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My family celebrated Father’s Day a week early this year. Everyone was available which isn’t always the case for holidays so we decided to go for it.

Erik and I had all my siblings, their spouses, kids and my parents over for appetizers and dessert. I wanted to do a “dads’ favorite things” theme so we had each family bring an appetizer that represents a dad’s favorite food.

Let’s cut to the chase, the food! Oh wow the food was awesome at our gathering. My family and I are huge fans of appetizers so we went heavy on the apps and also had dessert. No main course needed.

On the menu:

Mini BLTs (represents Erik, dad to Juliet and Rosie)

Mini egg rolls and pot stickers (represents my dad)

Mango and black bean salsa with tortilla chips (represents my brother Ron, dad to Chloe)

Chicken wings (represents my brother Joel, soon-to-be dad in about 3 weeks!)

Cold Stone Creamery’s Tall, Dark and Delicious round ice cream cake (represents Erik)

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Erik loves ice cream cake. His favorite dessert is a toss up between cheese cake and ice cream cake. And this cake from Cold Stone is as delicious as it looks.

This was a large round cake and it is called the Tall, Dark & Delicious cake. It had layers of devil’s food cake, sweet cream ice cream with brownies and chocolate ice cream with Oreo cookies with white frosting and fudge ganache.

Seriously so good.

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I found this Dad art project idea on Pinterest and Juliet loved it. We taped the word Dad on a big white piece of paper and let Juliet go to town with paints. Once it dried we tore the tape off. Easy peasy. I printed a bunch of my recent favorite Instagram photos of the girls and Erik and hung them up with clothes pins.

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Not all the food fit on my foyer table, but here is a glimpse of our delicious spread. The centerpiece was definitely the cake.

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I’ve made these mini BLTs so many times. They are easy and always a favorite. Erik could eat, like, 20 of them.

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Take breakfast biscuits and bake for 10 minutes, add a slide of roma tomato, lettuce, one piece of bacon and a tiny bit of mayo.

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I love that this cake is part cake and part ice cream. It’s the best of both worlds. Oh and the chocolate ganache on top was amazing. I called and ordered the cake over the phone a couple days in advance, you can also order online at ColdStoneCakes.com. They typically also have cakes in the freezer that you an pick-up same day, too.

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Erik and his Rosie.

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Let’s just say it’s not easy getting a decent photo of both girls.

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Let’s cut this cake! I’m so glad we have leftovers.

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My lil’ bro is about to become a dad so we give him some practice with Rosie.

I love entertaining and celebrating holidays with my family and adding personal touches to make them extra special. The dads in my life definitely deserve a little something to show how I appreciate them.

Erik is a truly awesome daddy to our girls. And he’s a good husband. Have I ever mentioned that he cleans our house? As in, he cleans and I don’t. I hate cleaning. I stink at it. He likes it and is good at it. And it’s just one of those things he does and never complains. He also makes breakfast for us every Saturday and Sunday morning. And reads Juliet’s books every night. As much as we can be, we are pretty balanced and 50/50 when it comes to our kiddos and our home.

And I can’t say enough good things about my dad. He’s always been a supportive dad. He always made me and my siblings feel like we could do anything we put our minds to. And he’s an awesome grandpa. Juliet calls him Baba Wally and she loves him dearly.

What are you doing this weekend for the dads in your life?

For more ice cream goodness be sure to check out Cold Stone’s Instagram.

Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery. As always, all opinions are my own (but since this post is in part about ice cream it also includes the opinion of my 3 year old and husband!).

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Rosalyn 1 month 2

Our sweet little Rosalyn turned one month last week. As most parents say about the first month (and all months, all years), it absolutely flew by. And it was wonderful. The night feedings, the diaper changes even because they come with the sweetest newborn snuggles, the breastfeeding, those little baby coos. Rosie is a very easy baby, similar to Juliet at this age. She rarely cries or fusses…nights aren’t awesome, but I know they aren’t really supposed to be this early on. She’s up every 2-4 hours at night (a 4 hour stretch is rare). I am a bit tired, but nothing my coffee in the morning can’t fix.

Juliet has been so great with her sister. She clearly loves “her baby Rosie” and while she did have some regression in the first few weeks we brought Rosie home (including a couple instances where she politely asked me to “put the baby back in my tummy)” she’s been doing so well in the past few days. She is always asking “how is my baby”? It’s really sweet. I’m so ridiculously happy and thankful to have my two sweet little girls.

Rosalyn has pretty much the same likes and dislikes as Juliet did around one month:

Likes:

Breastfeeding (we do this on-demand and I really love it. She has been a champion breastfeeder and has basically never had a single issue). She just got it right away. I’m sure it helped that I have 2 years of experience with Juliet. I couldn’t be more grateful that breastfeeding her has been easy because it was difficult with Juliet the first few weeks and that’s really stressful).

Snuggling on momma’s chest

Being held

Being wrapped in a warm blanket

Sleeping in bed with momma

The rock ‘n play (but only for naps, not night sleeping unfortunately)

Rosalyn 1 month

Dislikes:

Being cold

Baths

Sleeping in the rock ‘n play or co-sleeper at night

Being put down

Maternity leave is freaking awesome. It’s like the best vacation ever. I mean…obviously I know it’s no all-inclusive stay in Mexico. But there is just something really nice about having 3 months from work…away from that type of stress and taking time to really slow down with your new baby. And I actually really like my job. A lot. But I still really love having this time off. I have 7 weeks remaining and I am savoring each second. And being a second time mom is really great. I have so much more confidence and much less anxiety.

I worried about not liking having my leave over the winter, but it’s been totally fine. I’ve had so many fun dates with friends, meeting for brunch, meeting at the Mall of America (I live literally 15 minutes away and I usually am not a fan, but for walking around and grabbing coffee/lunch it’s great. Very family friendly). Two of my good friends have had maternity leave at the same time as me and we have been taking full advantage to spend time together with our babies.

The first month is really special. From coming home from the hospital and such a big life change and transition…to being off work and learning to relax and enjoy your only plans being the couch, the Today Show and a baby on your chest. It goes so fast. Newborns change literally before your eyes. Rosalyn has already gained a couple pounds and almost out of newborn clothes and diapers. She is sporting a double chin and is the most adorable thing.

I just love her so much. Happy one month my sweet Rosie-girl.

 

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Our holiday has been really great, and I’m happy that we still have the tree up for another week or so. The ladies in my family had our annual holiday cookie baking party in mid-December. I typically host at my house, we make tons of cookies, and everyone brings something to eat for brunch or appetizers. Usually I have some type of champagne cocktail drink but this year we passed since I can’t enjoy it anyway.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant, this is the week that Juliet was born. She surprised the hell out of us by arriving a full month early and I’m really hoping that this pregnancy goes full term, at least 39 weeks. Fortunately, I feel pretty great, so even though Erik and I had an extremely busy week hosting house guests both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I barely noticed I was pregnant (except for the fact that I couldn’t drink wine).

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Delicious bruschetta

Our summer has been pretty busy, but with a good balance of of being laid-back and relaxing thrown in. We love exploring cool places around us and I especially enjoy finding places with wide open spaces for Juliet to run around in. This winery and pizza bistro is just an hour from our house the perfect place.

We went with Erik’s family when they were visiting over Memorial Weekend. The weather was lovely, and we enjoyed a wine tasting and pizza on the patio overlooking lush green trees and grape vines.

If you want to check it out, Falconer Vineyards and Winery is in Red Wing, MN. Thanks to my sister for telling us about this place!

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The pizza was really good. We ordered a bunch of different kinds and enjoyed them all. Since it’s been over a month I don’t remember each flavor but we got a smoked salmon pizza, a pepperoni pizza and two others. They make the pizzas in a wood-fire oven right on the patio.

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The view from the vineyard looking up at the winery and patio

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After we had pizza and wine, we let Juliet run wild in the vineyard. She loved it.

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The past month or so I’ve been staring at Juliet and thinking, “wow, she is getting to be such a big girl!”

This is a great photo of Erik’s mom, Erik and Juliet. We rarely get photos where Juliet is actually looking at the camera and smiling.

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Juliet and daddy

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Juliet and grandma Karen

For other great summer spots in MN and WI be sure to check out:

Nelson Stone Barn pizza farm

Two Pony Gardens Pizza Nights

 

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barn

My younger brother Joel got married last Saturday to his awesome wife Katie. They hosted a fun, beautiful, rustic barn wedding on a farm in Wisconsin. The hope was for an outdoor ceremony but the weather had other plans. It literally down poured for hours as well as insane wind, but you know what? The ceremony inside the barn was just as beautiful as ever. And despite the weather, the day really was perfect in every way.

Joel and Katie were happy, laid back, just thrilled to be getting married to each other. And they kept their eye on the big picture. I admire them so much for that because I know had it have been me, I’m not sure I would have been able to hold my cool.

Their wedding really turned out to be the best day.

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Warm summer days are so limited in MN. We wait all winter for warmth and when it’s finally here, I try my best to embrace it and allow Juliet to enjoy and soak in every precious minute. For I know all too well that winter rolls back around quickly. You know what I love so much about summer? No jackets, boots, mittens, and hats. To get Juliet out of the house without having to fuss with all of that is so nice. It’s freeing. And I know she feels that way too.

So on these warm days, as soon as we get home from daycare/work, we run outside as fast as we can. We run around the yard, play hide and seek, laugh, roll around on the grass. We eat frozen fruit bars even though dinner is not far away and it will surely ruin her appetite. I don’t care. It makes her so happy. In an ideal world, I would always make homemade frozen fruit bars, but in reality, I often have to go for convenience. So it’s a good thing there are frozen fruit bars like these Fruttare bars for us to enjoy when there is no time to fuss around with the homemade version.

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