November 28, 2012


Posted by Lori~

As you know, Mur-Man got a new “big boy” bed and this required a little bit of room re-arranging.  In addition, we did a little bit more decorating, painting, etc.

I wanted to give you a few room tweaking photos!
New smaller IKEA shelf in place (with Mur-Man's action figures and more!)
This giant metal "M" was purchased during Junk-Fest! 
I thought it was magnetic!  But it is not!
My $5.00 garage sale find!  LOVE IT!
Mur-Man and Roger's super-hero capes!
Love the red hook! Purchased at a thrift store!
In addition, there will be more photos to come.  I promise, I will get out the fish-eye lens very soon for photos of the entire room!  It's so colorful!  Probably one of my favorite rooms in the house!

Lefse Fail!

Posted by Ethne~

As promised, here are the *lefse fail* pictures.  I had planned another, regular, post today, but sorry, both of my kids have been sick this week.  Despite their training and regular manners to the contrary, when they get sick, they conveniently forget to cover their sneezes so EVERY SINGLE SNEEZE and I get splats of snot all over me.  I couldn’t risk the computer becoming snot-laden and ruined.  In addition, I’ve been chasing after my idiot cat who thinks knawing on branches of the Christmas tree is a great way to get attention. 

Blob of lefse on the floor, along with a dusting of flour - EVERYWHERE; image of lefse griddle box in background
I apologize that I am unable of taking a picture in focus

November 27, 2012

MELTY BEADS, FUSE BEADS (OR whatever you call them!)

Posted by Lori~

Mur-Man and I did an OLD-SCHOOL craft over thanksgiving weekend.  Remember taking beads, creating a pattern, melting with an iron, and there you have it a sun-catcher, magnet, you name it!
Crafty G-Ma (aka my mom) had given me the supplies.  She had them leftover from her many years of teaching first grade.

I knew I wanted to make some magnets to hang on Mur-Man’s new red bed. 

I wasn’t exactly sure how to make them…my memory from childhood is not 100%.  So, I entered “melty bead crafts” into Google and it came up with lots of instructions and great patterns.  I soon discovered that people also call them “fuse beads”.

It really is simple.  You make a pattern using a fuse bead base. 
You iron with parchment paper in-between.

Make sure you iron until everything is fused.  And then let it cool prior to pulling it off the base.  Also, you can iron the other side to ensure that everything is STUCK!

I then used hot glue to attach a magnet to the back.
I also found some mini toys from Mur-Man’s stash and made some other fun magnets.

SUPER FUN!  Mur-Man’s little hands weren’t quite ready for the craft, but he still loved it!

November 25, 2012


Posted by Lori~

As you recall here, lefsa with Ethne, and Ethn’e co-worker/friend Kari, during my YHL trip to Big City, MN was mostly an “epic fail”, however it did taste DELICIOUS!  WARM…RIGHT OFF THE GRIDDLE.
I have made lefsa many times….past Habitat for Humanity fundraisers, with family, with friends, basically it is a staple around Christmas in my Norwegian family.

It really is simple, but we missed AN IMPORTANT STEP…causing it to not roll well and as a result, not look pretty (but taste good).

Here’s what you need WOMS:

8 cups riced potatoes (peeled, boiled, and riced immediately and then cooled.
2/3 cup heavy cream

2 t salt

2 T sugar

10 2/3 T melted or soft butter

Cool in fridge overnight or until cool then add 2 cups flour.  (This is the important step that we FAILED on.  DO NOT ADD FLOUR AND PUT BACK IN THE FRIDGE.  ONCE YOU ADD FLOUR, YOU NEED TO START ROLLING YOUR LEFSA!)

Mix everything very well and make into ¼ cup balls. 

Grill at 475 degrees.

Serve with butter, butter sugar, and some people serve with jelly, as tacos, you name it!  Enjoy my non-Norwegian friends and my Norwegian friends!  And thank you to Cher for sharing this recipe!  IT IS DIVINE!

November 22, 2012

Ethne is Thankful in 2012!

Posted by Ethne~

Well, Friends, I can’t say 2012 has been the easiest of all years, though there is certainly no need to go into finite details since I must say – I have a lot to be thankful for.  Here are a few things, in no particular order:

1.         Shaun and the girls.  My loves, my craft focusees (they love that), my food test-subjects, and right now, my errand kids.  There’s almost nothing they wouldn’t do for loose change.

2.         Sweet Baby T-Rex.  My kitty.  I love him.  Even when holding him still as Shaun blows his hair dry after his bath yesterday.  He LOVED that.  Shaun too, I’d wager.

3.         Farm-fresh cage-free chicken eggs.  So good.

4.         Shopping and playing make-up with Whit – especially awesome now that she lives in MN again!  Having all of our family around us is so awesome.  Thrifty Nana and Mom D are wonderful shopping partners, too!

5.         Girls Trip.  Good Lord do I love those girls.

6.         50 Shades of Grey.  Thank you Kari.  *wink*

7.         Making Pinterest Challenge gifts with my sis Mel.

8.         New books by my fave blog authors this year: Young House Love and New Dress A Day.  When Lori and I met Sherry and John from YHL at their book signing last week, we were convinced that *someday* our book will happen.  We should start actually writing something in 2013, just in case.

9.         The roof over my head.  Shaun and I moved to a really great ranch-style house last spring.  A bedroom for each of the girls.  A whole play area, a back yard, grown trees and a park behind us – like I said, I’m thankful.

10.         I’m feeling great.  I got kinda sick last May, and with some doctors’ input, I’m doing much better.  I feel like my old awesome self, only with bangs, so pretty much newer and awesomer.
11.         Celebrity Fantasy Draft.  It hasn’t officially started yet, but I’m playing it with my best friends, and I must say, I’m scintillated.

November 20, 2012

Blogs Bring Tears to My Eyes

Posted by Ethne~

Friends, this is a week to be thankful, and let me tell you, I’m thankful for a lot.  Lor and I both are.  I’ll give you a little insight into that later this week.

But today, I’m thankful for some fun stuff, and it involves blogs.  I’ve discovered a few more blogs this year, and have had even more fun with one of our most favorite, younghouselove.  Even though we don’t really know John & Sherry from that blog, I have little mini vignettes of conversations with Sherry in the comments on their blog.  I smile and chuckle.  Here’s a sample from her post today where she wrote a really sweet post about how much she loves her husband, John, in honor of his birthday.  It’s totally worth a read, here.

And then I clicked over to one of my new favorites, the Pintester.  This lady, Sonja, tests the crazy and stupid things people have been pinning onto Pinterest.  It often involves her own substitutions and alcohol, which means she sets herself up for failings, and at a minimum great sarcasm and swearing.  I made a comment the other day to her Diet Coke cupcake post the other day and today she singled me out as the Pinteste of the week, here.  Let me tell you, GENIUS!

I couldn't do the full screen shot, but my full quote is at the top.  "Lives" is cut off.

It’s like I’m famous except no one even knows it because we’ve not gotten any extra traffic on the blog from it.  Oh well.  You guys are the ones who count!!

I hope you’ve gotten a chuckle, too, Friends.  If I elicit anymore feedback, I’ll be sure to let you know.  In the meantime, enjoy today’s offerings from yet another of my most recent blog discoveries, Pinterest You Are Drunk.  Admit it, you know you were thinking the same thing.

Sweet, right?  Here's the caption they gave it:  

November 19, 2012


Posted by Ethne~

Holy crap, Friends – the best friends and I have happened onto a gold mine.  A fantasy football league, except take out football and insert celebrities.  And except a half-year long season, once per year, it’s resolving 2-month seasons.  Have I died and gone to perpetual best friend heaven?

Lori, Kari and me (ignore that wack piece of bang I'm growing out)
Slags, Grizz, Steph and me

Yes, I have.

You see, discussions with my bffs, Steph, Grizz, Lori, Slags and Kari involve the usual – kids, husbands, pets (one-in-the-same-thing if you ask me), smutty books and INEVITABLY the latest celebrity news.  HELLO, Steph should write for tmz.  You should hear Steph and me when we get going about ‘Tan Mom’.  We are wiping away the tears of laughter, Friends.

Appropriately, I have a terrible chest cold right now, so I am hacking away as I cough-laugh-cry at this photo and Shaun may think I have lost my mind if I am reading his raised eyebrow correctly.  I realized moments ago that I forgot to include tan mom in my draft picks so I don't get to 'own' her.  Sad.

Steph gets all the important news on her iPad because she also subscribes to the key mags in paper.  At Kari’s & my office we have a subscription to People mag and it is one co-worker’s and my weekly challenge to guess what’s on the cover.  I have a decent guess-rate, though that’s gonna spike now. 

People is always so generous with their man-scapes (not to be confused with 'man-scaping' - TOTALLY DIFFERENT.)

That’s right.  Celebrity Fantasy Draft is going to shoot my expertise into the stratosphere, my Friends.  It’s genius!  You can check the website for the rules – you accrue points by the celebrities you’ve drafted and ‘own’ as they are published in the pages of celeb magazines each week.  Whomever has the most points at the end of the 2-month season wins.  Smack talk is encouraged. (If your celeb effs up or gets on the worst dressed list, you lose points.)

Let me tell you, we are drooling with our excitement.  Like we’re Lassie and we have hydrophobia.  It’s like a Christmas present, minus the rabies.  The first season, for us rookies, is free.  Each season after that is $20 (for the whole team, which is gonna be less than $5 apiece for our group), up to 20 people per league.

Our season starts officially in December, which is why we did our draft yesterday.  It was rough, especially with us separated, and hard to pick, but we did all get several of our draft choices.  Slags hauled with the Kardashians; I hauled with the royals and the Obamas.  We’ll keep you posted!!!  If you do this, please comment so we can ‘hook up’ our leagues and keep track of how each other’s scores and celebs are doing.


November 15, 2012


Posted by Ethne, Lori, Kari~

Well, here’s Shaun’s quote on the lefse: ‘epic fail’.  You heard it here first, Friends.  It’s not pretty.  I could be that I’m Swedish and Kari’s Polish.  It also could be that you probably needed to learn how to make it on your momma’s hip in order to do it well.  Regardless, it tastes awesome and we’ll blog about it soon.

Lefse is purely a time-filler though.  We’re counting down the last ever seconds until Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 2, opens up.  That’s right bit&he$, we got tickets for midnight opener.  Decision Done.  The reviews said this is the best Twilight movie by far.  Hell to the Yes.

Now Shaun is telling Kari stories how every “bad” (according to him – “bad-a$$” according to me) thing that has happened to him in North Dakota (which I can’t deny has been every trip) has been with Lori and Steve.  That’s because he doesn’t have ND Tiger Blood.

Oh, this is what best friend evenings are made of. 

Lori, E and Kari - lefse is rocked out!

And here’s a special little giveaway:  If we get 3 new followers by 3pm tomorrow, I will post a picture of what I look like when I wake up tomorrow morning.

November 14, 2012


Posted by Ethne & Lori~

Lori and I are back to my house in big city suburb, MN, after our AMAZING adventure to meet our favorite bloggers, John and Sherry Petersik of younghouselove blog!!!  O.M.G. it was even better than expected!  We didn’t know what it would be like to meet the famous authors that we see each and every day (just not in person).  Now that we’ve had a minute to chat with them, we know that we’d totally riot together.

Going back 18 hours, Lori’s Amtrak train ride from biggish city, ND, to big city, MN, was a NIGHTMARE.  There were drunk people talking to Mur-Man, the train was 3 hours late, and they were stuck with no way to sleep anywhere – but Lori was on a mission.  She was getting here to see yhl no matter what!

Going on *three hours of sleep*, mission accomplished.  Lori and Mur-Man rolled into my house and waited for me to get home from work then we hauled down to West Elm store where their signing was held.  FORTUNATELY, our friend Roxanne (RM in yesterday’s post) was holding a spot for us in the immense book-signing line!!!  And she made arrangements with the super nice gals around her so we could meet up in line with her.  You rule, Roxanne!

West Elm served hot cocoa and cookies.  Mur-Man was about at wit’s end having had no sleep, but we were good mom and auntie and fed him Oreos too.  Then he and I looked around for Stanley, his Elf on the Shelf, till we made it up to John and Sherry in line.

Can we even say how odd it was to see them right in front of us?  And they were so friendly!  We each had a book for them to sign, OF COURSE, but then we brought Pinterest Challenge paint spun ornaments from last year for them to sign and we gave them gifts – one of the teeny little owls I made out of acorns, a buffalo stuffed animal for Clara, and Roxanne gave them a postcard with a cool artsy view of the big city skyline.

So as we were talking, Sherry said, “Ethne, I know you!  Aren’t you the co-author of the blog with “mom” in it?”  Holy cow!  She totally recognized me from my comments on their many posts – because Lor and I have been followers (and commenters) for years.  Finally, having a wacky name like Ethne pays off – it’s recognizable in a crowd!!!  Thanks Sherry, that was the coolest ever.

Signing our paint spun Christmas ornament!

As we posed for a picture with John & Sherry, Mur-Man sneezed (I was holding him) and shot a huge booger on me.  I nabbed it off my shirt with my finger and held it away from us all.  But, because it’s me, as we walked away, I couldn’t help but show John & Sherry the giant booger on my finger (they’re parents to a toddler, right?).  They probably were totally grossed out; Lori just rolled her eyes and we took a pic of the boog to commemorate.

What do you have for auntie, Mur-Man?
Full disclosure, Friends - but it doesn't need to be a large photo

Friends, it was awesome.  Lor, Roxanne and I are still just walking on air.  I haven’t even had a chance to read the book yet, except for the page where they signed it to me!!  We’re both exhausted, but I just don’t know how we’re going to get to sleep.  We’ll have to count the pillows Sherry has collected in their playroom, that oughta do it.

Lefse-making-marathon tomorrow night, so you won’t wanna miss that – we’ll see you soon. 

PS:  We should have known the people standing around Roxanne would be cool, since they were fellow bloggers: our new friends, Ellen and Becky from Ramblings from the Burbs.

November 13, 2012

Teensy Acorn Owls!

Posted by Ethne~
Getting ready for Slags’ shower in a few weeks, I made up a party favor that I think is pretty much the cutest thing ever.  Any of the shower guests who follow the blog will see this, but that’s ok, they’ll still get to take one home!  Remember – the theme of the shower is owls! (See Baby C’s valance tutorial here, and I promise to put up better pictures after the shower and it’s not late at night on a Monday.)
Mom-to-be Slags, moi, new momma Grizz and Steph at Girls Trip '12; Lori behind the camera

Baby C's nursery valance

I saw the idea for this craft on Pinterest, but didn’t click on the actual site to see if it was a tutorial, so I made it up myself. Then early October I went and picked those pygmy acorns off the ground (that I referred to in the younghouselove Fall Pinterest Challenge post here) to use as the owls.  They were much bigger in the photo in Pinterest, but pygmy was all big city, MN, had to offer as far as I could see.
So first, I soaked the acorns in a solution of Dawn dish soap and vinegar to kill off any insects that might be inhabiting them. Trust me, there is no concern of this with these acorns, but I do not deal well with bugs, so I wanted to make SURE.  Then I allowed the acorns to dry out for a couple of days.
Clean and drying

I also picked up a couple of small cottonwood tree sticks out of the backyard of our house.  I actually paid the girls to pick them up, at the bargain price of $0.01 per stick.  They considered themselves rich.
Next, I crashed my felt stash for pink and yellow felt and cut out micro wings and beaks.  I am fairly certain I advanced the use of reading glasses by one year of my life, but I will wait to harass Slags about this till the time comes.
I utilized clear glue to affix the wings and beaks onto the acorns.  By the time the last of the acorns was complete, the first of the wings were tacky enough on the starter acorn owls that I began to affix the micro googly eyes (cost of $2.99 minus 40% with coupon at JoAnn) next to the beaks.  I did this with clear Elmer’s glue.  I will have to re-glue some of the eyes because they are not all sticking.  [Word to the wise not to use that glue if you follow this tutorial.]

These little guys dried overnight.  I must say I was in love, despite being cross-eyed.
Whatcha lookin' at little dude?

Next, I glued the acorn owls to the sticks with my hot glue gun.  Even though they’re small, they did not balance particularly well on these branches, so I had to make pretend forked branches with the glue-gun and smaller pieces of stick to forge a balance.  Impressively, it is nearly impossible to tell that these sticks did not come as forked branches to begin with. Winning!
To give context, that acorn is the size of my thumbnail

The owls will balance on a shelf, but I thought since they will be given in December, guests may wish to hang them on a Christmas tree as an ornament.  So I glue-gunned a little metal ring from my stash onto the back of the acorn, with the ring angled slightly out so an ornament hook could connect through it.  I also glued a tiny red satin ribbon onto the branch, like a little holly blossom, to make it festive.

I made a few extra, so that KD and Easy Mac could have one of these – I like to get an ornament for the girls every year, and since the girls helped to make these owls, this can be the ornament from Shaun and me this year (Shaun helped supervise the stick pick-up).  Lori and I will *also* give one of these to our favorite blog authors, John & Sherry Petersik of younghouselove blog, when we see them tonight for their DIY book signing here in big city, MN!  We are beyond excited. Lori is riding Amtrak with Mur-Man just to come for it!!!!  Coincidentally, Sherry P. picked up a few acorns at her house in Virginia and made an acorn craft out of it, and then the acorns got moldy a few days later; so now our owl acorn gift can be a replacement!!  Otherwise maybe they can regift, that'd be ok too.

TUESDAYS AT NOON: Lori's Coming to Town!

Posted by Ethne~

O.M.G. Friends, I have awesome news: Lori and Mur-Man are hopping Amtrak in biggish city, ND, at 2:00 a.m. tonight/a$$-crack-of-dawn tomorrow morning to head here and stay with Shaun, the monsters and me for a couple of days.

New mom Grizz on the right is also Norwegian (that makes sense in a minute)

Why, you ask?  Well, I’ll gladly tell you.  One of our very fave blog authors in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, younghouselove, are coming to big city, MN, to sign their brand new book tomorrow evening.  Just about one second after they posted notice of this, Lor and I RSVP’d for the event.  One of Steve’s best friend’s wives, RM (he only has one wife, but I think that’s proper grammar – WTF English language, and I was an English major in college, so I oughta be right on this, though I could re-word it to make it sound better but I’m not gonna cuz now I think this run-on diatribe is funny, sorry RM) is coming too!

We plan to bring a little gift for them, and something for them to autograph, in addition to their books.  I could about wet my pants with excitement.  Luckily I delivered my kids by c-section, so my urinary tract didn’t get all stretched out and stuff, meaning I don’t leak when I laugh or get excited.  No offense; and I really don’t think that’s TMI, since it doesn’t happen to me.  It would only be nasty if it actually occurred.

ANYWAY, the next day, Lori and I have decided we are making LEFSE!  For any of you who didn’t grow up in the Northern Midwest, lefse is kinda like a tortilla except it’s made with potatoes and flour instead of cornmeal or flour only, and it’s pretty much on par with deviled eggs for awesomeness in my extremely important opinion.  You usually eat it at the holidays, spread with butter or butter & sugar.  I prefer butter-only most of the time.  Mainly because I eat it alongside Christmas cookies and deviled eggs so I have the balance of savory and sweet and awesome, which is the holy trinity (not capitalized so as not to be sacrilegious) of eating anything inmyextremelyimportantopinion. 

When I eat mine I just fold it in half so it lasts longer

The problem with lefse is that homemade is a ka-zillion times more delicious than store-bought.  Don’t be mistaken; I buy store-bought here in MN, and I LOVE IT, but it’s not the same by a mile.  And lefse is a Norwegian delicacy, and I’m not Norwegian, I’m Swedish-German-English by ancestry, so we don’t have the lefse-making tradition.  Like, I grew up with it as a holiday tradition, but then my family moved away from Williston, so I have no way to get it homemade now.  Torture.  It’s possible that Thrifty Nana (my mom) has the implements to make lefse, but I don’t think we’ve ever made it but once, two decades ago, so I’m not sure if that counts.

Here’s where having a Norwegian best friend comes in.  Lori has agreed to pack all of her lefse-making-supplies, including the giant lefse griddle in her suitcase and bring it on the train to big city.  Is that the coolest ever?  Yep, the key here is that I will once again make a mess in the kitchen, which Shaun says is my specialty.

And to make sure we pack every possible adventure in, Lori, KS, and I are viewing the 11:30 p.m. showing of Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 2, following the lefse-making marathon.  This was STEVE’S IDEA, AND LORI’S SUGGESTION, mind you, which shocked the socks off of me.  I told her I would agree to go if she didn’t trash-talk Twilight once.  She told me that just because she hasn’t read the books doesn’t mean she doesn’t think the actors aren’t hot (do all those double-negatives cancel each other out, English major?).  Well, that’s a start.

Then, Friday, Steve is coming to town for a conference and they’ll spend the rest of the weekend at JM & RM’s house (the non-polygamists).

We will for sure be blogging about our adventures, so you will FOR SURE want to check back a whole bunch this week and next week.  I am not sure if we’ll have a super awesome post for Friday since we won’t be getting to bed until breaking dawn (I’m hilarious) and I have to work Friday.

When I advised Shaun of our genius plans he said, and I quote: “Are you really trying to pi$$ me off?”  Success.