It’s a routine thing.

I’ve always liked having routines. I’m not against surprises by any means and have my spontaneous moments, but for the most part I find routines to be somewhat calming because I know exactly what to expect.  I can roll with changes if I need to, but without a doubt I am thrown off kilter if my morning routine is interrupted in a big way.  I knew that having kids would most likely require me to switch up my routine, but for the most part we do indeed still have our daily routines.  Enzo seems to thrive on them just as much as I do… like me, he likes to know what to expect.  Phoebe seems to be more of a go with the flow type of gal, however, since both Josh and I work, and the kids are in day care, routines are just kind of a must to keep things running smoothly.

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Right now, everyone’s favorite routine is our bath routine.  The kids don’t get baths every night because it dries their skin out badly, but come summertime they’ll be more likely to get a daily dunking which will please them to no end. There’s a great deal of excitement when I announce that its bath night and both kids run for the tub. Enzo gets undressed himself, but Phoebe I have to grab otherwise she’d attempt to climb in fully clothed.  I’m glad that for now they like taking baths together – it’s such a timesaver.

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Really, though, the part they like most about baths is the part that comes immediately afterwards when they can shed their towels and run around sans clothing.  It’s get them wound up again, but it’s kind of adorable, so we let the craziness proceed. This weekend, I broke out of our routine and gave the kids a bath after snack because Phoebe smeared her cupcake (Enzo picked them out specially while grocery shopping and put them in his cart) all over her hair.  The early bath slightly confused Enzo, however, who was ready to get into pajamas and have his bedtime books despite it being 4:00 in the afternoon.  Whoops.

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Kaiserhoff Ribs

When I was pregnant with Enzo, Josh and I booked a last minute room at a B&B in New Ulm, Minnesota for New Year’s Eve.  It’s a cute little town with a brewery and some nice little shops and very friendly locals.  For dinner we ate at Veigel’s Kaiserhoff – we had heard the ribs were good, and nothing sounded better to me.  They were awesome.  However, it’s a bit of a drive to go to often, so we rarely do.  When we heard we were going to be getting some nice weather a couple of weeks ago, we knew we had to grill and picked up some ribs and I went to Google where I was pleased to discover THE recipe! We now had a game plan.

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I love grilled veggies, and one of my favorite easy sides is tossing whatever veggies we have on hand into a foil packet to throw on the grill.  That night I did lots of sweet potatoes and used plenty of olive oil and Parmesan cheese and seasoning.  We’ve never actually done ribs before, and while I know the restaurant baked their ribs, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather.

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First, you should be sure to have a beverage, and time, because you need to boil your ribs for 1-2 hours.  I’ll post a link to the recipe, but I’m going to type what we personally did.

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Mix together 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. soy sauce (low sodium), 1/4 c. Worcester sauce (or if you find yourself low on Worcester sauce, like we did, you can just top off what you’ve got with a nice serving of bourbon), 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and minced onion.

Place your ribs 2-3 lbs in a large pot. Add above ingredients and then top off with enough water to cover the ribs.  Boil for an hour to an hour and a half until the ribs have sufficiently browned.

In a small bowl combine 3/4 c. Ketchup, 2/3 c. Miracle Whip, 1 1/2 tbsp Red Hot Frank Sauce, 2-3 drops of Tabasco.

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If you’re like us you can grill your ribs once they’re done in the pot.   Josh grilled them over medium heat, flipping them about every 5 minutes for around 20 minutes total.  He spread a little sauce just about every flip.  If, however, you prefer to bake your ribs, give yourself another hour to bake them at 350 degrees.

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I’m afraid you’ll have to find your own sexy beast of a man to do your grilling in his pajamas, though. Step back, Ladies. He’s all mine. ;)

Getting Back to Basics

Okay, that brief taste of warm Spring weather was really just a mean tease since we’d been mostly in the 30s and 40s ever since.  Then we’ll get hit with one or two nice days just to have Mother Nature laugh in our faces and send more cold wind our way.  It makes me wonder how on earth mothers didn’t go crazy way back in the day.  It seems like it would have been dull and each day would have been filled with drudgery, plus small children underfoot without much to do. Yeah, I’m kind of thankful for all of the comforts we have now.

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That being said, kids really don’t need as much as we give them.  For instance, give them a ton of blocks to build things with and they will inevitably empty the blocks onto the floor so they can play with the bin/box that was holding them. Plus, the bin becomes even more fun when they have someone else to play with.

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I think my favorite part is that Enzo has just as much fun pushing Phoebe around as he does when being the one receiving the ride.  I always worry about potential boredom, but I didn’t use to.  The kids are always amusing themselves in various ways, and I remember once doing so as well, but at some point that changed and I’m not sure why.  The more I think about it, I think the problem may be because there are in fact too many choices. There are so many options when it comes to things I could/should do, that it becomes hard to actually make a decision (which I always have a hard time doing anyway).  We sometimes run into this problem when trying to pick a movie – we have so many options that we spend all this time trying to agree on one only to then find out we don’t really have enough time to watch the one we picked.

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The more I think about it, the better minimalizing sounds.  I think it would be hard to get used to, but in the end would allow us to not feel so overwhelmed by choices, distractions, and general clutter.  Creativity is important to both Josh and I, but I think we get too distracted and forego some of our hobbies for mindless timewasting videos and internet surfing or social media.  The kids are developing such great imaginations, and I really want to foster that. I think that also means cutting back on TV and technology in general and getting back to basics more.

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Photo Dump

A handful of photos from the past however many months.  I’m still baffled by the fact that we don’t seem to do all that much and yet never seem to have time to do anything.  How is this possible??

Mickey and Minnie… because there are only so many years we’ll be able to dress them alike.

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Our gamer baby, playing with Daddy when he was laid up.

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When she was learning to walk still and discovered the light switch.

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All of the coloring!

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A couple from our last minute Duluth train excursion.

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And some more Sesame Street Live.

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One of Phoebe’s favorite toys that we have to hide from her because she likes to put the tiny cars in her mouth. :p  Oh, you should see her dance to the music, though.

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And some delicious food that I am now craving.  NOM.  Fry bread smothered in beans, beef, sweet potatoes, green chilies, cheese,  and who knows what else.

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American Swedish Institute

We knew we had to get out when we heard we were going to have some nice weather coming our way, so we figured we might as well do something new.  I have a list of supposedly family-friendly places, so for this outing we chose the American Swedish Institute.  The website showed at least one kid-friendly exhibit and a place to eat, so we figured, why not?

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The ASI is contemporary and modern, while the Turnblad Mansion is historic and stately. Thanks to renovations, all floors of the mansion are easily accessible whether you have a wheelchair or in our case a giant stroller.  We were also thrilled to see that there weren’t many people when we arrived.

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The main exhibit while we were there was Nobel Creations which featured all kinds of displays all inspired by Nobel Laureates.  Admittedly, we were more interested in the mansion itself, but some of the exhibits were intriguing.

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It was definitely the ideal setting for two small kiddos. Just a handful of visitors (in the beginning) and we didn’t have to worry about bumping into anything or toddlers getting into too much trouble.  They were both fairly agreeable and let us wander around.  I may have been a tad obsessed with the fireplaces.

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There was also the most beautiful stained glass window.

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They also had a table set up featuring the Nobel porcelain, which was as refined as one would expect if they were to attend such a dinner.

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There was so much beautiful detailing everywhere, and we realized we had actually missed a few rooms, so we’ll have to go back again. I’ve gotten used to having to visit places multiple times now, though. Kids are just kind of distracting, so we aren’t always able to spend as much time perusing.

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The kids started getting squirmy right as we reached the third floor, which was thankfully where the child friendly exhibit was located.  We were the only ones there with kids, so we had the run of the place, which was also really nice.

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Josh was also able to get some of the wiggles out.  Museums tend to make him fidgety. ;)

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Alas, after setting munchkins free, they did not wish to be confined again.  We let them roam for a bit, but more visitors were arriving and we began to have trouble keeping our young hooligans from getting underfoot.

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We decided to finish up our tour and head down to the cafe, where we got several looks from other patrons and our server acted somewhat surprised that we would be staying.  Thankfully I had some snacks to keep the kiddos busy, but overall they were really well behaved.  Another thing you get used to as a parent, though, is receiving the stink-eye now and then.  I’m not going to let other people stop me from introducing our kids to new experiences or keep Josh and I from having a good time.  We always try to be good patrons and clean up after our kids and not disturb others, so when the kids did start to get a bit loud, I took them outside to run around while Josh took care of our bill.  I do wish we lived in a country where overall children weren’t seen as such a nuisance, though.

Anyhoo, overall it was a fun little excursion and we’re looking forward to more outings this summer.  I’m hoping we can hit up some new destinations with our little buddies.