Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Leaving a Few Things Behind

It's frightening how much a person accumulates over just four years, even in a space of only 320 square feet.

Here's a shot of the few items we left behind in Minnesota. We took over more of their garage than we thought we might. Ooops.



The girls bedrooms have been painted and are ready for them to settle into their new home.  I don't know why Emily didn't want to keep the black and red theme.



There's still much for them to do, but they're on their own as we traverse the prairies of South Dakota on our way westward.

Long Live the Queen of the Packers

The Badlands of South Dakota

We've been here a few times, but having one last look seemed like a good idea as we head towards Arizona for the winter.


Our day started with a visit to Wall Drug and I think it's safe to say it will be our last, and I'm good with that.  It's a haven for little kids and fun the first time you see it, but after that it's just a tourist trap. Therefore, I didn't bother with any photos.





Then we began our driving of the loop through the Badlands to see all the colorful formations that are found there.


I got out several times to walk to the edge, or at least as close to the edge as I get, which isn't very far.  The scenery is so different than anything else here in the USA.  It's a bit like visiting the moon.



There are signs warning you of the dangers that may be found, so people were good about staying on the paths. 


I forgot to shoot the sign warning you about the bison, but I really don't think there should need to be much warning...I mean...these guys are BIG. 


Of course, that doesn't prevent you from a more likely danger...stepping in bison poop.


We followed a dusty gravel road several miles out so I could see the prairie dog town.  I don't know why, but I just can't get enough of this little guys.




When I spotted the information in one of brochures about the buffalo roundup in Custer I almost screamed out loud.  It was going to happen on the upcoming Friday.  We are so close!  We could stay at the park and go see this incredible event!  Here is a clip of the round up from last year so you know what I mean. 

However, when we started to search for places to stay it became quickly apparent this wasn't going to happen.  Custer State Park is one that you can book a year in advance and there wasn't a site to be had anywhere near.  Oh well.

So, we'll leave here and press onward towards Colorado on our way to Moab UT.





Long Live the Queen of the Prairie Dogs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

IKEA...my new favorite place


When you spend as much time on Pinterest as I do, you learn all the clever hacks possible using products from IKEA.  Just Google IKEA hacks and see what I mean.

I love the skyline in Minneapolis
Since we had access to the store in Minneapolis during our stay there, Left Brain and I set off to explore and see these things first hand to get ideas for setting up The Last Resort next spring.  There is also a store near Mesa, so any ideas we come up with might apply to the Arizona house as well.

The store is huge and they have arrows on the floor to keep you going in the correct direction, which is perfect for someone like me.

The products are set up in a room setting, often with information telling you how many square feet are used to give you a feel for how much can fit into a small space.  Paper and pencils are supplied to make note of what aisle and bin they can be located in when checking out through the first floor.

This is the "go to" place for small living solutions.  The prices are fantastic and you can learn Swedish as you go along from display to display.

I took photos of some of my favorite things to share with you.




I love their line of kitchen organizational tools, especially these rod systems where you hang kitchen utensils.  This keeps the countertop clear and usable and well, darn it...it just looks cute. 


I don't know how I'll decide which system to use.  I might have to use more than one since I could put them on the wall in one area, on the side of the island or pantry in another.  Oh the options!

This is the shoe cabinet and I am in love with them.  I'm hoping there is space in our hallway to utilize these for shoe storage as we enter.  It also provides a small space for keys and such items. 


The front drawer pulls open to reveal a plastic, well ventilated compartment to slide in your shoes.  I can envision using this for umbrellas, rain gear, really anything I might want near the door. Heck it could even store saran wrap and such.

I don't have any need for an entertainment center in our trailer, but it may be a need when we find a home in Arizona.  Check out the price for this entire system (not including the TV, of course).



Left Brain is always willing to test drive a chair for me.



I know we'll be back to get a couple of these lap tables for the resort.  They slide under the furniture and give you a surface to use for the PC or eating and take up very little space.  Perfect!



One of my concerns was where I'd be able to have a sewing table.  Then I spotted this skinny little thing that opens up nice and big. All for $199.  Yup...this might work in Arizona.  I know I don't have enough space for it in The Resort.  



I adore these little raskog carts.  I have no purpose for them that I can think of, but the reddish orange one is really calling to me.  I think it might be one of those things where you get it because you love it and the use for it will reveal itself later. It may work as a side table for Left Brain and all his junk.



I've heard stories that they are awful to assemble since it's only photos to guide you.  Well, I don't speak or read Swedish, so I guess photos would be my preference anyway.

We shopped for a while and then went into the restaurant for some Swedish meatballs.  Where else can you eat this cheaply and tasty to boot?

Long Live the Queen of Swedish Design

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Going to Hell

I've often been told I'm going straight to Hell for one reason or another, but it's never bothered me much.  And now that I have found out what the food is like...well, sign me up!

Steph and Ted escorted us into downtown Minneapolis for breakfast at Hell's Kitchen.  

I am completely enamored by anyplace featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and often refer to my TV Food Maps app to find such places.


It is located in the lower level of the building, of course.

The atmosphere is eclectic and fun with so many cool signs and art work to view while waiting for a table.  But we had reservations, so there wasn't any wait at all.

Here is a sampling of some of the art work to be found.

This sign warns you that these are the worst tables in the house.  But you are rewarded with a mini peanut butter for your sacrifice.


Some good advice about supporting local businesses.


I loved this chandelier and may have to mimic it in one of my gardens when I have landed.


I thought this banner really spoke the truth.


They had several examples of how to talk Minnesotan on the walls to help you with the language problems.


We decided to skip the bloody mary bar.  I won't know where to even start with so many selections.


The menu selections were unique.  Ted opted for something more traditional, but Stephanie went for the kangaroo.  Yup...kangaroo.  Left Brain had the walleye hash and I blew my diet to Hell (I wanted to stay with the theme) and had the pecan caramel sweet roll.  No photos because the food disappeared too fast, but as you can see here...we were very satisfied.


This experience will not be soon forgotten.  Even though we live (part time) in one of the coolest cities in America, we don't tend to get out and explore it to its fullest.  Stephanie and Ted graciously take us on such outings to experience it to the fullest.  Thank you kids!


Long Live the Queen of Hell's Kitchen



An outing with my daughters

Stephanie wanted to show her appreciation to her friend Christie and me for our labors over the past four months in moving them from one house to another.

She refused to tell us anything about where we were going or what we'd be doing.  All we were told was to bring a swimsuit and a towel.  Hmm.

We drove for a long time, which was great because car time with three women is fabulous talk time and I was able to know Christie on a deeper level than I had before.  How did I ever become so blessed to have such wonderful women in my life?

We arrived in Stillwater MN, which made me a bit nervous because they have a prison there and I wondered for a second if my daughter had turned bounty hunter and was turning me in for a reward.  Certainly she never learned about...oh well, that's another story for another time.


As we pulled into a cute little place called "Just For Me" and I realized we were going to a spa. 

 Oh, this is much better than prison!

We were ushered into the women's locker room to change into our suits and then to enjoy the hot tub until our first appointment.  Oh yes...up to my neck in hot water, just the way I like it.

Too soon it was time to go down the hall for our massages.  Oh this is a blissful way to begin the day!

After the massage we toddled down the hall for our facials.  This was a newer experience for me and soon my skin was glowing and felt softer than I ever thought possible.  My therapist asked what we were doing after we left the spa and I said I was sure there was lunch somewhere and it seemed to me I heard her say something about male strippers.  She looked a bit taken back, but remained very professional.


Next up was the pedicure room.  I was a bit worried about this as my only previous experience had been one of pain and I was not looking forward to this at all, but I decided to be game and just go along with it.

Oh...I was so wrong.  A pedicure can feel really good.  Especially when you wear socks all the time like I do and my feet needed very little scaling.  I can't recall the last time I've ever had my nails painted.


The terracotta color appealed to me as it seemed to fit the desert lifestyle we'd soon be embracing.  I had to laugh when I found out the name of my polish color.  It's called "Yank My Doodle".

After we checked out and purchased our favorite products, we headed downtown to a little place called Lolo's.  We all had the red coconut curry soup and each ordered one of the tapas to share.  

Too soon it was time to start our return to home and I'd have to part from these incredible playmates.


I had been sorely in need of female companionship for a long time and this day was exactly was I needed to get me off to a good start as we head southward in See-More for what is likely to be the last time.

My daughter is a very thoughtful person and this sort of treatment should not surprise me, but I have to admit I was blown away by the special surprise. 


And being able to share it with Christie and get to know her on a deeper level just made it even better.

I am going to miss these two so much over the winter and look forward to continuing our bonding next summer.

Long Live the Queen of Bliss