The fall color so far has just blown me away. After last year's pathetic showing of color - this year has been simply amazing. And we're not even at peak yet.

There are several trees I pass on my way home that are so vibrant against the sky - magnificent reds, oranges and golds. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Lovely.

Guess our wet, humid summer was good for something.

This is why I LOVE fall.


High and low

Well stick a fork in me I am done.

The living room is finished. There might be some touch up work at a later point - but for all intense and purposes it is DONE. And I am SO happy with how it turned out! We have artwork back up on the walls and everything and it looks like a home again instead of a work in progress. Pictures will be coming soon.

In other news, our neighbor's dogs kept us awake far too long last night. I don't know what is going on at this house - the owners appear to not be around lately, we think at least the guy is possibly sick or something and now the woman hasn't been around either and some other woman is staying there and she is horrible with these dogs. She lets them out and lets them bark after 10:00 at night. Normally it only happens once in the night but last night, she had them out five times between 9:30 and 12:30 am. Nate finally called the police at 12:30 but I don't know if anything happened and we finally gave up and shut the windows and actually turned on our air. How sad is that? Did I also mention this woman was on her phone half the time as well? We have a right to sleep with windows open when it's nice out and this is just ridiculous. I hope it improves soon.

So a high and a low for Tuesday I guess!


Going off the rails on a Crazy Train

"Crazy, but that's how it goes" - Crazy Train, Black Sabbath

No I'm not a heavy metal fan - but this song kind of describes my life at the moment! We're at just under two weeks now to our Oktoberfest celebration and I'm nervous about things getting done. The bar is nearly ready - but listening to my dad and Nate talk I'm not 100% certain it will all be finished, but I'm hopeful. I know they are working hard on it. It's looking good though, as evidenced by this picture:

We had a busy weekend with our family golf tournament - I did not take last place again and neither did Nate! Hurray! It rained on us a bit in the beginning of the day, but it improved a bit as we kept going. We made jokes that it was all of our family members up in heaven playing a joke on us - which would be just like some of them. Ha ha.

Mom and I braving the rain

Nate spent all of Sunday brewing another batch of beer to hopefully have ready for the party and he also cleaned some kegs to put this beer and one other batch that's ready into.
This week Nate starts a drawing class on Wednesday evenings. I'm glad he is doing something like this for himself. I plan to finish our living room painting project tonight. I have two doorways to paint and that is it. It will be DONE.
My head is a bit swimmy at the moment just because of all the things I have to do and as Ozzy sings "I'm going off the rails on a crazy train" a bit right now. But I know it's all going to be worth it in the end!


Muppets....and controversy??

So you all know what a huge Muppet fan I am - at least I would assume so if you know me pretty well and if you're a reader of this blog, you probably do. And this week, the Sesame Street Muppets are in the midst of kind of a ridiculous controversy if you ask me.

A video was released from Sesame Street's 41st season on YouTube featuring pop star Katy Perry and Elmo singing a parody of Katy's song "Hot N' Cold". And then several days after it debuted, Sesame Workshop has now pulled it because she is wearing a rather low cut dress and apparently there were complaints that it was too "hot for TV".

I would like to go on record that I am not a fan of Katy Perry at all - I think she's rather annoying actually. And I would also like to go on record that Elmo is my least favorite of all the Muppets. That being said, after hearing all this controversy, I found the video on YouTube as it's still available through Katy's YouTube channel. I watched it once. I watched it again.

I really don't see what the big deal is. It is a sort of low cut dress but the video is cute, her lady bits do not fall out at any time or even appear to be in risk of doing so. And quite frankly, I take the opinion of some that most little children are going to be paying more attention to Elmo and the activities in the video than the singer's wardrobe.

Now, I'm not a parent yet, so maybe I would feel differently if I had children. But I just feel that this issue was blown way out of proportion. It seems society is becoming maybe just a hair too sensitive on some issues.

This is strictly just my own opinion - I wish to ruffle no feathers. I can be conservative with the best of them on some things. But I think that this video was just good old fashioned fun and it's kind of shame that kids will miss out on this.


Told ya we've been busy!

Seems we have been just here, there and everywhere lately! Just off another busy, but decent weekend.

Friday Nate and I got a night to ourselves and chose to try a new to us restaurant in White Bear Lake called Manitou Station. If I get around to it I'll review it in more detail on our food blog, but the abbreviated version is, it's an Irish themed restaurant with decent, but kind of spendy food. We were a little shocked by the bill, but it seems most places you go now you can't get away with a real low bill anymore. But anyway, we still had a nice time. Headed home and played some Wii games and watched TV.

Saturday I got up, had coffee with my mom, got a haircut and then came back to my house where my awesome mom helped me clean out and rearrange my closet and dressers. She used to always help me when I lived at home before I was married, and I've missed that in the last four years! She's got a good eye and can help me either breathe new life into some clothes by showing me outfit ideas or telling me - you never ever wear that, get rid of it! I now have two bags for Goodwill!

I cleaned the house, Nate and my dad putzed with the bar a bit, then Nate and I went to the homebrew store and then over to Gina and Steve's for Steve's birthday party. Had a nice time sitting on their patio eating some good food. Headed over to rehearsal after that, made it an early evening so we could get up early to drive to Mankato on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning we got up, got our Caribou and headed down for my goddaughter Elsa's dedication in Mankato. She was very well behaved during the service. It turned out to be a pretty nice day and we were able to take some pictures outside.

After we got back up to the Cities we bought stain for the bar and went over to my parents for dinner and then Nate and my dad stained the bar with it's first coat. It's starting to look pretty awesome. I can't wait until they bring it over to start putting it together!

So very full, but pretty productive weekend. More of the same coming up for this week and next weekend. But, I don't mind so much - I kind of like it.


So close I can taste it

We are so unbelievably close to finishing project: Living Room. I am so excited.

Last night we took some big steps in moving around furniture. Some of the original plans I had laid out on here are not quite going to happen at the moment - but we still managed to get the basic layout I was thinking of and that makes me happy. When we can afford a new loveseat we'll get rid of one of the couches but for now, we made the floor plan work with both couches, which I thought was pretty impressive. We had to pull out just one of the end tables - but that isn't the end of the world right now. I have decided not to recover the chairs right now - we like the splash of color from the red against the new paint. I'm also holding off on the curtains a little longer - waiting to see if we'll replace the window now or in the spring. The old ones aren't fantastic, but for now they still serve their purpose.

It looks warm and homey, yet open. Still plenty of seating. When we finish the entire thing I'll try and post some pictures.

I have two doorways to paint now and that is it. I am so close to being totally done with this whole thing I can nearly taste it! I am slowly getting my house back! Hopefuly project: Bar will be done soon too and then we can work a little on project: Get Yard decent for Oktoberfest.

And then we will take the rest of the fall and winter off from projects!!!


Thrifty Thursday - Shoes and a purse

I haven't forgotten my Thrifty Tuesday/Thursday blog posts, but haven't had any good finds to bring here lately! Today however I do! Two of my favorite things - a purse (are we surprised?) and some shoes!The purse is from one of my favorite shops - Lillian's Shoppe to be specific. They have a punch card deal which for an addict like me can be dangerous, but once you fill up said punch card (I won't admit to how much money you will have spent, but will say my mom helped and put her purchases towards this card too over the last year and a half we've been going there!) you can choose a free handbag up to $30. So, I picked up the gem you see above! It may be one of the most practical bags I own, it's pretty straightforward, lots of pockets and room. It's a good "everyday" purse. And it was free!

Next we have the shoes - now let me tell you, these are the deal of the year in my book. I went to Savers on Labor Day. Did you know on Labor Day it's like customary for thrift shops to make their entire stores be 50% off? I had no idea! So, I got the shoes you see here for...wait for it...$4.00. FOUR dollars. That is it. And let me tell you - I love these! They are comfortable and they go with everything!

The brand is Steve Madden which I've seen at DSW before and it appears their original price may be up in the $60s and $70s so it appears I got an incredible deal!

So, there you go! I haven't been shopping as much lately, can you believe I'm actually trying to watch my spending a little bit? But, I can never pass up a good deal so if I find anymore I'll be sure to bring them here!


A few random things

Nothing terribly exciting going on in our little corner of the world, so instead, just a random thought/brief updates type post.

-You should always trust your instincts. We were intending to get up extra early today and go running before Nate had to be at work for an early morning meeting. We did set our alarm and woke up when it went off. I swore I heard thunder as we were slowly trying to make our way out of bed. I heard it again and turned on the TV to check the radar. It appeared to be quite a ways off yet, but the thunder wasn't convincing us so we decided to go back to bed. It was a good thing we did - it was pouring within 20 minutes, no way we would've made it back in time, we would have just barely left at that point after stretching and everything!

-I am so excited to have won a blog giveaway from my friend's blog! I now have a $60 gift card to spend at CSNstores online - which has EVERYTHING under the sun, so I don't think I'll have a hard time finding something fun to spend my winnings on! Thanks for the giveaway Samara!

-Sometimes things work out the way they are supposed to - we were supposed to have a church gig the day of our Oktoberfest party, which I was going to just try to make work since the party starts later, but now the gig is cancelled! So now I have the entire day that day to get ready! This makes feel a bit less stressed about the whole thing.

-Progress is being made on the bar that will hopefully be the highlight of said Oktoberfest. I am hoping they'll be moving the construction from my dad's garage to our house very soon in fact!

-Painting is nearly done as well - two doorways and the trim behind the couch is all that is left besides some touch up. Also plan to finish just the front of the outside of the house, not much is left there either. And then I can hang up my paint brushes for a long, long time.

And that is about it! We keep going one day at a time and it works well!


Just Us

So yesterday Nate and I did ourselves a favor and took the whole day just for ourselves. It may not sound like a big deal, but honestly, we have had very little time to do that lately so it was kind of nice. We went for our morning walk, had breakfast out, went and picked up the supplies for his art class, grocery shopped, played some cribbage, grilled for dinner and then watched some TV shows.

Sometimes we allow ourselves to just get super caught up in other things that we tend to forget that we need to also focus on each other. I'm glad I remembered that it's important that we check in with each other and just kind of block out the rest of the world for a little bit. It's healthy and necessary for our relationship.

It was nice to be just us. I'm going to work harder to remember that we need that every now and then!


What do we watch?

So one of my favorite things about fall is that a majority of the TV shows we enjoy come back from summer hiatus. We had a fair amount of shows we watch that were new over the summer - Psych, Weeds, The Next Food Network Star, and Hung for example - but now some of those shows are over or wrapping up their seasons so the timing is good. We also just finished the entire series to date of Breaking Bad.

We are not tied to the TV and often watch the shows after they air - but we definitely have a list of favorites that we enjoy. It's quite a list:
Glee (me more than Nate of course)
House, MD
How I Met Your Mother
The Big Bang Theory (moving to Thursdays - are they trying to kill this show?)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

See, quite a list! Add to that the fact that we've decided to put the first seasons of Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and Modern Family onto our Netflix queue along with making our way through the series so far of Californication and we have no excuse to EVER be bored. I predict we'll have enough evening entertainment to get us all the way to next summer, even when some of our current shows are in repeats periodically!

What are some of your favorite shows? Any new ones coming out anyone is excited about? I honestly don't know if there are any new shows that we'll get hooked on starting this year, I don't think we really need to add to our list!


Bar none

Whew, what a weekend!

It flew by so fast but we got alot accomplished! And we had a good balance of time with family and friends and also just each other too!

The biggest story of the weekend was Nate making huge strides on getting our basement bar completed. He started chatting with my dad a little bit about it a week or so ago and had asked if he could use some of his tools and such and my dad being the nice guy that he is was like, sure. So at dinner on Friday, Nate brought over some of the wood to cut. Well, they ended up looking at the templates online that Nate had found and chatted a bit and kind of decided to take the project a slightly different direction. Nothing huge and they're still using all of the stuff that Nate bought.

So, Sunday after we golfed in the morning with them, Nate and I headed over to my parents where he and my dad spent pretty much all afternoon building the top of the bar. I can finally see where this whole thing is going, it's going to be great. While they worked on that, my mom and I made our first apple pie of the year and it was so tasty!

So anyway, I'm excited about the bar, I know it's going to be so nice when it's all done and they're on track to have it completed before our Oktoberfest party in early October, so that makes me happy as well! It will be so much easier to enjoy Nate's homebrew in general once this whole thing is done. And a good excuse to have more parties or something! Ha!


Checking in on my summer bucket list

Well I'm a day late, but I said I'd check in on my summer "To do" list on September 1st - so let's see how we did.

The fun stuff (cause it's more fun to start there, right?)
-Visit the Big Backyard at the Science Museum now that we are members
We did not do this yet - I don't know how long it's open, but we might get there soon.
-Golf both with Nate and also my parents
Yes! We went on Father's Day and are slated to go with them this weekend as well and we will both be playing in the Family tournament this year at the end of September.
-See the new Polar Bear Exhibit at the Como Zoo
Nope, any day we wanted to go was rainy and I've heard it gets rather crowded anyway, so we may wait awhile on this one
-Eat at outdoor patios whenever possible
Yes, we ate at Barley Johns, Brasa, Psycho Suzie's, and the Happy Gnome and sat on their patios and it was lovely!
-Go on a Margarita or Beer Paddleboat ride on the Mississippi (the Paddleford boat company offers both of these options on Mondays and Wednesdays - how fun!)
There was just NO time for this one this year sadly. Maybe next year.
-Go on a bike ride or two
Nope, it's just too hard because I keep my bike at my mom and dad's. There should still be time yet for this during the fall though
-Visit the Elm Creek Park reserve man made beach
Yes! I took a day off with Gina and we had a great time with her niece and nephews even if I did get sunburned as I reported last week! It's faded to a nice tan now.
-Attend the Rock the Garden concert at the Walker
Yes! We had so much fun, it was one of the highlights of the summer for me!
-Visit the Farmers Markets (Minneapolis and Mill City)
I made one trip down with my parents to the Mill City Farmer's Market, will probably go back with Nate sometime this fall. It's more of a fall activity for us really.
-Make jam with my mother-in-law and pie with my mom (with Strawberries)
Again I just ran out of time and my rhubarb also was kind of not so great this year, so this fell by the wayside very early on.
-Spend lots of time with friends as they are able
I did get to do plenty of this even with our busy schedule. I'm pleased to have spent time with almost all of my close friends in some form this summer between dinners out, beach days, barbecues, concerts, class reunions and everything else in between!

The less than fun, but necessary things to do at home:
-Finish taking down two fence posts in the backyard, take out the posts for hanging laundry and also disassemble a planting area and then plant grass seed in all of those areas
We did not get to it this year, the yard became less important as we worked on some other projects
-Clean out the planting areas along the deck in the back so we can actually maybe get plants in the ground this year
See above - same
-General cleaning up of all areas of the yard
Same once again, although Nate did finally get around to some gutter cleaning
-Paint the front door of the house
I did paint the door frame when we were preparing for the appraisal for the re-fi, and I think we'll still get the actual door painted yet this year before it's too cold as well
-Possibly start painting other parts of the outside of the house
Yes! While it was more "touch up" work than the color we eventually want it to be - a fresh coat of paint has made a world of difference and it looks nice! I should finish up a little bit more this weekend and I'm really glad.
-Start my painting in the living room
Yes! We are SOOO close to being done I can taste it. We've had some great help from people which is awesome.
-Put a light fixture above my shower and a fan in the bathroom (dad is going to help with this one)
Almost, I went looking at the fans and light fixtures with my dad last weekend, we're watching for sales for a couple of weeks and then we'll do it.

So - I probably did about half the things on my lists this year. And, it's early yet - while it is now September, we will hopefully have nice weather to do some things that we haven't quite yet before it gets too cold and (yikes) snowy. And there are things that we did this summer that aren't on that list too that was really nice - our vacation to Itasca at the very beginning of summer, a short weekend up north with our music group, a visit to my friend in Mankato to meet her baby girl, the State Fair and then project wise Nate also started building his bar for his kegging system, so that's exciting too.

I have no regrets about the summer and what we did/didn't do. I only regret losing a whole week when I was sick and the fact that it set us back a bit with our running program, but that was out of my control. I learned from that experience that I need to listen to my body more and rest and slow down a bit and the rest of the summer was smooth sailing after I figured that out!

I'm looking forward to another nice three day weekend with some fun things planned and then I'm ready to move on to fall. We have fun things to look forward to and it's my favorite time of the year, so I plan to enjoy every moment.