Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Poor, but I Wanna Get Married - DIY and Being Thrifty

Hello! I realize it has been a while since I posted last. What have I been up to in the world of wedding planning? Gathering projects and getting started. So, this blog is about DIY - with a dash of being Thrifty in the process.
DIY (do it yourself) is sometimes necessary for the Budget Bride, and being Thrifty IS a necessity. Especially when you are DIYing. Contrary to popular belief, not everything DIY is cheaper. Sometimes the price of the materials you need to make the item is more than it costs to buy a ready-made item. Sometimes. It depends on your style, what it is, and what you can get the materials for.
This is where being Thrifty comes in. And if there is one thing I am good at, it is being Thrifty. I think it is in my bloodline. My mom does not give herself enough credit for this, but she is the one who taught me by example how to decorate simply, but prettily. Being a props person has also taught me a thing or two about decorating appropriately on a tight budget. So, I am most fortunate.
Here are some tips: get to know your local second-hand or thrift stores. You will be surprised what you will find in there sometimes. If you don't like items second-hand, then you will have a MUCH harder time, and I have to ask you: what is wrong with you??? Bonus: it's Green to Re-use! Another tip: if you can, join any Barter, Re-Sell, Exchange groups or sites in your area. There are a couple locally for me that I check, and I have been able to find some amazing things. Another thing on your side: people love to help out with a wedding! I have had a number of responses on my posts about needing items for a wedding, as well as some offers for cheap services too. Former Brides generally love to help Future Brides out.
The downside to this is that you will have to swallow the sometimes bitter pill of Compromise. Get used to this. Sometimes it will be heartbreaking. This is where the priorities of the wedding will help out. Its okay to have those items where you don't want to compromise, but generally, if you are on a tight budget, you will have to get used to it. I've had to. I always dreamed big for my wedding because it was not reality, but now that it is, I have come to keep those old plans as dreams, and look to the more simple side of things. But that doesn't mean that I am compromising style a bit - it's just changed, that's all.
So, I've been looking for easy (because I am NOT a DIY goddess) projects that I can do which will eliminate some expenses. Most of the ideas a decorative, but some are more practical. Here's another thing to keep in mind: after the wedding, what are you going to do with the items? You could give away, re-sell, or keep. Me, I am a fan of keeping. Generally, most of these projects are things that I wouldn't mind keeping ahold of and using in my home. I also like the idea of passing on some items to my kids or other family who are getting married.
Enough chatter, and time for pictures and more chatter :P
INSPIRATION: Burlap Ring Bearer Pillows
The Practical Side: I bought a throw sized burlap covered pillow for $1 at a local Thrift store. I needed 2 small ring bearer pillows, so took it apart and made two smaller pillows. Other materials needed: scissors, thread, other decoration as desired.
REALITY: Now, because I am not the best sewer there is, and because I don' t have a sewing machine, I just hand stitched them with colored thread (to match our "colors", and so we could tell which ring goes to which kid and carries what ring) so there would be a rustic looking frayed edge. Now I just need to decorate them. Here is what they look like now:
INSPIRATION: Burlap roses!
I can't tell you how excited I am by this! I'm not going the traditional route with flowers for this wedding - too expensive. No bouquets for the bridesmaids and no petals for the flower girls. Instead, we are going to do a Rose Ceremony, which basically involves the passing out of flowers to random members of the congregation and having them and the attendants place roses in a vase indicating the support from friends and family of the couple in their marriage. That pretty much eliminated the need for bouquets. But I still wanted to have something to toss. Then I found this. PERFECT!!! Now I just have to determine if I want to do all flowers as burlap. I'm still not sure about how far I want to take this. I could make boutonnieres and bouquets from burlap, and the flowers for the Rose Ceremony. Hmmm ... still have to think of this.
The Practical Side: Burlap cut into strips, glue gun & sticks, floral sticks, opt decorations (pearled hat pins & ribbons. I found burlap sacks for sale at our L&M Fleet Farm @ $.49 a sack! There is a possible down side: since these are used sacks, there is colored writing on them. However, since we're cutting it into strips, I think a dash of color here and there will be a nice dash of color. I've also gotten some pearled corsage or hat pins from my future MIL, so I've got a nice start on what I need. This will be more time than money, I think :)
REALITY: (haven't been able to start this yet)
INSPIRATION: Card Suitcase
This is one I am incredibly excited about!
Two great parts about this: #1: easy transportation for cards, wedding album, and guest book from ceremony to reception site. #2: instant storage for wedding memorabilia after the wedding. You won't have to wonder which box your wedding album is in - you'll know exactly where to find everything!
The Practical Side: this could be costly, or it could be cheap depending on your taste, and just plain luck. Vintage suitcases can be kind of pricey in antique stores, but if you look around, you can probably find something cheap that will do, or you can get something from friends or family. (Note: the type of suitcase you get can also compliment your wedding look. I saw one of these on a site for a 60s california theme that was so retro, it was adorable!) Aside from that you can do just about anything. If you buy craft items and fillers, it can be expensive, but this is where thrifty comes in. I use found items, and I also like using what little craft talent I have, so most of this is going to be pretty cheap.
REALITY: I've got the suitcase! I got it for free on a Barter/Trade site from a woman I am working with on a show. Isn't it perfect? I will keep you all updated on this as I work on it, but this is what I have to start with:
INSPIRATION: Burlap and Doily DIY projects
Isn't this adorable?!?! I was researching old wedding customs and I came across one that said the couple walked from the homes to the church behind a banner. This is kinda the reverse of that, and I just think its cute. So, the flower girls will be the first to exit, carrying this sign as we leave the ceremony. Another good thing: This can be attached to the head table, and displayed in the home for the first couple of months or so. It also makes an adorable hand-me-down.
The Practical Side: Items needed: clear burlap piece, yarn, ribbon, fabric flowers (or items to make your own). I'll keep you posted when I start this!
How much do I love this? SO much. Simple, but adorable. Just take a bunch of paper doilies of various sizes and shapes and put them on christmas lights. If you want color, you can use colored lights or paint the doilies to match your theme. And how adorable would these be on valentines day???
The Practical Side: Items needed: various paper doilies and a string or two of christmas lightsDoily and burlap banner. Again, simple, but versatile. You can spell out words with the doilies, or use felt or other fabric over the doilies for letter, or just leave it as is for simple decoration.
The Practical Side: Items Needed: scissors, thread, burlap, doilies, any additional decorations.
I couldn't find a picture of the finished product, but this is doily flower garland. Just imagine strings of these adorable "buds" creating a curtain around behind you. Even better if you are using a canopy of sorts - especially adorable if the wind is slightly blowing!
The Practical Side: Items Needed: various round doilies, thread, needle
INSPIRATION: The Soundtrack of Us
This is one of the pet projects that I will probably not be able to do, but I love the idea so much that I wanted to share it with all of you:
Make your own wedding/relationship soundtrack! Think about it: music is key in most weddings, and each wedding has its own required playlist. You think you have amazing taste in music, and you think others will enjoy it? Make your own soundtrack!! (I imagine there might be some legal restrictions about selling these, so be careful!) I've already started gathering songs. Most will be determined by your wedding song choices (ie: first dance song, father/daughter dance, etc); but throw in some fun songs that you and your partner just like. I'm throwing in the song that Ahren sang for his first kareoke experience ;) Have FUN with it!
The Practical Side: this can be expensive :( Blank Cds are not badly priced, but to get enough for everyone with cases, will get pricey.
INSPIRATIONS: Mason Jar projects.
I'm not 100% sure where I can use all of these. At this point, we're not sure about needing table decorations at the dance. However, I figured that I would want these in my home either way, so if nothing else, I have options, and I have cute pieces for decorating the home afterwards.Silhouette Mason Jars - whether these are for vases or candy jars or luminaries, they are so sweet and simple. I love the idea, and I think they'll be pretty easy to make. I think I might stick with hearts though - the silhouette might prove to be too hard (I'm not exactly artistic - drawing was never my strong point.)
The Practical Side: Items Needed: mason jars, spray paint, construction paper or stencils and their reverses, tape
Doily Covered Luminaries - again, sweet and simple. The hardest part is going to be finding all the doilies without paying too much. I had not idea how expensive they can get -especially the delicate ones. But they are so beautiful that I just couldn't pass this idea by. It looks like some hot glue and a lot of patience required for these.
The Practical Side: Items Needed: mason jars, fabric doilies, tape or glue, other decorative elements, candles
Chicken Feeder Candy Dish - this is going to prove the most expensive. I've done some searching online and apparently the base alone goes for about $16 a piece. No kidding. I can find really cheap ones (plastic) but they're not so cute - and the colors don't fit the look I am going for. So, if any of these ideas do not get used, it will be this one :(
The Practical Side: Items Needed: Mason Jars, Poultry feeders w/ jar openings, decorative elements as desired, candy
Book page luminaries. Instead of wrapping all the way around, I would place bits and pieces around the mason jars. Concentrating on poems, quotes, famous passages, or just cute art. The best thing about this is that you can do anything with it - you can do themes pieces for seasons or occasions, or just looks. It seems simple enough, and I like making collages, so this should be one I could do fairly easily. Hopefully.
The Practical Side: Items Needed: Mason Jars, book pages, glue & water (can also use tape), paintbrush, candles
I hope you enjoyed this peak into the process! Hopefully I will be able to keep you posted as each of these are made!
Hugs and kisses from the future Mrs!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Poor but I Want to Get Married! Inspirations!

First and foremost I should start with the moral of this blog: Inspiration is Free! It only takes a little bit of time and interest, and if there is one thing that us Budget-driven Brides have it usually is interest. So, here's a tip: Get searching! Can't afford all those wedding magazines? Guess what? The Internet is your friend! Most (if not all) magazines have websites online, and searching through there is just as easy as reading the magazine. I'm telling you, get on any and all wedding sites (usually free to join), pick up the magazines, watch a wedding show, Google weddings. Another thing to remember: Don't limit yourself when searching! Don't ignore something just because it appears expensive. I've gotten plenty of ideas watching shows like "Platinum Brides" and have catered them to my own taste and $ amount. But here is another thing to remember: not everything you see can be catered down. Sometimes that $14,000 dress, really is out of your reach. But, if you're a little clever, a little crafty, and/or know someone who is, you can overcome some obstacles.

Now that we are done teaching, now it is time to see pretty things! My inspirations! I've gathered a bunch of photos of things that I think are pretty cool, or that I want to incorporate into the wedding somehow. These inspirations are mostly in the decor and food. The look of the wedding, minus fashion. We'll start with the mouth-watering food! Hope you enjoy!

OMG! Pink milk in tiny glasses! Ohhhhh! I doubt whether or not I can figure out a way to fit this into the wedding, but isn't that just perfect for me?!?

This has 2 things that I love: the wood cake "stands" and the cakes themselves. I'm not into the "One Cake to Rule Them All" deal. I have too many people who like too many different things. I have people who are diabetic, and some people who can't have gluten, so I want to cater to their needs as well. Which is why I have decided to do several different cakes, and have a personal "sweetheart" cake for me and my fiance. Also, I want a homemade love kinda feel to the wedding, so this picture perfectly gets the feel of what I'm thinking.

Okay, so this isn't for sure yet, but we're thinking instead of having a meal, which we really can't afford anyways, we might concentrate on dessert instead. Our wedding is going to be early afternoon, we are going to take a break, and then follow with the reception later in the evening. This means: everyone gets food in between, and we provide a dessert bar! A little something for everyone. Yes, this can get expensive, but since we are concentrating on simple pleasures, our desserts can be just that: simple, delicious treats.

Whoever came up with this idea is BRILLIANT! Rock Candy on Cakes! I love, Love, LOVE this idea. A really cheap way to add a little sparkle and/or color and/or Bling to your cake. I mean, it's Rock Candy ... on your WEDDING CAKE!! *Heart this!*

Not sure if this is for me or not, but I do like this: it's a bouquet of brooches. Flowers can be expensive and last for a very short time. But you can find brooches in the attic, at second hand stores, rummage sales, flea markets, or auctions, ranging in price from expensive to "please take these off my hands" Not to mention, your entire bouquet can have your "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue" in it. Like I said, I don't know if this is something I want to do, but it certainly makes me think outside the box on how to cut back on the floral budget.

My real wedding inspiration. Alyssum. I love these flowers SO MUCH! They were on bushes outside the house I grew up in. I fell in love with this flower commonly called "carpet of snow" If I can find a way to have these flowers in my wedding, I will!

These luminaries touch my antique heart! Take old books, or pictures, or sheet music; tear out some pages, glue them on to candle holders and put in your candles. But don't limit yourself to just luminaries. I have seen similar things used as vases, favors, and candy dishes. Neat huh? This also has the ability to last beyond your big day and make amazing conversation pieces in your home.

I know, again with the luminaries?! Hey, I love candlelight! Add to that my love of mason jars and doilies, and you have the perfect addition to my wedding! These are so adaptable! Like the luminary above, this can have other uses as well, and again, also makes the great transition from wedding to home!

Oh, you can bet I will be doing this! Vintage suitcase turned card holder! I've seen some that are fairly plain (like this one) or some that got a complete new makeover for the occasion. One even used the basic idea of the paper luminary and applied it to the suitcase, and you know what? It was brilliant! Something else to consider: easy transport on the wedding day, and easy storage for your wedding memorabilia afterward.

Again, I am SO DOING THIS! All you need: Christmas lights (colored would be cool too) and paper doilies - BAM, you have a fabulous addition to your lighting decor! Both cheap and fabulous looking. Also: Christmas decorations!

I Love this! This is an altered version of an old tradition (variations found in many cultures). The bride and groom were to walk to the church together surrounded by family and friends as well as their attendants. Usually they would be led by a child - usually a girl with flowers (hence the walk down the aisle proceeded by a flower girl). This takes that tradition, but uses it for the exit of the couple from the church and to either their new home, or the reception. I love this idea, and I really want to use this in our wedding!

This is the Master Inspiration photo. I'm pretty sure I shared this with the blog before, but its worth posting again. Vintage, lilac, alyssum, mason jars, burlap ... This has it all! It is sweet and simple and beautiful. This is what I want our wedding to be.

PS: I figured out a new sign off for these posts! It's kinda corny, but I love it:

Hugs and Kisses from the future Mrs!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Poor, but I Wanna Get Married! save the Dates, Bridal Expos, and Bridesmaids dresses

Let me start this with a confession: for a while there, I lost all enthusiasm for planning this wedding. With all the personal changes in my life, the wedding took a backseat in a major way. I didn't even enjoy looking through magazines anymore! Why? Well mostly because I lost my job, and I still haven't been able to find anything. Money is TIGHT right now. So, the last thing I wanted to do is think about a wedding that I can't afford to have.

What got me out of this wedding depression? My two best friends. My wonderful Matron of Honor and my darling fiance. I owe so much happiness to these two people, simply because of their presence in my life. But each went the extra mile lately to really help me get out of my financial "funk."

My MOB is designing our Save the Dates, and not too long ago she sent me the proofs of a dozen design possibilities. Sorry, no previews until we finalize the designs, but I can say that they were wonderful! Looking at all the options and talking together about what we liked, and what we loved - just the act of making wedding decisions together about something made for us by someone so close to two of us, really perked me up and got me excited! Here's the savings part: we're sending out our STDs via email (yes, I know how terrible that looks and sounds, bear with me.) We're looking at our guest list - which will be another post once we haggle over that - and figuring out who needs printed out copies, and who can recieve them via internet. In this day and age, almost everyone has an email, so that will dramatically cut down on postage costs. Less fun, but more practical.

My wonderful fiance went out of his way to encourage my renewed enthusiasm. He surprised me yesterday by taking me out to Bemidji for dinner and a surprise. The surprise turned out to be us attending the Bemdiji Bridal Expo. When I heard about the expo a couple months ago, I got really excited that I finally was able to go to something like that. But, the idea went out the window with everything that was going on, and I didn't think we had time, so I just kinda forgot about it. I honestly cried when we got there. I threw my arms around him and cried, I was so happy.

Granted, the Bemdiji Expo is small compared to expos in larger cities (there was only 30 vendors), but it still was a wonderful time! A word of advice: come hungry. That was our biggest regret was that we ate beforehand and didn't have room to try everything we wanted. GO HUNGRY!! Also: go to have a good time and learn a lot! Right away, at registration I was made to feel special (I got a 'Bride' sticker!) Congratulations came from everywhere, and at each vendor, I felt inspired. Nevermind the fact that I could never afford most of their services - it was just nice to sample items and see all the new trends. It was $10/person, and at first, I felt bad about spending that money, but it was totally worth it. Sadly, I did not win anything, but I still got so many samples and gifts, and information. I enjoyed the samples more, but the information I gathered was more useful. Leaving that day I had so much to think about.

Warning: it can be very overwhelming, so take your time, put everything away, and sign up for every give away you can find!

Now on to the Bridesmaids dresses. Well, obviously, I can't afford to buy the dresses for my girls. So, I felt bad about asking them to buy dresses that they would only wear once probably, and also something that they wouldn't like. I'm a people pleaser, and I like it most when people are pleased with me. So I decided that I would give them options and let them decide what dress style will work for them. As we are going for a very casual feel, I am requesting that the dresses be cocktail length or short (no full gowns!).

Now, we hit the hard part: color. I have the pet idea that every woman needs a little black dress; Its the fashionista in me. So, I figure, this is the perfect excuse for my girls to treat themselves to something every girl should have.

I love the simplicity of a black dress - and also, believe it or not, the versatility. You can add a dash of color so easily. The shoes, the flowers, hair pieces, belts, you name it. And better yet, with the black as a base, the color will pop and draw attention to it.

Now - another option: Purple and green. This is the traditional side of me. Also, because those are our two main colors. (We're not limiting ourselves with colors - really is just too constrictive for me, and makes it harder for me to design with secondhand and found items) The only difference is: they get to choose the look and the shade.

Not sure how this will play with the girls. Somehow I think this color scheme will be the least popular option because of the restrictions. I also worry about this because there are so many shades to choose from, and it is possible that they will clash together. This is the wildcard choice.

Last option, and a recent developement: Creams. I fell in love with this idea because of this picture:

I'm in love with this and I would love to see everyone in this scheme (sans cowboy boots). I guess mostly because of the beauty with the variety. It's a picture of innocence and simplicity. Everyone looks angelic. I'm not about drawing attention to myself, so I liked the idea of the girls being in similar shades as I am. As a designer, I also know that this look creates a cohesive statement. A color family. Literally. There is only one member of my bridal party that is not relation by blood or marriage, and she falls into the category of family through love, so I like this idea a lot. Keeping with the neautral shades also makes it easier for the girls to wear it again.

The morals of today's entry:

* Options are your friend, and having as little restrictions as possible makes planning a wedding with a HUGE budget restriction a lot easier.

*Have your friends and family help with the wedding: it makes it more personal. You will be pleasently surprised how talented these amateurs are, and most of the time, they will help out gladly (and freely, or at cost).

* Include your bridesmaids in the decision making when it comes to their dresses. Girls will be more gracious about buying their own dresses if they have a say in them. Bonus: you feel less bad about making them spend money for your big day

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer's Over Update

Okay, well as you know, summer is over. And as most of you already know, that means a BIG part of my year is done with. Yes, I had another great summer at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji, MN! Another summer, another 5 shows. Here's what happened:

Forever Plaid

the Plaids: Sparky, Smudge, Jinx, and Frankie

A small musical, but one of the best shows of the season. These four guys were in a car accident and died the night they were on the way to their first big gig. Now, they get to come back to earth to do the show they would have done that night. If you like music from the 50's and 60's, you would have loved this musical. It was pure fun! I really learned to love the music, and for a lot of our crowds, they were old favorites. It wasn't that hard a show to put up technically, but there were some fun challenges. The best part (other than the amazing vocals from our PBP star cast) was the lighting. We had a new designer this year for 2 shows, and he was wonderful. Considering our limited lighting ability in the space, he really made some WOW moments in the show. The reveal for the finally was amazing. Here:

"Rags to Riches/Shangri-La"

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The "Mechanicals" check to see if the Moon doth shine the night of the wedding.

This show was an unexpected gamble. Zach wanted to do one Shakespeare show before he left PBP, so he chose this one after last season. Little did he know at the time that the Theatre Dept @ BSU also chose to do that show for its season. Not only that, but somehow they both managed to try and do it the same way: steampunk. Well, Zach found out too late to change the show, but we were able to change the concept. So on top of those problems, we also had MN government shut down. That really hurt local businesses, and the Playhouse was no exception. Bemidji is such a tourist town in the summer, and a lot of our audiences just weren't there because of the shut-down. It didn't help that a lot of Bemidji had already seen the show this year, and also: Shakespeare and Bemdiji summer stock don't mix that well. Attendence wasn't terrible, but it was low compared to other shows. Still, it was an interesting show. We decided that the lovers would be regular modern, albeit a little romanticized. We also took out a bit of the slapstick with them. They were more serious. The fairies were straight punk - which made for some fun with the lighting. But the best part (by far) was the mechanicals. They decided the actors would essentially play themselves - as a PBP company. So, we had some fun re-writes, and threw in a lot of local humor. It was wonderful! Best prop of the show: light up flowers (see below)

Oberon enchants Titania with "Love-in-Idleness"

Lend Me a Tenor

"Italian bastard!" - the Opera Manager lets out some anger on the "dead" tenor

This one was pure fun! A true Farce! The great tenor, Tito Merelli is set to make his american debut performing "Otello" at the Cleveland Opera Company. But after an accidental overdose, the company gofer and aspiring singer gets roped into impersonating Tito onstage to save the company. Mistaken identities ensue, and well, you have to see it to appreciate it. My sides ached from laughing less then 15 minutes into the show. It was a hit!

the Otellos take a rest

21A by Kevin Kling

Ron, the bus driver of 21A

A one-man show written by a famous MN storyteller, starring PBP's own Artistic Director, Zach Curtis. This show was wonderful! The story takes place in the span of 15 minutes one autumn day on the MN busline. Told from the viewpoints of 8 of its passengers. I can't even begin to say how amazing this show was. Acting was phenomenal. The Set was simple, but gorgeous, with a fantastic cut-out of the Twin Cities skyline. So many favorite moments, so many great characters. Ron, the bus driver' Gladys, an old-lady; Chairman Francis from the Church of Democratic Progression; a Student; Not-Dave, no matter what anyone else says; Captain Twelvepack, a brand-new drunk; steve, Steve's invisible best friend; and Man with a gun.

Captain Twelvepack speaking to Not-Dave

The Full Monty

"It's a Woman's World!"

"God Bless their little g-strings!" Yeah, that's right. We finished the season with the musical of The Full Monty! What a show! Like the movie, only moved to Buffalo, NY in the 1980s, the show is about a group of umemployed steel workers who get the idea to strip to make some much needed cash. We thought the mostly conservative crowds would be a little apprehensive about this show, but Bemidji crowds LOVED this show. The women showed up in droves, and by the end of the evening, even the men were cheering for the characters to take it all off and bear their all. It was amazing!! By far the most challenging show of the season, but when all was finally done, it was worth it. And boy, did we get glowing reviews from the audiences!

"Let It Go" The men of Hot Metal

All in all, it was a great summer, and as this was the last season with Zach Curtis as the Artistic Director, it is likely that it will be the last year for me as well as the rest of the crew. I will miss all of them terribly, but I can look back at all I have done in the past 6 years and be proud of how much I have grown and how much I have learned. I haven't completely given up on PBP yet. I am planning on submitting my resume and a sample of my work to next season's Artistic Director for his consideration. I would like to come back as Production Stage Manager. It would be ambitious, but I figure that it is worth the try.

As for now. Well, here goes the rest of the update.

Ahren and I couldn't find a place in Bemidji that suited our needs to rent, so he asked me to move in with him. He lives in a trailer on his parent's farm. Not ideal, but not bad either. It's a camper more than a trailer. No working water or stove, so we're kinda limited. We use the bathroom and bake if we need in his parent's place. It sounds a lot worse than it is. They are wonderful people, so I don't mind it much at all. I got a cat out of it too. Ahren has a cat named Mittens, and while I like her, we're kinda butting heads a little. She doesn't think too much of me unless it is early morning and she wants to cuddle. Let me show you what I mean:

this is the look she gives me when Ahren is around

this is the look she gives me the rest of the time - ha!

Actually, we are looking into getting something else. There is a bigger trailer and a cabin that we looked at the other day. If the bank gives us an "okay" we might be looking at financing one of them. The trailer is cheap, but it needs a lot of work because of water damage. The cabin is from an old resort, so it is small and a little retro. It's been sitting empty for a while, so it really needs some TLC, but despite all of that, I kinda like it. So, we're looking at options.

Bad news: I am looking for a job again. I won't go into details, but I made a stupid mistake at Luekens and they let me go. Boo. I kinda liked it there, but the more that I think about it, the more it seems like it was best for me to go. What do I mean? Well, with the move, it made driving to Bemidji a 45min drive, and that just costs too much right now. So I'm trying to keep looking on the bright side of things. I'm looking around the area for jobs, nothing big yet, but I just put an App in for a position in a fabric company in a town not far from here, so I'm hoping that will go well.

On to better news: Ahren got a new job! He started looking for something else the moment Luekens started screwing around with him after he got sick. (Long story.) He heard about a mill in Kelliher that was looking for people, so he turned in an application and they contacted him right away with a job offer! He's loving it so far. The company essentially cuts wood for various crates/packing material, so he gets to come home covered with sawdust everyday. He smells great after a day of work :D He really likes it, and the pay is better, and it is closer, so he couldn't really pass up an oppurtunity like that. We're both loving his work hours 7-3:15, and he gets weekends off and paid holidays! He was working 6-2:15 (summer hours), which made for some early mornings, but neither of us minded so much. While I am not working, I am really enjoying playing housewife. I make his lunch every morning and when he feels like eating dinner we make it together (thank goodness for an electric skillet, microwave, and slow cooker!). On weekends we work on the trailer, cleaning and organizing and doing the week's laundry. We plan out our meals weekly, do grocery shopping together, and all sorts of everyday things. I LOVE IT!

Not much more to report. Now for the fun part: PICTURES! (Hey, I have to do something with my free time.) We've been having some fun exploring the area. I also got some pictures of his siblings and other random things. Enjoy! Ahren out at a local abandoned playground




flower in the pocket

Rosie Flower Face

More from the abandoned playground

Last but not least, I leave you with this picture of the McGriff men at work

Have a good day everyone!

love and kisses,