Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zorba's Pizza

Forget Chicago and New York - you can get great pizza right here in northern Minnesota!  Just three hours north of the Twin Cities (that's Paul Bunyan country if you can't read the sign), in the small town of Cross Lake, Minnesota, lives the legendary Zorba's Pizza.  Zorba's found its niche where the mega chains dared not venture.  Boasting 9 locations (all in the remote cabin towns of northern Minnesota), Zorba's classic kitschy ambiance is exactly where you'd expect to see a water-skiing flip-flopping crowd.

Here, the "Bunn Zpecial" Pizza boasts five meats, including a rather spicy Italian sausage.  This is pizza that calls for commitment.  The menu reads, "Red Meat Ain't Bad For You - Green Meat with Fuzz on it is!"  For the tree huggers out there, they also have the PETA Special - All Veggies - No Meat.

In addition to some tasty pizza, the kids also found these cool vacation T-Shirts.

Who needs Hilton Head?  We've got Zorbas at the Beach!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cabin Magic

There's something about going back 
to a childhood place -

A single exhale clears the soul.

Discoveries await in rocks and sand

and slippery fish send the heart racing.

Old Cousins Reunite

and new ones share the joy of laughter.

Marshmallows stretch like sweet, sticky taffy

Tangerine sunsets melt into a cool, starlit sky

Crackling campfires echo the soulful cry of loons.

It's what I call Cabin Magic.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mom's 70th Birthday Party

Although my mom's 70th birthday was in May, we decided to celebrate it in July when we could all be together.  My sister-in-law, Janet, and I put together a party that was simple, personal and fun.  We created a theme around a favorite old photo and tied in a fun element from the photo - polka dots!

For the less-than-artistic (me), the photo theme proved to be easy and fool-proof.  I like to call the following examples "Photo Copy Crafts."  If you can push a button, you can do this!

Since mom loves flowers and has created a beautiful cutting garden in her yard, we decided to create personal centerpieces from her garden and make her the star - the most beautiful flower of them all!

To insert pictures of my mom in each of the centerpieces, I found stem wire at a local craft store.  I held one end with a pair of pliers and then wrapped the wire around the pliers three or four times.

The end result was something that resembled modern art paper clips, but they worked perfectly to hold the pictures in place.

Below are some of our arrangements, one with my cute nephew Elias peaking over the top!

The "Photo Copy Crafts" continued with banners from the same photo, strung together with pink, polka-dotted ribbon.

Chef Tim Pearson prepared a delicious dinner for an appreciative crowd.
The menu included gourmet burgers with all the fixings, marinated chicken breasts, a delicious spinach salad, fruit kabobs and a successful rendering of mom's favorite potato salad.  The best part?  He even does dishes!!!!

My co-conspirator (and sister-in-law) Janet with my brother Mark.

Delicious cream cheese-filled chocolate cupcakes are topped with yet more photos of the Birthday Girl!

  • Polka Dotted Napkins
  • A matted 5x7 picture which all the guest signed
  • More displayed 5x7 pictures from various years of her life (I used existing frames by temporarily displacing the grandkids!)
In lieu of gifts, we asked each guest to read out loud a card or personal tribute.  We collected them at the end and displayed them in a keepsake birthday scrapbook!

Finally, a party wouldn't be complete without a take home favor.  Since my mom has a sense of humor, I knew she and her guests would appreciate this "Marital Bliss" Chocolate Bar.  See who gets the big half?

The chocolate bars were placed in a crisp, cellophane bag and tied with a polka-dotted ribbon, a birthday greeting, and, of course, another themed photo!


Friday, July 9, 2010

What I Learned From Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow holds a Heisman Trophy and the 2010 first-round draft pick as quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  On the Fourth of July, our family had the chance to hear his perspective on life, football and faith.

If you can get past his cuteness and the way the spotlight reflects off his broad shoulder pads, you'll find that Tim Tebow has a heart of gold.  Here are four things that I learned from this All-American:
  1. Obey the Little Things.  Tim Tebow never dreamed of the impact that a single, small decision would make.  One morning he woke up and thought, "What if I wrote a personal message on the black strips I wear beneath my eyes?"  He wrote Phil 4:13.  The scripture read, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"  He wore that reference for most of the season.  One game, he thought he should change it.  He wrote, John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  Later that week he learned that after the game, John 3:16 had received over 3 million hits on Google.  What impact could I have if I obeyed the little things that the Holy Spirit prompted me to do?
  2. Count Your Success.  During a recent interview, Tim Tebow was asked if, given all his awards and accomplishments, he would consider his life a success.  His answer?  Yes.  His life was a success, not because of his athletic accomplishments, but because Jesus Christ was Lord and Savior of his life.  Do I consider my life as successful as Tim Tebow's?
  3. Bloom Where You're Planted.  The youngest of five, Tim Tebow was born in the Philippines to missionary parents.  That heart for missions has stayed with him.  He continues to promote the Gospel, but views football as his mission field.  Every gift can be used for the glory of God.  How do I use mine?
  4. Look to the Future.  Some say he'll make it in the pros and some say he won't.  Is he worried?  Tim Tebow says, "No.  I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."

Keep the faith, brother!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fourth of July Parade

The annual neighborhood 4th of July Parade and Festival is one good reason to stay in town!  Kids dress up in their most patriotic garb and design their most creative parade float!  Our covered wagon is fashioned from flexible tubing, cardboard, plastic ties and muslin.  Shoe polish gives the cardboard a faux wood finish.

Even the cool boys join the fun!

The parade begins with a fire truck, police escort and the Sons of the Revolution.

Ponies pull our covered wagon,

while dad monitors the driving!

Ella throws saltwater taffy to an appreciative crowd!

At the parade's conclusion, awards are given for Best Decorated Vehicle (Us!) 
and Most Patriotic Family (The Adorable "Parade Pops")

But that's just the beginning of the festivities......

.......a park full of fun (and a perfectly temperate day) awaits!

We Jump

Get Soaked

Defy Gravity

Ride Ponies,

And Eat all things Nutritious!

A clown makes balloon shapes and puts a smile on our face!