Archive for August, 2014

End of Summer Thrift Store Haul

I love me some thrift store shopping! I’m getting pretty uncomfortable in my current tops, but don’t want to invest in a ton of maternity tops if I don’t have to, so I headed to our local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores to check out some stretchy, loose tank tops that I can wear into the fall and winter with cardigans and sweaters. I may have picked up some home decor and Christmas items while I was there . . .

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Our First Round of Pregnancy Purchases

Because we don’t know the gender yet, we have been holding off on buying anything major for the baby, just in case we change our minds on something after knowing whether the baby is a boy or a girl.  However, we have been super excited to begin purchasing pregnancy-related items such as maternity clothing and books!

I filmed a video of everything I’ve bought so far.  We would definitely appreciate suggestions on other items as far as maternity clothing and books go.  Also, if you have any websites, magazines, or items of that nature that were helpful to you or someone you know during pregnancy or as a new parent, please let us know!  We are so new to this and are definitely open to suggestions!

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A Pregnant Woman’s Dream: MN State Fair

It’s Christmas in August!  It’s better than a birthday!  It’s the Minnesota State Fair!  San and I make it a point to always try to go a full day to the state fair, and to eat as much of the new food as we can!  It’s probably our favorite day of the year!  We love our state, despite it’s nasty winters, and we just love all of the Minnesota pride at the fair!

We went with my parents this year, and in order to avoid walking more than we need to, missing out on foods we wanted to try or attractions we wanted to see, I got a little crazy and made a color coded chart to help us not miss a thing.  I printed out the state fair map in black and white and used different colored numbers to mark all the attractions we wanted to see, the food we had to try, and the food we were open to but that weren’t necessary (in case they sounded good at the time that day).  I even went so far as to laminate them because there was a chance of rain.


Despite the jokes made about my OCD tendencies, this came in so handy!  We were able to plan a route that didn’t require any back-tracking, we ate all the food we wanted, and we got to see a ton of cool stuff while we were still energetic and not yet drained from the heat, food, and walking.

I got roped into doing the Giant Sing-Along after I commented that I could do such a better job than all those currently singing to “Walking on Sunshine.”  Little did I know, the highlighted words were hard to follow and I was not nearly as familiar with the second verse as I was with the first.  Oh well, it was fun!





The pizza tots from Green Mill were really good!  I didn’t realize that we’ve actually had these before at Green Mill, so I was a little let down that they weren’t specially created for the fair, but they were good nonetheless.


My mom was craving a brownie, so we indulged in this turtle brownie.  It’s so nice to have four people to split everything with!


O’Gara’s was on our must-have list with their pretzel cheese curds.  They were probably the best cheese curds I’ve ever had.  The outer shell was made from pretzels, so it was very crunchy, and the inside had delicious beer cheese.  I could eat those daily!


My dad is really into our Scottish heritage (he may own bagpipes and a Scottish hat…oh and he has a “utili-kilt” which is a tool belt and kilt in one), so we stopped to listen to the bagpiper for a while.  Redheads, unite!


The PB&J French Toast at the Robbinsdale Dining Hall was delicious!  Seriously, the french toast were good enough, but the peanut butter and jelly was just a fun addition.


San had to try the beer gelato.  I thought it was disgusting (I’m not a beer drinker even when I’m not pregnant), but San really liked it.


We definitely had to stop at the newly revamped West End Market.  It was gorgeous!  I loved the Blue Barn.  My mom and I agreed that one of us needs a blue barn.  It is so fun and gorgeous!



We tried the Blue Cheese Corn Fritz there and they were actually delicious!  I’m not a big fan of bleu cheese, but it wasn’t that noticeable.  All the flavors were very interesting and the texture was amazing.  This was definitely my favorite really unique food there.


I had to get a yearly photo of San drinking beer – his favorite part of the fair!


We got to see a historic house that was home to the first MN state senator!  It was just so cool to learn how far our state has come!


San wanted to try some deep fried lobster on a stick.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything amazing either.



I always have to order the Hotdish-on-a-Stick from Ole & Lena’s if we see it.  It’s nothing amazing, but it’s a tradition and very Minnesotan, which is what the fair is all about!



We walked through the various animal barns.  I was giddy when I saw the piglets sleeping on top of each other and I actually got to pet a newborn piglet!  I was in heaven!  I love pigs!  It was so soft and just precious!


We also saw the largest pig in Minnesota.  I believe it was 800 pounds!  We learned that piglets grow a pound and a half every day!  I’m so glad human babies don’t grow that fast!


We had a hankering for onion rings, so we got a Blooming Onion.  It was pretty good.  It was a lot even for four people to split.  The batter was very, very hard, and didn’t have much flavor, but it was still good overall.


We had to stop at the Dairy Barn.  They have the best ice cream ever!  San and I shared a raspberry malt (!) and my mom and dad shared a twist cone.


In the Ag/Horitculture building, San and my dad shared some beer samples.


San had to try the s’mores beer.  He said it was really good!  It looked good to me…if it wasn’t beer!


I decided to try the walleye mac and cheese when I saw that it had red pepper, corn, and gouda cheese.  It was very delicious!  I could have eaten a huge plate full of that.


Toward the end of the day when we were getting tired, San didn’t want the food to end, so he bought another round of just regular cheese curds.  They never disappoint!


To end the day, San ordered some crab fritters.  He loved them!  I thought they were almost delicious, but they had too much of some spice that was overpowering.  Very good, otherwise!


Oh man, what a day!  We also walked through many exhibits, bought a bunch of stuff (like some handmade wooden toys for the baby), visited the Pet Center (you know we love spoiling our pups), watched part of a stunt dog show, and just had fun walking around!  I already can’t wait for next year!

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16 Weeks | Baby Raisin


How big is baby: 4.5 inches long, or the size of an avocado!  I can tell baby is growing like crazy because I have officially popped, I would say!  Gone is the flat upper belly between my bust and my little pregnancy belly.  Now, it is fully round from bust to below my pant line!  There has definitely been some belly feeling/poking action among friends and family!  This weekend, my dad looked at my belly, and keep in mind he saw me only two weeks ago, and he looked up at me with shock on his face!  My belly is growing by the second!

Weight gain/loss: Truthfully, I haven’t weighed myself in the past week.  I’m nervous for my 16 week appointment tomorrow because this weekend consisted of two parties with tons of food and a whole day at the state fair where we were munching like crazy!  I’m sure I’m up a few pounds, but I’m determined to make sure those extra pounds from bad food will not stick around.  Note: these photos were taken before the two parties and state fair food, so that belly is all baby!

Sleep: Sleep has been no fun!  I definitely cannot lay on my stomach anymore, which is very hard from me because that’s the only way I can normally fall asleep.  I’m also not supposed to lay on my back, so I’ve been putting a pillow between my legs, but I wake up frequently with the pillow on the floor or at the foot of the bed.  Also, I’ve been extremely congested due to sickness around me, allergies, and probably pregnancy.  I’ve been waking up often to blow my nose.  I think it’s time for a body pillow so at least I can stay until I need to blow my nose.

Stretch Marks: None yet

Cravings: No really strong cravings.

Aversions: Still chicken and just random things at night.

Movement: Nothing that I can tell.  I’ve been really trying to feel something, anything, but nothing yet.

What I’m loving: I’m just loving my belly.  I finally don’t look like I just gained a bunch of weight in my midsection.  I officially look pregnant.  Right now, I love people looking at my belly and friends and family noticing how big it is getting.  I’m not ready for rude comments in the coming months, but I’m just soaking it all up right now!  I can only imagine how large this belly is going to get!  I am a little obsessed with rubbing my belly.  I’ve dreamed of doing that for so long!

Symptoms: Bloody noses and bloody teeth when I wake up has not been fun, but it supposedly a symptom.  I never realized how much pregnancy impacts every system in a woman’s body!

What I’m excited about: I’m excited that my 16 week appointment is tomorrow so we can not only make sure all is well with the baby but we can finally schedule the 20 week anatomy scan!  I think I may die of excitement once the date is set.  I’m not sure I will sleep for the next few weeks, just dreaming of whether this baby is a boy or a girl.  I just can’t wait to get started on the nursery, to register for gifts, to settle on a name, and just learn more about this little amazing miracle growing inside of me!

What I’m nervous about: With each appointment, I always get a little worried that things may not be okay.  I have no reason to think that, and immediately pray and thank God for a healthy baby so the fears go away, but they love to creep back.  I also have been feeling nervous/guilty about eating.  Overall, I’ve been eating pretty healthy, but this weekend I went to two parties and the state fair, so I felt pretty guilty eating so badly.  I just don’t want to do anything to mess this baby up, but at the same time, nine months is a long time to deprive myself of all yummy foods, so I’m trying to balance it.

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Grocery and Meal | August 17-23

We are at it again!  We love prepping our meals out on the weekends and eating them throughout the week so we don’t have to worry about cooking when we get home or choosing unhealthy foods on the run for lunch.

I was craving tacos this week, so that’s what I made us for dinner using ground turkey instead of beef.  San made two lunches (only one is shown in the video): ground beef and shredded barbecue chicken, both with broccoli and rice.  I made myself some shredded chicken sandwiches and corn.


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Commemorating Quite a Year

Last Wednesday, August 13th, was our third anniversary!  If we weren’t sure by then, we are sure of it now that we are officially beyond the newlywed phase, and that is quite alright by me!

We usually do something fun and out-of-the-norm for our anniversaries, but we don’t usually go crazy because as much as an anniversary is a great reminder of how far we come and of our wedding day, we try to make every day a priority to let each other know how much we care.  With our schedules being so off, we only see each other a few hours a week right now, which is definitely not ideal, but I knew going into our wedding day that chef’s schedules vary dramatically day-to-day and season-to-season.  Thankfully, San had last Thursday off and I was able to get out a little early so we could celebrate properly.

I even had time to curl my hair which was so nice considering I spend all day with kids and don’t feel especially pretty after my ten-hour days.


We went to one of our favorite little restaurants called the Blue Door Pub in St. Paul.  I went to St. Thomas in St. Paul, so we spent a few years going to local restaurants that we fell in love with.  It’s always fun to go back and visit them!


San’s celebratory drink of choice is always beer and mine is almost always root beer, even when I’m not pregnant!



We started off with “Latin Kisses” or cream cheese-stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon.  They were heavenly!  We are huge jalapeno and bacon lovers!






I ordered a Breakfast Blucy, which if you didn’t know, the Twin Cities is well-known for its cheese-stuffed burgers which are called Juicy Lucys.  The Blue Door Pub calls theirs Blucys.  My burger came with bacon and an egg on top and was stuffed to the brim with cheese inside.  So delicious!  And I love their tots!


San ordered their special which had ham and pulled pork with a mustard aioli on top and onion rings.  So delicious!  San can sure eat and finished his and ate some of mine as well!



To keep the celebration going, last night (the following Tuesday), we had another night together, so San made us bacon and cheese stuffed chicken breast, homemade mac and cheese, and dinner rolls.  It was heavenly and there is even some mac and cheese leftover for me to devour throughout the week!





I’m one lucky woman to be married to such a wonderful man!  We are just so overjoyed by everything that is happening in our marriage right now an had fun celebrating this extremely special time.

How do you celebrate anniversaries?

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We are One Room Away From Being Swatch-Free!

Something about spending most of a year renovating your house makes one a little hesitant to take on more house projects.  Even easy ones!  Although we have added board and batten to our dining room, added a gallery wall, and other small updates to our home’s decorating, we still had yet to paint the bathroom, master bedroom, and second bedroom.  They had swatches all over the walls for well over a year, but now, I’m happy to report that two out of the three rooms are swatch-free!

It only took bribing one of my best friends and her fiance, who has painted for a living before, to help us paint the bathroom and master bedroom in exchange for pizza and beer for us to finally get this project done.  Thank you so much, Megan and David!

We went with a pale blue-green in the bathroom.  It’s so vintage and crisp in person.  We love it!  It’s Valspar Belle Grove Sorbet.  We exchanged our yellow shower curtain for a white one with some stitched detail, and it is just so light, bright, and happy like the rest of our house.




The master bedroom was a bit of a conundrum when it came to picking a paint color.  We had various shades of blues, teals, and grays before realizing that none of those were our choice.  The rug in our master bedroom looks gray, but it is actually more of a taupe.  We had it in the living room originally and it looked horrible in there because the brown tones came out when it was against the light gray walls.  So, we decided to go with a very pale taupe color.  It has some gray in it, but it looks like a very pale tan.  It’s Olympic Canyon Trail.  I’m not in love, although I don’t hate it either, but we don’t spend our waking hours in there anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me.  It’s neutral so now we can add some color.  I’m thinking of changing out the comforter with something colorful and recovering the headboard.



I’m so happy to not have any swatches on the walls in these rooms anymore!  It’s funny how we can grow used to things if they stay the same for long enough.  We didn’t paint the nursery yet, because although I’m pretty set on a color whether the baby is a girl or a boy (we are thinking neutral walls with pops of color – big surprise, right?), we don’t want to make a final decision until we learn the baby’s gender at 20 weeks.

What’s something small you’ve done to your house recently that gave you a sigh of relief when it was done?

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15 Weeks | Baby Raisin


How big is baby: 4 inches long or the size of an apple!  I read that the baby will be doubling in size in the next few weeks!  I can’t wait!

Weight gain/loss: Overall,  I’ve gained about two pounds.

Sleep: Sleep is still pretty much the same, but last night I did end up sleeping in, but it was only because it seems I’ve come down with a cold.  I was up a ton to blow my nose, but I slept until 8am!  That was quite a feat for me!

Stretch Marks: None yet

Cravings: No really strong cravings.

Aversions: Still chicken and just random things at night.

Movement: Nothing that I can tell.

What I’m loving: I am OBSESSED with the new maternity shorts I bought at Target!  I’m wearing them in the photo above.  I am to that point where it is super uncomfortable to wear my regular shorts and pants, especially when sitting down, so I’m just ecstatic to have some pants with an elastic band and no zippers or buttons to mess with.  I seriously would wear shorts like this for the rest of my life!  I will be posting a maternity/pregnancy video with more specifics on the shorts and other products we’ve purchased in the next couple weeks.

Symptoms: My newest symptom drove me to the doctor’s office on Friday!  I explain it in detail in the video below (so watch at your own risk), but basically I was having some very unusual pain “down there.”  They brought me in to check my urine and to check me out for any infections, for a dilated cervix, or any other abnormalities, but to no avail.  It looks like it’s just another fun pregnancy symptom to add to my list!

What I’m excited about: I’m excited beyond belief for the state fair next weekend!!!  And, I get to hang out with two of my best friends, both who are having parties on Saturday.  I’m also super excited to be showing and to wake up every day to a slightly different belly.  I love the reminder that our precious little baby is right there just growing up quickly so we can meet him or her!  And lastly, I’m excited for my 16 week appointment next week so I can FINALLY schedule our 20 week ultrasound!  I am dying to set the date so I at least know when we will find out the gender.

What I’m nervous about: With my newest symptom, I’m nervous about the pain and other symptoms to come.  Of course, I know birth is going to be painful, but I was not expecting such weird, unexplainable pain during pregnancy, especially this early.  I’m willing to go the distance for a healthy baby and mom, but it’s not going to be easy!

And here is our biweekly video!

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How We Use Our Home Management Binder

We are prone to paper clutter.  Are we alone?  I don’t know what it is, but we have lived for the past three years of our marriage with piles of papers around the house, usually on the dining room table.  We make lists and leave them out so we remember to look at them.  When mail comes in, instead of having a place for all the different types, they would sit in different piles.  I can’t stand it anymore!  So, I decided to become proactive!  I created a home management binder using mostly free printables (for now) until we know for sure it works for us.  I’m tempted to design my own binder pages one day, but for now, it seems to be working for us.  Come along on a tour of our Home Management Binder!


Products/Videos Mentioned:


Printables Used:


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Gallery Wall and Curtains

Remember my big plan for our dining room after the board and batten was installed?  I planned on adding a gallery wall above the board and batten as well as finally adding some curtains and changing out the chandelier.  Before we did the board and batten, I made a Photoshop rendering of what it would all look like:



Last time you saw the dining room, it looked like this:

dining room

Of the three things left to do, we can check two of them off the list: adding a gallery wall and curtains!

It now looks like this:



We ended up going with simple navy curtains after trying out quite a few in this space.  I found some that I loved (finally), but realized that the standard 84″ panels were just too short.  The curtain rod would have sat right across the trim at the top of the window, which just looked horrible.  I have learned years ago about hanging curtains high and wide to make a window seem bigger (and to let in more light), so I definitely wanted to go that route.  It’s funny that we don’t have tall ceiling but somehow standard curtains do not work for us. Maybe our windows are higher than normal?  I’m not sure.  We ended up going with my favorite and most affordable option – Merete curtains from Ikea.  They don’t seem to have the navy panels online, but they were in the store.  They are actually the same curtains we used (only in white instead of navy) in our living room that I painted stripes on.  I like the style and the way they lay.  They were about $30 for two panels, which as a huge deal compared to the other ones we were looking at!

The reasoning behind the gallery wall is simple.  I loved our gallery wall we had in our hallway right when you entered our last apartment.  I would stare at it often.  It was such a beautiful reflection of our marriage and life together.  So, I really wanted to add one to our home.  Why the dining room?  Well, first of all, the wall opposite the buffet has two eyesores on it: a vent and a smoke detector.  Not exactly beautiful, and definitely not easy to work around.  Sure, we could have painted the vent, but it is not recommended to paint smoke detectors, and the positioning of them made it nearly impossible to spread any other kind of art out in a way that would look nice on the wall.  So, instead of working against the eyesores, we worked with them!  By filling the wall up with frames, the vent and smoke detector go unnoticed by most who enter our house.  We plan on changing the smoke detector out for a white one (it is currently cream) so it blends in even more, but it works for now.  We also decided to do this in our dining room because it is the center of our home.  It connects the living areas (kitchen and living room), it is where we spend a ton of time, and it is visible from most places in our living area.  We love that where we come together to spend time together houses a beautiful collection of photos, art, and special keepsakes that we adore.

Now for more photos!



I’m not going to go through every piece of art, because most are photos from our past, our wedding, or photos I have taken.  Some were cut out from magazines.  Some were created by me in Photoshop.  Some are paper goods from our wedding.  Some are stock photos I found online for free and printed.  Some are special pieces I bought for San.  Some are pieces of art or greeting cards we have accumulated over the years.  There really is no way for me to source everything, but if you have a question about something you see, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!



At the center, I placed a wide, thick frame I believe we picked up at a garage sale years ago.  I thought it would be the perfect frame to have in the center and to build all the other frames off from (if it looks uncentered in other photos, it is simply because I used a wide-angle lens and am shooting at an angle – the frame is centered on the wall).  I thought it would be fitting to create an “established” sign with our last name and the year we got married since that is what this wall is a reflection of – our marriage.  I simply measured the frame, found some nice fonts and created a document in Photoshop.  I then sent it to Staples to be printed for $7.  It’s perfect and we love it!



As for the frames, they are mainly Ikea, but many are from dollar stores and garage sales.  I simply bought some Krylon white spray paint that can be painted on any surface and gave them all a couple coats so they wold match.  I love the diversity of size, shape, matting, and design.

In our last apartment where most of these hung previously, I used the method of measuring the space I was using, laying all the frames out on the ground to see what they would look like, and then hanging newspaper cutout replicas of the frame on the wall to make sure the sizes would work on the wall.  This time around, I didn’t bother laying them out on the ground first.  Instead, I traced them all with newspaper again and assigned them all a number.  Then, I hung all the cutouts on the wall, shifting, adjusting, and rearranging as I went.  Then, starting in the middle, I started hanging them.  I started in the middle because I knew for sure I wanted that long frame there, so if frames didn’t end up looking good next to it, I could change them before getting half way through with the whole project and having to start over.  I changed a lot as I went, so I’m happy I did it this way so I didn’t have to feel locked in to a certain configuration.  At the end, I looked for gaps and then measured those areas and searched for cheap frames to fit.  The dollar stores and stores like  Menards and Home Depot were great at helping me gather the last frames (some of them very small) without spending  a ton.








We just love how it turned out!  We have plaster walls, so I have been intimidated ever since our renovation about hanging anything on them for fear that they will just crumble to pieces.  An employee at Menards tried to convince me that I would need to anchor every little frame, even the tiny, light ones since I was working with plaster.  I’m so glad I didn’t listen!  I simply used a picture nail for most of the small frames and anchored only the larger, heavy ones.  For the small ones that were likely to shift, I cut the Command picture hanging velcro in half (so each strip could be used twice instead of using two strips on one frame) and stuck it to the bottom center of those frames and the wall to keep them from shifting.  I haven’t had to adjust any of the frames even once in the two months since I tackled this project!

Since photos are great, but a video is much better for showing what a room actually looks like, I’ve included a video!

Where do you keep your sentimental photos/keepsakes? Do you display them or keep them hidden away for safe-keeping?