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Archive for May, 2012

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.

We were treated to a different kind of dive this month.  The Countryside is a family restaurant, which is a change from the typical bar-type place we visit.  However, it still falls under our category in that it’s not a chain, it’s neighborhoody, casual, and the food was fabulous.

The Countryside has been around since 1958 so they must be doing something right.  I know what it is too ~ the food.  They specialize in broasted chicken.  According to my mom, good broasted chicken is a rare commodity and any restaurant serving good broasted chicken should be frequented often.

Their menu isn’t huge but is filled with some good things.  Strange combos too, like chicken and spaghetti, but again, if it works for the customers then more power to them.  We started out with some appetizers, as usual.  Delish.

Gigantic onion rings ~ crispy and hot

Mini tacos with a taco sauce dip

The onion rings came in a full and half order; our waitress recommended getting the full order for four people.  HA!  A half order would have been plenty for us, especially considering the second appetizer of mini tacos.  But never fear, we cleaned them up because they were so dang good.  The tacos were pretty tasty too.  I want to know where I can buy little tiny taco shells so I can make these at home.

The Countryside serves bottled beer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but doesn’t have a bar.  The service was cute.  By that I mean they are young, really young, just starting out and learning how to be servers and busboys.  (Bus people?)  We were asked to save our forks when the appetizer plates were taken away, and when Ruthie asked for another iced tea the waitress took her existing glass, still half full, and just topped it off.  See?  Kind of cute.

But more about the food.  It was hot.  Like, really hot.  So hot it made a big impression on me.  It was a good hot.  And the flavor, ooh yeah.  Very good.  Very, very good.

Clam Chowder ~ not pasty with an appetizing golden color. Some of the best chowder I’ve had in a very long time.

Chicken Sandwich ~ huge! Really good, crispy, and tender. Served with fries and coleslaw. I had to ask for additional mayo, but other than that it was fabulous.

Husby’s Steak Sandwich ~ more delicious onion rings on top! Perfectly done in his opinion. Also served with fries and coleslaw.

Ray ordered the broasted chicken and spaghetti combo. The chicken deserves bragging rights, he said. This combo also included a big stack of bread and butter.

Ruthie got the spaghetti and chicken parmesan combo. She loved it!

My camera shots of the interior of the restaurant didn’t turn out very well.  I’ll say it was a well-kept, clean, and brightly-lit establishment.  We saw families as well as young couples on dates.  The Countryside is a nice restaurant, and I was really impressed with the food.  It was so hot!  (Did I mention that already?)  Not only that, it was very delicious and plentiful.

If you want to take the family out for a good meal without spending a fortune The Countryside is a good choice for eating in or take-out.  Located in beautiful Roseville, MN it’s easy to reach from either end of the Twin Cities.  We gave it four thumbs up!

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Let’s delve into my psyche today.  I wouldn’t ordinarily divulge my psychological idiosyncracies, but I’m so proud to have survived my latest shopping excursion I have to share with you all.

You see, shopping gives me a tremendous amount of anxiety.  I’m not sure why this is, but I avoid shopping as much as I can.  It’s completely against the female stereotype, but there it is.  I walk around in outdated clothes because new clothes are in stores (I loathe stores), and cost way more than I think they’re worth (I don’t want to be poor).  I get sweaty palms when I have to order up wax, fragrance oils and dyes for my candle production.  I curse myself when a pan or cooking utensil becomes unusable – replacement calls for a shopping trip.  You get the idea.

This past weekend I couldn’t put it off any longer.  A trip to a store (or two) was necessary.  Luckily Husby agreed to accompany me.  Without him I would have collapsed into a mass of indecision, paralyzed in the retail headlights, at the mercy of *gasp* a sales person.

Yep, after eighteen years of fine service the washer and dryer Husby bought before we were married finally began acting in a way that made us fear for our lives.  They had to be replaced, which meant shopping.  Big shopping.  This shopping was such a frightful thought to me I put off the task for two weeks before I decided my exploding dryer anxiety outweighed my shopping anxiety.

Surprisingly it was relatively painless, with Husby’s help.  We got a pretty fancy washer/dryer combo, and on sale to boot.  With the money we saved on that we threw all caution to the wind and got ourselves a new dehumidifier too.  Husby then rewarded my bravery with lunch at a nearby restaurant.  Food rewards are always well received.

All that’s left is the big delivery day and I can start doing laundry in a whole new way.  Apparently this new-fangled washer works without a center twisty agitator thing, which is gentler on clothes.  You know what that means?  Longer lasting clothes = less clothes shopping for me!  Yay!

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It’s always a treat for me to peruse Etsy for the artists and crafters that make up the HandmadeMN Etsy Team.  We have a lot of members and I’m often surprised when I come across a shop I’ve not seen before.  Sparkflight is one of those shops.

Sparkflight is filled with magical, amazing  wire work.  Twisted and formed by hand, straight pieces of wire are transformed into astonishing pieces of art.

Black Stone & Bright Copper Netted Pendant Necklace

These pieces of art are often wearable in the form of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, but art for display is also available in the shop. Look at this cute little oriole. Incredible work!

Oriole Wire Bird Sculpture

The types of wires used range from stainless steel to copper and everything in between. Most times (if not all the time) the copper wire is recycled. Yay for recycling!

Romantic Copper Vine Necklace

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind swirly, twisty, breath-taking piece of wire art, take a look into Sparkflight. You’ll not be disappointed.

This article will soon be published on the HandmadeMN blog, a blog I’m sure you will enjoy. Not only do they publish my Featured Shop articles, there are lots of giveaways and interesting articles presented by many Minnesota artisans like me.

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My blog is kind of a life-behind-the-scenes-of-a-craft-biz sort of blog. Isn’t it? Well, sort of. One thing I know for sure, it isn’t a Dr.-Phil-Fix-Your-Relationship blog. However, today I offer some relationship insight. Not from me, but from someone who really knows his stuff.

It’s also a little treat for the person I’ve built a relationship with, Husby. Today he turns…a year older. He may not need the relationship insights (after all I’ve been “teaching” him for nearly sixteen years) but he can always used a laugh.

Happy Birthday, Husby! You’re both handy and handsome!

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