Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let the games begin!

It always seems like someone's trying to take my money! It's such a game of twists and this, insure that...invest over here...give there.

Sometimes I feel like I could just buy one of those little spinner things and spin the dial to decide where it's going next. I swear it'd do a better job than predicting what is going to come up next!!

Ok - ok so life isn't THAT bad, but I'm frustrated. Roughly 6 months ago we refinanced our home loan. It worked out GREAT! We saved $300 a month by doing so...SO awesome, right? Well, not if you live in Illinois. In Cook county we have a special way of taxing people. The estimators of taxes say it's going to be "X" amount, so we do the necessary to put X amount in our escrow accounts. With cook county - it's actually 2 times X. Nullifying any savings on monthly payment at all. So, instead of saving $300/month on our house payment, it will go up $300. Which isn't THAT bad because it goes right back to where we were before we refinanced. So overall, it's not a horrible thing...just a rollercoaster to ride.

Ok - I feel better now. Thanks for sticking with me on that rant.

In other news - not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but we have a roommate. He's been staying with us now for a little over a month. At first I was a little hesitant, but it's actually going quite well. He's a good friend that has fallen on hard times, so we opened our home. I can't really explain it to those who don't know me - (ha lol as if anyone who doesn't know me reads this) but it's a total God thing. We love others because He deeply loves and provides for us. Despite this whole house payment debacle, God will provide what we need. Always. The 'roomie' as we'll call him is super helpful around the house. Now I know how the hubs feels! I finally know what it feels like to have a "fairy" around the house! A dishes fairy is especially wonderful to have. I leave for work and see dirty dishes around the kitchen - after work the kitchen is sparkling clean! Magic! You know what else is magic?! These newly acquired 'fairies' inspire the hubs to do more housework!

And might I add - he's doing an amazing job. Amazing. The hubs hasn't been this helpful around the house ever. I must say that the 2nd year of marriage is definitely better than the first!! I feel we're just more comfy with each other - and just work together better. Good times!

Well, that's all for now. Time to rework the budget!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday is fun!

Today’s post is all about how good life can be. I know it’s cold and gray outside, and I know that I am SO ready for Spring. I am definitely longing for sunny days again, but every once in a while I need to stop and think about how blessed I am. I mean REALLY!

I have great friends, I mean great! Great single friends, great friends that the hubs and I hang out with as couples…just the type of genuine people that cannot ever be replaced. The type of friends that are priceless, truly.

I have a great husband. Sure, at times we have our disagreements…and I’m always on him to make sure he’s pulling his weight in cleaning duties (which by the way he’s REALLY taking up more responsibility around the house YES!). When it comes down to it – he’s super sweet. Last Friday (after a loooooong emotional-crazytown week…thanks a lot hormones!) he appeared after work with a bouquet of flowers in hand and instructions for me. “Sit down and don’t do a thing.” He prepared steaks on the grill, potatoes, and asparagus. YUM! These steaks were SO good – and he used as little butter has possible as to not aggravate my tummy. After ALL that – he still cleaned everything up after dinner. I just can’t get over how much he continues to display his love for me.

I have a family that really loves me. Not only my own family, but my hubs family too! I mean, how many people can really say they miss seeing their in-laws? Lol! Well I can!

Ok – so a little update on the bridal shower for my brother’s fiancĂ©! The place has confirmed they will do it for the amount I requested YES! French CafĂ© in Omaha is the best! What a cute place for an event. I have purchased the invites and will post the ones I selected as soon as I get them! I can’t wait to show them off!

This weekend it’s hangin’ with the jr high girls! My friend Melanie is coming over and we are hanging out with the girls in our jr. high group from church. What a crazy bunch! It will probably be a pretty small group though because many are on vacation. I’m going to attempt to make little clutch purses with them. We will see how it goes…

So next time you get down because the crappy weather in Chicago, or a bad day at work...take a step back and really count your blessings. We have SO much to be thankful for! SO MUCH!

Life is good!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A place for connections

So here I am at my favorite Starbucks.

I worked from home today and am supposed to meet a Supplier of mine at Starbucks at 3:30. I decided home was getting a little...well...quiet and I needed a change of scenery earlier than 3:30, so I ventured there at 1:30ish.

Upon entering I noticed a certain pastor from my church meeting with someone. They were sitting so close to me! Ha! I was immersed in some boring spreadsheet for work, so I did my best not to listen in on their conversation...but I must admit it was a little difficult to mind my business. For the most part I resisted temptation...although don't be too impressed because it was mostly because I found their conversation uninteresting to me.

Their meeting ended and the table was left empty.

A few minutes went by and my Starbucks "date" (if you will) canceled. what to do? Well, home is still probably pretty quiet, and Starbucks is active and interesting. Besides, home has all kinds of distractions that pull me from working. (like my sewing machine!)

Since I decided to stay, I broke down and ordered a sandwich and chai tea latte. I will not go into how much I love chai tea lattes...but just know they are a great love of mine. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting...well...anywhere sipping a chai tea latte. There are many other drinks that I truly enjoy, but my favorite is this drink. The sandwich had this spicy Dijon mustard. I am not crazy about the mustard, but the creamy goodness of the latte far outweighed my displeasure with the sandwich.

As I'm finishing up my poor excuse for a late lunch. Who should walk in but Lina's sister!! Right there in person. (to those of you who are not familiar with Lina, she's the women's ministry director of my church. sooo fun, warm, and just enough crazy to make her amazing) She talks about how wonderful her sister is all the time. I also remember seeing some amazing food displayed one small group evening at her sister's table...made me want to resign from my own group and join theirs (sorry small group...but good food is good food haha). She's actually very pretty to me as well...she has a nice, welcoming smile. No wonder Lina likes her so much.

I'm sure the term "lina's sister" isn't exactly what she wants to be called, so I tell her my name and naturally she tells me hers. She's with her son, while her other boy finishes something at school. I think to myself - how cool! How cool would it have been when I was going to school to take a trip to Starbucks to do homework! Anyway - I'm rambling...

So here I went to Starbucks thinking I was going to meet up with 1 person - and end up meeting someone else. Well, I think it's cool.

Update on the bridal shower - I have purchased the invitations!!! I will hopefully post in my next entry!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thoughts on a Saturday

I love Spring...mostly. I love birds singing, but only in the afternoons. Why must birds sing in the morning? Don't they realize that I need those precious morning hours of sleep? Haha - I am blessed to live by great big trees, though so I can't complain too much. Spring is such a gift though. God knew we needed a relief from the long gray winter. That's what I think anyway.

Today has been superb! It began with a haircut from my favorite stylist, Reese, at Trio Salon downtown. I love the feeling of going downtown to get my haircut! I have really settled into "suburb living", so the bustle of the city is exciting to me. After my amazing haircut I drove back to the burbs and called my grandmother to wish her a happy 90th birthday. Amazing how much she has lived through! I will probably elaborate on that another day, but I just looove love talking to her. Her laugh could seriously brighten anyone's day. I truly wish more people knew my grandmother. While on the phone I let her know she would be getting another year's worth of Netflix from me (she was thrilled because she loves watching movies). She also opened her gift from my mom and aunt - which were DVD's made from all her home projector movies. She was so happy! She's so funny when she laughs!

After chatting with her I took a nap. I know - that's not interesting to read, but it was such a good restful nap I had to include it.

I woke up and decided to make orange cupcakes. I've been dying to try this one recipe!! Well, half my cupcakes are baked!! I have to stop now because it's time to go to church and I don't want to be late! It's just as well because I always try to frost them too soon - before they cool!

Today I read in Luke (I believe I've mentioned that I'm in a Luke study). This portion of Luke talks about how all the high officials hated Jesus. The people loved him SO much, but the very people who supposedly knew SO much about prophecy and such wanted him out of the picture. They devised a scheme to appear sincere and question Jesus on some seemingly controversial issues. Isn't that just like humans? A very real thing - someone who can set you free from... well... from you name it. The very one who could reveal true joy, they wanted out of the picture. {sigh} I feel sorry for those people. I often ask myself when I'm reading the Gospels..."what was their problem?" How could the Pharisees have missed it? REALLY? They devoted their lives to knowing so much about the Scriptures and they full force rejected him to the point of killing him. So sad.

How many people in my life are drawn to the love, joy, and peace I experience on a daily basis, yet aren't willing to give the Lord a try? That makes me sad too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not constantly sobbing over these people, but I wish I could just let them walk in my shoes for 1/2 a day - to really breathe in what forgiveness feels like. To first hand know and finally understand what an eternal hope is. If I could have 1 with for the people in my life without the Lord. This would be my wish. For them to give salvation a shot.

I really hope I'm living in a way that would make someone want to give Jesus a shot...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finally Friday!

Ok this will probably be a pretty short post, but I just must get pictures up of the things I've been working on! I've been dying to get pictures of the baby boy quilt I completed. I'm mostly happy with it. I find that if you get up close to it, it feels a little busy to me. I'm still pretty proud of it though. It is my 2nd quilt!! I don't want to brag...but I'd say it's pretty stinkin' good for a 2nd quilt!!
The hubs helped me pick out the fabrics. I just love the "little monkey" one! I could seriously make a whole room out of cute little monkey themed things! I love how you see more and more of these types of decorations! Oh man - so Pottery Barn has the CUTEST little baby set called Jackson, I believe? It has whales as the theme!! How adorable! Seriously! I know of this because my friend Shannon is having a baby boy and she is really in to vintage nautical stuff, so I had to check out Pottery Barn to see if they had anything that she MUST have! haha.

I've decided to do baby quilts because they're so much easier to work with! For my first quilt I made a lap size...and while that is a great size to cover up ends up being so overwhelming to work with because of the weight. Once I have cranked out a couple of these little guys I'll be ready to tackle a lap or even queen size one! THAT will be exciting!

What's next? Well, a couple things! I am so pumped to start working on a baby boy scrapbook for my friend Kristin. She's so much fun!! She just found out she is having a boy, so her and her husband are in the thick of selecting room decor. Pre-made scrapbooks are perfect for new mommies! They only need to worry about selecting the best picture for the page and sticking it in the album! I can't wait to share the completed book and I haven't even started on it yet! Stay tuned!
Okay this post is longer than I was expecting...but one more thing! Here are a couple of squares for the quilt I'm working on now. I need to find someone that's having a baby girl because this is the cuuutest combo I've seen yet. (If I don't say so myself)!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Get involved.

Recently during the small group I attend threw out a challenge. I believe I mentioned one in an earlier post involving an egg. To update the 2 to 4 people who read my blog I must confess. I, personally, did nothing with the egg! {gasp} HOWEVER! My husband did! So...I counts, right? Don't you believe in that whole "two become one" thing??? :)

I had thought and thought about what in the world to do with this egg I was given. I googled egg crafts, talked to others about it, and looked up recipes. Unfortunately, for me and the egg this past weekend was daylight saving...and the beginning of the week was a little rough, so Tuesday night came more quickly than I thought it would!

Enter The Hubs! My hero! He grabbed a bag of Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix, the hand mixer, my egg and a few other things and whipped up a batch of cookies!! Isn't he amazing? I mean really - he HATES baking. Come to think of it I am pretty sure he will never ever ever bake again. The oven is strictly used for pizza, pizza rolls, or anything else related to dinner...but NEVER for baking. (as far as he's concerned)
But he knew I needed something to take, so he set his hate aside for me. That's love you know? Challenge met! I had something to bring to small group!
This week the challenge is a bit more involved. Thanks Lina. We are tasked with making a difference in our own community.
So, I called the Village and after being transferred around a few different times I found the right voicemail. Turns out they have special events at most Townships where they need volunteers to set up/tear down and help direct traffic on most holidays. Sounds pretty cool.
They have one coming up where they invite families/kids to make easter baskets. Sounds interesting, so I'm hoping to find a few friends and help out! If all else fails and I find no one then I will go grocery shopping and donate to the food pantry in our Village. That's the least I can do. I'm sure it's been hit hard in the last couple years.

Well - that's all for now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Decisions decisions....

At this point in my blogging 'career' so to speak I wish I had more followers so I could draw on their opinions. I know a few more than 2 people check this from time to time, so hopefully I can get some opinions! If all else fails I will shamelessly send a link to my family and close friends and get their opinions! Well, at least I know my grandmother will check and she will give me her opinion! HA!

Well, I'm going to post pictures of the invitations (for my sis-in-law-to-be) for the bridal shower. I really need to narrow things down a bit! All of these invites are designed by a seller on Etsy. To check more out click here. The 1st one is probably my favorite...and the 2nd is my 2nd favorite...I think?? I should just stop right there, but they're so cute!!!

I'm considering the last two because she has a cherry blossom tattoo that was recently completed. I do have kind-of a french theme going on, but perhaps I will down-play that and focus more on the 'girly' aspect of the whole thing. I am still waiting on a quote from the French Cafe, so hopefully I will hear from them this week!

So...comment and tell me what you like. Even if I only get 2's better than nothing!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I'm so excited!!! I just finished my first project using material from an old (slightly used) bridesmaid dress! I think it turned out great!

My friend Sarah graciously donated the bridesmaid dress she wore in her brother's wedding. She mentioned that it would be fun to have a cosmetic bag made out of the pink sash material, so I went home last night after work and put one together! The sweet part of all this is being able to make something out of a dress that no one is going to use again. AND being able to give a unique 'good-bye' gift to a friend. The bitter part of all the good-bye part. This friend used to sit by me at work and now is moving on to bigger and better things. I will miss her.

I had downloaded a Keyka Lou pattern with the intent of making a cute little clutch anyway, so last night was the perfect opportunity to try it out!

I wish I would have documented my journey through making this little gem! It wasn't easy because my machine was not cooperating! I ended up bending a sewing machine needle and calling the place where I purchased the machine in a panic...hoping that I didn't have to take it in to have it fixed. The nice, calm lady on the phone (Laura) guided me through the steps to see if anything was truly wrong. Fortunately, there wasn't! Back to sewing - YES!

The little wristlet wasn't much different than some other purses I've made, however it did take quite a bit more effort. I'm not sure you can tell the difference, but this little bag is thicker than what I'm used to making. I actually like the feel and look of this one better, so I'm going to try it again next week some time.

This weekend I plan on working on my baby girl quilt. I already have a boy one complete...maybe I will actually post pictures of that soon! HA! I would like one of each completed, so I can have them on hand. It would be wonderful if I could have a small inventory of them and show them at a craft fair...but I think that is a ways away.

I haven't figured out what to do with the egg from small group. I think I may just make some kind of baked good out of it and call it a day. I'm sure that's what people would most enjoy anyway.

Ok, well I'm going to wrap this up so I can get working on my next project!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My own use of talents

For the past few months I have been going to a Tuesday night Bible Study (or small group). One could find out more about that here.

Each week we are tasked with doing a daily devotional, memory verse, and a "live it out" challenge. I have become increasingly better at doing the daily devotional and have occasionally stepped up to the challenge of memorizing the weekly Bible verse. The one thing that I really have yet to really take a hold of is this "live it out" challenge. First of all, it's located on the very last page of the little devotional book for the week. This means that I see this challenge approximately 24 hours before our next meeting. At one point I resolved to just be a week behind, so at least I'd be doing them...but even then I seldom remembered. I need another strategy. Well this week, last night, I was in luck! Our fearless leader, Lina, has made it nearly impossible to forget the "live it out" challenge.

We are studying the whole book Luke and walking through Jesus's life chapter by chapter. One thing He was known for was the parables he would teach the people as He went from city to city. One such parable is in Luke 19. He tells of a master that entrusts some servants with "talents" or "minas" then leaves for a while. The servants are then evaluated by the master when he returns. Two of the three return with more than what they were given. The one remaining returns what he was originally given because he was afraid to do anything with it. The master is outraged that this servant wouldn't even put this money in the bank to gain interest.

This parable always gets me thinking anyway, but Lina took it a step further and gave us all eggs. Well, each of us received one single egg as our "talent". What in the world am I going to do with an egg? Make brownies? I thought of the grade school project where we had to create some type of protective casing to assure the egg would remain unharmed if thrown into the air and not caught. My egg did not break, by the turns out a box of strategically wrapped kleenex, tissue paper, and a simple gift box does the trick...but I digress...

What to do with this egg? More to come when I've had time to think...
Another thing that has captured my thoughts is the bridesmaid dress I received this week. A friend of mine, who I work with, no longer needed this beauty and I quickly snatched it up! Here is a picture of this project-in-waiting. I love the dress itself, so it was difficult to rip it up! But really - who is going to wear a BM dress again?
My goal is to make something from this dress this week. I most likely use the bright pink sash because what a lovely color!
Ideally, I would make a simple cosmetic bag for my friend who gave this to me...but can I get it done before her last day working with me?
So much to do, so little time...isn't that always the case? I have all these plans, dreams, hopes, goals, however so much of my time is sucked up by obligations. Working, sleeping, eating, cleaning...these things all take precious time! I am by no means complaining that I have a good job, safe home, and good food to eat, but I really wish we were coming up on a 3 day weekend so I could really sink my teeth into a few projects!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It was bound to happen.

So, I'm sick.


Better new first though. Brian is back from his watch training and seems very excited about all the amazing things he learned. How refreshing! It's always cool when you get to travel for your's cool if it's not a regular part of your job, I guess.

I greatly enjoyed the time I had to myself while he was gone, however I might have been just a little too busy and not had enough rest because by the time he was back I was sick with whatever I have now.

Being sick is humbling...and annoying. There's nothing more annoying that the person who can't stop coughing. That person is ME right now! I don't even want to sleep with myself, I'm sure the hubs is not thrilled with my occasional coughing fits. It's a little ridiculous how quickly and viciously they attack! Dry, constant, annoying cough cough cough. Sometimes it even sounds like I'm choking as I'm gasping for air mid-cough. Crazy.

I went to the doctor yesterday and told him of my woes. He's sympathetic. I like that in a doctor. Bedside manner is nearly everything with me. I'm pretty sure anyone could put on a lab coat and pretend to be a doctor and as long as I felt like he/she was nice and wanted to help me, I would listen. Fortunately, my doctor IS a real doctor and not just pretending. Dr. Jay - he prescribed some we will see what that does.

I have been on this medicine for a whole day now and can definitely tell a difference, however it has not helped one slight thing. My right ear is ringing. Constantly ringing. I can only hear it if the room is quiet (like at bedtime when I'm trying to sleep) or if I plug my ear. Weird, huh! My doc is hoping this will subside with the cold, but we will see. Nothing has changed so far, but I feel worse today than I did yesterday.

I think it's so lame that you can do absolutely nothing all day and be worn out. What's up with that? I've literally done nothing but take a shower today and I feel like I've run a marathon. I've never actually run a marathon, but a few close friends have, so I'm pretty sure they felt like this when they were done with the marathon.

So, I will close by saying that I hope no one gets this cold. It's no fun. Even though I didn't have to go grocery shopping or cook last night - I would still rather be well!