Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Post with Natalie! - Life in the Keweenaw

Hi all! 

First I want to shout out to the lovely Mrs. White for letting me do a guest blog post while she is moving into her first HOUSE! How exciting!! Anyway, my name is Natalie and I blog over at Looking Through The Lens. I'm still new to this neighborhood so sometimes there are little mistakes or sometimes not everything looks great, but such is life and I'm okay with it. I am a waitress at a local restaurant in my town and I ALWAYS get the question "What is it like to live here?". So I am going to put it out there for ever one to read. :D

Everyone knows what its like to live in a town like theirs and also what its like to live in a city, or for the most part. Well, have you ever wondered what it is like to live somewhere else in the country or in another part of the world? You can travel all over the place, but do you ever get the full experience of what it is like living there? You can if you talk to the locals. Guess what? I have been living in a tourist town for nine years AND I guess you could consider me a local.
So let me tell you what its like to live in a small tourist town in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. Its also called the Copper Country, end of the world, the far edge of nowhere, etc. If you ask anyone around here (besides me) theyll tell you that its the best place to live on the earth. There is a sign that says You are now breathing the purest more vitalizing air on earth. Which is true, we do have the cleanest air and the cleanest drinking water as well.

My town, I kid you not, has a GRAND total of 85 people living in it year around. Thats all, no more, no less (well maybe a few less). 85! Do you know how much that is? It may sound like a lot... well kind of. If you were to ever see the size of my town that is probably a lot. BUT not everyone lives right in town. Some people live down on the lake shore of Lake Superior. Or the other way towards the end of the road. Yes we have snow birds (people that go south for the winter), but we also have people that leave just for a few months in the winter. Those people are counted in the 85. 

My dinky little town from an aerial view 

My town has AMAZING sunsets and sunrises practically EVERYDAY!

Everywhere you go there is a waterfall! These things are not to miss! 

Life in the Keweenaw is definitely different than any other area that I know of. Everyone here owns a business OR is on some sort of committee that is helping to improve this town. We have no fast food restaurants, no Mejiers, no Target, No Walmart. Just one single blinking light. No cell phone service and really sketchy internet. Our cable TV has about 20 channels and that is if the signal is good. Don't let that confuse you because maybe those are all negatives, but I will say (as much as I don't like living here) it's one of the prettiest places to VISIT. 

Everything we do to this town is ALL by donation and sometimes they don't turn out the way we want them too. Things that have been brought to this town all my donation WELL our July 4th fireworks, Hunter's Point park and our ambulance. There are more, but those are the biggest ones. 

We LIVE for the tourist. NO JOKE. If it wasn't for you guys (the tourist) this little town would be nothing but a couple of shacks and camps. 

You've got to really love the outdoors to live in this little town. If you don't this isn't the place for you. You've got to love kayaking, hunting, fishing, fourwheeling, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing, etc. All that outdoor stuff. You don't have to like it all, but you need to like something for each season. Granted there is lighthouses to go to. I can't forget about Isle Royale. After awhile doing all that "touristy" stuff it gets old. 

Whats it like living in your town or city? OR if you just want to know more about me and my life in this town. Come on by to my blog and let me know!

Thanks again to the lovely Mrs. White! :D

Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Incredible Years

Today is my husband and my anniversary.
Two years ago today we plunged into marriage headfirst without a breath between us.

Do you remember Robin [our pastor] telling us, within moments,
that he thought we were going to make it?
That no matter that we'd been dating for three months...
deciding to get married in a week...
He had faith in us.
That faith still runs deep inside me.
So deeply that I never question...never wonder...never doubt.
I never do any of those things because I have an unflinching certainty that we're the real deal.
Soul mates.
I didn't even know if I believed in that word before you.
But now I know, my husband is my soul mate.
Completely..totally.. unequivocally. 

In those first three months of dating,
we lived together for a few weeks. Totally in depth and without concern.
Because it felt right, and why not?
There was no 'decision' about it.
No talk. No concern. No thinking.
We just sort of fell into doing it, and it worked for us.
That's why we decided to just go with it.
That is, in simple terms, our relationship. Just go with it.
So far, it's worked for us.

Some days I feel like we've only just begun.
Like how can I possibly still be so incredibly excited each and every time he enters a room?
How can I still feel my heart skip a beat when I know he's coming home?
How do I still look forwards to every single night when we go to bed..
just because I get to hold him?
Everything is fantastic to me.
We were just discussing yesterday how 'well I don't usually go over to your parent's house without you'
to which he responded 'well you could insert any place whatsoever and that sentence would work'.
I feel like a love struck teenager nearly every day of my life with my husband.
I know I'm incredibly lucky.

What's more is that we've each gained a phenomenal family.
We've definitely had to learn how to schedule family holidays,
most of them we have at least two, sometimes three, and one thanksgiving we had four.
We're lucky we don't have step parents or I would seriously lose my shit.
It's stressful sometimes, since I love to make everything perfect and everyone happy,
but all through it, he's been there, and it's been amazing.
I finally have a large family like I always wanted, and I couldn't be more grateful that all of us get along.

We've had our down times...
We've gotten through living in a teeny ant infested apartment.
Gone through the loss of jobs.
A funeral and loss.
Living on unemployment for a short time.
Learning everything we can about how to live on our own two feet.
Spending literally twenty four seven together for nearly six months.
Struggling with the lack of conception we've had.
And now, this move, in the hottest part of the year.

But it hasn't mattered.
It's all growth.
Growth together.
Which we've both agreed that is the most amazing part of our relationship.
Watching each other grow in our love and our life, completely and totally in sync.
Not changing one another, but appreciating how much we've adapted to our life, and each other.
I guess I sound like a love struck sap...
and maybe I am.
It's almost disgusting 
[we get that a lot]
when we finish each other's sentences,
or talk about things in a way that no one else understands,
or totally own at Taboo.

I suppose in short,
We Love.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Guest Post with Amanda! -- Target Clearance Shopping

Hey y'all!
I'm out and about today, probably moving in some fashion,
and have left my blog in some capable hands of the awesome ladies
who signed up to help a sista out.
So do enjoy your break from regularly scheduled programming!


Not only is Target one of my favorite stores to shop for my everyday items at, but it's also my go to store for amazing clearance items. Some deals I've gotten: Two pack of Carter's baby pants 70% off of $8.99 for $2.68, Baby Leggings 70% off of $5.00 for $1.50, Three pack of Carter's Bibs 70% off of $8.99 for $2.68,  and various other things such as, toys, clothing for me and home decor. 

For a while now, I've been doing my own research on Target's clearance items. Before we get to the good stuff, here are some strategies to help your bargain hunting at Target easier.
  • Shop the end caps: The end caps are the shelves at the end of the aisle and are loaded with clearance merchandise.  The end caps with the most clearance merchandise are usually located furthest away from the main shopping aisles, so be sure to make a trip around the perimeter of the store. 
  • Know the markdown schedule:  Target marks down the clearance items in each department on a specific day.   Please keep in mind this schedule may vary a bit from store to store, but for the most part these are the days that each departments get marked down.

This is an unofficial schedule for markdowns at Target.  When items go on Clearance, Target consistently marks their inventory down to 15%, then 30%, then 50%, then 75% and sometimes 90% if there is anything left.

Monday – Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby and Stationary
Tuesday — Domestics, Women’s Clothing, Pets and Market (food items)
Wednesday — Men’s Clothing, Health and Beauty, Lawn & Garden items
Thursday — Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Decor & Luggage
Friday — Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, & Jewelry

I went to Target on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to see if the markdown schedule was true. It was! And I went home with some bargains...

Monday's Baby Clearance
Tuesday's Pet Clearance 
Tuesday's Women's Clothing Clearance
Friday's Jewelry Clearance
In addition to the regular markdown schedule there are 2 big events:
Baby Clearance: January and July typically offer massive clearance throughout the baby department.   There seems to be fewer shoppers in July so you might fare better on items like high chairs and car seats.  For those items, you may not want to hold out for 75% off... 50% off is nice to on high ticket items.   Plus, if you create a baby registry, you'll get an extra 10% off of purchases when you complete your registry!
Toy Clearance:   July and October are the clearance events at Target for toys.  And, of course, there's post-Christmas clearance throughout January.   But, again, fewer people are thinking about Christmas in July than in October so you have a better shot at the best deals.
Now grab your shopping buddy and go find some deals!

Check out my blog for other money savings tips, crafts, recipes and to see what me and my Allie Mae are up too. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guest Post with Ali! -- New Parent Tips

Hey y'all!
I'm out and about today, probably moving in some fashion,
and have left my blog in some capable hands of the awesome ladies
who signed up to help a sista out.
So do enjoy your break from regularly scheduled programming!


Hello all!
I'm Ali and I am the boss over at Our Happily Ever After
where I blog about my wonderful hubster and our new little lady ;)
I'm so excited to be subbing for the Mrs while she's moving
and getting to know some of you!

We just welcomed our sweet little Aurora
into the world on June 19th
and I'm telling you, it's been the best thing for us in the world!
And as a new mom,
I wanted to share some tips I've learned ;)
And pictures of the cutest baby in the world according to me of course!

1. Don't let other people's stories make you scared to have children.
Oh my freaking goodness,
people always give unsolicited advice/stories when 
you're pregnant/have a newborn.
Don't let them scare you!
Everyone's got a different story,
and no two stories are alike.
I learned to just nod and smile politely and put those things in a box
in my mind and put it far away.

2. You can let your baby cry if you need to.
You're not a terrible parent,
sometimes they just need to cry out their feelings ;)
I don't mean to do it right away,
after all they need to be loved but there will be times that you
need to just let them let it out and then they'll be much happier
(or asleep hahahaha)

3. Sleep when the baby sleeps!
I'm not the best at following this tip....
what if I don't hear her cuz I'm sleeping so soundly??
I'll always hear her if she needs me to get her hahaha
Babies let you know when you need to do something for them ;)

 She likes to sport the Rocky look when she sleeps

4. You're going to take many many pictures of them
whether you realize it now or not.
It's just a fact hahaha so get a nice phone or a nice camera
so you can caprture those moments and not have them be blurry hahaha

5. They really do grow super fast!
Rory gained 1 1/2 lbs in 2 weeks and grew 1 1/2 inches in the same time!
And they EAT like nobody's business hahaha
and POOP all the time ;)

Buy lots of them.
That is all ;)

7. Make sure you share the care of the child.
As a mom, I wanted to take care of her all the time,
be the one that made her happy and comforted her all the time.
Then reality hit,
I couldn't do it all and keep my sanity.
That's why God gave us family and spouses ;)

8. Still take time to date your spouse.
If you're able to, try to go out every now and then just the two of you
to recharge the batteries and realize that you're still a couple ;)

9. One piece of advice that both my grandma and mom gave me
that I completely agree with was:
The bay lives with YOU,
you don't live with them.
Meaning, of course, that YOU are the bosses.
NOT the baby.
We also decided that that meant that we didn't 
need to be completely silent while she sleeps.
Not that we go around banging pans together or hold crazy parties
but we talk at normal level and do the dishes and
other little things that need to get done and she's learned to sleep through
everything we do which will help her be a deep sleeper ;)

10. Love them ;)
Oh goodness I thought I knew how much I love I was able to hold,
after all I love my husband more than anything,
but when the nurses put Rory in my arms,
I lost it ;)
I was crying and laughing and never felt so complete as I did right then
with my husband and our daughter.
We were an "official" family and we couldn't love our little bug
more than we do right now ;)

I love my little princess so much and I'm excited to LATER
give her a borther or sister
but that won't happen for awhile hahaha ;)
Come and stay awhile at my place!

Good luck to ya Mrs and the Mr at your new place!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post feat. Baylee! -- Cheap Date Ideas

Hey y'all!
I'm out and about today, probably moving in some fashion,
and have left my blog in some capable hands of the awesome ladies
who signed up to help a sista out.
So do enjoy your break from regularly scheduled programming!


Hi there! Thanks to Mrs. White for allowing me to entertain you all for a day!
I'm excited to be here with all of you and hopefully give you some cheap summer date ideas! I know I need more. I'm a broke ass romantic so I love cheap dates. Here are some of my favorites.

My absolute favorite is wine and cheese beach dates. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area this is especially cheap. Get yourself some 2 buck chuck, a cheap thing of your favorite cheese, cut it up at home, put in a plastic baggy and there you go. Joe and I even use these cheap plastic wine glasses to class it up. There will be no judging here though if you just pull straight from the bottle. My favorite time to go is late at night.

Another version of the wine/cheese/beach date is grabbing another couple or 2. All the same as before but add catch phrase to the mix. So fun. We love doing this in the summer and the catch phrase lights up so you can still see the words. Such a blast.

This next one may seem childish.. but that's the fun. Ice cream and chalk or ice cream and movies. Bonus if you have a projector. Pull up a screen, project a movie and eat your ice cream. If you do this, I suggest making out too.... It's like a personal drive in!

Do not under estimate a coffee date. Especially a people watching coffee date. Every Saturday Joe and I go to a local bagel place, grab a bagel and a coffee and sit in the window and people watch. Sure we're creeps, but we have fun!

Hiking. Sunset strolls. All very romantic. If you have dogs, bring 'em! And you get exercise. But I try to forget that because I'm not a fan of exercise. Holding hands is a must.

Outdoor concerts!!!

If all else fails camp in your yard. Sure you're still at home but you're in the outdoors and it puts a fun spin on the ordinary. Or camp in a friend or parents yard. And if you're in the Pacific NW, just find a logging road and park it somewhere. That's my personal fave.

Thanks for having me every one! I hope you had as much fun as I did and get to try some of these dates!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A small update!!

Well hey y'all!

It's been a mighty long time since I've heard from all of you!
I can honestly say I've missed each and every single one of you.

I wasn't aware just how much I loved blogging as much as I can until I've been too busy to do it!

And too TIRED!

I don't think I've been as tired as I have been these past few days.
I've been working my ass off. 
[Though of course not lucky enough to be literally]
I've been cleaning at both our apartment,
and our new house.
[GAH that's still exciting!]

The apartment, tiny as it is, is so stressful to me right now.
I feel like, when I'm there, the walls are simultaneously closing in on me,
as well as being so enormously big how EVER am I going to get this damn devil den clean?!
It's almost done. But then again, it's been almost  done for forever it seems.
The kitchen is completely done. The living room needs to have a few last things picked up.
The bedroom as well needs a few last things packed.
Then the floors need vaccuumed. The bathroom scrubbed down quick like.
And that's pretty much it. Seems easy peasy right?

I go in thinking that every day.

And then, for some unexplained reason, three or four hours later,
I'm left staring at maybe one almost done room,
and still all the other shit I haven't got to yet. What the hell?!
I am convinced that this apartment has some sort of time loop I can't detect or escape.
For serious.

The new house is much more fun.
We've been having a lot of fun sitting on our porch!
Outside whenever we want to be.
The sheer amount of space we have is exhilerating.
We're coming from a one bedroom apartment,
into a two floor, five bedroom house. It's amazing!!
*Little lovestruck sigh*

We don't have internet out there yet,
so if you've been wondering why you haven't gotten a cheery e-mail from me lately,
that's why. 
I haven't been able to get back to comments or hardly anything timely.
But I do want to thank each and every one of you fine readers,
each time you come visit me,
each time you leave a little love and support,
I see it. Each and every time. And I love you for it even more. 
I am so incredibly grateful that these fine ladies have been helping to pass the time without me,
and offer some of their amazing projects and points of view!
It must be sort of refreshing to get away from my babbling occasionally!

Perhaps it's just my point of view of loving my house,
but I'm actually almost happy to have the opportunity to not have internet for a while.
It's given my husband and I a lot of time together.
Uninterrupted quality time.
A novelty nowadays with us both working and internet junkies.
We've been reading a lot to each other, talking, spending time just relaxing together.
In each other's space, and presence, and thoughts.
Fully and without any other distractions.
It's been a harrowing experience moving, but an incredibly bonding one.
Though if you ask anyone, they'd probably say if my husband and I were any more bonded,
we'd be living in each other's skins.

We also had our first game night at our house last night.
In our game -room-.
YES! We have a game room hehehe.
so far it's a nice wood table, a couple of rolling chairs,
and a couch. But it served it's purpose well!
We spent nearly five hours just hanging out with a friend of ours,
table top style gaming.
[yeah, nerdling, I know]
But we honestly had such a great time.
We all laughed a lot, and just enjoyed ourselves.
And having the room and time to do it was amazing.

All right, now that this small update isn't so small,
I'm afraid I'll have to be going.
I know that everyone is thirsting for some pics,
but I don't have them  yet! 
I know I know, I'm sorry!
but we've been so busy trying to get all our junk out there,
I've not had time.
Suffice to say, picture a nice homey residence,
a bit of a fixer upper in some areas such as paint and yard.
A good sized garage at the end of the dirt driveway towards the back and left of the house.
A pair of retan lawn chairs on the porch,
and a large window outfacing over the driveway that looks in on a nice kitchen that's in the process of being unfolded.
On three sides, and across the busy road before the house,
are wheat fields.
Full heavy stalks waving in every tickling wind. 
The refreshing smell of clean air and the agriculture permeating the air when you step from your car.
But overall, as soon as you set foot on the uneven ground,
you feel a pervasive sense of peace.
As if the house is welcoming you home.
As if here, without the bustle of city life,
you can finally unburden your shoulders, even if you can only stay a little while.
This is one of those places where you know you could sit on the porch,
and watch the world move by before you,
and be content to do so beside the one you love.
In a word... Even with all the stress...
the concern...the anxiety...the exhaustion...


Guest Post with Sarah! -- Diet Tips & Tricks

Hey y'all!
I'm out and about today, probably moving in some fashion,
and have left my blog in some capable hands of the awesome ladies
who signed up to help a sista out.
So do enjoy your break from regularly scheduled programming!


Tips and Tricks: Staying Healthy
Hey there people – my name is Sarah and I blog over at A Cat-Like Curiosity. I blog about all kinds of things really – DIY projects, Monday Mantras, Etsy Lustings and many many more things. Basically whatever pops into my head.

I am so pleased to be able to do a guest post here for  you guys!!

This post is part of my Tips and Tricks series on my blog. (You can read more posts in this series here.)

I don’t know about you, but I have throughout my life found myself to be extra susceptible to bugs, colds and flus. I often seem to end up in that frustrating situation where I am having to let people down at home and at work because of illness. I long to be one of those people who never gets ill, who has never taken a day off work in their lives. But alas, that just isn’t me.

However, I have never been the kind of person to just accept a situation or to let things get the better of me. No siree. So, over the years I have tried many things to make myself better – rigorous exercise, strict bedtimes, hand sanitisers, herbal teas, first defence cold sprays, limiting coffee. You name it, I’ve pretty much tried it. To no real avail.

This year though, after another start dogged by sickness bugs, headaches and flus I decided to try something a little different.

Here are my top tips from what I have discovered this year. I have been (hayfever not withstanding) free of bugs and flus now since March this year. These are the little things I have introduced in order to make that a reality for me.

·         Daily multivitamin tablets with iron (non-negotiable)

·         Including as many iron rich foods as possible – broccoli, red meat and curly kale are my favourites. (Quick extra tip – curly kale goes off very quickly right? Not if you put it in the freezer when you buy it fresh and then just take out a handful whenever you need it!)

·         Relax more. (For more tips on relaxation click here.) Redefine what you class as relaxation. I find blogging and anything to do with my Etsy store relaxing. Mainly because I see them as things I love to do – things I enjoy. In this way, I don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to fit everything in – I am actively looking forward to fitting it all in and itching to get started each day when I return from work.

·         Sleep when you need to sleep. Don’t force yourself off to bed at 9pm, all stressed that you haven’t fitted everything in. Sleep when you’re tired.

·         In the same vein – eat when you’re hungry. Now, I don’t necessarily mean you can eat whatever you want whenever you want – that might not work out so well for you, depending on what kind of foods you tend to crave. Eat three square meals a day whenever possible, and try to make them nutritious – plenty of veg, fruit and not so much fat. Your body needs a certain amount of food in order to stave off illness and keep going. Give it that much.

·         Drink more fluids. Mostly water if you can manage it. Sugar free cordial if not.

·         Do some exercise. Do the kind of exercise that suits you. I have been to both extremes in my life with exercise – I have completed P90X but then can quite easily (and relatively happily) go without exercising for weeks. I find that doing some exercise makes you feel happier and healthier and a lot more positive about things. But it’s important that this doesn’t become yet another stick with which to beat yourself. Be kind to your body. It needs to be exercised. It doesn’t deserve to be punished (unless you like that sort of thing!)

·         Keep things clean. I have gotten into the habit every Friday of bringing home my water bottle from school and my travel coffee mug and soaking both of them (and my regular coffee cup at home) in Milton sterilising fluid. It kills all the germs which may well be lurking and leaves them all sparkly clean. Also, when you empty the fluid out into the sink and leave it there a little it gives the sink an excellent clean too!!

·         Be kind to yourself. I have days when I want to do very much close to nothing (notice how I can’t even say “do nothing”?) If I am feeling exhausted and overwhelmed when I get home, I let myself have a little nap. If I am feeling super energetic, I will keep going and do the things that are burning in my heart to do. Be kind to yourself, listen to your body and what it needs, and try to do that thing. If you can’t at that moment (because of work, family, other commitments) promise to reward yourself with something nice later on. Then do that.

·         Get pretty. If all else fails and I am feeling a little bit run down, a nice manicure/pedicure will always see me right. I also find other tasks easier to achieve when I can see my prettily done nails glinting at me while I do them.

I hope you have enjoyed my tips and tricks – feel free to head over to my blog to find out more.  And a big thanks to The Little Homemade Housewife for letting me guest post here – I’ve really enjoyed it!!

Have a great day people!!