5 places you MUST visit in Las Vegas

If you have not been to Las Vegas, you should! It is a very fun city with a lot to do and see. We just got back on Monday, August 21, 2017. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 places I think are worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Sin City.

1. Nacho Daddy’s has two great locations to choose from. There is one right on the Las Vegas Strip and one on Fremont Street aka Fremont Street experience. They have world famous scorpion shots! Yes, you read that right SCORPION SHOTS! You can order a shot of tequila with a scorpion, you also get to keep the shot glass and choose your tequila. I have to admit during my 1st and 2nd visits to Las Vegas I did not take the scorpion shots (I did attempt to though!) but this last time I did swallow the famous scorpion. No, they are not alive and cannot sting you. You will find great service, delicious nachos and you get bragging rights after you take down a scorpion!

nacho daddy

2. THE Steakhouse at Circus Circus, located in Circus Circus. On our flight to Las Vegas the guy sitting next to us started up a conversation about where we should go and he highly recommended the steakhouse in Circus Circus. He basically stated the hotel itself was crappy and rundown but the steakhouse was worth a visit. After mentioning it to our bartender, she also agreed that the steakhouse was great. How could we not give it a try? After finding out the name of the steakhouse was actually called THE Steakhouse at Circus Circus we made a reservation and walked down the strip. The ambiance makes the restaurant seem very high class, and go figure we were very under dressed. We all ordered steak, how could you not in a place called THE Steakhouse? I got the petit filet (medium rare), it was served with béarnaise sauce, your choice of potato and salad all for $55. I shared a bottle of red wine with my room mate, it paired amazingly with the steak. It defiantly lived up to the recommendations, if you like a great steak at a reasonable place visit THE Steakhouse at Circus Circus.

steakhouse

3. Oyster Bar, located in Harrah’s. I’ve heard and read such great things about this place, I had to check it out! Plus I LOVE Oyster’s! We ordered the Oysters Royale, which are oysters served in a half shell with wasabi Caviar and chive Creme fraiche. They were some of the best I’ve ever had! If you like oysters, you have to check out this gem.

oysters

4. IN-N-OUT BURGER, now located right between the Flamingo and the Linq. I know you might think this place is overrated but here in Minnesota we don’t have the luxury of an IN-N-OUT BURGER. I was in heaven with the double cheeseburger after walking the Las Vegas strip and drinking beers.

in n out

5. The Chandelier, located inside of Aria. This bar is so gorgeous and unique. Complete with two bars and plenty of seating options. If you choose to sit upstairs you’ll find yourself inside a hugh chandelier. If you sit at the bar on the ground level you get a unique view up inside the chandelier. Either bar you have a gorgeous view. The upstairs bar happened to be closed when we visited but I have enjoyed a drink inside the chandelier, even if we had to sneak in (a corporate party reserve the whole upstairs bar). I highly suggest grabbing a drink here or a least checking it out.

 

Wicked Wine Run

My group of girlfriends (Bucket List Bitches) just ran our 8th 5k race! Our goal is to run one 5k a month for the whole year. We ran the Wicked Wine 5k held at St. Croix Vineyards in Stillwater, this was by far one of our favorite races. We all agreed we’ll be running this race again next year!

The race course ran through the vineyard, apple orchard, and around a corn field. As we crossed the finish line, we were greeted with a souvenir wine glass filled with your choice of red or white wine. They had so much entertainment to offer after the race. We enjoyed live music, 4 food trucks, lots of wine and even hard cider.

Post-race they held a costume contest for those who dressed up, the costumes were very creative! The winners; a couple, dressed as a box of wine and a bunch of grapes made out of balloons.

This event was 21+ however the vineyard is kid-friendly. You will find an abundance of play-sets and a fenced-in court equipped with tricycles to allow time for the adults to enjoy wine. The apple orchard building offered great snacks, I highly recommend the apple doughnuts and honey butter (Yum!).

The wine was amazing! My favorite was the summer red which was served chilled. Chilled wine after running was very refreshing and only $6.00 a glass. They offer a wide variety of wines, some of the best I’ve tried in Minnesota! I highly suggest checking out St. Croix Winery and apple orchard.

To find out more about local vineyards, breweries and local races subscribe to my blog!

For more info on the vineyard: https://www.scvwines.com
Sign up for the race: http://wickedwinerun.com/locations/minnesota-minneapolis/

Pancakes

My grandma, Alice Moe (Mummu: which is finnish for grandma) would make swedish pancakes for my sister and I every time we stayed with her. We loved them and still do. Now I make them for my boys and they also love them. They are pretty easy to make and use only 3 ingredients. 3 eggs, 3 cups of milk and 1.5 cups flour. Mix everything together in a big bowl until smooth.

Heat up your frying pan to medium-high heat. Spread the butter all around the pan, I use the stick and just rub it all over so the pancake wont stick and the butter adds a little bit of salty flavor.

Pour a soup ladle full of pancake batter onto the pan and spin/twirl the pan so the batter spreads all around the pan, kinda like a crepe.

Wait about a minute or so until the batter is not liquid anymore and flip it over, it should be golden brown in the middle and cook for another couple minutes.

Then roll up the pancake put on a plate and start another one.

The recipe makes about 10 big pancakes, we usually have leftovers. I store the leftovers in a gallon size plastic bag and just reheat them in the microwave.

We top the pancakes with cinnamon sugar and syrup. I hope you enjoy them! For more easy kid-friendly recipes subscribe below.

6 FREE summer activities to do with kids

1. Splash Pads

My sons love the Nicollet Commons splash pad in the heart of Burnsville. They can run all over and there’s shade to sit and eat a packed lunch. It is basically a trail of running water and a few fountains. It is never very busy and some evenings they host a movie in the park.

Rosemount splash pad is another splash pad we like to visit, its a little bit of a drive for us but right in downtown by the Rosemount city hall. It has a water track that the children can watch balls and matchbox cars float down and there is a playground near by. You can sit in the shade or sun and watch the children run around.

2. Beaches

Our favorite beach to visit is in Prior Lake, Watzl’s Point Beach. It’s never crowded and you are allowed to drink alcohol as long as it’s in a can (no glass). There is a nice bathroom, great view of prior lake and a big sandy beach. It is a short paved walk to get to.

Schulz Beach in Eagan is great as well. It’s usually pretty crowded during the day. They do offer large umbrellas to sit under, trails to go hiking and if you like to get out on the water they offer paddle boards, kayaks and canoe rentals.

3. Hiking Trails

Lebanon Trails off off Pilot Knob Road in Eagan. It offers a nice trail around the lake with bridges and mud (if it just rained).  There is a playground and a park shelter with bathrooms. We can usually find crayfish (picture below), turtles, and other fun creatures.

There are some great trails by Schulz beach, we like to hike to the beach (sometimes you may need to bribe the kids) so bring swimsuits. There are so many trails through the woods and over the pond nearby. We always stop by the nature center where the kids can play. The kids can learn more about the animals, insects and plants you may see while hiking.

4. Como Zoo

Como is a free zoo (suggested donation) to visit in St. Paul. Most of it is outdoors, they also have a big area of rides if you want to spend money. We love to walk around and see all the animals. They offer a wide variety animals that you wouldn’t see at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. The carousel is a big hit with my boys if they were well behaved. Parking can be crazy on the weekends and you may need to walk quite a distance.

5. Playgrounds

We, well I, get sick of the playground down the street. We like to venture out and find a playground we have never visited before. Some of the best finds are in neighborhoods nearby and there’s usually no one else at them. We like to pack a lunch and find a new playground at least once a week.

6. Library

Every Library offers something a little different. The one we visit the most is Dakota County Wescott Library in Eagan. There is so much for the kids to do. They have toys to play with, Scavenger hunts, and we check-out books to read before bedtime. Some libraries offer story time for the kids at certain times. We got a chance to attend a halloween dance party last October.

Two Easy Crock-Pot Meals

I am a huge fan of my crock-pot and breakfast foods, I try to use it 3-4 times a week for easy, stress free meals.

I tried out these recipes at my cabin up in north in Minnesota, there is no air conditioning at the cabin so we try to not use the oven. I love egg bakes so I figured why not try a new egg crock-pot meal.

I also use crock-pot bags so the clean-up is easy as well (no dishwasher at the cabin either). Both recipes are a dump in and cook on low. I started the breakfast casserole at midnight so it would be ready for breakfast.

I dumped in: cooked sausage, a bag of cheddar cheese, 1 bag of hash browns, diced peppers and onions, 1 cup of milk, 18 eggs, salt and pepper. Mix everything together and cook on low for 7-8 hours. You can really add whatever you want… mustard for more flavor, cooked bacon, I have even used leftover brisket and ribs for the meat or you can even go a vegetarian route and add more veggies .

Everyone loved it, I also put the casserole in tortillas to make breakfast burritos, just top with more cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. It made enough for 8 adults and 4 children with leftovers for the next day.

I know my crock-pot has seen better days, What can I say? I use it a lot.

For dessert I made a crock-pot Cinnamon roll Casserole, It consisted of 2 cans of cinnamon rolls, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, 3 Tbsp maple syrup and 2 tsp vanilla. I cut up the cinnamon rolls into quarters and put one can on the bottom of the crock-pot then mixed together the eggs, milk, syrup and vanilla and added over the cinnamon rolls, cut up the other can of cinnamon rolls and layered on top. Drizzle on icing package and cook on low 2-2.5 hour. When its done drizzle to other icing package on and serve.

6 of us ate all the cinnamon roll casserole and didn’t leave any for the kids, they were not happy since the whole cabin smelt so delicious.

 

 

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

Doolittles Woodfire Grill in Eagan is my family’s favorite restaurant.

I started working at Doolittles about 10 years ago and many of the girls I worked with are still my friends now and some still work there. I did end up putting in my two weeks to try out another restaurant but then ended up going back again after I had my 1st kid. Its a great restaurant to work for and they really know how to treat their employees right.

My son Jameson always asks if we can go to the place by Wendy’s, meaning Doolittles. My boys love the spaghetti on the kids menu. I love almost everything on the menu. You seriously can’t go wrong. The buffalo wings (pic below) are rotisserie and covered in their homemade buffalo sauce. The fish tacos are crispy and full of flavor and the chicken wild rice soup is to die for ( I always request it when I’m sick). My hubby always gets the ribs, which are fall off the bone.

When I worked there all the staff were all so close, we still plan reunions together. About a month ago we had a reunion and about 25 people showed up. It was a great night catching up with everyone. I hope we have many more to come. Picture below is most of us that made it to the reunion.

My best friend is still a bartender at Doolittles so I end up there once a week to visit her and some other staff and put my cravings to rest. I highly suggest the bloody mary’s or sangria, both my favorites.

Doolittles was actually just featured on the news in Minnesota with my old manager Neil. If you are looking for great patio to enjoy mouthwatering food, cold drinks and a great service, visit Doolittles in Eagan. You will not be disappointed.

 

Schram Vineyards and Brewery

If you every find yourself near or in Waconia, less than an hour from Burnsville, MN. I highly suggest visiting Schram Vineyards. The wine is fruity, the beer is cold and the pizza is tasty. A cute little family owned farm is perfect to keep kids entertain and adults happy tasting wine and beer.

We visited the vineyard one July 29th 2017, They had an event going on so we could purchase 3 tastings for $5, plus you get to keep the tasting glass. They had another deal for more wine tastings but we had our boys with us.

We were joined by our good friends who also have two boys around my boys ages. The boys had fun playing on the bocce ball sand pit with their matchbox cars (they take cars everywhere with them) and washing the cars in the wine barrel water fountain. We each took turns going inside and sampling the wine and beer. We ordered a couple of delicious pizzas when the kids seemed hungry, they were ready in under a half hour and cooked in a brick pizza stove.

I loved the Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and the Dirty Blond Ale they had on tap the best. They offer beer flights and growlers. They even have sour beers available. Very kid friendly due to all the land they have. They had plenty of patio tables with umbrellas outside and a big seating area inside. Bathrooms were very clean and tidy (had to change my sons underwear at one point, still working on potty training).

Since they had an event going on they had vender tables set-up outside and a food truck offering grilled food. It did get pretty crowded around 2:00pm when the live entertainment started. We will defiantly be back, ended up being a great day with great weather.

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Baking Cookies

Who doesn’t like cookies…

Cookies are my go to, I always have all the ingredients in my cupboards and I love to bake. My boys love to help me bake. They get to pour in all the ingredients (smelt each ingredient before pouring them in this time), stir and then decorate. We add the chocolate chips after they are all ready to just stick in the oven so they can put them on individually plus I don’t like a ton of chocolate chips in my cookies. This time we added m&m’s and mini m&m’s as well as mini chocolate chips (chocolate overload).

I use good old Nestle Toll House cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. I always think of the friends episode where monica tried to figure out phoebe’s family cookie recipe and it ended up being Nestle Toll House.

I tweak the recipe a little, I melt my butter and then add all the ingredients one by one, stirring after each addition.  They end up not being as fluffy but thats how my family likes them.

Picture is the finished product before our dog ate them all. The boys each had one cookie and went to bed. When we woke up, the dog had ate them all! I guess we didn’t need all the sugar from the cookies.

On a side note: Why do cookies make us so thirsty? Whenever I try the cookie dough or eat the baked cookies, I drink so much water to where I am so full but still thirsty.

Bucket List Bitches

Everyone has a bucket list.

A couple girlfriends and I decided we wanted to run one 5K a month for the whole year. We call ourselves the Bucket List Bitches. As of now we are 7 races in, we try to sign up for the races early so we get a discounted rate. We also try to sign up for races that include a metal if possible or we make our own metals.

The races we have completed are:

January – Polar Dash, Held in Minneapolis, this race was pretty cold but we got hot chocolate at the finish line.

February – Valentines Day Run, This one was around Lake Nokomis, This run we had perfect weather.

March – Everybody’s Irish, Around Lake Harriet, Great weather again, we were getting lucky!

April – Y-Run, Around Lake Calhoun, pretty sure we ran through the rain for this race.

May – Daisy Run, At Rosland park, we had to run around the lake 3 times in the rain, it was so cold and wet.

June – Lederhoselauf 5K, We ran in St.Paul, It was sunny and hot. We did get a pickle and beer at the finish line.

July – Inflatable 5K, At Running Aces, This one was a hot one and they ran out of water at the half way mark.

August – Wicked Wine Run, This one was our favorite so far!

September – Twin Cities in Motion, at the state capital grounds.

October – Night Nation Run, at canterbury Park.

We always grab a bloody mary and food after every race. So in a way you could say we are running for Bloody’s!

If you have a bucket list to get through, I suggest added a couple friends to help encourage you and join in on the fun.

5 more races to go!