Sunshine and May | May 4, 2022

As I type this, THE SUN IS SHINING.  We’ve had roughly 100000000 grey days in a row this spring and I tell you what, it starts to wear on a person – like a hat with bells which seemed like a whimsical idea in the store but turns out is the equivalent of self-induced tinnitus.  I like rainy days and cozy darkness just like all women on Instagram, but I was one more set of clouds away from getting a Vitamin D lightbulb to sit under it while I shopped for a plane ticket to Yuma, Arizona – the sunniest place on Earth.  These big, beautiful blue skies have completely cleansed my soul, like the feeling you get when you throw out a hat with bells on it. — click to read on.

The Great Scotcheroo Debate of 2022 | April 13, 2022

I had a completely different story lined up for this week, but my friend Corey and I had…let’s call it a “situation”…regarding Scotcheroos and Special K Bars – after which he commented, “I bet this is going to end up on your blog,” and after about the third time he said it I thought, “Yup.”

First, however, we need to discuss the products in question.  Both Scotcheroos and Special K Bars are dessert bars. — click to read on.

Happy Feet | April 6, 2022

It’s springtime; and naturally, every passageway into our home is littered with the muddy shoes of our children and their friends.  Of course, even if they were clean as a whistle those shoes would still be there – because every single North Dakotan is taught from birth to 1) never take the last item in a shared food situation; 2) have a “Well, that’s the way she goes” attitude towards the Minnesota Vikings; and 3) always remove their shoes when entering someone’s house.

The “No Shoe Rule” is so ingrained in our culture that our oldest son recently accepted his North Dakota birthright of keeping his sneakers permanently tied to the loosest state so that he can just step on the back of his heel and pull them off (and then back on) quickly – as has generations of his fellow statesmen have done before him.

The Mom Lounge | January 5, 2022

My ten-year-old recently played a hockey game at the Bill Jerome Arena in Devils Lake, North Dakota.  If you’ve never been to the Bill Jerome Arena, one of the first hockey arenas ever built in the state, it is a beautiful barn with curved white-washed trusses, natural ice, wooden bleachers, and an ice resurfacer (aka Zamboni) made out of a yellow tractor.  It is also the coldest place on Earth.

A&E’s Great Restaurant | December 8, 2021

My family just got back from a trip to New Jersey to celebrate my grandpa’s 95th birthday.  (Here’s an interesting fact about my grandfather: he was a practicing dentist for 63 years – even after a stint in WWII and initially being denied entry into dental school because he was Jewish.) 

Pumpkin spice and everything nice | September 30, 2021

Fall has officially…fallen; and with it millions of pumpkin spiced Pinterest boards have sprung up featuring porches and front doors and lawns covered in physical celebrations of autumn.  Obviously, I, too am all aboard the trainful of haybales.  This meme (which I did not make) pretty accurately represents my feelings on the matter:

Ghost Tour | September 16, 2021

Kyle and I are tour people.  We love tours.  We will attend basically any tour that is offered to us.  You could say, “Hey, listen, I’m giving a tour of my living room.  To participate, you’ll need this painter’s tape and this roller and this can of ‘Marshmallow Heaven’ and the tour will consist of you painting my walls,” and so long as you also give us a storyguide headset and one of those little metal buttons with the folding flap, we’re in.

Anyways, today I’m going to tell you about my all-time favorite tour.

Sofa, So Good | September 2, 2021

We just passed the one-month mark of living in our new house.  At least, I *think* it’s our new house.  Considering there are stacks of stuff everywhere, we may be living in a box fort.

This is the exact text conversation I had with a friend right after we moved in:

Friend: How’s the unpacking going?

Me: Slow.  But my parents are taking the boys this week so we’ll have it all done by Saturday.

Friend: Ha ha!

Me: Ha ha!

Road trip | July 8, 2021

Kyle and I just got back from taking our kids on our just-about-annual road trip from Thompson, North Dakota to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We got there by driving through Minneapolis, Minnesota; Madison (I love Madison), Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; and then over into Michigan.  The total distance is somewhere around a billion miles, which translates to roughly fifteen hours of drive time each way.  Each year, I am lulled away from the beautiful, shiny airport and into my poor, overloaded Honda Pilot with personal promises of a stop in Madison (I love Madison) and also by reminding myself, “Once we’re in Minneapolis, we’re basically there” – which is as factually and geographically correct as saying, “Once we’re in New York, we’re basically in Paris.”

We are here to tell you your opinion | June 24, 2021

When we were first married, Kyle and I went to the movie theater so often that we took it upon ourselves to create a movie review website, called We Are Here To Tell You Your Opinion.  This website was not borne out of altruism or a desire for fame; rather, we are both oldest children, and it is our God-given right to tell people what to do.  It’s important to understand that absolutely no one in the history of cinema had or has ever asked, “Hey, I wonder what Amanda and Kyle thought of The Grey?”

Country Quiet | May 27, 2021

This week’s story is about the sound of silence, and this week’s news has hikers, bikers, and birthdays (oh my!).  Read on.

Garage Sale | NNoTW April 29, 2021

This week’s story is about garage sales, and this week’s news has an art festival, discount insulin, and a population boom.  Read on.

Box Set | April 1, 2021

This week’s story is a tale of two infomercials, and this week’s news has friendly fire departments, a Fueled Force, and a four-time award-winning artist.  Read on.

Hockey Tournaments | March 25, 2021

This week’s story is about Hockey Moms, and this week’s news has free food, free braces, and and a shipping-container-turned-cabin built with free materials.  Read on.

The Lawn Ranger | March 11, 2021

This week’s story is about the first time I mowed our lawn, and this week’s news is about a new definition of a “LOAN,” a black-footed ferret, and a bunch of North Dakotans competing on a national scale.  Read on.

Putter | March 4, 2021

This week’s story is about Kyle, and this week’s news has happy wooden trees, cozy kids, and lots of dogs.  Read on.

Crab | February 11, 2021

This week’s story is about a Crabby Valentine’s Day, and this week’s news is about a 40-year volunteer, a room full of prom dresses, and Hygge.  Read on.

My former co-worker’s husband, Paul | November 26, 2020

This week’s story is about a memorable trip to the Minneapolis airport, and this week’s news is about a daily song, Gifts for Grandparents, and a free holiday cookbook.  Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading North Dakota Nice!

The Tempo | November 19, 2020

This week’s story is about my Ford Tempo, and this week’s news is about a sensory garden, 1,300 pairs of socks, and a lot of Thanksgiving turkey.  Read on.