Screw the Chopsticks

It is probably safe to say that I could eat sushi every day. Unfortunately, I've moved to a town that has only one good sushi restaurant, Red Ginger. It, of course, is rather pricey and doesn't allow for daily (or even weekly) visits without breaking the budget. Rusty, also a sushi lover (melt my heart!), decided that we should try to make our own. Easy, right? It was a lot of fun, but it did take a total of about 6 hours (including shopping for the goods), so allow yourself plenty of time. And, try not to be starving when you start...this can cause Food-Hankiness (yes, I made that up using hungry and cranky with a little bit of "ness" thrown in for added effect).
Anyway, so we decided on some easy rolls for our first time (or Maki for those of you sushi gurus): California, Spicy Tuna, Tuna with Cucumber, and Tuna with Avocado. We also made Shrimp Nigiri and Tuna Nigiri (with rice) as well as Tuna Sashimi (without rice). We made an attempt at shrimp tempura and also threw in some onion rings for shits and giggles.
When I first started eating sushi I completely dismissed the idea of the ginger on the side, but now I absolutely, positively, must have ginger accompany my every bite. It is so yummy!! How was I ever so ignorant to this amazing accessory to my most favorite meal? So I made a call to Red Ginger (because they have the BEST ginger I've ever had) and the manager sold me 1/2 a pint for just $4! Woo Hoo!!
The wasabi is in a whole section all by itself. It has to be. This powder we found will literally take your breath away. (that's what she said) Our eyes were tearing up as we were making the rolls because the dish of wasabi paste was merely sitting on the counter next to me, lingering. Once we sat down to eat, our eyes were watering and our noses were running with every bite we took. We were hysterical at the site of each other's red faces, which, in turn made us laugh and cry even more. Haha! It was definitely NOT your poor man's wasabi...this was some serious Japanese LOVE.
Here are pictures from our Sushi Date Night:

Future Sushi Chef? Haha...not quite.The pieces turned out bigger than bite size so I had to break out a fork. Hence the title of this post.
Heaven on a table! Not bad for a couple of sushi-making-virgins. :)


Minnie Mouse

Over the last couple of weeks Ella has been obsessed with a sing-along Disney video and she is quite adament that it play at all times, even if it's just background music. This has triggered her imagination, and she now refers to herself as Minnie Mouse and insists that everyone else do the same. The other day she hurt her knee and was consoling herself by saying, "It's ok, Minnie Mouse. It's ok.". She then turned to me for reassurance, and so I offered my condolences to Minnie Mouse as well. It seemed to do the trick. Ella has also become interested in dressing herself. When she gets home from school, she tears off her play clothes and puts on her sparkle tights and a flowy yellow skirt, intending to "look" like Minnie Mouse. For Valentine's Day I couldn't find a Minnie Mouse outfit and had to settle on a Snow White dress. She wore it all weekend at the cabin.


Weekend Getaway

When you live where we live, the winters tend to trigger bouts of cabin fever, especially by the time February rolls around. I did a little research on Craigslist (love that website!) and found a quaint 2 bed/2bath log cabin in the middle of nowhere, and so we decided to head out of town for a long weekend. We didn't really do much of anything...which was perfect! However, we did manage to take some walks & venture out onto the iced-over Lake St. Helen. No worries, I watched a 4-wheeler drive across the thing before I took one step on that ice! And, who says you can't go to the park in the winter?! We romped around in the snow going from swings to see-saws. A Valentine's Day with 2 of my favorite people...Cheers to that!



It was 47 degrees and sunny this past weekend and although the snow was wet and melting, we couldn't resist playing outside. After checking out 3 sledding "spots" we settled on a nice, steep hill behind Copper Ridge. Ella found it weirdly entertaining to stare at the dog poop that was scattered around the area. But, all in all, we had a very enjoyable afternoon sledding and the view wasn't half bad either!

Fun in the Tub

Ella proudly displaying her artwork. In the bathtub. Good thing their washable.

Igloos & Dreams

I really did think Rusty was crazy when he made the decision to purchase an igloo-making-tool. But, his excitement was contagious and we set out one afternoon (to the front yard) and built Ella her very own igloo. It took about 3 hours total and now Ella is the coolest kid on the block! Our step-by-step process...

More Pictures from the top

Snowshoeing...The Experience

Where do I begin? Well. It was a cold, but sunny, January day and we wanted to get outside and play in the snow . Rusty, Ella & I rented snowshoes and set out for a little adventure. It was a leisurely half hour drive out to Sleeping Bear and Ella fell asleep. When we arrived, she woke up and we all put on our snowshoes. Ella made it as far as the start of the trail & demanded they come off. She then climbed into her toboggan. And, so began the 1.3 mile trek uphill to the lookout. Rusty so graciously offered to pull the toboggan and I followed behind. Not bad. About a 1/4 mile up, we breaked for a snack. Onward. 5 minutes after that, Ella had had enough of the toboggan. The day before, I purchased a baby sling at B&B in anticipation that I may end up carrying her. Little did I know how right I was. Once situated nicely on my hip clutching her blanky, we continued on. We walked. And walked. And, walked some more. It was gorgeous and peaceful. My legs were burning. When finally, we made it to the top! The view was breathtaking and totally worth the trip. We played in the snow for a while before beginning our journey back downhill. This was much easier than coming up, but it was still 1.3 miles in the snow with a 30 lb. child on my hip! Ella fell asleep and Rusty & I enjoyed the silence and leisurely stroll through the barren, snow covered woods. Even though I was exhausted and craving a hamburger by the time we reached the car, I would definitely do it again. Here are some pics we took at the top.



It's hard to believe that Ella turned 3 on January 5 but alas, she did. Another year has whisked by so quickly. Although, I've come to the realization that having her birthday fall so close to Christmas is going to be an ongoing challenge, it still makes for a fun kickoff to the new year! Even though we didn't have a big party, Ella still seemed to grasp the idea that it was "Her" special day and savored all the attention. She got a big kick out of the "trick" candles we put on her cake. But, she tired quickly of blowing the candles out repeatedly and grabbed her fork and dug into the bright pink & yellow dream cake. YUM!! Now, this may make some people cringe, but I found it quite amusing and need to share. The next day there was a note in Ella's backpack from her school teacher saying "Ella's stool today was pink in appearance and playdoe like in texture". Hahaha, funny stuff.

Uh-hul B called to wish Ella Happy Birthday just as she was blowing out the candles. She was filling him in on the trick we played on her.


Friends Reunite

Everyone heads home for the holidays which always calls for some mini-reunions. I was able to sneak out a couple times and get together with some girlfriends who I haven't seen in a long time. They were some much needed mommy-needs-to-get-out-every-once-in-a-while-and-have-a-drink-with-girlfriends nights! Thanks Ladies!!

Christmas Morning

Ella and her new presents...

The only thing she asked for were "Qua-Qua's". That means Ducks. Not sure what she meant though? But, these seemed to suffice.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

It was a Christmas Eve to remember. We had more snow on the ground than we've had in 15 years by this time and we were having a blizzard! All of us Neummie's headed out anyhow to put up the traditional luminaries that line our neighborhood sidewalks. People come from all over the area to drive through and see the glistening lights in our 4 block radius. I might add that last year my mom & Ella landed on the front page of The Record Eagle setting up the luminaries! That was cool. :) Anyway, we all bundled up and headed outside to play in the winter wonderland. Everyone, that is, except poor Uh-hul B (otherwise known as BJ, my brother) whose Southern bones just can't handle this northern chill!