Thursday, June 30, 2011

Around Minneapolis

I love Minneapolis! It's not the biggest, most exciting city, but there are so many wonderful things about it. One of my favorite locations is in what used to be an industrial area but has now been turned into an arts/theater/condominium hot spot.

My dad and I recently took a little hike around that area and I had fun using my camera to capture some images!

The Guthrie Theater has an amazing "never-ending bridge" built onto the structure. The view is amazing! It's so wonderful to stand there and feel the wind in your hair and listen to the roar of the Mississippi River rushing by. 

Also- for anyone who's afraid of heights (me!) it can be a little frightening. 

We went up to the top floor of the theater and looked out of this amazing chartreuse-colored window. The photos below are straight from my camera, no photoshop used!


 Sometimes it is so fun to go out and be a tourist in your own hometown, you just never know what you may stumble upon! What are some of your favorite places to visit around where you live?

Well, Happy Friday y'all and I hope you have a seriously awesome 4th of July weekend! Muah!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friends in the Fabric Biz!

I'm so excited for my blogging-buddy Jane (from The Borrowed Abode)! With much sweat and tears, she has finally been able to start up her dream business online! Even while working a full time job (probably hence the sweat and tears...).

Don't you just love that tagline? I'm all about celebrating fabric! I love her shop because it is filled to the brim with the most beautiful fabrics you can imagine, and each and every item is hand-sewn by Miss Jane herself.

I got this gorgeous sunglasses case (pic above is from and I am head over heels in love! It's the perfect size for my big sunglasses, no need to carry around a mammoth case for them anymore!

So if you are in the market for some beautifully handcrafted items, I would really encourage you to check out her site and support this awesome hand-made business. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A fun photo-op

Last weekend, Josh and I went with a bunch of our friends to a beautiful art installation near Harriet Island in St. Paul. It was so breathtaking! I had lot of fun playing with my camera (with some help from my friend Ali who actually knows how those things work...) in order to get some good shots.

We had a pretty busy weekend- friends over on Friday, a visit to Valleyfair (a theme park nearby) on Saturday, and a church day on Sunday! Also, we are getting ready for a big ol' road trip to visit some family members in Virginia. What have you all been up to lately? 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All About Aggie

I was just looking through some of our old pictures (old as in, from 6 months ago...) and realizing how much our little kitty has grown. She was so tiny when we got her! Now she is pretty much full-grown and has definitely developed a personality of her own.

She loves attention and being pet, but only on her terms. If you pick her up and she doesn't want to be held, be prepared for lots of wailing.

Of course, when she really wants attention it's usually pretty obvious. 

For some reason unbeknownst to us, she loves being snuggled in sweatshirts. Preferably while someone is wearing it. 

And hiding in backpacks.

She is the self-elected Beverage Inspector for our home. I can't count how many times I have come back to my cup of coffee only to find a cat hair floating in it. Eew.

But with a face like hers, it's really hard to stay angry at her for too long. 

Even though I named her after my favorite author, Agatha Christie, she rarely responds to that name. So we usually end up just calling her Kitty.

I am pretty positive that no other living creature looks as cute while sleeping. 

So that is All About Aggie. She has no idea that she is being featured on this blog today and is in fact blissfully sleeping by my side as I write this.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Clean House- Sans Niecy

I think if the crew of Clean House had seen my 2nd bedroom before I cleaned it, they would have been packing up their cameras and trying to move in for a major intervention.

After painting this room, I went through everything with the intention of getting rid of all the stuff we didn't need. That meant every drawer, every box, etc. got cleaned out. And this is what I was left with:

Wah. Ok, so maybe it doesn't look THAT bad in the pictures, but it really made me feel like bursting into tears at one point! However, I held them back and just got to work and now the room is looking much cleaner: 

Ah. Even the floor is vacuumed now, and all remnants of it's former disarray are but a faint memory. 

And if you are anything like me, you are thinking "Gosh, that is the most boring-looking room I have ever seen." It's true. It's clean, but boring. However, I do like to think of it as a blank slate. Now, I can pretty much do whatever I want in here! I can't wait to decorate it up. 

P.S. So sorry for being absent for so long! Between my sister's open house, hosting a garage sale (more on that later!), helping out with another open house, and getting ready for our vacation, it's been a pretty busy month! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, what a weekend!

We had such a wonderful, crazy busy weekend! My baby sister Morna (pictured above with my mom) is graduating from High School, so we had her graduation open house at my parent's house on Saturday. Which meant lots of work and preparation, but it was so much fun! We made 200 cupcakes from scratch (Yowza!). I can't believe Morna has already graduated. It's kind of surreal to see my baby sister growing into such a beautiful, Godly young woman! We are all so proud of her. 

On Sunday, Josh worked on the flooring some more in the kitchen (we left a couple of tiles off in order to get the kitchen functioning again, so he had to lay those). Just an FYI to anyone who decides to put tile in their house: it doesn't take that long to actually lay the tile, but you have to wait 24 hours each for the different materials to set (grout and thin-set). Super fun. 

While he worked on that, I continued my efforts in our 2nd bedroom, which is more like the craft/sewing/music room right now! I painted the room last weekend while my dad and Husband were tiling, so the pictures below do not show the new color!

I am selling this desk (above) on Craigslist... I love it, but it's just not my style right now and I don't feel like repainting it! So hopefully that will be gone soon... 

My sewing machine is still there, but neatly folded into a table for storage. The green chair is also going bye-bye! 

The biggest reason this room needs a re-do is because I will be teaching piano lessons here starting tomorrow! I have 2 new piano students, and I want this space to be bright and cheerful and have a great atmosphere for that.  I also pulled out the bookcase from the picture below and will be using that out in the room again.

Sorry for all the "before" pictures, but trust me, the room is in utter chaos right now! I'm really looking forward to having it all finished.

So, what did you do this weekend? Anyone want to come help me organize all my crap? =)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Milk + Two Sugars Please!

(totally borrowed this pic from my b-day post, but it was too perfect to not use!)

Have I ever told you guys how much I love tea? Seriously, the stuff is like a drug to me. I blame my parents for my "addiction" due to the fact that they put tea in my bottle when I was 2. It was more like 1/8 tea and 7/8 warm milk, but even so...

I grew up in a very British family. My late Grandpa hailed from Scotland, so he brought over the tradition of tea into our family. At my Grandma's house, tea is always steeping on the countertop, waiting to be poured into delicate china cups and sipped as we visit with each other.

At my parent's home, tea is synonymous with comfort. Whenever we had a bad day, or just a long day, coming home and hearing the teakettle singing on the stove was like having a weight lifted. After dinner, we would sit around the table, nibble on shortbread, drink tea, and chat about the day before we went our separate ways for the evening. Tea was more than just a beverage, it was a way of life.

I have to point out though, that for me "tea" is not the fruity, herbal tisanes that you can buy (Celestial Seasonings? Ick). It has to be good old black tea, preferably loose-leaf, that can handle milk and sugar. My absolute favorite is PG Tips: 

Here's how we make tea:
  •  Boil water.
  • Add 2 heaping teaspoons (or two teabags) to teapot and pour in boiling water.
  • Cover with teacozy and steep for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove tea/teabags. 
  • Pour into cups, adding a dash of milk and sugar to taste. 
  • Enjoy! 
  • Repeat process as many times as needed throughout the day...
Do you enjoy drinking tea? What kinds of tea do you like? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Progress is a sweet, sweet thing!

We did actually make lots of progress on the kitchen flooring this weekend! I had forgotten how much I love the tile we chose, but I was reminded again the second we opened up the boxes. It's hard to see in that pic, but they are a rich, chocolate brown with darker brown veins. I think they will hide dirt pretty well too! 
While Josh and my Dad worked on the tile, I kept myself busy painting our second bedroom/office. I can't wait to show you all what I've been up to there! But, it will have to wait until this tile project is done. 

So most of the day Saturday was spent tiling/painting, then we did break for a nice BBQ at my parent's house. Parents are just the greatest! My mom heard that our kitchen was non-functioning and pretty much demanded that we come over and eat there. =) Then on Sunday, we were gone most of the day at Josh's parents and then hanging out with our fellow DIY-ing friends Nick and Cindy for another BBQ at their place. They were so sweet to have us over, despite the fact that they are in a much larger-scale renovation right now! If you haven't ever seen their blog, The Flipping Couple, you should definitely check it out! They've done so much work to their beautiful 1924 arts and crafts style home, it's so inspiring to see. Plus, I think they could definitely use some words of encouragement as it's a pretty long, tough road at times! 

What projects (if any) did you tackle this weekend? Or, did you just enjoy some nice Summery weather?

Friday, June 3, 2011

And so it begins...

I'm almost afraid to write this... for fear it may not actually happen! But, we are planning to finally tackle the tile floor in our kitchen! Well, truth be told, my hubs will be doing most of the work since he's the real handyman, but I'll be cheering him on and helping out any way possible!

So, goodbye nasty vinyl flooring! And helloooo, beautiful new tile. =)

Hope you guys all have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why I Love Bargain Grocery Shopping

Like many people, I grew up in the US as somewhat of a food snob. My parent's weren't rich and didn't shop at the nicest grocery stores or anything like that, but we always shopped at one specific place. Because of that, when I first married Josh I was a little bit of a snob and stuck my nose up in the air at the thought of going to other grocery stores.

However, over a year and a half into our marriage, that has all changed. Now, this bargain-hunting girl can definitely see the pluses of shopping at a discounted grocery store! Enter: Aldi's.

Just to give you a little hint at how much you can save by shopping for most of your groceries there, all this food cost me under $100 bucks.

Yup, all those delicious groceries for only $99.86.

In most cases, I noticed a savings of over 50%. For instance, the tortilla chips were only $1.19 for a family-sized bag, compared to upwards of $3 at most grocery stores. Yowza!   

Now, for a quick disclaimer, there are SOME things that I just don't buy at Aldi's. I don't buy meat, tuna, or most of our produce there. But for other things, like cereal, pasta sauce, chips, bottled water (24 pack for under $3!!), and such, Aldi's is the place to go! 

Of course, I need to mention that Aldi's did not compensate me in any way for mentioning their store. I just love finding great bargains and sharing ways to save with others! It's so important to be good stewards with the money that God has given each of us, for our good and the good of our families. 

Here's a couple quick tips if you want to try your hand shopping at Aldi's:
  • Bring a quarter for the shopping cart. Yup, you need one if you don't want to lug your groceries around yourself! They keep the carts outside the store, and you just put the quarter in a slot near the handle and then you  get it back when the cart is returned. Voila!
  • Bring your own grocery bags! Otherwise, you will have to purchase them from Aldi's. I use the "reusable" bags that are all over the place these days, they are perfect for groceries since they are a little bigger! 
  • If you're not sure about something, give it a try anyway! I have been pleasantly surprised how the "off-brand" foods taste exactly like what I would purchase from a name-brand store! Like Craisins- they are $4 a bag at Cub but the Aldi version is cheaper and taste just the same. 
  • Bring cash or a check-card. For some reason unknown to me, they DO NOT accept credit cards. It has to be an actual bank card or cash. 
  • When you get up to the register, the cashier will swipe your groceries through the scanner and into a waiting cart. They try to be as efficient as possible, so you'll notice the bar codes are really big on the products for the quickest swipe!

Have you ever shopped at Aldi's or another discount grocery? Do you have any tips to share?

*Due to an anonymous comment I received, I feel it's pertinent to mention that you CAN save much more if you decide to clip coupons and shop that way. I did try that for a while, but found that it was way too time consuming and frustrating for me. If you want to spend hours researching what groceries you will buy and where, and have the pantry space to stock up, then go for it! But my experience was that it was the equivalent of a part-time job and kind of made me go insane. For those of us who choose to not buy every single grocery item with a coupon, shopping at a discount grocery store is a great option. My husband and I have a very moderate grocery budget and I'm really happy with the $$ we save by shopping at Aldi. Also, Anon mentioned that it's ALDI not Aldi's. I stand corrected. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thrifty Finds

Sadly, I haven't been thrifting as much as I would like to lately! It's the end of our budget, and it's also been a busy couple of weeks (this past weekend we had TWO family weddings, one day apart! Yikes!). However, I do have a couple of treasures to share with you!  

I found this tray at GW for only 49 cents. It's tiny, but it's definitely vintage and has the cutest gold print on it. It will be perfect for serving drinks on the porch! 

I actually found this cow creamer from good ol' Target, but on clearance! It was around $3 I think. Target can be pretty thrifty sometimes! I'm always on the lookout for fun new kitchen items, and this has definitely gotten a few comments since I've started using it. He made an appearance at a tea party with my cousins just last week!

Alas, that's about all I have for now! However, I will leave you with a little giggle-inducing picture of what our kitty has been up to lately:

This is what happens when a kitty decides to be overly curious and explore the space between the sliding glass door and the screen, and when her owners are cruel enough to actually shut the door for a moment in order to get a good picture of it. 

Don't worry, she was only there for about 10 seconds. Maybe 15.


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