1,000 Posts - Time to Celebrate - Giveaway Time!!!

I hit 1,000 posts on my blog. It took me YEARS to do... unlike lots of blogs out there today... I just don't have the time to post several things daily to hit a posting number of 1,000 in a year or 6 months or whatever. I've come a long way... from Minnesota to Indiana and back again to Minnesota!

In celebration of everything I've posted (food, home decor, crochet, dog stuff, kid stuff, organizing stuff, random posts, stories about my daily life), I've decided to do a fabulous giveaway!

Now you might ask... how do you enter? 


Just comment on this post. 

I'll enter in the number of comments into the random number generator at random.org and voila! That number comment wins! I'll contact you via e-mail (whatever is connected to your Blogger ID, if you comment anonymously, well, then I can't contact you and you don't win). If you don't e-mail me back with your address within 3 days, I'll go back to the number generator and then next person will win.

The drawing will CLOSE on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5. Winner announced on the 6th. 

Open to continental US residents only.

Now, onto the prize. 

It's a cowl - cream, one of my most popular cowls this past season and since it's still cold in Minnesota and across the country, well, I think it's perfect.

Good luck!!!


Goodbye to My Rusty Monster

With a heavy heart and great sadness we had to say goodbye to our Rusty Monster last Thursday.

Last Tuesday he wasn't acting like himself, and on Wednesday night we brought him to the emergency veterinarian. When the doctor brought in his computer and showed us the x-ray we knew without a doubt what we were going to have to do. It's something that no dog owner ever wants to do. The x-ray showed a mass that was larger than the size of heart attached to his left lung and another mass attached to his right lung.

As I left (crying my eyes out) with the Monkey in tow I said the dreaded words that I never wanted to have to say.

Bring him home, Bimmer Man. Bring my dog home.

And so he did.

Thursday was a day for me and my Rusty. We hung out on the floor, on the couch. I told him how much he was loved, and I told him that for all of the years that he had been my rock and my comfort, it was now my time to be there for him.

For all that I hated vacuuming dog fur, tackling him when the mailman or the UPS guy came, dragging him out from under the porch, tripping over him while cooking, portioning out the disgusting salmon and coarse ground turkey (dripping animal blood everywhere...), getting a muzzle in my crotch, being hit in the face with a scratchy dog paw... I love him so very much. He was my best friend and all day companion.

I made him his favorite meal - bacon and eggs (which I'll probably never be able to eat again).

A wonderful veterinarian came to our house on Thursday night from Minnesota Pets. Rusty was surrounded by "his pack" and lots and lots of love.


The Art Cabinet in the Dining Room is CLEAN

I finally went through it.

It was -30 degrees outside and I had no energy for actually starting the car to get to anywhere.

So I started pulling shit out of the cabinet and trying to see if any of it was salvageable artwork from a toddler.

I took this "before" picture after I had already pulled all the shit out of the bottom shelf.

As it turns out, little scribbles that I totally thought I would remember really mean nothing.

I ended up recycling and trashing almost all of the "little scribbles" that I thought were so precious. Last January I gave The Monkey my old college art drawing book so she could have something to color in - she actually filled the whole thing up. So I'm going to label it with her name, the year 2014 and then put it in one of her storage boxes. When she's older and needs some inspiration for her own art, then she can pull that out at any time and take a look back at what she did. I also saved one painting where I really liked the colors and one foam sticker art project because she LOVED doing that. The rest went goodbye...

Not quite finished yet - I still need to clear the top and swap the larger "napkin basket" with Bimmer Man's "biking stuff basket."

Top shelf = paints, stickers, art project supplies

Middle shelf = napkins, playdough

Bottom shelf = loose paper, foam sheets, dot stampers, markers, craft supplies

Art easel with basket of coloring books and paper

Washable paints came out of a bin and into a metal basket - the old shitty paintbrushes went into the trash. Every time I rinsed them I would have to re-glue the bristles to the handle. Stickers, buttons, and other craft items went into one basket, markers into their own, dot stampers into their own. I pulled out all of the coloring books and larger paper pads and put those into a basket by The Monkey's new art easel.

I can't move the napkins because it's The Monkey's job to get everyone a napkin before each meal - it needs to be at her level. I saw an immediate response to art organization because all we did that day was art projects and she was able to get out what she wanted to make what she wanted. In fact, she really just wants to color in her Princess coloring book with her markers so I'm thinking I might buy myself coloring pencils and a coloring book from Pocket Posh.

With it being organized I'm no longer shoving used paper back into the bottom shelf, stepping on fallen art supplies or continuously getting out paper for The Monkey to color. It's awesome.


2015 New Year's Resolutions

I don't do them anymore.

Ok, well, actually I never really did them. I might have told myself "lose weight!" or "be healthy!" but I don't find those to be resolutions at all.

Wait, I'm totally wrong. I did do a New Year's Resolution last year - I told myself that even though I was/still am a stay at home mom, I wanted to be more fashionable (and then in June I decided to get rid of shit so...). That resolution of being more fashionable actually happened. However, even though I didn't buy too many clothes, I did update items that I have by purchasing QUALITY items (some used, some new, I happen to really like ThredUp for consignment clothes, and I purchased items from Madewell, Patagonia, L.L. Bean, Michael Stars, etc...).

I suppose I don't find the generalizations of "losing weight" or "being healthy" actual resolutions - instead I think being more specific actually makes you do things. Instead of "being healthy" you can make a resolution to drink 8 glasses of water per day, or perhaps go for 3 walks per week instead of 0 walks. When you make a more specific resolution, it might actually get done.

So this year I've decided to do a reading challenge.

Will I actually read 50 books? I have no idea. I'm currently on Book 3 of the Outlander series and I feel like it's taking me forever (an hour of reading each night for the past two weeks, well, maybe not every night... but I'm still not even halfway through!). I will still try! I think this list will get me out of my comfort zone for reading books, I can be picky about what I read (which I really shouldn't be picky, but since having a child I have realized that I don't like wasting my time with horrible books when I could be reading something fabulous!).

I'm planning on this Popsugar Challenge. Here's the printable version. Quite frankly, I'm too lazy to list it all out for you, so you can just click on the links instead.

Feel free to join me - I'll update every once in awhile on what I've been reading and which categories have been fulfilled. If I could read children's books for this, you best believe I'd have this shit finished in a week. Ha, the joys of having a child that loves to read!

Happy New Year!


It's The End of 2014

Thank goodness?? Maybe?? Not really sure...

This past year was pretty great - it really had its ups and downs. Bimmer Man's grandfather died, we  traveled to Colorado, we went to Indiana, we went to one of Bimmer Man's car races at Road America, we went to Bemidji State Park and walked across the Mississippi, I re-connected with old friends.

Lately I haven't been sleeping very well. Mostly I think it's the weather - we had a good 4 - 5 weeks with almost no sunshine, rain, no snow... not really the ideal weather for snow shoeing or getting outside and doing stuff.

I haven't been really inspired to make too many crochet items and I really like to crochet. It seems as if I've hit a roadblock. The last two cowls I've made have had knots in the skeins of yarn (which really sucks if you crochet because you have to cut the knot out and then re-join the yarn and weave in two more ends). I've made a few items and then frogged them (pulled them apart) because they just didn't look right. I need to look at more inspiration photos and get back to the granny square blanket that I'm making for myself. That's on my list of things to do AFTER I finish up with 3 other things. Oy, my to-make list keeps growing.

We've all had some sort of sickness. Colds, mostly. The Monkey got hit with ANOTHER cold just two weeks after the previous one and she's pretty much coughing like mad. Essential oils have helped a bit more with this cold than the last one - I'm sure I'll get it later this week.

The Monster has been, well, a MONSTER. He's learned how to open the organic waste bin with his snout. Cute? Yes. Well, no, especially not when he's pulled out sausages and gotten them stuck under the stove. Or dug holes in the backyard IN DECEMBER. Blerg.

Now it's freezing cold but at least it's sunny. I'll still be taking my extra Vitamin D.

In 2015 I'd really like to do some sort of book challenge. I'll be googling a few later this week - but first I have to get through the Outlander book series. I'm 1/3 finished with the 3rd book (Voyager), and the 2nd book I had started reading in August. It might take me a bit, we shall see.

This morning I took down the Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations. Christmas is over, I was dreading taking down decorations since August. I normally decorate like mad, but this year I wanted to go back to being simple. I wanted to minimize everything that didn't matter with the decor and this past year I feel like I really succeeded. I downsized all of the decor to one bin plus the tree box. Everything fits, and there's more room for ornaments as The Monkey grows and makes more ornaments each year for the tree.

I also got rid of a lot of shit in our house. Our basement was gone through and I trashed and donated whatever I possibly could. You can step into the storage closet without something falling on you. I think that's awesome considering that most of America keeps an off-site storage locker with shit in it. I donated a ton of clothes - now I have empty hangers in my closet, there's no clothes falling out of drawers, I can happily choose something to wear in the morning without dreading opening a drawer to search for some random shirt that I vaguely remember having two years ago. The linen closet is pretty clean, the bathroom closet in the upstairs bathroom is generally organized (but I still need to toss some old make-up). One downside - I cleaned out my kitchen drawers and cabinets but then somehow I've acquired more kitchen stuff (Christmas cookie cutters, a few small Pyrex bowls, some more utensils, Tupperware, a flour sifter). I would also like a kitchen scale but that's not on any priority list, it's just a "like" that I want to have.

Minimalism is going to be more of a priority in my life this upcoming year - as the Monkey grows, I want to take care of less crap and spend less time doing things I don't want to do. I'd like to spend more time outdoors, less time inside, more time reading, less time cleaning, more time cooking, less time maintaining stuff. And toss some crochet time in there too and that should be my year more or less.

The basement is now on its way to being finished (there was a small electrical shock, a stabbing with a screwdriver, and falling ceiling tiles) but hopefully I'll be able to have some updated basement photos later this year. Bimmer Man is doing a great job with the help of Uncle Beardface (and I get wine time with the Dog Lady).

So... happy end of 2014... and happy 2015!!


I Went Through My Neighbor's Trash Cans

Seven generations from now, how will this world look?

Will it be dead? Will humans still live? Will atom bombs kill my children's children? Will they be eating some sort of pharmaceutical engineered crap?

Is this how the world will end?

I know this much: honey bees will probably have died; 107 more species of animals will be extinct; organic will probably not be an option thanks to big companies; big pharma will rule our health; plastic will be the death of us.

Last week I went and snooped on my neighbors. I'm totally confessing something that I really shouldn't but I was really curious. They have two (YES, TWO) trash cans (and I mean the LARGE FREAKING TRASH CANS, 90 gallons!!), and one recycle bin.

Their second bin was filled with recyclables. I could have shit a brick.

Me. I. Only me. I moved their recycling to our recycling bins.

We have two recycling bins.

I dumped their trash into my recycle bins.

Holy shit.

I admitted it.

I went through my neighbor's trash and recycled the shit that they should have.


This is the shit that I worry about.

People not doing their due diligence by recycling what they can.

I'm only one person trying to save the world.

Imagine if there were hundreds of "me" going through other people's trash and recycling what could be recycled.

So, this next year I'm going to write to Target (probably a few times!) trying to get rid of their plastic bags. And then I'm going to write to Cub Foods to get rid of plastic bags.

Plastic will be the death of us (and also cancer, probably atomic bombs, maybe missiles, I'm not quite sure which yet, we'll have to see which country hates America the most...).

However; if you're reading this and have two trash cans... get rid of a trash can and get another recycling bin. Please. Do the WORLD a favor along with your descendants and GET ONE MORE RECYCLING BIN.

I'm not going to judge you (I'm just going to go through your trash, probably toss some into my compost and into my recycling bins...).

It's time to think of the world seven generations from now, not tomorrow... but seven generations from now.


A 2 Year Old With A Camera

The MONKEY got a little V-Tech kiddie camera for Christmas (which unfortunately she FOUND. EARLY. So we just opened it up and gave it to her. I guess this doesn't set a great precedent for future Christmases but whatever).

Below are the only photos that I saved from 257 photos that she took. Most of them were black or blurry. Hopefully she will pay more attention to focus and framing in the future. 



Uncluttering My Jackets

I don't think I can do it.

I seriously don't think I can get rid of any coats or jackets.

This is Minnesota.

This is the Land of 10,000 Jackets.

I need a light jacket for summer, a little heavier jacket for spring, a light jacket for spring, a heavy coat for winter (ok, a down blanket jacket, a dress coat, a winter coat that I can use for snowshoeing, playing outside, etc...), at least two different types of fleece for winter, spring, and fall, some type of sweatshirt jacket for spring, summer, and fall.

I already donated two jackets (a really nice down jacket that was too short, and a VERY NICE Banana Republic dress coat that the arms were too short).

I set aside two fleece jackets but I ended up using both of them this past fall.

So that plan failed (putting the two coats in a very different room to distract myself from the fact that I had those two jackets).

But I did hang up a sweater two weeks ago and I haven't used that yet... so that will be donated next week. Not only did I decide that I mostly wear 3/4 sleeve shirts but I end up stretching out the arms of all my long sleeve sweaters because I end up pushing my sleeves up for most of the day so most of my long sleeve sweaters will likely be donated. Or sold. I'm not sure - I don't really like keeping stuff around to sell that I've decided I'm done with. With dress clothes I need to put together a bag for Dress for Success.

I think in the end, I WILL just donate one of my fleece jackets. I'm just going to do it. It was from Old Navy quite a few years ago. I haven't used it enough to wear any of it out. There's no holes in the pockets. I just need to donate it and use my purple fleece. I don't need two fleece jackets.


My mind is made up.

Get rid of it. Make more space in the front closet.

First world problem, right?

(Ok, I just set it aside in my donate pile)

Does my one item inspire you to donate one item? More items?

I sure hope so! Happy Friday!

Merry Minimalist Non-Consumerist Christmas

All these ads for Christmas and Holiday crap really irritate me.

I know that parents want to give their children EVERYTHING they want for Christmas. But when you have to put hundreds of dollars of toys on layaway because you can't pay for them... that's not Christmas. That's going into debt.

If you want to buy your mother a tv for Christmas but have to put it on a credit card, that's not Christmas, that's going into debt.

You have to make Christmas and holidays a time for the spirit of giving - but giving doesn't have to be a gift. Giving doesn't have to make you stress about money.

Of course there are going to be the parents that give their children the newest toys, the latest and greatest gadgets, the $100 sweaters, the $150 jeans, new iPods, new iPhones... But if you can't afford those things, you don't have to buy them just to "keep up with the Jones'" because Christmas consumerism shouldn't work like that.

And unfortunately (or fortunately), we live in America where it seems to be that if you don't have the latest and greatest, you don't fit in.

In the past few months I've been reading a lot of non-consumerism blogs and the meaning behind them really speaks to me. I don't think I can be a non-consumer simply because there are just things that we need (new or used, it doesn't matter) - and I think that when people are inundated with all these ads for Christmas toys and new gadgets and the lines become blurred between WANT and NEED.

Do you NEED a new television? NO

Do you WANT a new television? YES

Do you NEED new underwear? YES

Do you WANT new underwear? NO

I hate seeing people blur the lines between NEEDING to pay rent and WANTING to give gifts. There is no need to put yourself into a spot between a rock and hard place when purchasing gifts. 

It's time to think about NEEDS, not WANTS when it comes to giving to children for Christmas. I think the lovely advertising folks have really done a great job advertising and making it seem as if WANTS are NEEDS (because that is their job, right?). ALL KIDS NEED A NEW TABLET. ALL KIDS NEED NEW LEGOS. ALL KIDS NEED NEW EVERYTHING!!! 

Did we go overboard this year on gifts? Probably.

The Monkey is getting an easel for artwork, an Anna dress up dress, new clothes, art supplies, probably some Matchbox cars. 

Is she getting her own tablet? No, she's only 2. I don't see the need for a tablet for her. I see the need for her to be creative, to share my love of art with her and Bimmer Man's love of cars, to make sure that she knows that creativity will always be a part of her life - especially when educational funding is cut for the arts in schools when she is older. 

Gifts don't have to be expensive and gifts don't have to break the bank.

Christmas advertising just irritates me.

It doesn't have to be a pile of gifts. It doesn't have to be a season of debt. 

Christmas isn't perfect for everyone, and that's ok.


The Dog Monster Strikes Again

This sweet lovable dog is the best.

He gets himself into boxes.

Refuses to go out at 8:00 at night to potty.

Takes up over half of the couch.

Lets squirrels rule his life. Eats rabbit poop.

Tries to eat pumpkins.

Looks pretty handsome after getting groomed.

And sometimes only takes out one toy.

But he also decided to dig a muddy freaking hole in my garden bed two days ago.

It's December. In Minnesota. It rained. 

He saw an opportunity and took it.

And wound up in the back porch because he's too big for me to carry into the bathroom to give him a bath. Yes, folks, this dog was covered in mud. In December. In Minnesota. 



And just where did he dig a hole? 

Right next to the flipping thorniest bush I could find to deter him from digging this past summer. Seriously.


To those that want a dog: BEWARE. YOU MAY HAVE TO DO THINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. Like, say, dumping water on your dog with the biggest pots and pans that you can find because you've already unhooked the hose and turned the water off to the outside faucets. IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. 

At least he hasn't been "skunked" yet.