Ghosts of Halloween past

We did a little Halloween show with Praise Project at one of the churches we sing at over the weekend and dressed sort of 50's like, but didn't get any pictures, so for Halloween today I give you ghosts of our Halloween pasts instead.

2010 - Gnomes

2008 - Mario and Luigi

2007 - Rainbow Brite

I hope everyone had a fun weekend and have a fun and safe Halloween evening tonight. Happy Halloween one and all!


Fabulous Friday 10/28/11

Whew. Another crazy week gone by. A crazy weekend ahead. But it's still Friday! And so here is my weekly installment of things I am finding fabulous!

1. Nate's homemade margaritas - been awhile since I have listed something related to alcohol! We're really not lushes that much. But anyway, last winter Nate came up with a homemade margarita recipe that is quite yummy. We have them on occasion with mexican food at home for a special treat. We each had a little one last night and it was very enjoyable!

2. Planning - we had a very grown up conversation last night and we're making good plans to improve our financial situation and creating a budget. It'll take us a little bit but I think we'll get there. And I'm not afraid of it! I'm embracing it. Which is pretty awesome really.

3. Affordable health insurance - we selected our benefits for the next year last night and I have to say again and again I appreciate Fairview for really taking care of it's employees in that aspect. I believe I have one of the best health care plans around and I don't take it for granted even for a second.

4. The Hunger Games - I just started reading this book last weekend and I'm almost done. It's crazy addictive and I will need to get the next two books in the series as well. I'm curious about the movie when it comes out and will likely go see that.

5. The final Muppet movie trailer - It is hilarious. They parody all the other parody trailers they did this year and added a few others that are quick little parodies of other movies coming out around the same time as the new Muppet movie. Worth a quick peak if you haven't seen it. You can see it here.

There you have it! Happy weekend one and all!


Little of this, little of that

Nate made us a lovely seafood feast last night. It is the second time we've done it, it's kind of a treat really because it is expensive, but it is so yummy!

So we had shrimp, scallops, rice pilaf and homemade biscuits. Kind of like Red Lobster at home! Sadly, almost as expensive as going to the restaurant but what are you going to do? Like I said, it's a special treat on occasion.

While we were cooking dinner Pippin was entertaining me by playing in a box. Honestly she never plays in boxes. She watches Taylor play in boxes and bags all the time and then tries to copy her but never quite "gets" it. She kind of seemed to last night though, so I snapped a picture.

Tonight is fun with benefits and financials. Woo hoo. As I've said, the weekend looks busy, but we'll survive. Looking most forward to Sunday right now. I've heard it might be a little rainy, but I have two movie tickets I got awhile back on a Groupon type deal. Sad thing is, I'm not even sure what is in the theatre that we'd be interested in, but we could probably figure something out.

Trying to decide if I will do NaBloPoMo again this year. I've done it the past two Novembers, and it is honestly a challenge sometimes to post something every day. I'm considering skipping it this year and just going with my normal blogging pattern, most days I blog, but some days I don't. And that is ok I think!

Same old same old otherwise! Still doing much better than earlier this week and I'm thankful for that!


Random thought Wednesday - Again!

Hello friends. We are halfway through the week and again, I have no main topic today, so instead you get one of my random thought/list type postings! Try to contain your excitement.

~I have to start by saying thank you to all who read and commented on my extremely honest "Just Write" post yesterday. I feel so much better after writing that and especially after reading so many wonderful comments that have validated me and reminded me that I am normal (at least I think I am, what is normal anyway?). I really enjoy "Just Write" - it forces me to dig a little deeper inside and it's just been a really helpful writing exercise. Dare I say it's even cathartic at times! Anyway, what led to my writing that yesterday was just a really bad day on Monday that spilled over into yesterday just a bit. The day really improved after I wrote that post and things have only continued to improve into today.

~Something that has really helped my mood totally improve is better sleep. I have to admit, I broke my over two week long "no buy" for one thing I think really can go on the "necessity" list so I'm not going to really count it as breaking the "no buy" - a new pillow. So far, so good. The pillows I had either didn't have enough support so my head was sinking causing me to wake up at night or I was waking up with a neck ache. I have found a pillow that seems to be firm enough without hurting me, so right now, it's good!

~There is officially less than a month until my birthday and less than a month until the new Muppet movie comes out. And ever since I accepted turning 30, I am looking forward to BOTH! November is going to kick booty. Seriously.

~I could not believe the amount of traffic I got caught in on the way to work this morning. My commute is short. Yet there was just crazy traffic today. Not sure what is up with that.

~I get my flu shot today, hurray! And the news is reporting that flu vaccines are not as effective as they once thought, double hurray! Honestly though, I find that I am much healthier when I get the flu vaccine so I'm still doing it. And so is Nate this year! Now the yucky, germy computers hopefully won't get to him as much.

~Tomorrow night we're going to sit down and do our benefits for the year because open enrollment ends on Friday - way to get it done under the wire - and also really take a hard look at our finances and see where we can cut corners and just trying to be better organized. Such fun stuff, you wish you were us right?

~Our weekend promises to be crazy busy, but Sunday is open and clear and we are having a Beth and Nate day. I don't know where our day will lead us, but the whole day will be for just us and it will be awesome.

And that's about it. As I'm writing this the sun is even poking out of the clouds a bit. More good vibes to be a good day I think!


Just Write - Truth

Some days I feel somewhat misunderstood.

Some days I think people look at me like I have it knocked and I want to tell them, no one has it knocked. Everyone has their own battles to fight, some are smaller than others, but we all have them.

Some days I feel like things I say or things I do are the wrong things. Some days I feel like all I do is let people down.

Some days I feel like I have to defend choices I make for my own health and well being or for the sake of my husband's.

Some days I feel like all I want to do is scream.

Some days I feel like things around me are changing and it's out of my control. And other times I want to embrace those changes.

Some days I feel like I am trying to fit myself into a cookie cutter image that I don't even know where it came from.

Some days, like today, I just want to be honest. I am not perfect. I am who I am and I just want to be accepted as I am. I make mistakes sometimes. I am only human.

Some days I am afraid to admit these things, to write them, to hit submit. But other days I know it's healthy and it is ok. So today is one of those days.

Most days are not like these "some days". But they do come. I put one foot in front of the other and march on when they do. Because the next day is a new day. A new day.

Linking up to "Just Write" again today. Visit Heather at the EO to read other posts or to submit your own.

And as always on a heavier post like this I need to put a disclaimer that I AM OK. I am just in a season of up and downness and sometimes I need to write about it. Thanks for reading, don't worry, I don't need the little men in white coats. :)


Fabulous Friday 10/21

Well look at that, we made it to Friday again. Outstanding. We have another fullish weekend ahead, but nothing like the preparation and craziness of getting ready for the party last weekend! Tonight one of my college friends is in town so I'm having dinner with her and some other girls. Tomorrow not much going on during the day, yay, but then Praise Project rehearsal in the evening. Sunday we have two masses at St. Willams and then we'll go home and make a roast dinner for my mother-in-law's birthday. I am sure, as usual, it will go by too fast.

But for today here is what I am finding fabulous!

1. Apple pie - made the first apple pie of the season this week and it turned out pretty darn good! Very tasty and wonderful to enjoy in this cool weather!

2. Casual Friday - I appreciate that I can wear jeans on Friday. I try to still look nice and professional, but it is really nice to have the comfort of jeans one day a week!

3. Longevity - Yesterday was Nate's 3 year anniversary of working at MasterSwitch. I am so unbelievably proud of him I can't even been to say. He has worked so hard and even when it's been challenging, he has come through. They took him out for a beer after work yesterday and it was well deserved in my eyes.

4. A good kind of dilemma - yeah this one sounds weird huh? Turns out that even though I've been working hard to use more of my paid time off this year, I'm still over the maximum saved up that I can have by the end of the year. So darn it, looks like I'm going to have to take some days off!

There you have it! Hope you all are finding fabulous things today. Have a great weekend!


Random Thought Wednesday

Been awhile since I've done one of these kind of posts! So let's just dive on in.

~I'm on day two of my month long "no buy" challenge. It's going fine so far, though I hate that I'm already being tempted by sales. The biggest one is the annual Stuff and Save event at Old Navy. I love that sale and go every year but it's running smack in the middle of my challenge, so no Stuff and Save for me this year!

~I slept oddly on my neck last night and it is super stiff and sore now today. I hate when that happens.

~I'm making my first apple pie of the season tonight. I'm looking forward to it, there is something about apple pie at this time of the year! I'm guessing I may not have a chance to make another one until Thanksgiving, but you never know.

~I cannot believe the number of Christmas things I'm already seeing advertisements for, but it is usually this time of year that those things start showing up, so at the same time it's hardly a surprise. I cannot even think about Christmas yet. Though I have already bought one smallish gift for my mom.

~I have finally accepted that I'm turning 30 next month. Not bad, a whole month in advance and I've come to terms with it. It's happening whether I want it to or not and you know what I'm embracing it. Like in the movie "13 Going on 30" I am choosing to be 30 and flirty and fun.

That's about it for today. Real exciting I know, you were just dying to know all of that right? Ha.


Just Write - My feet are tired

My feet are tired.

I've worked hard all day on cleaning, cooking, preparing. I didn't take much time to rest before the festivities began.

My feet are tired.

I don't even get to taste any of the chicken I slaved away on all day as it's gone before you can say it was time to eat.

My feet are tired.

I'm working hard to get around to all the different people who have come out to see us on this lovely Fall evening, our house is packed to the brim.

My feet are tired.

But suddenly, I realize that this is what I wanted. This makes me happy. I look around and see my husband smiling and laughing with friends, sharing about his homebrew, beaming.

My feet are tired.

But even though they are, I continue observing and see college friends mingling with high school friends, church friends mingling with those who don't really do church, both sides of the family thrown in between. It is inspiring and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My feet are tired.

But another glass of beer will help me power through as I sample some of the wonderful food that others were generous enough to bring. Some of which is likely even more delicious than that chicken. Especially the pumpkin tiramisu.

My feet are tired.

But my friends and family lift me up, make me laugh, and fill my house with love.

My feet are tired.

But my heart is full.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. I am beyond blessed.

Linking up once again to Just Write. An exercise in free writing, no editing, going up on Tuesdays. Visit Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary to link up or read other Just Write posts.

Weekend recap and a Challenge

Wow. What a wonderful weekend. Our party was a success and it was a lot of fun.. It was so nice to see so many people and everyone seemed to have a really great time. I'm not going to talk about it a whole lot more right now because I want to save my reflections for a "Just Write" post tomorrow - I have the ideas floating in my head which makes me happy since I didn't have a post for it last week!

The rest of the weekend was pretty good. Nate and I slept in on Sunday, although it didn't turn out to be too terribly late of an evening on Saturday, it still felt good to sleep in. We had brunch at Brasa and once again, it was fantastic. Then we braved the madness of the apple orchard - I swear I haven't seen it that busy in a very long time. Got a few items there and hope to make a pie this week, haven't had any apple pie yet this year!

Came home and pretty much vegged, finishing out our day with pizza and the first disc of season three of Mad Men.

We had a conversation though yesterday that all couples have to have here and there and dread talking about and that was a "money" talk. And through the course of our conversation, I decided to issue myself a challenge. I would like to first of all put a disclaimer here that we are not in the poor house or something, but we both agreed that we need to be a little more fiscally responsible and kind of start acting like the almost 30 year old adults that we are. So, enter my challenge.

Starting today, October 17th until one month from today, November 17th, I will not buy anything for myself that is not considered a "necessity." No more clothes shopping, no purses, no frivolous things for one month. Baby steps, but it seems do-able. Here is a list of what I do consider a "necessity":
1. Food (duh - gotta eat. This is for groceries and our "one night out a week at a restaurant").
2. Gas for my car
3. Replacements for anything pertinent to daily life - toiletries (soap, toothpaste), etc.
4. Cat items (food, litter)
5. Medicine we happen to run out of (it's allergy season)
6. Paying bills

And here are the definite no-no's:
1. Clothes
2. Purses
3. Magazines
4. Books
5. Music (MP3 downloads or CDs)
6. In home parties (jewelry, Tastefully Simple, Partylite, etc.)
7. Bath and body items (Bath and Bodyworks, LUSH)

Again, it's not that we are broke, but I have a bad shopping habit and I think a one month challenge is a good way to try and curb it a bit. The other exceptions I didn't mention is that I am going to allow myself to buy a birthday gift for Nate and if I find early Christmas gifts for people that is allowed too.

The reason I targeted one month from today as the end of the challenge is that is the day the Cities 97 City Sampler comes out and I would like to buy my annual copy of that. After that day though, we'll see, it'll be getting close to the holidays and my birthday and while I will be shopping for others, I will probably keep the "no shopping for myself thing" going. Seems like a good time of year to try this anyway.

So, here goes nothing!


Fabulous Friday - 10/14/11

Oh friends. I am so giddy and bouncy right now it is difficult to focus! This weekend will be legen - wait for it - dary. (How I Met Your Mother reference if you don't know that one). Anyway, here is the best I can do for a Fabulous Friday post today!

What I find fabulous this week:

1. Oktoberfest - our big event of the year, the chance to showcase Nate's homebrew and a chance to see our friends and family. I just can't think of a better way to spend what should be a fantastic fall evening tomorrow.

2. Generous Friends - I don't think we'll be going hungry tomorrow, so many wonderful people have stepped forward to contribute something, I think that will go a long way in helping to feed the potentially 30 guests we'll have in our home!

3. Being less one fish tank - Nate's fish died long ago but we haven't taken apart and put away the darn tank yet. And it's been an ugly eye sore. Right now he has too many other hobbies/interests that there is just no time to deal with a fish tank. So I told him before this weekend it had to go. And as of last night - it is GONE. Hasta la vista fish tank (I have never been crazy about it if you can't tell!)

4. New recipes - Testing out some new recipes for tomorrow with the help of my momma and if they turn out well, I'll post them here - but I'll leave you with this - pumpkin tiramasu. Yeah, my mouth is watering too.

5. My awesome husband - who has helped me immensely in getting ready for this big event. He has cleaned up the yard, worked hard to make sure the beer is just right and I just could not put this together without him! And while I'm excited for the party, I'm excited for the next day too - it has become our tradition to treat ourselves to breakfast out the day after Oktoberfest so we'll definitely be doing that this year too!

Well you can see where my mind is today! I hope you all have fabulous Fridays and a wonderful weekend too!


A bit checked out

I'm still here I swear!

I realize the blog has been quiet this week. I'm bummed I couldn't come up with a "Just Write" post on Tuesday. Honestly my brain is jut a bit checked out this week. We're getting good work done at home in preparation for this weekend's Oktoberfest festivities and that is just where my focus is right now!

I am quite excited for everything, it should be a good time. I am aiming to get a "Fabulous Friday" up tomorrow, but we'll just see how things go.

Once this weekend is over I should have my blogging groove back!


I should go on HGTV

Decorating ADD.  I swear I have it.  I just can't leave things alone in my house!  I suppose it is my way of coping with not being able to afford bigger major projects at the moment!

So this weekend my dad came over and helped swap a couple of light fixtures.  See we have an area of the house that was really designed to be the dining room on the south end of our kitchen, but we decided to make this separate room that is off the north of the kitchen (one of those rooms that has two doors and could legally be a bedroom) our dining room.  And it pretty much has been since we moved in.  The area to the south of the kitchen has been just kind of an extended kitchen and where we will remodel into something nicer someday.  I have a smallish table in there as well.  Anyway, there is a nice light fixture that was on a dimmer switch that I started thinking would be nice to have in my actual dining room.  And it hangs low, so it wasn't giving me much flexibility in this "extended kitchen" area as to how I arrange things like that small table - I really wanted it up against the wall, but if I did that, someone could have hit their head on the light fixture.  Enter brilliant idea of swapping the light fixtures from the current and old dining room areas!

Fortunately my dad is a whiz at electrical work and he had this all figured out in no time flat. We also cleaned the light fixture that was moving to the dining room really well - good thing too, it was kind of grody.

Once the light fixtures were swapped and working (along with dimmer now in the current dining room, yay!) I then set to rearranging my extended kitchen.  I think I like the results, it is much more open now and relatively functional.  We will at least live with it for a bit to see how we feel!


Fabulous Friday - 10/7

Hola!  It is Friday again!  Some weeks go by so fast.  It's funny, the week was calmer for us too, but it still flew by.  I won't complain, the weekend is almost here and that's awesome.  And here is my weekly list of other awesome, fabulous things.

1. Tubs dumpsters - I highly recommend Tubs, while the "Tub" itself isn't huge, the price is reasonable and the people on the phone are very easy to deal with.  And it just feels so good to have purged a bunch of stuff!

2. Spotify - I've been using Spotify online radio and I love it - it's free and allows me to try out entire albums before buying.  There are a few ads interspersed, but it hasn't been too bad so far. I believe it's available to anyone now, but if you find you need an invite, let me know and I'll hook you up.

3. Clothes Mentor - Yeah, yeah, I've talked about Clothes Mentor at length here before and I won't go crazy this time except to say that I sold a bunch of stuff to them on Sunday (that I may have turned around and just bought new things with, I'll never tell. Wink.) and they are just so awesome.

4. Fall smells - I've started burning my fall scented candles from Partylite, like Ginger Pumpkin, Spiced Cider and Leaves of Fun.  I love it.  I love making my house smell good!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday musings

Dare I even say out loud that things are on a pretty even keel at the moment?

I have a nice handle on things for Oktoberfest this year.  It's in less than two weeks and I'm not in a crazy rushed panic like I was last year!  I suppose it helps that Dad and Nate aren't still building the bar!  The snags Nate ran into last week are more or less corrected.  He has one more part coming so he can actually add the 7th tap.  It is pretty exciting.

Yesterday we filled up a "Tub" style dumpster with some junk we've been meaning to get rid of for awhile now.  It isn't a huge dumpster so we weren't able to get rid of everything, but we managed to throw out the concrete from the old laundry sink and several doors we've replaced.  Man it feels good to purge sometimes!  We'll do it again this spring more than likely.

Driving to and from work this week I have been in absolute awe of the Fall colors.  I know I keep saying that but seriously, the hues, reds, oranges, golds....they are amazing.  And while I don't love warm weather at this time of year, I am also keeping it in perspective and enjoying it while it last because sometimes it still feels like yesterday that we were shoveling out from 12 inches of snow.

I miss my morning walks and runs with Nate, but man has he been sleeping good lately.  And he's doing better overall.  We're still struggling to make time for evening walks, but I still think we'll get some of those in before the snow falls!

I'm back to a "living in the moment" kind of pace and I'm feeling more peaceful and serene.  I'm ignoring the little voice that tries to creep up saying "but where's the other shoe?" because you know what, it might be out there waiting to fall, but I am not going to be concerned with that.  I will instead enjoy these warm, happy feelings every second that I have them.


Just Write - Him

He is bold and fearless.  His personality is larger than life.  He never apologizes for who he is but he doesn't have to.  He is intellegent, confident and amazing.

He has had a hard time as of late though.  The light in his eyes has been a bit dimmer.  He's somewhere in there, but I can't always see him.

I tell him I want to make it better, I'd do anything, give anything.  He tells me it's not up to me to be the fixer.  He just wants me to be me.  That's enough.  So I back down a bit.

We have found some simple solutions to make things better.  Suddenly things have turned around.  I can see him again.  He's there.  He is himself again.  The light is back.

I am so proud of him, the man he has become in the five years we've been married.  He is my all and my everything and I am so very blessed.  And most of all, he is my hero.

Linking up today to Just Write an exercise in free writing and no editing.  Go visit Heather of the EO to read other Just Write posts or to add your own.


Glorious Fall Weekend

Forgive me as I channel Chandler from Friends here, but could the weather this weekend have BEEN anymore gorgeous??  Along with that, some wonderful activities took place this weekend too and it was just overall a really nice one!

Friday was a half day at work so I could go to my good friend and sorority sister Angie's wedding.  What a PERFECT day for a wedding.  She looked beautiful.  Miss Gina was awesome and came as a stand in date for me as Nate's office was moving locations this week and he had to work a little late on Friday.  We just decided it would be too much stress to try to get him there.  Anyway, we had a great time!  It was so nice to catch up with many of my sorority sisters as well, I hadn't seen some of these ladies in many years!

Me and my date :)

Sooo many Lambda ladies with the beautiful bride

Saturday we got up SUPER early and headed out to Champlin for our annual Miller Family Golf tournament.  It was another beautiful day even if it was very chilly to start out.  It was not my best round of golf this year, in fact it might have been my worst round of golf this year, but I didn't take home last place AND I won the "Closest to the Pin" prize that we have on the 6th hole.  I have taken that prize home before too.  What makes me laugh is I usually win it for "overshooting" the green on my drive!  It's the shortest hole on the entire course though so it's easy to do that.  Anyway, it was a nice day and nice to see members of my mom's family we don't otherwise see much during the year.

Looking out at the back nine around 8:00 am

Mom and I are ready to roll

Oof, it's a bit early for us, but we're here!

After the tournament was over we both kind of crashed for a bit in the afternoon.  I did manage to go and get a haircut though, my hair was getting a wee bit shaggy!  We picked up some carryout from Albert's Bar and Grill - very awesome greasy spoon burger - and watched a couple of shows while we ate before we had to go to Praise Project rehearsal.  Did the rehearsal and went home and pretty much fell into bed, it was a long day!

Sunday we slept late, which was much needed!  Got up and went for a nice walk.  Nate made us breakfast because he is so awesome.  Then he set to finishing up cleaning and kegging up the beer so the bar is ready to go for Oktoberfest (less than two weeks and counting...) and my mom and I took a bunch of stuff over to Clothes Mentor to try to sell.  I was pleased that they took a bunch of things and I may have turned around and just used my money for some new things...yeah....is that really a surprise though?

Came back home and read some more of "The Help" while Nate finished up with the bar and then we finished out our day at a benefit for some good friend's of ours who had a baby at 23 weeks.  It felt good to do something to help them out!

Now things should be much calmer for us until Oktoberfest and this is a good thing, because we need to do a lot of things at home to prepare!  And it's nice to just step back and relax for a bit too!