Monday, April 29, 2013

A thrifty weekend

We had a thrifty weekend.

We excitedly said YES to our neighbors when they offered us their beautiful playground set for our yard. It has swings, monkey bars, a rock climbing wall, a lookout tower and a slide.

It will be perfect for Liam to play on as he gets older! And the coolest part is that they just gave it to us. They didn't even want any money for it. They were just excited that Liam (and any other future Bremser kids) will be able to use it and enjoy it. We feel so, so blessed that they thought of us.

It's in pretty good shape. We have to anchor it to the ground yet, once we figure out exactly where we want it in our yard. We may add a few shingles on top of the lookout tower and a fresh coat of stain to the wood. I'm hoping to find a toddler swing (at a rummage sale) so Liam can swing in the sunshine this summer.

Liam is already enjoying playing with rock climbing rope and likes to crawl underneath everything. And he loves swinging on the swing with his mama :)

We also picked up a plastic swimming pool for free from our neighbors house! They had it on the curb, so we took it. Liam's going to love splashing around in it this summer.

Okay, and one more thrifty thing from this weekend: there's a church a few blocks away from us that had a huge baby & kids rummage sale on Saturday. They had crazy amounts of kids toys, bikes, books, clothes, etc. Matt and I rummaged through the 12 month and 18 month boy clothes and found some great finds for Liam. The best part is - all of the clothes cost us only $14. And that included a sa-weeeet pair of garden boots for me :)

Here are a few photos I took of Liam this afternoon in our backyard:

I love this little boy so dang much!

He finds random sticks in the yard and thinks they're the coolest things on the planet.


Things that made me smile last week:

I pruned all of our hydrangea bushes in the sunshine, on Earth Day!

I enjoyed talking to some people that I used to work with

Liam enjoyed coloring a birthday card for his pal & then we delivered to him

We found out from our veterinarian that our cat Marlee is all healed :)

We enjoyed delicious burgers that Matt made on the grill

We hung out with my brother for a few hours

Liam and his friend Reegan had fun playing on the new playground set

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lot of corks

When Matt and I moved back to Wisconsin a few years ago we started writing on wine corks after we'd finish a bottle. We'd get a Sharpie marker and write the date and the occasion for which we were drinking wine. Occasions such as a great meal we were eating, or an anniversary we were celebrating, or the friends we enjoyed the bottle of wine with.

Fast forward a few years and we have an entire large, glass vase filled with these corks!

I feel blessed that we've been able to enjoy this many bottles of wine together, with great meals and great friends & family. But I'm afraid it also may indicate that we've consumed a bit too much wine!

It was really enjoyable to look through these corks today and see what we've written on them. Here are a few of my favorites:
I'm pretty sure this is the first one we wrote on.
Celebrating our new home back in Wisconsin.
Celebrating our 3-year wedding anniversary in 2010.
A friend visiting from Florida. 
Friends visiting from Oregon.
Enjoying Matt's delicious homemade risotto.
This is probably too much information, but I think this may have been the night that we conceived Liam.
Thank you Mr. Robert Mondavi!!
Not much wine was consumed during this time :)

Our first bottle of champagne after Liam was born.
Self explanatory.
Enjoying a tenderloin.
Some of our favorite wines. I'm glad we saved the corks :)
An assortment of wine and champagne bottles consumed
on numerous New Years Eves.

Does anyone else keep their wine corks? What interesting things have you done with them? Any arts or crafts projects?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mother Earth

Autumn in Wisconsin

I love, love, love our Earth. 

I love the look of grand trees reaching towards the sky, the colors of a rainbow after a rainstorm, flowers in their shades of purple and yellow and pink, clear lake water sparkling in the sunshine, squirrels scurrying through the grass, corn stalks swaying in the warm summer wind, tomatoes glistening on their vines, lightning shooting through the sky on a stormy night.

I love the smell of gardenias in the hot sun, the smell of ocean salt and fish, fresh spring air flowing through our windows and into our home, the green smell of ripened squash and cucumbers in our garden.

I love the feel of grass tickling my feet as I walk through our yard, the cold snowflakes as they melt on my face, the juice of a fresh summer strawberry running down my chin.

I love the earthy taste of spinach, sweet taste of fresh picked summer raspberries, bitter taste of kohlrabi, hearty taste of potatoes, unique taste of avocados.

I love the way the Earth makes me feel. Nothing else makes me feel as energized, as peaceful and as relaxed as when it's just me and Mother Earth. Walking through the woods at our cabin. Walking along the lapping waves of Lake Michigan. Walking on a beach in the Caribbean. Laying on our porch listening to the birds chirp. 

There is nothing like our Earth.

We need to protect her, respect her, love her. Cherish her. Enjoy her. Give back anything and everything we take from her. 

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Things that made me smile last week:

We cleaned a bit of our garage while enjoying the 55 degree weather

Liam walked up and down our driveway 4 times all by himself!

Our neighbor left some delicious locally grown lettuce on our doorstep

We got good news from our cats' veterinarian - Marlee is healing and getting better

We took Liam swimming and he LOVED being dunked underneath the water

We enjoyed some local maple syrup

We got our bedroom organized a bit

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring is (kind of) here

Spring is (kind of) here! I don't want to jinx it and say that Spring is full-on here, because this is what our weather forecast looks like after today:

I know Spring means rain showers and still-chilly nights. But after a loooonnnggg Winter, we're just craving ONE crazy warm day! A day where the sun shines bright, a warm breeze blows through the trees, and we can open our windows and hear the birds chirping.

But until then...we wait patiently...and enjoy what we have been given. Sunshine! Today it is sunny outside! And 49 degrees is really not that bad (for Spring in Wisconsin).

Here are some signs. Some signs that Spring is (kind of) here:

It was sunny enough this morning to take Liam to the park
All smiles on this sunshiny day
Still bundled up, but no need to wear a winter jacket or mittens
There are green plants popping up in our flowerbeds!!!
Gnomeo is really happy about this.
All of the snow has finally melted! Our favorite sledding hill is no longer white.
Spring welcome mats are now in place of Winter ones :)
And the trees reach for the sunshine

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The writing on the wall

There are so many creative projects that I need to start on and/or finish these days. Here's a photo list of a few of the current projects I'm working on, or need to begin!

I'm working on creating a collage wall above our computer desk. Normally I would have attempted to make all of these items myself (paint old frames white, have Matt make the shelf, find a mirror at a thrift store and repaint the frame, etc), but I found everything in this photo at Hobby Lobby! And it was all 40% off, so it ended up being pretty inexpensive. I still have to put a photo of Liam in the photo frame and tack some cool things to the fabric bulletin board. I look forward to changing the saying on the little chalkboard :)
"I woke up this morning, smiled at the rising sun"

The plan is to paint this birdhouse and then hang it in the tree that stands next to my dad's gravestone. This was my mom's idea, and a great one it is :)

This is a giant metal fork. Our local Fresh Meals On Wheels program has asked local artists to decorate a fork that will be displayed throughout Sheboygan during the month of May. Then in June they will be  on display at the Christopher Farm & Gardens during a June-A-Palooza event which will raise money in support of Fresh Meals On Wheels. My options for decorating this thing are am I going to make up my mind? Should I put a giant meatball on top? Should I make it frilly and flowery? Ideas are welcome!

Matt and I are going to make a growth chart for Liam. One of these days we will get to it. We bought the piece of wood! And Matt sanded it so it's nice and smooth and ready to be primed. I think we're going to make it look like a giant ruler. If you type "homemade growth chart" into the search engine on Pinterest, the giant ruler kind seems to be what's popular now.

Matt and I are planning to make something special for our mom's for Mother's Day this year. But we can't tell you what it is because I know both moms will probably be looking at this blog post!
It's a secret...

Well, hopefully I'll get started on some of these projects soon. I will definitely share the end results on my blog :)


Things that made me smile this week:

Snuggled/napped with Liam early in the morning

I accomplished putting five loads of laundry away

I dropped off a hot meal to a neighbor who just had a baby

I enjoyed a date night with Matt (we went to a concert)

I crawled into bed and read a People magazine (by myself!)

Matt and I made homemade mango cream puffs to take to our Gourmet Club

Liam smiled & enjoyed the art as we walked through the Arts Center

Monday, April 8, 2013

This old house

I've been REALLY into researching the history of our home lately. I've taken numerous trips to the library, in search of books that will tell me something about our home.

When we moved into our home almost 4 years ago we knew that it was very old. The realtor told us that the house was built in 1910. But research is now suggesting that it was built around 1891 instead.

I found a big binder in a drawer that the previous owners had left. This binder contains a wealth of information about our home. In fact, we have an Abstract that dates all the way back to 1837 when William Farnsworth, the founder of Sheboygan, owned the land that our home sits on. Crazy!

Included in the binder is a receipt from a professional decorator that quoted carpeting at $793 and draperies at $297 -- and that was in the year 1930! I would love to see what those carpets and curtains looked like in our living room back in the 30's.

Matt and I went to the Sheboygan County Historical Society a couple of years ago and did a little research off of the names that are found in the abstract. But we had limited time there, so we didn't find much out. 

The most important thing to me in doing research on our home is finding out who lived here. And what our home looked like back in the day. I would do anything to see some photos of the interior and exterior. I'm pretty sure that our home had cedar shake siding at one time, and cedar shingles as well. We also know that the kitchen was once split into two rooms. And that there was a staircase at the backside of the home as well. There's also a creepy room in our walk-up attic. I'd love to know what that was used for. We've been told it may have been a maid/servant quarters. The driveway and garage used to be at the north side of our home, now it's at the south. I wonder why they moved it? 

The street that we live on was the first street in Sheboygan to be paved with concrete. There were some well-known families that lived in homes on our street, so I wonder - did anyone really important ever live here?

I'm hoping to get back to the Historical Society soon (during "mama time") and really dig into things. They have rows and rows of old photographs there and I just want to get my hands on some photographs!

I'll let you know what I find out.

Here's the binder of information that we found in a closet.
How cool that this has stayed with the house over the years!

Here's the abstract, dating back to 1837.

A loan dating back to 1921.

A plat map dated 1921.

Home mortgage dating back to 1891.

Expensive decorating bill for the year 1930.

Old landscape renderings.

Has anyone else every done research on their old home? Have you found our anything interesting? If you have, please share!

Things that made me smile last week:

I bought a cute little newborn baby gift for a friend

Matt, Liam and I walked to our polling place and voted

The three of us explored the library for an hour

Liam and I went for THREE walks around the neighborhood

We put our deck furniture out on our deck (in hopes that Spring finally arrives)

We enjoyed our neighbor's delicious homemade soup and applesauce

I caught up on some episodes of Kourtney & Kim Take Miami :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Remember Nhu Art Gala

An old friend of mine (she's not old in age, it's just been a while since I've seen her!) and her husband have organized an awesome art gala, and the proceeds from artworks sold are going to to a great cause. 

The Remember Nhu Art Gala takes place next weekend, April 11th-13th, and I'm showing one of my prints. My signed, numbered and framed print "Two Roses" will be for sale by silent auction. 

75% of the sale of my giclee print will go to Remember Nhu, an organization committed to preventing children from being sold in the sex trade in southeast Asia. 

This event coincides with the 2013 Boneyard Arts Festival in Champaign, IL. Be sure to check out Remember Nhu and the Boneyard Arts Festival

Here it is, framed and ready to be shipped to Illinois.

Best of luck to Jessie and Jarrod with their event :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013


This past weekend Matt got beef jerky in his Easter basket.

Liam got oranges, raisins, goldfish crackers, a book and a puzzle in his basket.

What did I get in my basket? A wonderful gift that the Easter bunny (myself) ordered off of Etsy :)

A beautiful crocheted LOVE banner! 

Handmade with care.

One of my friends in Florida, Rhonda, sent Liam an adorable crocheted owl hat when he was born. Her sister, Jess, made it. Jess crochets the cutest hats, ear warmers, cowls and banners.

The other day I was checking out her Etsy page, called My Charming Colors, and I saw this awesome Love banner. Usually it takes me a bit to decide on and purchase anything that has to do with home decor. But when I saw this (the Easter bunny just knew that) I just had to have it!

Here's a link to Jess' Etsy page: . I also added a link to her blog, My Little Mustache, on the right sidebar of my blog.

I hung it in between two of our kitchen windows.

The colors in the banner match my homemade curtains perfectly!

And FINALLY the weather was nice enough outside today, I moved Liam's pack n play out onto the deck for a while. And I took him for three walks in his stroller. He enjoyed watching the squirrels, listening to the birds chirp and feeling the sunshine on his cute little cheeks.