Monday, 9 March 2009

Mo's blog

And don't forget about Monique's new Aussie blog!

www.moinoz.blogspot.com

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Home Run - North Carolina to Minnesota

Day 388 - November 20
Today we hit the road and drove from Atlanta up to North Carolina!

We arrived at our friends Jason & Heather's house around 6:30 & then all headed out to a lovely pizza dinner a Lilly's! We tried a fabulous Thai pizza - yummmmm

Back at their place we watched the scary movie 'The Strangers' - gosh that was SCARY!!! So much so that we had to watch a bit of the cable guy (which was on tv) before going to bed!

Day 389 - November 21

This morning they were having their floors replaced in their kitchen/dining rom so we had a nice relaxing morning with TV & wifi!

Later that afternoon we made our way to downtown Raleigh - I liked the big acorn in the city park!

We also stopped by a FANTASTIC cupcake shop - although I was VERY tempted to take a bite out of their amazing gingerbread house







They went pretty quickly - yummmmmm

Back at the house the flooring guy was still hard at work - also putting new flooring in the bathroom (so it was necessary to move the toilet temporarily to the hallway)

Murray got caught trying to make use of the facilities

Eventually we just decided to order Chinese food, cause the floor guy didn't leave until 7:30 (his partner hadn't showed up so the poor guy was working like crazy!)

Later Heather broke out the good stuff

COOOOOOOOOOOOOKIES (the nice pop out of the bag & straight int he oven kind)

Ready to bake (WOW they were great!!!)

Then it was time for some board gaming - this is a really fun game

And the tipple

Can you tell who lost? He he - the punishment was having to stand outside in the freezing cold for 2 minutes:)

Day 390 - November 22
After a lovely southern fast food for breakfast (Bojangles cajun chicken biscuits) thanks to Jason & Murray's morning run, we left their lovely house to go meet their cute nieces!

After a nice visit to Jason's sister's house, we made our way to the mall and tried for the first time

Chick-fil-A (pronounced Chick Fill Ahhh) chicken nuggets - very nice!

Back at their house we tried out some of Jason's new lovely tea flowers

Beautiful flower & it gives such a lovely flavour!

Then we made our way out to The Flying Saucer

One of their favourite beers and yummm it was good!

Jason & Heather - casual partner cannibals, there must have been some sauce in Jason's hair that made Heather lose her control...... ?

Later we made our way to the classy City Limits - picking up tall beers on the way in

Lovely - the bras hanging over the dance floor

Jason & Murray

Me & Heather - with just a BIT of beer - hmmmm

It was fun though - dancing on the bar fun!

Other bar dancers - it was darn crowded! Everyone trying to 'out-skank' the other one.

And then......... we made our way to the bull riding. I didn't want to go alone, so Heather voluntered to go with me

It was scary but FUN!!!

I stayed on for a few seconds after Heather was flung off

Post ride - whew that was fun but exhausting!

Back on the dance floor

This is what we were working on

My ride ticket :)

It was a funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn night - great to hang out with H&J - and fun to go to such a great place and such an unusually crazy place !! :) !!

Day 391 - November 23

We woke up seriously in need of.......
bacon & biscuits - ohhhhhhhhhh lovely

Our chef Jason did a fantastic job - eggs, bacon & biscuits - you can't beat it!

Later that afternoon we made our way to Snoopy's (a hot dog place that has been in Raleigh for 30 years). I tried a chili & onion hotdog and it was GREAT!

After picking up Jason's vehicle, the boys went grocery shopping. Check out this crazy Lemon! It's called a Buddha's Hand Citron.....weird

When they got back Murray got to work chopping up apples to try out the pie pan (including steam releasing bird)

Apple pie - ready to go

And it's done!!

That evening Jason made a Fantastic beef stew (with amazing mushrooms in it - very impressed!!) and we watched the movie Office Space.

We followed that with warm apple pie and Breyers French Vanilla ice cream (I am drooling just thinking about it again)

A great last night with great friends (we met Heather & Jason when we lived in London :)

Day 392 - November 24

We got up early to say goodbye - after SUCH a fun weekend!

We stopped on the way to Kentucky for one last Bojangles biscuit (I do not know why I can't this photo to upload the correct way)

Yummm - chicken biscuit, a moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips....but it was kinda more like 20mins on the lips...surely that helps even it out a bit??

We drove & drove all day (through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virgina & finally to Kentucky) - check out this ice - burrrr!

He he - now that is a mean license plate (URUGLY)

We got to Louisville, Kentucky at 9:30 pm and had a bit of a catch up with Stuart (who I worked with in the UK) and his lovely girlfriend Michelle. They were kind enough to let us spend the night at their place.

Day 393 - November 25

We got up, ate breakfast, petted their dog (then cleaned up the mess he made after pulling a loaf of bread down from the counter and eating most of it) before hitting the road again.

We drove from Kentucky, to Indiana, to Illinois, to Wisconsin and finally - MINNESOTA!!!!

We got in about 9:30pm - just before we got to my parent's house I called and chatted to my Dad - saying we were heading towards Michigan - then - I rang their door bell!

This is the FIRST time EVER I have surprised them - it was really fun & they were TOTALLY surprised!!!

Joni & Kyle even went over to shake Grandma awake to come over & see us!


It was GREAT to be back in Minnesota - to relax, clean up Dolph for sale and just have a great time seeing friends and family

We enjoyed watching Minnie boss puppy Brock around (they have become SUCH good friends - I think Minnie really enjoys the company)

And who doesn't love a puppy? I couldn't cuddle Brock enough - he is so sweet!

Multitasking - Minnie must be pet at all times and Brock must have someone to play with!

I enjoyed it though! Although you can see the puppy had spent the day chewing on batteries!??

We also cleaned out Dolph - weird to see the truck SO empty! It looks sunny and warm, but when Murray went to polish the dash the spray froze mid air and white clumps of frozen spray fell on Murray's lap. Brrrrrrrrr!!!




Me & my brother Marcus - getting ready to head over to Grandma's for Thanksgiving

Yummy appetizers - I can't remember exactly what was stuffed in these tomatoes - but I do know it involved cream and bacon! I couldn't stop eating them!

Pies galore - the Thanksgiving standards - Joni's pumpkin & peacon - yummmmmmmmy!

Eating our Thanksgiving meal - (from left) My sister Megan, her fiance Mike, Mom, Murray & Me

My cousin Jolie & my sisters Mariah & Mandie

Murray was excited to try EVERY kind of pie!

Dad out on the frozen lake with our axe we got from 'The Germans" in Yukon, Canada.

Looking back at my parent's house from the lake. So bizarre to stand ON the lake and look back at land....

Lovley sunset

Murray - standing on ICE!! Very slippery in those shoes.....

Murray also made Jalapeno poppers!! Santa got a few in his belly while we had our backs turned!

Jalapenos filled with spicy cream cheese, breaded & fried - so fabulous!

And we had crab legs - my favorite!!!

Dad & I playing piano

Me & My sisters - baking cookies one night:)

One day we also took a trip to Wisconsin to see Kevin & Joni's cabin - Murray decided to see how heavy a deer's head is - ewwwww

Now THAT is disgusting. Frozen solid from being outside.

He also got to fire Joni's (Kevin's) new AK-47......powerful. Joni ended up being the best shot!


video

Kevin & Me - I was getting all the warm gear on in prep of a 4 wheeler (ATV) ride!

Me & Murray

On the four wheeler

We had a nice ride around their property until we got cold enough to have to go back

Later we went out to lunch nearby and spotted this guy's trailer - a 4 wheeler, gun rack & a few dead deer

Ironic? Better check the menu....

Ewwwwwwwwww (we are SO not hunters!)


The deer's last raspberry to the hunter....snap frozen from being outside.

This giant mouse & wheel of cheese is near where my parent's live - cute huh? Definitely COLD!

A path through the ice on the lake

One evening Murray went along to see my brother play santa (that is also my uncle Al playing guitar) for our cousin Caleb's group of friends

Santa telling a story

Ho ho ho

Cute

Also one night we went to see a University of Minnesota basket ball game - GREAT fun!

Murray was more impressed by the cheerleaders though.

They WON though too - it was a GREAT game!

Dunk

That evening we also went to see a production of 'A Christmas Carol' which was fantastic!!!

After the show, back at Marcus's - Murray enjoyed his Stella. By the way - Marcus refuses to put the heating on in his house....

Minnie protecting Santa while Brock stretches out

Brock loves to cuddle his sister bear while sleeping.

How CUTE is he !?!?!!!!

Carrying back sticks - he loves to bring them in through his dog door and leave bits all over the place

Playing with Jagger - crazy puppy loves jumping up catching snow in his jaws! ruuffff!

Hmmm what's going on over there? Bit of snow perhaps?


Murray & I also were lucky enough to have a lovely meal out with our friends Joe & Katie - they took us out to a fantastic pizza place in St. Paul - fun to catch up :)

Murray's last night in town was the night of our family's annual sausage making night - Dad has been known to go overboard on the spice & salt in the past!

Joni had a fabulous spread of food (including smoked fish from our Alaska trip!!!)

Me & sister Mandie

Murray & Grandma

Kevin, Denise & Dad (he always loves to pose for a nice photo)

Then the sausage making began - first step - grind down the onions & potatoes (Mariah, Kyle & Mandie started this job)

Me, Shirley & Denise working on the potatoes & onions

Murray and Dad also had a turn peeling potatoes

Work work work (it is Swedish potato sausage that we were making)

Mariah & Murray working on grinding

Then it was time to mix the spices into the ground beef - Marcus & Johnny were right on top of that

Finally - check the spices - Kyle fried up some of the meat & Grandma taste tested

Then it came time to put the casings (i.e. intestines) on the sausage maker in prep for sausage making!

Murray also decided to try out the drinks

And the meat

The the REAL sausage making began

Somehow it started coming out of Dad's ears?

Johnny & Kyle toasting

Me & Megan

And finally - the result - Swedish potato sausage - and it was Fab!

Then Murray started his game called 'Gifts from Dolph' - you had to draw a number from the hat which corresponded to a gift from Dolph wrapped in brown paper & numbered - the trick was you had to take a shot before you were allowed to get your gift!

Denise got a set of pots - hooray!

Mariah got some American flags!!!

Murray sharing a shot with Kevin

John & Kevin liked the head nets they won!

AND we celebrated Mandie's birthday!!! Joni made this fabulous (red velvet) cake!

Kevin ......

worked hard for his shots

So did Dad & Johnny! Two free tickets to the GUN SHOW!

Cheers

The fiances - Megan & Mike

Mariah & Murray

The boyssssssssssss - Murray & Marcus

Mandie, Me & Mariah (and yes we HAD planned to all wear red - we took xmas photos that evening)


The next day Kevin & Joni came over & we gave Kevin his water pistol & waist pack to store it in (we had watched a show on TV with them where I guy pulled a gun out of waist pack - inside joke I guess:)

After Murray left for Oz - I stuck around for some fun Xmas celebrations - including Christmas at Grandma's house!

Including this Scandinavian specialty - rosettes (you use something like a branding iron, dip it in batter, deep fry and then sprinkle with sugar - fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!)

Me & my brother Marcus

Also - Grandma made the Norwegian specialty - Lutefisk (lye soaked cod - it is like fish jello - NOT my favorite!)

Mariah & Me

Cousin Jenny & Mariah

Dad thinks he his funny :)

Jenny was sick of pictures by this time I think :)

But later we got a nice pic

Megan & Mike

We also had a Christmas celebration with my Dad's side of the family - Jani made stockings for both of us (even though it was just me there)

It was fun to recreate a family tradition from when we were little - every cousin got a stocking

The lovely host aunt Jani, Me & aunt Julie

Jani's AMAZING creation - marshmallows coated in peppermint bits on a stir stick - put in your hot chocolate and WOW - just WOW - amazing

Grandma & aunt Joni

Mariah & Jolie

Cousin Caleb & Me

We also sat around and sang Christmas songs - including O Lutefisk

Megan & Mike

Both Christmas's were great fun - so fun to spend time with family :)

Another day I took my cousin Jenny out for sushi - we had a fun meal (she got me to try eel, I got her to try edamame) and we did a bit of shoe browsing - fun!

Also, Megan brought her cute pup Milky Way over one day - he showed off his holiday t-shirt

He is a wild man though - this was just before he totally scratched me on the cheek!

He's cute though ! and he sure does love Megan:)

My Mom also threw a fantastic fondue evening - including these cute chocolate fondue pots

With all the stuff to dip in it - fruit & marshmellows - lovely

Me & Mandie

That night we celebrated Grandma Sis's birthday

She looked GREAT in her new jacket!

Later we relaxed downstairs with a movie & a cuddle with Brock! (he is ALMOST too big for this already!)

Next day we opened presents - Marcus showed off how good his new cooking knife was - went straight into this poor snow woman!

Over all - it was a FANTASTIC trip home, so so great to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with family :)
 
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