Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On the Town in Milwaukee

The other weekend we had the chance to spend time with our friends Michael, Mari, and their daughter Alex.  We went to Discovery World downtown, which has an aquarium in their new location on the waterfront.

We had quite the time at the touch pool.  And a fun quick ride through the big tank on the glass sided elevator!

Monday, September 26, 2011

October and Kitchen Updates

This next month is just packed.

With all luck the kitchen should be in the finishing stages by the end of the day tomorrow.  Here's what the kitchen looks like this evening, just ignore the plywood countertops and small hole in the wall.  The countertops are being installed in the morning, and I'll spend the day working on fixing up the pantry.  I can't wait for the real counter to be in and have the available real estate to unpack the rest of the kitchen boxes, AND have a working kitchen!

We want to have our families over on the weekend of October 8 for a housewarming party, and then a little shindig the next weekend with our friends.  And I'll be hosting the next crafternoon the following Sunday.  Quite a lot of hosting will be going on over here, and I can't wait for some of our friends and family to finally see the house for the first time!

And I certainly can't wait to have more boxes unpacked, and a bit more living and working area, instead of just working our way around the stacks of boxes.  And with October my projects will resume!  How exciting!

Monday, September 19, 2011

speaking of christmas...

It is usually around this time of year when the stores seem to skip right over Halloween and Thanksgiving to put up Christmas trees and stock.  Which is to say that this is when I'm generally rolling my eyes a lot.  But this year?  It's somehow different.  I'm trying to get a head start on Christmas presents this year because I'm afraid with everything else going on this year I won't be able to finish everything otherwise.

The checkout ladies at JoAnn Fabrics look at me like I'm crazy when I hand them a coupon for my single $1 item, but every little bit of savings means I can stretch our Christmas budget even further.  So I'm going to take full advantage of their coupon commotion promotion this week to get the last (hopefully) of the supplies for all our presents this year.

A few weekends ago Beth, Sara and I talked about reinstating Crafternoon where we get together at each other's homes and spend the afternoon making things and chatting.  Beth has already scheduled the first one for next Sunday at her place and I can't wait!  I only hope I have a portable project ready to take with me, and that Richard won't mind me leaving him behind at home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

thoughts on coupons

I promise that I'm not as intense as the couponers featured on TLC's Extreme Couponing, but clipping coupons has become a way of life to stretch our limited budget.

It may sound farfetched, but couponing contributed directly to buying our house.  We never would have been able to save the money for our downpayment without coupons to stretch our budget.  And now that we're fixing up the house coupons and rebates are helping to pay for supplies we need to work.

I suppose all this musing was prompted by something Anna said yesterday.  We were chatting when she mentioned finding this amazing website called where you can post something that you will do or make or send for $5 and people can buy your offer.  She made a comment that if I could just figure out something to post and sell I could stop clipping coupons.  Maybe I'll do it, perhaps I'll come up with something to clever to post and I can start raking in the extra cash, but truth be told.... I won't be able to stop couponing.

Call me crazy, but paying full price for anything is something I can no longer bring myself to do.  Just yesterday my $100+ grocery shopping bill went down to just $57.51 and I managed to stock up on a few staples that will see us through the next couple weeks instead of just one.  This post may very well lead to more musing on the things I do for extra cash, get products for free and to bolster our savings.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Inspiration: Concrete Poetry

I took these photos over two years ago, on my first ever trip to Minneapolis which was both brief and exhilarating.  I found myself meeting up with my friend Ryan who I had met years before in Oshkosh where we'd already had many adventures, and he took both Jennie and I to the outdoor sculpture garden just as the sun was setting and the temperature plunging.

It was a fun night, despite the sub-zero temperatures that could be felt all the way to our bones, or perhaps because of that.  I took only a few photos that evening, pulling my fingers out of my glittens only for brief moments.

There is a surprising amount of words for a sculpture garden, and you know me, I'm a sucker for pretty words.  These are the words that stick with me the most, "And it is good when you get to no further" from John Ashbery's poem written for the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge where the words are engraved, and the vantage point from which the next photo was taken.

By John Ashberry

And now I cannot remember how I would
have had it. It is not a conduit (confluence?) but a place.
The place, of movement and an order.
The place of old order.
But the tail end of the movement is new.
Driving us to say what we are thinking.
It is so much like a beach after all, where you stand
and think of going no further.
And it is good when you get to no further.
It is like a reason that picks you up and
places you where you always wanted to be.
This far, it is fair to be crossing, to have crossed.
Then there is no promise in the other.
Here it is. Steel and air, a mottled presence,
small panacea
and lucky for us.
And then it got very cool.