Friday, December 25

Remembering Old Traditions and Creating New

I know it's been pretty quiet around The Single Sister lately...ok, it's been neglecto-blog of epic proportions. It's been a busy couple of months starting with meeting Pioneer Woman, then Mara's Birthday Party, Thanksgiving, the Mega Recital/Twin's Birthday Party/Bergeron Christmas Extravaganza, and lots of cooking, Christmas shopping, and pottery classes in between (hopefully I'll have some fun projects to share with everyone soon). And through everything Mark has been a trooper, going along with the crazy plans, and enjoying every minute of it. I hope. :)

Since I've kind of taken over the last two months with my family's plans I told him he had me all to himself over Christmas. We decided to have a quiet Christmas Eve in Owatonna, then Christmas Day head up to the cities to pick up Brooke and spend the day with his family. Well that quiet Christmas Eve didn't start out so quiet.

It started with waking up to someone knocking on our front door and ringing the doorbell at 1 in the morning. We didn't make it to the door, but saw a police officer walking back to his car. Whaa? It had snowed quite a bit and our cars were parked on the street. See, Owatonna does even odd street parking during winter to eliminate the need for snow emergencies. It takes some getting used to, but it's really not that much of a hassle. Till this morning. It was the 24th so we should have been on the even side. But there has always been a No Parking Thursday Morning sign (for the street sweepers)....and the 24th was a Thursday so we were parked on the other side of the street. All we could figure was the cop was warning us that our cars were going to be towed if we didn't move them. After some sleepy grumbling about No Parking signs vs. even odd parking Mark decided to move our cars to the back driveway of my apartment. (awww, my hero! LoL) We wanted to be sure that we wouldn't end up starting our Christmas Eve day with getting our cars towed...

Which leads to Marks part of the story...

How I became the 'talk' of Walmart Owatonna on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. I met a coworker at Walmart this morning so we could carpool to work this morning in her Honda Pilot (I was going to WM after work). Since the snow was covering the parking lines, I made sure to park next to the cart corral. When she dropped me off after work, I couldn't find my car. Fearing that my car had been towed, I walked into Walmart to ask customer service if they had towed any cars this morning completely expecting them to have no idea what I'm talking about. When I asked the woman at customer service, she immediately said, "oh no, are YOU the owner of the green Taurus?" Then, another customer service rep (mid-customer mind you) says, "oh wow, I think someone must of hit your car this morning and pushed it into the lane of traffic. It was backing up traffic for about a half hour this morning...customers were all complaining and everyone was talking about it!" She continued, "let me call Greg the Manager up here, he knows all about it". She calls Greg, "Greg, the guy with the Taurus is here". I meet Greg. Greg: "I think someone hit your car and pushed it into the lane of traffic". I explained that my car, with it's many dents and holes just looks like it had be hit, but that it probably wasn't. He then said, "we figured the car was stolen or abandoned based on how it looked and the fact that the doors were unlocked"..."we have you on video tape parking at 7:30am and leaving in another car"...Long story longer... apparently I must have parked my car in the middle of the traffic lane in the WM parking lot this morning, which caused several customer complaints, and got the attention of what seems like every WM employee, which resulted in my car being towed. I was most embarrassed when Greg said "you were right in the middle of the lane! I couldn't believe it! I even took a picture if you want to see it!"

He didn't want to see it. After getting his car out of the impound lot (thank god we were able to get it out before they closed for the day and closed for Christmas....and the weekend...that would have been one hell of an impound fee...probably more than the car is worth!) I said you should have asked to see the photo....and asked to get a copy to put up on I love Mark, but his car fits right in with the things you see on

Mara put it best: "So after getting up at 1am (!!) to move cars to not get TOWED, it got TOWED from the Walmart lot???? The event is unfortunate, but the timing is hilarious!!"

After the excitement of the day we settled in with some wild rice soup (made from a mix, easy, nothing like my Mom's) to watch A Christmas Story (I still stand by my thought that CJ looks an awful like Ralphie). We did some cooking for Christmas Day with Mark's family; raspberry rave, and pecan pie. Later we ate cookies, drank homemade egg nog, and opened presents. All in all it was a good day despite the bumpy start.

This morning we opened stockings (yes, we were cheesy and did stockings for each other) and are hoping that the weather will cooperate and let us drive north to the cities to continue our Christmas festivities.

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's to remembering old traditions and creating new ones! Well except for the towing part, we don't need that to become a tradition.

Sunday, November 22

Just following orders

Ok, so any of you who are facebook friends with me know what I was up to on Saturday.

I met Pioneer Woman!

Along with 550 other people crazy enough to stand in line for hours just to have her sign her new cookbook.

What time did Mark and I get there? 9:20
How many people were ahead of us? 3 including Erin
What time did they start handing out wrist bands? 10:30
What time was Pioneer Woman scheduled to appear? 1:00

Yeah, we stood in line for a while. And Mark was there for it all. I was pretty surprised when he told me he wanted to come to the Pioneer Woman cookbook signing. He was a little surprised when I told him we would be leaving at 8 in the morning on Saturday. "But I thought it didn't start till 1?"

He was a great sport about it, hung out with us girls the whole time.  At one point I look into the sea of people behind us and all I could see were chicks.  

Finally after much anticipation, she appeared.  And was just as nervous as we were.

After answering a few questions from the crowed she settled in and started signing.  She was so sweet, I found myself tongue tied as I sat with her.  She asked Mark if he got to go shopping while we waited in line and we said nope, he was right along side me the whole time.  She suggested I cook something for him.  

I should have added that Mark is usually the one that does the cooking so I would definitely have to treat him to something from her cookbook.

Seeing Erin's cheesy grin made me feel better about the crazed smile I have on my face in my picture. We were a little giddy to be meeting her.

As I was waiting to meet Ree I suddenly found a camera in my face and a familiar looking woman asking me if she could ask me a few questions. She asked me what I liked about The Pioneer Woman and how I felt to be meeting her.  The following is the video segment that was on Fox9 news that night.  

My 15 seconds of fame! Ha!

So before I knew it, it was over. I meet Ree, got some books signed, got a free adorable t-shirt, and Mark got to see a new nerdy side of me. The day didn't end there.  My coworker, Mark and I got some sushi, then mark and I went to see New Moon, did some shopping and headed up to Mara's for the "Diego & Mara's Parte de los Nombres de Muchos".  Lots of chic stuff?  Yeah, that's what I was thinking.  But Mark seemed to enjoy every minute of it.  

I think he's a keeper.

And because PW told me to, I made him her buttermilk biscuits this evening to go with our dinner. tasty.  This cookbook is awesome. Allot of it can be found on her site, but it's so beautifully done that I think it's worth having in print.

As Erin put it, another must do item to check off the life list!

*Photo Credit* All photos were kindly "borrowed" from my wonderful sisters blog: LeFebvrePartyof4

Wednesday, November 11

Cotton Mansion

After dragging Mark to the great north woods, on Sunday we wandered over to Duluth for a couple of days.  A few weeks ago we found this place online:

And we knew we had to stay there.  It was built in 1908 and still has most of the original interior.  Initially we went to Duluth to see the sights but we didn't want to leave this beautiful place!
Center staircase that greets you when you walk in the front door.

Everywhere you looked had beautiful touches like original silk wallpaper and ornate lighting.

The main floor had three grand fireplaces like this one in the living room.

More unique lighting, these were every 8 feet or so going around the living room.

The dinning room where we had (amazing) breakfast every morning had the 
original hand carved table and chairs that were built at the same time as the 
dinning room using the same wood and same carving styles.

The library with another marble fireplace. We spent a lot of time in here reading.

Mark relaxing.

More library.

Our room with the gas fireplace and views of Lake Superior from both windows.

Our bathroom had the original sink, bathtub, and toilet. 
The owner even had to give us a toilet flushing lesson when we checked in.

Even though we didn't want to, we did manage to leave the mansion to do some sight seeing. We drove up to Splitrock Lighthouse and on the way back stopped at Betty's Pies for some lunner.

Proof that we did leave the mansion:

It was a great few days and I would highly recommend the Cotton Mansion Bed and Breakfast for a relaxing getaway.  The owners were friendly, accommodating, and you rarely saw anyone else except at breakfast. You really felt like you were at home and could dream what it could be like to live that kind of lifestyle in 1908. 

Sunday, November 8

Bringing the Boy Home

Right of passage for couples: visiting where we grew up. Check.

Since Mark is a cityboy and grew up in the twin cities area I've already seen where he grew up and have meet his family. And while Mark has met my family, we hadn't traveled north to visit where I grew up. We were wanting to see Duluth before schedules started getting full of holiday activities so we decided to head north this weekend.

And what a weekend to pick to travel to northern Minnesota to visit my dad before heading over to Duluth. Deer Hunting Opener. But really traffic wasn't too bad heading up, and the local place with the best burgers and Brew City fries was even pretty quiet for a Saturday evening. We just won't venture too far from the house without blaze orange.

It's funny to show someone where you grew up and the things they notice. We drove by a sign and he remarks: "Deer moose?" I believe my brother-in-law also commented on that sign when he first came north with my sister. "What's a deer moose?"

Driving along the dirt road approaching the house I grew up in he adds, "You were right, you did live in the middle of nowhere."

We've been here less than 24 hours and we do notice one thing. How relaxing it is up here. We are so used to visiting his parents in the city and wanting to go here and pick up something, and got here to check something out, run to costco and stock up on something.

But I bet the deer aren't as relaxed.

Friday, September 25

Think you know what you are getting?

I love getting flowers at work. When I was in school, I loved getting flowers during class.  I guess I've been pretty spoiled in that department over the years.  I know most people think it's a waste of money but it just brightens up the day and adds a little bounce in my step when I see them.

So last week at work I was called to the front desk and these were waiting for me:

Awww...the boyfriend got me flowers.  So I took a picture with my phone and sent it to him with a huge thank you attached.  Well a few hours later I get a text.  "Are there roses in that?"  Hmmm....nope. "How about pink lilies?"  Hmmm...nope. So he sends me a picture of what he ordered from 1-800-flowers:

Wow...definitely not what I received.  Now, we both understand that what you order isn't going to be EXACTLY what you get but lets recap.  

He ordered these:

I got these:

Those two bouquets aren't even in the same price bracket! So naturally an email complaint was sent detailing what he ordered and what I got.  I will give 1-800-flowers credit, they did respond quickly and sent him out a $20 gift card and said they would have the local florist redeliver the correct bouquet.  

I like where this is going. I could be getting flowers all week!  So the next day arrives and I get another phone call from the front desk.  I walk up there and these are waiting for me:

Seriously? While I will say I think these are cuter than the last bunch (there isn't a carnation in sight) it still is definitely not what he ordered. No roses or lilies in the whole bunch. I think a florist just pocketed some cash from this deal.

So another email was sent this time with picture attachments.  The response back wasn't as accommodating as the last one.  Their response was the florist didn't have lilies in stock so they give them permission to substitute with something comparable to fill out the bouquet. Which, ok I can understand.  But really?  You didn't even have any roses?  And what we got wasn't nearly worth what he spent. Mark was pretty disappointed in the whole thing and wasn't going to take that as a last response.  So a phone call was made and a full refund was finally given.  

So what did we get? Two bouquets of flowers, $20 gift card and the knowledge that when you order from 1-800-flowers  you won't get what you ordered. Not in my town at least.

Monday, September 7

Hello Internet,

It's me, The Single Sister. Only, I'm not so single anymore.

Yes, the heavens aligned, I must not have walked under any ladders, crossed any black cats, and the last mirror I broke must have been 7 years ago.  I have a boyfriend.

Wahhoooo! It feels good to finally be able to say that. Here, I'll do it again. I have a boyfriend. 


Anyways, thats not really why I decided to break my neglect-o-blog streak.  

These cupcakes needed to be shared. Look like normal chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting? Nope. They are Chipotle Chocolate Cupcakes with an assortment of frosting. 

In the middle is Vanilla Chipotle Cinnamon Buttercream. To the right is Chili Chocolate Cinnamon Buttercream. And on the left is plain Cream Cheese Buttercream frosting.  

I will admit that I have the typical midwestern tongue. I normally don't like spicy things. I buy my salsa mild. But the boyfriend's birthday is on Monday so I wanted to bake him something and he enjoys things on the spicy side. The Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake I had at my cousin's wedding shower came to mind. After a quick internet search I found a few recipes that I figured I could tackle:


They were delicious.  He loved them. I've only been brave enough to eat the plain cream cheese frosted ones.  The cupcakes have enough heat to them for me, I don't think I could handle the added heat from the frosting.  He loved the hot frosting ones though.  What does a Chipotle Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcake taste like?  It tastes like a chocolate cupcake with a warm after taste. The frosting, from the little that I sampled, has a more chipotle smoky flavor.  It's definitely a different cupcake experience.  Know of someone that enjoys a little heat? These are a must to try.

The next adventure: The Single Sister goes camping. (For the first time in almost 10 years.)

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 28

Catchy Tune Tuesday

I'm starting a new feature here at The Single Sister. Catchy Tune Tuesday. The internet if full of them, 
random songs that just won't get out of your head. I've decided to post one every Tuesday for your 
torture enjoyment.

And for my first catchy tune I bring you Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway. I dare you to listen to it at
least two times and NOT get it stuck in your head all day. Last week it wasn't an uncommon sight for
me and my coworkers to be dancin in our seats humming this tune.

This may or may not be my new ring tone on my phone.

Sunday, July 26

Mortified or Amused?

I learned an interesting piece of information this evening. I'm not sure whether to be mortified or amused by it.  I've mentioned before that The Roomie is the manager of my favorite clothing store. My friends and family have given up asking where I got an article of clothing...they know the answer.  90% of my wardrobe is from this store.  

And apparently I'm among this store's top 100 customers.  Scratch that, I'm among THE TOP 10!  

Barely. I am #10

Good gracious.  This had better come with some perks.

Tuesday, June 23

Domo Arigato

On the upside I now know how expensive it is to travel on the Express way in Tokyo Japan for a day. Approximately $90.83, including the foreign currency conversion fee (which is between .02 and .28 cents per transaction).

How do I know this? I don't think I wrote about this in a previous blog, just random blurbs on facebook. But a few months ago my debit card numbers were electronically stolen.  Wells Fargo noticed strange activity right away and called me to verify, closed that debit card, and issued a new one.  Pretty painless right?  Sure I had to go a week or so without a debit card, they erased the charges fairly quickly, they just sat pending so it never effected my account in the first place.  Kinda scary, but no real damage done.

Fast forward a few months to last night and I'm checking my online banking and see a charge from Tokyo JP on June 1st.  WTF?  Then another one, and another, 23 in all.  Followed by 23 "Foreign Curr Conv Fees".  They are all small increments of money - $1.05 being the smallest and $11.55 the largest amount.  

At first I think "Not again!?!?"  Then I see that they all have the last four digits of my OLD debit card.  The one that was canceled two months ago.  How does that happen?!?! Sure someone is out there with these stolen numbers trying to use it.  But why did Wells Fargo let the transactions through when it was obviously a cancelled debit card?  I called WF and started the claims process.  I'm sure in a few days the money will be credited.  But the operator didn't really seem to have a good explanation as to why they went through in the first place.

Today a coworker was looking at the transactions and noticed they all said "JPEXPWAY" - Japan Expressway.  It looks like each small transaction was a different toll both on the Expressway in Tokyo Japan.  

Well I sure hope someone had fun traveling around Tokyo Japan on June 1st on my dime. 908.3 of them to be exact.

Sunday, June 7

The Single Sister hits the river

The Single Sister got a taste of the good life this weekend.  A little wine and relaxation....on a "boat"...on the Mississippi.  I use the term "boat" loosely here.  This isn't any kind of boat this girl saw in the lakes of northern Minnesota woods growing up.  This was a 50 foot, three bedroom, two bathroom, yacht that you could live comfortably on.  We were trying to determine all weekend if this boat was bigger than our apartment or not.  

I'll back up and give a back story on this "boat".  The Roomie's parents have their friends Jon and Marcia.  I've heard lots about them in the past year but hadn't really met them yet.  And I've also hear about their "boat" and hadn't met it either.  This weekend I did both.  The "boat" had been up near Stillwater for the winter and they were going to bring it down the Mississippi River to southern Minnesota where it will stay the summer.  Jamie and I jumped at the chance to come along to help.  Er...yeah...we just wanted to come along to "help".  Wouldn't want to make Jon and Jamie's dad to have all the fun do all the work. So this is how our weekend played out:

Saturday AM - Left Owatonna for an hour and a half drive to Jamie's parents.

Saturday Midmorning -  Got out of Jamie's car only to jump into her parents car for another ride back north to Stillwater.

Saturday Afternoon - Make it to the boat and spent the next hour or so making sure everything works. Ok, so this was mostly Jon and Rich making sure everything worked.

Saturday Mid-afternoon - We finally pull away from the marina near Stillwater. Jamie's mom and Marcia took the vehicle back south so it was just us and the guys.

For those of you who were in Minnesota on this rainy Saturday, you'll probably recall that it was rather cold and wet.  It was even colder and wetter out on the river.  But I won't complain, it was a blast.  

Jamie and I settled into our sweatshirts, blankets, and beverages (wine for me) and enjoyed the rainy ride.  In the below pictures we are on the top of the boat which is covered and they had it mostly enclosed so rain wasn't falling in.

The Roomie

The Roomie and I

Captian Jon and his...First Mate, Rich.  Correct sailing terminology? 

Around dinner time we anchored and Rich made us tuna and steaks on the grill.  It was fabulous. 

This is still the upper part of the boat where we spent most of the time despite the elements.
There was a full kitchen below (even a dishwasher!) but also this grill and mini fridge upstairs.  

Further downstream we docked in Prescott Wisconsin for the night and decided to hit the town and see what the nightlife was like.  It was actually a hopping little town.  We visited a couple of bars, and played some pool and darts (Rich and I won both games of pool and Jamie won the dart game).

Our view from the dock...of course our view of Wisconsin was a bar...

Jamie and I slept in the "passion pit".  It's the name they give to the front most bedroom on all the boats they've had.  I don't really need to have anymore of a backstory on that one. The sate room was the second bedroom with a bigger bed and there was a third bedroom with two tiny bunks in it.

Sunday morning - We crawled out of bed (some more willingly than others, I won't name names) and it finally had stopped raining so I was able to get some real pictures of this "boat".

View of the back. 

And this is a full side view of the "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!" Nice, huh?

The sliding patio doors go to the main level with the living room, kitchen and dinning area. 
You can make out Jon and Jamie on the upper deck where he drove from and where we hung out most of the time.  Under the main level is where the three bedrooms and two bathrooms are.  

While taking pictures from the dock, we noticed this sign. "4 Hour Docking. Max Boat Length 35 Feet"
Ooopps...pretty sure we surpassed both...

Jon's getting ready to shove off...guess I should stop taking pictures and get back on.

Goodbye Prescott Wisconsin.

I guess I should point out here that so far we had actually been on the St. Croix.
In this picture you can see the Mississippi on the left joining the St. Croix on the right.

Jon even let us drive!  See the random hand?  That's Rich...he wasn't feeling so chipper.
That cozy area in front is where Jamie and I spent most of the time covered in blankets.

I learned lots: while going downstream you want to keep the "red nuns" to the left and "black/green cans" to your right (buoys), the Starboard side is the right and Port is the left, how to put out bumpers, and even how to go through a lock and dam.

Here we are leaving the lock just north of Red Wing. 
They put Jamie and I to work holding the ropes.
I think I can honestly say I didn't really know how a lock worked until today.  

Here is the inside of the main level while we were cleaning up.  
Behind Jamie is another area where Jon can drive the boat. He was even telling me he has a remote control where he can steer the boat if he has to be at the front of the bow.

Sunday afternoon - Whew....home at last. We figured it was a full 24 hours on the boat.  (Well minus the few hours at the bars in Wisconsin)

One last look at the beautiful "boat".

We made it. Survived the bars in Wisconsin. Didn't catch hypothermia. We didn't crash the boat, even with Jamie or I driving.  (There was even a moment Jamie and I looked behind us to discover that no one was driving the boat.  Jon had just disappeared!  We weren't too concerned since we were on Lake Pepin at this point and were waaaay far away from anything.)

Sunday evening - Jamie and I drive back to Owatonna.

I had an absolute blast this weekend.  Incredibly relaxing despite feeling so worn out by the time Jamie and I got home.  We figured we didn't really stop moving the entire time.  Thanks Jon and Marcia!

(maybe my facebook updates will make a bit more sense now?  LoL)

Friday, May 15

I'm in Love

No, I'm not in love with a boy.

I'm in love with these shoes.

Are the comfortable? No

Do they match with everything so I can wear them everyday? No

Are they so incredibly adorable that I couldn't resist buying them?  Yes

I know I haven't updated in a month while.  And as usual I have no good excuse.  There have been dates with new boys.  There have been break ups with new boys (I was even asked why I wasted his time, p.s. we went out on two dates).  There has been a quick trip north with Samantha for her sister's prom.  She went to Grand March, I went to watch my cousin play lacrosse. The Roomie and I have gotten ourselves sucked into Dancing With the Stars, we've yelled at the TV over LOST, and turned into cry babies during Grey's Anatomy. It's finally turned into sandal weather so I've been painting my toes hot pink and adorning them with daisies. And I think that pretty much sums up my life this past month.  Nothing too exciting going on.  It seems like I'm always busy doing something, so it looks like this summer is going to go by way to fast.  

Monday, April 13

Easter Cake Pops

I spent a whirlwind Eater weekend bouncing around in the cities.  Friday was spent baby sitting the boys and then Saturday I went up to spend some time with the girlies.  Then back down to spend Easter with the LeFebvre's.  While I was visiting the girlies we took them to see the Hannah Montana movie (must be said with a high pitched girly scream), and made Easter Cake Pops.

Reagan focusing on her egg pop.

Rylee making sure she gets enough pink sprinkles on her egg.

Thank goodness that we had help from the neighbor kids, we worked on them for quite a while and we still had a bunch to do well after they lost interest.  Our batch of cake pops made 56!

All wrapped and pretty.  I think this is even after we sent a bunch next door.

Chicks man. (I guess this only makes sense if you watch The Soup on E!)

White chicks too.

And Easter eggs.

And it just wouldn't be Easter without a furrowed unibrow egg head.  
Or is it a W for whatever?  
Wonder Woman?
Adam Sandler?