Isn’t this picture hilarious? Yep, that’s my goofy Minnesota family. We just returned from a wonderful trip to Minnesota to visit John’s parents, brother, sister and all their kids. We wanted to get some photos of the family while we were there, so John surprised us all with these mustaches. They were a hit and really made the whole posing for a photo experience fun. I took this shot below of everyone getting ready for the photo, and I have to say that I almost like this one better because it captures the silliness of it all.
The mustaches were a total hit and both the kids and adults had fun posing with them on. Eli got a bit carried away with the discarded mustaches, he thought that having just a mustache wasn’t enough, so he decided to add a unibrow.
John and I lived in Minneapolis before we moved out to California 16 years ago, so we love going back each summer as it feels like home. I thought I would share with you some of the highlights from our trip. I tried to keep it short and sweet, but you all know how I love taking photos and going into detail, so please bear with me. Our second day into the trip we took the kids along with our niece Maisy to visit our old stomping grounds in the city. We walked them by our old apartment building and visited the Walker sculpture garden. Can you see me in the pic below? I’m on one side of the mirror taking the picture and John and the kids are on the other side. Isn’t it creepy? It’s some sort of reflection sculpture.
We capped of the afternoon by heading over to our favorite ice cream joint, Sebastian Joe’s. Sebastian Joe’s makes the best ice cream! I really wish they would open a location out here. Yes, we were a bit piggy with our ice cream choice, but it was so worth it. I had the same cone as the kids shown below, Oreo ice cream on a homemade dipped chocolate cone. It was so tasty!
We did an amazing family bike ride on the Grand Rounds Loop Bike path which takes you around Minneapolis, along the river and around the lakes. It was an all day event, but one that everyone enjoyed. I mean how can you not enjoy being out in nature together? We were quite a large group as there were 14 of us plowing along. We started out near Lake Calhoun and biked through the city and along the river and stopped off for some lunch at Se Salt Eatery, which is located in a park right next to the Minnehaha Falls. The owners took this old park concession building and turned it into a restaurant. Since they moved in, it has really made the falls and the park a destination spot. People can enjoy their seafood tacos while taking in the view of the falls. Se Salt is only open April through October because the building is not heated, and thus wouldn’t be a fun place to visit during the winter. It’s a popular place as there was a long line out the door, which I hear is a daily thing. John and I sneaked in a photo before lunch and you can see the falls right behind us.
After a long bike ride, the kids were ready for a quick swim at Lake Harriet and then for some ice cream. We headed over yet again to Sebastian Joe’s for a late afternoon treat and waited in a yet another long line, but it was so worth it! I got the salted caramel ice cream this time and it was amazing.
Over the course of the vacation we spent a lot of time at the lakes paddle boarding, boating, and of course swimming. John’s parents took us to see the Circus Juventas. Circus Juventas is performing arts youth circus school and they are similar to Cirque de Soleil. Most of the kids that graduate perform in the Cirque de Soleil shows. If you live in the Twin Cities, you have to visit one of their shows. They have a spring and summer show. The show is AMAZING and it’s so impressive at what these kids and teens can do. I felt like it was as good as any Cirque de Soleil show.
The circus took place in St. Paul, so we decided to stick around for dinner. I have to say that St. Paul is a total family oriented and friendly city, and Grand Avenue is just gorgeous. A reader, Jennie recommended that we try this ice cream shop called Izzy’s, so we headed over there after dinner. There was a huge line outside the door, but it was worth the wait as the ice cream was fabulous. I loved how they topped each ice cream with a tiny Izzy scoop, that way you got to enjoy two of your favorite flavors without having 2 large scoops. Thanks for the recommendation Jen!
We capped off the trip by celebrating my birthday with the best birthday cake ever. I seriously teared up when I saw this cake. My mother-in-law designed it, and honestly this was the best birthday present, because it was truly from the heart. Thanks Jeanne!
As you can see from our trip, we ate way too much ice cream and ate out way too much, so we’re all ready for some healthy home cooking. Zoe said the one things she was missing most on the trip was Marin mama’s cooking and veggies. Eli even admitted that he wanted a big kale salad when we got home. Who are these kids? A few years ago, they would have been psyched to have a week full of ice cream and a break from eating veggies. SO with all that being said, we’re eating plenty of kale salads this week.
Sunday night dinner: Favorite turkey burgers, lacinato kale salad, corn on the cob and minty limeade. The kids have been craving these burgers and I’ve been craving a kale salad, so we’re excited for this dinner. We went blackberry picking yesterday and have the biggest batch of fresh blackberries, so John and I are going to be cooking buddies and bake up a batch of blackberry cobbler for dessert.
Monday night dinner: Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos and kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing. This dinner is the perfect meatless Monday fare and great for those busy weeknight, as the tacos take 15 minutes to prepare and the salad can be made ahead in the morning or an hour before dinner. This kale salad is the first kale salad that I ever made, and it truly got me to love kale. I think I need to update the post though, as the pictures are old and dark. If your kids are new to kale, then this is the salad to have them try, as it’s sweet and very kid friendly. I always make this when lacinato kale is not looking too good, as curly kale is always in abundant supply.
Tuesday night dinner: Citrus-marinated chicken, green bean salad and french bread. I made this chicken right before our trip to MN and the kids have been requesting it ever since. I’ve actually been craving it as well. I’m also going to make up the green bean salad so I can post it all for you.
Wednesday night dinner: One-pan pasta and crispy garlic bread. Eli has his first soccer practice of the season tonight, so I want an easy and quick dinner, and this one-pan pasta fits the bill. I always make the garlic butter ahead of time, so while the pasta is cooking, I will bake up the garlic bread.
Thursday night dinner: Pizza night! We had this amazing pizza in St. Paul topped with buffalo mozzarella, pancetta and arugula, so I’m going to try to replicate it. I’m going to serve it up with some sliced heirloom tomatoes topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Friday night dinner: I’m not sure what we’re doing for dinner tonight. We usually eat out on Fridays, but we may just stay home and cook or just whip up something with any leftovers we may have.
I thought I would end the post with a picture of the mustache cousins.