Help me know who reads Western Shore by following with Google Friend Connect or leaving a comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The 20 Weirdest Fish in the Ocean

20 Weirdest Fish in the Ocean


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Folks, We May Have a Winner!

The hubs and I had a quite successful house hunting run yesterday, and saw a house that we think may be the one!  It's in Robbinsdale in a nice neighborhood, and is essentially turn-key: New furnace, new roof, renovated and decorated rooms, a fence, and a nice, big basement that has finishing possibilities.  I actually took pictures of my own, so I can conduct a virtual tour for you now!

Here's a photo of the front of the house...
...and the back (through the back porch door.  I know, it's not a great photo.  Note the two-car garage!).
Here's the kitchen.  I love the color of the cabinets!
Here are pictures of the bright living room and the nice sitting area, which was an addition.

Now for the master bedroom...with two closets!

And the second bedroom (it's a terrible picture, I know)...
Finally, here is a shot of the 3/4 bath in the otherwise unfinished basement. 

That's it!  We really like this one!  Let us know what you all think!

Also, congratulations to my cousin and to good friends in the cities who added new members to their families this weekend!  Welcome to the world, Finlay and Abigail!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shorebird Gets in Touch with Her Duck Cousins

I've always enjoyed swimming.  I took swimming lessons for what seems like my entire childhood, either at camp or through my hometown's winter swim lesson program.  When I was a counselor in training at Camp Newfound in 2000, I swam multiple times a day, trying to complete the 100 mile challenge (I didn't get there...stupid lazy younger self!), and participating in several 2-mile "Harrison Swims".  I would have certainly been on the Nashoba High School Swim Team if such a thing existed (I guess they held practices in the third floor pool).

In high school and college, I got certified as a Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor and taught summer camp swimming lessons near my hometown.  I learned how to perfect my strokes and show kids how to do the same.  I did that for 6 years, and then didn't swim at all for 3!

So, I've decided to take full advantage of my fitness center's pool and try to get back in the "swim of things".  I'm going to keep track of how far I swim on the blog so you can see how I'm doing.  Once I work up to a full mile (1800 yards), I'm going to try some more complex workouts I've found on the internet, all of which are 2000 yards in length.  

Wish me luck!  Maybe someday I'll be a real swimmer!  Masters, here I come!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Handsome Boy! Handsome Boy!

Ain't he cute?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

The hubs and I had quite an eventful Sunday yesterday.  We went house shopping for the first time with our awesome realtor, and found a home that we really like!  We know it's only the first time out and that we will take more trips in the future, but it was fun finding a home that's in our price range and a good neighborhood that we liked.  At a request from my father, who thinks that somehow harm will come our way if I post homes that we're looking at online, I am not going to post the link to the home we like, but would love to email the listing to anyone that is interested.  Just request I do so with a comment below.

Just because I'm not going to link the listing doesn't mean I'm not going to divulge any good details, however. :)

The home is in a nice neighborhood in Robbinsdale.  I was really excited when we first pulled up to the home because it is so cute!  There are tall windows with cute green shutters that make the home look miniature somehow (art people, please tell me why!); I think it's the proportion of the window to the height of the wall.  Anyways, the front door opens on a cozy livingroom with the neatest, original, 1930s fireplace with built-in bookshelves.  The bathroom is small by most modern standards, although comparable to the apartment bathroom we currently use.  It has original tile and a bead-board ceiling.  There is a bedroom on the main floor that is also small that would be an excellent office.

The kitchen has been updated and is about twice the size of my current kitchen (!!!!).  All the appliances are new and there's a dishwasher.  There's also I ledge on the windows over the sink so I could grow fresh herbs.  The kitchen connects to a large, four-season porch that would serve as a dining room/game room.  There are windows on all the exterior walls of the porch--lots of light.

Upstairs, there are two weirdly-shaped bedrooms that have plywood walls.  We found this a little bizarre, but guess that rearranging that space and putting actual walls up would make the upstairs quite workable, and guess that plywood walls would be easier to replace than drywall.  The basement is unfinished, leaving room for possibilities in the future.  

The outside is nice as well, with big oak trees out front and a large garage that takes up most of the lot behind the house (the front yard is quite deep).  

If you are still with me after that epic post, give yourself a pat on the back.  Shoot me an email or comment below if you'd like to see the listing!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

House of Interest #4

Here's number four: - Robbinsdale Listing - $144,900 - MLS#3865608 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: It's large (4 bedrooms!). It has a nice, fenced-in backyard. It's a corner lot. There's a big garage and a storage shed. The interior needs updating, but does not appear to be too severe in its need for renovating (although the kitchen is ominously absent from the photos).

Cons: The bedrooms are kind of small. The bathroom is just weird! The basement looks bizarre, but I remember Laurelaura's "before" pictures of her basement prior to renovation, so I know that it is not unsalvageable.

Not too much to say on this one, I guess. Can't wait until tomorrow!

Friday, February 5, 2010

House of Interest #3

Happy Friday!

Here is House of Interest #3. It's way out in the northwest suburb of Robbinsdale: - Robbinsdale Listing - $139,900 - MLS#3860119 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: OMG it's updated. A big backyard...with a fence! I like the brick exterior. Two-car garage. Finished basement. Nice big tree in the backyard. Big picture window in the living room. Fireplace!

Cons: The fireplace is in the basement (weird!). The bedrooms are TINY. It's way out in Robbinsdale, where I haven't even been before. There are train tracks right behind the home, which wouldn't bother me (I like the sound of trains), but would be bad for resale. There is an electrical tower basically in the backyard, which sucks.

I'm not sure how I feel yet about venturing northwest, as all of our friends and one of our jobs are south or east of Minneapolis. What you get for your money is pretty good, however.

Comment time!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

House of Interest #2

Here it is...House of Interest #2! Click on the link below to view the home. - Bloomington Listing, $124,900, MLS#3641748 - Call 763-576-8286

Pros: Farmhouse in the city (awesome). It has a huge, partially-fenced yard with big trees. Ivy on the side of the home. Porch. 3 beds and 3 baths. The bead-board in the kitchen is nice! It's by far the largest home in the neighborhood, and says those other homes are worth between $180,000 and $230,000.

Cons: No idea about the neighborhood, but based on prices of the other homes it might be ok? The price is right, but it's a short sale (ugh). What is with that contemporary fireplace in a 1914 home? The hubs is worried about "old wiring", something that hasn't concerned him with other older homes, but is worth a thought. The bedrooms are small. Did you spot the Asian wildlife in the living room?

Let the commenting begin!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

House of Interest #1

Here's House of Interest #1. The MLS number is 3867275. I don't want to violate copyright laws concerning the photos of the home, so I've provided a link to the listing below. - Richfield Listing, $122,400, MLS#3867275 - Call 763-576-8286

This is a home that qualifies for the Hennepin County loan program. It is a bank-owned home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a nice backyard, and a garage. It has radiator heat (for better or for worse), and it doesn't look like it has a dishwasher. It also has some funky carpet and paint jobs, which can be remedied in a day or two.

We haven't seen the home yet, and I know that pictures can lie, but this looks like it could be a good investment, especially if we could get the $25,000 renovation loan.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Big News!

It's been quite a while since I last posted.  One might assume that I was super-busy; nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am home all morning long, and could post then, but the inspiration hasn't struck in a long time.  This is partly because nothing is going on, but mostly due to laziness. :)

However, something big did happen to the hubs and I this weekend--we got pre-approved for a mortgage!  We're very excited.  We are going with an FHA loan and looking at homes in the southwest metro area.  We're especially interested in homes that fall under the generous Hennepin County loan program.  The program gives loans to homeowners who buy bank-owned homes in certain cities--between $10,000 and $30,000!  There is also a $25,000 renovation loan that is available through Hennepin County.  

So, to keep you all clued into the process, I'm going to post a daily "house of interest" and see what you all think!  See above for the first home.