Archive for the 'Day to Day' Category

Holiday Photos

Posted by Karen in Family, Food, Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Isla.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Family Portait

Family portrait

Punky Brewster shoes

This was the one and only time Isla got to wear her Punky Brewster shoes, because they fit her for this one day only.


A lot of shortbread was made, and as the official shortbread judge, I declare this particular batch of Quentin’s was the best.

schpeck bread

For some reason, there were several equally odd pics of Quentin and I at Christmas dinner enjoying the bread made with speck (yummy bacon-like stuff Q brought back with him from Italy).

Ricky Story

Isla still really loves to have stories read to her!  Grandpa Ricky read to her all about a very hungry caterpillar.

making poutine

Nate & I decided sort of last-minute like to invite a few friends over for poutine & pints on New Year’s day.  Here he is making the delicious gravy, which we poured over plates of homemade fries topped with cheese curds.  Yummmm.

Poutine & Pints 2010

It ended up sort of being Babypalooza!  Look at all those kids!

lady friends & kids

We’re outnumbered ladies!

little bird

My favorite new outfit of Isla’s, which she was working on drenching in drool.


Isla’s first sled ride!  Well, actually, the snow was so wet and heavy that we really couldn’t pull it anywhere, so we just sat her in it in her waaaay too big snowsuit and took pictures of her.


Isla’s first snow man!

And the making of her first snowman:

Poopy Team

Posted by Karen in Isla, The Blog, Weather.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Eating BaconThat’s what we should rename this blog, Poopy Team.  Because frankly, baby poo is all I talk about any more.

So this morning we woke to a few inches of snow, dropping temps and a mean wind, and promptly decided to both work from home.  But then our internets broke, making it so we couldn’t actually work.  Nate got on the phone with the tech people, who put him on hold and promised him a very long wait.  I was chilling with Isla on the couch, when suddenly she unleashed a monster poo.  Now at the time, she was only wearing a tiny, thin little contour diaper, for reasons you’re probably not interested in.  I had her sitting on top of anotheStockingr prefold diaper, just in case there was a poo incident.  At least… I thought I had her on top of the second diaper.  But wouldn’t you know, I sure didn’t.  And all that poo (and there was a lot, about 2 days’ worth) came shooting right out the side of her diaper ALLLLLLL OVER ME.  Nate put his phone down with the hold music on speaker phone and scooped Isla up to deal with her diaper situation.  I attempted to contain the poo explosioSocklessn on me with another diaper and started slowly making my way to the bathroom, but of course that was the moment someone picked up Nate’s call.  Somehow I managed to get his phone to him before they hung up on us, and not leave a trail of baby poo all through the house.  Half an hour later, all poo had been dealt with, and our internets was again working, though not because of the super un-helpful tech people.  Table walking

The thing about being covered in poo by 9am is, your day can only get better.

In other news, Isreadingla rolled over yesterday, from back to tummy.  None of this rolling from tummy to back first stuff for her.  She does what she wants.  And immediately after that achievement, she seemed to decide that big girls who can roll over require more constant entertainment.  No more hanging out happily in her swing, thank you very much, and the mirror ball thing that used to be so fascinating is now so last week.  Rolling Over Isla prefers to be very involved in whatever you’re doing, unless whatever you’re doing is B-O-R-I-N-G, in which case her various toys might bMarchinge cool for about 5 minutes each, or you could sing her a song and do a little dance, but your dance had better be good.  But this is how it goes.  Any time we start to get a groove, she’s like “oh you think you’ve got me figured out, eh?  Sounds like it’s time for me to bust out a whole new bag of tricks.”  Well I say bring it baby.  Let’s see what you got.

Pick of the Patch

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Isla.
Sunday, October 18th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Most people who know me know that I am not generally super gushy about babies.  But there are a couple of baby scenarios that never fail to melt my heart of ice.  One of those scenarios is babies in a pile of pumpkins.  Oh man.  It just kills me.  And now we have our very own baby who I do actually gush about all day long every day, so imagine then what happened when we did this:pick of the patch

GUSH GUSH GUSH!!!  AHHHHH!  So cute.barn & wine

Today we took Isla out to Aamodt’s apple orchard.  Every year I think we should explore some of the other orchards, but since St. Croix Vineyards happens to be in the same place as Aamodt’s, the prospect of wine tasting always lures me in like a fat kid to cake.

Normally when wwine tastinge go places with Isla people are all “Ohhhh, look at your baby!”  But this place was Babyville, so everyone was more like “Yeah, you have a baby?  Big deal. I have 8.”  There were also more dads with babies in all sorts of carriers than I have ever seen anywhere.  Very tree

So Isla had her 2 month check-up this past Monday, and for those keeping score, here are her stats:

Weight: 12 lbs 13 oz *disclaimer: she hadn’t pooped in approximately 36 hours, so this may not have been a totally accurate representation of her actual weight.

me n' punkinLength: 23.5″

Circumference of head with enormous brain inside: 15.5″

All of this means she’s currently in something like the 80th percentile on the growth charts.  Yay, grow little sprout, grow!

She’s now smiling lots for reasons other than gastrointestinal accomplishments, holding her head up fairly well, making more eye contact and engaging much more, and starting to sleep a bit longer and less noisily at night.guy smiley

As for her parents, we are gaining confidence, patience, and flexibility.  I have to admit, at some point every day I find myself shaking my head in disbelief.  I mean, my whole entire pregnancy and her birth, especially the moment she went from mystery baby on the inside to holdable, huggable baby on the outside, are still very vivid in my mind, but yet I still can’t quite believe that she came from us.  I wonder if it will ever really sink in.  Or if we will ever stop being constantly amazed at how much she changes from day to day, or if our hearts will ever reach full capacity instead of continuing to fall more and more in love with her every day.  Sigh.  Gush gush gush…

More Isla!

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Family, Isla.
Sunday, October 4th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Gentle reintroduction

Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Malarkey.
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Hey.  Remember the blog?  We used to write here.  Long ago.  In a simpler time.

I fully intended to skip the excuses about not posting, but guess what?  I’m not gonna.  There are some good reasons:

1.  Twitter.  Turns out it’s easier to splatter out a random 140 characters of snark than to compose a real post.  Check out @homebrewer and @ksobandito.

2. ArtsConnectEd.  We launch May 4.  This has been the most challenging project of my professional career, which either means I haven’t had a very full career yet, or it was genuinely a monster project.  I’ve been doing software development for 17 years, so maybe not a full career, but enough to make this project stand out.  Monster.  May 4th.  Check it.

3. Malarkey.  Sure, sure, we think we know it’s a girl now, but Malarky is still the name of the little bundle of life growing in K’s belly.  Well, not her belly, but that area.  Baby.  Baby girl.  Wheee!

(that’s an old picture.  Malarkey’s like, way bigger by now.)

So, yeah.  I need to upgrade the blog, get us into the new generation of WordPress awesomeness, integrate our new video capabilities, etc.  I fully expect my life to calm down a bit after the launch, so stay tuned for more updates then.

Meanwhile:  twitter (check it), ArtsConnectEd (check it), and Malarkey!


Birthday Dog

Posted by Karen in Bruno, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 at 11:09 am

Bruno’s 4th birthday was 2 Saturdays ago.  This is how he demonstrated his maturity earlier in the week:



That would be our bedroom garbage, emptied, spread out, and partially consumed. 

Bruno rarely does naughty things, and when he does it’s usually fairly easy to figure out why.  I’m pretty certain this was his way of expressing his displeasure with the short walks and reduced amount of attention he’s been getting lately.  Sorry bud.  Little does he know he’s getting a road trip and long hikes on the north shore in a couple days.  All will be well again.

For Bruno’s birthday, he got the best bone ever, complete with bloody meat scraps still attached.  We gave it to him the day before Justin & Juliana’s baby shower, so he could get a little work done on it and make it less gross.  We took it away that night and gave it back to him the next day just as guests were arriving for the shower, and while he still insisted on being in the center of the room at all times, he didn’t try to steal food off of anyone’s plate even once.  He just chewed on his bone, and occasionally licked a baby.

Bruno also got a new chicken!  Here is what was left of his old chicken:






And here is his new chicken:






And now I would very much like for him to stop getting older.  4 years old is plenty.

Tomorrow we are off to the north shore, where we will hole up in a cabin on the Baptism River with Bruno, lots of good food, and our friend Mike Robrew (get it?).  We supposedly have internets, so we may just post a Thanksgiving report!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Latest Adventures in Local Foods

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Food, Friends.
Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Pedro gave us the most beeeeautiful pumpkin in the whole world 20081114164834_punkin.jpgon the last day of selling.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of it.  But I did get a picture of the aftermath of cooking that sucker up. 

It’s interesting what a disconnect there is in America when it comes to pumpkins as food.  We carve pumpkins, we decorate with them, we even chuck them, but very few actually consider cooking them.  When a recipe calls for pumpkin puree, we automatically think of canned pumpkin.  It’s true that cooking a pumpkin is no small endeavor – this particular specimen took a good 4 or 5 hours – but man is it gratifying, and so worth it.  Because this guy was so big it was a bit challenging to cut, and then wouldn’t all fit in the oven so had to be baked in a few rounds.  Then we let it cool, scooped and scraped all the flesh into our new totally kick-ass food processor, and blended it up.  The result was 8 pint glasses and a bit.  We froze the puree in the pint glasses, and will then warm them up enough to slide the puree out into a freezer bag or container for storing.  (We chose pint glasses because they are roughly the same size as a can of pumpkin puree, which is what most recipes call for – 16 oz. vs 15 oz.)

What, you20081114164907_punkin_martini.jpg ask, do we make with all that punkin puree?  Well, for starters, to celebrate the fruits of our labors (literally), I tried out Marianne’s pumpkin martini recipe.  I do love a good martini, and this one was a winner.  Thanks Mom Schroeder!  Nate made a pumpkin carrot soup that was pretty awesome, and is as we speak in the process of trying out a new pumpkin bread recipe that we hope to serve up at Justin & Juliana’s shower on Sunday.  We are also planning on making some kind of pumpkin cookie, or bar, or pie, or cheesecake for the shower.  We actually have a cookbook devoted entirely to squash and pumpkins, so I don’t think we will run out of ideas! The seeds of this guy were also big and perfect and beautiful, and I cooked them up in the iron skillet with some oil, sea salt and cumin.  Yummy.20081114173810_from_scratch_pizza.jpg

We’ve also had some new adventures in homemade pizza making, one of our faves. We made a pizza entirely from scratch a couple months ago – Nate made the crust, I made the sauce with tomatoes from our garden and CSA, we made the mozzarella, put veggies on it from our CSA, and venison sausage from a deer Peter shot at his grandma’s farm.  Wh20081114164815_pizza.jpgoa.

Then we stole an idea and a super easy slow roasted roma tomato recipe from the Kastlers and have now made our new  favorite pizza, with buffalo mozzarella and basil. Thank you, thank you, thank you Madeline for sharing this recipe, it has changed my life.  In fact, on the chance it will change yours too, I’ll put it below.

I had the intention of canning a whole mess of salsa, because we eatalotta salsa and this would be a good money saver, in a20081114173822_salsa.jpgddition to not going through all those jars.  But the recipes for canned salsa call for a ton of vinegar or lemon juice to  make sure it’s acidic enough to be safe, and after a couple of test batches, we decided the tang was too much.  So I ended up just making one large jar at a time that we’ve kept in our fridge and ate right away, and that’s kept us in salsa heaven for a few months straight!  Note to Karen’s Secret Santa: I want a pressure canner so I will be able to can salsa without all the vinegar or lemon juice! 

And the last thing I would like to discuss is all the usage I’ve been getting as of late from our dehydrator, handed down to us by Mom Phillips – thanks Ma!  Faithful readers may recall that earlier in the season I spent way too much time drying an insane amount of dill in the dehydrator.  I was kind of over the contraption for awhile after that. But lately I’ve been drying lots and lots of apples and cranberries and I’m kind of in love with the thing.  I can now reasonably declare that Honey Crisp apples are hands down, without a doubt, the greatest apples in the entire world.  It does not matter what you do with them – eat them raw, dry them, bake them, roast them with fall vegetables –20081115095155_dehydrating_cranbizzles.jpg they are astoundingly delicious every time.  I vow to one day buy them by the bushel and dry and can and whatever else I have to do to them so that I can eat them non-stop, year-round to my heart and tummy’s delight.  Ohhh Honey Crisp.

I’ve also been making craisins, which, as it turns out, is not as easy as just throwing a bunch of cranberries in the dehydrator.  Here’s the method I’ve been using:

1. Put the cranberries in a pot of boiling water so they pop (this allows the moisture to escape in the dehydrator).  Poke any that do not pop with the end of a knife.

2. Soak overnight in a bowl of orange juice mixed with honey or maple syrup.

3. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid, and spread them out on the racks of the dehydrator, then plug the thing in and let them dry for what seems like forever.  (You could also use an oven on low heat.)

4. Very important step: Make the reserved soaking juice into a martini using a 2:1 ratio of juice to vodka. Or mix it with soda water (and vodka) for a yummy sparkling juice (cocktail).

I made one pint of these (craisins, not cocktails) last week and have been eating them with granola and yogurt for breakfast.  They also added a perfect punch to a breakfast dish of cooked cracked barley, cream, and maple syrup that Nate made. I imagine they would be awesome on a salad with some goat or bleu cheese and walnuts and a nice vinaigrette.  Mmmm.  I have 3 pints currently drying which will hopefully last a few months.

And now we’re off on a round of errands to start getting ready for the shower tomorrow and get a certain wonderdog a birthday present – Seward co-op, Green Gifts Fair, Urbanimal!

Slow Roasted Roma Tomatoes a la Mad-dog

Prep a shallow baking pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.  

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and lay them cut side up in the pan.

Brush another tablespoon of olive oil over the cut side of the tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped garlic and herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, whatever you have.  

Put it in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  Voila!  

Use immediately on a pizza or in a pasta dish, or freeze and store.  Freeze them right in the pan and then put them in a baggie or container so they will be easier to separate when you want to use them.

Happy Halloween from Mr. & Mrs. Pumpkin!

Posted by Karen in Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Friday, October 31st, 2008 at 7:17 am



So You Think You Can Dance…dance…dance…dance…

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Friends.
Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 9:38 am

As many of you know, my favorite TV show of all time is So You Think You Can Dance.  I’ve given it some thought, and I really can’t put my finger on why I love it so much.  I mean it’s not like I was ever a dancer and am fantasizing about what might have been.  And I’m not a big fan of American Idol (which would have made a whole lot more sense since I did once upon a time – uh, and maybe just this past weekend – sing), or 20081024082249_sytycd.jpgDancing With the Stars, or those other talent contest type reality shows. Anyway, there may not be a lot of logic behind it, but I so loooove it. I think I was a little embarrassed about it for awhile so I didn’t really talk about it, but at some point several of my lady friends and I realized we were all secretly watching it and obsessed with it. So then we started making ladies’ night out of it and getting together to watch it, thereby combining several favorite things into one: the best TV show of all time, my lady friends, and wine.

After the actual TV show is done and "America’s Favorite Dancer" is declared, the top 10 or so dancers go on a national tour.  Well.  Last year my lady friends and I talked about getting tickets to the live show, but by the time we got around to it the only tickets that were left were super crappy yet still expensive seats, so we decided against it.  This ye20081024083128_bollywood.jpgar lots of stuff sort of came up during the season and we were all pretty busy, so we kind of stopped getting together to watch it.  I ended up YouTubing most of it.  So we all kind of missed the boat on buying tickets for the live show.  And then came my birthday.  And I received the greatest present ever, 2 tickets to the live show!

My lady friends were all pretty jealous, and some (Peacock) tried to buy the 2nd ticket from Nate.  He was strangely silent about the whole thing, because he is secretly a total fan of the show but is too embarassed to admit it! 

The show was this past Sunday evening at the Xcel Center in downtown St. Paul.  We decided to have dinner at the nearby Great Waters Brewing Co., which was an experience in and of itself: the place was packed with ladies!  Mostly teenage girls, but also some tables of moms, and some tables of my-age ladies all getting their drink and dessert on, like we do.  And yes, they were ALL going to So You think You Can Dance!  Nate was feeling a bit out of place at this point, and trying even harder to look like he was just there to support me. 

Once we got to the Xcel, there were more dudes, but it was still definitely heavy on the ladies.  I told Nate not to judge 20081024082931_russian_dance.jpgme, but that I needed to buy some merchandise.  I had my heart set on a Super Twitch shirt, but alas, they had none, and the lines were too crazy long for me to check out the other goods. We made our way to our seats, only to find that they totally suuuucked!  As far back as could be, and as far in the corner as could be so that we were actually kind of behind the stage.  I still didn’t care, I was so psyched.  We had some time to kill, so we decided to walk around.  We ended up coming out again in a place directly facing the stage where there were these bar stool type seats.  These had a killer view, and a little table to stick our popcorn on. We figured we’d hang out there a while till we got kicked out.  But we never did!  We got to stay there the whole show!  YAY.  

And it was awesome.  They did almost all of my favorite numbers: the group Bollywood, the Russian boingy boingy one, the suitcase, the bed one, the door one, the garden, the frankenstein one, and so many more…  It was soooooo coooool.  And of course, my favorite dance of the season, and the reason I’ve had to start every day this week by blasting this song, Comfort and Twitch’s hip hop dance to "Forever":

Thank you Nate and any Schroeder siblings who played a part in this totally awesome birthday present!!!

Mushroom hunting at 20 mph

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting, Bruno, Weather.
Monday, September 22nd, 2008 at 9:47 am

I took one of the longer routes in on my bike today, and as I zipped through one particularly wooded trail section I found myself trying to scan the ground for signs of mushrooms.  Not very easy at that speed!

We had much better luck yesterday, when Karen and I took Bruno for a walk in the river gorge.  Mere feet away from the steps leading down the ridge we saw numerous … somethings … in several clumps on the ground.  White spores and otherwise fairly indistinct makes it pretty hard for us rookies to identify.  20080922081643_2878534979_79bc5ef4d0_o.jpgThen after another few steps off the trail Karen spotted these guys at right: awesome!  I don’t remember it now, but we were able to pretty positively identify them.

All in all a very successful outing.  What a difference to explore some of these areas after the rains we had last week – we were in similar terrain with my parents a few weeks ago when it was still dry and it was hard to find anything!  Now they’re popping up everywhere.

Saturday morning was also a good hunt – Karen had to help run a watershed cleanup down in Hastings, and I got come along and "help", that is, hunt mushrooms if I promised to take a trash bag with me and also collect any trash I saw.  I ended up filling a few bags of trash, and also finding some really big gilled mushrooms and a few nice sized boletes.  … all of which defied identification.  One of the young gilled specimens had a pretty cool cortina (I think – basically a cobweb protection around the gills), and sort of purple flesh, but even with those good clues I couldn’t figure it out.  The bolete flesh turned reddish brown when exposed to air, and all the ones I found were enclosed in a partial veil of some sort.  Also good clues, but not enough for me to figure out.

Great hunting, though!  Next I think I need to start identifying trees more accurately, as that will give me a better clue as to what mushrooms might be growing near them…

The take-away message: hunt slowly, not at 20 mph.  The act of stopping and stooping to grab a piece of trash often lead my eyes to a mushroom that I would certainly have walked past, even though I was actively looking for them.  It’s important to mix it up, crouch down, and always check the back side of the trees!