Monday, March 29, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
If you know me, then you know that I love to be organized. If you know my mom, you know where I got that trait from! I've been following Orgjunkie.com for a while now, and love all her tips, tricks and ideas, but
unfortunately for me, I don't have a lot of use for them just yet. Since I just moved into the townhouse here, and Geoff hadn't been in it long enough to disorganize it completely, there isn't a lot of organizing necessary...not yet anyway. I'm sure that will come.
I remember the first time I realized I was actually a neat person (by neat, I mean clean, not cool, though I do like to think I'm that too! But I digress). It was when we moved into the house my parents live in now, and I finally got my own room. After sharing a room of comprable size for most of my life, having the whole room to myself was amazing! I immediately set to organizing, cleaning and keeping it clean. That is when I discovered how much I love to organize!
One of my favorite stores (which I have yet to actually visit, just checked it out online!) is The Container Store. For a self-proclaimed organizing maniac, this place is heaven! Like I said, I have yet to actually visit a store, but I'm hoping that will change soon! (Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this!)
Yesterday I started volunteering for the youth group, Big House, at the church Geoff and I are members of. This is not a new volunteer experience for me; I did it when I was back in Massachusetts and loved it. It was the perfect fix of teens that I think I always needed. Now, between searching for jobs as a teen librarian, I needed that fix again! So I volunteered for the youth group. Little did I know that it could go beyond just helping at La Mesa on Wednesday nights (by the way, last night was my first night and it was so much fun!)
Robert, the youth leader, has a problem. He has too much to do, not enough time, and (willingly) gave up his intern budget for the spring, so he also has no help. His office is a mess, and he worries that people will perceive his ministry as a mess too...something it is far from, I can assure you!
I have a problem too. I have nothing to organize and I'm home all day! Perfect! Today I'm going to Robert's office to find an organizing system that works for him, and organizing that office to make it a place he actually wants to bring parents and teens into! Best of all, he still has a little room in his budget for necessities like filing cabinets. It's heaven for me...there's money to organize and plenty to do! I can't wait to get started!
Posted by Megg Joosten at 11:08 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010
I've been slacking in the blogging department, but in my defense, we had a friend visiting and Geoff's birthday to celebrate, so I've been spending less time on the computer in general. Which isn't always a bad thing!
Here is this week's menu plan, as always brought to you by Orgjunkie.com!
Monday: Shrimp scampi, breadcrumb and spinach salad
Tuesday: Grilled steak, pasta, grilled zucchini
Wednesday: Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and fruit
Thursday: Hamburger helper, broccoli
Friday: Soup and sandwiches
Saturday: Night out!
This week I'm attempting to use up what we have in the freezer and also buy meat when it's on sale. It's something I know I should have been doing all along, but it's difficult to make so many changes at once. This week's grocery bill was the lowest we've had all month, and look what we're having! Steak, shrimp, hamburger...I'm thrilled!
This was also the first month we attempted to get a regular budget going. Based on a number of factors, we have determined that $250 a month is what we're going to start out at. Every Sunday we go grocery shopping and I've been keeping track of our spending for food. This month we came out about $30 under budget, but since there are 5 weeks in March I just added it to April's budget. All in all, I'm happy with how it worked out, and though it's only been a month I'm glad to be sticking to the budget so far!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Remember when I got the Entertainment book? Well, I am pleased to say that it has not only paid for itself in just a few short weeks, but it provided entertainment for our friend's Spring Break visit this week!
Kim introduced Geoff and I, and we are eternally grateful! She's still in school and decided to come visit us for her break this past week. Thanks to the Entertainment book we were able to visit a small local zoo and the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum in Seattle this week...for half off!
Since the museums are right next to the Space Needle, we decided also to go up there and take a look. It was my first time up and, as you can see from this picture, it was a typical Seattle day...cloudy and drizzly! But it was still a lot of fun, and a nice view all the same.
Yesterday the sun came out and we were able to really enjoy the zoo! It was a small zoo in the town we live in, but it was a lot of fun and there were plenty of animals there to amuse us! It was also nice to get out and spend a bit of time in the sun and fresh air.
I'm a sucker for feeding animals when it's an option. This mule deer was thrilled to eat the pellets the zoo provided!
As were the emus in the next picture. They were really funny as they'd peck at my hand (without hurting, they don't have teeth of course!)
Posted by Megg Joosten at 2:55 PM
Monday, March 15, 2010
I definitely underestimate what a great resource I have in Freecycle. When I was in Alabama I got a few things from Freecycle and got rid of more, though most of my large furniture I was trying to tell on Craigslist. But I don't think I use Freecycle as often as I could!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This past week, in an effort to get out of the house and explore, I visited a small thrift store in my town. I've been looking for a small bench for our entry way, and also a standing coat rack for the coats we use most often and thought this store might have something I could use. Alas, it didn't have what I was looking for, but it did have an excellent puzzle for $1! There were several options, so I figured if I like this one, I'll take it back (this store takes donations too) and get another one. They also have several old board games like Life and Mall Madness for under $5 that I thought I might check out next time. Nothing like some cheap entertainment!
By the way, I've done all that on the puzzle since Thursday! With no help from Geoff, because he's not that interested, but plenty of help from the cat. She's a little too interested!
Friday, March 12, 2010
It was not a good week for food waste for us, I'm ashamed to admit. However, I did learn some valuable lessons this week, and hope to prevent further waste next week!
I'm very distressed to report that I had to throw out cheese this week. I LOVE cheese, and the fact that this one got moldy is an indication of just how long it's been around, because cheese takes forever to mold. Unfortunately, this cheese is pepperjack, and I don't like that type of cheese. I tried to use it on Geoff, but apparently forgot about it, so it went bad. Have no fear, there will most likely be no more cheese here anymore because typically I use it all up very quickly!
I'm even more distressed, no, embarrassed, to show you this next photo.
I'm embarrassed because that is a lot of salad that we didn't eat. The problem is, lettuce goes bad too quickly and for some reason I bought the family size of lettuce. I had good intentions when I did buy it, but apparently they didn't make it very far. The bottom container has leftover salad that never made it with Geoff to work, or to be eaten by me.
The top container has vegetables and broth in it, and it's from before we were married 2 months ago. In cleaning out the freezer I found it, defrosted it and sent it with Geoff for lunch one day, but he came back saying that it just wasn't that great. Apparently the freezing, defrosting and reheating of the vegetables really left something to be desired. Since I learned recently from The Frugal Girl that if you don't enjoy something there's no sense in forcing yourself to keep eating it, it went into the compost. Along with that lettuce, but not the cheese, of course.
I'm really hoping that next week is better for us!
Go to The Frugal Girl's site to see more food waste that is hopefully less than ours!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I don't want kids right now. Not at the moment, but someday. We've only been married two months and we dated long distance for so long that it's nice to actually have time with the two of us. A baby would throw that out the window. Not to mention the fact that I'm unemployed and while financially we are alright, we are not financially ready for children.
Posted by Megg Joosten at 10:58 AM
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
It doesn't quite look it from the picture, but the sourdough pizza was a huge hit! It barely made it to lunch the next day, actually! Lets just say we attempted a Margarita pizza and learned a lesson! But that's later. First, the recipe!
Like I explained in my previous sourdough post, you will need a basic sourdough starter to make this recipe. Aside from that, it was not all that different from any other pizza dough. It required a little more rising than normal, but since we were making it on a Saturday we had all day to worry about that.
Here is the before picture...
For our next attempt at a Margarita pizza, I think we need to cook the dough and sauce for about 10-15 minutes alone, then add the cheese for the last 5-10. Well, we learned for next time!
2 cups cold liquid culture
4 3/4 cups white flour (unbleached works best)
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix the liquid culture with 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup water in a large mixing bowl. This is the working culture. Proof 12 hours at room temperature or 6 hours in a proofing box (for us, this is the oven with the light on, but we usually leave it out on the counter overnight, covered in a light dishtowel.)
Add 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the water. Mix and knead until smooth. Proof 8 hours at room temperature or 4 hours in the proofing box.
Punch down. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup water, the salt and the oil. Add to the dough and mix well. Reserve 1 cup of the flour for flouring the board. Mix and spoon knead the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour into the dough 1 cup at a time. (Note, that the dough will be really sticky, so more flour as you knead may be necessary)
When too stiff to mix by hand, transfer to floured board and knead in any remaining flour.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and form each into a ball. Roll out each ball into a 12-13 inch round about 1/8 inch thick.
(The recipe suggests several different ways of cooking the pizza, but we prefer to make the round dough on the pizza stone, because it cooks best that way)
Proof 1 1/2 hours at room temperature or 45 minutes in proofing box.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Add toppings to dough rounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the crusts are brown.
Note that this recipe creates 4 pizzas, about 3 more than we needed! So instead, we have 1 pizza and 3 balls of dough in the freezer, ready to go for next week's pizza night!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
At home full-time, I get very bored and, unfortunately, watch a lot of TV. I have started to notice that there are certain types of commercials on TV, depending on what channel you're watching.
Friday, March 5, 2010
(almost) Every week I try to post my food waste from the week! Inspired by The Frugal Girl, I am trying to reduce my waste and save money at the same time!
This week I'm a little ashamed to admit that this first photo is from before we were married...two months ago!
This was refrigerator bran muffins that are supposed to be kept in the fridge for 2 months. Well, we obviously kept it a little longer than that. Oops. I pulled them out to make muffins for breakfast and discovered that was not an option! Luckily we had used most of it up, and there were probably only about 6 muffins left in the batter.
Another victim of food waste this week was a potato that I did not get a picture of, unfortunately. I did manage to save most of the potatoes by making them into mashed potatoes, freezing them in muffin cups and saving each individual serving for later use! I'm especially excited about that. Anyway, several of the potatoes had eyes that I could cut out, but this one was a little moldy on the tip and I didn't want to deal with it. So I chopped it up and into the compost it went, along with the other potato peelings, of course.
All in all, a good week for us, I think!
Posted by Megg Joosten at 5:36 AM
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Deborah, from Mom's Sanity is Making a Comeback posted this and I thought it would be interesting to think about. Where will YOU be in 10 years?
1. I will be 37, oh wow.
2. Geoff will be 34.
3. We will hopefully own a house (at least be making payments on it!)
4. We will probably have a couple kids.
5. We may or may not be still in this city, but I like to think we'll still be in Washington. I like it up here.
6. We will have been married 10 years!
7. I will hopefully be working as a YA librarian somewhere.
8. Hermione should still be around, at about 11, and we'll probably have a dog at that point.
9. My sister will most likely be married and I might have a niece/nephew! Now that's a scary thought.
10. I hope to have my weight under control, even after a few kids.
11. Geoff will hopefully have his masters in something that makes him happy!
Now it's your turn! Where will you be in 10 years? Feel free to comment or post on your own blog but let me know because I'm curious!
One of the things I use to keep myself from going crazy all day is cross stitch. I go in phases with when I want to work on it, but since I was in school I didn't have time to do it. So I've been going a little crazy since I got out!
I'm working on this for Geoff. It's a symbol from World of Warcraft, the online game he likes to play. I've been working on it since, oh, 2008, off and on, but I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere! Here is a progress picture, along with a picture of what it will look like when done, because I'm sure you, like me, have no idea what it is!
Here is what it will be someday...when it grows up! Without a job and at the rate I'm going, it might be finished this year! Of course I hope that I will get a job, but it would be nice to finish this, finally.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I have had several requests for more information on the sourdough pizza dough that we are planning for Saturday night. I did not expect this, but I'm thrilled to tell you more about sourdough!
It takes about 24 hours to prep sourdough for using, but the prep really only takes a few minutes every 12 hours. We have two types of sourdough (with another coming in the mail!) The first pictured, Geoff's blend, was made by my husband. It doesn't take much to make your own sourdough, by the way, and the interesting thing about that is that we could have Geoff's blend for 50 years and pass it onto our kids! Some sourdoughs are heirloom like that.
The other sourdough, which we typically use for pancakes, is called Yukon. It came from Sourdoughs International, and was a gift last year for Geoff's birthday from his mom. I really like this site because it has a lot of different sourdoughs, and describes which is best used for what. We have had pancakes with both Geoff's and Yukon, but like it best with the Yukon, for example.
Geoff does the sourdough prepping. Typically he'll take the sourdough out of the refrigerator, pour it into a bowl, and feed it (add flour and water). The sourdough warms to room temperature, gets all bubbly and active again (it rests in the cold while waiting to be used). We try to use it once a week, to keep it "active". Also, that way it takes less time to get it ready to be used when you use it more often.
Most recipes call for between 1/4 and a cup of sourdough starter. We normally throw some away (otherwise it'll overflow in the fridge!) and save a bit for next time!
Coming soon...sourdough pizza crust! Stay tuned!
Monday, March 1, 2010
Posted by Megg Joosten at 12:12 PM