A few things are on my mind-

1. I have been at my job for a year. Yay! And nay, since I don't get to have vacation pay. My vacation pay is "Hey Amanda, you get a day off, even though you already had that day off."

2. Summer school starts on Monday. One step closer to graduating one out of the two schools.

3. Our vacation to California is a bit of a headache. We have a lot of choices as far as lodging and interest points are concerned and it's tough to narrow them down. And, I'm super excited that Eli, Laura, and Uriah will be coming with us!! They will make the vacation much more enjoyable since we'll be able to snuggle with four-month-old (by then) U. We're still looking for tips/advice for the best places to eat and visit so if you are in or have visited this area please give some tips:)

4. I had a perfect afternoon with Love. We laid on the hammock under the trees, in a blanket and read our Twilight books. Bliss...

5. I really have to do laundry.

6. I miss Dani and Rachel. Heart-breaking miss them. They have both been in the Midwest over the past few weeks and I didn't see either of them. I've been in a friend funk ever since I came home from Missouri.

7. I love watching Lee Pace (star of Pushing Daisies which I'm watching right now.) He's so swell.

8. I love Chad. Without question.

still a kid.

Sometimes I find things online that are geared towards the younger crowd (you know, those under the age of 5) and I can't help lovin' them for myself. I can't wait until I'm a teacher and a mommy:

*How many of you read the Baby-sitter's club when you were younger? I read every. single. book. I remember that every book usually in the very first or second chapter, the author would explain the BB Club and describe each girl. My favorite part was when she would describe what Claudia was wearing, which thankfully this blogger has brought into the limelight. (Found at heartthrobs.)

*This picture reminds me of the wonderfully lovable scene in Beauty and the Beast when Belle is singing 'Belle' (...I want so much more then they've got planned..) and she picks the dandelion and the seeds float through the air. You know-this one:

*Anyone else think these are adorable? Almost too adorable to eat? Here.

*Oh man. And these discovered by the kitchn (becoming one of my favorite websites) I will try my hardest to make something like this when I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my kiddies.

*I love the expression on this little lady's face-she looks like she's having so much fun. And why wouldn't she since she's playing with sidewalk chalk paint.

*How could you not want to be a kid when you had the opportunity to play with this furniture. I mean, does it get any better!?

*I have never slid down the stairs at my house before so I don't know that joy that it entails, but judging by this picture, I would sure like to try.

*I am so using this idea when I become a teacher. Not only will it get my kids to like nature, it will allow them to discover things on their own.


Baby U(pdate)

Trying to link U (as in Uriah) with update. Let me know if it was confusing:)

The little guy is doing wonderfully and I can't wait to see him and the mama and papa next weekend.

{Isn't he swell?}

*All these photos were picnik'd courtesy of creature comforts


reminiscing day

I have had this in my files for quite a while wondering what I was going to do with it. I was considering a Mother's Day gift idea, but was just feeling uninspired. (And apparently today is the day that I think back to my past and dig up and share with all of you.)

Then I noticed that it was lyrics to the song 'Scarborough Fair' by none other than Simon and Garfunkel. I have probably heard this song hundreds of times since my mother has let S&G become one of the main soundtracks to my life. They were the accompaniment to ice-skating sessions on the living room carpet (L-was it them, or just Barbara Streisand?). They relaxed everyone when playing dominoes late into the night. My mom had (and still has somewhere) a tape of S&G that would always be my answer when she asked what I wanted to listen to. She'd play in when doing puzzles on rainy days, getting presents wrapped on our dining room table, or simply just cleaning the house. And I would be perfectly content lying on our living room rug with my head right next to the player listening to song after song.

So mom, thanks for loving Paul and Art. That love has spread to me.

{Are there any bands or artists that your parents would play that make you think fondly back to your childhood?}

*the two musical geniuses

See how things are made.

Ever since I was a little kid I remember watching the 'how-things-are-made' type clips and being utterly fascinated with the whole concept. While I myself could never work in a factory, I do like watching products being made. I really would love to take my kindergarten class to factories so that they can experience the wonder like I did when I was their age.

When I started this post, I wanted to include some of my favorite Youtube clips about factories and making items. I realized when doing research that this was too daunting of a task since, when typing in 'shows' and 'factories' there were about 70+ clips (I watched about half). Some of the most interesting products were-butter, bubble gum, toilet paper, erasers, toothpicks, highlighters, potato chips, and cheese.

When I was watching shows like 'Sesame Street' I loved to sit back and love it. Now that I'm older, thankfully, television networks have heard my five-year-old plea for more. The two shows that I've found are "How it's Made" and "Unwrapped". I'm open to suggestions for more factory-type shows:)


Movie Review: Made of Honor and Bride Wars

Wow. Over the past few months, I've watched two wedding movies. And, let me just tell you-they weren't that great.

I do believe that Made of Honor takes the honor (no pun intended) away from My Super Ex-Girlfriend as being the Worst Movie of All Time (and by all time, I mean the ones that I've seen). Let me just tell you that according to IMDB the Spanish translates into "I want to steal the bride". Yeah, what does that tell you.

These people definitely seem to agree with me. I do have to say that I don't think that it's exactly like My Best Friend's Wedding. That movie stars Julia as the lovely leading lady and happens to be one of my favorite chick flicks. This storyline would absolutely never happen. The bride meets the groom in Scotland and he's a lord or duke or something and she is going to marry him two weeks after meeting him. Pat Demp decides that he's in love with his best friend and in the end he rushes to the chapel (in Scotland, of course) and breaks up the wedding and the two of them end up getting married. And, the drunk grandma like thunder beads-I'm not even sure what those are.

Sorry about spoiling the ending...but I'm not sorry because I just saved you.

(puh-leeze-like any self-respecting man would ever assemble bridal shower baskets. All the guys I know don't even know what goes on at a bridal shower.)

The next one is Bride Wars which is also an attempt to create an unrealistic story line centered on two best friends who end up getting their receptions planned on the same day which of course they can't work through and are then mortal enemies. Bride Wars is a total chick flick and one of those movies that would never happen, but I did like Hathaway's wardrobe. This review sums up everything I ever wanted to say about this movie. Let's just look at some of the stills:

(Hathaway is so pretty in this picture-I love her hair aka my dream hair.)

(Too much poof-she looks like a snow globe.)

(I did like this scene, it was a very sweet proposal.)

(This is so unrealistic-absolutely no single woman over 20 would ever partake in the humiliating experience of catching the bouquet.)

*What are your best or worst wedding movies?


project '09 (and possibly '10)

"There's a world that we know nothing about, that we can only imagine. And that is the world of books" --Jack Handeey

A couple weeks ago, I got the idea that I would read books that had been turned into movies. I think it all started when I started reading the Twilight books and then watched the movie. I discovered that they took out parts of the book. I have a lot of down time at work which I'm thankful for and feel that I could tackle this list of books that have been turned into movies this summer. It's a very widespread list covering romantic books to comedic books to dramatic books. The bold-faced are the ones I'm currently reading. Take a look:

*To Kill a Mockingbird by: Harper Lee
*Out of Africa by: Karen Blixen
*The Princess Bride by: Willian Goldmen
*The Father of The Bride by: Edward Streeter
*Pride and Prejudice by: Jane Austen
*The Secret Garden by: Frances Hodgson Burnett
*Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott
*Sex and the City by: Candice Bushnell
*For the Love of the Game by: Michael Shaara
*Chocolat by: Joanne Harris
*High Fidelity by: Nick Hornby
*Bridget Jones' Diary by: Helen Fielding
*A Beautiful Mind by: Sylvia Nasar
*Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by: Daniel Wallace
*Cheaper by the Dozen by: Frank Gilbreth Jr.
*Under the Tuscan Sun by: Frances Mayes
*Memoirs of a Geisha by: Arthur Golden
*Marley and Me by: John Grogan
*Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by: Winifred Watson
*Julie and Julia by: Julie Powell
*In Her Shoes by: Jennifer Weiner
*P.S. I Love You by: Cecelia Ahren
*Angels and Demons by: Dan Brown

What are your must-reads?


My boyfriend makes, in my opinion, the best hamburgers in the country. He knows exactly how long to make them and knows the thickness of a good burger and also puts in a secret ingredient that I'm not sure he wants me to reveal (is it okay, babe?).
We have tried many different toppings for our burgers; the pictures above show our murshroom, onion and swiss burgers. We have also tried bacon, tomato and avocado; as well as the popular cheese, lettuce, and tomato. My hope is that our burgers will be so different and delicious that our children will hate burgers from McDonald's.

In your opinion-what is your idea of a delicious burger?


I just wanted to fill you all in on where my family and I are planning on going for our annual vacation in August (drumroll...):

The Sacramento area of California! We have been everywhere in the country pretty much (Grand Canyon, Florida, Niagara Falls, Seattle, Washington D.C., Boston), but the one state that we've never tackled in CA. In the early ideas, we thought about going down to Florida again since we hadn't been there in about 7 years and tour Busch Gardens and Sea World, but my mom vetoed that idea since she and my dad used to live there. So we've decided on this area of California since it has just about everything we want to see-

*Yosemite National Park (According to my Uncle Brett it's a must-see. He should know-he used to live in this area.)

*The Golden Gate Bridge and maybe even Alcatraz. We probably wouldn't spend a lot of time in San Francisco since Chad is coming with us and he just went four years ago, but he does want to see GG Bridge again and said Alcatraz was a very cool spot.

*The Redwood National Park is a little too far away for us to drive to in our rental car and my mom really wants to see a redwood on this trip. Uncle Brett said that if we drive along the coast we should be able to see some.

*Napa Valley is also one of the interesting spots that we want to see and since 4 out of the 5 going on this trip will be of drinking age, we might even sample some wine. The bonus about this is that the sightseeing is free and the only thing that costs any money is the sampling.

*We also would most likely drive to the coast and take a walk on the beaches and cliffs.

We're all pretty excited especially me and my younger sister since we've never been on an airplane before! So-calling all people who have ever lived in/visited this area: What are, in your opinion, the must-see sights in this area? If you were going back, what would you tour again? We are going in early to mid-August if that helps any? Also, we are trying to figure out if it's cheaper to fly into San Francisco or Sacramento-would anyone out there know? Thanks readers!

*I also wanted to say how truly touched I was by all the comments on the 'control' post. It's nice to know that I'm not the only person who inwardly struggles with this. If you are ever uncomfortable with posting on the actual blog but still would like to talk to me about any matters I put on this blog, please email me: amanda.hulke@gmail.com. Have a good day!


Simple Weekend: Eventful (Part 2)


After much needed sleep in time (and by sleep in, I mean after 8 am) we ate some breakfast and then wanted to see baby nephew. Unfortunately, Uriah kept M&D up pretty much all night so we decided to let them all rest while we went on a tour of Mankato.

Back story- My family lived in Mankato until I was 13. I was born there as well as my younger sister Hannah. We lived in the exact same house and in the summer would ride our bikes around the neighborhood. I have many, many fond memories connected to my childhood in Mankato.

When we went on our tour, it wasn't some grand, extensive trip around Mankato. It was the places that were familiar to us. Obviously, when I was 13 I wasn't able to drive so I had a very small area that I was able to be in. I referred to this trip as the 'Amanda' tour. We started out and the city pool and then drove up the hill that I rode my bike on hundreds of times up to my house. My beautiful white house with the porch and two-car garage that my dad (and friends) built with his two hands. We drove to the public library and past the soybean plant down the road from my house. We toured Bethany Lutheran College and MSU-M where every 4th of July we'd watch fireworks. We drove to Sibley Park where we had countless picnics.

It's not that Mankato is the greatest town ever but it's mine. It's where I learned to walk, where I learned how to ride my bike on the sidewalk in front of our house, where I learned how to swim in the city pool, where I grew up. I have never felt like I've been able to say good-bye to my little town-but I don't think I ever will get that chance. Nothing is that same in my little neighborhood--in a way, everything looks smaller. My house looks really close to the garage even though when I was a kid, the concrete sidewalk seemed to stretch to far. The backyard looks so small due to the lilac bushes my dad planted becoming huge. The people who live in my house now don't keep it up as well as my parents did. There are old dandelions all over the yard-something my dad would never allow (he used to pay me a penny a dandelion to dig them up), the wood siding is starting to show through the white paint-another thing my parents would take care of when they'd get all the kids to help put a couple coats of white every couple years. The people cut down the old tree by our garage that we used to climb on via the old rusty red shed next to it. They took pride in the upkeep of our house which is something I never noticed until looking at the opposite. The neighborhood has changed too. The local playground got rid of the metal equipment and replaced the large metal burn-your-butt-as-you-slide-down slide with some red and yellow contraption. They even took down the swings that my friends and I used to have jumping off contests on. Even my school looks smaller. I feel like a giant in the kindergarten room, though 15 years ago I felt completely overwhelmed by the desks and tables that surrounded me. My dad's old office looks tiny with it's glass fishbowl look. The gym still looks gigantic and still has the same musty smell that I remember. All I hope for is to bring my children there when I'm older and have them exclaim their shock when they see where I lived. I want to drive down Riverfront Drive and show them the Motors Unlmtd and the Pizza Hut by my house along with the Kato Ballroom and the giant lilac bushes surrounding my childhood. That's my wish.

Back in reality, we got back from the hotel and had nephew snuggle time before mama had to leave in order to begin her MOH duties. We then went to the ceremony to celebrate Rob and Kate's marriage and then wen to the reception site. The reception was simple and full of the couple. The father of the bride, a friend of the family's, delivered a simple speech that got both his daughters tearing up. He simply said thanks for coming and "thanks to those of you who helped us raise Kate." Laura fulfilled her MOH duties nicely delivering an excellent, endearing speech to Rob and Kate and the evening followed with a whole lotta dancing. Kate is really into swing and that really showed through when Rob and Kate had a swing group perform, did a swing dance tutorial, and had a swing dance be their first dance. The night was lovely and full of old friends and kisses to the babe. We went back to the hotel and swam for a little bit in their bath-tub sized pool...then kidnapped Uriah from mama (much to her relief) and brought him over to our room (much to our joy).


(my sister's little family)

(what i get to look at every day)


An early day started with church and showing off Uriah to all the people who hadn't seen him (or even knew Laura was ever pregnant). I think some people thought that he was mine and Chad's especially during the wedding when Chad carried him out of the church, or when Laura and Eli sat up in the balcony during Sunday church service and left the baby with us. Maybe not, but I felt like they were:) Went to the familiar Perkins after church for one last family group time before we left to go back home. Chad and I went on the road listening to the new Green Day album. We pretty much went straight to Hannah's choir concert at church and then to Chad's parents house for our traditional Sunday night supper.

*So there you have it-our fun-filled exhausting weekend! What did you do? :)

Simple Weekend: Eventful

This weekend was a total whirlwind of events that I have to break it down into more than one part in order to give everything adequate air time. I told you that we were going to be busy this month, so without further delay...


Chad and I had tickets to see Keane in concert at the Myth. I had the day off, so while I was waiting for Chad to be done with work I decided to go to the mall and try to find a skirt. I was shopping at all my favorite, usually fail-proof, stores (Old Navy, Gap, Maurices, Penney's, American Eagle) and nothing was inspiring me. I was having just a total brain fart and wasn't really feeling anything. I didn't even pick anything up off the racks-just wandered aimlessly from store to store.

Does that ever happen to you? And if it does, what do you do to get out of the mini funk?

I then decided to go home and pack up my suitcase full of existing clothes from my closet to wear to the wedding we were going to on Saturday (the outfit actually turned out better than I would've thought). I wanted to clean my room up since I don't like coming home after a long weekend to a dirty room. (I definitely get this from my sister Laura. Ever since we were young and shared a room she's done this. I never used to when I was a kid; I'd just throw clothes into a bag and sit on my unmade bed and watch her make her's and put away all her clothes and tidy up. She will always try to have a clean room before leaving for the weekend-are any of you like that or is it just us?)

I got picked up by Chad and we made our way to the Cities for the show starting at 7. We got there in plenty of time and, even though some people who had been there before said the parking was a nightmare, found a relatively good spot. We waited for the doors to open out in the rain just like everyone else and since it was general admission got pretty good seats. Right when we got in, I made a beeline for the front and stood behind two people! That's right-for the whole night I was the third person from the stage. I loved being that close, even though I had to stand there for four hours without moving (I wouldn't dare let anyone take my spot.)

Even though the doors opened at 7, the first act didn't go on until around 8. The band, Helio Sequence, comes from Portland, Oregon and puts on a pretty good show. The lead singer plays the guitar and the other member is the drummer. The drummer is very...energetic about his music. I tried to capture on the camera, but this is the best I could do (sorry for the blurry quality). He was just moving around so much and if you've ever seen Helio Sequence you know what I'm talking about.

The next act was Mat Kearney, who I'd heard about but wasn't too familiar with. I got one of his records from one of the guys I used to work with and I've only listened to it once or twice. They were definitely good and very charismatic. Mat announced that he has a new album coming out on Tuesday, "City of Black and White". I, most likely, will be buying it. They were just really nice to listen to and I like that style of music.

We waited around after they were done for close to 45 minutes while the roadies for Keane got everything set up. There were people trying to get closer to the stage at this time and Chad told me to hold my spot since we'd been there so long. I don't like getting jostled around and being that close to the stage, people were definitely creeping into my area. Keane finally came on at exactly 10 (which I had predicted).

They were awesome! So far in my life I've only been to a handful of shows (Josh Groban, Jason Mraz, Bon Iver, Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, countless DCW, and now Keane.) They were definitely at the near top of the list. I got to see my first crowd surfer, which I would have missed if Chad hadn't pointed him out to me. That wasn't anything new for Chad who's been to Green Day, Blink-182, and shows at Bonnaroo Music Festival. Tom Chaplin, the lead singer, had such energy and stage presence that it was hard to look away from him. Every time they were done with a song, he'd just stand were he was and look out into the crowd, basking in the cheers (which of course made us cheer even louder). They were full of such appreciation for their fans and definitely played a remarkable show. I didn't care that I was screaming so loudly that the guy in front of me had to plug his ears (he was very obvious about it). The only down side was that there was an annoying guy in the crowd who kept shouting "Emily", which apparently is one of the songs that they wrote 12+ years ago. Whenever Tom started talking, he'd shout it out and finally Tom figured out what he was saying and said "That's such a s... song I don't even remember the words, mate." The guy was persistent and fortunately got kicked out. It had been raining pretty steadily before the show and Tom made a comment that they were looking forward to getting nice weather and then "it starts pissing English style". (His words, mom, not mine.) Another time he talked about how they started in the US on the West Coast and the further and further they get towards the east, the fans get better and better. (Everyone in the crowd loved hearing that.) I just absolutely loved being there with my guy listening to one of our favorite bands.

*I LOVE Tim's zebra shirt!

*Using no zoom!

(I have so many pictures that I'll put up on Facebook, so if you're my friend you'll be able to see them on there soon.)

The show lasted until about 11:45 and we still had a 1 1/2 hour drive to Mankato ahead of us, so we got in the car and pulled out the GPS and both sighed with relief when we got to sit after 4 hours and drove to the gas station and drank such refreshing water for about a minute straight. We drove on Hwy 169 the whole way and Chad was irritated because every 15 miles or so the speed limit would change from 55 mph to 65 mph and it wasn't just for drive through towns either. We got to the hotel at about 1:40 am and promptly fell asleep.

Part Two: Saturday and Sunday (coming soon!)


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