Cupcake Love


This post is half about cupcakes and half about me playing with the macro focus my our new camera.  It’s also a little bit about showing Ross why I brought home a giant box of amateurly-decorated cupcakes and made him wait to eat any of the “pretty” ones until I had some natural light for photo snappin’.

I took these photos on our front porch today after I got home from work. Our house is pretty close to the house next door and our porch is pretty much just a room of look inside! windows so I had to be sly.  Of course I was less worried about our neighbors seeing me set cupcakes on top of mirrors and taking photos than I was about them seeing the cupcakes and coming over to eat some.

Oh, and where did these cupcakes come from, you ask? I get together with a few girlfriends every couple of months to put on cute aprons and bake festive things. We each decorate up a storm and bring home our creations. Last time was Christmas cookies, next time is Easter eggs. And next time I’m hosting. So naturally Ross is covering our entire house in plastic wrap and I’m breaking out my bedazzler.


Party People

On Saturday night we co-hosted our very first holiday party and had an absolute blast.  We’ve certainly come to appreciate the new homeowner push that comes with opening your home to the viewing public (i.e. – we can’t seem to get anything done around here until we know people are coming over – you know, normal people who actually hang their artwork instead of setting it on the floor against the wall)…

Tonight we’re keeping warm by our “fire” while Decemblizzard #2 hits the Twin Cities – while filling up on party leftovers, natch.  Copious amounts of extra yummy food *and* drink seem to be an added bonus of playing host and hostess.   We even discovered a bottle of belly-warming Jameson whiskey hiding in a basement cupboard.  Finders keepers!

Decking the Halls (Without Decking Each Other)

Somehow tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  How did this happen?  Weren’t we just crafting our Halloween costumes?  I’ll admit that the swift jump I took to my holiday Pandora station has had me a little more focused on tree-trimming than tryptophan – but regardless, here we are.

With the weekend quickly approaching, Ross and I started recapping our plans which include Thanksgiving dinner with his extended family and a little outdoor light-hanging help from his parents…

R: Oh, by the way, my mom got us a wreath – so I’m sure we’ll be getting it this weekend.

K: Nice! I wonder what it looks like – I hope it’s a pretty one!

R: What do you mean, pretty?  It’s a wreath.

K: Well I mean, there’s such a thing as an ugly wreath…

Flashbacks of our first Christmas tree quarrel filled my head as I struggled to articulate what I meant by “pretty” and “ugly” wreaths.   Luckily a few days later one of my favorite bloggers, Joanna Goddard, posted a few lovely seasonal circulars from one of my favorite home decor shops, terrain.  Delighted at the chance to give my husband a visual on what I meant by a pretty wreath, I emailed him the photos Ms. Goddard shared on her blog.

Our email exchange went something exactly like this:

K: Remember when you were all…what do you mean, pretty wreaths??  This is what I mean.

R: Oh God, those are awful.  I wouldn’t even consider those wreaths.  They’re Christmas mistakes.

K: Are you kidding me?!?  You are no longer invited to contribute ideas to our Christmas decorating scheme this year.

Our email exchange turned into a phone call where phrases like, I thought I knew you – I thought you had taste! – immediately followed by, I could say the same about you!

Before hanging up Ross sternly informed me that a Christmas wreath should be nothing other than evergreen branches with a big red bow.

I sternly reminded him that he is working on Friday and I am not…

…and that when the cat’s away, the mice will play (and hang up pretty Christmas wreaths).

photos from terrain

Civic Pride

We went for a literal look for Halloween 2010 when we put together our “Twin Cities” costumes…

Ross as “Saint Paul”

(Note the “Hello My Name Is Paul” name tag)


And me, as “Minnie-Applous”

 (If you didn’t see me that night you didn’t get the chance to hear me explain at least fifteen times that I made my ears (!) )


We wore our costumes to a friend’s Halloween party and made everyone try to guess who we were.  Some of our favorite responses were “Adam and Eve” and “Johnny Appleseed”. 

My uncle saw a photo of Ross and offered up these fine suggestions for his costume:

A. Lothar of the Hill People

B. Rabbi Ross

C. Garth Hudson of The Band

A for effort?  C for creativity?  Either way, we had a blast! 

A Well-Placed Reminder

Ross isn’t the kind of guy who forgets anniversaries.  In fact, he reminded me this year of our fourth dating anniversary.  But just in case, it looks like Facebook will have his back.  

This is what my Facebook home page looked like this morning.  And I’d imagine his looks the same (the Ross replaced with Katie, of course).


My favorite part is the coincidental placement of the “What are you planning” box, which is normally there as a starting point for putting together a Facebook event.  In this case, I see it as two reminders for the price of one:

1. Dude, it’s your anniversary this weekend.

2. You better figure out an answer to the above question.


Delivering Holiday Cheer

(click photo to enlarge)

Swearing we’ll send out holiday cards this year…  Our act was so not together last time, but I’m calling a November 7 wedding date a pretty good excuse.  I think we sat around in the “holy crap did we just get married?” fog for at least a few weeks.  Not to mention the very important yet rather tedious task of sending out thank-you notes for wedding gifts.  And really, I have to admit that we didn’t have our act quite together for those notes either.  I’m afraid some of our guests didn’t get their thank-you’s in the mail until Januar February.

So if the wedding came first and we got our notes out by February, you can only imagine when our Christmas cards would have arrived.  Opening a “Let it Snow!” card in March is bound to push people over the edge.

I’ve started rounding up a few of my favorite greetings with the hopes that we’ll do things like order them…sign them…address them…and maybe, just maybe, drop them in the mailbox.

And PS – speaking of thank-you’s – would it be so bad to go 1st grader style and send out these for my Christmas gifts this year?


…and do they make them for weddings?


Holiday Cards, clockwise from the top:

Merry Little Christmas

Gang of Gnomes

Custom Holiday Wreath

Daddy’s Stocking

Two Turtle Doves


Yesterday was our office’s annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest.  Competition is fiercer every year and the longer I participate the more I’ve come to learn that the competition isn’t so much about carving as it is about getting creative with props.  If you’re just showing up with a few dinky carving knives and “neat idea”, you may as well not show up at all.

My team didn’t win this year.  The winners turned their pumpkin into a Chilean miner rescue scene complete with escape capsule and segregated wife/mistress holding pens – how am I supposed to compete with an international miracle?  

And I know what you really want to see is how exactly the winners made their pumpkin into a mine but if you saw theirs you’d be all, AWESOME! and then when you saw ours you’d be all, Awww, A for effort!

So our pumpkin wasn’t miraculous but I really did like it – so much so that I brought it home to live at our house:

See?  Now you’re all, What up, Martha Stewart?  Who needs miners when you’ve got flying plastic bats!

Yesterday I…

Wished my parents a happy 30th (!) anniversary

Received some lovely mail…

Finished a little arts and crafts project…

Promised I’d only eat one…

…and lied.

Oh! And I turned twenty-five. Or as my charming parents called it, “halfway to fifty!”

That’s what I get for hurtling my mother into labor on their five-year anniversary.


Weekend Scenes

Just thought I’d follow up on The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with a few photos of the wonderfulness…

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As you can see, the family kazoo band made its yearly appearance (despite the parade occurring on the 5th of July this year – don’t get me started…).  The show not only went on–it had a major upgrade with the introduction of a “Grand Old Flag” / “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” mash-up. 

I really wish I had video.  You probably have to see that one to believe it.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m not sure there is any way to sufficiently explain how much I love the 4th of July. 

I suppose I could go on about how the 20+ members of my paternal extended family gathers every single year, without fail, at my grandparents home on Clear Lake for a celebration to beat all celebrations. 

I could show you photos of our annual sparklers dance-off to the tune of Moxy Fruvus’ “King of Spain”

I could explain to you that I’m not even quite sure what my hometown does for the holiday because I’ve never been there for it.  For all I know Oprah herself might make a yearly appearance in good old Urbandale for 4th of July festivities. 

And if she does?  Guess what, Oprah, you’re showin’ up to the wrong. party.  Because nobody does 4th of July like my family does 4th of July.

The proof is in the PAPER:

That’s right, you guys. My family’s 4th of July claim-to-fame in the delightful town of Clear Lake, IA is the founding of our family kazoo band.  We hold flags, we wear patriotic headgear and of course, play kazoos to the tune of many of your most beloved holiday favorites.  And we’ve done it for the past twelve years.  But you haven’t heard the most ridiculous best part yet. 

The best part of this annual display of patriotism?  We’re not even in the parade.  Ohhh that’s right. You betcha.  We arrive on Main Ave just in time to fill the empty street lined with thousands of people (Thousands? I’m honestly not sure about that statistic. But let me tell you, when you’re kazooing Yankee Doodle Dandy to a captive audience, those eyeballs staring at you start to multiply quickly.) and march up and down the concrete to the delight of our sixteen many fans.

But honestly?  We’ve learned that for some reason the citizens (and tourists) of Clear Lake, IA have found a special place in their hearts for “that crazy kazoo family”.  In fact, one year when we didn’t have our act together and failed to perform, a local woman wrote into the paper concerned over what had happened to the family band.

Last year my uncle pulled together an album to showcase our kazoo band history – and it sure is a doozie.  So I hijacked his photos and tossed them into a slideshow for your patriotic enjoyment.

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Yes, Ross was forced to join the band.

2. No, I didn’t warn him before I brought him to Clear Lake for the first time, shoved a kazoo in his mouth and said, GOOD LUCK OUT THERE!

3. Yes, he’ll tell you it’s embarrassing.

4. Yes, he’s lying. 

Because its awesome.