Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's resolutions

Hello all,
My hope is that all of you reading this had a wonderful Christmas holiday. If you were anywhere in the Midwest, you had to spend a good deal of time shoveling snow...many inches of snow. My travel plans changed due to the fact that I didn't want to drive in the crappy weather.
So now we begin the new week thinking of where the last year went and what great things we will accomplish in the new year. I'm wondering why we do that and does any body really fulfill the long list of "resolutions". I want to make this year different. To be accountable for the resolutions that I made sitting by myself on New Year's Eve. Maybe if I share them with you with specifics and then report to you how I am doing. Can you help me with that? Maybe you can share your resolutions with me and we can help each other.
So here we go (no laughing or judging. Some will be stupid and simple)
1. Balance my checkbook each payday. I don't know why this is so hard to do but I hate it and I want to be more on track. This will help me to have my bills more organized and pay them on time and not just within the grace period.
2. Exercise more - I need to have a healthier live style and I'm going to be in a wedding next November. I will be 10 years older then all the other bridesmaids and I want to look my best.
3. Don't let the laundry pile up too high.
4. Clean the house so that I won't be embarrassed if somebody just stopped by.
5. Buy a house - this one I am actively working on. I'm going to see a house for the second time. More on that later.
6. Get a library card. Simple and should have done it sooner. We have a great library - brand new and I haven't even been inside.
7. Entertain more often.
8. Here's a no more, Duh!
So there it is...literally out there in black and white. Perhaps this will be the year that I change my ways and actually accomplish those goals.
So what do you have on your "resolution" list? Share some with me and maybe this will be the year for both of us to accomplish those goals.
Happy New Year, blogworld. God Bless

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter parades

Hello Blog world,

So tonight is a blustery cold and snowy night here in central MN. It's the first measurable snow and it's blowing like the Dickens. So you ask, "Why would anyone live in this type of weather?" Well I can't really answer that because I think we all ask that at least once a winter. Now, once I get a digital camera (don't say it, I know), I can show you just how beautiful this area can be in the winter.

So what is that we do when the weather turns cold? Well here in central MN several communities, including the great one that I live in, plan outside activities. Yes...outside. One of those activities includes having a parade. Yes...outside. I know of at least 5 different communities that hold these parades. They are a lot of work to facilitate but the payoff is much greater. Yes, blog world, that's what I've been doing. Planning an outdoor parade in the middle of winter. If you are reading this from a warm state, you should check one out sometime. They are a hoot.

Since I've been a slacker on the blogging lately here is another one of my lists to update you

Here at Nelle's Nook we've been up to the following:

1. the usual cleaning, working, laundry

2. planning above mentioned parade

3. surviving H1N1

4. attending other community parades with the best decorated float of all time

5. suffering through another terrible cold - excuse my sneezing

6. and the very best thing of all time, something I have been crushing on for years and years....I purchased my very own Kitchenaid 5 quart stand mixer in Green Apple. I will post a picture as soon as I get a digital camera (I know!) It was a very big purchase for me, but there was a deal and a mail in rebate and a small windfall of cash.

This purchase caused a chain reaction. First, since it was such an awesome color, it's home, of course, is on the countertop. Since I live in a small apartment, countertop space is at a premium price. So I had to do some rearranging. I purchased another shelving unit this one just for $24.00 at Home Depot, cleaned out the kitchen closet, set the shelf up in there. This new shelving space, caused me to clean out and rearrange a couple of other cabinets.

All in all, things are getting more organized for a little while that is.

Now, I can't wait to start making Christmas cookies. Let me ask you this blog world, is it lame to send parents who are retired in a warm state, homemade cookies, breads, towels and a cd? They don't need or want anything. Is this too cheap or since it's homemade from me, would it be appreciated? What reactions have you gotten on homemade gifts or better yet, do you like receiving them?

Let me know.

I promise to write more. But in the mean time..,may the true meaning of the holidays be in your heart and not in your pocketbook.

From us here at Nelle's Nook - Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas

Monday, October 26, 2009

Merlot and Macaroni & Cheese

Hello Blogworld...

There is something about Monday nights. It doesn't matter if the past weekend was busy or boring, Monday night rolls around and all I want to do is curl up on the couch. And as all of my friends can attest to nothing goes better with curling up on the couch then a glass of wine and some comfort food. Well, in the single girl's world that means Merlot and Mac and Cheese. Just a couple of glasses and that bowl of Mac & Cheese starts to look like Gaida served it to you herself. Throw in some fake chocolate chip cookies and what more does a girl need. Hmm...... I know you were thinking, "hmm....what does she mean by fake cookies?" (Seriously, what were you thinking...what else would a girl need.)

But aren't all cookies real? Judge for yourself.

Recipe for Fake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350
Take pre-made cookie "pucks" out of freezer (purchased from a school fundraiser)
Place cookie pucks on ungreased/unprepared preferable clean (but not required) cookie sheet
bake for 11 minutes
Gulp down wine and refill while cookies bake
return to couch with full glass of Merlot and plate full of cookies

I wanted to be a cookie snob and not like these cookies, but they are darn good.

I would imagine that some would and could say that the combination of Merlot, Mac & Cheese (by the way, it was not homemade either. Just straight out of the blue box), fake cookies and a single girl is a recipe of disaster or depression. An old maid with her cats destined to never find a man. I say Pish-Posh. I am in full possession of the remote, can lay around in my ugly gray sweats, get a little drunk if I wanted to.

Ah...the joys of being single.

Until next time when I'll probably be whining about not having a main man.

May tomorrow bring you smiles at unexpected times.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Silos and Haystacks....

Thelma and Louise we aren't but there was a road trip.

My sister and I drove the five hours from my home to my brother's home in Iowa. We've made this trip before a couple of times. The last time was a couple of years ago for another confirmation. My brother has three wonderful children, a senior, a freshman and a fifth grader. Smart kids. I've missed the fact that I haven't been able to be a bigger part of their lives, but that happens when you live 5 hours apart. We will be making this trip again in May for graduation. It seems that those are the occasions that we make the drive either north or south. Confirmations, graduations and funerals.
I think that when you only get together a couple of times a year, the differences in adult siblings are much more apparent. You see, blogworld, I have two siblings. An older brother and a very much younger sister. My brother was a senior in high school when my sister was born and I was thirteen. My sister was 9 when our mother died and our dad remarried not long afterwards. She was basically raised in a completely different household then my brother and I. My sister and I are very close. We actually speak to each other every day. We are developing the same interests and hobbies, although she is much better at them then me. Our brother seems to have much different interests then we do. Love is not questioned ever, similarities are. I would have to imagine that every family is like that. I would also have to imagine that if you got one of those books that studies the child ranking and personalities crap, we would probably be right on target. All that being said, sometimes I wonder how we can be so different and yet be family.
What I did come to realize on this trip was just exactly how beautiful Iowa is. Since I was the driver I had to pay attention to what was going on and couldn't knit, nap or read. (Although my co-pilot did very well keeping me company). From southern Minnesota to West Des Moines all I saw was rolling hills, beautiful fall foliage, farms with white houses and red barns. Cornfields broken up by pastures peppered with cows and horses. It was very picturesque. I don't know if it's something that happens when as you get older but I've never really appreciated these views until this trip.
There are several blogs I follow that are about farm life. Maybe it was from reading about their farm life, their trials and tribulations, their pictures of baby pigs that made me look at the landscape of Iowa in a different light. I am green with envy that this is not a life that I live or have a part in. Although, I can't say that I'd survive farm life, but I would give it my best effort.
So, Iowa, I want to go on record by saying that you are not a state to be taken for granted. More like a state of mind, a state of peacefulness, a state of beauty and a state that I want to see more of. Thank you for sharing part of your beauty with me.
Look around, blogworld, is there something or someplace of beauty that you haven't truly seen before even though you seen it before?
May tomorrow be a good day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do you ever get the blahs?

Hello Blogworld,

I wonder, do you ever get the blahs? It's not like your sad or mad or really anything but blah. Work is blah. Crafts are blah. Books are blah. Food is blah. Blogs I read are blah. TV is blah. I hate all the clothes in my closet even the ones that do fit. I hate every thing in my home. I don't want to do anything. What causes this to happen quite frankly out of the blue? How can I snap out of it? So I wonder, does this happen to other people? If so, how do you cure the blahs?
Even this blog is blah...hope you are having a better day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The art of the handwritten letter...out of style or all the rage?

Hello blogworld,

I wonder about a lot of things. Some important, like the crime rate and some not so important like when one of my cats stares at a spot on the wall I wonder what they are looking at, which is nothing. But what I've been wondering about lately is the art of letter writing. Not writing an email, sending a message on Facebook, text or Twitter. But sitting down and actually putting pen to paper to send a letter or thank you to someone. Back in the day, this is the only way people communicated. It was how families, friends and even lovers communicated. By the way, nothing is hotter then a love letter. Now I am not saying that I don't love technology...hello I do have a blog after all. I have had an entire relationship come and go via texting. I've probably Googled just about every person I know. But there is nothing like opening the mailbox and there amongst all the magazines and junk mail is a little envelope written in hand. Who could it be from? Who actually took the time to sit down and write me, ME a note? It's just so exciting.

Now, I feel that it's my personal mission in life to bring back or at least help support to the best of my meager ability the lost art of letter writing. Many other people feel this way. There are many books out there full of tips and trick and quotes and just about everything a person would need to help them do the thing we've been doing since birth...communicating with another actual, live person. And there is, of course, Hallmark which writes the words for you.

Many people don't take the time to write a thank you note or a letter because they are afraid of, gosh, I don't know, maybe their handwriting sucks or they are a bad speller. Fear not, all you need to make someones day is a few simple words written from the heart. Hello, I was thinking of you today. Dear so and so, I had a blast this past weekend. Thanks for the digs.

Now many of my friends could tell you that I could run a small stationery store out of my home and that I'm a pen snob, but that's just my weirdness. I am a pen snob and I do have a ton of stationery, some cheap and some expensive (some is monogrammed) but that's just me. Your friends, your family, your grandmother would pee their pants to see a handwritten note in the mail...from you. It doesn't need to be on fancy paper. Plain white paper would be fine, although once you've written on fine paper, you won't want to go back. Start with a thank you note because then you have a reason to write. Thank you Grandma for the pink fuzzy slippers. I love wearing them when I am hungover. Okay maybe you don't need to be that specific, but I think that you get the point. If you go to Emily Post's website, there is a standard format for writing thank yous.

So I challenge you to write someone-anyone a handwritten letter and smack .44 cents on it and stick it in the mail. You will definitely make the recipient's day. Give it a whirl!!!

Leave me a comment on if you write letters or if you don't, why not? Or share with me your favorite memory of a handwritten note. Mine are two small slips of scratch paper which were wrapped probably around a ten dollar bill from my mother when I was in college. "come home and visit us, we miss you. This is for you." They are written in pretty handwriting and when I read them, I can almost hear her voice. She's been gone a long time now, so they are very important to me.

Happy writing!

Friday, September 18, 2009

What the...!

So I get all excited that I have a blog. WHOO HOO!!! And then what do I do, nothing. I post nothing....nothing!

Okay so enough bad punctuation and swearing at myself.

What I've been up to since logging my first post is as follows:

1. Celebrated my birthday - which can take several weeks to complete.
2. Started sewing on my first quilt ever.
3. Stated sewing for the first time since the 9Th grade. See #2 for project.
4. Spent some time recovering from said birthday celebrations.
5. Ordered from Etsy for the first time ever.
6. Helped a friend celebrate their 40Th birthday (notice how much I like to celebrate stuff)
7. Started reading the Elm Creek Quilts books and have completed the first two. They seriously need to be made into a movie.
8. Lived regular life and jobs. (yes plural. I work two jobs)

So it's not not like I've been just sitting around doing nothing but watch NCIS marathons. Oh, wait, yes I did that too. That Gibbs can really pull you in. A girl has got to wonder if they really make men like that. And if so, where do I meet them.

So, dear blogging world (which is just me at this point), I promise to post more thoughts, observations and perhaps, just perhaps some bitching. Eventually I'll get a digital camera and post photos of my work if you promise not to judge my ability.

Have a great weekend - drink some beer. I will!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Hi there blog world.

After three (or four) margaritas, I have finally stepped in the deep end of the pool and joined the world of blogging. By deep end, I mean that I have for a while now been just a reader of blogs, splashing in the shallow end end as you have it. So here I am. What I am going to do or say or share on this blog I really have no idea.

Last year's birthday was a mile stone birthday for me. I decided that I was finally to the stage in my life that I was going to try new things without being afraid of failing or what people would say. So far, I've done pretty well. I learned to knit, have gone bowling (yup...never before), finally joined a church, have signed up for sewing lessons...and started a blog. I am sure that there are other things that I did or tried that I normally wouldn't have. I have to say that, thus far, I'm proud of myself.

Here I hope to capture the random thoughts in my idea, send out to the world questions that I have everyday, record the trials and tribulations of my new hobbies, probably ramble on and on.

So welcome to my "Nook", my corner of the world. Stop in and visit, stay and have a cup of coffee or a beer depending on what you prefer. I prefer both, but not at the same time.

More to come...