anyway, here is the layout which is based on the October pagemaps sketch. I stitched the bird and the circle around it. If you click the photo, you can see an enlarged view. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quilt update!

I've been working diligently to finish Jasper's quilt by Christmas. I don't know yet if I'll meet the deadline with other looming projects but I'm getting closer, especially considering it's my first quilt and I started around November 15th. Anyway here are a couple of photos since I now have the entire top done. Special thanks go out to Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio for assisting me in not only choosing fabric but also for posting a great tutorial of how to piece a wonky log cabin quilt on her blog. Check out her blog, her quilts are fabulous! Now I just need to quickly piece the back and learn how to top stitch the whole thing and finally do the binding. I plan on practicing the top stitching (meandering) on some squares I didn't like and making a very small 6 square lap quilt.

Mika's 4th B-day Bash !

On Nov. 28th 4 years ago, Debra and I began driving 90 minutes to Olivia MN, Corn Capital of (MN, the Midwest... the World?) and home to the only water-birthing facility in Southwestern MN. She delivered our first little bundle of spark-a-tude 5 hours later and what a little doll she has grown up to be! (Mika not Debra... not saying my wife isn't a doll.. k, nevermind). Which brings us to her 4th b-day party held at Auntie Wendy's beautiful new Bloomington home.
Have to give planning and execution credits to Debra for yet another fabulously creative b-day celebration. Food = Butterfly cupcakes with licorice antennae and white chocolate pretzel wings (anyone else humming Lucy in the sky with diamonds ?)... Quiche, Raspberry French toast Strata, and of course crunchy oven-roasted, applewood smoked bacon bacon ~yummy~ other pic's in this post include an arms length self portrait including brother Jeff and a brooding Jasper sporting the duel fingers in mouth look. Fun was had by all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Beast and the Replicator

So Jasper does ALMOST every thing Mika does. She says it, he says it. She does it he does it. It only gets complicated when she tells him how she wants him to play such as, "Buddy, you and I can both be mermaids, I'll be the purple one and you can be the green one." He doesn't want to play that, disagrees and a fight ensues. Other fights are over toys. Anyway, on to the funny point of this post. Every now and the we have some funny Mika-isms. Two happened on this Tuesday. Jasper decided he wanted to sit on the potty (like Mika) so, of course, I let him. He sat, Mika and I tried to read some books. Mika interrupted, "Mommy, Jasper has a peanut, why does he have a peanut?" Oh my gosh! I had to try so hard not to laugh too much! We've never called it a peanut, its typically a penis. So I corrected and told her boys have a penis, which she knows. This was all around lunch time.

Later after Matt got home and after we had had had dinner but were still at the table, Mika had another question. "Mommy remember that day we were at the snow sled store and the girl had a necklace on her teeth, why do people were a necklace on thier teeth?" Snowsled store? Necklace on teeth? WTF!? Matt and I looked at each other and then it hit me. "Oh, you mean braces! People have to wear those so their teeth get nice and straight. Mommy wore them for 2 years." Mika replied, "well, I don't want to wear them". Typical. At least it was funny!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Renaissance Festival

Mika's all time favorite part of the summer/fall is the Renaissance Festival, of course she calls it the CASTLE PLACE! This year was no exception. Her only downfall this year was the privy. She was very frightened of the blue water and everything in it. I told her not to look in right away when she started too, but her curiosity got the better of her. She always checks toilets out before sitting down anyway. She won't go on the automatic ones either. Both Matt and I tried a few times to take her in to no avail. Regardless, she did very well and "held it" from the time we got there, around 9:30 a.m., till around 2 p.m. when we returned to St. Paul. She and Jasper went on a few rides, saw the animals and snakes, watched a parade, watched in awe at the paper mill water wheel and the fire dancer, and even made some magic wands. The day was a success! (click image to see larger!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fair--Part III

Poor Mika was so tired by the time we sat down and had a late lunch. Not even excited about guacamole, one of her favorites. Papa and Jasper in the chicken barn, Mika with Chole in the wagon and me enjoying some cookies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fair--Part II

So if you didn't guess already, here are the answers to the fair food...
1. Fudge Puppies, Belgian waffles on a stick, dipped in chocolate, topped with whipped cream
2. Cheese curds
3. Corn dog
4. Sweet Martha's Chocolate chip cookies
5. Pecan Caramel cinnamon roll
6. Scottish egg
7. Sweet potato chips
8. Buffalo shrimp kabob

Although you can't tell in the photos, Jasper LOVED the rides. We had been to the Schwans picnic and they had the blow up jumpy things and they had a slide one that he went on over and over, as much as we let him, which was lots. Due to that, he didn't quite get the concept that you couldn't just go on the rides repeatedly, which did make him sad. Especially the slide. As Mika said, "The rides weren't my favorite". She liked the slide lots but would only go on that and the ferris wheel which she did NOT like. It was too loud. She would be fine if they made no noise. Hence why she love the man-driven rides at the Renissance. (Photos to come from that soon). We went to the fair with Papa, and the Gerber family including Mikes mom, all the kids (and adults) had a good time!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Name that Fair Food!

Ok, so we are a little delayed in the fair postings but here is the first of two. Can you guess what these foods are? Check back in a day or two for the answers and to see other photos from the fair.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday Morning Snuggles

Mika and Jasper doing all they can to take their moms mind off her post surgery aches and pains. Pic within a pic background makes for a complete impromptu family photo.

Anyways, as you can see below... Debra has put on her happy face despite her pain and discomfort ;-)

Overlaying smiley face is actually a wrought iron sculpture in the foreground found during a trip to the Holmburgs Apple Orchard earlier this month. In retrospect.. a 40 minute trip down a bumpy farm road just days after surgery probably wasn't the best choice of activities.

So, A jar apple butter, a bag of honey crisps, and 3 pumpkins later we were heading back to Marshall. Ignoring our apathetic GPS, we decided it was best to return via an alternate PAVED route.

Caption Contest !

OK....No.. we didn't hang our beloved child from the nearest tree nor has Mika been studying under David Blaine.

It's simple the result of loads of natural light, a 1/2500 sec shutter speed and our fearless leaper, caught in mid flight. Regardless it made for an interesting composition ripe for a humorous caption..

So add yours below and the wittiest entry will receive an AMAZING FREE GIFT !

(12.1 meg pixel - click to enlarge)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wordle Renaissance tease!

So we went to the renaissance today and the kids had lots of fun despite little sleep the night before. They rarely get much sleep the first night at papas house, but we risked it and went today anyway. Of course we took loads of photos which will follow. But since we're here in St. Paul for a couple days, so I'm not sure when that will be. Anyway, I found this cool word art generator on the scrapbook site I frequent ( and thought I'd share it and the art I made with all the stuff from today. Here is the site.
art created by

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jasper turns 2

Well is was a big event in our household and we had lots of guest which makes us all happy around here. We were especially delighted to have both Alana and Wendy stay with their significant others! It was wonderful to have Joel and Bob here, of course it was kind of crazy so we can't wait to have everyone back to visit one couple at a time so we can devote more time to them. They'll have to come soon before the snow drifts cover the highways leading to our home. Nancy, Bear, and Papa were flown in by uncle Jeffy so that was quick and easy for them. OK, on to the birthday activities!

Matt made super yummy (so I'm told) fried chicken which was served picnic style and I made buckets of potato salad. We also had some fruit and pb & j's for the kids. Of course I have to mention the dirt cake, which in the dump truck seemed to amaze and confuse Jasper all at once! The look on his face seemed to say, "Can I eat it? Do I play with it or in it?" He did almost roll the truck off the table at one point! Seeing his face and his sisters made all the work worth it. It was a joy to have so many of our family and friends gathered and we are truly lucky and blessed to be surrounded with such love.

(click collage photo to enlarge)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Family Photo

Click on photo to enlarge.

OK, I'm way behind on posts. I need to put photos from Jaspers birthday party up, but instead, I'm doing a quick post with a couple of photos from a family photo shoot at Camden State Park today. Matt did a fabulous job of taking photos and I took a few cute ones as well. As anyone with two little beastlings can tell you, it is a complete miracle that we got a family photo and we only took 2 shots. (Utilizing a tripod and our camera with a timer.) It was past their nap time and Jasper only wanted to play in the stream and Mika only wanted to play in the park. Overall it was a very successful day!

Photo note: Jasper was looking at the ants on the tree very closely in the first photo therefore, I felt it important to include the macro photo of them!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Decorating by Debra

Since I painted the living room, which was about 2 months after we moved in, I felt as though something was missing on the tv wall. Over the weekend we finally remedied that problem. I came up with a design and Matt checked out the proxima from work and we penciled in the design on Friday night and I painted it in on Saturday morning. We are super happy with the outcome!

Now I have to do Jaspers' wall. My plan is to paint tracks and cars to match the not yet bought Pottery Barn Kids bedding. I've looked all over for other car bedding but it is all I have found that is graphic and not "cute". It will go great on his new twin big boy bed from Ikea he got for his birthday. Land of Nod also has some cool traffic signs I'd like to get or replicate sometime in the future.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Even longer overdue update - by Matt

Quickly and without really thinking, I snapped a picture of my crisp, new ACF Certified Executive Chef certificate that arrived today. Upon review, I noticed I had unconsciously produced a collage like composition that incorporated the beautiful smiling faces of my wife and children.

The picture above illustrates the forces that motivate me to a better person in life and to excel at what I do so that I may have the means to make their lives better. It's at times like this, when I zoom out and see the bigger picture, I feel infinitesimal small yet enormously proud at the same time.

OK, enough of the Hubristic postings! What else is new at H.O.M.E you ask ?

Well since I suck at transitions and I'm to tired to form complete sentences, I'll wrap up this update via bullet points.

  • Mika ends day 1 of no naps. Mommy drinks Bailys from a tumbler.

  • Debra's hand made scrapbookin' table has been installed in the basement and actually looks pretty spiffy! Google 'Mise en place' and you see this picture now:

  • After several moments of excessive rubbing, Debra realizes that the dirt spot on Jaspers face is actually a new mole.

  • According to Jaz will be 6' 6" tall (if we keep feeding him)
  • Matt (random switch to 3rd person) has joined the social networking bandwagon via Facebook and is shocked to find a group named "People named Matt Horn" with 12 members. (not kidding go look!)
  • During the making of breakfast a wide eyed, panic stricken Mika looks at the egg in her hand and says, "HURRY UP DADDY, IT'S ABOUT TO HATCH!!"
  • Matt loses 45 minutes of productive time at work today snickering at Cake Wrecks

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Long overdue update

So we were just getting over the flu here and it was "crazy medical week". First on Tuesday or Wednesday, I think (this was way back on April 1 or 2) our sister-in-law had to have an apendectomy. Of course it was emergency, as I think all of them are. Hers was starting to tear though so she was in a bit longer and had to take lots of antibiotics afterwards and thats never fun. Then I got news that someone very close to me was out of cancer remission which made me very sad. The third and final blow came on Friday. Bob (Matt's dad) had fallen while walking a very large dog on some ice and hit his head about a month prior to Friday. His head was finally hurting so badly that he went to the ER. He had a large sub-dura hematoma and had to have brain surgery to drain it. You just don't expect that call. He had surgery that night and we went to see him on Saturday afternoon. He was still in ICU, but they did let Mika in to see him for a little bit, which was nice since we had just drove 3 hours and she couldn't understand why she wouldn't be able to. We got to see him again the next day and he was in a different room so both kids got to hang out with him. Most of their questions were about the stuff in the room. They thought papa just looked like any patient in a hospital. I guess its good that we watch "House" and "ER". He was in for about 5 or 6 days and is now home and feeling pretty good with an occasional headache that is cured by a simple tylenol. We are very thankful. Of course Matt's brother and sister were there visiting him alot as well and Wendy (sister) flew in from TX to help care for him for about a week once he returned home. Wishing everyone good health!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ax the Max

Mika has always had wonderful language skills. She spoke in sentences early and had many words. She is typically very polite and almost always remembers to ask to be excused from the dining room table. However, sometimes she likes to imitate her favorite cartoon characters. Lately (for about a month) this has been Max, from the show Max and Ruby. It's a cute show and teaches some good lessons, but Max is the little brother and talks in one word sentences (faster! faster!) and it is the same word throughout the episode. Mika thinks its funny to talk like this and just shouts out one word over and over like Max and it is very annoying. I told her, "Mika, you are like Ruby, the big sister. You are a big girl and not a little baby like Jasper. You know how to talk like a big girl and if you keep talking to us like Max, we won't let you watch him any more." It has been a couple of days, since I told her this, and she hasn't stopped. There was no Max watching today. There are plenty of other good full sentence structured shows they can watch and luckily it's getting nice outside! It's just like when we had to ban Caillou.

Tonight we had quinoa cakes with a tomato and zucchini ragu. Also from epicurious, but it called for eggplant and we just had that so we switched it up. It also had you cook the quinoa in water which seemed bland and I used half veggie stock and we spiced up the ragu as well. It was good. The cakes have a nutty flavor and Mika did a good job eating them. Jasper didn't have any as they weren't done by his early dinner time.

Ok, but its starting to hurt, better go to bed!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On the mend

We are all better now and we all ate a real dinner tonight! Yipee!

We had a recipe from It was Lemon gnocchi with spinach and peas. It was a good, springy meal. The kids did pretty good, of course we had to bribe them. They are still getting used to the grown up food. Mika claims, "I don't like dinner, I just like lunch". Luckily the Easter bunny brought lots of goodies to bribe with. Jasper still doesn't quite get that concept so I have to hold a teddy graham in one hand and the real bite in the other and he knows he gets the teddy if he eats the real food. Once he realized this technique he didn't like mixing the flavors and started stockpiling his teddies. It was hilarious! I don't blame him, I wouldn't have wanted that flavor combination. But I think it showed great restraint and forethought!

Good today!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Virus #7

So its been awhile since I posted due to the stupid stomach flu! Jasper was the first hit on Saturday morning. Boy did Matt have a rude awaking when he went to get him out of his crib. Not like I had it any better having to do the laundry. Matt and Mika were hit the next day right after having Matts delicious homemade pizza. Such a bummer. (Plus more laundry, thanks goodness our sofa is covered in blankets while the kids are little--poor Mika) I felt bad thinking Matt wouldn't want pizza for awhile again, but of course men don't have the emotional connection to memories like that and he ate the pizza again 2 days later when he felt better. I was hit Sunday evening. This virus was the seventh that has hit our household and lasted about 36 hours per person. This is the only one that hit us all. I did everything imaginable to not get it, but it was relentless. Oh well. It is over with now.

Sunday was the yummy pizza with dough made from scratch and then it was pretty bland. Fruit, waffles and cereal for everyone.

Not too bad. Took an imitrex Friday. Saturday and Sunday were ok. I tried some tylenol but it made my tummy hurt I think, but it could have been the beginning of the bug. It been ok on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Woo Hooo!

I finally won a contest! I enter several contests/challenges on the scrap forum I belong to and also a few blogs. I won the Method Challenge (on a blog) and found out Monday evening. I win some scrap supplies for a company called Studio Calico which you can subscribe to or order a monthly kit. There stuff is really nice so I'm very excited to receive it! I won for the Bonaire Beauty layout which the challenge was to use strung beads on your page.

We made a yummy root veggie soup Monday night and the kids even ate it! Of course left over candy from the Easter bunny was a nice incentive as was the Peperidge Farm bread we had with it which is one of their favorites. Tuesday night we had tacos. We had them unlike normal with veggie taco 'meat' and some sauteed veggies, cheese, tomatoes and jalapenos. We made the kids eat some, which they did, again dessert served good incentive. Jasper supplemented his meal with some chicken anytizers, but he did pretty well with the tacos, just not the sauteed zucchini.

Gheesh! Still bad. Was bad all of Monday and took imitrex. Didn't take anything Tuesday--just suffered through the day since I've been taking so much lately and know I'm rebounding. Plus all muscles are sore from the imitrex. Woke up today (Wednesday) and couldn't take it any more and took another imitrex. I know allergies are bad right now and I stayed up late working on a project and couldn't sleep due to the stupid head. Grrr!

Monday, March 24, 2008


The kids loved Easter morning. We have never done anything in the past and what a thrill it was for them to have chocolate first thing in the morning! They didn't even care about the toy eggs we had gotten for them. The easter
bunny did bring baskets and hide them and even ate the carrots we put out for them.

After the sugar rush had slightly worn off, we managed to get some breakfast in them and pack up and head over to their cousins for easter lunch. It
was a big crew at that event. Nancy's parents, her brother and his family, plus all of us! There were 7 kids if you count the teens. They all had fun and love each other so much, it is really nice to see them interact and play together. After brunch we headed home to Marshall, much to Mika's dismay.

Matt and I made focaccia and (nonsweet) Monkey Bread for the meal and various other things were made making it a wonderful brunch. There were a few frittatas, fruit, veggies, ham, sweet quick bread, key lime pie and Evelyn's delicious white chocolate coated chex mix.

Very bad. Took an imitrex and 3 torodal. Horrible. I had to go lay down immediately upon arrival to Jeff and Nancy's. Would have went to urgent care if time had permitted and it wasn't a holiday. Ugh.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday: Shopping, Parking & Eating!

Saturday Matt planned to cook a big meal for the family. Wendy, Bob, Papa, Bear, Jeff and Nancy were all coming. He shopped that morning at Whole Foods while I watched the kids. Once he got home I was able to spend the day with Alana. We went and had lunch and then did a little shopping. Sadly the scrap store I intended to go to was out of business. We did go to Target and I got a little bit of scrap stuff along with some basics that are hard to find in Marshall. The day was riddled with parking issues! Some lots had no spaces and street parking was impossible. I guess maybe it is just that I'm not used to it anymore.

Alana and I thought we'd eat quickly at Cafe Latte but the parking was an issue and normally we would have walked, but the sidewalks weren't shoveled yet. Therefore we ventured out of our way to Highland Grill. It was busy, but there was a table and we were sat right away. We split our two meals and I had a tomato, spinach and brie scramble and she had Jack Cakes which were buckwheat pancakes topped with blueberries, bananas, raisins, granola, peanuts and honey. It was all very yummy.

That night Matt had a first course of about 5 kinds of cheese with baugettes and olives, cured sundried tomatoes and fava beans. The main course was a roast chicken with garlic and lots of fresh herbs and root vegetables. I had a nice piece of salmon and a side of the veggies without the chicken stock. Everyone raved about it. Wendy brought a delicious mocha cheesecake from Cafe Latte. We had a very good time. Our kids ate pasta pick ups I think. Sad huh? They did have lots of fun playing with their cousin, Bear and got pretty worn out by the end of the night.

Slightly better today. Only had to take an Imitrex.

Friday, March 21, 2008

To St. Paul we Go

We were off to St. Paul yesterday around 5:30 on Thursday and we missed the majority of the snow, so the drive was nice and pretty uneventful. We arrived at Papa's house around 8:30 and the kids were excited to be there and were too wound up to go to bed right away and we decided that since Jasper hates his pack-n-play so much we'd put him on the trundle in Mika's room. He was ok with that till we left and he realized he could follow. We had to lay with him till he fell asleep. He still slept better in that though. Mika loved having her little brother in the room with her and was so good about his crying.

Bright and early the next morning we were off to the Mall of America. We arrived before the stores opened since Jasper decided to get up at 5:30 am. (He took a small nap before we left) We hit Barnes & Nobel and each child got a book so that made them happy. Then we took a sneak peak at the new Nickelodeon Park and they were very excited, but it wasn't open yet so we did a bit of shopping and headed back. They had lots of fun and Matt took them on a few rides and then they headed off to lunch and I went to pick up some scrapbook supplies and would meet up with them there. Jasper, in his immensely tired state, decided he didn't like that idea 15 minutes into waiting for his lunch. Once the meals arrived pulled mine down on the floor. Yikes! Luckily I arrived shortly after, quickly ate and we left!

We ate at Twin City Grill and the service was great despite our crazy child. (Mika was an angel) I had my typical meal of salad and flat bread pizza which I love there. It was so crazy, I don't even know what Matt had. Mika had fries and a grilled cheese which she didn't eat, "I don't like American cheese, mommy." Guess we know to be more specific when ordering next time. That night we ditched our plans of McCormick & Schmick's and decided to order take out from Saji-Ya instead. We ate in at Papa's house with aunt Wendy and her friend, Bob. We had a nice time and we all love sushi. The kids even had, and liked, a little edamame.

My head hurt alot at the Mall. Not a good place to be in an amusement park with a level 7 migraine. I took imitrex and toradol. It was bad. Of course I managed to go to the scrap store.