Monday, August 20, 2012


So this past weekend we went on a Babymoon! We wanted one last weekend away before our lives are flipped upside down (in a good way!) by our little girl. We had such a nice time taking in the scenic North Shore of Minnesota. For me, it was so fun to go back to all of the places I loved when I was a little girl (and a few new places) and for Jesse there was more new than old.

Our first stop, of course, was Betty's Pies for breakfast on Saturday morning before taking off to Split Rock Lighthouse. It was delish! A great way to get energy for, what turned out to be a more adventurous day than we had planned!

Next, Split Rock. Yes, the movie they play there is STILL the exact same movie as they played 20 years ago, but it was fun to watch and it was great to walk around and take in the beautiful views.

The light inside the top of the lighthouse.

Jesse and the lighthouse.

Next, we took a pit stop at Palisade Head for another view of the lake. Jesse freaked me out a little when he walked fearlessly right up to the edge, while I watched him from a distance. However, it was totally worth going up there.

The view of Shovel Point from Palisade Head.
Then, we drove up Highway 61 a little further to Tettegouche State Park, where the real adventure began. It seems we have a habit of hiking in the pouring rain. A few years ago we were hiking on a sheer cliff in Glacier National Park when we were caught in a hail storm. While this wasn't nearly as treacherous, there were A LOT of hills and stairs and at 35 weeks pregnant I am super proud that I a) made it through the day and b) didn't complain one bit. It was actually pretty refreshing! 

There aren't as many pictures from that part of our day as I would've liked, but it was still great. We hiked about 3 miles, which does not sound like a lot, but you have to remember that in Northern Minnesota that meant 3 miles of straight up and straight down, slippery dirt, rock and tree root paths, combined with literally HUNDREDS of wooden stairs. Of course, what goes up, must come down and vice versa, so hiking to the bottom of 2 waterfalls also meant hiking back up them. By the end, we were soaked, tired, hungry, but still smiling!

We were planning on heading to Shovel Point for one more hike, but at that point we didn't see an end to the rain so we went to our resort to check in. We stayed at Cove Point Lodge and got a really good deal through Crowd Cut (why pay full price, right) that included dinner, breakfast, our room, chocolate and champagne. When Jesse checked us in he refused the champagne and the actually had a bottle of alcohol free champagne for us to share nice!

We went down to the hot tub for a while before dinner (I sat on the edge, but it still felt GREAT on my tired legs) and then enjoyed a view of the lake, Norwegian chicken, steak and walleye. Yum! The resort was on a cove (hence, the name) and we were able to take another (very) short hike out onto the other side of the cove, which was a very cool, rocky point and get some great photos of the sun reflecting off the clouds.

You'd never know there was a resort right behind me!

View from the cove.

Our resort from the other side of the cove.

North shore rocks!

The storm was still there...heading north.
Then we found some nice chairs and shared our "champagne" outside before the bugs chased us away.

The next morning, we were able to make one more stop for a (very easy) 1-mile hike on the Silver Creek Cliff trail that runs along the old Highway 61 next to the Silver Cliff Tunnel. I remember driving along that exact spot when I was little, so it was weird to be walking on it now. Next year, we are planning on bringing our little girl up for a bike ride (or several) on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. We can hardly wait to share a place we love so much with her!

It was a wonderful weekend...hard to be back in the car going back to chores, work and dishes, but we are so thankful for the great time we had to spend together!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nesting: Part 2

So I have been a bit of a blogging slacker this week, but it is because I have been SUPER busy with other things. I've continued deep cleaning the house and, as promised, have an update on a few more tips and tricks to try! I know I won't have the energy soon, so getting this stuff done early has been great!

This was my "things to try next" list:

  •  My steak knives need some help. Apparently, lemon juice will fix that. 
  • My microwave, also gross, although it could be worse. We keep one of these in there so we always remember to cover our messy food!
The results?
  • Lemon juice and a little elbow grease worked great...steak knives look brand new!
  • Vinegar and water in the microwave also worked brilliantly...not too smelly, either. I will definitely do this on a regular basis. 
Another thing I tried:
  • Dipping lemon slices in sea salt and scrubbing my glass shower doors with it worked SO WELL! You would be amazed. Then I took the leftover slices and put them down the disposal to clean that (did you know that trick?), which is something I do all the time, but now it seems less wasteful.
I DID take a break from cleaning on Tuesday to do a little sewing with my sister. I forgot my camera that night, but I will definitely post some pictures of the finished products soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Yep! I've been nesting like crazy. In our first childbirth class last week we learned that nesting is actually a sign of labor, which freaked me out a little, but I've always been sort awesome about keeping our place clean and organized so I think it is just me wanted to make things even better for baby. Plus, I know I won't have time once she is here to do some of these things!

That said, I have turned to Pinterest for some sweet cleaning tips lately and I thought I would share what worked...and what didn't! First, here is a short tutorial on how to clean your stove grates (for a gas stove). It was smelly, but it worked SO WELL! I will definitely do this again!

Before...hard to tell, but there was A LOT of crusted on food. Gross.

Supplies! I forgot to add my mask to this...didn't feel like breathing harmful/stinky fumes. You need: ammonia, plastic bags that zip and fit your grates, a sponge and a cookie sheet. That's it!

Put 1/4 cup ammonia and the grates in a bag and seal. Put them outside on the cookie sheet and let them sit for at least 12 hours. I just set them out overnight. The FUMES do the cleaning, so don't worry if they aren't soaking in the ammonia! This was about 2 minutes after I bagged them and you can already see the dirt in the corner of the bag in the lower left side of my photo.

Take them out (wear a mask again), wipe down with the sponge in warm, soapy water and rinse clean. That is it! No elbow grease required! Love love love!
Another thing that worked:

  • Cleaning the grease from the vents above the stove. I REALLY wish I would have taken pictures of this. It was seriously amazing. Haven't cleaned them since we moved in 6 years ago and they look BRAND NEW!\
What didn't work:
  • Using baking soda and water to clean my oven. What a mess and it still looks horrible. Let me clarify...the bottom looks great. The window (which the tutorial was supposed to be for) looks nasty still. I did find this PDF that explains how to clean a gas oven, so I might try this instead. 

What I will try next:

  • My steak knives need some help. Apparently, lemon juice will fix that.
  • My microwave, also gross, although it could be worse. We keep one of these in there so we always remember to cover our messy food! However, I will try this out tonight to see if this gets things really clean. 
I will keep you posed on the results!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Watermelon Smuggler

Last weekend we took a short trip to Nebraska to visit family and were blessed to become the Godparents of our niece and nephew! It was HOT, but we had a great time!

We had a picnic and when I noticed the watermelon we picked up was the same size as my expanding belly, I couldn't help but ask my family to help out with a few pictures!

The little boys splashed in the pool until after dark! They had so much fun and didn't want to get out for bedtime.

The bigger boys grilled. Yummy!

I snapped this HILARIOUS picture of my 10-month-old niece with her face up against the glass door looking for her mommy!

I couldn't help snapping a cool picture of the neighbor's pear tree, too. So cool!