Friday, January 25, 2013

A Visit to Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus

A few months ago {a little late on posting this... but I still wanted to share} we went to visit friends near Columbus, Ohio. After hanging out and enjoying some company that I don't get to see very often, my husband and I had a bit of a "date" over at Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus

First impression: We've been to this lovely establishment before. We will probably go again. I like the big historical buildings in this part of Columbus and the bar is just plain beautiful.

Service: Very good. We've always had nice servers at Elevator. They are knowledgeable about the menu and offer suggestions. I applaud them for this as I think they get a lot of jerk customers in there. Maybe this is due to the draught haus having lots of customers and the sheer volume requires that some come off as not my favorite. Or maybe this is because people are hungry and need a brew when they walk in... or  the "jerk customers" need other patrons to know how important they are. Surely these observations are debatable on a case by case basis. {I will make a point so this isn't just some rant about rude people.} My point is, remember to be nice to your wait staff - they work hard and don't want you to be hungry either. Plus if you are out to eat with people who love you, the other patrons already know that you are important. They don't need to hear your stories of self-involvement from three tables over. Calm down and drink a pint.

 Food: I love the appetizers at this place! They often have a soup or salad that can go well with their seasonal brew. I highly recommend the corn brats, the hummus, and their almond crusted chicken salad. But really, all the food has been great!

Prices & Other Notes: Of course you pay for what you get. I'd say this is one of the more expensive "draught haus"es that I've written about, however the food is quality. And dinner is the meal where you get some higher dollar meals. It isn't outlandish, but this is honestly a restaurant (this means do not expect "pub room" prices). 

This is a place great for families, couples or larger groups of friends. During a different visit, we had 16 of us meet up to play pool and get drinks. The staff was very accommodating. We were served food and drinks in the billiard space and were able to just hang out for a few hours. We decided to leave after the place got busier, so I'm not sure if lots of people shoot pool while they are there.

As for the beer: When we visit the draught haus, we always order the specialty beer, because it is the only time we can try it. However, some of their mainstays I would recommend: Bleeding Buckeye Red Ale (it's an amber) the Dark Horse Lager (so smooth!)and Flying Hydrant (if you are in the mood for something light after all those appetizers).  

I've enjoyed all types of Elevator brew... they are tasty. And you can find them lots of places (i.e. chain grocery stores with good beer selection). So if you ever come across them in your local grocery, pick up a six pack (mix and get a variety to try if you are able). It is important for us to support our more local breweries in bigger stores... your dollars influence the way those shelves are stocked. So give it a try. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Frugal Living: Eliminating Debt Part II

After being inspired by the stories of others {read about this in Part I) my family moved forward with our own plan to slowly eliminate debt from our financial life. And I'm writing a bit more on it today to inspire others. It isn't a big deal plan. We aren't getting too crazy with it...

we have decided to limit some of our "fun spending money". The typical, let's eat at home even more than before, create handmade gifts for birthdays, limit clothing purchases, be mindful of new to us items for our home. {for the most part, we were already doing many of these ideas.} We are also trying to come up with new ways to save a little extra money. Just little changes that if they don't work it isn't a big deal. We still want to have fun, we like good, quality food, and we're not skimping on spending that is important to us.

Something that we weren't already doing was paying off higher amounts of money to one specific bill until it is gone. (shocking right? I swear we are intelligent people.)

For example we would randomly pay extra money to a credit card one month and the next month leave the extra money in a savings account. No real method. We always stash a bit away for "unexpected spending" and each month we pay a bit extra on our house payment - it is amazing how quickly that can add up! (If you have a 30 year loan, and you make one extra payment a year you already knock like 10 years off your payment plan! That is money working hard for you right there!)

So we made the plan. We have prioritized which bills should get our extra cash each month according to our highest interest rates. And our two highest rates should be paid off by the end of next month! Easy way to save money.

I have no idea how long it will take to finish off more of our bills. But I think it can happen. It might just take some trial, error, and flexibility.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Frugal Living: Considerations for Eliminating Debt

Okay, you hate it. I hate it. No one likes to think about "budgets".

Ugh. Get out of here... right?

Well,  I'm no financial wizard. But my husband and I have made some clear choices, guidelines and plans to {hopefully} save money and cut down on our debts.

The gist of the story is this:
You start with an unexpected savings fund. You buy what you need. You pay off what you owe.

How drastic you go... well, that is your choice.

We've already kicked several debt increasing habits over the last year or so. We often cook at home, J packs his lunch most days of the week, we rarely spend high dollars on weekend entertainment. We basically cut out our weekly stop at the coffee shop.

Here are some links I found very inspiring when initiating the conversation of setting financial goals and planning to eliminate debt for our family:

"Start a Debt Free Life" on Kanelstrand: Simple Living Chronicles

And Then We Saved Blog with Anna {who is interviewed in the previous link - listed above}

Eliminate and Avoid High Interest Debt {Rule # 4 of 14} with Trent from the Simple Dollar Blog

Already on an organized budget? Try 50 Tips for Frugal Living with Leo Babauta

I'll continue this conversation in a new post - Frugal Living: Eliminating Debt Part II... because apparently I had more to say than I ever thought I would about living within your means and paying off debt.

What types of resources assist your family in making saving plans? Do you have a favorite way to cut costs or work out a monthly budget?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Creative Connections: Welcome Baby Greeting Card {a tutorial}

After making so many baby gifts recently {read about bibs and burp cloths} I've been interested in presenting these little gifts in beautiful ways. Sometimes a tired momma can be so rejuvenated by the simple gesture of a tiny wrapped gift for their favorite new person.

I've been working on wrapping a set of 'welcome baby gifts' for some brand-new people that I plan to meet very soon! They needed something special... a special handmade card...

Sweet, right?

Super easy too. All you need are a few items and away you go...

1. Gather
~A map that you no longer need and is ready for repurposing
~glue stick
~markers and/or letter stamps and stamp pad for lettering and message
~sewing machine and thread
~cardstock cut to your desired size {I used precut 4x6 textured cards}
~cute paper or decorative tape for extra details

2. Sew across top of card and carefully trim extra thread. 
 ::I like to add some decorative tape to the back to ensure the thread stays put. We typically have to travel in order to give out gifts and this is to make sure the wrapping is as sturdy as possible::

3. Cut out mini flags, arrange, and add to the top of card with glue.
  ::I don't worry about cutting each flag exactly the same but there are lots of paper punches that would work well for this card if you prefer using punches instead of scissors::

{I chose two different flag shapes for the different cards I made}

4. Stamp or letter the card.
::I selected 'welcome to the world' to stamp underneath the map bunting::

5. Add a personal message.
::Something simple and sweet will do just fine::

I just love these baby gifts all wrapped up and ready to go!  

{I'm not sharing baby's name on the gift today. Sorry for the scratched out look, but the family hasn't shared the new name on their blog yet. So I'm following their lead.}

Do you have a favorite handmade gift for growing families?

I'm linking up with {Made with Love Monday} on Check out all the fun projects shared this week!
This post is also linked up with Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Glimpses: January's 10 on 10

January 10th, 2013... I can't believe you've come.
Sharing 10 glimpses from my coffee {and wine} drinking, music listening, friendly gabbing while fabric shopping, new contacts wearing, finishing little to-do lists kind of day.

 Thank you for being a great Thursday.

I'm linking up with others sharing bits of their 1/10/2013... thanks Rebekah for hosting again this year!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sew Lovely: Baby Burp Cloths

Recently I've been working on lots of items for baby showers and "welcome baby gifts". So many little families are growing a bit bigger.  After making several baby bibs, I decided to try something else with the idea of sweet and functional for new babies... simple burp cloths.

There are many tutorials out there. After taking suggestions from a few experienced sewing gals and checking out these website {links below} I felt inspired to begin a few creations for a special pregnant mama and several new mothers that I know. I chose to use three ply cloth diapers and dress them up with some darling fabrics (often coordinating with gifted baby bibs, incase mama wants to head out for dinner with a cute feeding set). 

How to Make a Burp Cloth with Hillary from the Petite Lemon Blog

Who knew that keeping a baby tidy would lead to so many handmade goodies!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013: A Year to Focus

2013... it is well on its way... are you ready? I think I am...

It is a week into the new year and I've just figured out obtainable ways to achieve personal goals that will happen this year. The truth is, this isn't a bad thing since I completed goals from 2012 without a day to spare. My last minute achievements (NYE party) delayed my ability to start this year with all "final" goal decisions made. I know and have known what I need {in my heart} to accomplish. So I've been doing lots of thinking about what is most pressing to me.

With so many goals to reach I've decided to "focus" this year. I will focus on various goals, I will focus on a specific task at time, (less multi-tasking), and I will focus on social interaction while it is happening (whatever form it may be).

I've also decided to continue my pursuit of specific goals during the year which I've found to assist me in completing personal life goals. This year thirteen. Thirteen obtainable goals for 2013.  

My 13 in 2013

1. Read 2 books each month {I'm a bit of a book worm these days}
2. Create and follow a financial plan {eliminating debt sounds like a great plan for our future}
3. Continue de-cluttering of our home {this year I will kick box madness out of our office and garage}
4. Run, bike, hike or hit the gym four days a week
5. Share 10 tips, recipes, or ideas that consider my lifestyle choice of cutting out processed & non local foods on the blog {this has been a long quest -and I'm still not quite there}
6. Take the time to travel to a "someday" place
7. Write {write more, write often and not just on the blog}
8. Garden {goodness knows that our compost pile is ready - 'grow big & grow at home'}
9. Create a desirable working space in our study
10. Put our "backyard heaven" plan into action
11. Share about my choices and plans concerning "simple living" {share 5 tips or ideas indicating intentionality of this lifestyle choice on the blog}
12. Complete a photography challenge
13. Be mindful of support given to friends and family {no matter how far apart we live}

Friday, January 4, 2013

Goodbye 2012 & Hello 2013!

We had a great 2012... and sent it off with our favorite people. We were so happy to have our closest friends come over to our home to enjoy good food, good chats, and all play with the littlest (and sweetest) people we know.

Thank you all for coming over and celebrating the New Year! We can't wait for more adventures in 2013!

Here's to continued good health, productivity, and friendships in the new year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bookworm: Books from 2012

One goal for this year was to read 12 books. I chose many titles from a book list that I'm hoping to finish reading before my 30 birthday. {You know the list - the classics and some popular books that other people make you feel like you just have to read}

Reads from 2012

Pride & Predjudice
The Help
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
The Hunger Games (Book 1, 2, and 3)
Water for Elephants
Watership Down
Silas Marner
Friday Night Knitting Club
Holidays on Ice
The God of Small Things

I was so happy to accept and complete this challenge. It became one of my favorite things to add a night or two each week of reading in bed or by a fire. (We are guilty of watching too much television once we have fewer hours of daylight.) Did you have any favorite books you read in 2012?