26 April 2010

Brotherly love...

26 April 2010
Continuation of previous blog post...

video
Eric wanted me to add this little video.

25 April 2010

Our first house guests!

25 April 2010


Thanks Patrick, Natalie & Ava for making the long drive to visit us! They arrived late Wed., and left us this morning (Sun.). We enjoyed every minute of it. My cheeks still hurt from our late-night laughing sessions.

Click to enlarge.

"Ava, smile."
Day 1: We hit Zoo Boise which I admit is nothing to brag about. It certainly doesn't compare to the Henry Doorly in Omaha, but we had fun nonetheless. Small zoos have their own charm about them. We got to see all of the good stuff up close and in a short amount of time. I think Ava's favorite part was feeding the goats. You may not be able to tell by the pictures, but she was fearless.


After the zoo, we did a little tour of Eric's office and then ate out at Cafe Ole downtown...

Day 2: Morning work-out. Picnic. Frisbee golf. Smoothies. Paintball.








They were out for blood. Literally. If Eric would let me, I would post photo proof of all of his battle wounds. His body is covered in paintball welts.

Day 3: Another morning workout. Rock climbing/bouldering gym.

None of the boys are very experienced at climbing so by the end it turned into a competition to see who could push/pull/kick/pinch/slap their opponent enough to make them fall. (see video above)

And finally, we ended the week with a Thai feast. Our awesome builder treated us to a catered dinner for EIGHT at our new home. I was proud of my meat and potato brothers for being brave and experimenting with some new dishes (sushi, sashimi, etc.). We spent the rest of the evening sharing embarrasing stories and laughing until we were all in tears. Ie. Jason's MC Hammer pants days, first kiss stories, honeymoon stories, pre-wedding night talks, brutal break-up stories (and near break-up stories), interspersed with a little adolescent bathroom humor.

Thanks again for coming Pat, Nat & Ava. We miss you already.

More photos here.

16 April 2010

Random thoughts about online buying/selling

16 April 2010
Over the past few months, in looking for a house and looking for items to fill said house, we've done a decent amount of online browsing, and in so doing, have learned a few things...

REAL ESTATE KEY WORDS
Adorable, Sweet, Darling, Cute: TRANSLATION = Pocket-sized
Lots of character, Charming: TRANSLATION = Old as dirt
Starter home: TRANSLATION = Disappointing but livable
Great Investment Opportunity: TRANSLATION = Don’t go near it unless you have a lot of cash, a lot of time & an inner Bob Vila.
Unique: TRANSLATION = Don't bother. There’s a good chance it’s purple with neon green trim.
Contemporary: TRANSLATION = Tacky. 80's.
Historic, Vintage, Retro: TRANSLATION = Plumbing, roofing, mold issues, etc.
Totally remodeled: TRANSLATION = Risky. Might look nice aesthetically, BUT…
Solid: TRANSLATION = Eyesore.
Spacious: TRANSLATION = Old or cheap (at least in our price range).
Must See: TRANSLATION = Don’t tell me what to do. :)

CRAIGSLIST:

  • Beware of the fancy ads with lots of stars, swirlies, and “WOW”s in the subject. They’re usually spammers.
  • It’s a red flag when, instead of the product, they’re posting pictures of a Visa and Mastercard.
  • With CL, it’s best to deal locally. Don’t trust the ads that mention shipping.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it is.

TIPS FOR SELLERS:
  • Stage your items. Your lawn doesn’t count. Buyers don’t want a couch or mattress that you’ve thrown in your front yard.
  • Spell-check! Maybe it’s just me, but there have been times when I’ve actually been turned off of an ad b/c of grossly misspelled words. Ie. “Sweat Art Deal”, “Qeen Bed”, “Duvay Cover”, “Kwilt”, “Intertainment Unit”, “Ellegant”, I've even seen a "4 bededroom"...
  • Always include a photo with your ad. Why would I want to buy your couch or even look at it after just reading a basic description with no photo? Many times the photo is disappointing next to the description, but sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise. Either way, at least it’s a true(r) representation of what you’re selling. No matter how good your description is, the buyer is going to want to see it before buying so there’s no point in fabricating or hiding the truth.
  • Bonus points for a decent quality photo. Borrow a camera if you have to. And don’t post a picture of your queen-sized mattress with your 5 y/o spaghetti-faced son jumping on the bed while your large, dirty dog is sniffing at it.
Shopping online can be a funny thing, but ultimately, I'm a bargain shopper who doesn't really like to shop, especially in crowded, over-priced stores with pushy salesman (or realtors) so I think shopping/browsing online is a fabulous option. Sometimes you just have to know what to look for and how to navigate.

12 April 2010

Spoiled

12 April 2010
I admit it. We're spoiled. Last week my sister, Amanda, suprised us with a trunk full of groceries as a house warming gift. The only thing better than food is free food! And her timing was perfect. Normally, Eric and I reserve Friday night as our date night, but Amanda's gift allowed us to eat in - with style. I was pretty proud of this dinner. Too bad Eric chose this night of all nights to come home from work a couple hours late. :(

Then, on Saturday we got spoiled some more when Tyler and Tiffany came over and helped us with some of our home projects.
Top left: The guest room headboard!
Bottom left: Ty helped me file a larger hole in my desk for this handy organizational desk grommet (no more chords!)
Right: And, finally, they helped us hang this large heavy mirror in our master bedroom.

08 April 2010

Healthy, (Not-so-Wealthy), and Wise

08 April 2010
(Eric F. Nelson, contributed to this post. :)
We must be getting old because we suddenly find ourselves clipping coupons, counting calories, budgeting, breaking out the calculator at the grocery store, and eating our daily dose of dietary fiber. But, judging by the fact that we’ve practically started an Ebay/Craigslist business, perhaps we’re also getting a bit younger.

eBay/Craigslist
During this past month, Eric and I cleaned out the cobwebs of our lives. Literally. During our two-years in Saipan, all of our belongings were in a cramped, musty storage unit in Emmett. When we finally loaded it all up and unpacked it in our new home, we decided we missed the simple life in Saipan. So we decided to see if anybody else would find our trash to be their newfound treasure. During the last month, we have sold the following items online:

6-year-old furniture set for $800

6-year-old microwave (wedding gift, never used) for $40

Plus, Eric has been on a Ebay binge. He now has 14 active items up for bid. He’s already sold almost $300 worth of old law school books, flash cards, and study aids.

Coupon Clipping/Budgeting
Of course, we’re not the only ones selling our things online. Eric and I have found a couple of great deals on Craigslist. We recently bought a brand new queen-sized bed (still in the plastic) for our guest room at a fraction of the retail price.

I'm learning that coupons are a wonderful thing. Plus, we’re eating out less, and when we do, we look for the discounts. Recently, we’ve used certificates from Restaurant.com and Boise Deals/CitySmart.com (50-80% discounts).

Eric and I are also trying to keep closer tabs on our spending with budgeting software. Eric’s been tracking and categorizing every transaction we have through budgeting software. It’s nice to categorize our purchases and see where we need to cut back.

We're also paying closer attention to unit pricing at the grocery store. That way we can compare apples to apples (pardon the pun) in determining which particular product is the best value.

I’m also trying to “re-purpose.” I wanted a headboard for our guestroom, but I didn't want to fork out the cash. So I got an idea. We had two extra cabinet doors from our entertainment unit so I'm going to test my skills and see if I can make them into a headboard.


Health
Eric and I bought gym memberships at the end of October and have been exercising at least twice a week. It's nice to be in a routine. Plus, it helps us eat healthier. We’re still not the healthiest eaters, but we’ve been trying to replace the fast food/junk food with more fruits and veggies! Each morning we eat our fiberrific cereal, and we’re even choosing fruit smoothies over ice cream.

04 April 2010

Happy Easter

04 April 2010
I need to go to bed, but it's been a good day - filled with family and messages of our savior. Here are a few random pictures from the day.

Easy bunny cake. Just make two round cakes, cut like so, and decorate as you wish!



Hunting for eggs...And looking mischievous.


My brother's REAL bunny, "Snowbell". Very cute.

02 April 2010

Table Rock

02 April 2010
Wouldn't it be nice if spouses did exactly what we wanted them to? I always envisioned a husband who had a passion for the outdoors (with the exception of camping); I think Eric's indifferent to the outdoors.

I love the idea of being "outdoorsy". In college I took better advantage of my surroundings - rock climbing, caving, sand dunes, hiking, exploring (waterfalls, national parks, etc.). Now it seems there's never enough time, or, that's the excuse we use. And when we finally do have some spare time, then the challenge is convincing the hubster to join.

Last weekend, I decided that Eric and I would go on a hike - whether he wanted to or not. Eric doesn't see the point in hiking, aside from wanting to cause yourself pain. You would think most spouses would at least enjoy sharing some quality time with their BFF. :( After 6 and a half years, I admit, I am pretty boring.

I eventually talked him into it. I wish I could tell you he enjoyed every minute of it, but I'm not entirely sure. Admittedly, unless your favorite color is brown, it's not the best time of year for hiking, but it was definitely nice to be out in the fresh air and sunshine, with exercise as the added bonus. Plus, it was good to spend time with my sweet, albeit reluctant, husband. I love him for coming.
(Biking and rollerblading are next)