Wednesday, July 22, 2020

#MaskUpMN

Things are getting a little bit back to normal, but health and safety is still a big priority, so we will be wearing masks anything we will be around others.  We started the process of estate planning back in February and while law offices were not closed, it ended up getting put on the back burner for a while.  I am happy to say we finally got it put together and signed.  We had an amazing experience with Erickson & Wessman  and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal assistance.  We were able to stay in our vehicle for the signing, which was appreciated since we had Parker with us.
We also finally got back to the dentist after rescheduling appointments for the kids twice.  Their original appointments were just a couple days after everything started closing up in March.  Parker was pretty compliant and kept his mask on until we got in to the office, but Esme was not a fan of hers.  I was originally planning to have my dad come with so each child would have an adult, but they requested only one adult per family.  We ended up in a room all together which worked out pretty well.
Esme's well child appointment was supposed to be in mid-April, but was pushed back to July as well.  She was much better at wearing her mask this time (definitely not because I promised her ice cream.). Both experiences were really nice and made me feel comfortable with the kids.
Governor Walz just announced that masks will be mandated for all indoor public spaces in the state.  I am glad it's finally mandated, but wish it has been done earlier.  I know there are a lot of people that will still resist, but I hope it increases usage.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Clearing, Cleaning, Cookies, and Crust

We've been staying very busy with home projects and activities.  Our garage came with a giant wood burning stove.  We know it will never get used by us and I finally got around to grinding off the exhaust pipe and posting it for free on NextDoor.  I got a response in less than an hour and the couple was over to pick it up that evening.  I was glad to see they came prepared with a hand truck and ratchet straps because that thing was a beast!  They were very excited and it will get a second life.
I really helps to open up the front of our garage that has already been undergoing some major organization.
We've gone through several versions on DVD and Blu-ray storage at our current house and I decided to build something a bit more permanent.  I hobbled together some cheap 1 x 6 pine boards in to a custom shelf installed above the TV.  It is nice to have our movies so visible and accessible, but out of reach from the kids.  It is almost full, so I will probably build another one for the opposite wall.  I also have some bobbleheads and other sports memorbilia I can display in the open areas.
The same weekend I built the movie storage, I added storage for our KitchenAid mixer attachments.  I have loved having it displayed in our hutch, but it was a little messy with everything just sitting behind it.  I've had the idea to add hooks and a little shelf for a while.  It is such a cute little display now and really cleans it up.
My dad has been harping on me forever to paint the door frame on our garage service door and I finally did it.  Now it matches the rest of our white trim.
Jimmy took on the latest small project and installed a new outlet in our kitchen that includes two USB-C ports.  We will now be able to charge two devices, keep the toaster plugged in and have an outlet available if needed. Just need to grab some shorter cables and it will be a great little charging station.
Esme has been asking for cookies every day lately, so we finally made some peanut butter cookies.  She really enjoyed helping me mix and trying to make balls.  Her's turned more in to snakes than balls.  The best part was definitely licking off the spatuala.
The last think we are baking up is some fresh bread.  We bought 20 lbs of flour in March just in case we needed to make bread at some point.  It was a hot commodity at that time and there was a lot of uncertainty.  I have been trying to clear out our cabinets of older food items lately, so bread baking made sense.  Jimmy's mom gave us their bread maker when they sold their house over 10 years ago.  I have tried to get Jimmy to part with it several times, but I am glad he always forced me to keep it. We've made a couple loafs of milk and honey white bread and I won't be buying a loaf until at least half of our flour is gone.  I will need to get some more yeast which can be hard to come by, but a co-0worker of mine is an avid baker and has some to spare.
It feels great to be knocking out some projects and having fun in the kitchen.  Are you being productive during the pandemic?

Thursday, July 9, 2020

A New Air Conditioner (Parker's Best Day Ever)

With an air conditioner nearly as old as me, we new it would need replacing sooner than later.  Of course it came during a heatwave in the middle of a pandemic.  After soliciting recommendations online, we got connected with the cousin of a friend of mine from high school.  His price was unbeatable and he was able to do it in just a couple days.  He told us that supply is pretty low right now due to manufacturing holds and increased usage with people home more.
Mitch arrived early Tuesday and got right to work.  You saw the mock air conditioners Parker has been making a few posts ago.  He always tells us when the AC turns on and off and noticed it was not operating.  He was very intrigued by what was happening.  I explained Parker's interest to Mitch and he was extremely sweet and accommodating.
He had it up and running by about 3:00 and we couldn't be happier.  Parker has not stopped talking about the new air conditioner and takes any chance he can to go check it out.  He is a level 2 apprentice now!  The rest of our appliances are relatively new, so we should be good to go for a while (knock on wood.)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Operation: Escape the Heat

We arrived home with the kids from our day away and it was 80 degrees inside.  Our AC was out. On a Friday night. Before a holiday weekend.  Ugh.  I started making online requests and queries for recommendations on social media.  I had several appointments and quotes before the weekend was over and we've got a guy coming on Tuesday to install a new unit.  

In the mean time, it was getting unbearably hot in the house, so we packed up for a stay at Le Chateau De Buxtoronio, AKA grandpa and Nana's house.  The kids loved being back and it was nice to have some more adult interaction for a few days.  We did a lot of swimming, bubble blowing, twister riding, twister driving and ice cream eating.

The temp topped out 88 degrees at home and we are happy to bum some AC.
It was a tolerable day of work at home today and Parker loved playing with the fan, but I am looking forward to some cool air again tomorrow!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Day Date with NO KIDS!

Not that I was counting,  but it's been 132 days since we had a night away from both kids together.  We love our children, but this is the longest we constantly been with them ever.  I know this is the normal for many people, but we are extremely blessed to have parents that practically beg to take our children.  This is something I have never taken for granted and appreciate it even more now.  For months we have been talking about when and how to take this step.  Case numbers in Minnesota have been trending down and our stress levels have been trending up, so it was time.  We dropped the kids off on Thursday night and couldn't contain our excitement as we drove away.  Our plan was to grab some dinner at a drive-thru and get a RedBox.  Unfortunately, both of those things didn't work out as planned and we went back home a little peeved that our first freedom in months was disappointing.
I had a whole day of activities planned and was excited to get on the road.  We headed out at about 7am for Big Woods State Park in southern Minnesota.  We were on the trail towards the waterfall by 8:30.
A tree had fallen in from of the falls, so it wasn't quite as picturesque as usual, but it was still very pretty.  The water was really cold too, which surprised me.
After the falls, we took a 3 mile hike around the park.  I was glad we got there early because the parking lot was packed by the time we left and it was already getting hot and sticky.
Our next stop was in Faribault and was the inspiration to venture south.  The State Fair and pretty much every other fair and festival is cancelled this year.  Fair food stands are popping up all across the Twin Cities, but one of my favorites is hard to find.  Corndogs are a dime a dozen, but pronto pups is where it's at!  Lucky for us, an old school Pronto Pup vendor decided to sell from the end of her driveway.  We arrived before she was officially supposed to open, but she was already cranking them out.  Not only did she have a traditional Pronto Pup, she was also frying SPAM, cheese, and head boiled eggs in the delicious sweet batter.  We went for one SPAM and one cheese along with some popcorn for the road.
Our next destination was New Ulm to visit Hermann the German.  We've talked about doing this for years.  I looked it up online to make sure it was open and accessible.  The website said the visitors center was closed due to COVID, but nothing else.  Of course when we got there, the entire part was closed to major reconstruction.  I was so bummed.  We stopped on the side of the road for a quick picture, but that's all we got.  I guess we will have to come back again. 
We drove over to the Schell's brewery since we had some extra time to burn.  The museum was closed and no tours were running, but the tap room was open.  We just walked around the grounds a bit before heading towards home.
We made one last stop at Menards in Maple Grove to grab some cheese curds and mini donuts from the fair concession stand set up in their parking lot.  We gobbled up the curds, but saved the donuts for the kids.  They had a great time with Grandpa and Nana.  Our day away wasn't all we had dreamed, but it was a nice change in our current times.