Thursday, January 8, 2015

In which we all go to IKEA


And lo, the mothership called me home again.

We spent part of a day in Phoenix visiting the local IKEA store, which is actually located in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix. It was about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Glendale, which isn't so bad when you consider that there isn't an IKEA store in the entire state we live in. This time, all four of us went, and we made a whole outing of it. Lunch and everything! We had a good time. Let's be honest, this was really for me, but I think they liked it too.


(Gratuitous palm-trees shot!)


We opted to eat lunch first, thinking that the small Bears would be more patient if their bellies were full. We joined the IKEA Family program to get discounts even though we can't shop there often. The week we went, all kids' meals were free for members. I was hoping they'd choose something exotic to eat, but they wanted chicken fingers and fries. Fine with me, really, it was a free lunch. The Bear and I were more daring: he had Swedish meatballs and I had salmon with veggie cakes. We liked using the little tray cart, it made things so much easier as we moved through the lines and the crowded dining area.


The food was delicious, I have to say. I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. But then my department-store dining experiences mostly revolve around the cafeterias they used to have in Kmart stores when I was a kid. Do you remember those? I recall eating tuna fish so dry it made me cough. IKEA's dining choices are a vast improvement.


We finished eating and entered the showroom. Thus ensued much lying and sitting. Every couch, chair and bed had to be tested. These two cracked me up. It wasn't all Goldilocks stuff, though; the Bear and I actually had a few items in mind this time, having visited another IKEA store last summer, in California. We wanted to look at desks and kitchen table/chair sets. We had the space to bring home flat packs if we found the right items, and we felt pretty dedicated to this task. Unfortunately, the store was undergoing a major overhaul and their furniture departments were not well-stocked. I understand why but it was disappointing. I was really hoping for a kitchen table set, especially. I guess we'll just have to visit another IKEA store! I hear Denver's is nice...




They also tested drawers, cabinets and toys. I warned them to be careful and not to get in other customers' way, but I left them alone otherwise. They enjoyed the showroom so much. I only wish I had the space for a play kitchen like this in our house. The GB would adore it. They both would, actually. The LB was fascinated by the light-up burners on the play stove top. They both loved the kids' arts and crafts supplies; those I have plenty of room for.


Funny, so is ours!


We had a much-needed potty break at the end of the showroom tour.


By the time we got down to the marketplace level, they were starting to flag. So we put them in a cart and kept going. Forced shopping march!


"You already have two pairs of tongs, Mommy!"


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We had a feeling the LB would love the lighting department and boy, were we right! This guy has always been fascinated by lights, since he was a little baby. It's just something he really loves and he knows virtually everything about how lighting works. I think he tried every light they had on display. We let him pick out a set of string lights for his bedroom and he chose a really cool set with tiny white LED lights, which now resides on the wall above his bed.


Soon it was time to pay for our things. I would have stayed longer but they'd clearly had enough. (I did buy those tongs. They're fantastic and I don't care what anyone thinks).



We bought some groceries on the way out too. Just a few things - cookies, soda and both types of drink concentrate, lingonberry and elderflower. If I hadn't already bought food to cook for dinner that evening, I would have brought back some frozen Swedish meatballs. They were really delicious. Anyone have a good recipe?


We had frozen yogurt, of course. It's such great frozen yogurt! Someday I want to try the snack-bar pizza too.



Bye-bye, you vast and delightful warehouse of cool things. I hope we meet again someday.

40 comments:

  1. There's an Ikea about an hour from where I live. they have a restaurant but they don't sell groceries. I don't go very often but if there's something I need it's a great place to go.

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  2. Your lunch certainly looks delicious, we are also miles away from Ikea the nearest is about 3 hours drives away so I usually visit when I visit my daughter.

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  3. I'm glad you had time to visit IKEA, Jennifer! I remember from a previous post how much you liked the one you went to in San Francisco (at least that's where I think the one you last visited was). I didn't know there was a lingonberry concentrate. I have added it to my list for next time I visit IKEA. If you Google you should be able to come up with some good Swedish meatball recipes. The main thing is they are a mix of ground beef and ground pork.

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  4. We are planning a trip to our fairly local one in the next couple of months. I've just signed up to the 'Family card'. You can get some great discounts through it, thanks.

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  5. It's been a couple of years since we've been to an Ikea. The nearest to us is in Leeds, about an hour's drive away. They're opening one here in Sheffield but it's still being built - can't wait for it to open! We love Ikea too. Did you get any fabrics? They've got some really lovely ones the last time we went. x

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    1. They're building one in Sheffield? Awesome!! I don't know why, because I live in Manchester haha, but I have family over there, so a visit to a nice new Ikea...

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  6. Our nearest Ikea is currently about an hour away, but there is another one opening about 20 minutes away, supposedly this year! I love the market place and can get thoroughly carried away as individually, it's all so cheap. Those little bits and bobs can add up though! Glad you had so much fun. x

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  7. This made me laugh so much!! I get as giddy with excitement as you plainly do when I visit IKEA. Or any large department store The far South West of the UK has limited options for retail indulgence. I always buy scissors, glasses, tea light candles and napkins when I visit IKEA in Bristol. Our bookcases and fitted wardrobes are from there. Also the drawers in our bedroom and the sideboard in the conservatory. Oh and I shall definitely be visiting it when I kit Sam out for University. They do a really great student starter kit. God bless that blue box of a store!!
    Leanne xx

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  8. I've never been to an Ikea store. It looks like a little adventure.

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  9. I have been smiling my way through your post and recognizing everything. I live in Norway and we have several Ikea's around here. Regarding the swedish meatballs you ate, they are easy to make http://www.matoppskrift.no/oppskrift/Svenske-kj%C3%B8ttboller#axzz3OFlKRiyM.

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  10. I really feel sorry for you - not one Ikea in the whole state you live in ?!? Here in Europe, they're just about everywhere... I have three of them in less than a 45 min drive, and there will be one in my hometown next year (now that is too close, not so much for me, but for my wallet ;-)))
    And you know what ? Even if you can visit an Ikea everyday, you would be able to find something to buy every day !! Just fantastic stores :-) !

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  11. I never thought of Goldilocks and the bears before! We have a store about an hours drive from us, we go there a couple of times a year perhaps, but we have several items of furniture which were fantastic for when we first set up home and didn't have much space or cash. I like the modern design too. Well done you for getting the tongs - if you like them treat yourself!! Glad you all had so much fun - the meatballs are really good! xx

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  12. I am not allowed to go to Ikea, I think my hubby would leave me (or I would have to leave him by the side of the road to fit more things in the car!!). Your trip, even though a bit disappointing on the furniture side for you, was a feast for the eyes, and belly :-) It's a shame they don't deliver!! xx

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  13. I have to confess that I love Ikea, I'm really sad you don't even have one in your state, mine is about 20 minutes away :( That might also have something to do with why we moved to where we did haha (joking...)

    You look like you had a classic Ikea trip haha. We sometimes get their meatballs (but just get Swedish meatballs from anywhere if you can) and we oven bake them and serve with chips (fries?) and a peppercorn sauce and cranberry sauce, just like Ikea haha

    x

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  14. This is awesome! We have yet to have a meal there but you have inspired me to do so! A good way to keep kiddos going for sure! And it looks like you guys scored on so much goodness up there! Cant wait to see what you got! Happy day you! Nicole xo

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  15. Ikea became a real treat for you and the family, Jennifer; glad you all enjoyed it. My daughter and her friends take their toddlers there for lunch and play - she says it is a great day out. I don't think they even go into the showroom. I really like the marketplace at IKEA - always some little thing to buy, like your tongs. Fun for everyone!

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  16. I have a list in the kitchen (in my pile of lists) of things to get on my next visit to Ikea in Bristol. You have reminded me I should get on with it. I'm glad you enjoyed it there so much, there are always some good ideas to be seen aren't there. Maybe next time I'll stop for food too. A fun thing to do is to get one of the flat trolleys for the warehouse stuff and whizz along with a small child on it then jump on too. You should definitely try that on your next visit. Assuming it's not crowded. CJ xx

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  17. I'm not sure about the Denver Ikea, but the one in the suburbs of Salt Lake City is pretty nifty! I've never tried anything from the grocery section - how was what you bought?

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  18. Oh gosh your post has got me all excited, I have a trip to Ikea with my mother in law planned for Sunday, there's one about 20minutes from where we are moving to, I don't know who is more excited, me or her! I love the elderflower concentrate, we add it to gin cocktails! x

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  19. Sounds like you all had a fab time! I have never tried the meatballs in Ikea, must try some next time. I love Ikea as does my daughter but G can't stand it! However, he can be persuaded to go along every so often so long as we visit the restaurant whilst we're there!
    Marianne x

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  20. I love the marketplace such fun.It's so colourful. I love the meatballs we always have them for , I also like the daim cake, delicious.

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  21. Glad you all had a good time. I have to say that a trip to Ikea is my worst nightmare, ha ha. You go in through the entrance and it's an eternity before you find the exit and they're willing to let you out again. Hence, I only have the very odd thing from Ikea in my house.

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  22. It's really funny to see that IKEAs looks the same everywhere in the world! I think they are building a second one in my town at the moment but I am not to sure about it... Which reminds me... I need to go there any buy some flowers! :P

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

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  23. Ikea is a store I never get tired of visiting. Im glad you all had a great time and so cute to see your kids ride in the trolly x

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  24. Thanks for taking us along Jennifer! You nearly satisfied my yen for a visit. We travel about 2 hours to IKEA and make at least an annual trek. :) Love that Lingonberry, always look forward to the restful lunch break and try to keep buying to 1 cart only, lol. Those blue bags for 59 cents are amazing. Hubby uses one to carry firewood into the house.

    Fun post! Your children sure are growing up.

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  25. As you know, I have an IKEA that's only a 40 min. drive away. I only go there if we're looking for something specific, otherwise I steer clear because the place is such a madhouse! Unfortunately, we have to go this Sunday to return some curtains that didn't work out. There's nothing else I need, so I might just send my husband in to the returns line while I wait in the car. ;-)

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  26. I live one hour from an Ikea store, and I almost never seem to get there... that needs to change! I love shopping at Ikea, and the Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes are so yummy! I need to make a trip there soon for some new picture frames. I recently came across a recipe for Swedish meatballs that are very similar to Ikea's meatballs. They are delicious and I plan to make them again!
    http://damndelicious.net/2014/02/21/swedish-meatballs/

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  27. Wow I didn't know Ikea served food. It looks like restaurant food to me. Of course I've never shopped at Ikea so I wouldn't know anything about it. Looks like a nice place to spend an afternoon. Glad you got to go. Oh and I think you can't ever have too many tongs! :)
    xx Beca

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  28. I enjoyed this post so much! I love going to Ikea but totally take it for granted as in Leeds our store was 15 minutes away. Here, it's a whole 45 minutes, which seems so far!! You're probably laughing at me now. I really love the meatballs. You can buy sauce that goes on top of them, and eat them with chips or new potatoes and some of that yummy redcurrant jelly stuff. Mmm. Meatballs... xx

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  29. Oh I do so love a good wander around Ikea too! And I love that collage of the little bears exploring, the delight in their faces is just precious :-) I can also recommend the frozen (ready to bake) cinnamon rolls from their freezer/grocery section - put them on your list for next time too!
    Happy weekend,
    hugs xx

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  30. All Ikea stores must be the same all over the world! It was just like shopping in the one close to my home, looking at your pics!Just so happens they have a lovely new sofa that I have my eye on but I'll have to wait until it's in the sale! Their meatballs are divine, especially done in a pasta sauce. It's terribly easy to make them yourself with minced beef, dried breadcrumbs,salt and pepper and any herbs that you particularly like, with the addition of an egg to bind it all together. You could also use minced pork, I think Ikea's are made with it and sometimes I've even used minced turkey!Lovely to 'see' you again, Jennifer.

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  31. Hi Jennifer! Lovely post! Our nearest IKEA is probably only 15mins drive by car from here. I often pop in there, sit in the cafe (free coffee on the family card) and do some crocheting or knitting!!! :))
    I don't necessarily need to buy anything (Though we got plenty of the storage crates with lids for my craft stuff and wool!), I just like to have a look around. I always check out the bargain corner where they have ex store display items and some wilting plants (I rescued a few of those before!). Those oat cookies are delicious!!!
    Glad you had fun! :)
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  32. What fun you had at IKEA! We have one about a half hour from here, near our airport. I love the marketplace area and the kitchen and candle areas. Might be time for another visit! BTW - we always buy the frozen meatballs, sauce mix and lingonberry jam for on top the meatballs.. LOVE it! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  33. My daughters love a trip to Ikea, we've got one due soon as I'm running out of paper serviettes! :) xxx

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  34. Looks like you all had a great day out Jennifer, it's great the little bears enjoyed it too. It's ages since I was in Ikea our nearest store is about 45 minuets away but I hate driving there because the road gets so busy, I do need storage shelves though so you never know. :)

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  35. Hello Jennifer,

    Well, we must confess that a day out in IKEA would not be our idea of fun but you all certainly made the most of it.

    We do not think that we are quite so enthusiastic about IKEA as you are, but we have, in our time, bought some good things there. Stylish and inexpensive, if one chooses wisely there are good bargains to be had. And, we have eaten in an IKEA once. It was, as you say, unexpectedly very good indeed. Fresh and incredibly delicious.....surprise!

    Thank you for your kind comment. We wish you and your family peace, joy and success in the coming year and beyond.

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  36. We don't go often as it is some distance away but when we do the time just flies by! It's my husband who usually looks like your children when we get to the marketplace level! Lovely to see your post about your trip to Ikea! Sarah x

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  37. We had our Ikea fix today, it is an easy lunch out for me as we only live 10 minutes away from our local big blue house (as we call it). We always have some meatballs in the freezer, the beef/pork ones and the chicken ones, too. I am glad you enjoyed it so much! x

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  38. You had me cracking up with this post, Jennifer! I feel the same way about IKEA, and my hubby is very impressed with the quality of the products. In the summertime, we will often turn a trip to IKEA into our walking exercise. We've had the Sweedish meatballs, too, and even bought their cinnamon rolls ONCE......such an awesome & sweet assault to your tastebuds and the wonderful smell just permeates the entire store! That store is less than 30 minutes from me!

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  39. We live a short drive from the first Ikea in the UK at Warrington. It's one of my favourite places to get home ware stuff, but it;s a dangerous place to go since it always costs so much! But the food is lovely and I always buy some frozen meatballs when I go!

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