If Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, then the Mall of America is the happiest place in the midwest! Recently, my three favorite guys and I headed to the Mall of America to take on some shopping along with Nickelodeon Universe & Moose Mountain Adventure Golf!
For the last two years, T and I have given the boys a shopping spree at the Mall of America for their Christmas present! Last year, as we roamed the stores shopping for their gifts, we realized that at the ages they are, maybe they would like to shop for their own things, so we suprised them with a trip to the mall, an overnight stay at a hotel, and of course money to spend as their gift! As it turned out, they loved the gift and actually asked to do it again this past Christmas! It made our Christmas shopping so much easier and so we were more than happy to oblige!
Everyone knows that lady: the one that is hard to buy for whether it be a white elephant exchange at work or a family holiday grab bag, maybe your mother in law. Whoever or wherever it is, we all have one and we can all relate!
Christmas is a fickle thing for us! I love getting together with family and seeing friends who live out of town. Of course the “magic” that surrounds the holiday is the icing on the cake! However, I’ll be honest and say that shopping for gifts is one of my least favorite things to do! We have so many family members and celebrations that we must keep a tight budget! Because of that, I’m constantly on the look-out for those few key gifts that are perfect for just about any woman in my life!
So, without further adieu, here are my five favorite gifts for her under $20.
If you’re looking for the newest and greatest food scene in North Iowa, look no further than Fieldhouse in Clear Lake! With it’s farm to table menu, cozy setting, along with park & lake views, it can’t be beat! With an every changing menu and farm fresh supplies, this is a unique dining experience that will blow you away!
It’s a well-known fact that I love Enchanted Acres, the pumpkin patch. I sing their praise each fall over their strawberry jam and caramel apple sundaes! Plus, the owner Shannon is such a great person that it makes it easy to be a cheerleader! This past weekend, Shannon invited me to come out and participate in one of her workshops, Farm to Table Herbs & Butters. This awesome workshop was taught by Mary Lovstad of Farm Girl Cook’n and Farm Girl Weddings!
I’ve known Mary for several years as we are both members of the North Iowa Bloggers. I also know she is an incredibly talented cook, but her knowledge of herbs during this workshop blew me away! I’m not one to cook with fresh herbs. I don’t grow any, I don’t have access to many, and to be honest they have always scared me! Thankfully, with Mary’s help, I’m feeling more confident than ever!
Supper at The Barrel House and a snack of ice cream set the tone for our outstanding trip to Dubuque, Iowa a few weeks ago! While we were there, we grabbed 2 full meals and a snack! Breakfast in the morning was a Caroline’s Restaurant which is in the Hotel Julien and we highly recommend!
The Barrel House
For supper when we arrived in town, we headed to The Barrel House and what a treat it was! It’s location is super handy when you’re staying at the Hotel Julien as it’s right across the street, which is one of the reasons we selected it!
T and I recently made an overnight trip to Dubuque and stayed the Hotel Julien Dubuque. WOW! The Hotel Julien knows how to make a person feel so special! Not only do they have spectacular accommodations, but the small things add up to make you fee extra special during your stay!
The Hotel Julien Dubuque has been present in historic downtown Dubuque for over 130 years! After a $33 million renovation, they are shining brighter than ever! Between its historic attributes and modern finishes, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is the prime example of a sophisticated hotel! Not many hotels can claim to be modern and historic, luxurious and comfortable, but yet the Hotel Julien does just that!
T and I were privileged during our recent trip to Roseville, MN to enjoy some great restaurants and a brewstilary! For me, because I love food as much as I do, the food can make or break a trip for me and thankfully Roseville and St. Paul now have a special place in my heart because of the good good we ate!
Bonfire Wood Fire – 850 Grand Ave, St Paul, Minnesota
If you’re looking for a great place to grab a bite in the St. Paul area, Bonfire Wood Fire won’t disappoint! It is located in a fun neighborhood and the first thing I noticed when we came upon Bonfire was it’s appearance. I loved the look of the building from the outside with its fun and brightly lit sign along with the piano and drum set that were being set up for entertainment. How can you not love music on the street?
Once we entered, their decor automatically got me! I loved the combination of modern and rustic. The finishes were top notch and extra special.
With a small, but varied menu, you won’t be disappointed! Meals like the Spit-Roasted Chicken and the Signature Walleye are sure to please. The rustic, but modern atmosphere just adds to the delicious meal for an overall great experience!
Roseville, Minnesota boasts that it is Perfectly Positioned and after our (mine & T’s) trip recently, we’ve learned this to be very true. It is 10 minutes from downtown St. Paul and 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis! How perfect is that?! We had never heard of Roseville and we had no idea what they offered, but now we are ready to go back!! Plus staying at the Courtyard by Marriott was super convenient, comfortable, and a great place to call “home” during our visit!
THAT Cooking School –
Are you a “Chopped” fan like me?! If so, then THAT Cooking School is for you! THAT stands for Teaching, Heart, and Team Building. This is a great place for taking your group (of any kind) for team building or if you have a new team and need to break the ice! Heck, this would even be a fantastic place for a first date. Not only do they challenge you to create together, work as a team, but also have fun!
Como Zoo & Conservatory –
You will not be disappointed when you stop by the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, a free zoo! They have a wide variety of animals including penguins, seals, giraffes, and gorillas and there is also a Conservatory with extensive gardens! The entire facility is quite impressive with it’s beautifully landscape and natural looking grounds and I can’t wait to explore it more in-depth with the entire family!
T and I recently had the privilege of staying at the Courtyard by Marriott in Roseville, MN for a long weekend! I say privilege because this facility is top-notch and it was our honor to stay here! We’ve started to travel and stay in hotels more recently since we sold our camper. We have stayed at a variety of facilities and this was, by far, our best yet!
This was not my first visit to the Minnesota State Fair! In fact, it was actually my 3rd or 4th visit. I do however consider myself an expert in fairs! Not only was I involved with the Franklin County Fair in my hometown for more than 10 years, T and I love visiting different fairs and especially the Iowa State Fair!
So, what’s so great about the Minnesota State Fair?
Things To Do
You will not, I promise, run out of things to do at the MN State Fair! The choices are endless! If you have small children, we recommend heading to Math On A Stick! Created as a way for kids and adults to both enjoy mathematical skills without actually doing equations, there are several stations that challenge kids to use their logical and creative brains at the same time! The stations can change each day as well! The day we visited, there was a station that used balloons to create different shapes, etc. Even the big guys found it entertaining!