The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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A Balmy MN Christmas

Last year I missed Christmas with family. That tugs at the heartstrings.  Working Christmas this year (ah to be a nurse) we planned our family gathering the 26th.

MN winter is wickedly cold. This year records were set.  In the 30’s -40’s 5 of my 7 days there it was balmy!

Thought I’d share a few outings I shared with family.


First, a trip to the American Swedish Institute.  Part of their mission statement from their website:

The American Swedish Institute serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft, and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.

The American Swedish Institute, a museum and cultural center of distinguished history and international reputation, exists to:

  1. •Preserve and share the landmark 1908 Turnblad mansion;
  2. •Celebrate and teach about Sweden and Swedish-America; and,
  3. •Promote and practice the values of respect for all peoples and the environment that are exemplified in the Nordic countries.A view from the outside on that gray day.  It’s an ornate, beautiful mansion built from a working class man who made his fortune in the newspaper business.  They say they lived a modest lifestyle considering their wealth.  It’s in a not-so-great neighborhood.  So pretty, if you’re in Mpls. I recommend a visit.


    I’m part Swedish.  My grandma spoke a little but usually smiled and said she couldn’t when we’d ask her to.

    Karen found a cute little Gargoyle water spout:

    The mansion was all dressed up for Christmas.  Many rooms had trees and some were dining rooms set accordingly for several Scandinavian countries.

    The Danish room’s table setting.  Love the simple blue design on the china:

    Ornate, gleaming carved wood in that house makes it radiate warmth.  The fireplace and stairway in the entrance:

    One particularly warm day pop and I went for a hike in the Scandia – Wind in the Pines Preserve just a mile or so away from my parents’ home.  Though the wind was chill we wound through tallgrass into a treed section.

    Dad’s following park rule #6:



    Sis Karen and her hubby Wes and I took the dogs to the nicest dog park I’ve visited.  There are hiking trails, an open area, and ponds for amphibious dogs.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes played in the snow.  MN’s bone-dry and starved for snow. Just a couple of inches frosted the surface.

    Loki’s getting old.  But she still runs and frolics.  I’m a sucker for her personality and blue eyes.

    Bridger’s a big lug of a love-sponge.  He knows how to get me to pet him.


    All my sisters and I had solo sister bonding days which I really enjoyed.  Ali and I went to the Mpls. Art Institute and saw a show called Edo:  Japanese Woodcuts.  I saw my first (real) Hiroshige prints.  She also took me to a Cuban restaurant in Mpls called Victors 1959 Cafe.  Tiny, full of attitude and character, the food is divine.

    Karen and I did some power shopping and got killer post-Christmas deals.

    I asked Rachel to find some cool vintage/antique shops.  We hit one called Hunt and Gather that was unlike anything I’ve seen before.



    Want bowling pins?  How about old lockers? Check.  Maybe some flash cards with animals on them? Scrabble letters?  Check. Bins of letters and doo-dads? Check.

    Bread wrappers?


    Displays of refurnished, re-purposed, fantastically funky furnishings:



    This a cool little neighborhood with coffee shops, antique shops and more.  It was fun having time with each sister.  Looking forward to the next visit, probably in July.