Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Creative Millennial and Z Generation-Positively Tuesday


     I have a whole post to write up on the event DD2 and I attended last night through MN Blogger Bash. It was held and hosted by the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. I was one of the older attendees and I think most  close to my age were guests, not bloggers or Instagrammers themselves. I didn't mind-I like hanging out with younger folks, particularly those that are creative people. The writers, photographers, videographers, and artists of this age give me hope and energy. While many are saddled with student debt and may be working day jobs that pay the bill, but might not be their dream, they're using  the other parts of their days to nurture their creative side, and perhaps even make some good money out of it. 

     My daughter is using her  creative smarts to start a non-profit to work with youth, particularly those at most risk of not finishing high school, in the arts. She had a position like this for a summer and loved how she saw kids from highly traumatic  backgrounds, thrive with a camera or paint brush in their hand, or sitting behind a pottery wheel. She's on step one of probably 50, with a long road ahead, but starting with  volunteering with groups already working with youth in different capacities. 

     I got a few texts from my son, updating me on his current job location which is taking him across country and back again. I love how he is not afraid to take risks with his career. I can't say the instability doesn't make a mom nervous, but for the time being his life is just himself and he is building up his credibility. The big break may come next month, or year, or maybe never. Who's to say everyone has to make it big to be successful? This generation doesn't.

     I guess that is part of why I like attending the local blogging events. While some are exclusive for bloggers and Instagrammers with large followings-I don't get invites to them-these broader ones let me mix and mingle, find new people to read and follow, and keep me informed. I saw a few recognizable faces and blog names.The young generation, knows they need to pay bills but aren't settling for just jobs and know they can do more. I like that about them. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Anniversary Sunday

Picture of Lake Pepin from Wikipedia
     Our anniversary was actually this past Thursday, but life and work being what it is, we celebrated yesterday. A nice weekend away would have been nice as we did two years ago, but we are trying to be economical until we know our cash flow and savings rate will make up the gap for college and we are still putting the max we can towards retirement. Oh, and a little cash savings wouldn't hurt us any either. 

     I wined a little to this group about whether or not we should really spurge and have a nice dinner at a winery restaurant that easily would have set us back $100. In the end, we did not do the restaurant for a meal, but more so because of the time we ended up there. I was originally thinking DH would want to watch the football game, and we wouldn't even leave until after 3:00. Instead, as a compromise to no weekend away, DH skipped the game and we made a day out of it, leaving late morning. Well, sort of, he skipped the game. I didn't take pictures during the day as we were very much just enjoying the day, despite the cold and the pops of rain and drizzle. 

     First stop was at a little bakery in Maiden Rock that is known for  artisan bread, muffins, and delicious cookies. We nabbed a loaf of Irish Potato cheddar and a ginger carrot muffin to share. This was our first stop, and the muffin edged off hunger bringing us ready to poke around the shops and artist studios in Stockholm. We bought ourselves some Minnesota Vikings potholders at one of my favorite little shops, hosted by Josie the wonder dog. DH found the Stockholm Pie Company very much to his liking and picked up a 6 inch blueberry pie to enjoy later. He mentioned casually, "I wonder how the Vikings are doing?" and a guy we passed said, the pub on the corner is serving beer and wings. Well, we passed, though I knew DH kind of wanted to. Instead, we headed tot he winery and here is where the plan changed a bit. It was still just 1:15 and they were still serving their brunch buffet. We decided to just do the wine tasting, and eat down the road. We each sampled four wines, and bought a bottle to go. DH thought he was quite  a renaissance man buying artisan bread and bottles of wine on our "travels", one both  made locally and with locally grown grapes.  A quick stop for Wisconsin cheese curds and pepperoni sticks at the Nelson Cheese shop, and now we were truly hungry for lunch.

     Since DH was a sport tagging along into kitchen and Scandinavian stores and wine tastings, I let him pick. We had seen a side for Grampa's Bar and J J's Barbecue. My fancy winery dinner for our anniversary turned into BBQ and a big screen TV watching the last quarter of the Vikings game. Still-I won't complain as the food was terrific. I might get blasted, but I may even say, better BBQ than we had in Nashville. He had a Philly Cheese steak kind of pulled beef with peppers and onions and I had pulled pork. The servings were massive-I took half home. The mac and cheese was smoky and rich-just delicious. And the price? With drinks and  tip, $30! We needed to walk off some of the heavy meal so despite the spitty weather, we back tracked and did some more wandering in the town where the winery was, found another place right on the river/Lake Pepin that looked interesting for a future drive, and wandered around the break water. All and all, nothing exciting to the day, but relaxing and slow paced, and just a nice day to get away from our normal routine.

     We took our time driving home, pulling over at a few of the scenic rest stops. I'd say we are  a week away from peak colors, but there were still nice views. The Mississippi River Valley is truly a lovely place to live. Ironically, I tallied what we spent for the day, and it was practically $100 even. I maybe didn't get a fancy anniversary dinner, but we had a full day to ourselves, not counting the guys on the football field that joined us for our late lunch. DH enjoyed part of his little pie last night and we'll nibble on the other food over the next few days. He even has pot holders to throw at the TV the next bad Vikings game. That was my Sunday. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Meal Planning and the Return of the Kid

It's our anniversary  celebration day so I'm not going to worry about meals at all. We still haven't decided where we want to do dinner, but have a day of poking around the river valley today, stopping at a few wineries and tiny towns that are perfect for a day trip. We will be bundled up-it got really cold the last few days and even had snow flurries, though none stuck since the ground is still fairly warm (remember 85 last Monday), and wet. DD2, who is away at school 290 mile northwest of us got a lot of snow, though it too will melt, but enough for a snowman or two popping up on campus. It was her schools homecoming and I asked if she was doing thing for it. Apparently she thought sitting through the football game was "ew" in the wet cold weather, but she went to the Homecoming Concert, parade, and other "stuff" that had food. 

She will be home Friday night for five days and I am so excited. It was originally supposed to be 9 but has to head back four days early as she is doing a volunteer stint at a camp the college runs as part of her  one major and doing the second weekend of break means she won't later miss two days of classes. I t is smart of her as her classes are mostly  discussion and working in groups, hard to make up if you miss, but we are all a bit disappointed to miss a few days of her break. She'll be home again for five days over Thanksgiving. All this leads up to me thinking about meals for the week, and beginning to think about what to have on hand when she is home. I know we have a lot scheduled-some follow-up doctor appointments for her back, a visit to her friends college just 30 minutes away, and will be grabbing meals on the go frequently. Still it can't be a spending free for all, and I think she is looking forward to some home cooking. 

Today-not cooking other than maybe some PB toast and coffee or oatmeal for DH

  • Chili-with leftovers for lunches
  • Hamburger and potato wedges
  • Mock lasagna *made with layers of penne or rotini pasta
  • Spaghetti, sauce, and garlic cheese bread
  • Wild Rice Soup-Friday for when she gets home, crunchy baguette and salad
  • Turkey Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables-Saturday night, before she heads off with friends
I'll stop on route home Thursday for items for Friday, Saturday, and for the unplanned meals the following week. Friday is my flex day, so I am essentially off work from Friday the 18th through Monday the 28th. Granted one day of that will be driving DD1 and a classmate round trip four hours each way back to school, but hey good bonding time right? That's my week ahead in food and planning. Anything new on your menu's for the week?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

First Home on a Budget-Bedroom

This was supposed to be my September Saturday series, but life being what it is, I got delayed and side tracked. Here you all go, my final write up, using my daughter's flat as inspiration for  creating a first (rental) home on a budget.  My older daughter's first few years out of grad school she had very shared accommodations such as an RV on the road and an apartment shared with other summer teaching staff. She essentially loved out of her suitcase and used the furnishings and home wares supplied. Her first full time job in Wisconsin was a great career starter, but paid her about enough to pay the bills and tuck just crumbs away. Still, after so many years in dorms, UK shared kitchen, and loads of roommates, she wanted to live alone, and with things that would make her home a nice place to  return to the end of the day or a travel shoot. She has a good paying job in her field, but is saving towards opportunities to create more independence through more of her own video and editing equipment, studio space, and a house. She's also young and active and loves to travel, so overspending on trendy new stuff is not her style. 

My other two posts covered her affordable and quaint kitchen and dining room and her bohemian vibe living room. Today, I'm ending with her bedroom, a space I think she really did well with in terms of smart long term purchases that will stand the test of time and trends, and use of low costs buys, gifts, and second hand finds. Here was the bulk of her furniture purchases, choosing to buy a bed and decent mattress and dresser. She also bought the two side tables at a rock bottom price, but I don't recall where. Perhaps Gordmans?

 The bedding she got at Walmart and I think the pattern is so her, with the colors accenting the blue of her dresser and the gray of her head board. Paddington was a purchase I made in two and gave one to here because we both love the little guy and for her, a little throw back to her time in London. the set of three trays was another gift form me that she uses on her dresser for jewelry. They are food safe so she could use for entertaining as well. 

Storage for large items is limited. Just as she did with her long board in the living room, she just leans her snowboard up against the wall as sort of an art piece. I think it works. the directors chair she has in a  corner was bought for her brothers his red accessorized bedroom when he was two and we moved into our current house. There are little bits of red in her bed quilt as well making it a part of the room without needing to be a match to the blue and gray. To wrap up the series, her only new items were her couch, bed and mattress, side tables, and dresser, and even then, not with a credit card, but after saving and doing without much of anything in her first apartment. Everything else she sourced from thrift shops or from items family or friends no longer wanted. She is happy with her place, and I'm happy for her.