Thursday, January 31, 2013


"How can one conceive of a one-party system in a country that has over two hundred varieties of cheese?" Charles de Gaulle

This is the beginning of a new segment about cheese. I figured I better get going, as our first cheese has long since been consumed, and Katie is on her way to Ireland as we speak (and there is a block of Irish cheese waiting in my refrigerator).
Our goal (Charlie and me) is to learn a little more about cheese, and to work on our tastebuds (mostly mine, he has already ate some wonky cheese and was fine with it, I however wanted to throw up, and actually, Truman almost did). Charlie will really miss his Tata, so I thought it would be fun to start by sampling cheeses from where she will be (which he probably won't understand, so it will be super fun for him to see the bug in a box travelling along with her). This will be an ongoing segment, a few times a month perhaps. There is a lot of cheese out there in the world (I'll be sticking with pasteurized cheeses for now, as I am with child).

Due to my past history with fancy cheeses possibly being an acquired taste, I was drawn to a Roth Kase Mini cheese block from Landhaus called Butterkase. The label described it as, "Mild and creamy. Kids love it!" And I liked that it was distributed from Monroe, WI. Also, I went to Hyvee mainly to get rice krispies on sale, and discovered that I had left most of my money at home. I had $16.77 down to the penny, and a few other items to pick up- so I went with small and cheap. My total seriously cost $16.77! I felt like in Uno when you deal the cards out perfectly and your score goes back to zero; I should have gotten my money back again.
We ate some plain, on toast (homemade hearth bread), and in our tomato soup. It was lovely, mild and buttery (though it does not actually have butter in it). Trav also approved. So this is highly reccommended- like American cheese, only it tastes better for you. Apparently the "great cheeses of Germany" served as inspiration.

A fun website to visit about other local type cheese is They offer a cheesecyclopedia to help with descriptions, pairings, and useless bits of knowledge. Such as the butterkase is also called a damencase or "ladies cheese" because it is delicately flavored, odorless and quite complementary to most foods.

We're open to suggestions- what is your favorite cheese?

Join us next time on Cheese with a treat imported from Ireland.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goodbye, Minnesota . . . Buongiorno Italia!

Minnesota is giving me the cold shoulder. One could say that the fresh snow gives our rolling and rambling hills a gentle countenance; one could say that Minnesota is offering up a pillowy-white shoulder of comfort. Whoever that one person is (who is crazy enough to say such things), he or she is obviously not from Minnesota. Because instead of comforting, Minnesota is cold. And windy. And now my very first flight is delayed!

For all of you unacquainted with the above characters (in other words, all of you who are not between the ages of 1 and 2.5), Bug-in-a-Box is on the left, Armadillo Man on the right. Since Armadillo Man is a little fragile, he will not be making the journey with us. He will remain at home, ready to entertain Charlie and Clarence in the absence of Tata. Bug-in-a-Box is an apt traveler, as his inherent situation affords him comfortable and safe travels.

We obviously had a bit of an emotional day on Tuesday. I went to see Becky, Charlie, and Baby-in-Progress one last time. I got a free book (The Sea is my Brother, Jack Kerouac), some Maple Syrup for my hosts in Italy, and another pair of warm, wooly socks. There was a lot of dancing, a little crying, and some very delicious food. And there was a little kissing too!

Much love to you all!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ties (and bow ties).

Charlie says "good morning".

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Il Coccodrillo Come Fa.

Charlie and I would like to share a little Italian with you. Katie got us hooked on this song, and in honor of her upcoming European travels, here it is...Il Coccodrillo Come Fa. (What's the voice of the crocodile? or How does the Crocodile go?)

Stay tuned for our new beginner Cheese series. We've started a "toddler unit" this week, and will be sharing soon. We also noticed some tasty looking grass-fed cow cheese from Ireland, and of course Italian goat cheeses, so if we play a little "Where in the world is TaTa?" I feel that may be a fun time to partake.

~Becky and Charlie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Piccolo Paradiso

Greetings from Meadow Gate Farm! I am relaxing for a few minutes with a small glass of wine and two dogs at my feet. I thought I would share some photographs from this morning's round of chores.

I couldn't help but feature one of my Dad's fence corners. I think Liz may have helped put that one in.

Overall, I can see why Bill and Linda chose this farm, why they do what they do. And I will from now on call it 'Piccolo Paradiso'. I hope they are enjoying the dog trials - Go Jym!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clarence turns 1 year old!

Hello my favorite people.  Now that I divorced FB, I used a bit of my extra 27 hrs a month to work on my Blogger skills.  As I can't figure out how to type from the left margin (only "centered"), it appears I will need a few more practice sessions.  Becky, I found the same problem with rotating pictures as you have had.  1 vertical rotated on its own, the other 2 - not such good luck.  Well, hope you enjoy these pictures half as much as I do:)  It was a fun birthday party and we appreciated the presence of all, the help in serving, cleanup & setup, as well as the thoughtful gifts for Clarence.  Brad's got a big birthday coming up next month - 30 years old!  He's not interested in a big celebration - I wonder how I could help make the day memorable without a "party?"
Clare-Bear needed a little help!

Very dainty for a Tostenson:)

Enjoying gifts.

My favorite picture of these 2 - (wish I could rotate it)!

Birthday boy in his birthday suit!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Good Buddies.

It's nice these two are such good buddies these days. Charlie will go outside with Daddy no matter what temperature. He loves it. 

Right now they are planting garden plants for Spring, after Charlie spent all morning in the kitchen while Daddy was at school. He's going to have a good nap today!
I'm taking a break from updating my Ravelry account, as I finally see the benefit of having an ongoing inventory of my yarn. I took pictures of all of my yarn last night, so I now have to download it to my descriptions... but then I'll be able to find thousands of pattern ideas, many of which are free, to correspond with each type of yarn. Then I just have to knit them.


Monday, January 14, 2013

16 weeks.

I felt the baby move today, a bunch of times. I was kind of wondering for the last two weeks; and sometimes it might have been, but sometimes it probably wasn't. Today I'm sure.
The baby is as big as an avacado, but will be doubling in size within the next 3 weeks. The baby also already owns a pair of newborn puppy slippers, courtesy of Auntie Tata (so cute). Charlie and I have been looking at them and how small they are.
All happy babyness. It is so nice to feel a little bit better and get concrete physical baby evidence (besides morning sickness, that sort of counts but sort of doesn't). Maybe I'll kick this fatigue eventually, too. Blah. Trav said I'm more tired this time because I put all of my energy into a two-year old, which I thought was one of the nicest things he could say. For one, he noticed that I am doing my job, which is taking care of Charlie (last time I had a job, but it wasn't as important); and two, I was kind of wondering if Charlie was suffering from my lack of energy. However, he may have enough energy for both of us, and is generally such a happy boy, sans the canker sores he's been suffering with for the past week. Even so, I heard him singing himself to sleep tonight.


While we are on the subject of Baby (which may happen from time to time around here), here are two of my fav pregnancy websites:

Alphamom's Pregnancy Calendar

Two Awesome Pregnancy Photo Shoot Series

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baby Things.

Yikes! I just did some baby shopping. I'm excited to have finally ordered a set of aden & anais swaddle blankets- apparently they are the best ever, and their patterns are adorable. I've wanted some since Charlie was a baby, but then I had so many other things to buy; this time I am already pretty set so I decided to splurge. They are muslim and get softer as you wash them. Plus they are quite large and make swaddling more realistic, especially as baby gets to be a few months old (they are 47" x 47"). I also got a copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth for $1.21 on Amazon. That is my baby sleep bible, and figured it would be worth owning, instead of loaning it from the library every time I have a sleep crisis (not me, the baby(s), however when baby has a sleep crisis, so does Mommy!). Plus there is a section on setting up multiple babies' sleep schedules, which I am hoping will come in handy while doing daycare- is it crazy to think that two babies will be sleeping in the same room? I'm hoping...

And I am nervous that I got a coupon from Parent magazine for a free car seat cover and breastfeeding cover (called udder cover- isn't that an awful name? a more expensive, reviewed as better quality cover is called hooter hider!), and then used said coupons. I paid $12 shipping costs for both, and am hoping I'm not a sucker. Some reviews were positive, but just as many were basically, you pay for what you get, and if it seems too good to be true it probably is. So we shall see (they are non returnable and apparently the customer service is awful; but their prints are beautiful, and their model moms very hip). So that's where the yikes comes in. Usually I read tons of reviews, however I thought I was in a hurry due to while supplies last threats. Okay, I guess I am kind of a sucker. However, I will be slightly ticked at Parent magazine if these do suck. They are affiliated in my opinion as the coupons came with the magazine and I took that for granted. I typically really like and agree with Parent magazine's reviews.
Now I am going to put it out of my mind and am going to stop reading reviews, as I'm committed and will reserve judgment for when I actually receive them.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year. Many Exciting Things.

*A reminder for you more technologically challenged, if while viewing this post you left-click on the first picture, it will give you a slideshow view of the pictures so that you can see them better. Then just push the over arrow.
**I do not know how to change picture orientation while on Blogger... I did not load any pictures sideways, but there is no easy way to change it once its on here. Blogger, if you're listening, please make your format more picture friendly, it drives me crazy! I would love to be able to edit pictures while on Blogger.

First off, let's catch up.

Trick -or treating with the Lion and the Gnome (I think Charlie thinks he was Santa Clause. He now puts a bubble beard on at bath time and says, "Ho, ho, ho". I let him see in the hand mirror, and he finds himself quite hilarious. I do not know what Clarence thought, however, he is adorable, and his costume perfectly matched his actual hair color.)
In Grandma's defense, she was set up... she was handed a crying baby, which made the other baby cry.

Then there was the visit to go and see Santa Clause. I always think it is a pleasure to also see Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause. Charlie was very prepared to tell Santa that he wanted a tractor for Christmas, walked up and sat in Santa's lap, and then got too shy. But he took it very seriously. Clarence on the other hand, took the opportunity to air a few grievances. (I wonder if Mrs. Clause looks the same in every picture? Man she's good.) Santa Clause did come to our house, and I reassured Charlie that I let him know about his tractor. Thanks to Ya Ya, we had a few cookies to put under the tree, which Charlie checked in the morning, and Santa Clause had eaten them all! There was even one kind Daddy didn't think Santa Clause would like, but it was still gone. Perhaps the reindeer ate it? Next year we should probably leave some homegrown organic carrots, I don't think reindeer should be eating cookies.

And finally, a few goings ons around the house. This is Charlie's way of helping Mommy out... scrubbing the bath tub (I use baby friendly cleaning products), putting pots and pans away (he also took off all of my loose pot lid handles- let's just say most of them were loose. Then Daddy had to get involved, because there's more pieces then you'd think!), decorating Christmas cookies, baking a pie in his new tart pan (baking tools from Ya Ya, kind of fitting), and getting ready to help Daddy organize his gardening supplies. Also, his first haircut picture with Joe the Barber (his first haircut certificate stated that he has now graduated from babyhood, it was a sad and proud day for his parents). 
I didn't even get any pictures when we went to the Viking/Bears game with Kali and Sean. Which I would argue was the best Viking game of the season, and an awesome first game experience for Charlie because of our good seats (my first regular season game, too- I did see a preseason game at Lambeau, which also happened to be Aaron Rodgers first starting game ever). Trav would probably say the best was the Viking/Packer game that enabled their playoff visit. I would say after last night, that win was a high that lasted a mere 6 days. 
Anyways, Merry Christmas!

And Happy and Exciting New Year!
2013 will find us welcoming a new Lingenberry (a firecracker baby, due on my Grandma Z's birthday). My cousin Emily is also having a little one in March, that I will be watching; so between gardening and many, many craft projects I have in my mind, we have a lot to get ready for (and we are so thankful!).
Liz is also going to have a spectacular garden this year (lasagna gardening anyone?), and I would imagine that Clare Bear will be very helpful (I hope he has a pair of bib overalls! And I'll have to check if I have that pair of boots from Helen that will probably fit him this year, or else Mum has them, or maybe you already have them?). She is also working on a living room remodel, and what else? Perhaps Lizzie will blog this year...
Katie will return as the European Traveler, with a couple of months spent in Ireland and Italia. She will be doing some WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), hopefully involving cheese, and I would imagine some regular old galivanting (which can be defined as roaming about in search of pleasure or amusement). She will be in Ireland for St. Patrick's day and Italy for which celebration? ________ (I can't remember, so she will have to fill us in).
And perhaps she will be working on a Dude Ranch in Wyoming this summer (I'm not sure what her pseudonym will be at that time?), and maybe taking Truman out with her for a week?. Truman said that Aunt Carol is familiar with several Dude Ranches out there, so perhaps Katie, you should check with her.
Mum and Dad will be farming and loving on Grandbabies. And gardening and canning. And making cheese and selling Melaluca, in case anyone wants to try it out ( Is that the right website?

Okay, so that sort of catches us up. I think we need to blog this year because we won't be seeing each other as much (especially Katie, and what an easy way to update us a little when you have internet access, even just to tell us you made it somewhere!). I will commit to blogging at least once per week, maybe that could be a goal. We all know how fun it is to check the blog and find that someone has added to it. And remember, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy," (Red Green). (Even if we're not all that interesting, at least we have the same kind of humor :)

XOXO to all! ~Becky