Saturday, May 29, 2010

And God made light!

He also made light fixtures. And not all of these are equal. I can attest to this from the truly hideous fans in our house. One of the check list items. So here's what we've been up to this weekend:
New fan in the family room to replace the old one. We had originally bought two of these to go in the bedrooms, but discovered that the ceilings are just too low in our rooms to accommodate fans. So we took one back and put this one up instead.
Here is the new light fixture we put up in the dining room. Previously there had been an ugly, spray-painted white fan with yellow light globes. Gross. This looks so much better! And I added a touch of charm with the ceiling medallion as well. I'm very pleased!
Here's how it looks up and put together. We also turned the table around to change things up a bit. I'm not sure how I like it that way yet, we'll just have to wait and see.

This weekend also happens to be graduation weekend for Trav's sister, Stefanie. She is the third youngest, with Danica following two years behind her. So we went to cheer her on at the ceremony. And we lucked out with beautiful weather! Here we are with the proud graduate:

Go Stef! National Honor Society and everything!

Tomorrow my parents come to visit for a week. I'm so excited! There will definitely be pictures following. Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Our "spring" has been very short lived. We had a lovely week of 70-ish weather and sunny skies. Then came the heat. Oh boy.

Now, I've lived in some HOT places. South Florida, where your car heats up so much you could brand yourself with your seat belt. Gainesville, Florida - the humidity is so thick you feel like you're walking into a brick wall just going outside. St. Louis, MO often sees 2 weeks or so of 100+ degree heat in the summer.

But you see, in all these cases, you can go inside and lounge in a luxury called Air Conditioning. One of man's best accomplishments. Right up there with sliced bread I tell ya.

Sadly, this invention has not made it up to northern Minnesota just quite yet. Honestly though, you wouldn't think you'd need it up here. But I'm here to say that yes, I do need A/C. We've had unseasonably warm weather (today's high was 87) accompanied by gross, sticky humidity. 64% says my weather channel watching husband. So we've opened all the windows, have all the fans running, grilling outside rather than use the oven, and pine for when the sun goes down, welcoming the cool evening air. And they say Global Warming is just a theory...

But I don't want to complain too much. Everything is in bloom and we don't have any snow on the ground. That's a good thing! So I leave you with pictures of some of our flowers, and what's been popping up around the house:

Lilies of the Valley (I think?) They're all over the place, and these are popping up in a perfect little row. They're like little soldiers.

Some sort of interesting white flowers. A hibiscus maybe?


One of two of our pretty Crab Apple trees. The other one is blooming white flowers tinged in pink. Very pretty!

Chives! We have 5 chive bushes. We clipped some to eat, and they're so good! Someone said you can't eat the ones with flowers on the end, but I don't know why? I plucked one off and took a bite out of the green part - still tasted chivey to me (and I'm still alive).

Our pretty Begonias and the funky cat planter we got. He's ugly, but cute!

And the pretty planter that was a house warming gift. We actually have 2 of them flanking our deck. There's a mix of Diascia, Sunsatia, Suntera ("Snowstorm"), and Dracaena spikes. Ignore the dandelions, we're taking care of them.


Sunday, May 16, 2010


This weekend we hosted the first annual Birthday Bash (and housewarming party) at our house. I thinking it might be the last annual party as well. It was a lot of work! We had a good amount of people over, somewhere between 20-30 at any given time. So we fired up the new grill!
Here's Travis and his cousin Eric eating and grilling all at once. We set up this handy build-your-burger-or-hotdog station next to the grill. That way there was no traveling with hot food involved here. Smart, I know.
We also had this handy station set up with all the sides, chips, ect. Ignore the Canada chair in the corner. Yes, we're close to Canada. No, we do not live there despite our weather.
Not only was it Trav's birthday, but our good friend Lori's as well. Here they are wearing their birthday crowns.
No party is complete without a little music. Luckily for us, we have quite the group of musical friends. And Grandma Fran just can't help getting down when she gets the chance!
We also have a big fire pit in the backyard. So eventually the party moved out that way. This is why I told people to bring their camping chairs!
Not only was it Trav and Lori's birthday, but also our friend Eric's as well. May 16th is a popular birthday apparently!

Thankfully we have great neighbors and no one complained about us being loud. Maybe we weren't as loud as I thought though. Although there was a debacle with cake on a stick, some excessive use of Apple Pie, and lots of dancing. Fun was had by all, and I managed to get to bed before 3 am. I'm glad their birthdays only come around once a year!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What a crazy week.

Really. Ups and downs like a roller coaster. But I made it through without losing my cookies, so that's a plus!

I was high on life at the end of my last post, and life just couldn't let that happen I suppose. Murphy's Law, Karma, call it whatever you like. Long story short, I found out last Monday that I have a new job title. I am now a "hearing brief writer". Basically I'll be reviewing medical records, writing up notes pertinent to the client's case and then writing a brief for the rep to take to hearings with them. Not exactly what I signed up for, but hey - I still have a job and I get to work from home. That's ok in my book.

Then, just as we were getting used to nice weather, we get this:


That's right! Snow! In May! Because that's not crazy at all!!! It literally snowed all day long, and we got a good two inches. Thankfully it all melted the next day. I nearly had a breakdown just seeing it, who knows what would have happened had it stuck around.

Sunday we actually had beautiful weather. We went up to the in-law's house for a Mother's Day BBQ, complete with golfing in the backyard, Just Dance on the Wii, and jumping on the trampoline. Fun was had by all!

Today was a work from home day for me, and thank goodness because we had lots of goodies being delivered. Trav's birthday is next weekend, but I wanted to give him his gift early. I bought him a new grill (well, we went to Lowe's together and he picked it out). Now who would have thought that those things don't come in small boxes? Needless to say, we had to get it delivered. Luckily a manager was helping us and managed to get it here today instead of next Monday which would have been two days after our big birthday/housewarming shindig. Of course we had to test it out tonight!
What a pro! MO family - we're making pork steaks: Yum Yum! Notice he's grilling in a sweatshirt. Still not quite t-shirt and shorts weather yet.

We also had our new bed delivered today. It's like Christmas!
I can't wait to go to bed tonight! So now we have two beds, one is officially for company. So come on over!

I've dribbled into this week a little bit, but hopefully it goes better than last week. With a big party here on Saturday, it's sure to be interesting!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Remember those New Year's Resolutions?

No? Maybe? Well I do. For real.

While we do eat a little better, the getting fit part hasn't been going so well. Once we moved into the new house, all exercising stopped. I'm not really sure why, and I am thinking of a way to remedy this issue. Getting outside is an option now that the weather is warming up. Although we've had a few days of rain lately, so that's no fun. We need it though, the forest fighters have had a very busy season!

Getting financially fit was our other goal. I have to admit, this is the hardest for me. With the new job comes a nice paycheck. And I am a spender. There are no two ways about it, I like to shop. I like to needlessly spend money just because. The first step is admitting I have a problem, right?

Really, the number in our bank account just got to my head for a little bit. After so many months (ok, like a year) of only having $100 or less (usually much less) after the bills, it's nice to have some breathing room. I've been doing a little crazy spending. Not dangerous, get us in trouble spending, just more than I'm used to. We need a spare bed for when company comes over, so off we went to the clearance furniture store. They were having a sale, 25% off non-sale items. At least I learned one thing in my thrifty days: never pay full price for anything. We found a very comfy pillow-top mattress for about $550 after the sales price. Not to exciting, but I could deal with that.

Now, did I mention that I like to shop? Travis should have blindfolded me and led me in and out of the bedding section without having to drool over all the other furniture. Dear hubby and I had just been talking about getting a sectional sofa for the family room. We looked online to get a feel of what we liked, but all the sofas we liked were "backwards" for the way we wanted the couch to set up. And Travis wanted a chaise end - he's a big fan of laying down.

So as we wandered around the showroom, all of a sudden, there it was: the perfect shaped sectional sofa. It was like a beam of light came down and the angels sang! Even better? It was on sale! $999 for the perfect microfiber sectional sofa with a chaise? How could we resist!? You would have thought Travis would have at least given me the "oh honey, we don't have to get it right now" routine. But he put up no resistance. The couch had sucked him in too.

After spending a butt ton of money, we decided to sit down and re-evaluate our budget. We already had one in place that was working quite well for us, but with the new paychecks I wasn't ever sure how much we actually had left over. Or if we even had anything left over given my spending. So some rough math skills and an hour later, we had it all figured out. And we do have money left over at the end of the month! And we can pay off Trav's student loan!

It feels good to get it all out there and be honest about money. It feels even better to be making strides with one of my goals. One month at a time.