Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Club, Elephants and Costco

I have mentioned before my neighborhood ladies have a book club. We call ourselves 'The Riverview Readers'. I'll just be honest, many members gather to drink more then gathering to discusss literature. Reading the book selection is NOT a requirement. Many books get held over. We meet the last Thursday of every month. We gather at 7 pm. We rotate houses. We drink wine. We talk about the book. We talk about everything else. We talk about how the men DON'T gather unless we plan a neighborhood activity outside of book club. Just to be honest again, we talk about the other neighbors too!

Last week I hosted book club at my house. We had unintentionally taken a month of hiatus. I didn't read the book. I think it was called "Night Over Water". Someday I will read it. The ladies who completetd the novel alerted those who didn't it is pretty steamy. Steamy is good.

At book club, the hostess can serve whatever she wants. Nothing fancy though. Crackers and cheese, and something sweet (bought or baked) works well. Fruit goes, like if you have grapes in your fridge. You must serve wine (a selection of red and white). Others may bring a bottle. It better not be fancy. It probably aught to cost $12 or less.... more likely less. That's how it goes, and it works for us.

Last week I served chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, strawberries, bruchetta with a toasted bagette, and Costco's Kirkland sea salt caramels. I also served Kirkland wine. It was the right price point, and went over well.

We may have discussed the sea salt caramels, wine, and Costco as much as we discussed Ken Follets (author???) book.

Last night, the Riverview Readers went on a field trip. We headed to the theater to see "Water for Elephants" (our book 4 months ago). My neighbor Jill (along with Kelly and Jaci) picked me up at the end of my drive, then stopped three houses down to get Chlo. We headed to Champlin where Jill got us in for FREE because her future son-in-law is the theater manager. We felt a bit like teen-agers sneaking in.

After a great movie, we headed over to the neighborhood favorite, Maverick's, where we indulged in a drink (or two), since we couldn't drink wine IN the movie. And since we were out, well...most of us choose something harder then wine.

Of course we talked about Costco again. Kelly and Jill had both purchased Kirkland sea salt caramels and Kirkland Pinot Grigio for Easter. Okay, the wine may not have been for Easter. Kelly also discussed 'Night Over Water' again. She talked about how she thought the print was particularly small, thus making it difficult to read, and part of the reason she hadn't finished the book. Jill suggested it was time for cheater glasses, and not the text in her copy.

So, there you have a rather random glimpse into our book club!

The Riverview Readers - driving the sales at Costco, and keeping our little community sharp!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The rest of our weekend

Easter Weekend was a traditional four day weekend for me, and we made the most of it. Friday the kids were good sports, and we met my dear pal Jessie for coffee at the 'Bou. Later the Thomberg's headed to a matinee to see HOP at the theater.

Look at Little Man (above) with his daddy. This was not planned, but they both have on Gap button downs, vests and hat! Aren't they handsome?


Saturday morning we started off making Resurrection Rolls, before dying eggs. A lady at church told me to google it. The recipe is simple, and LOTS of mommy's blogged about it this past week. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and marshmallows tackle the story of the death of Jesus, his body, the tomb, and Resurrection. When complete, there is a hot, sweet treat to eat. I will embarrass myself, and disclose I could NOT find a bible to read the Easter passages as we made the recipe! I can picture at least two bibles in my house I could NOT locate. I had to google the bible.

Above - Dean is about to dip the marshmellow in butter (representing the oil) and this roll it in cinnamon and sugar (representing the herbs put on Jesus before being put in the tomb).

Below - Marly wrapping 'Jesus' in the 'tomb' .

At noon, we headed to the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley for their annual Spring Fling.

Not pictured - the always popular petting zoo!

Finally, on Monday I took the kids to Minnehaha Falls for mommy and me time!

It was another percfect weather day, complete with a DQ treat.

So there you have it - Our weekend wrap up. I do regret I did not get to the Maunday Thursday service or Good Friday. I was chatting with my dear friend (& Catholic) Heidi recently about Holy Week, and reflecting on how much I like the somber hymns leading up to Easter 'morn!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Fantastic Easter

Happy Easter Everyone! Hope you had a lovely day & enjoyed the lovely weather.

On Sunday, the Thomberg's headed to church, took some photos in our yard,

(before getting too muddy),

then loaded into the Pacifica and headed due west to Bird Island to my cousin Dawn's!

We stopped for coffee at the 'Bou, got gas in Plato, and pulled on a gravel road near Brownton for two kids to go potty. Two hours later we arrived with our bowl of broccoli salad.

It was a great day. Naturally, as a child we gathered with aunts, uncles, and cousins every holiday. Then we grew up. We got married. Some of those we love have left us. We have our own families. We host our own holidays.

But this year, we gathered! My cousin Dawn invited and rangled some of the Toren clan. We had a marvelous day.

We ate (of course).

The kids hunted for eggs under rocks and behind trees.

The adults had an egg toss under the open blue sky and white clouds.

I was paired with my Uncle Gary. I took one for the team. There is still egg on my shoe and sweater. Every adult had a true and natural grin from ear to ear.

There was one four wheel rider for five of the second cousins. They went up the country road to see the neighbor's cows. They returned with reports of lots of cows pooping and peeing! Dean was the only boy. Of course he found himself seated right in front.

Late in the afternoon, we headed back to suburbia. We made a stop at Nana and Papa's. As Mark and I were getting ready for bed that evening, he was STILL talking about the egg toss. He declared it a fantastic Easter!

I second that!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yesterday and Today

The nieghborhood turkeys, photographed YESTERDAY with my Blackberry across the street from the mighty Mississippi on West River Road, on our way from daycare in the afternoon. Snow, photographed TODAY with my Blackberry across the street from the mightly Mississippi in our yard, on our way to daycare this morning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Easter

Recently one weekend we took the kids for a mini photo session with Becky Prentis of Freelance Photographers. The kids had fun with furry bunny friends! Take a look...

Happy Easter from the Thomberg's

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring = Paint

Wondering what the Thomberg's have been up to lately.

Painting. Yup.. spring is here and we find things to paint.

Oh wait a minute - actually we find things to paint year round. If you follow this blog, you know we have lived in our home for nearly 2 years. In those 2 years, Mark has painted EVERYTHING except two downstairs bedrooms.

We still haven't painted those rooms, but it is on the docket for this summer as we transition the kids to their own room downstairs. But, we have started OVER on some rooms. If you keep a score card, the downstairs family room (now the color of our upstairs bathroom) is on round two, as is our bedroom.

The downstairs bathroom has also gotten a re-do recently. First go around, it was painted in sherbet orange stripes. When we picked the colors, the Lowe's paint guy chided our choices. Turns out he was right. After about three months with the stripes, I felt like some kid threw up a Schwann's Push-Up pop all over the walls.

We have since decided to move on to some shade of blue.

Mark did a full coat of the blue on the far left below. Then I found the perfect shower curtain at Target, and decided I didn't like the blue. We stopped at Menard's for a sample size of a new hue. I went back two days later for 2 more samples. In the end, we decided on the same blue from our bedroom. All those pots of paint, only to choose something we already had! Yup, that is how we roll with paint around here.
I have looked, and simply can't locate a photo of the orange bathroom. I wish I could have. It was wild. Of course Mark jumped right into the work prior to a "before" shot.

While Mark was rolling inside, I was spray painting outside. Spring DOES = SPRAY PAINT! I LOVE spray paint. Oil-rubbed bronze is my new favorite. More updates to follow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When stars align

Friday was one of those days when all was PERFECT in the world. I had the day off work. The weather was glorious. Friends would be gathering. The zoo was calling. The kids were joyous.

Last Wednesday I set up a play date with Jenny at Como Park.

Thursday evening I texted the beautiful Ms Molly deVries - "Will you join us?" It is best not to count the months (year...) that have passed since Molly and I last shared time together.

And so we gathered under the clear blue sky, and let our Vitamin D deficient bodies soak in the sun. The kids took their time admiring every creature they encountered.
We had a picnic lunch. The kids played at the playground. The mommies sat on a blanket sipping a delighful bottle of twist-off Savignon Blanc from plastic cups. Everyone laughed.

The stars aligned. The day was magical.

If you were to poll the three women in attendance, (3 women who work hard to be their best for their families) I think all would agree the three women had at least as much fun as the six children among them.

Friday was a day that nurtured the soul.

**P.S - I almost forgot to mention I got to meet gal pals for food and drink, and the comforts of friendship at Sulut on Grand in the evening! How lucky at I!**

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going, Going, GONE!

There was a heck of a lot of activity at the Thomberg House last week week. Between the roofers and the stump removal guys, we were the gaulker house on Riverview Lane. It was just the right spring weather to get all the neighbors out to chat about the noise coming from our corner lot. It feels so good to have our big Willow Stump removed. The massive stump and remains were so forlorn in our yard.
Between our swanky new roof, and neatened up back yard, things are looking much better around our place.

...ahhhh, the joys of home ownership!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Yesterday Mark and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. At 7:40 AM our gift arrived - The dumpster to replace our leaking roof! Mark tells me regularly I am the most UN-romantic woman he knows. I was ecstatic!
The big celebration continued in the evening. We treated the family to dinner at Maverick's near our home. The romance theme was paired with $1 Taco Tuesday night!

Back at home, I popped open a celebratory bottle of the 'Diamond' sparkling wine from the Crystal Ball. (That's kinda romantic, right? I used our Lismore wedding toasting flutes!)

Finally, (per Mark's birthday request for today) I whipped up a poppy seed cake. I got a little impatient, and tried to flip it from the pans too soon. Mark was not too thrilled with the outcome. (In fact he pointed to the camera laying nearby from the champagne snapshot, and said, "You better be put that thing on the BLOG!") I swear, I did NOT drink too much champagne!

Once I pieced it back together and finished frosting it, it looked okay. Marly and Dean helped me with the cake batter before bed. I promised them a slice for a special b-day breakfast. The good news is it tasted GREAT this morning and was nice and moist.

So, there you have it!

Happy 8th Anniversary Baby!

Happy 38th Birthday Mark!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Crystal Ball

In case you were wondering where I have been, I have been putting my heart and soul into 'The Crystal Ball', the charity gala fundraiser for the Mercy & Unity Hospitals Foundation. When I took this job in November, I knew I would be the lead on the Ball. My boss said to "own it", and I think I did just that. We made many major, new changes to the event in its 10th year - a brand new venue, major program changes, and a "Crash the Ball" post event party with a separate ticketing method and price. Well - After just four and a 1/2 months on the job, Saturday arrived. My "baby" was delivered. Now that it is said and done, I am very happy with the outcome, and truly proud of myself. I spent a lot of time worrying. I spent a lot of time wondering. I spent a lot of time researching. I spent of lot of time doubting myself. I spent a lot of time thinking I would not be able to accomplish it all. I feared dissappointing the Crystal Ball committee, my co-workers, and those who quickly had become dear to me at my new job (and were also working VERY hard).
The day of the event began at the Northland Inn at 9:45 on Saturday. There was a team of volunteers on hand to set up. At 3:40 pm, I raced up to my hotel room to change. I ran back down in dress and heels at 4:05 to begin AV checks and to meet the emcee. Here I am (above) at the beginning of the evening with my co-worker, Kenna. I teased and sprayed the crap out of my hair since I forgot my curling iron at home, and generously sprayed myself with perfume, since there was no time to shower again. The theme was "Diamonds, Denim and Dancing".

One of my favorite parts of the evening (above) was a chance to win a diamond in a champagne glass for $25. The sparking wine was custom bottled and labelled for us by one of our supporters who owns MT Global Wines. It was one of many fun parts of the project for me.

The silent auction had over 150 items on it. Although we had less items then last year, we made MORE money. After dinner and program (with videos I helped produce), there was also a live auction. The event was mostly a sell out, and 560 guests showed up for dinner.

Finally, there was the "Crash" with a live band. I returned to my room at about 1:30 am. I didn't go straight to bed though. First I soaked my soar toesies in the whirlpool tub. Mark volunteered at the event, and Kelly had the Twinners, so we got to sleep in before brunch at the hotel on Sunday.

It is Tuesday now. The stress has been lifted, the exhaustion is subsiding, I am slowly catching up around the house... and the glorious feeling of knowing you succeeded is sinking in. We discovered just this morning we had EXCEEDED our overall goal for the event. I gave the Crystal Ball my everything. That is who I am.


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