Sunday, October 31, 2010

New series!

Not surprisingly, since we bought a house, Geoff and I aren't exactly rolling in the dough. Unfortunately for us, Christmas is coming up, and that means gifts. While we are happily spending less, cutting back on going out and eating out (for the most part) and buying store-brand items, I'm sure our family would appreciate a little more thought being put into our gifts. I also think they would appreciate gifts in the first place, which means I (as the gift buyer in the family) need to be a little more creative than usual this year.

This brings us to my new (semi-regular) series! Coming soon to a blog near you! How to do Christmas on a (very) tight budget! Lets face it, few people have money to blow right now, and none of us needs something that doesn't really mean a lot to us. I challenge you this year to try and be creative and frugal with your Christmas gifts! I know you can do it!

Disclosure: If you are a member of my family, extended or otherwise, you might not want to read this series as it contains actual gifts I plan on giving this year.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest post!

I've got a guest post over at Believing Boldly! Go check it out!'s about politics!

Clean kitties say it's important to vote!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Show us your life guest room!

I typically don't take part in Kelly's Korner's Show us your Life, but I couldn't pass this one up! Our guest room is my favorite of all the rooms we have in the new house so I can't resist showing it off!!
Many regular readers have seen it, but I will post again.

Here is the room from the doorway, when you walk in. I have since added curtains, a different end table and a floor lamp, but my memory card is acting up so I couldn't take a picture of it. Also I'm lazy.

The bed is my husband's childhood bed, and next summer I'm going to take it apart and spray paint it white to match the rest of the room (the new bedside table is white). The bedding was from JC Penney on clearance! We also had a gift card so I ended up spending all of $15 on it! I was quite proud of myself.

This is the wall opposite the bed, the same wall the door is on. The lava lamp was a gift to Geoff from me one of the years we were dating, but it matched so well that I put it in here! The dresser is also Geoff's childhood dresser. It needs a little work (I have since replaced the drawer pulls because some of them were broken) but I haven't gotten to it yet. Eventually!

I found these curtains at Bed Bath and Beyond in the children's section! My mom suggested we hang a white sheer curtain under them, so there is now another curtain there. It looks really nice, so I will hopefully get around to showing you one of these days.

Even though we don't always live in the guest room, I absolutely love it. It was the room that took the longest to paint and work on, but it is totally worth it in the end, I think!

Check out more guest rooms at Kelly's blog!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windows, doors and sledgehammers

No, this post isn't about another household project (though I do have a couple of those on my to do list!) but rather a quote you may have heard: "When God closes a door, he opens a window."

I was thinking about this quote the other day. I believe that God has both closed and opened many doors for me, especially in the past couple of years. I've lead a very transient life recently, packing up my VW Beetle and moving far too many more times than I'd like. This last move was my sixth move in 2 years. For a girl who, aside from college, had moved three times in 24 years, this was definitely unusual.
When I was thinking about this quote, however, I was wondering if I actually was supposed to move six times in the past two years. Maybe God opened a window for me but I kept staring at that door, waiting for it to open again. When it didn't I took matters into my own hands, taking a sledgehammer to the door that He had shut on me and going through anyway.
I seriously hope that God has a sense of humor, or at least can accept that I can be an idiot at times. For example, moves one and two. While I will never regret moving across the country for a man I was dating, I wonder if this is really what God wanted me to do. I put myself into a lot of debt, put unnecessary miles on my car and all for what? Because I was bound and determined to go through that door, sledgehammer or not. Consequently, I ended up driving that VW Beetle from Massachusetts to Washington...twice in 2 years. In retrospect it doesn't seem like a good idea, though at the time it was about the only thing I could imagine doing.

All this came about because I'm still unemployed. Ten months ago, heck even 5 months ago I was still looking for library jobs. Today, I head down to Peets Coffee to turn in an application. In my paranoia/over-thinking mind, I'm scared. Scared that I made a mistake. That I went plowing through that closed door because I was bound and determined to get my degree in Library and Information Science. A degree that is now preventing me from getting any job, library or not, because who wants to hire someone with a masters degree for a receptionist job?
And yet...God provided for me to go to school in Alabama, through an amazing assistantship for all three of my semesters there. While I, on the one hand, don't understand why I can't get a job to use my degree, I know and understand that I was supposed to do that...right?
It's hard to understand God's ways when I am unemployed, laden with $30,000 in student loans, stuck at home and stressing about money. I know He has a plan...but why can't He be a little more obvious about it?
Life shouldn't be so complicated.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu plan Monday

One of my goals this month was to plan our menu every week. This month it didn't happen, unfortunately. It wasn't a complete failure, but I'd say I only planned our meals for 2 out of the 4 weeks this month. One of those two weeks is this week though, so that's an improvement!
In my defense, our schedules have been changing a lot recently, and though I think they've finally evened out, it made meal planning difficult when one or both of us were out in the evening. However, I also discovered the website Spark People, a website to help weight loss. It's an awesome site overall, but one of the best features is the fact that it plans your meals for you! I have a hard time planning meals often, and knowing what to include, so this was very helpful this week.

Monday: Chicken, couscous, asparagus, cottage cheese, blueberries, tea.

Tuesday: Geoff: Leftovers, Megg: out

Wednesday: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, feta and orange slices.

Thursday: Geoff: Breakfast for dinner, applesauce, Megg: out

Friday: Geoff: away, Megg: breakfast for dinner, applesauce.

Saturday: Undecided for Megg...Geoff will still be away.

Sunday: Spaghetti with ground beef, whatever leftover veggies we have.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm exhausted

We had several guests come through our new house over the course of the past two weeks. It was wonderful, but I have to admit, I'm happy to have my house back to myself again! Back to the routine of daily life!

Our first guest was my wonderful mom! I didn't take many pictures but it was a wonderful visit. We visited Ikea, because my mom had never been there, shopped for curtains (a post on that coming up!) relaxed, and visited Leavenworth, a cute tourist town with lots of fun shops. We had a great time, and I was sorry to see her go!

The day after my mom left, two of my friends from school in Alabama came to visit! Jessica and Lydia's visit was very different from my mom's visit but it was just as fun! We visited a local corn maze...

Pike Place Market (including the first Starbucks store and my favorite place to eat lunch, Market Grill)

Snoqualmie Falls, which are just 15 minutes down the road from our house (who knew?)

Sushi Land...twice...

And the aquarium!

On Friday I sent them into the city on their own (they did great!) and they rode the duck boats and visited the Space Needle.

Like I said, they were both awesome visits, but I'm happy to get back to my regularly scheduled programs...laundry, dishes, errands and, of course, job hunting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Did you know October is National Depression Awareness Month? Yeah, neither did I, until recently. For me, however, it's always national depression awareness month because I'm constantly reminded of my own depression.

I've been struggling lately. Struggling with depression, frustration and an overwhelming sadness that I can't quite explain.
The past two weeks have been fun, as I've had my mom visiting and then two friends from the South. I played tourist with my friends and was spoiled by my mom. It was wonderful. However, this week I'm facing my fears. Facing the fear that I will be home without work. My goal of finding a job, any job this month is proving to be more difficult than I thought. After not hearing back from the two interviews I did have, I lost a little bit of confidence. I had another interview on Friday and I have the strong possibility of a part time job (15 hours a week) provided my supervisor can find the money in his budget. I should be excited, but I'm anxious all the same.

My depression, which was under control, is flaring up again and though I'm busy most nights of the week, thankfully, my days are spent in ways I don't want them to be spent. I'm discouraged. Today I set my alarm for 8:30, like usual, but accidentally shut it off when it went off. While I normally make it out of bed by 9:15, today I woke up at 11. I hate that.

Do you ever just want people to know you're struggling, without telling them? I definitely do. It's hard to put on a happy face when I'm not feeling that way. It's hard to hide the fact that one day I'm truly happy and another day I'm faking it.
Maybe it's just the post-guest letdown. I hope so.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baby bucket list

For various reasons I've had babies on the mind lately. Knowing that now is most decidedly not the right time for us to have kids, I decided to make a list of things I want to do with Geoff before having a baby. I love lists and I love crossing things off them, so this is the perfect way to put off my baby fever!

Vacation in Hawaii (We are currently saving for this and it's planned for Feb. 2012!)
Go on another cruise

Go to Disney World or Land
Go to the Harry Potter theme park in Florida
Visit Vancouver

Get a job for Megg
Buy a house (this has been on my baby bucket list since before we bought the house!)
Build up our savings...and keep a set amount of money in there
Get out of credit card debt
Start saving for a replacement car (both of ours are 8 years old...they won't last forever)

Personal enrichment and health:
Send Geoff back to school
Get into shape and lose at least 50 lbs.
Have a vegetable garden

Fun stuff:
Get a dog (Maybe...they are a lot of work and money)
Finish my wedding scrapbook (I'm not bringing something else I want to take pictures of into the house until that's done!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


One of my favorite blogs to read, The Frugal Girl, is doing a series on how to be content. When I first read that she was doing this series, I was interested, but didn't think it was something I could get a lot out of. After all, I am content...aren't I?
Boy was I wrong! I am content...for the most part. But when I read the first post on contentment, I realized there are things in my life that I am not content about, and that are affecting me, and how I live my life. The Frugal Girl pointed out that oftentimes we think contentment is something we can wait for. I could relate to that. I used to think I'd be content and happy when I was engaged. Then I was sure I would be happy when we were married. Now I think I will be happy when I have a job. What then? Will I only be happy when we have a baby? A family? The more I do this, the more I will resent where I am in my life right now, and not enjoy it.

One of the biggest things I'm not content with is my lack of a job. I hate that I'm home all day (sounds like a good thing, but it's not, not after a few months!) I hate that I can't contribute to out household expenses, and I hate that I can't put my degree to work.

However, there are definitely good things about my being home. First, we were able to buy a house and can pay our mortgage and bills on Geoff's salary alone. I am able to plan meals, cook and clean without being exhausted and having to deal with it after coming home from a long day at work. This also allows Geoff to relax when he gets home, and since he's the one making all the money, I do want him to be able to relax! We are also lucky in that Geoff's work schedule allows him to get off late in the afternoon, so he's home around 4 most days. Since I don't work, I'm home when he is, and that gives us plenty of couple time together.
Another positive of my not working is that I am able to volunteer with Purrfect Pals and our church youth group. If I had a full time job I'm not sure I would be able to commit to volunteering as much because I'd be tired all the time. Now it gives me a way to get out of the house!

Even though I don't have a job in my degree, I am lucky enough to have my masters degree, something many people can't afford on their own. Sure, a job would help with the student bills and other expenses, but I know it will come, in time. Meanwhile, I'm trying to be content with where I am in life, because I know when I have a full time job I will wish I was still home every day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Curtains are an important part of a house, in my opinion. I don't think I notice if houses don't have curtains, but I definitely noticed that my windows lacked curtains and it was starting to get to me. So yesterday I took my babysitting and birthday money and went curtain shopping!

I didn't buy these, but found them in the pile of things from the old apartment! I think they used to be in the kitchen before I found the current curtains (a coffee theme!) and hung them up. I didn't take a picture of those though.
Anyway! These matched the office walls so well that I couldn't reason spending money on another set of curtains to put in there.

Don't they look nice? We were lucky in that the previous owners left a lot of curtain rods for us! I'm thrilled because that saves me having to buy them myself!

In the guest room I had an idea of what I wanted, but I was having a hard time finding curtains in the colors that I wanted. At least that was the case until I looked at the kids section in Bed Bath and Beyond curtains! Score!

They match so well, and I think they look pretty good too! I was considering getting a sheer curtain as well, but ran out of money this time around. Anyway, at this point I think they look pretty good!

I had a few ideas for the bedroom, but I wasn't sure what I could afford until I actually went shopping. I settled on this for our bedroom, and I'm really happy with it. I wanted to be happy with the master bedroom because I knew those were the ones we'd be looking at most often!

After I got them home and up, I felt like they are missing something...but I'm not sure what. The issue is that the window is so high up from the floor, so I feel like sheer curtains wouldn't look right in there. I think I will ask my mom when she comes to visit next week.

I like our living room curtains, but I would like to replace them at some point. However, with such a big window in the living room and these curtains already here from the townhouse, I guess we will live with them for now!

I got sick of the empty window, so I hung the curtains up last week. After a couple days of looking at them though, I realized that they needed something to hold them back. So, when I was at Bed Bath and Beyond I was looking at tie backs, but then I found these!

I love the way they look, and, best of all, they were on clearance! I was so excited that I bought two sets of them because they were only $4.99 each! So why not?

What do you think about my new curtains? Are you sick of house decorating updates yet??

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Goal update

I decided to start setting small goals every month for myself, in the hopes that I would get a few things done on my perpetual to-do list.
My first list, in September, was small but I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't do very well.

1. Get a job, any job.
Well, I had two interviews, and I was supposed to hear this week from both of them, so hopefully this goal will be fulfilled within the next week or so.

2. Spend $250 a month in groceries (about $60 a week)
This was half successful, but only because we didn't do a lot of grocery shopping. It has been an unusually busy month, so there has been more eating out and having bowls of cereal for dinner than I normally like. However, we didn't spend more than $60 a week on groceries, at least.

3. Unpack, put away, and purge if necessary.
More than anything, I wanted this to be done by October, and it was! This goal was a success, with the exception of a few small boxes that I'm not worried about, and the garage. At least the living areas are clear!

4. Send out Idaho reception thank you cards.
Um, big, fat failure. I didn't even get one written.

5. Work out at least 3 times a week.
Another failure, but one I'm working on!

October goals (which will hopefully go better than September's!)

1. Get a job, any job.

2. Plan dinner meal menu every week.
I think the first step to eating at home again is planning the menu. Next month I'll worry about the budget.

3. Send out Idaho reception thank you cards.

4. Walk the neighborhood at least 3 times a week.

5. Donate boxes in the garage so we can park a car in there.

Do you have goals for this month?

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