My Other More Exciting Self

Farm Raised, Shoe Enthusiast, Turkey Talker, Wine Lover, Mom

Memorial Day | via

So the unofficial start to summer – Memorial Day weekend – is nearly over. The sun came out on Friday and tonight, but in between it was cloudy, cool, and rainy in Minnesota. (I give you Exhibit A above – a look at my brother’s shed on the farm from Sunday evening.)

That didn’t stop us from enjoying the weekend, mind you, with a little golfing, gardening, grilling, birthday cake, and family time.

That’s what life is all about, yes? Oh right – and wine, too. ;)

Some photo highlights for you:

Memorial Day Weekend | via

Friday night: practice chipping in the backyard with some tunes on the iPad and smiles all around for the long holiday weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend | via

Earl the Pug also enjoyed his time outside, which provided him with way more exercise than he would normally be in favor of.

Memorial Day Weekend | via

Saturday morning: Say whaaaat? While playing 9 holes at a local golf course, Joe happened to spot this interesting little “creature” along hole #5. Someone at Buffalo Heights Golf Course has a sense of humor!

Babe's Blossoms in Hector, Minnesota | via

Sunday: We headed out early to the Farm for my niece’s birthay party later in the day. This gave my Mom and me some time to do a little flower and vegetable shopping at one of my favorite places – Babe’s Blossoms near my hometown of Hector. So fun to shop at such a well-organized nursery with plenty of information available on all the plants and a very knowledgeable staff on hand. I picked up several annuals to fill in some areas in my gardens along with three tomato plants, two different kinds of peppers, and – get this! – celery. I have never grown celery, so I am absurdly excited to try it this year!

Memorial Day | via

Happy 14th Birthday to our niece, Miss A! We loved her golf-themed birthday cake – so cute! – and enjoyed her party, which featured some of her favorites including turkey burgers on the grill and pizza, plus this weirdly cool and delicious popcorn salad that I must get the recipe for.

Louie the English Bulldog | via

Meet Louie the English Bulldog – one of three dogs at my brother’s home. Louie looks tough, doesn’t he? Truth is, though, he’s a total softie!

Dahlias | via

Monday: we arrived back home about noon, and after a nap (yeah for naps!) after lunch, we did some yard work outside. Teacher Man mowed the lawn while I did some planting. These dahlias above look like they will be gorgeous, but I’m covering them up for now to keep the bunnies from munching on them.

Garden Frog Stepping Stone | via

Here’s a look at my favorite stepping stone in the small garden in front of the house – a frog that Joe picked out a couple of years ago. After adding some sun-loving impatiens (which you can’t see in this photo), I put down cocoa bean mulch, which I love. I use it in several of my gardens because of it’s lovely brown color, small hulls, and its chocolate-y smell! I also appreciate how quickly and easily it breaks down through the fall and winter, so I can just till it into the soil in the spring and start all over.

Full disclosure: Earl the pug has zero interest in getting into this stuff so we’ve never had to worry about him eating it, which would not be a good thing.

Brownie batter blizzard | via

Best way to write a blog post at the end of a long weekend? With a brownie batter Blizzard from Dairy Queen, of course. #SummerNow

I hope you enjoyed Memorial Day weekend, as well! You can view an older post I wrote about some of the veterans in my family here. And don’t forget to check out my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts if you are on any of those social media platforms.

– Lara –

Sunday Night Rituals | via

Sunday nights almost always mean two things to my family:

1) Dairy Queen Blizzards for the boys. Oreo for Joe and peanut butter cups for Teacher Man. Always. Sometimes a Blizzard for me, too, but sometimes not – depends totally on what I feel like. And if I do have a Blizzard, I am the only one who ever switches it up week to week – midnight truffle one Sunday and banana split the next, for example. Apparently I am less set in my ways than the boys in this house. ;)

2) Teacher Man heads up to bed sometime between 6:00 and 7:00. Yes, that early. I can’t quite remember when he started that tradition – a few years ago, I suppose. It’s his down time as he gets ready for the upcoming week. He turns the TV on to something World War II related – or if there’s nothing interesting, he may watch an Alaska-type reality show. (Is it just me, or are there a ton of reality-type shows that are set in Alaska now?) In any case, I think he probably dozes off to sleep pretty quickly. Teacher Man is an excellent sleeper!

Our friends and family chuckle at our little Sunday night rituals, but I know we all look forward to them. With Teacher Man upstairs, I have control of the remote control and can watch my favorite shows – Madam Secretary and The Good Wife (or HGTV if they aren’t on) – without interruption. Joe will often come into the porch and hang with me, while he watches something else on his iPad. All three of us are pretty chill (um, wait, did I just write that?), which is kind of a nice way to end the weekend.

Tonight, by the way, I picked chocolate cake over ice cream. I made my favorite chocolate sheet cake recipe from The Pioneer Woman this morning, which is quite simply an amazing concoction of butter, sugar and cocoa. Did I mention a ridiculous amount of butter and cocoa? It makes an absurdly huge cake for three of us. Well, especially since I’m basically the only one who seems to be eating it today. ;) So worth it, though.

In my head, by the way, I think about how I’m going to lose a few pounds before our trip to Hawaii later this summer. Then magically I forget all about this and bake a cake instead.

The irony that is my life.

Have a good start to the week!

– Lara –

Sunday Night Rituals | via


It’s Friday and I’m feeling particularly energetic today because I took the day off. I clearly needed to mentally check out from work for a few hours – a “little” something called avian flu remains on everyone’s mind here in Minnesota so I think it’s fair to say our work days have been  intense. (Not complaining, mind you – just reality.)

Shortly, I will be heading off to pick up Joe and then Teacher Man after school and we’re headed to my sister’s home for a mini family reunion dinner. My aunt, uncle and cousin are in town from New York so we’re all getting together for some wine, food, and lots of catching up. We also get to meet my cousin’s son, Carter, who is nearly 2. I bet Miss Morgan will be fascinated with this new little person in her house!

In the meantime, I’ve been pretty productive: a 3 mile run this morning, a quick trip to pick up a computer part Joe needs, and some time in the kitchen making cookies and a pasta salad for tonight while I’ve got Food Network on the television. I love days off like this!

As for my five (okay, seven) Friday photos … I give you the garden variety version with a little Joe thrown in for fun. It’s been cloudy and rainy nearly all week, but it certainly has resulted in a very green landscape. Now if it would ever heat up, I think all of my flowers would shoot up fast and we’ll have to start mowing the lawn three times a week!

Enjoy early spring in my garden and have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

The first of my bearded irises is blooming!

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

Senor Frog is keeping an eye on one of my peonies.

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

I have to show off my garlic – if only because I have never attempted to grow it before! I think it’s looking pretty awesome. :)

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

Ah, lilacs. One of my top 5 favorite flowers without a doubt. This particular variety is “Yankee Doodle” and I love the deep purple color.

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

Plenty of green around here, after the much-needed rain came this week!

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via

And some color, too, on our front porch – plus another one of Joe’s frogs. Someday I should do a post on all the frogs that kid has collected. Some are outside, some are in his room – and all are clearly an obsession. Better yet – maybe I’ll have him guest blog his frog knowledge for you. :)

High Five for Friday - Garden Variety | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comSpeaking of Joe … he was chosen to attend the “Young Artists – Young Authors Conference” at the College of St. Benedict’s today. He was pretty pumped about the whole thing, as evidenced by his high energy level at 7:00 a.m. Now if I could only capture some of that energy and disperse it as needed on regular school mornings.

I’m hooking up with September FARM and The Farmer’s Wife for Oh Hey Friday!, and Diary of a Real Housewife for Friday Favorites.

See you again soon!

– Lara –



Turkey A La King | via #TurkeyTuesday #SwitchToTurkey #JennieO #TurkeyEveryday

I’m so old school when it comes to recipes. And comfort food. In May.

I know this may seem like an odd recipe to post in May. It’s spring, after all, and this is more of a hearty fall/winter dish. Well, as I’ve said before, this is Minnesota, which means our spring weather is all over the board. It’s been cool and rainy for two days so this recipe is just the ticket to warm us up when we got home from work and school today.

This recipe is courtesy of my mother, who has always made the best turkey a la king –  creamy and delicious, served over rice. Of course, my mom always makes the best everything.

If you look carefully, though, you won’t see any pimientos in my photos, which bums me out. I’m not even sure what taste they add, but I missed the color. However, have you ever tried to find those little jars of pimientos in Walmart during lunch hour when you’re in a bit of a hurry? Didn’t work so well for me.

Happy Turkey Tuesday, everyone!

– Lara –

Turkey a la King

  • 3/4 cup mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup cooked turkey, chunked – I used JENNIE-O® Extra Lean Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, which is already pre-cooked
  • 1/4 cup chopped pimiento
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Saute mushrooms and green pepper in butter. Blend in seasonings and flour. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Slowly stir in broth and cream. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.

Add turkey and pimiento. Continue cooking until meat is heated through. Add frozen peas and cook a few more minutes.

Serve hot over rice, biscuits, or in patty shells.

Makes: 4 servings. You can easily double this recipe to have leftovers for the next day.

Note: I am part of Jennie-O’s Switch Circle of bloggers, but I do not get paid for my posts. I do receive some complimentary turkey products to try upon occasion. Opinions and topics are entirely my own.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Since we had just seen my mom last weekend at the farm for a little pre-Mother’s Day get-together, we stayed a little closer to home the last couple of days. Well, kind of. Okay, not really.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comFriday night was cool but lovely – no wind! – so we spent some time on our deck just enjoying the beginning of the weekend.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comMy Yankee Doodle Lilac bushes are just about ready to bloom!

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

Mother’s Day gift #1 – new garden gloves! Not pictured was my new garden clippers, too – I was in heaven!

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

I loved my gift from Joe – it was totally him. He’s been obsessed with frogs since he was just a toddler so this is a perfect addition to my garden. As Joe said after I opened it, “Every garden is better with a frog.”

True enough.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

Saturday afternoon we dropped Joe off at my sister’s because Teacher Man and I went to a concert in Minneapolis.  This meant we could spend a little time with Miss Morgan, whom we hadn’t seen since Easter. We missed this little bugaboo!

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

Yes, my heart has officially melted now.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comWe went to the Gear Daddies 25th anniversary concert at First Avenue. (Yes, an actual date night! I can’t remember the last time we spent an entire evening in Minneapolis like that, doing a little bar hopping and enjoying live music.)

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

The band members are originally from Austin, Minnesota, where Teacher Man grew up so it was a bit of a Austin High School reunion for him. The band sounded amazing – and even did a cover of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” which was pretty cool to see on the stage that Prince made famous in the movie Purple Rain.

Today was a lazy day at home, which was probably a direct result of staying up way too late after the concert was over. (You think?!)  I treated myself to a Mother’s Day chocolate chip Frappe from McDonald’s (sooo delicious!) and requested grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, which Teacher Man and Joe ably handled. After a 2-1/2 hour nap (I know, wow!), I decided I was craving my mom’s blueberry coffee cake.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

Can you blame me?

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

So I got my baking on.

Mom's Best Blueberry Coffee Cake | via

My mom taught me many things – including my love for baking. Some of my earliest memories are of standing on a chair in the kitchen while I helped her mix up a batch of cookies. She has many fabulous coffee cake recipes, but I always come back to this blueberry coffee cake. It’s easily my favorite and it never fails me.

Much like my mom – she’s never failed me either. :) (Love you, Mom!) Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there – I hope you’ve had a wonderful day!

– Lara –

Blueberry Coffee Cake

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick – I use Land O’Lakes butter for baking just like my mom does)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries


  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 10-inch springform pan.

Put sugar, butter and egg into a mixer bowl and beat until well mixed. Stir in milk and almond extract.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and stir gently into first mixture. Fold in blueberries and spoon batter into the springform pan.

Make the topping by measuring sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Spoon over top of batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from the pan. This is wonderful served warm!

Full disclosure: Today I was lazy and didn’t sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and the coffee cake still came out fluffy and delicious. (Sorry Mom!) 




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