Monday, January 31, 2011

House list

I don't remember where I read about it, but I read somewhere about a blogger who made a list of house improvements that she wanted to make this year. I thought it was such a good idea that I made my own list! Unfortunately, I then completely forgot to post it here. Oops. Well, better late than never!

I divided my list up by room, and tried to make it not too expansive, because even though I have a year to complete them, I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, of course!

Living room:

  • Hang a wedding picture on the wall
  • Hang and decorate with frame shadow boxes (I will post about these when I hang them up; they were another Freecycle find!)
  • Get a new rug
  • Hang the mirror (a gift that I haven't gotten around to hanging up yet)
  • Get 2 chairs and sell the Freecycle couch (or at least get rid of it, but I'm hoping to sell it!)
  • Get a small coffee table (I have my eye on one posted on Freecycle, actually!)


  • Replace switch plate covers (check! Post coming soon on that!)
  • Get a new dining room table (Not feasible right now, based on the space we have so I'm putting this off until later)
  • Find a nicer way to store our plastic to-go containers (please tell me I'm not the only one who battles with this!!)
  • Fix screen door
  • Stain deck (OK, this is outside, but it's off the kitchen, so that counts!)
  • Get his and her recliners and a couch
  • Sell Freecycle sectional (seeing a pattern here?)
  • Hang Dark Side of the Moon poster (it needs to be's kinda a pain to hang, but it needs to be done!)
  • Replace switch plate covers
  • Fix weather stripping on the door to the garage
  • Replace door to garage? (I'm not sure if we want to or need to do this, but it has a doggie door that we don't use, so a new one might be nice
  • Find better curtains
Master bedroom:
  • Hang something above the bed (we have a big, empty wall!)
  • Sand and refinish my bedside table
  • Build a stand for the TV and DVD player
  • Repair and rehang broken frame
  • Mount speakers on the wall (We decided to sell these instead)
  • Find a desk with more storage (thank you Craigslist! They even delivered!)
  • Sell the desk we currently have (again, Craigslist!)
  • Organize!!!
Guest room:
  • Find a small mirror or full length mirror to hang
  • Replace or paint dresser
  • Spray paint bed frame white
I will keep you posted as I progress in my goals!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Grateful Wednesday

Every Wednesday (well, almost every Wednesday!) I try to do a post on things I'm grateful for over the past week. This helps keep my mood up...especially in the winter. Give it a try, it helps!

This week I am grateful for every one of my readers. There may not be many, and I may not get a lot of comments (or any...) but I'm grateful for you all. Anyone who puts up with reading my small space on the internet deserves recognition!

I'm grateful for the sun today. It's been rainy and generally gloomy recently, but I just looked out the window and saw sun! This makes me happy.

I'm grateful that my job is going well, my manager seems happy (for the most part) with my work and the drivers enjoy me.

I'm grateful that my 52 Letter Challenge is going well and I'm pleased to say that I have yet to miss a week! It's early yet, though, so don't get too excited. I'm sure a missed week (or more!) is in the cards.
As an aside, this week's letter was written to an old friend who I don't talk to nearly often enough. She is recently pregnant, and though we had a long conversation when she told me, we haven't talked since, or much before. I feel bad so...a letter was due. I think next week's is going to my grandmother though, since I got a letter from her in the mail!

But I digress. I am also grateful for which I have recently fallen in love with. A whole post on Mint is coming, though I'm sure a lot of you have heard of it and use it already. It's changed my life already and we've only just begun.

On a related note, I'm grateful for the bank! We opened up another checking and savings account so we can filter money into different accounts for different goals. Very exciting. Once we get credit card debt paid off we are going to start saving for things like a vacation to Hawaii next year and a replacement car that is (hopefully) still 4-5 years away.

And finally, I'm grateful for Swagbucks! (yes, that is a referral link, but if you don't want to help me, just go to the site yourself. It's so worth it). I've earned about $20 in Amazon gift cards ($10 of which went to a Christmas gift in December) and I'm loving it. It takes me about a month to earn a $5 card which seems like forever, but it does add up! And I love that Amazon will hold onto your gift cards and accumulate a balance. I'm not sure what I'm saving for yet, but I do know that I love free money! (Who doesn't?) There are plenty of other things to earn on Swagbucks, but Amazon cards are my favorite.

And with that, I'm back to work! I'm grateful that I only have about 4 hours left of work...the afternoon always seems to go faster than the morning!

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pieces of the puzzle

I was reading a friend's (private) blog post which happened to mention mental illness.
{Side note: mental illness is defined as any disease of the mind; the psychological state of someone who has emotional or behavioral problems serious enough to require psychiatric intervention. This includes depression.}

Anyway, this particular friend was discussing her own mental issues, and the problems she was having with a particular friend who just didn't understand, which I get. One of the comments her friend made that this friend took offense to, was that "nobody considers mental illness to be a part of their identity."

At first, I agreed with my friend. Mental illness is my identity. My depression is my identity...isn't it? Then I started thinking. Depression is part of my identity, but it isn't my whole identity. It's a piece of me, just like the fact that I'm a girl, or that I have brown hair and blue eyes. It's always there, it's not something I can change.

I feel like depression is like that, too. I can cover it up with therapy or drugs, just like I can cover my hair with dye. I can't change it permanently, however...and I'm not sure I want to. My depression is there, just like everything else that is part of my identity. But I refuse it let it identify me solely, and that is where (I feel) many people go wrong. They allow depression to win, to identify them completely, and it shouldn't. It's only a piece of the whole puzzle that makes you, well, you.

Part of the puzzle that makes me Megg, is my depression. But it's also my brown hair, my blue eyes, and my feminine wiles. (Well, maybe not the latter...) I refuse to let the depression win and define me completely. And while this is difficult, I like to think that I'm making progress...a little bit at a time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cranberry nut bread

Oh friends. I have been slacking on posting. There are many reasons for that lately, but the biggest two are my new schedule and the fact that we joined a gym! Though these are both very exciting things, but they left me exhausted last week. This week, however, promises to be easier as I ease into my new schedule.
Anyway! That is not the point. The point is, last night I decided to bake. Do you ever feel like you just want to bake something? Usually, for me, this comes with a really cold house, because I want to heat the house without turning the heat up! Last night I was just bored, however.
We had a huge bag of Craisins in the house so I decided to try cranberry nut bread! Like my friend banana bread, cranberry nut bread is a quick bread, which means it doesn't have to rise. Although, since it has to cook for over an hour, I think maybe quick bread is not the right term for this type of bread. Maybe it should be called faster than yeast bread that still takes a long time to bake? I guess that's too long, so we will stick with quick bread.
The recipe for this bread isn't that difficult or unusual, in fact if you search fro cranberry nut bread you will probably find the same or similar recipe that I used. However, I'm a big fan of using the cookbooks I have, so I used a new cookbook I hadn't tried out yet.

The recipe was quick and easy, and even though it calls for fresh cranberries and recommends fresh squeezed orange juice, I used Craisins and Tropicana orange juice and it came out pretty good, if I do say so myself! Here is the recipe, in case you get bored one night too.

2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice (I ended up using 1 cup because my batter was really dry)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (about 1 orange)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (I used Craisins!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans!)

Mix the dry ingredients, including the cranberries and nuts.
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and combine, just until moistened. It's important not to over-mix the batter or else your bread will be dry and tough.
Pour the batter into a greased 9x5 inch pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 75 minutes.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Let the loaf cool completely, wrap it in foil and let it sit overnight before slicing.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Not just a girl

I have so many ideas and thoughts in my head right now, but I'm too tired to even think clearly. So tonight I leave you with this, a very special guest post by yours truly.
I want you to read my post, but then I want you to read the other posts that readers have done relating to depression and Alise's You are not Alone series. They are very moving and touching, and enlightening. Whether you struggle with depression or not, I encourage you to read these, because they will open your eyes...they did for me.

This weekend, hopefully, I will get these thoughts out of my head. Until then, enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm grateful Wednesday

This week I'm very grateful for my new work schedule! I am now working Tuesday-Saturday, 7 am-3 pm. Sure, I'm giving up most of my Saturdays but since Saturdays are slow and I get off at 3-3:30 every day, I am willing to make this sacrifice!

I'm grateful for the fact that my new schedule is allowing me to go back to helping out at my church youth group on Wednesday nights and our local cat shelter on Thursday nights! I've missed my kitties!!

I'm grateful that this week Geoff's flat tire happened in the parking lot of his work, not on the road.

I'm also grateful that the flat tire pushed us to do what we have really needed to do for some time...get new tires on his car.

I'm grateful for a job that allows us to be able to afford things like four new tires!

I'm grateful for our local thrift store. What a haven of exciting finds that place is! Yesterday I got a very exciting, much coveted item for a huge bargain, and on Saturday I scored 5 books and a springform pan for under $4! Now I need to practice making cheesecake!

Finally, I'm grateful for my wonderful, amazing husband with whom I am planning on working out at the gym we joined this weekend.

What are you grateful for this week?

Monday, January 10, 2011

1 letter down, 51 to go!

This week's letter will be mailed out with a package for a good friend who I hope doesn't read my blog!

Our local thrift store had books on sale, 5 book for .99! I bought three animorphs books for my friend (and two for me) and wrote her a letter along with her (super cheap) gift. This particular friend collects these books, and the best part is, if she has the three I've sent her, I spent less than a dollar on them so she can just donate them to goodwill herself.

Who did you write to this week?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

One letter down, 51 to go!

I mentioned before that I wasn't sure I wanted to join the letter writing challenge this year, and the truth is that I was afraid I was too lazy to do it. When I received a letter in the mail from a friend who was thinking about doing the challenge, however, I was spurred into action!
So my first letter was to my friend Lydia, in response to her letter to me. I covered both front and back of a plain piece of paper (nothing special) about my job, and the things that have been going on these days. It wasn't anything overly exciting, but I knew that Lydia, like me, loves to get mail, so I felt really good when I put it in my mailbox this week.

If you joined in the letter writing challenge, how was your first week?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The gift of thankfulness

On my way home from work the other day, I was half-listening to the radio. There was a commercial for something (electronics, I think) and the final statement was "get what you really wanted this holiday season!"

Now, I love getting presents as much as the next person. Come on, admit it, you love getting a gift! Giving is fun too, of course, and I have especially loved the scavenger hunt of searching for the perfect, yet frugal, gift this year. But ungratefulness? Going shopping for myself to get what I really wanted this Christmas? Not something that ever crossed my mind.

Now, I'm not talking about using up gift cards. Gift cards are wonderful and completely useful, and I plan to take advantage of the gift cards I was given. However I'm not about to run out and buy something with my own money that I didn't get for Christmas...just because I didn't get it for Christmas. I've gotten my fair share of items I didn't actually want, don't get me wrong. But I find it presumptuous and selfish to hear that statement on the radio, and worse...I'm sure there are people out there who feel that way, people who are shopping for themselves this very minute, taking advantage of the sales to buy things for themselves.

I'm not sure when my feelings on things changed. Maybe it happened along with the frugal living blogs I read. Maybe it happened because over the course of 2 years I spent less than 6 months in 4 different states. Or maybe I'm just growing up.

I'm trying very, very hard not to roll my eyes when someone discusses their finances, or what they are planning on buying. I am trying very hard not to judge when I hear about someone spending what I consider exorbitant amounts of money on what I would consider to be something unneeded. I'm trying...but, unfortunately, I'm not always successful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm grateful Wednesday

I have to be honest with you all. I'm not feeling very grateful this week. However, instead of listing the things I'm stressed about, I will do my best to list what I am grateful for.

I'm honestly grateful for the fact that it is Wednesday, (though I'd be a little more grateful if it was, oh, Friday).

I'm grateful that an easy petsitting job brought in a little extra money last week (it was after last week's grateful Wednesday!)

I'm very, very grateful for my wonderful husband, with whom I celebrated our wonderful first year of marriage on Sunday!

I'm grateful for Who's the Boss, which brings back my childhood. I used to love that show!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 Weeks, 52 Letters

I was on the fence about doing this when I first read about it from The Non-Consumer Advocate. I even went so far as to actually start a letter, but decided I was too lazy to finish. Then I got a letter in the mail from my friend, Lydia, stating that she was planning on doing the challenge and to expect more letters. It was the kick in the pants I needed! I love getting real mail, and I love sending it!
So this week starts the 52 letters in 52 weeks challenge of 2011. I'm hoping to keep this blog updated so I can be held accountable! So we will see how it goes. First I better finish the letter I started...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thoughts for 2011

New Year's Eve really isn't my thing. It never really has been, to be honest. Growing up we almost always volunteered in the afternoon at First Night Boston, watched the parade and early fireworks, and headed back home. As I got older, we started to do more things in the evening. I attended parties, my parent's hosted, I even stayed in Boston until midnight one year. Recently, however, December 31st hasn't really done much to get me all excited like it does for most people. (I do have to note that last year, 2 days before my wedding, I was getting very excited...but not necessarily because of the date.)

I was thinking about New Year's Eve the other day, and how silly it really is. I mean, we don't wait until midnight to see it become Thursday, or count down the minutes until it is September. So what is so special about the new year? To me, it's no different than being 25 one day and 26 the next. Whether it's 2010 or 2011 doesn't matter; these days it's just another year.

I think the excitement of a new year resides in the excitement of new beginnings and a fresh start. Anything is possible on January 1st. We set new goals, make promises, are determined to change. More often than not, however, this doesn't last long. I guess that's partially why I don't put much stock in the new year.

This year, however, I'm excited. I'm ready for 2011. Last year was so so eventful that I'm actually looking forward to what I hope will be a quiet year. No sickness, no huge life changes, just life. Of course I can't predict that...but here's hoping.
I do have a few goals for this year, however. I want to work on paying off debt (credit card debt, I know student loans and our mortgage will be around for a while!) and not incur more. I want to build up our savings and start saving for a vacation, just us. Maybe around our second anniversary. I want to live frugally, spend less money on things we don't need and save it for things we do. I want to get a set of recliners for out family room (hey, I have to have some fun, right??) This year's goals are money-centered, but I feel like with both of us working we can actually meet these goals, or at least work towards them. Even better, my sudden non-consumerism feelings will definitely work in my favor of meeting these goals!
I do have a few money-related weaknesses that I also want to work on. I want to eat out less. As I type this, I am sitting in Panara, using their internet and finishing off lunch. I know this is going to be a work in progress, but I am hoping that it is something I will have the self-control to do. Of course, related to that, is the fact that I want to lose weight. Those two go hand in hand.
But most of all, I want to have a healthy, happy year with my husband and our two kitties. If I get nothing else I want to accomplish, I wish that 2011 brings that.

Happy New Year, all. May all your wishes come true.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...