Archive for the ‘I like to buy stuff’ Category


I think I skipped a 6-9 months post on my favorite baby things so I’m cramming them into one, big 6-12 month post.

1. iPhone or iPad – preferably both. The iPhone has come in handy for SO MANY THINGS. Taking photos/video, playing music (babies love music, especially my baby), or playing videos when we’re trying to have a meal at a restaurant and baby D has decided that everything within reach must be thrown on the floor. The iPad has been most helpful when we’ve  spent 10 hours in the car ONE WAY to visit my husband’s family, which has already been SIX times since he’s been born. That’s about twice the amount of trips we make on a normal year. We try not to rely on it until he’s getting really annoyed, which typically happens after about hour #6. I can’t blame him though. I’m pretty much over the road trip after that long too.

2. iPhone stand – As mentioned above, we like to eat out and while I’ve read posts from other parents who think it’s better for kids to learn how to behave in social settings like a restaurant without the need for an i-something to distract them, those people aren’t usually around when my kid is throwing anything he can get his mits on to the floor. If they were, I’d say “here, you take him so we can eat our meal in peace.” Then I’m sure they’d probably be okay with us playing a little Baby Einstein for 20 minutes. And this iPhone stand helps keep the phone out of reach and in place.

3. MumMums – All of those baby finger foods found in the baby food section are fantastic (and puffs/yogurt melts/etc.) but MumMums are probably our favorite because he can hold them and gnaw on them until they’re mushy. They keep him busy for awhile and I don’t have to have a special place to set it down; I just hand it to him and he goes to town. Unlike puffs or yogurt melts that basically require a clean, flat surface to lay a few out and let him pick them up.

4. Baby Einstein exersaucer – Really any exersaucer will do. This one just happened to be free from my inlaws when they found it at a yard sale for $5. At first, we didn’t think we would need this, since we already had a bouncer seat, bumbo, and jumperoo. I mean, how many baby contraptions does one family need?! But we soon realized that this was the best of them all because it gave us somewhere safe to put him, and I could move it from room to room (unlike the jumperoo) so I could make dinner and have him right there with me.

5. Playmat – Once D started crawling and pulling up on things, we decided even our carpeted living room was too hard and purchased this playmat to provide a little extra cushion should he take a tumble. Maybe that’s the overprotective parent in both of us, but it gave us a little peace of mind. And while this mat is supposed to be some sort of cool block building thing, if I had it to do over again, I’d probably buy a mat with a fewer parts since D likes to pull it apart all the time.

6. Board Books – I don’t know what it is about books, but they fascinate him! His favorite BY FAR is called Baby Woof Woof and we keep it separated from the rest of the books and only break it out at certain times because one reading requires at least 5 readings and even when you’ve done that many, the boy will fuss and cry until you read it again – or find something better to distract him with.

7. Balls – Basketballs, baseballs – any kind of balls really. Balls are his favorite toys. First, he learned how to roll it back and forth, then he quickly taught himself to throw it and loves to spend an hour playing his version of catch. Already a sports fanatic.

8. Blocks – After balls, his blocks are his second favorite toy. Well, blocks and stacker rings. He loves to pick two of them up and bang them together. He still hasn’t quite figured out the sorting aspect of it yet, but he loves to put him in and out of the bucket.

9. Original Sprout Shampoo – I try to use Burt’s Bees lotion and bubble bath almost exclusively because I love the smell, but after fighting a bit of cradle cap when he was around 7 months old and getting his first haircut, the stylist suggested the above Original Sprout Shampoo. And you guys, it cleared up with just ONE use and we haven’t had so much as a dandruff flake since. Awesome stuff, even if I don’t love the smell as much as Burt’s Bees.

10. Glow Seahorse – I was determined to get baby D a glow worm for nostalgia’s sake (both the hubs and I had them as babies) but the glow worm didn’t look the same and I just liked the seahorse better. He doesn’t fall asleep with his arm around it like the baby in the picture but it has provided some comfort and distraction from time to time and I can probably credit it to at least a few hours of extra sleep a week, so it’s already worth the minimal cost.

Tell me your favorite baby item for months 6-12!

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Baby D will soon be TODDLER D, which means his first birthday is just around the corner. I decided a long time ago that the theme would be a puppy party. It took awhile to convince my husband to go with it, but after a few weeks of seeing baby D’s face light up and hearing his little baby laugh every time a furry face showed up on the TV or at the park, he was sold.

The first and hardest thing to decide on were the invitations. I thought that with such a generic theme, there would be TONS of invitations with puppies on them to choose from.

Um, not the case.

After searching through the usual suspects – Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, etc. – I finally turned to Etsy. A couple of emails, a couple of days and only $10 later, I had my design:

D Invite 4x6 2

Then I decided baby D needed a personalized birthday onesie. So back to Etsy I went and found this:


So what if they’re slightly different dogs?

The first weekend in May, I went to Party City to stock up on supplies – plates, cups, utensils and decor. My plan was to do a blue/green/orange color scheme but I couldn’t find much in orange so it quickly turned into a blue/green theme instead. My mom also pitched in and found a cute puppy pinata. So it’s coming together but I’ve still got to decide on the menu and make his birthday banner. I’ve been diligent about taking both weekly and monthly photos to show his growth progression so I’ve got something in mind for displaying this at the party but just need to find the time and energy to do it.

I still haven’t really let myself dwell on the fact that he’s no longer an infant and it’s crazy how much our lives have changed in this last year – both good and bad. But man do I love being this little boy’s momma. So I’ll just focus on that instead.

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One hour. That’s all I needed. Just one hour to wander aimlessly around Walmart to peruse the aisles, pick up some essentials, and finish my Christmas shopping. I left the baby and husband at home so I could take my time and actually enjoy this little shopping excursion. Plus, I had a lot of stuff to buy. Now that my grandpa is gone, I feel an even greater responsibility to do things to keep my family together. So next weekend, my cousin and I are hosting our first family Christmas gathering. The two of us will fix all the food and I’m making it my job to ensure there are games and prizes to keep everyone entertained. We’ve never been the game playing kind of family before, so this is new for us, and for me.  I also picked up a few extra items for my other cousins and their kids. Both of them are on government assistance so I know they won’t be giving or getting much this year.

Money is tight though. Since my husband left his corporate job to work for himself and also watch the baby full-time, we’ve had to make some cutbacks. We refinanced our mortgage, we put off getting new cars (both of our cars are 7 and 8 years old, but totally paid off), we dropped our gym membership, movie rental membership, and other things that were a bit unnecessary. We’ve tried cutting back on our Christmas spending too, but that’s been difficult. When you buy for 42 people (Seriously. Forty. Two. And that doesn’t include gifts to each other or the baby. So 45. Or the money we donate to our favorite charities every year.) and spend anywhere from $20-$100 per person, it gets kind of crazy. And I can’t NOT give gifts to some of these people. Even though I receive less than half that number of gifts in return, that’s not the point. Instead, I’m just trying to find better gifts for my smaller budget. Hence my trip to Walmart. And for the most part, I feel like I did pretty well this year. $3 fleece blankets for my cousins? YES! $5 slippers for my aunt? You betcha. Time to check out!

If you have ever gone shopping at Walmart on a weekend in December, you know the checkout line is HELL. I don’t know why a store has 35 checkout lines but only has 6 of them open at any given time. It’s infuriating. Kind of like getting behind that person with a million coupons or the person that needs a price check because the tag is missing. And it’s always an item from the farthest end of the store. So the cashier flips her little flashing light and your head explodes while everyone else in line does a collective sigh because we all know, this is going to take awhile.

The odds I will be right behind someone like this is about 1 in 3. So when I pulled my cart up to lane 16 and noticed the woman in front of me unloading her SECOND cart full of stuff, I knew this might take some time. But I was in a good mood, mentally checking off the things from my list and hoping the baby would still be awake when I got home. That’s when the pink and purple slippers on the checkout belt caught my eye. And the mini-yoga pants with a hot-pink band around the waist. The woman was buying girls clothes. Possibly for Christmas.

I looked at the woman, and she was exactly the type of customer you would expect to see in a Walmart. Tattered jeans, grungy sweatshirt, no makeup, unkempt hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, and skin that looks like she’s spent her fair share of time in a smokey bar. I watched her ask the cashier if she could stop ringing her out and tell her the current total. With tax, please. The cashier looked up at her, slightly annoyed, and said, “$211 and 36 cents.”

“Is that with tax?”

Another worker came over to help figure the tax. Two more people got in line behind me.

A new total. $240-something.

The woman looked at the rest of her items on the belt, looked at the cash in her wallet, grabbed the giant tube of ground chuck (the cheapest kind you can buy) off the belt and asked her to add that to the total but then stop, because she didn’t have enough money to buy the rest of the items. In her hand, I could see the Missouri EBT logo. Welfare money. She swiped her card. It covered the majority, but she still owed around $40, not including the stuff that had to be put back. She counted her tiny bit of cash and started looking at what else she could take off the bill so she could afford everything. She apologized for the inconvenience and asked if she needed to go put those items back for them. I looked at the items already in her cart. Palettes of can goods. Kitty litter. A bag of onions. This wasn’t her weekly shopping trip. This was her MONTHLY shopping trip. I looked at the rest of the items on the belt. The items she couldn’t afford to buy. Eggs. Coffee. A piece of chocolate cake. A couple cans of soup. Apples. And of course, the slippers and yoga pants.

Another worker came over to put the items into an empty cart and haul them away. She apologized again for the inconvenience. I looked at my wallet. $20 was the only cash I had on me and I started to pull it out to hand it to her, but I wasn’t sure if it would cover the total. I didn’t want this lady to have to agonize over what to buy for another minute. The line was already getting pretty long behind me. Impatient sighs, toe-tapping, and weight shifting from leg to leg as people peered around to see why the hold up. So I did the next best thing.

I grabbed the worker’s arm and quietly said to her, “You don’t have to put that stuff back. I’ll buy these items for her.”

“All of it?” She asked.

“All of it.”

The woman turned toward me before my words had registered. I watched her face turn from embarrassment to shock and then to thankfulness.

“You don’t have to do this,” she said. “Do you want my phone number or can I get your address to pay you back? My husband and I know how to do home repairs, so if you need some work done to your house, I’d be happy to do it?”

“No, that’s ok. I just noticed it looked like you were Christmas shopping,” I said, as I pointed to the slippers.

The cashier finished. “Your total is $42.65.” I swiped my card and was glad I didn’t just hand her the $20. It wouldn’t have covered it.

“Yes, for my little girl.” I could hear her words getting caught in her throat.

“Those slippers are very cute. I hope she has a nice Christmas.”

“She will now…”

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Mondays are tough, but here’s a short list of things making me happy at the moment:

1. Crisp but sunny morning

2. The smell of a fresh post of coffee (even if I’m weaning myself from caffeine)

3. Catching up on my DVR a little last night. I didn’t think it was possible, but The Big Bang Theory is actually getting funnier.

4. Comfortably wearing heels again. It seems as if the cortisone shot in my foot worked (for now) and I am pain free so far (knock on wood).

5. Now that my foot is healing, I can also start exercising again. I’ll have to start out slow with walking and light weights, but it’ll be nice to be active again.

6. Realizing I still have 10 vacation days left to use.

7. Planning a Halloween party. I want to do it up big and invite anyone and everyone, but the hubs wants something more low-key with just a few couples and no costumes. I think I can convince him to go bigger and better, but either way it should be a good time.

8. Refinancing. At the end of August, we refinanced the house, which means we’re saving more than $300 a month. On top of that, we were able to skip a mortgage payment for September and we’ll get cash back from our escrow fund. These are all good things considering we’re in the market for a new vehicle. Which leads me to…

9. Car shopping! Well, technically, SUV shopping. Hubby’s SUV is still a fine car, but it’s a 2004 with about 150K miles on it. The paint is wearing, it’s got a ton of little nicks and dents from highway debris, the interior is old and stained or beat up, and I absolutely hate driving it. I feel like the steering wheel shakes even though we’ve had it realigned, tires balanced, etc. And, it just feels top heavy to me. Like it could tip over easily if we had to swerve or something. I just don’t FEEL safe in it, not compared to newer vehicles on the road. But, since it’s his vehicle and he’s fine driving it, our goal is to buy a new car right after Xmas. Hoping we can get a better deal that way. Right now we’re considering a 2011 Ford Edge or Ford Explorer, but we’ll test drive a bunch of others before we decide. I love the look of the GMC Acadias but unless we can find a reasonable price on a used one, they’re a bit out of our price range. We’ll see though. It’s fun to look when you’re not in a huge rush. We’ll probably keep my little sedan for awhile even though it’s a 2005 with 114K on it. I’ve kept up on the maintenance and it runs fine, though I do need to get about $700 worth of work done to it before the end of the year. Maybe I can talk the hubs into letting me have the new SUV while he takes my car.

10. Fall organizing. I have big plans this week to clean out my closets and change out my summer/winter clothes.  I’m also still working on a mini-basement makeover. My basement is just a small, unfinished storage, work bench, and laundry area so I’ve tackled the laundry part to make it a bit more enjoyable while I’m doing the never-ending chore. We’ve painted shelving and installed a rod for hanging clothes fresh out of the dryer. Soon I’ll put in new light fixtures, hang some curtains and artwork, add a radio or iPod speakers, and create a spot for ironing.  I spend so much time in the basement doing laundry that I might as well make it enjoyable. Photos of the makeover coming soon! (And by soon, I mean soon after I finish it, which could be next week or next month.)

What’s on your Happy Monday list?





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Currently Loving: This fab new Coach purse. I’ve never owned a purse that cost me more than $30, so when my cute little black weekend purse broke in Maui, conveniently in front of the Coach store, the hubs took it as a sign that he needed to buy me a nice purse. Not one to argue with such a sensible solution, we came back the next day when I had more time to peruse. The helpful Coach saleslady noticed me eyeing up the mid-sized crossbody bags and told me she had just received a new shipment of colors that weren’t supposed to go on sale for another few days. If I saw one I liked, she’d sell it to me. She came back a few minutes later with this beauty.

Having never owned a crossbody purse before, I wasn’t very intrigued by the long strap and had planned to just take that off and carry it using the shoulder strap. But, helpful Coach lady convinced me of the convenient ways of the crossbody strap and I took her advice because, well, she’s dating a fire dancer, so she has to know what she’s talking about, right? Maybe not, but now I don’t know how I ever lived without a crossbody purse. It’s seriously made my life so much easier because I’m not carrying a purse in the crook of my elbow and have both hands and arms free to carry groceries or suitcases or whatever. Carrying a purse on my shoulder has now become some sort of annoyance, “like, OMG it’s so HEAVY! This purse is so STUPID and ANNOYING! HEAVY SIGH!” Yeah, I’ve become THAT person. Also, I finally understand why women spend upwards of $300 on a purse now. Not that there aren’t plenty of other similar purses that provide the same style and convenience, but walking around Maui with a brand new Coach purse that NO ONE ELSE HAD YET, well, I felt pretty dang special. And spoiled. And I liked it.

Sadly, I didn’t get to carry it around much when I first bought it. Since we were doing adventurous things like beach hopping and hiking to waterfalls and such, the hubs didn’t think I should leave “my precious” in the hot car all day, (It might get too hot!) so I locked it up safely in the hotel room until the last two days, when I could keep it on my person all day and not worry about hurting it or losing it. And I have to say, traveling through the airport was a much more pleasant experience with the crossbody bag.

This may sound silly, but I actually feel prettier when I wear it. Although the hubs had to put his foot down when I insisted on wearing it to bed over my PJs. Guess that was a little too far.

Disclaimer: I was not discounted or compensated in any way for this post. Although, if the lovely people at Coach would ever like to consider it, I’d gladly take them up on an offer. :)

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Thanks for all the comments on my last swimsuit post. I was THIS CLOSE to buying the pink and orange one…until my husband said he really liked my blue halter swimsuit. So then I decided that I must have a halter top swimsuit and the search started all over again.

After another hour hemming and hawing, I finally decided on this. It’s definitely not bright, but the color options were limited. Plus it was on sale.

(image from Victoria’s Secret)

I’m a little nervous about the bottoms, not having worn anything other than a swimskirt for years, but I think the belt is cute. I just hope to God my boobs look that good in it.

As I was checking out, this little pop-up window interrupted me and was all “Hey, look at me! I’m a cute yellow halter top dress! Aren’t I adorable? Don’t you want to buy me? I’m only $29 and I look GREAT on the beach.” And I said, “why yes, you ARE adorable! I must have you. In turquoise, and a little longer in length so my ass doesn’t show when I bend over.” And the dress replied, “I can do that!”

So now I will soon be the proud owner of this cute beach dress.

(image from Victoria’s Secret)

Mine will be about 5 inches longer, which cost me an extra $10 but I still think it will look great.

Now to find the right sandals…

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Soon, I’ll be packing my bags and boarding a plane destined for sand, sun, and ultimate relaxation. Soon, I’ll be walking up with a delicious cup of Kona coffee, snacking on chocolate covered Macadamia nuts, and indulging in fresh, macademia-nut-encrusted mahi-mahi. And soon, I’ll be spending a good portion of the day wearing a swimsuit. My body is nowhere near where I would like it to be, but at least I’m a few pounds lighter than I was last time we were in Hawaii. And since it’s a trip for “just the two of us”, I haven’t completely abolished the idea of something a little more revealing than my standard takini with skirt bottoms. So I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect swimsuit. Something flattering for my body type, something that is boob lifting, tummy flattening, and wedgie resistant. So let’s discuss what I’ve found so far:

I started with Victoria’s Secret, knowing that the overwhelming majority of their swimsuits would be too teeny tiny, but also knowing that they have a great selection of boob-lifting tops. And they did, but the part of my body that I’m most sensitive about is my stomach. It’s not flat. So I wanted something that not only covered it, but wouldn’t show the poochy outline of my belly button. But every swim suit I’ve ever had has been very form-fitting, which I guess is the way swimsuits are supposed to fit, but my belly button pooch always shows! I typically steer clear of patterns and stick with solid colors, but to avoid the belly button pooch, I’ve learned to embrace patterns. Maybe that’s a mistake. I bought a tankini last year and even though it also came in a solid color, I chose the patterned version when I saw the difference with the belly button situation. I’m taking it with me again this year, but a week on the beach requires more than one swimsuit. I also want a bright color. I always stay with a safe black, but I’m thinking maybe a pink or coral color, or something in the green/blue family. I found this:

(image from VictoriasSecret.com)

And though I don’t exactly love the pattern (is it animal print? I can’t tell.), I think it’s pretty close to what I’m looking for, style wise. I also like this one, but in a different pattern maybe:

(image from VictoriasSecret.com)

I’ve always loved halter tops. But the big problem with both of these suits? The bottoms. My hips and thighs are way too big, so I don’t think this cut will work. I thought maybe I could mix it up with a solid matching color boyshort, but Vicki’s doesn’t offer swimsuits with boyshorts anymore. I guess they’re not “in”?

Feeling a bit frustrated and wanting to see different styles on slightly larger women, I check out Lane Bryant. Now, I don’t shop at Lane Bryant, but if I had to pick an underwear model that most resembles myself, it would definitely be a Lane Bryant model before a Victoria’s Secret model. I took a look at their swimsuit bottom selection and tried to pick out which style looked the most slimming.

(image from LaneBryant.com)

It could be the way she’s standing, but personally, I think the boyshort bottoms are the most flattering. The skirts aren’t flattering at all, and the hipsters squeeze the flesh a little too much for my liking. I also really like this ruffled short skirt, especially the color, but for a Lane Bryant site those tummies sure do look flat!

(image from LaneBryant.com)

I’m not crazy about the matching top though. It looks a bit “maternity”.

So that’s where I am in the painful world of swimsuit shopping. So help me, please. Help me make a decision on a swimsuit. And, because I’m having a moment of bravery, I’m going to show you what I actually look like in a swimsuit. It’s a couple of years old, and the photo is crooked, but it’s the only one that doesn’t show my awful posture. Probably because it’s crooked. But this gives you an idea of what I almost always wear.

Black skirt tankini. Probably from Target. It’s safe and comfortable, but not so flattering. And that tattoo on my husband’s arm? That’s a temporary tattoo…of an octopus. Like the kind you wet and rub on. I had hoped it would leave a funny tan mark, but I wasn’t so lucky.

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The Shopping Bug

The shiny new credit cards finally came in the mail on Saturday (you know, after my unfortunate misplaced wallet incident last Monday) and they’ve just been burning a hole through  my purse all weekend. Finally today I couldn’t stand it any longer and so after work, I went to DSW to hunt for some new shoes because peep toe pumps are not acceptable fall footwear. Not to mention the last time I had a pedicure I think Bush was still in office.

So off I went and I ended up scoring an adorable pair of black, round toe Kenneth Cole pumps (I would show you a picture but they don’t seem to be offered online.) But what I was really looking for was a pair of dressy brown heels (comfortable, yet cute and appropriate for a suit). I ended up finding a pair of Nine West heels in the clearance section but even on clearance they were still $70 and I remembered DSW was having a clearance sale today so I waited. Only I couldn’t find them online once I got home. So boo to that. But I found a $10 coupon that I forgot to use so maybe I’ll go back and snag them for $60 instead of $70 later this week.

I also tried to find a new wallet but didn’t see anything that I loved, so I decided to wait and only walked out with one pair of shoes when I really expected to walk out with three and a new wallet. When that happens, I don’t feel like I’ve used up all of shopping mojo. But it was late and I was hungry so I came home and realized that hey, online shopping can be almost as fulfilling. I fired up the laptop and before I knew it, I had placed four different orders for Xmas presents, all for the hubby. Most of the time I wait until the last-minute which makes special ordering anything incredibly difficult to purchase because I’ve usually missed all the shipping deadlines. But not this time! I had four things I needed to special order and so, I did. And I am just so proud of myself that I won’t be scanning the gift bins at Kohl’s or JC Penney’s for the generic change caddy or boxed tie or pocket knife/flashlight/transformer action figure all-in-one thingy-ma-bob. Not that those aren’t nice things, but he can always tell that I didn’t put a lot of thought into it and just needed to buy something for him to open. In my defense, he is incredibly tough to shop for. NOTHING excites him. Unless I want to spend thousands of dollars on a surprise vacation and even then his first response would probably be “but I can’t take off work” followed by “you spent HOW much?” So, mama needed to get a little more creative this year.

Chances are, he’ll probably guess three out of the four gifts, or maybe even all four, but that’s okay. I’m just really excited about having great ideas for once and officially starting my Xmas shopping about six weeks in advance. Have you started Xmas shopping yet?

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(I’m still sorting through our vacay pics, but in the meantime, let’s look at all the happy.)

Happiness is…

A very realistic dream where I was hanging out with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. More importantly, James McAvoy. I almost never have dreams that involve handsome men. Especially not handsome, famous, SCOTTISH men. Le sigh. Stupid alarm clock.


New boots! I’m not much of a shopoholic, but the desire to buy at least five new pairs of boots is hitting me hard. I covet these immensely and plan to purchase something similar this weekend. These are Aerosoles. You see, I’m experiencing some slight foot pain and I think these would be both stylish AND comfortable. I’m all about the comfort, baby.

We just signed up for AT&T U-verse service. I’ve been wanting this for at least a year, and it’s finally available in my neighborhood. More HD channels! DVR! DVR on ALL three of our TVs! And for less than $20 more than I’m paying for basic service (with no DVR) with Charter. I’m so excited for the switch! And to finally have a DVR! Bye bye Charter!

Speaking of TV…

I can’t wait to veg out on the couch with my hubby and just relax and catch up on some movie rentals this weekend.

So what’s making you happy lately?

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One of the minuses of owning your own home is all the STUFF you have to buy to maintain it. Lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, weed eaters, rakes, hoes, shovels, etc. But the coolest maintenance tool we have purchased so far?

The Power Washer:


We’ve only had it for a couple of months and dude, these things aren’t cheap (or quiet) but it is just so cool to dorks like us.

Just look at the difference on our driveway:



Of course it took me about 2 hours just to do half of the driveway and I’m still not finished but my hands and arms were sore and we ran out of gas. So I’ll finish it off maybe next weekend if the weather is as nice as it was today.

Speaking of the weather… (wow, I just realized how exciting I sound right now. Anyway.) This weekend was simply gorgeous. Very rare are the days when I can just turn off the A/C, open all the windows, and just breathe in the great outdoors. To make it even better, my favorite seasonal brew just hit shelves and even though it’s a still a little soon for fall, one of these just makes my day 10 times better.


It’s all about the simple things in life, like a clean driveway and a tasty beer.

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