November 15, 2013

Twin Cities Take Two Recap (Part 2)...

As promised, here's Day 3 and Day 4 of our Twin Cities trip (Side note: my posts aren't normally so word-y and in depth with the details but I wanted to write everything so I wouldn't forget the girls first 'big' trip). Moving on...

We were up early once again on Sunday morning so we could catch the first shuttle to the MOA to make the most of our last full day there. Toni and the girls planned to make their first stop at the American Girl store and since there was a Starbucks right across, I headed right over. (I'm barely awake until my 3rd cup of coffee...). The American Girl store ended up not opening until 11, whereas most stores opened at 10, so we were off to entertain the girls for an hour until they could go to American Girl

We went to a few stores (couldn't miss out on Lululemon!) and then went to the Disney store, for I swear the 5th time in two days. (The girls had birthday money to burn after all). After browsing there it was finally time for the girls to get their American Girl dolls.They already have an American Girl baby at home so they wanted the large dolls. Rae got a Saige doll and Graycie got a Caroline. I even got a couple items crossed off my list for Christmas gifts while we were there. I couldn't help but laugh at the girls as we walked around afterwards - their bags with the dolls were as big as they were!

Finally it was lunchtime, which meant time for CHIPOTLE. Which, if you're new around here, was also my first ever Chipotle experience (but definitely not my last!). I was worried that it wouldn't live up to all the (blogging) hype (especially after Kym posted about trying it and not being impressed).   BUT I am happy to say that it was AMAZING.  I never would've thought that I would like Mexican food (I used to be such a picky eater) but after eating at La Salsa Cantina in Vegas a few times I have discovered my love for Mexican food. The only bad thing is that now I am craving a burrito bowl like you wouldn't believe!  I'm already planning my next trip around where there is a Chipotle nearby... 

After lunch we headed back to a few stores, then decided it was time for swimming.  The girls were NOT leaving MN until they got to swim. (I swear they are part fish with how much they love the water). We  had planned to go to the Water Park of America but the prices are insane and we wouldn't be there long enough to make it worthwhile. Instead, we headed back to the hotel and swam in the hotels pool for over an hour. The girls were fine with swimming there and didn't even know what they were missing out on 

After swimming we changed quick to head back to the MOA to get the rest of our shopping done. The stores at the mall close at 7:00 so we made sure to hit up anywhere we had missed since we had to head out early the next morning and wouldn't get another chance. After finishing up with shopping we went for supper at Tony Roma's. The girls were exhausted after two long days at the mall and Rae even ended up falling asleep at supper!

We only had 10 minutes between leaving Tony Roma's and needing to catch our shuttle (or else we would have to wait another hour at the mall with nothing to do since everything was closed).  But, since we're brilliant, we decided that we just had to have some movie theatre popcorn for a snack at the hotel (never mind that we had JUST finished eating...). The kicker? The theatre was on the 4th floor of the mall and our shuttle was 4 floors down and across the mall.  People must have thought we were completely insane as we raced through the mall with a HUGE bucket of popcorn. (Run Run Rudolph was TOTALLY playing in my head as we did). And after rushing through the mall with a huge ass bucket of popcorn we ended up waiting 5 minutes in the parking garage for our shuttle... 

Monday morning was a sad morning - leaving a vacation is always hard. We packed up, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, then started our journey back home. We stopped in Albertville at the Premium Outlets to check out a few stores, but most importantly, to get our frozen yogurt from TCBY. After our little snack it was back on the road

We stopped in Fargo at Target - we needed to grab a few things and were worried we wouldn't make it in time in Minot. Then we grabbed a quick supper and were back on the road. I bought Home Alone 2 in Target for $5 (even though I already own it...) so we could watch it on the way back. Rae had a little birthday money left and she picked out a couple of American Girl movies to watch too. The girls watched movies the rest of the way and were content

The rest of the drive was uneventful. We tried our hardest to make it home so we would make our border crossing but we were about a half hour to late once we reached Minot, so we had to go the looong way around to the 24 hr crossing in Portal. We finally pulled into my parents driveway just before midnight and getting up at 5:00 the next morning was HARD. But for a super quick trip we packed so many things in and I think the girls were super happy with everything they got to do. I'm already planning our next trip!

The middle left picture is of me and Rae just after hearing that our beloved Riders WON the western semi-final game. Which meant I didn't miss the last game of the season. Hallelujah!

I crossed 6 of the 10 things from this post off my list for the trip. We never did make it to Benihana's because our days were so jam packed. Next time, I swear! I didn't get to get my hair done either at the Blow Dry Bar :( Just wasn't enough time on Saturday and then on Sunday we planned on swimming so that would've been pointless. Again, next time for sure! And Ikea and the Twin City Grill weren't crossed off either. But that just means another trip to the Twin Cities is in my future!

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November 14, 2013

Twin Cities Take Two Recap (Part 1)...

I'm baaaaack from my mini (whirwind) vacation and I need a vacation from my vacation. I'm e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. Thus, I am going to split the recap about my Twin Cities trip into two days of posts so I can use the rest of my lunch break to take a cat nap in my warm and cozy bed

I had to open the Centre on Friday morning so I was in at work from 7:15 until just shortly after 9:00. Our plan had been to leave right at 9:00 but when it comes to my sister and I everyone knows to add an extra hour onto whatever time we say we'll be ready. When I left work just after 9:00 it was snowing. A lot. And sticking to everything. For this time of year in SK we have had really good weather and barely any snow. Usually at this time the snow would've been here to stay for weeks now. But I digress. Of course it just had to start snowing when we were taking off on a ten hour road trip, right? Luckily, the snow stopped just before we hit Minot, ND and we didn't have to worry about snow for the rest of the trip. We made a pit stop at Starbucks in Minot for my first Caramel Brulee Latte of the season and I was happy as a clam for the rest of the drive. Kidding. Road tripping with children just reminds me why I don't have any of my own.  In all honesty, they really weren't that bad. 10 hours in a car is a looot for the tiny humans and we didn't make many stops because we just wanted to get there

Seeing them with their mini red cups made my heart burst with happiness

Toni's mommy-mobile has a DVD player so the girls brought movies and kept themselves occupied for most of the drive. I brought Home Alone and even though I couldn't see what was happening I still loved listening to it. I just love it that much. It rained, and even torrential down poured at one point, for at least half of the drive. Luckily it never got cold enough to make the roads slippery but it did slow us down a little bit. We got to Bloomington and our hotel around 9:30. Our plan had been to go somewhere to eat when we got to the city but we were exhausted and tired and just wanted to relax for a bit. And this girl needed some WINE after a ten hour road trip with a 7 year old and 3 year old. I checked us in to the hotel, we dropped our bags off in the room, and then we were off to find a liquor store to get me some wine and Toni some Cheladas (barf). We ordered in Toppers Pizza (its become a tradition now), I took the most amazing shower of my life  (I always feel so grungy after flying or driving long distances), had one glass of wine, and I was out like a light. It didn't help that my bed had five pillows and I felt like I was laying on a cloud...

Friday am we were up by 8:00 to start getting ready for the day. The first shuttle from our hotel didn't leave to take us to the Mall until 10:00 so we were able to get ready, go down for the complimentary breakfast, and then had a little bit of a wait for the shuttle. The girls were excited and kept calling the shuttle 'the city bus'. When we got to the MOA we headed straight to Nickelodeon World and got the girls their wristbands. They went off in search of rides and I went off in search of Starbucks (Of course). The majority of the day was spent at Nickelodeon. The girls loved it and I loved seeing how much fun they were having. We took a break for lunch and after an hour and a half wait we had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe

After our 'lunch' it was already close to 5:00. We decided to take a break from the rides and go check out the SeaLife Aquarium. The girls loved it and so did I. Toni is the type who wants to read all the information and check out all the facts but the girls just wanted to run from room to room to see what new sea life they would find. After about an hour at the aquarium we headed back to Nickolodeon for some more rides. Toni had bought the girls all day wristbands and we wanted to make sure they got good use of them. We ended up eating at Dick's Last Resort for supper and it will be the last time I eat there. We had a horrible experience while there in July but we thought that everything deserves a second chance. WRONG. I understand the concept behind the place, and when I went to the San Antonio location years ago it was a great experience, but the MOA is absolutely terrible in my books. NEVER again. All Graycie wanted was one of the hats that everyone else was getting and we had such horrible service that we never even got a chance to see our waiter let alone ask him to make her one. After that horrible supper we went back to Nickolodeon to get a few more rides in before we headed back for the night. After grabbing a Starbucks for the road, of course.  Can you believe we spent 12 straight hours at the MOA and didn't do a single bit of shopping?!

Tomorrow I'll recap Days 3 and 4 of the trip, including my first ever Chipotle experience!

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November 7, 2013

Twin Cities (Take Two)...

In July I headed to the Twin Cities with my sister Toni, and cousin, the 'Twin', to run the Color Run. I loved everything about the Twin Cities and knew that I needed to get back there asap. While we were still there we all talked about going back in the Fall, but bringing the girls (my nieces) this time, because we wanted them to experience Nickolodeon Universe, SeaLife Aquarium, the American Girl store, Rainforest Cafe, etc, etc. There is so much stuff for both adults and children to do that we thought it would be a good idea to bring them back as part of their birthday presents

Toni went much more low key than usual for their birthday party and we both went easy on the gifts since we wanted to be able to bring them back and actually afford to see/do what we had talked about in July. September was just to busy to head back, so we decided on the November long weekend. And then November snuck up on me and before I knew it we were supposed to be heading Minneapolis THIS WEEKEND and still hadn't made any concrete plans or even booked a hotel room

I finally sat down with my sister on Monday night to discuss our plans and then booked our hotel on Wednesday. Now it's Thursday and we leave tomorrow and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it's already the November long weekend. I swear it was just July and I was visiting the Twin Cities 

But, alas, it really has been four long months since my last trip, where we packed so many awesome things into just four days, like running the Colour Run, and having my first ever blate with Kate! There are so many things I am looking forward to on this trip, but I am giving you my top ten list: 

Top 10 Things I Am Looking Forward To In The Twin Cities

1// Frozen Yogurt - Can you believe that when I visited the Twin Cities in July was the FIRST (and only) time I have ever had froyo?! (Neither can I!) And I have been jonesing for some for almost 4 months now so this is a must have. We will be hitting up Pinkberry in Macy's for sure

2// Blast Blow Dry Bar - I hate doing my own hair. I have so much of it, it's so thick, it's curly. etc, etc. I like to use every excuse in the book as to why I maybe do my hair twice a week. So when I can sit back and let someone else work their magic on me I say hell yes and hand over my credit card without even blinking (budgets don't count on vacation. And neither no calories...)

3// Chipotle - I feel like I won't complete my initiation as a 'real blogger' until I've tried Chipotle. I didn't even know what Chipotle was until earlier this year (I live in the middle of nowhere people!) and then I went to Vegas in April and didn't find out there was a Chipotle in the Fashion Show Mall until after I was back on Canadian soil. (Lame). Then we went to the Twin Cities in July and Toni and the 'Twin' weren't adventurous enough to try it. But. This time I am getting myself a burrito bowl. And I'm hoping I love it because it has been built up in my head by other bloggers and I will be completely heartbroken if I don't like it...

4// Starbucks (and red cups!) - I've made no secret of my love for Starbucks. But my love for Starbucks grows even bigger every year around the Holiday's when the red cups and seasonal drinks (hello caramel brulee latte!) make their appearance. I have promised myself that I will get Starbucks no less than 5 times while we are gone

5// Shopping, Shopping, Shopping - Duh. I can't go to the MOA and not shop. But, more specifically, I am excited to start my Christmas shopping. Because what better place than the Mall of America? Right?! I'm reallly hoping the MOA is already decorated for Christmas because there is nothing I love more than shopping for Christmas gifts with a Starbucks red cup in my hand, with christmas carols playing on the loud speakers, and Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE

6// Ikea - I've never been to Ikea but I browse online all the time and tell myself I need all the things. There aren't any Ikea locations close to me here in Canada but there is an Ikea right across from our hotel in Bloomington and we will have the Mommy-mobile (aka Toni's Caravan) which means tons of rooms for all the things!

7// Caribou Coffee - By now you should realize that I am a coffee addict. I'm pretty much glued to the Keurig everyday at work. And until last year, just before Christmas, I had never even heard of Caribou Coffee. But I was partnered with Kate for a Christmas Swap and she sent me (among other things) Caribou Coffee's Reindeer Blend and I LOVED it. I'm hoping to snag myself one as well as a few for Christmas gifts

8// Benihanas - Another thing I had never heard of until my trip to NYC/PA last Summer was Benihana's (You're probably thinking I've lived under a rock all these years...). I had supper there before going out to a club for Mri's (the person we were visiting in Harrisburg) birthday. I loved everything about it, so when I found out there was a Benihanas in Minneapolis, tried convincing Toni and the Twin to go while we were ther. They both were unadventurous and didn't want to go and my heart was broken. But this time I've told Toni we are going and convinced her that the girls would love it because they get to wear hats and watch their food be cooked... 

9// Twin City Grill - Just for the Salt & Vinegar Fries. They are that good. And maybe this time Toni won't offend our super classy waiter by refusing a glass for her bottle of beer. I swear he almost fainted...

and finally...

10// Target - Target ranks in my top ten favourite things EVER so it is a must on any trip across the line. Especially since they have all their Christmas stuff out now. Be still my beating heart... (Now, I probably won't hit up Target until we get back to Minot on Monday, but it still counts as part of the trip)

I'm not even ashamed at all to admit that most of my plans for this (very quick) trip revolve around food or drinks. When you live in the middle of nowhere and never get to eat out or get Starbucks on a daily basis, you make damn sure to do so when you have the chance!

I'm also excited for the girls to get to experience everything while we are there. And I'm sure I will blow by Christmas budget on just shopping for them alone. But that's why I'm their favourite auntie. (Sorry bout it, Kels...) 

The only reason I am super sad I won't be at home on the long weekend is because my beloved Riders play in the West Division Semi-Final on Sunday and I will miss it. And if we lose it is the end of our Season. No more games. No more dressing up to cheer them on. No more excuses for getting completely blitzed during a Sunday afternoon. I will have to have myself a little pity party (complete with wine of course) in the hotel room on Sunday if my team doesn't win. Everyone send some good luck vibes their way! And to end this suuuper long post, make sure you're following me on Instagram. There is sure to be lots of pictures of red cups, frozen yogurt, and maybe even a few selfies after my blowout (your're welcome! HA)

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November 5, 2013

Eat, Drink, And Be Scary...

Halloween 2013 was a SUCCESS but I am so sad that it is over and I have to wait another whole year before I get to decorate again (for Halloween that is. As soon as November 12th hits I am starting my Christmas decorating!).  I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am OBSESSED with the holidays, especially decorating for the holidays. I tend to go a little overboard but I just can't help myself!

Pirates were HUGE this year. I couldn't believe how many people posted photos on FB & IG of their children dressed as pirates! The idea for Rae & Graycie's costumes came from yours truly. Toni and I were browsing Old Navy in Minot when I saw a cute parrot costume. I told Toni that Graycie should be a parrot and Rae a pirate (because every pirate needs a parrot sidekick!) and she went with it.  So I totally take all credit for their awesome costumes...
I took the girls home from work with me so they could be ready for when Toni got off work and made it home. My cousin and cousin in law and their kiddos stopped by the house to Trick or Treat and me and the girls joined them to hit up the rest of my parents neighborhood (all of 4 houses).  The kids were sooo excited, running from house to house. It made my heart so happy! Side note: Can it get any more Canadian than collecting your halloween candy in a Lululemon re-usuable tote?! Hahaha
I love, love, LOVE decorating for the holidays. Not having my own house anymore (YET) sucks when it comes time for decorating. But I won't let the fact that I'm currently living in my parents basement while I save up for a down payment on my own home stop me. Oh no. I will just go all out decorating the bedroom that only I see. I may have a problem...

1// Happy Halloween burlap banner, purchased at JC Penney (on sale) a few weeks ago for $8.99
2// The black/glitter pumpkin is a real mini pumpkin that I painted with chalkboard paint (the only black paint I had lying around) and sprinkled with gold glitter before the paint finished drying. The white pumpkin is a decorative pumpkin I purchased from Target for around $4
3// The framed chalkboard print is from jandpaper on Etsy. I absolutely LOVE Jessica's blog and always get a new print from her Etsy shop for each season or holiday. The Happy Halloween sign was purchased at Hobby Lobby (on sale) for $2. The plush Jack Skellington and Mayor of Halloweentown were purchased years ago at the Disney store in Vegas. I've had the I (Heart) Halloween printable for awhile and can't remember where I printed it from.I purchased the large photo frame half off at Kohl's a couple of months ago and plan on changing out the photos for the seasons/holidays. I put photos of my siblings and I from Halloweens loooong ago as display this year
4// More mini pumpkins that were purchased from a grocery store in 'the city'. I had plans to glitter-fy them but just never got around to it. In the shadow box (also purchased half off at Kohls) is cute scrapbooking paper that just screams FALL that I cut to make 4X6 (in the past I have framed the paper). And then finally, you can't see it very well but there is a Partylite candle holder that I always put a Halloween scented candle in and put my spiderweb overlay on (there are different overlays that can be changed out for holidays/seasons)
5// I went to Minot with a friend in the middle of September and just had to have the gold glittery pumpkin. I had no idea what I would do with it but it just screamed 'take me home!'.  The orange pumpkin is another decorative pumpkin purchased from Target. The candle is Pumpkin Pecan Waffles from Bath and Body Works - smells heavenly and comes in the cutest jar. And then, while shopping in Minot AGAIN, I found the candy corn Happy Halloween sign and just had to have it (Like I said, I may have a problem...)
6// My Halloween wouldn't have been complete without a little Hocus Pocus & The Nightmare Before Christmas

I found  this  Sweet & Salty Snack Mix on Pinterest a few years ago and have made it as treats for friends/coworkers for Halloween for the last 3 Halloweens, just tweaked a little bit to suit my tastes. Last year and the year before I gave it out in glass jars, but this year I found cute candy corn treat bags in Hobby Lobby that I knew would work perfect to give out this year 

It's really the easiest thing ever. Pick a bunch of salty snack foods and a bunch of sweet snack foods, grab a big ass bowl, then dump it all in. Easy peasy. And so delicious. This year I used Cheez-Its, Butter Snaps pretzels and Bugles for the salty part of the mix. The Cheez-Its and Butter Snap Pretzels aren't available in Canada (in my part anyway) so I picked them up on one of my trips across the line. Last year I didn't make it to Minot before Halloween so I used regular pretzels and Goldfish crackers. Then I used Honey Nut Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Reece's Pieces, Candy Corn, and Candy Corn M&M's (which I just found out I LOVE and of course, they can only be bought in the States...) for the sweet part of the mix. Again, the Cocoa Puffs and Candy Corn M&M's were Minot purchases

Would you believe me if I told you that Halloween 2013 was the FIRST TIME I have ever tried Candy 
Corn? I almost can't believe it myself. I bought a 4lb bag of it for the snack mix and had sooo much left over that I used it to decorate the porch for the trick or treaters // My Jack Skellington footie pajamas made another appearance on Halloween night // Candy Corn M&M's - my new love. Give me some white chocolate and I'll be your best friend forever! // Snack mix just waiting to be devoured while watching Hocus Pocus // I don't know how my animals put up with my craziness but Luna doesn't actually seem to mind her festive bandana- she's still wearing it today // Mr.Mustachio got all dressed up like a pumpkin on Halloween Eve. Sadly, he passed away on Friday night :(  // Treat packages that I made up for family/friends // The girls watched Hocus Pocus for the first time over the weekend and on Sunday afternoon I found them in the basement sucking out the souls of the little children (aka their stuffed animals) so they could be young and beautiful again. It was the best.thing.ever. // On Halloween eve I was getting the dogs costumes ready and Graycie decided to dress herself up in the dogs hot dog costume. Too cute! // And finally, my Halloween goodies in all their glory. I made sure to create some tags for the snack mix so the parents would know it was from me and wasn't poisoned

Whewwww that was  a looong post! But when you love Halloween as much as I do you just can't leave any details out! 

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