How do you describe Ikea? I was emailing my trusty Internet Penpal, Julie the other day and trying to describe the "Ikea" experience (which around here we pronounce eye-KEY-uh. I have a friend who lived in Norway and she says ee-KAY-uh. But we all know she's wrong). The first time I went to Ikea, Kai was in kindergarten. When he went to school the next day, he got up in front of the class for show-and-tell and told a group of wide-eyed kids all about his adventures at Ikea. He brought in the cool clear blue lamp that "had a top shaped like R2-D2" that he got and shared about the "fun living rooms" they had set up around the store and how much fun he had playing in the special kids area with the ball room and games.
For those of you who have never been, Ikea makes me think that those Norwegians really must have it going on. The building is a huge multi-level. At the bottom level is the warehouse and the check-out. After you check-out, there are snack and coffee stands where you can get these amazingly yummy cinnamon rolls and other Norwegian goodies. The upper levels are a jaw-dropping array of every imaginable thing you can possibly think of to put in your house. It is a full-home furnishing experience. Granted, the style is modern, but I think there is something there for everyone. And everything is just so dang inexpensive! As you wander through the levels, some of them are even set up so that you gently spiral up or down without any discernible stairs. And they have set up little decorated rooms all around the place so you can see how their furnishings work together. It is a truly amazing place and you have to go there to really experience it. They have a childcare area where you can drop off your kids while you shop. It's got all kinds of fun kid activities. There is also a cafeteria that sells these delicious Swedish meatballs. We always try and plan the trip around lunch so we can have the meatballs.
A couple of years ago, it had been some time since we had taken a trip to Ikea. Kai had told Emi all about Ikea and she had hung on his every word. She became so excited at the prospect of going, you would have thought we were taking a trip to Disneyland, not a furniture store! On the way, we stopped by my aunt's house for a visit. At one point, I walked into the room just as Emi was telling my aunt, "...and after we shop for awhile, we're going to have those meatballs there that are just a little bit sweet..." and she was holding up her thumb and forefinger to indicate the little "pinch" of sweetness. She was telling my aunt about the "Sweet-ish meatballs!"
So you can see, Ikea holds a special place in the heart of the Knitalife household.
On to other noteworthy news -- I won something today! A $25 gift certificate to the Palace Restaurant! The Palace Restaurant is one of my favorites. It is a Cajun restaurant and they have a great menu. I always like to start with the popcorn crawdads with sherry sauce. Then they bring you a basket of assorted muffins. Then you choose your entree, of which I love the blackened catfish or the filet mignon. And when you go there, you absolutely MUST order the bread pudding. To die for. You have to order it at the beginning of the meal so they can put it in the oven. Then, after dinner, they bring it to your table, split it open and pour this Jack Daniels sauce over it. YUM-MEE! Okay, so my favorite things there cost well over $25. So I guess it's lunch or I have to kick in $25 or so of my own.
But hey, I didn't tell you how I won the certificate. They are having this walking program at the university. So everyone who joins gets a pedometer and you keep track of how many miles you walk every week. You can get prizes and stuff and you can also enter as a team. So my boss set a walking team up for our department and had a contest for the name. And guess whose entry won?
I hear stories about people getting fired for saying too much about their work on the blog. So I guess I shouldn't say the winning team name to protect the not-so-innocent. But trust me, it was a cute one.