12.22.2015

September 2015 Family Photos

You can thank Gracie + Gold Photography for the photos. 















Merry Christmas!

Oh holy shit, it's been so long since I've updated this thing.

In general I'm really good at updating my blog at least once a month, however, in this case, life sort of got away with me.

Two weeks after I last posted in September we learned some AWESOME news (which I really didn't think would happen - that's a story in itself) - I'm pregnant, and we found out it's a boy yesterday - so that means that in May there will be another rowdy, rambunctious, and loud child in this house. Nope, no puppy yet - at this point I would like another dog but that will NOT happen with a newborn in the house. The chance of a puppy being returned or put up for sale or me leaving a non-existent fence gate open are quite high. So the answer is NO, NO PUPPY FOR THIS HOUSEHOLD. Possibly a foster before the new baby is here? Maybe - as long as the office has been turned into a nursery, the stairs are finally fucking painted and the drywall is done in the basement. Those are my conditions.

My crochet was a super hit this past year too - my artsy neighbors and I hosted an open house where we sold jewelry, pottery, and crochet. I made a couple hundred bucks which made it worth it to me, plus I sold more from my Facebook page and other people contacted me about buying other items. I also made some money from Finch's Boutique - but I didn't send much over, I had really bad morning sickness and there was NO WAY IN HELL I could have made more items to send. Plus she had someone drop off 5x as much crochet items at the last minute which overshadowed mine (even though mine sold really well!). So I'm super happy about that.

Some notes for next year:

I'm going to make only the items that sell well -

Headbands - soft, alpaca, with nice wooden buttons, plus a few acrylic for those allergic to wool
Slouchy striped hats with gray/variegated yarn with a textured fpdc/bpdc brim
3 button cowls - with directions for 3 ways to button
1 button cowls
Simple DC cowls with alpaca or nicely textured yarn

Unfortunately all of the items above that me a very long time to make, which means that I've already started putting together headbands for next year (I KNOW!!!), but with a newborn AND a preschooler, I'm going to need all the time in the world.

So there was that.

And then I'm not sure what else is new. I hosted Thanksgiving - which was AWESOME. We had steak, mashed sweet potatoes, a 3 Sisters Salad (I tried to bring in a Native American recipe), and pies from Byerly's.

And that's kind of it.

I'll update more posts with pictures in the next week or so. I'm trying to get my butt back into gear after having morning sickness and thinking I was going to have to hire a few people to care for the house and my child.

Merry Christmas!

9.06.2015

My To-Do List

1. Print off Fall coloring pages for The Monkey.

2. Pick the rest of the tomatoes: make and freeze salsa, tomato sauce, and pizza sauce.

3. READ. Finished The Last Days of Video (totally reminded me of the movie Empire Records and I enjoyed the book!). Definitely recommend it for some light reading. I have the first book of the Aurora Teagarden mystery series by Charlaine Harris, so that will be started tomorrow. 

4. Laundry/organize clothes/put everything away.

5. Finish a crochet blanket. I am so freaking close to being done. SO CLOSE. Then I can start on boot cuffs, cowls, and slouchy hats for this Fall.

6. Convince The Monkey that pooping shouldn't take 45 minutes. 

8.28.2015

Fall & Winter Crochet

This year I'm having an open house with my two artist neighbors to show off and sell our artwork (jewelry, pottery, & crochet). I can't quite decide what to make yet.

Scarves are a usual suspect but I also want to make more headbands, some kid stuff, and maybe a few other things. I've purchased several patterns over the last few years and I have a few things that I really want to make.

This week I'll be pouring over my Pinterest boards and my patterns deciding what to get to work on for this year's sale. I've got a few chunky infinity scarves left plus three headbands and several hats that I had been working on for a sale a few months ago which turned out to be pretty crappy - it was a "Ladies Night Out" and turned out to be a networking even instead. No one was looking to buy anything. BOO.

I'm almost finished with a wedding blanket, but I have two baby blankets to make (one baby is due in October, the other in December, so at least I have some time and they're spread out!). Also, one baby is a girl and I haven't made a "girl" blanket in so long! I'm so excited! That one will be striped - gray, white, and then either a heather pink or a heather purple with some sort of teal or aqua accent. The "boy" blanket will be easy - I've done so many "boy" blankets that I have blue yarn in my stash, so that will be blue, aqua, and white striped. I might have a gray too in the same yarn.

So... in the next few weeks I'll be posting some ideas for items to make. I really just need to get my brain storming going and getting out of the "summer" swing of things (which was doing... well, nothing for crochet except making blankets for other people!).

Really Awkward Friday Storytime

Yesterday I hurt my dominant wrist. My right wrist.

I'm not sure exactly what happened - it happened either when I was hauling mulch awkwardly with a shovel OR when I almost got hit by a car on my bike. Not sure. But whatever. I remember SOMETHING hurt in my wrist after I got back from my bike ride so that was probably when it happened (but I rode my bike AFTER shoveling... so who knows...).

In any case, have you ever had to wipe after going to the bathroom with your non-dominant hand?

It's a bit awkward, isn't it?

I don't recommend it, unless you really, really have to.

So Happy Friday.

8.25.2015

The Tree Is DOWN

It's gone. It's down.

THERE'S SUNSHINE IN MY BACKYARD.

The stump still isn't ground so that still has to be done. The tree guys pulled up the old, rotting fence and I refused to let them put it back so we need to get a dumpster bag for that (and um, hopefully get rid of more stuff!). I would LOVE a new fence, especially one where the gate works, it closes, it doesn't have missing screws making the whole thing "off" and the posts are actually CEMENTED into the ground. Yep, that's right folks, the tree people LIFTED THE WHOLE FENCE OUT OF THE GROUND.

So that crap is still sitting in our backyard. I can't wait until it's gone.

Next year I'll do tomatoes against the fence so they'll be in full sunshine, two raised garden beds with trellis' between them (with peas growing on the trellis) to make a little fort for Simone. That will be a TON of work, but so awesome.

Andplusalso, I had Bimmer Man put a hook in the fence for a Mason Bee House - I just peeked into it yesterday and it doesn't look like there was too much activity this year, I saw only a few pieces of bamboo had been occupied. I'll bring that in for the winter and then put it out super early next year to hopefully get more bees into our yard!

7.23.2015

Antiques! Hastings & Red Wing

If you've ever heard of Red Wing Shoes (Um, Ryan Gosling has a pair, along with David Beckham), that's where I went - to Red Wing, Minnesota with my mom and sisters. We also stopped in Hastings and then went to Treasure Island Resort And Casino. If you're not from Minnesota you might be surprised to hear that all casinos in Minnesota are run by Indian Communities - Treasure Island is run by the Prairie Island Indian Community - the Mdewakanton community. Gaming is how most of the communities make money to support themselves. If you've never heard of reservations or communities - google some in your area and learn their histories. I feel like we don't have enough of that subject in schools so kids have no idea why the Native American history is so important and so unknown.

In any case, antiquing was pretty awesome. I found some really neat "treasures" I guess you could say.

I've tried really hard to stop buying plastic - but with a 3 year old that LOVES princess stuff and dolls and cars and toys... I'm finding it really hard to find Disney princess items that are NOT plastic. So I've just resolved to stop buying plastic in other areas. I don't get plastic bags to get produce, instead I use flip and tumble Set of 5 Reusable Produce Bags. They're AWESOME. And I've also become one of THOSE people that just flat out refuses plastic bags. So I have to find weird ways around not buying plastic or hauling things home. It can get interesting especially when you're shoving your groceries in your purse and making your 3 year old carry whatever she can too.

One of the ways to stop buying plastic IS toys - I've been buying used doll toys - so I bought an antique doll bed that rocks, and one other fun thing I did so The Monkey can have a tea party - I bought her tiny antique espresso cups and a little creamer. All three items are made of heavy glass, so if dropped they shouldn't break (but they're WAY better than the Fisher Price plastic pink crap that has holes in it right now - I'll list that stuff on the local garage sale site).



Red Wing Pottery. If you haven't been to their back room yet, you have to see what they've got! This was a 2nd, which means it's flawed though I haven't actually found a flaw yet. 

A cute little print. I have no clue where I'm going to put it but it was super cheap. I'm thinking I might put it in our dining room.

The little cradle with crochet blankets that The Monkey uses for her dolls.

Biking - What I Do In My Spare Time

Since I bought a bike last year, I've decided that I really like biking. When I bike with The Monkey, I can't talk to her so we get to enjoy each other in peace and quiet (and if you know children, then you know it's really hard to get them to shut up. Seriously.). I get to haul the WeeHoo tagalong behind my bike and we can ride up to 15 miles around the city together (thank goodness for all the biking fanatics in Minneapolis, we're one of the top cities for bikers and the trails are AMAZING!!).

In general, we take the Greenway to Lake Calhoun, stop at the little park, have a snack, continue to Lake Harriet and bike around that, back to Lake Calhoun, then back to the Greenway and home. So far her favorite part is the park at Lake Harriet - it's really tall, made to be all-inclusive (the top part is wide enough for wheelchairs), the slides are fantastically fast. She just really enjoys being there. My goal this next week is to add to my loop - add in another 2 miles with Lake of the Isles. So by the time September hits, we can bike south, possibly to Minnehaha Falls and back. I'm not quite sure if we'll get there this year. But I do know that she LOVES biking, so I'm hoping this continues and we can take some biking adventures/vacations.

My goal is to make a loop - start from home, go east to the Mississippi, south to highway 62 & Cedar Lake, then take the Minnehaha Creek trail back to Lake Harriet and home. I have no idea how many miles that is but I do know it's about half of what I did last week (which is around 18 - 20 miles). Eventually I'd like to do the Cannon Valley Trail - from Cannon Falls to Red Wing (and then back again). I'm not sure if I'll have to do that one alone or not. We shall see how Bimmer Man feels about that - I think it'd be a long day for The Monkey, so taking her might have to wait until next year.

But I really like biking. I like it so much that I ended up buying a second bike (not a comfort bike like I have - that one is really for going around the cities at a comfortable pace and I like that bike for hauling The Monkey). It's a lot lighter and now I can pretty much fly. It's awesome.

If you haven't biked in a long time, go for it. If you live in the Twin Cities, you have plenty of options for trails and you'll be so happy you decided to ride again. Biking is awesome!

7.16.2015

Homemade Chex Mix

A few weeks ago I realized that I'm addicted to Chex Mix. 

I decided that it would be a GREAT idea to make my own instead of buying it.

BUT LET ME TELL YOU.

There are quite a few bloggers that will tell you that making Chex Mix at home is cheaper - in my opinion, it's not. Each box of Chex is close to $3.49 (you need at least two different kinds), plus a bag of pretzels at $3.89, a bag of bagel chips at $4.29, and a can of nuts - generally over $5.

A bag of Chex Mix is under $3 which lasts for 5 days. That's fine... but I can't eat all the Chex Mix that I can make at home in a week, it does take me at least two weeks to eat it (WITHOUT ANY OTHER SNACK OPTIONS, seriously.. this was "snack" every day for two weeks and by the end I really needed a break from Chex Mix). I digress. I still love Chex Mix. 

I tried two different recipes. I totally fucked up the first one - but I followed the directions. What did I do? I followed the directions - the recipe that I found (I won't even link to it because, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to be THAT person) had TWO sticks of butter for the regular recipe. TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. When it comes out of the oven you're supposed to let it "dry" on paper towels but I prefer to use newspaper because I try NOT to use paper towels if I don't have to (non-consumerism consumerism of the newspaper). The recipe with TWO STICKS of butter was disgusting. The amount of butter grease that dripped off the mix was AWFUL. It soaked through over 10 layers of newspaper. That's way too much butter for me. The recipe had also decreased the amount of cereal - which meant there was barely anything to soak up the butter anyway. It was so awful that I had to throw it in the organic waste container. Imagine just eating salted butter. Yeah... that's not exactly the best snack unless you're like 12 years old and can burn off the butter calories in an hour anyway.

So I went back to the original recipe on the box.

And I couldn't stop eating it. 


So I took a picture of the box to share the recipe with you.

Because I'm lazy like that. 


And see... now that you read the recipe... the original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of butter which isn't even a whole stick - I used a recipe that called for two STICKS of butter. YUCK (or maybe YUM to some, but not this lady!). Oh, I am so mad that I wasted two sticks of organic unsalted butter. I swear, if I could go back in time and tell myself NOT to make something... 

SO. THERE YOU GO.

Stick to the original recipe when it comes to certain foods. Like Chex Mix.

Ear Plugs & Antiques

I'm the youngest of four kids.

Which is exactly why my two sisters are putting me in a hotel room with my mother.

That snores.

LOUDLY.

AS IN, I'M NOT SURE I COULD HEAR A TORNADO she snores so loud. The Monkey even complained about it when she slept over (but immediately asked to sleep over again, so she couldn't have thought it was that bad).

But I think it's bad.

So my sisters stuck me in the hotel room with our mother.

Because they're older than me, they can do that.

And I'm okay with that.

BECAUSE I BOUGHT EAR PLUGS.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I'm going to get an awesome night's sleep. I'm hoping that my mother's muffled snoring sounds similar to The Monkey's sound machine.

And we get to go antiquing! YAY!!

7.14.2015

Tuesday's Frugal Mission

Mer.

Frugality.

Frugal.

CHEAP.

Frugal doesn't necessarily mean cheap. Frugal means thinking about where you're spending your money, what you're spending your money on, and actively making a choice on how you're spending money.

Some days I'm great at being frugal. Others... not so much. OY. I think it's like that for a lot of people.

In any case, today I had a BRILLIANT idea. I saw these awesome curtain rod strings at Ikea and thought - I NEED THOSE FOR MY BACK PORCH.

And then I remembered that I bought the same curtain rod strings - in fact I bought them to string up in the dining room to hold The Monkey's art work but I never got around to it (and I've determined I really like the painting we have in the dining room anyway so I bought magnet clips for the fridge). I thought I might have donated the string or maybe sold it in the last yard sale that we had but no, I didn't do anything with it. Instead the curtain rod string thingy was just hanging out in a basket in the closet.

I even have leftover home decor fabric from when I made curtains for The Monkey's room when I was pregnant. SCORE.

All I need are 4 extra corner holder thingys from Ikea and some type of hanger clips and I'm all set to hang up some curtains - instead of using the tension rods which keep falling on The Monkey when she's playing back there (it's sort of funny. I mean you suddenly hear something snap and then a 3 year old screaming "GHOST! IT'S A GHOST! I CAN'T SEE!!!").

So the total cost for these curtains AFTER finding what I already have in my house will be under $10. WOO HOO!!!

My NEXT frugal mission after Ikea and the curtain rod string thingy is to go to the library.

I reserved 5 books - two are urban homesteading books which are all about turning your yard into a vegetable garden and basically making the most out of a 1/4 acre of land. Here in the city we have like an 1/8 of an acre - but with the tree coming down in the back, I can start to take advantage of all the sunlight we're going to get next year and plan out more vegetables and determine how to PRESERVE what I grow. That's the tough part - you can only eat so much while it's fresh so knowing how to preserve homegrown food is really a good thing to know. I'd like to do lasagna gardening in our front flower beds for vegetables and move all the flowers into the actual yard - but make some sort of patio for chairs and a table (yes, we hang out in the front yard here in Minnesota, sometimes even in the garage!). First I need to read HOW to do some of this shit and determine how much sun the front gets to know if I can actually move some flowers and how bad chicken wire will look from the street. Maybe I should start looking at what grows best for vines... Meh, whatever... I have lots of months to think about gardening and to write down which flowers did the best this year.

Three books are just for funzies - one stupid Nora Roberts book (the last in a trilogy which will take me two or three days to read); another last-of-a-trilogy book in the Grave Mercy series which won't take me long at all; and the 4th book in the Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride (if you can't tell it's a book set in Scotland by a Scottish author).

And the last frugal thing that I do today:

Make lunch with leftovers from dinner - some type of veggie wrap or quesadilla with the grilled veggies from last night.

Cook dinner with the last of our CSA veggies from last Thursday. Tonight = roasted veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnips) with rice pilaf.

If you notice, there's no meat listed above. Basically we get enough veggies where I don't really need to cook meat with a meal. There's no way we can eat everything if I include meat. We become partial vegetarians in the summer with the amount of vegetables we receive with our CSA and with what I supplement from the co-op or Cub or Target or Byerly's. That doesn't mean we don't have meat - in the freezer there's pork chops, chicken, ground beef, fish, and shrimp. I have meat so when we do need some protein I can just pull it out of the freezer instead of running to the grocery store or wherever to get meat. It's a cheap way to eat meat - I buy when it's all on sale (and I don't buy the cheap stuff, I buy organic free range chicken, organic grass fed beef, organic fed pork, etc...) and then I toss it into bags with marinade in portions for 1 or 2 people.

So.. I think that's all we're up to today.

Happy Tuesday!!!

7.06.2015

Free Things I Love To Do In The Summer

Kids are freaking expensive, and places where you usually bring your kids for entertainment can be REALLY expensive - hence why we've never been to Underwater World (See here for ticket prices) or Valley Fair or to the rides at the Mall of America or even to the Minnesota Zoo without someone that has a membership. 

Am I denying my child a fun childhood? NO.

I'm being a smart parent that likes to save money.

So we do other things instead.

Saint Louis Park offers free concerts in the park on Wednesday nights.

I did end up buying a pool pass for each of us, however, we've used it 5 times in a week so that's already paid for itself. 

The local neighborhood park is always entertaining.

We bike to Lake Calhoun and stop at the parks around the lake, bring a snack/lunch/drinks and people watch. 

The LIBRARY. OMG. It's the best. I swear, I come home with two new books to read and The Monkey comes home with BAGS full of books. Do they all get read? Not every week but we sure do have fun picking out books - her current favorites are the Fancy Nancy series and all books by Mo Willems (if you haven't heard of Knuffle Bunny, you need to get on that shit, best kids' book series ever!). 

We also just bought a new tag-along bike trailer so The Monkey can sit and pedal along (it's called a WeeHoo). It doesn't have the storage like the full-on bike trailer but it sure is easier to ride and a heck of a lot more fun. Bimmer Man can get up to 17 miles per hour (probably even faster if we were really biking) and I was going along at 13 mile per hour around Lake Calhoun - one guy was happy enough to give us our speed and an enthusiastic thumbs up to The Monkey for being an awesome "biker."

LEGOS. Our basement looks like The Lego Movie. 'Nough said.

Gardening in our yard. The Monkey is happy with a shovel, a bucket, a rake, and a garden hose. Dirty? Yes. Memorable? Yep. I'm starting to teach her how to identify plants. So far she knows a few herbs, lilies, tomato plants, and butterfly bush. And yes, she's only 3.

Cooking/Baking. She helps dump all the ingredients into the bread machine to make bread. She smashes eggs (please note, I didn't write "crack" eggs), stirs what needs to be stirred, scoops cookie dough onto cookie sheets, and is a pretty great "helper" in the kitchen. 

Splashpad. It's free for residents. Generally The Monkey only lasts 15 - 25 minutes anyway, so we don't go as often. Andplusalso because it's free it gets busy and the older kids can be a little nuts. Some parents don't actually watch their kids and the older kids ruin the fun of the younger kids. 

CLEANING. Put your kid to work. I give The Monkey a cloth and a squirt bottle of water and I just say... "Have fun cleaning! You said you were bored!" It doesn't last long... but I also haven't heard "I'm bored!" in quite a few weeks.

Sooo... there's my list of ideas of things to do that are free (or mostly free if you already have the supplies). Summer is a ton of fun and I really like to make sure that we're enjoying the great days outside when we can. I LOVE summer... and I LOVE to enjoy these days while we can - because in the middle of winter I really do miss the 90 degree days of the summer!

7.05.2015

CSA Week 3

WE HAVE SO MUCH LETTUCE.

Seriously, I can only eat so many salads before I HATE lettuce.

Ok, I'll never actually hate salads but still, so much lettuce since it's the season for it now.

We've got two heads of lettuce, some crazy strong lettuce leaves which I think will be great for lettuce wraps (I'm thinking turkey, cheese, maybe some cream cheese, but plain for The Monkey to eat too!).

We also received peas (which were gone in 24 hours...), dill, green onions, broccoli (I blanched and froze immediately!), and vitamin greens (I have NO idea what these things are... they just look like arugula so I'm sure they'd be fine in green smoothies but I don't like green smoothies, so maybe I'll do pesto this afternoon with them for some variety).

I think with the two heads of lettuce I'll be eating salads until Wednesday for lunch AND dinner - see - this is why we're basically vegetarians in the summer. I get too many veggies to even think about buying meat!

But I'll need some variety. I've never made a creamy salad dressing before, so that's on my list of things to do today to use up the dill - unless I make fish - in that case what I do is mix together 1 tsp of dill + 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning along with a little salt and use that to season fish for the grill. And that's for two pieces of fish - if you have more fish to cook, mix up more dill and Old Bay.

Blah. I think that's all that's on my list of things to make this week with the CSA veggies:

Salads
Possibly creamy salad dressing
Pesto
Grilled fish with some dill

Things That Small Children Say

Me to The Monkey: Have you seen my chapstick?

The Monkey: Yes

Me: Where is it?

The Monkey: Outside

Me: Um. Ok.

I have to think for a minute. Did I bring my Burt's Bees outside? I don't think so...

Me to The Monkey: Where is it outside?

By this time my lips are DRY. I mean like when you go somewhere and suddenly realize YOU HAVE NO BURTS BEES OR ANYTHING LIKE IT in your purse and you have to go to the nearest store to find some lip balm for your dry lips. BLERG.

The Monkey: Well, I threw it outside.

Me: WHAT?!? That's my Burt's Bees!

The Monkey: I know.

Me: Why did you do that?

The Monkey: Because birds have dry lips too.

6.26.2015

Back Porch Curtains

Our back porch is a freaking mess.

Sort of.

It's always been HOT in the summer and COLD in the winter because it's not insulated, it's just attached to the house by nails and glue (just a guess from what we've found that previous owners have done) and there's french doors from the dining room into the porch. Andplusalso, the porch sits on posts, it's not sitting on the ground and there's no basement beneath it to even keep it partially heated or partially cooled depending on the season. Basically, it's an extra room for 2 - 3 weeks out of each year.

I put up white curtains to keep the sun out in the late afternoon when it's the hottest - so far it's working to a certain extent but I'd like to get some insulated curtains back there so at least if the Monkey wants to play back there in the summer, I'm not letting all the cold air conditioning out into the world.

My parents used to tell me, "I'M NOT PAYING TO HEAT/COOL THE WORLD!!!"

Quite frankly, neither am I.

I need the 63 inch curtains so I can let SOME natural light in towards the top of the windows and not have the curtains touching the floor. One of my pet peeves is when curtains touch the floor. Have you ever vacuumed up curtains??? It fucking sucks. Literally. The next thing you know you're fumbling for the off switch on the vacuum while screaming "GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!!! JUST DON'T RIP OFF MY WALLS!!! YOU SHIT VACUUM! WHY DID I HAVE TO BUY THE SUPER POWER FUCKING VACUUM!?!"

So yeah, long curtains are out. In an ideal world I'd get shutters, but I don't think we'd be able to afford them. If we knock out the back of the house, then it would just be a waste of money anyway.

A quick google search also lets me know that my options are incredibly limited AND expensive.

I guess I'm going to have to live with the white ones for awhile. Whatevs... at least we have SOMETHING up so you don't fry yourself every time you go back there.

A girl can dream about insulated curtains.

CSA Box - Week 2

This year I opted for a different CSA other than Driftless Organics (which btw... was a GREAT CSA and still is! I just wanted to try a different one).

I decided to go with Turnip Rock Farm because it has a closer pick-up site to our house. We can bike there!

For week 2 we got:

  • bok choi
  • salad mix
  • green onions
  • garlic scapes
  • radishes
  • arugula
  • broccoli
  • herb pot - basil & parsley
  • Scarlet Queen Red Turnips
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce

So I've got a major list of recipes that I want to try - last night I already made turkey lettuce wraps with radishes, garlic scapes, green onions, two turnips, with the head lettuce being the "lettuce wrap" part. The sauce part is 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a pinch of dried ginger, and 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Mix it all and dump it into the pan you've browned your meat and softened your veggies in. I really don't have much more of a recipe because I switch it up almost every time depending on the veggies in the fridge - I could use carrots instead of turnips, white or red onions instead of green onions, etc... 

BUT more recipes I want to try:

Napa cabbage - stuffed cabbage wraps
Turnips & radishes - roasted with some sort of lemon vinaigrette
Arugula - I have no clue yet, arugula isn't exactly my favorite but I WILL eat it on pizza so that might be what I'll end up putting in on - and my pieces only because I know Bimmer Man doesn't like it and the Monkey won't like it because it's too peppery - otherwise it will end up in the compost bin. 
Bok Choi - some type of stir fry - probably with chicken
Broccoli - I LOVE it steamed, so we'll do a stir fry with one head (along with the bok choi) and then I'll make an easy meal with the other head (sauteed or grilled chicken with rice and steamed broccoli)

Bimmer Man also complained that I didn't sign up for Turnip Rock's cheese share.

I'm quite regretting that decision as well and I'm pretty sure I've learned my lesson - next year I'll sign up for the full share (AGAIN) along with the cheese share and possibly the egg share.

6.20.2015

Bad Mommy Moment

I practically had a panic attack earlier this week.

I FORGOT THE FACT THAT MY CHILD IS ALLERGIC TO STRAWBERRIES.

Does anyone else forget shit like this?

Probably not.

I bought two tubs of fresh, organic strawberries. They were on sale. 2 for $4. HOW CAN YOU PASS UP ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES THAT ARE ON SALE??????? Yeah... I couldn't. Fresh freaking strawberries.... Yes, please!!

Well, at least until your child has an allergic reaction and starts getting hives all over her body.

Oops.

Bad Mommy Moment.

The Monkey has now fully recovered and is no longer itchy or red or showing signs of strawberry consumption.

6.15.2015

Front Boulevard Photos

I really didn't want to mow anymore grass than I had to. Besides, grass is really an invasive weed anyway. You water it and water it and it doesn't really give you anything back, does it? So, it's really time to start getting rid of the grass and putting in a perennial garden with Minnesota native plants and pollinator plants. Mother Earth gives so much to us (like um, air to breath, water to drink, etc...), so it's time to give back to Mother Earth. 

This side is mostly irises, daylillies, and bee balm. It's what I planted last fall with what I had. The irises were really pretty this past year - some were purple, others were yellow, I really had no idea what they were since they came from my mom's house. 

This is the other side. This is more of the pollinator garden side. I've got bee balm, butterfly weed, a few hostas, wild geranium, and more daylillies. Half I planted this spring from splitting plants and moving what didn't work last year. The other half came from local plant nurseries. 

This is wild geranium (I think). There's already TONS of small bees all around this thing - but they're too small to see in a photograph like this.

Here's one of the beds with more pollinator plants. We don't have a great area for a true veggie garden so I have to stick my veggies into my flower beds, which is fine except that it's really good for the rabbits and not for us. I can't do anything about that until next year AFTER the huge Norway Pine comes down on the side of the house. THEN I'll do a raised bed with all veggies and put up rabbit fencing so I don't have to deal with that problem again. 

I bought a new variety of bee balm - I LOVE my hot pink bee balm but the bees like a variety of plants so I decided to get the light purple for a variety of colors and pollens for the bees. 

My shasta daisies are doing great - they're twice as big as last year and I've already split some and moved them. Next year I'll have to pull a few more so they don't take over. They're so tall though, I need to swap a plant to the front so it's not hidden by the daisies or in the shade of the daisies. I'll have to wait until everything is done blooming to do that.

SO... WELCOME TO THE GARDEN.

Happy summer! I can't wait until more flowers are blooming!

6.10.2015

An Unintentional Break

When things get busy around here, I cut myself off from certain things. Like I don't post as much on Facebook, I stop reading blogs, I miss people's birthdays on Facebook, I stop looking at Instagram, I basically retreat into my little world of my house and seek inner peace instead of cramming a boatload of stuff into my life that I don't really need to know or do - and then I read the newspaper. It's sort of calming reading about other people's shit. 

In any case, the past few weeks has been nuts around here. We had foster dogs, then just a foster dog, then we went to Brainerd and the temp foster home wanted to foster the dog we had (I said yes... so now we're back to being dog-less, which by the way I still miss the MONSTER and that was really apparent when we had the foster dog, I'm still in the camp that I don't want another dog for a really long time, I just miss the MONSTER too much. Dogs really do leave footprints on your heart).

I haven't meant to cut myself off from the world but it happens, it's like pre-social networking. If you don't have it, then you don't know what you're missing and quite honestly I really didn't miss it too much. Last night I didn't look at my phone at all, instead I read a book. I'm halfway through it (it's a stupid Nora Roberts book which means that I'll just fly right through it, great for starting off summer reading!). I suppose I'll see if I can carry on without looking at my phone too much or worrying about checking Facebook or Instagram. If I miss something, then so be it. I'm not going to cry too much. And I like to blog when I have the time, so I'll be here... if not updating Facebook. HA!!! 

My friends, who read this blog, you'll know about shit if it happens first! (Such as... I bought a Mason Bee House, I'm putting that thing up today!). Or how about yesterday when I watched two robins attacking a squirrel, and the Fire Station Open House was a GREAT time for the MONKEY. I couldn't get her OUT of the fire trucks!

My goal this week is to get the last half of the front boulevard weeded, de-grassed, and mulched (I also noticed that the thyme that I planted out there isn't doing so well, so I have some Echinacea that will replace it). I also need to work on my god-daughter's dollhouse tomorrow - so that will be sanded, painted, and finally glued together after I cut up an old glove for some leather for a hinge for the front door. Yesterday I sanded the shit out of the little door for it to fit the opening so it can open and close without sticking. 

See? I'm too fucking busy for social networking shit. 

Though if someone says.... MEET ME AT FRIDAY'S FOR APPS & DRINKS... I will most definitely find the time to go!

Brainerd International Raceway For My Birthday

My birthday was last weekend. I went to Brainerd and the racetrack again this year (and stayed at a golf resort. HA! Neither of those are typical me considering that the cars use so much fossil fuel and the golf course uses so many bee-killing chemicals). Had an absolute blast.

Bimmer Man had a North Star BMW Club track event - last year I went and had a blast so this year I did it again. I did not get a manicure though (I'm one of those people that doesn't need the bells and whistles of a two hour manicure at a spa, a massage would have been great but seriously... 4 hours later I'm pretty much ready for bed!). He's an instructor and sometimes it makes me nervous - but he's been doing this so long that he now requests his students and requests the people that he's going to race with which means (in a strange sort of way...) it's not as dangerous as some of the drivers who are at the track for the first time. It's still dangerous flying around a track at over 100 miles per hour.

The cars that people bring are pretty awesome. There's racecars, Porches, Mini Coopers, Mustangs, BMWs, and sometimes people bring other awesome cars, like The Admiral brought his Mazda 3 and took that out onto the track (in the rain, with the D class and was PASSING people. The Admiral is a great driver).

And of course, I got to stop at Albertville. A new Coach purse, clothes and shoes for Simone, a pair of shoes for Bimmer Man, and shoes and clothes for me... I do love shopping! But again, I've gotten rid of so much stuff that no longer works for us, it can be nice to splurge a little bit and buy items that I know I'll use continuously - I bought a pair of Sperry boat shoes, which are super cute and I've been looking for a good pair of slip-on shoes to run around and do chores, run to the store, etc... I had to toss my old Simple shoes last year after they got holes in them and a certain dog chewed on them.

At some point I wanted to go to Nisswa - but at the same time I didn't. I can be pretty frugal, sometimes cheap, sometimes not (see the new Coach purse above). I had already spent my self-imposed monetary limit and to be quite honest, I didn't really feel like shopping anymore. We need a tree cut down, so I'm trying to NOT spend any more money if I don't need to.

The Club even sang Happy Birthday to me. That was hilarious. I really didn't know that was going to happen. HAHAHAHA.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.

6.04.2015

Cleaning Out The Fridge/Summer Meal Planning

I think this is my most hated task.

Really.

But this time it wasn't too bad.

I've been so much better at grocery shopping and buying what we eat (and I home-make most of our food, including bread).

There were only 5 items that ended up in the trash - two bags of half finished chips, four strawberries that went into the compost as well as a head of lettuce, and leftover chicken that I didn't use.

Not too bad.

Normally I feel like it's the whole fridge (and then I'm pissed that I wasted so much food!).

This time our fridge is nearly empty enough that I was able to wipe down a whole shelf - but I still need to do the veggie crisper and the bottom of the fridge. That will suck.

Note: this is all in preparation for our CSA to start on June 18. I need the fridge space for the veggies that we're getting so I can prep and cook with all of them.

SO EXCITING.

A few weeks ago I went through our pantry cupboard and donated items at a birthday party that I knew we weren't going to use in the next month so that's been cleared out.

This summer for grocery shopping I'll only really need to buy dairy products - milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Last week I bought 15 pounds of meat, which I separated into portions and put in freezer bags with marinades. I also made mashed potatoes, Spanish rice, and a few other freezer meals for this summer, so we're basically all set for food - as long as we get great CSA boxes and they're not filled with eggplant.

I HATE EGGPLANT.

If I get any eggplant in our box, I'm going to put it out in a box at the curb with a sign saying FREE or else it's going into the compost pile.

Happy Thursday.

Happy CSA prep to me. I can't wait for all the fresh goodies!!

6.02.2015

More Sun!!!

A few weeks ago our neighbors had their tree removed. It was GINORMOUS. 

But leaves only appeared on about half of it - I'm pretty sure it was diseased. 

So it was taken down. Sad to lose a tree (bah, we have another company coming over for a quote for our tree tomorrow), but I'm happy to gain more sun. 

Though, I have to say that now our table and chairs for eating is now directly in the sun during dinner time so I have to come up with a plan for that, I might have to take the umbrella out of the table and move it into the yard so that we have shade at the table so we can eat outside again. I don't mind eating lunch in the sun, but dinner can get really hot, so that's my main concern. I really like those umbrellas that attach from above, not on a pole in the middle of the umbrella - I'm going to have to look into the cost of one of those, but it's not a priority right now. 



Instead my priority is making sure my blueberry bushes are growing and all of my bee-friendly plants are growing to attract pollinators to our yard and not to a yard that sprays chemicals or a yard where people use chemicals. I spoke to a neighbor about it just recently - they said they sprayed and I told them about the U of MN Bee Squad - I suggested they look on the U of MN Extension's website for some alternatives to the gross stuff if they want a weed-free yard.

Also, you can see some dead spots in our grass - those are still there. I actually ordered some "weed" seeds to fill in the dead spots - I ordered red clover to fill in. Bee friendly, soft and green with some red flowers! Hopefully it will attract more bees and it will keep out some of the other crazy weeds that we get.

Happy Tuesday!

Save the bees!

5.28.2015

Nature

This morning seemed like the perfect morning to do SOMETHING outside.

The Monkey is with her Nana, the foster dog seemed perfectly content in its crate so out into the wide world I went.

Nine Mile Creek in Bloomington seemed like a great spot. I would have brought Edie (our foster dog) but she's just a puppy and I wanted to go further than a mile. So I did.

I've wanted to go on a more serious hike than I normally do - normally it's with The Monkey and we pretty much walk to the docks down at the Westwood Hills Nature Center and then back to the car. It's really not much of anything except a "walk in the woods" with random squirrels. Although one day we encountered a flock of wild turkeys and had to completely turn around because they most definitely wouldn't let us pass them on the trail... Not that I would try with my 3 year old anyway.

So I walked along Nine Mile Creek for a few miles. Stopped to pee in a bush (and accidentally peed on my shoes... OOPS... luckily there's a stream so I walked through that). Saw a few butterflies - but not as many as I have seen in the past. Saw a HUGE tree that fell down.

And then realized that I had probably wandered down the trail a bit more than I planned.

So I turned around and walked back.

Normally when I bike I don't think of anything except biking - you have to pay attention to the road, cars, pedestrians, and busy streets. You seriously can't think of anything except biking.

When hiking... well, I could think a lot. Without hearing 4,987,532 questions from a 3 year old. Oy. It's been a lot of questions lately. Frustrating? Yes. But you have to remember that a 3 year old is brand new to this Earth. They've never been here before, they have no idea why things work or how things work or why the grass is green (or The Monkey asked me what pistons do inside of an engine the other day, that one was a bit tough!).

So I needed some peace and quiet.









And We Might Lose a Tree

Last year there were large branches that came down in our backyard from the Norway Maple that sits right outside The Monkey's window at the corner of our house. It's this weird (healthy, sort of...) tree that has some nasty scars from old branches that have been ripped off and fallen down. There's some scummy stuff on it.

I was thinking... just trim the heck out of it and get the branches off the tree.

BUT THEN WE HAD ARBORISTS COME TO LOOK AT IT.

And only one recommended keeping it - but by that he meant to keep it from falling on our house or our neighbor's house by putting rods into it and then tethering branches together. For "safety" reasons.

Um.

WHAT???

I really didn't like where the tree is anyway... but seriously? Put steel rods in my tree?

So 2/3 recommended tethering branches and trimming it - but STRONGLY recommended just a whole tree removal.

SOOOOOO....

I need to get more estimates for a tree removal.

On the bright side... maybe I can have an actual veggie garden with rows instead of sticking veggies in between flowers. And even possibly some sort of outdoor storage for all of our crap.

Mer.

More to come on this as the story unfolds...

5.11.2015

Weekly Meal Planning

Taco Tuesday - Fish tacos with homemade guacamole 

Wednesday - Beef Stew

Thursday - One Pot Pasta with Veggies

Friday - Pizza or chicken with rice & veggies

And a picture of me wearing a clown nose.


5.08.2015

Friday's Good Reads

Read any good books lately?

Because I just finished a really boring book. It got better at the end but... IT TOOK FOREVER to get through. I think this bitch of a book has been on my bedside table since... December? Maybe?


Drums of Autumn is the 4th in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. If you've seen the Showtime show, then this is the series the show is based on. It took me forever to get through the freaking middle of the book. Up next in the series is The Fiery Cross.



On my Kindle I have waiting for me The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I've only seen good reviews so far, so that's on my list to read next. I'm excited for a mystery novel, I haven't read a good one for awhile (I read Night Film but I just couldn't finish it - there were about 20 pages left and I thought the book had already ended at one part so I just thought "screw it, I'm leaving it and not wasting any more time!"). 

Got any books that you would recommend? Any that you wouldn't recommend? 

*********************

Next on my reading list is to catch up in Blogland. 

Currently I'm loving to read the following:







5.07.2015

Asshole Squirrels

This past weekend I put up a bird feeder.

Well, 4 bird feeders that hand on a stake.

I had to call Bimmer Man at the race track and ask if we had any mallets lying around.

THAT was a little awkward.

I don't think he really heard me when I said, "Well, I bought a bird feeder."

But what I had meant was that I bought a pole that needed to be staked into the ground.

AND THEN I PUT IT TOO FUCKING CLOSE TO THE FENCE.

Those asshole squirrels were HANGING from my bird feeders. I used a baffle and everything. I had never seen squirrels walking on the dog-eared fence before so I thought it was fine.

NO.

MOTHERFUCKERS.

That meant that I had to move the sandbox (which taking out 50 lbs of sand with one small cup and a three year old takes so much time), and dig out the stake and re-pound the damn thing into the ground.

GAH.

THREE HOURS LATER.

My bird feeders are now no longer accosted by flying squirrels. The sandbox is now in the shade during the hottest parts of the day since the neighbors directly behind us had their tree cut down (OMG, I thought it would fall in the next rain storm!).

So our backyard is much improved, and I've filled a few pots in with annuals instead of vegetables so there will be a bit more color in the backyard. I'm thinking we'll get more wildlife this summer without THE MONSTER around (which I'm still a bit upset that he's dead but such is life). I put finch feed into one of the feeders so I'm hoping we'll get to use The Monkey's bird watching book a bit this summer.

GAH.

I can't wait for summer! 90 degree days! Sunshine! Kiddie pools!

4.25.2015

Seedlings

The problem with having a toddler is that they like to get into stuff.

Move things around.

Take the labels off of your seedlings.

Move everything around.

Turn whatever they can.

Put all kinds of seeds into trays.

And generally mess with your shit.

I do not remember what seeds I planted, nor do I remember what seeds are in which tray.

No freaking clue.

Except the herbs. Sort of. The Monkey threw seeds into different planters. I labeled what I did. What The Monkey planted... well, that's a whole different story.

This summer's garden is going to be... interesting...





4.23.2015

Homemade Bread

I somehow ended up ordering a bread machine on Amazon.

I'm not quite sure how, but I was ordering our regular stuff (coffee, toothbrushes, etc...). It was in my "cart" and I have a habit of adding something to my "cart" and leaving it for a week. If after a week I'm still interested, or can't live without it, or it's cheaper than the grocery store, then I buy it. I'm not really one for buying things on a whim anymore. Definitely I'm a frugal person and I really think about what I purchase - comparison shop, etc... 

SO... when this thing showed up on the doorstep I was a bit concerned. I bought it and didn't really look at my Amazon cart.

Oops.

BUT I have been thinking about buying a bread machine since January.

I don't buy bread that often and when I do buy bread I really only want to buy it for a few slices and not a whole loaf. This thing can make 1 lb, 1 1/2 lb, or a 2 lb loaf of bread. AND it can make pizza dough. If there's one thing that I want to do more it's making homemade pizza dough. I used to make it from scratch all the time but I never got the dough quite right. I'm hoping the recipe that comes with the bread machine will be delicious. WE SHALL SEE.


This bad boy is working right now. I'm just starting off with a 1 lb basic white bread recipe. I'll make some grilled cheese sandwiches with it for dinner and see what it tastes like and see how much bread is in a small loaf. I'm hoping that it tastes great. Maybe I'll try a french loaf next week. 

4.22.2015

Trial And Error - Kids Crochet Hats

My goal this year is to use up as much yarn as I have now. That means altering some patterns, maybe making some items that I've been meaning to make for awhile, and in general, just using what I already have. 

Some of the yarn I'm not really a fan of - like variegated stuff where the colors look GORGEOUS all balled up but when you start working with it, it looks like crap. I don't know how to work with variegated yarn to make it look great, except for a few different brands where I know they'll look nice as stripes in a hat or together make a shawl look beautiful. Part of the variegated yarn is that the cheap stuff just looks cheap and handmade. I'm not a fan of it looking like cheap handmade - I'm more of a fan of making items that look like they could be sold in a boutique. 

All of the hats below were absolute trials and experiments. But you can see the green hat with the variegated yarn, it just doesn't look right to me - I used two strands of different colored sock yarn to make it thicker and to make the variegation blend more seamlessly. This yarn I got for free anyway, but still, I need to do more experimenting with the variegated yarn to figure out how to make it look nice and not so cheaply made looking. 

Since I've already weaved in ends, I won't be frogging them but I will put them in a "discount" pile at my next sale. I'm not happy with them all, but that's ok. Sometimes I just need to make something to see if the yarn will work for certain patterns.

The creative process continues...





Dining Room Chair Problem = SOLVED



Finally. We're not sitting on broken antique chairs anymore.

I bought an antique chair that needed some help for $3 (which I lovingly cleaned up, glued back together, and had found sandpaper to start refinishing it), when the Sunday paper came with an ad for 15% of dining chairs at Pier 1 plus a $50 off coupon. 

So Bimmer Man and I picked out chairs.

We ended up with the chairs in the photo above. They're nice and solid. I bought 4 chairs for now - when we have guests I can bring out the antique chairs. No need to buy more than what we need for right now. I bought a sort of surprising finish.

I've noticed the older I get the more I like the wood finishes instead of the solid black or white. Which is fine - I think eventually I would like a reclaimed barn wood dining table anyway, so these chairs will look nice. But that won't be for YEARS. At least until the sticky fingers, playdough, and paint phases are over and done with. So far The Monkey's chair has held up great to food spills, playdough messes and just this morning... the random sticky honey spill. 

WOO HOO!!!

I HAVE DINING ROOM CHAIRS!!!

4.21.2015

Mondays Are Hangover Days

I don't think I've ever talked about the struggles of being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.

Well, maybe I have. But definitely not this one.

Bimmer Man leaves for work between 6:45 and 7:15 in the morning. He gets home between 6:30 and 8:00 at night.

It's a really long day. For both of us. This happens 5 days a week. Most other stay-at-home-parents that I know don't have partners that work this much. Most partners of parents that I know leave at 8:30 and are home by 5:30. That sounds like a dream to me.

Am I complaining that Bimmer Man works too much? No. I'm definitely not - when he decided he wanted to be a lawyer, this is what I signed up for. I knew it. I agreed to it. When we had The Monkey, I knew I was going to be the "primary" parent because he would be working a lot, which is partially why I stay at home - if I worked, The Monkey would be in daycare and neither of us would get to see her much during the day during the work week. What we have now is what works for us and this is what makes us the best parents that we can be.

So when the weekend comes after a really long week, it's a real whirlwind of activity - The Monkey gets her "dad" time since they don't have as much time together during the week. They play, hang out, do a ton of stuff together, work on cars, play Legos, go shopping. We get to hang out as a family together, we see friends, we go to other play places, we are pretty much on the go all weekend long.

Sometimes I go to bed on Sunday night completely forgetting what we did on Friday or Saturday.

Then Monday comes.

The Monkey is pretty much worn out from all the "dad" time she got over the weekend. She's crabby because he's not here. She's irritated because it's "not as fun" without dad. She acts out because she knew she could get away with certain behaviors over the weekend when I wasn't around. She wants the tv on all the time because playing isn't as fun and she's not as creative because dad has been playing with her. It's a seriously irritating day for me.

Mondays really make me question my parenting skills.

Which is why I call Mondays "Hangover Days." Serious hangover from the weekend. Sluggish, irritating, lazy, and headaches abound.

As a stay-at-home-parent sometimes I feel really bad talking about the struggles of staying home because of all the "mommy wars" that you read about on Buzzfeed or blogs or Facebook groups. There's going to be that one person that says "you ungrateful mommy! you get to STAY AT HOME! while I AM WORKING AND AWAY FROM MY CHILD!!" So I'm putting this struggle out there. BECAUSE MONDAYS FUCKING SUCK. It doesn't matter if you have kids or don't. Stay at home or work. Mondays are terrible "Hangover" days for everyone.

Now that it's Tuesday, we're going to have a great day. HAPPY TUESDAY!!!

4.08.2015

2015 Garden Plans

Oy. Gardening. I feel like I have a lot that I want to do but so little time/money to get it all done.

And that's ok.

For right now!

Last year I planted pollinating plants on one side of the boulevard. Unfortunately I didn't get to the people that were re-seeding the construction areas in time so this year I'll be killing grass (naturally) and then adding in more mulch and a few more bee and butterfly friendly plants. So far I've got Bearded Lilies, Daylillies, and some random daisies. I want to move more daisies down to the boulevard and then also plant maybe another rose bush and more Bee Balm. Bee Balm spreads, so I'm hoping that if I move a few stalks when I see them come up in a few weeks, they'll spread for next year. Between plants I'll put down newspaper that I've been saving up to cut down on weeds and then mulch over the newspaper. I'm positive that my neighbors will like mulch instead of newspaper. It has to be somewhat attractive, right???

Then, since Rusty died (sad face here, poor Rusty), he won't be around to kill all the plants in the backyard. He's killed anemones, bee balm, basil, hostas, boxwood bushes, grass, and countless other flowers that I've tried to plant. He was so tall he was even able to pee in pots. That ASSHOLE.

In any case, the Monkey's great-uncle bought her a little gardening kits with seeds that we've started. I've allocated approximately 10 square feet for her little seeds and garden area - since she planted the seeds randomly in the seed-starting kit, it will really be a crapshoot as to what comes up (possibly peas, tomatoes, flowers, or something else, I don't remember). To get that area ready I'm going to need a pitchfork, and the compost from the bin to turn the soil over. We just don't have a big enough area to justify getting or even renting a tiller. No big deal. She can dig in the soil with me.

In the front, I'm going to get more newspaper down in the big beds and cover it with mulch. I've just decided I've really had it with as much weeding as I've done in the past (but not all weeds are bad - a lot of weeds provide food for bugs and birds. Weeds can be a great distraction for pesky insects that would otherwise feed on your nice flowers!). So that should cut down on my "garden work" this year. Plus the mulch that I buy is extremely cheap and pretty much composts back into the ground and helps to make the garden soil better. I'm thinking I'll need close to 20 bags of mulch (not including what will be happening at my mother-in-law's garden, which is also part of the reason why I'm mulching so much at home, we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer getting her house ready for sale).

So garden planning. Yeah. I've got my work cut out for me but that's ok. I LOVE gardening so I don't mind doing all this work. In the end, the flowers bloom and I get to enjoy it all!

4.07.2015

I Want A Giant Metal Chicken Sculpture

Or another giant animal sculpture for my front yard.

I guess I don't really care what animal it is (it could be an alligator jumping out of the front garden), I just want some sort of giant metal animal sculpture. I think most of our neighbors would laugh. Some would frown. At least one would probably call me "That Weird Hippie Lady With The Ugly Sculpture." And that's fine with me.

I JUST WANT A GIANT ANIMAL SCULPTURE.

So I'm buying Bimmer Man a welder for our garage.

Either I will make it myself (and hopefully not burn anything down).

Or Bimmer Man will help me.

Or I will bribe someone with beer.

But come Hell or High Water, I'm getting my giant animal sculpture.

4.06.2015

More Stuff Is Gone - Thanks to the DAV

Every time I've called the Disabled American Veterans to come and pick up "stuff" we no longer need or use, the pick up time they've given me has been MONTHS out... and that's a good thing! It means more people are donating their stuff! WOO HOO!!!

But then a few weeks ago, I actually got a phone call from them saying that they would have a truck in our neighborhood and they would have room for stuff from our house.

I pretty much jumped for joy. This means I wouldn't have to load up the back of the Pilot and wait in line at the local Goodwill (I don't donate to the Salvation Army because of discrimination, I still draw the line at donating stuff...), haul the Monkey in the back with her asking questions all.the.time.

But I only had four days to get BOXES ready.

As it turns out - I went through my closet (AGAIN) and found 2 garbage bags of clothes - mostly work clothes that I realized either wouldn't fit or that would need to be updated anyway if/when I go back to work and a bunch of old college T-shirts and sweatshirts. Enough already. I had that box sitting since last Fall and freaking forgot about it. Time to go!

Books, an old pot, more books, some home decor that I haven't used in months, and even some toys and Monkey's old clothes that I knew she wouldn't wear (because if it's not pink, polka-dots, or stripes, she won't be wearing it. I can't go shopping without her!). I even tossed in some children's books that we don't read anymore or that weren't interesting or they were just plain dumb. Bimmer Man even donated some clothes. And yarn. I DONATED YARN. I donated yarn that I knew I wouldn't use but happened to come upon it for free - it seems that I happen to come upon lots of yarn for free. I'll still have to go through a few balls and decide if I'm actually going to make something or not but in four days I didn't have time to go through all my drawers. Next time I'll have to focus on an area and just de-clutter that.

Oh My Goodness. It was such a relief to just set everything out on the front step. I didn't have to do anything else. WOOT!!!

I think it's amazing at the amount of "stuff" I've already gotten rid of and then I can find more.

It's that weird moment when you look at something and think... "If I were traveling for a year, would I bring it with me?" If the answer is no, then out it goes.

At some point I will have to get rid of some camera equipment and bags, I have two that I absolutely LOVE, one that is easy to carry and another HUGE one that can carry all of my equipment. I've already gotten rid of reflectors, a few lens, and another camera bag.

Bimmer Man still wants my old camera to use as a track camera because I don't really care if it gets grease on it or gets dropped and breaks. That's fine. I've had all the use I can get out of it so no loss there if it gets broken. I'm sure it could ultimately be repaired anyway.

But my ultimate goal: Spring is coming. I want to spend less time inside cleaning and caring for stuff. I want to be outside in the garden, biking, walking, hiking, spending time at the park, and in general... just to be outside. That's what is important to me.

3.30.2015

Someone Turned 3



This little one turned 3. And holy buckets, it's like she's already a teenager. This is such a FUN age though - we can have actual conversations, she plays well by herself, she cleans up after herself, AND I can give her chores to do. It's pretty freaking awesome. 

Life has been busy. 

We've now been invited to THREE destination weddings. Within about 4 months of each other. OY.

All people that we dearly love, but man... so EXPENSIVE. I'm not sure we can pull it all off. I don't know when destination weddings became so popular - it's like eloping... but inviting people...

In any case, I'm trying to learn of all the craft fairs in the Twin Cities area - not exactly in the Cities because people don't shop at craft fairs - instead they shop at Target where items are cheap, so that makes selling handmade items pretty difficult. I just can't lower my prices to the side of sweatshop cheap, not only do I lose money but I don't make enough money to buy new supplies for more items. Craft fairs are much more popular out in the sticks because there's really not much else to do AND there aren't as many shops to buy items - which means that selling out in the suburbs and in the rural areas is much better for crafters (however, if it's a home-base business like Norwex or something, I have no idea of what the market is like). 

So, this Spring I'm making hats instead of scarves (which I got a little bored of), I have some new Wool of the Andes yarn which works up beautiful and some new cotton. Hats abound. WOO HOO.

Blogging sort of took a back seat these past few weeks as I've been trying to get SO MUCH STUFF done, including laundry and Spring cleaning. The weather should be better this week which means we can be outside. YAY!!!

Happy Monday! Have a great week!

3.04.2015

So Crazy Busy Lately/Vintage Plastic Tile

My mother-in-law is going to be selling her house so we'll be helping her get a few things repaired and updated. I've been at Menard's so many times in the past week and now I've got a ton of prices and information swirling around in my brain.

Our basement is getting there... slowly but surely...

And it snowed yesterday but this weekend it will probably melt which means that this was most likely the last snow of the season. That's too bad - I was really hoping for at least one really good blizzard to satisfy my winter soul. Oh, well.

I also need to get some seeds started, I've been saving egg cartons and next I'll have to get some organic seed starting mix and probably lose at least one jelly roll pan to the seed starting. That's ok, but hopefully it will warm up enough so I won't have to grow the seeds on our dining room table and I can stick them out on the porch... one can hope, right?

Also, if anyone is interested in buying 1950's vintage plastic wall tile, or knows anyone that is interested (renovating a vintage camper???), please, please let me know! I've got a whole bathroom of this stuff, I'd really rather have it re-used than end up in the dump.

4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch tiles
3x9 black bullnose
1/2 detail tile