Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wedding Cakes, Films and the MnGCA Spring Event

Kris: The past few weeks have continued to be trying on us financially but while it's very stressful, a few things are very exciting.  One evening we went to Queen of Cakes to sit down and talk about our wedding cake and options for evening cupcakes.  Their prices are very reasonable and we got plenty of options for cakes and frostings.   Yikes seriously we EACH got like 10 half slices of cake on a platter to try.  Both of us fell in love with the red velvet as top choice.   We have some fun designs started but I think I'll keep that a secret and not spoil the surprise.

We also signed a contract with Charles and Mike from Forever Films that will be helping us to capture our lives together and help us show off our wedding.  When we met with them, they were totally on the same lines of thought that we were and had some great ideas.   So after a lot of careful thought and many $$$ we've got a fantastic project in play!  Again, not going to spoil the fun on this one, you'll have to be at the reception to be part of this one :)

(And Charles, Mike, if you guys are reading this, I'm sure we'll get you to be Caribou Coffee fans before this is all over ;)

Mark: Kris forgot to mention another financial setback we had during the past few weeks. My dog Ruger broke open the tip of his tail and unfortunately it would not heal up and became badly infected resulting in us making the decision to have his tail amputated. He gets his stitches out on Friday and I will then post before and after pics.

Kris: We also got to take our engagement photos!! Last Tuesday our friend Sarah McGee, a fabulous photographer, took our photos down around Lake Calhoun which of course holds a very special place to both of us.  We had a blast, the weather was perfect and I am anxiously waiting to see the final results!  I'll show some off as soon as we get them :D

This past weekend started with a 5k race in Eden Prairie.   You can check our personal blogs for the recaps on that.  I just posted mine earlier tonight. Mark: I will hopefully post mine in a day or so.

Kris: So Saturday after the 5k we did a quick change and headed down to Nerstrand State Park for the Spring MnGCA event.  It was about an hour drive and with the pouring rain we had to get through it took a bit longer.  Here are a few blubs about our adventures :)

After lunch and a few fun caching contests (oh I won a really cool book and Mark won the Splinterheads movie!) we headed into the forest.   It was go green and so pretty!

We ran into ISpy and his family and came upon this really odd tree.  It looks like some time in the very distance past someone stuck a step between these two trunks and the tree has grown in.  Kinda heart shaped :)

We then headed over to this waterfall which was also an earthcache.

We kept seeing these signs about endangered plants and that this one was only found in just 3 counties in Minnesota.   We think this might be one of them but weren't able to find out for sure.

Before heading across the road to the southern half of the park for a "quick" multi we stopped for a picture.

Mark: So as the day was getting late we decided to try for one more cache, a multi called "A Walk in the Woods" Unfortunatly the name of the cache was was not just a name, it was very descriptive. The first stage was close by, just across the road from the park office.

Stage 1 was such a cute little little charater.

Along the way Kris decided to try her Jane imitation with a vine hanging from a tree.

Stage 2 was about a 3/4 mile walk from Stage 1 and was another very creative container.

On the walk to the Stage 3, the final stage, we decided to grab another cache that we had writted off earlier as it was too far away in the park. Apparently not since we had to walk right past it on the way to Stage 3. The cache was at a bridge at the southern edge of the park. We made the find quickly and dropped a few TB's and one of our pathatgs for the next cacher to make the trek. Now for the return trip, which was about a mile and a half back to the car. All in all this one cache took us about an hour and a half, not part of the plan, and we ended up getting home much later then we planned on, but we had a great day! 

(Ok Blogger people....please make pictures faster and easier to upload.   This post took me WAY to long to put together.  And why can't I figure out out to put the pictures in the words anymore?  Sigh....)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Geocaching 10 Years!

Mark: Last weekend was the 10 year anniversary of Geocaching, of which Kris is a newbie, been doing it for a little over a year and I have been geocaching for over 4 years. For the 10 Year Celebration Groundspeak created a new event type with a special icon for and events scheduled and held during the weekend of  April 30th - May 3rd.

In the Twin Cities there were several 10 Year events to choose from including what I would consider the two main events, St Paul and Minneapolis. On Saturday, the St. Paul event was hosted by friends of ours, NOSNOW and Shadows Friend. Their event was in Carver Lake Park (actually in Woodbury) and they went with a bean theme. (For anyone not familiar with Geocaching the very first geostash (cache) was hidden on May 3rd, 2000 and contained several items including a can of beans. Many years later a plaque was placed marking the location of that hide and when they were preparing the spot for the concrete to hold the plaque that found the original can of beans that was hidden in the cache. It is now sort of a treasure in the geocaching community.

As part of the Bean Theme, NOSNOW and Shadows Friend had a couple of bean games, guess the type of beans and a guess how many beans are in each size of Geocaching container. Here is Kris counting beans.

Kris: Thank you to Gilby 4 for taking this lovely picture of me :-P

Mark: In addition they also produced a special pathtag just for this event with a can of beans on it and everyone who attended received one. VERY NICE!!
In addition to the Pathtag, there was also a special 10 Years geocoin that you could purchase which was unique for Minnesota. Actually they used the same design for the geocoin and changed the colors in the coin for each state/location.

Not sure if it was part of the plan or there was a note to the effect somewhere that I missed but just about everyone brought a dish for the potluck that was bean themed. Baked Beans, Bean Salad, Jelly Beans but my favorite was the Boston Baked Bean Cookies.  Kris: Yay for Boston Baked Beans!!  Love those things :)

Mark: While we were at the event we conveniently found a few caches, surprise surprise, and discovered I already had a found a cache in this park that I don't even remember finding. Based on the cache pictured below with Kris you would think I would remember that.

There was a great little creek that you had to cross to get to one of the caches.

Near the end of the event they took a group photo, which Kris and I missed, tried to find a difficult cache that was a little too far away to get back in time. :( After the picture the was a drawing for prizes, they had so much cool stuff to give away, and I think just about everyone got something. (Kris was one of the unfortunates not to get anything) I got a waterproof match container that can be used as a cache container. I was hoping to get one of the numerous geocoins that were give away but no such luck.

Thanks!! to NOSNOW and Shadows Friend for putting on such a GREAT event!

We had to leave the St Paul 10 Years! event a little early to get back to Minneapolis because Kris won pictures to the Owl City concert. I originally debated about buying Kris tickets to the concert, she really likes the song "Fireflies" but decided the $40 ticket price plus the extortion money ticketmaster charges was not worth it.  After attending the concert I am glad that I didn't actually spend any money, except for the beer and wine to help us tune out the teens and tweens. Kris:  Ugh this concert made me feel SO old!  But being old has it's perks....again please refer to the beer and wine!  Great performance though and very glad we got to go.

Don't get me wrong, it was an entertaining something to add to the life experiences but the concert was almost entirely attended by teens, tweens and their Moms. There was the occasional Dad around in attendance but not many and it was one of them that gave us the alcohol idea. Thanks Dad!

Here is Owl City preforming their one hit song "Fireflies" which they saved as almost the very last song. (Made sure you stuck around for the entire concert)

On Sunday we both ran the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon which we had a great time and Kris even set a new Half PR which you can read about at her personal race and training blog.

Originally we had not planned on attending the Minneapolis 10 Years! hosted by King Boreas but we decided at the last minute to head straight from the race to the event at Gluek Riverside Park. An opportunity to get credit for attending 2 of the 10 Years events. This was a much....... simpler event. Mostly a social event, geocachers standing around talking caches. There was a potluck as well, but no theme or games and there was only one cache in the park that you could find with out even using the GPS because the grass was trampled down right up to where the cache was hidden in a pine tree.

Several of our caching friends were at the event including Ronindoc who gave us one of the pathtags he used to propose to his girlfriend the previous weekend. Kris: I thought he had a very cute proposal story!  He surprised his girlfriend out in PA where she lives with a new cache and this pathtag.  The full story is very sweet
Mark: A group photo was also taken at this event and Kris and I made it in this picture. We can be seen just behind KB (Holding the 10 Years! logo sign in the center) and just to the right. Also of note is our friend Gilby4 who decided to climb the tree behind the group.

After the picture was taken it was time for the potluck, which was good since Kris and I were starving, remember Kris and I ran a half marathon prior to coming to the event. After the potluck KB also had a drawing for some geocoins, not many just a few, nothing like the day before in St. Paul.

We cut out a little early but we were tired and and need to go home and take a nap. All and all we had a very good weekend at both Geocaching 10 Years! Events. 
Kris: I'm also very glad we got to attend both even though it was a lot of running around over the two days but it's fun to catch up with our caching friends and for Gilby 4 and Pippin and Merry, I promise I won't forget my MOGA medal for the next event at Nerstrand so I hope you'll be there!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gift Registry and a Wedding Band...check

Kris: We've been getting a lot of emails now that we have attended a few different wedding expos.  A few we ignore and a few we can't pass up.  Like last Thursday.  Macy's was having a special "Sip and Scan" event where you come in do create a registry at one of their stores and they feed you hors d'ouvres.  We didn't think we'd really find a lot of things to register for but decided maybe we could get some free food and register for some fun items that we may or may not actually advertise.   But let me tell you....check out our registry at Macy's please!  We had a lot of fun and registered for some great grilling, kitchen and bedding items.   Granted there are some fairly expensive items but there are a lot of reasonably priced items too.   Here's Mark registering for some new bedding sets:

We both found it quite funny that when you walk in, they hand the woman the clipboard with the checklist and hand the guy the scanner :-P

As we left we even got a gift bag with a few coupons and free champagne flutes.

And I have to give a shout out to our Macy's "attendant" Walter.   He was the registry expert that got us going and helped us through the process.  He had a fun personality and was great to work with.

Mark: Walter was a riot!!

Kris: Friday, Arthur's Jewelers was having a wedding band event and we had spoken with one of their salesmen, Gary, at the Twin Cities Wedding Fair.  So we decided to stop over there and hopefully find a wedding band for Mark since the deal was $100 off and no sales tax if you purchase that night.   Well again little did we know that when we got there, they had sandwiches, fruit, veggies, a chocolate fountain, pop, beer and wine for the event shoppers :D

So we happily ate our way around the store and looked at a lot of different rings.   Gary was there to help us and was another fun person we've gotten to work with.  Luckily Mark found a great ring at a good price AND we were well fed by time we left ;)

Mark: Not kidding, they had a really nice spread of food, including some good beer and wine choices.

Kris: It was such a beautiful evening we decided to put off our training run until the next morning and enjoy the weather.  We ended up over at Sapor Cafe for another glass of wine and some fantastic dessert and of course as we were waiting we pulled out the iPhone to see what caches were in the area.   I saw one nearby that had an interesting trackable in it.  It's a "coin" that I guess is part of a set of trackables that look like the cache symbols.   (TB39X75) So now I want to find one of each symbol ;)

This weekend we are going to a Geocaching 10 Year Anniversary Party (GC23T7E) and then to see the Owl City concert.   They are a fantastic group that is from Minnesota and I managed to win free tickets from 101.3 KDWB on Twitter Friday :)   Then on Sunday is the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon and probably some house work.

Quickly on that subject.....spoke with my realtor again this morning and it's official....we either need to come up with about $8-10k or else we need to wait to buy a house until we can save up the money.  Which is ironic considering it's hard to save while paying for BOTH of our houses and we want to consolidate into ONE....sigh..... :(

Mark: Also hard to save any money when we are paying for a wedding. So we are basically getting hit both coming and going.

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