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Category: Special Events

Mariah’s Graduation Party

Mariah’s Graduation Party

I’m behind on my blogging (what else is new?!) so I am just posting now about Mariah’s graduation party from mid-June.  Mariah is the oldest daughter of my bestie Sonja and I have known her since before she was born.  It is completely amazing to me that this beautiful young woman is 18 years old and on her way to college to become a veterinarian.  Mariah lives in Iowa with her dad and has been an avid horse lover/owner for the last decade.  She plans to specialize in Equestrians.  To celebrate Mariah’s graduation from HS with friends and family here in MN, Mary hosted a very nice party for her one weekend when she was in town.  Mary is the “Hostess with the Mostest” if you recall my beautiful baby shower that she and Bradie threw for me back in March.  Everything was very nice and we had a good time.  It was nice catching up with Mariah; we talked about things she remembered we used to do together when she was a little girl when I would babysit her.  She is such a smart, sweet, beautiful young woman.
Mariah and Sonja June 2013
Mariah and Mary
Mariah and Mary June 2013
Mariah and Bretton
Mariah Bretton June 2013
Bretton with Godmother Mary
Bretton and Mary
The theme of the party was Tropical.  These fruit skewers were so colorful! Just realized now that this photo didn’t turn out very well.  Oh well, you get the idea.

Hibiscus cookies

Pretty dipped pretzels

Tower of colorful cupcakes!
Congratulations, Mariah! Good luck at college, my dear girl!

40th Wedding Anniversary {Mom & Dad}

40th Wedding Anniversary {Mom & Dad}

Sunday, May 19th was my parents 40th wedding anniversary.  40 years!! That is pretty awesome, isn’t it?!
Jim Fran 40th annv

They wanted to celebrate but didn’t want a huge party so they invited just us kids, grandkids and their brothers and sisters to Kozlak’s Royal Oak for a nice brunch.
It was our first opportunity to introduce Bretton to his great aunts and uncles. We dressed him up for the occasion 😉
Trying on outfit for the upcoming 40th anniversary party!

All the grandchildren…..
40th annv with grandkids
I didn’t take many photos but here are a few…
Michelle Amanda kristi 40 annv
Brian Michelle 40 annv
Jeffanda 40 annv

Michelle also took several photos on her camera but its too much work for me to figure out how to get them from Dropbox to here.  Oh well

The brunch was a good time with great food, good company and a special marriage to honor 😉


Jeff & Amanda’s Epic Wedding Reception {Photo Heavy!}

Jeff & Amanda’s Epic Wedding Reception {Photo Heavy!}

For those of you following this blog, you know that back in June I traveled to sunny California to witness the beautiful nuptials of my little brother and his love, Amanda. While the wedding itself was small and intimate, and the wedding dinner was amazing, they wanted to be able to celebrate with the rest of their friends and family back home in Minnesota, so they threw one heck of a party at the Metropolitan Club at Target Field in September.
Amanda and Jeff Reception

One of the highlights of the reception was seeing a video of Jeff & Amanda’s wedding on the Jumbotron at Target Field.  Jeff had rented a high-tech professional video camera while we were in California and had a few other cameras set up as well.  He worked his videography magic and put together an amazing video of the event.  Read this post on his blog for more info! PS, if you don’t follow Jeff’s blog, you really should! He has been blogging for 11+ years.  He also has a new travel blog,
Here is the short version of the video but you should also watch the longer version if you have the time!

Long version, It is almost like being there 😉

I could go on and on about the awesomeness of Jeffanda’s reception; the food and desserts were amazing, some of the best wedding food you could have.  And they had an OPEN BAR (anything goes!) the ENTIRE NIGHT (6pm-12am).  This mama-to-be didn’t touch a drop of alcohol, of course 😉

The best part of the reception was the fact that tons of my family members on both my mom and dad’s sides were able to make it!! I LOVE my family and feel so blessed that it is so big.  My dad is from a family of seven siblings and my mom a family of eight siblings.  Not everyone was able to make it but there was still a great turnout, especially the Sauer side.
I will start with photos from my dad’s side of the family since I hadn’t seen them since Heidi & Anthony’s wedding back in June.
The Magnificent Seven…. my Dad and all his siblings! (Not arranged by age)
Sauer Siblings
Newlyweds Heidi and Anthony
Heidi and Anthony
Cindy and Steve (my Godfather)
Cindy and Steve
Gene and Susan
Gene and Susan
My cousin Katie and her bf Mike
Katie and Michael
Joe and Mary
Joe and Mary
Nick, Jake, Natalie and Angela (Joe and Mary’s kids)
Nick Jake Natalie and Angela
My other cousin Katie and her husband EZ (yes, two Katies on one side of the family, both blood cousins 😉
KT and EZ
Joan and John
John and Joan
Janice and Bill
Janice & Bill
Some of the Sauer cousins
Sauer Cousins at Jeffanda's reception
Some of the Sauer men and their infamous Martini Toast
Sauer Men Martini Toast
Kim, Dave and Brian
Kim Dave and Kristi
My Mom and Dad
Fran and Jim

Okay, now on to my mom’s side of the family (many of my cousins live in other states and weren’t able to come, unfortunately)
Newlyweds Carol and Chris
Carol and Chris
Bob, Cassie and Chris
Bob Cassie Chris
Newly engaged Casey and Nadia
Casey and Nadia
Zach, Kristin and Gracie
Zach Kristin and Grace
Paul and his gf Patti
Patty and Paul
Daniel Boone (who flew in from AZ!) and me
Daniel and Kristi
Payton and Kristin
Payton and Kristin
Gram and Gramp
Gramp and Gram

Okay, I know this post is crazy long and photo-filled but the show must go on….
on to the dancing that is!!
Amanda and her Danicng Girls
Jeffanda Silly Dance
Me with my sisters Michelle, Amanda and LaShara, Amanda’s BFF
LaShara Kristi Amanda Michelle
Dancing Grace
A few more miscellaneous….
Tom and LaShara
Tom and LaShara
Toya and Hucky
Toya and Harlan
Mandy and Brandon
Mandy and Brandon
Me and Jeffrey
Jeff and Kristi
Christina and Matt (Amanda’s brother and SIL)
Christina and Matt Helbling
Alright, I better wrap this up!! Hope you enjoyed the wedding video and the recap 😉


On this date I have blogged about:

PJ & Allisa’s Beautiful Fall Wedding

PJ & Allisa’s Beautiful Fall Wedding

This year has been one full of weddings!

The fourth of which I was able to attend was on Sept 21st for my cousin PJ and his fiance, Allisa. (My other weddings were all family weddings as well! 1. Heidi & Anthony, 2. Jeff & Amanda 3. Dave & Lindsay.  My aunt Carol was also married in June on the same day as Heidi and Tony but I couldn’t be in two places as once).

PJ and Allisa had a Friday afternoon ceremony at The Refuge Golf Club in Oak Grove, MN.  The weather that day was one of on-off rain and sunshine.  Luckily the rain went away and the sun came out within a half hour of their outdoor ceremony. (Insert sound of angels singing here! lol)
Allisa PJ Ceremony
Allisa Pj Wedding Kiss
After the ceremony they had a very nice reception inside the Golf Club with cocktail hour, dinner and then dancing. A photobooth was also set up with the customary props….
Me and Amanda (Too bad this is blurry but that’s what happens when I pass my camera to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing)
Kristi Amanda SEpt 2012
My cousin Daniel (who was in town from Tucson, AZ) and my Mom
Dan & Fran
Shelleigh and Me
Michelle and Kristi 2012
And more family photos….

MacKenzie, Gramps, Carol, Jeffrey, Daniel and Segen)
Gramp Carol Mac Dan Jeff Segen
Carol and Girls

Cassie, Chris and Bobby
Bob Chris and cassie
Dan Brian Kristi Jeff 2012

Brain and Michelle sans the kiddos

Amanda & Jeff

Gramp and Gram
Gramp and Gram 2012
Zach, Kristin and Gracie
Zach kristin Grace
Nadia and Casey (also newly engaged!)
Nadia & Casey
Me and my Aunt Cindy (PJ’s mom)
Cindy Kristi

Cousins Shannon and Alli with Segen
Shannon Alli and Segen
Two of my mom’s brothers, Paul (PJ’s dad) and Bob
Paul Bob
PJ and Allisa
PJ & Allisa
Dinner was quite good for a banquet… yes, leave it too me to take photo photos at a wedding!
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Steak Dinner
And Dancing….
PJ Cindy
Fran Jim Dance
Gramo and Gram Dancing
Cousins Zach and Segen
Zach Segen
Gracie is a Dancing QUEEN!
Dancin Grace
It was a fun time and although we stayed until nearly the end, we all had to get some rest that night to get ready for the next day’s party…. Jeff and Amanda’s reception!! Yes, back to back wedding celebrations!!! More on that to follow….

PS This wedding will be forever memorable for another reason…..  more on that to come as well 😉


On this date I have blogged about:

Wedding Dinner in the Wine Cave at Kunde Family Estates

Wedding Dinner in the Wine Cave at Kunde Family Estates

After Jefanda had their beautiful mountain-top wedding ceremony, all of us guests enjoyed a mountain-top cocktail hour with vino con queso.  (There is a beautiful built-in bar area up there).

Awhile later the limo brought us all back down to the base of the mountain where we were able to enter the Wine Caves.
Amanda Jeff 001
(Photo above by Sherman Chu Photographer)
Entrance to Wine Caves at Kunde Family Estate ~ Kenwood, CA

The kids were as adorable as ever as they waited just outside the wine cave…
Bianca Annika kissing Bennett at Jefanda's wedding
Inside row after row looks like this…
Inside the Wine Cave at Kunde Family Estate ~ Sonoma, CA
We made our way back to a special little area
Amanda Jeff 266

(Photo above by Sherman Chu Photographer)

The room was lit (and heated) by candle-light
Do you see this gorgeous centerpiece? This lovely creation was an idea Amanda had seen somewhere. The morning of the wedding, several of us women (Amanda, Me, my mom, LaShara, Cristina, and Mandy) helped Amanda put it together with flowers she ordered online. It looked gorgeous!
Amanda Jeff 278
(Photo above by Sherman Chu Photographer)
Centerpiece at Jefanda's Wedding

The five-course dinner was lovely….

Summer Melon Gazpacho
Summer Melon Gazpacho ~ Sonoma, CA
Layered Heirloom Tomato Salad
Layered Heirloom Tomato Salad ~ Sonoma, CA
Roasted Red Pepper Ravioli (to die for!)
Fresh Red Pepper Ravioli ~ Sonoma, CA
Roasted Karobata Pork Chop with Smoked Apples
Roasted Karobata Pork Chop with Smoked Apples ~ Sonoma, CA
Ice cream sandwiches
Ice Cream Sandwiches at Jefanda's wedding
We heard a couple of great speeches and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Amanda Jeff 341
Amanda Jeff 351
Amanda Jeff 282

It was a wonderful day and I feel blessed to have been able to join them.
The celebration of Jefanda’s union continues….. I look forward to their big reception this September at Metropolitan Club at Target Field!

If you’d like to read about the rest of my trip to California, here ya go!


On this date I have blogged about:

Baby Shower for Erin

Baby Shower for Erin

A couple of weeks ago I attended a baby shower for Michelle‘s sister, Erin.  Erin and her husband Stew have been long awaiting to become parents and their little bundle of joy (baby boy Chandler) should be arriving around Halloween.

Michelle invited nearly fifty of Erin’s family and friends to her and Brian’s house for the shower.  It was a very warm day but everyone had a great time.  We started with brunch and socializing then moved to opening presents.
Michelle and Erin
Party Food Spread
Chicken Salad Croissants
Cheese and Cracker Plate
Fruit Platter
Mimosa Station
Tier of Cupcakes
Erin with her mom and grandmaBev, Jodi and Erin
The kids enjoyed helping Auntie Erin open her presents
Erin received a ton of beautiful gifts for the baby….. now we just need to wait until he arrives so we can enjoy him 🙂

Showing Support {Benefit for Brent}

Showing Support {Benefit for Brent}

Saturday night was a successful one, with an awesome turnout at the benefit for Kimmy’s fiance, Brent.  Brent has been battling cancer for the past two months and has just finished his first bout of chemo and radiation.  New tests will determine what step to take next, but it is likely to be a long road ahead.  Brent’s sister and family put together a wonderful benefit on his behalf and the number of people who showed up was overwhelming.  So many people praying and showing support for Brent’s speedy recovery!  Kim is an amazing woman for everything she is dealing with right now, so strong and positive. Brent too.  I really believe positive attitude can make a big difference.  Every little bit counts!
Kim Brent 2
My special girls
kim mary kristi

It was nice to spend some time talking to my girls, I need to do it more often.
kims girls

Troy and Mary

I look forward to the time when the big C is gone and Brent is feeling good again so he and Kim can get on with the wedding planning 😉


Ms. Melissa & Ben’s Wedding

Ms. Melissa & Ben’s Wedding

I may have mentioned awhile back that I flew home from Austin and on just a few hours sleep, I was up bright and early the following morning to tag along with my SIL Michelle as she did the photography for the wedding of my friend and colleague, Melissa.  Melissa and I taught at the same school for the past three years (and neither of us will be at that school next year).  Last spring when she asked if I would be willing to photograph her wedding or knew someone who would, I was happy to refer her to Michelle (who does weddings only on a very minimal basis).  I am nowhere near qualified to shoot a wedding.  That is hard work! I did however, enjoy being there on Melissa’s wedding day and being part of catching her memories.  I have found I am ill-equipped with not only skills but also the actual photography equipment (lenses, flash, etc), but it was a great learning experience.  I even managed to get some decent photos!  Be sure to check out the Michelle’s Sneak Peek of Melissa & Ben’s Wedding.  Gorgeous!

This handsome little guy is Melissa and Ben’s son.

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DSC_5819 DSC_5814 DSC_5890 DSC_5894 DSC_5897 DSC_5955-bw


And a few of my friends from work…..

DSC_5966-bw DSC_5958-bw


Noemy’s Surprise….

Noemy’s Surprise….

As I mentioned previously, Noemy will be moving out of MN very soon to join her husband who is a Specialist in the Army.  To help give her a proper send-off, Noemy’s family got together for a big surprise party.  And boy, was Noemy surprised!! She thought she was going over to her mom’s house to pick her up for dinner

I love surprise parties like that where the person is actually really surprised!

A few other photos from the party….

There ya go!

Man, is it really Thursday already today????

The Wedding & Reception…….

The Wedding & Reception…….

It was so much fun to be able to take wedding photos of Noemy & Traves but it was even more fun at the actual wedding/reception!  You may have read that Noemy & Traves needed a last-minute change in venue due to a booking error and fortunately they found a place in time.  Although the new venue was far from ideal, the important thing is that these two special people were able to make their vows to each other in front of their loved ones.




And WHAT A KISS!!!!!!!!!!


The reception followed immediately after the ceremony  < Puerto Rican Style Fun!!> 

I took many photos at the reception but I am only going to post this one of me with Denise and Noemy.  These two have been BFFs since Jr. high and I was lucky enough to meet Noemy a few years ago through Denise (who is not only my next door neighbor but also one of my besties).  I love these girls!!


Fun times celebrating with ya'll!

Jake’s Benefit was a Success!

Jake’s Benefit was a Success!

Well, the fruits of our labor were realized on Friday with a very successful Benefit on behalf of baby Jake.  Many friends and family were able to make it out for the event and we had a great time while raising $$ for Jake.  We only had one camera between all of us for the evening, so it got passed around quite a bit.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the evening….

(The t-shirts were designed by me and Mary)










Grooving it up on the dance floor…..




The BFFs


One of Dad Brent and Mom Kim


Thanks to everyone who came out, to everyone who made donations and to everyone who bought raffle tickets from me.  We all appreciate it!!

State Fair Food Diaries ~ Round 2

State Fair Food Diaries ~ Round 2

Labor Day is always the last day of the 12-day Minnesota State Fair and like other years, I had to make it out there for a 2nd time to sample the treats we only get to eat once a year.  We met up with my brother Jeff sometime in mid afternoon and took the Park N Ride to the Fairgrounds. 


There were a LOT of people out at the Fair on Labor Day!


I made Jeff bring his camera along so that I could document more of our food buys which consisted of:

  • Cheese Curds
  • Philly Cheese Steak


  • London Broil Sandwich
  • Deep Fried Ravioli
  • Deep Fried Snickers


  • Reuben Pretzel (eeeewww.  I love Reubens and did not enjoy this at ALL)


  • Deep Fried Sunfish with Lindon Berry Sauce and Walleye Cakes


We were out at the Fair about 4 hrs until we were pretty hot and stuffed and decided to call it a day.

It was another great year at the MN State Fair!

Great MN Get Together

Great MN Get Together

Last weekend was a lot of fun while having family in town visiting from Chicago.  It has kind of been a tradition for them to come to MN at the end of the summer and for us all to go out to the State Fair, so that's what we did last Friday night.  I still had my dad's camera so I was able to take some photos.

My favorite thing about the Fair is the Food! Isn't it for everyone!?? LOL.  IMO (in my opinion) it is always best to share food at the Fair,
that way you can try small bites of a lot of different things.  This
time at the Fair I sampled bites of:

  • Fried Ravioli
  • Cheese Curds
  • Fried Green Tomatoes & Corn Fritters with honey butter
  • Bacon-wrapped turkey tenderloin
  • Italian Gelato
  • Scotch Egg
  • Roasted Corn
  • London Broil
  • Corn Dog
  • Sweet Martha's Cookies

My favorite food?  Cheese curds, of course!!



We walked around a lot and I took some random photos here and there









Check out the size of this Oinker…..



It was a lot of fun and I'm glad most of the family could make it up this year! (D & K, wish you could've come too!)

Benefit Planning for Jake: Hope for Sight

Benefit Planning for Jake: Hope for Sight

For those of you who really know me or have been reading my blog over the years, know that I have  20+ years of friendship with a very special group of BFF's: Mary, Kim, Lanee and Sonja.  We have been through everything together over the years and right now one of us is facing a life-long challenge.  Two months ago Kim and her fiance Brent learned that their baby boy Jake has a rare genetic eye disorder that has left him almost blind:

On June 20th, 2009 at the age of 4
months, Jake was diagnosed with a rare genetic eye disorder called Familial
Exudative Vitreoretinopathy, aka “FEVR”. With this diagnosis it was discovered
that Jake has only “light sight” and minimal peripheral vision. On July 16th
& 17th, 2009 at 5 months old, Jake underwent double eye surgery
to reattach his retinas and remove fluid blockage. With his first surgery there
are hopes of him to have the chance to see at least shapes and shadows. It will
be 4-6 months before they will know if the surgery was successful. What is
known is that Jake will need extensive eye therapy, glasses and most likely
multiple surgeries. FEVR is a progressive disorder with no known cure. The only
thing that is certain is that Jake will be fighting for sight for the rest of
his life.

Brent & Kim have been through so much in such a
short time as they do what they can to help their little guy. On September 18th,
2009 there will be a benefit held in Jake’s honor. The money raised will help
ease the financial burden Brent & Kim are facing and will continue to face
as they provide the special care Jake will need.

The girls started planning this event over a month ago while I was out of town and have made great progress getting donations, etc.  Last Friday night Mary and I met Kim and her good friend Daria (Benefit Coordinator) to nail out some of the final details.  I hadn't seen Jacob in a few months and he has changed so much!


Kimmy with Jake


Here are me and Mary designing the Tshirts we will all wear at the Benefit.


The Benefit is going to be a very fun event and I would love to invite all of you to come! 

Friday, September
18th, 2009 4:00 pm-12:30 am 

Osbourne Road, Fridley MN 55432

*$5 Raffle-~many items including an LG 42” Flat Screen Television

*Silent Auction *Chili
Feed *Bake
Sale *Cash

*Live Music

Arena Freedomstation       

The Benefit is going to be a very FUN TIME, so please mark it on your calendars! We will start pre-selling Raffle Tickets starting later this week or next week, $5 per ticket will enter you in drawing for chance to win 42" Flat Panel TV, and several Gift Cards to local restaurants (need not be present to win). The Chili Feed and Bake-Sale are going to be amazing as well, not to mention cool cover bands playing later in the evening! 

Hope to see you all there!

If you would like more information, please visit Jake's Benefit Website, Our Visions of Hope.

Surprise for Valentina

Surprise for Valentina

Happy Birthday today to my BFF Lanee Valentina!
How cool would it be to have your bday on Valentine's Day?  Sonja planned a little surprise party for Lanee last night and I was able to go hang out with my girls for awhile and be there to surprise Lanee before having to leave to go to a concert. 
A few photos:

Heart shaped goodies in honor of our Valentina

Sonja, Leah and Me
Happy Birthday Lanee, I hope your birthday is wonderful 🙂

Party time for Sally!

Party time for Sally!

Attended a bachelorette party last Friday night for Sally, one of my college girlfriends.  I always have fun when I am reunited with these ladies :)  It was a Black (with Sally in white) theme and we had a green party bus.  Fun stuff!



I am by no means a downtown party girl, but there is ONE club downtown that I have consistently had fun at over the past 10 years because it is such a good place to dance…its had many names over the years but has gone by The Annex for many years now :)  We spent the last couple fo hours at that bar shakin our groove thang and then slumber party. 

So many babies!

So many babies!

On Saturday I went to a baby shower for an old friend of mine, Andrea.   It was nice to see some of my old friends from school who were also able to come.   Would you believe that we had four babies among the group?? Bradie, Anne, Mandy and Gretchen all have new babies, and they are all so cute! Of course I took a bunch of photos!
Andrea with all of us girls
Andrea opening her very own copy of Porn for New Moms

Bradie and Neven

Anne and Sammy

Mandy and Madden (You may recall Mandy was in the Hot Mama contest back when she was preggo)

Me and Bradie

Congrats to Andrea and her husband on the upcoming arrival of baby Lucie!

Party Time!

Party Time!

My friend Kara's daughter is turning one in a few weeks so she and her husband threw a birthday party at their house this weekend so that they could take advantage of the warm fall weather (and their gorgeous, newly-landscaped backyard).  What a doll Olivia the birthday girl is! 

Her hat is courtesy of the balloon man who was there to make fun creations for all the little kids. 


There was also this fun jumpy thing for the kids to play in:

There was an outdoor BBQ for lunch and then a fancy schmancy cake.  (How cool is that?!) The inside tasted as good as it looked!!  The smaller cake was Olivia's personal cake 🙂

Olivia wasn't quite sure what to do with her cake at first, but with a little help she figured it out!


This adorable little cutie is Shannon & Jere's little guy, Jonah.  He also has his first birthday later this week!


The party wasn't ALL about the kids, the adults had fun too :) 

Mary, Leah and Me (whoever took this pic was aiming right at the bright sun!! Oh well, still cute- just a coincidence that we were all wearing shades of turquoise and teal)


Shannon and Gina


And one with Kara and all her girls


Thanks for the fun party, Kara and Jesse!

Wedding Recap…..

Wedding Recap…..

It was a beautiful, somewhat cool day on Saturday for Darrell & Denise's wedding.   They were married at the gorgeous Assumption Catholic Church in St Paul.



We had a limo for the evening with our other awesome neighbors and good friends, Jere and Shannon…(Thanks again for setting that up, Shannon!) It was nice to have all that space for just four people!


We made a stop at Il Vesco Vino for appetizers and drinks before the reception.  I will be doing a review very shortly! The restaurant is in an old converted mansion, with a gorgeous patio and gardens.


The reception was at Christo's in the Union Depot. 


The dinner was awesome!  The dessert was even more fabulous (Milopita~ Glazed apple slices baked in phyllo with ricotta and cream cheese ) …. too bad I never got to eat more than a bite of mine before it was cleared away 🙁

One of my FAVORITE parts of the evening was the Mariachi Band.  They serenaded everyone throughout dinner.  I love Mariachis!!!


I spent the night "getting low, low, low" and "dropping it like its hot".  I love to dance! My dang feet hurt so dang bad by the end of the night!(And my whole body hurt the next day when I woke up! LOL)


We all had fun dancing…..



Pics of me with the Bride…….


and Groom……


We stayed at the party until the very end and then Darrell and Denise jumped in the limo with us and we all went back to our neighborhood.  The bride and groom left just a few short hours later for their honeymoon 😉

Felicidades, mis amigos!