Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

So, I found What I'm Loving Wednesday, and instead of doing my own, made up grateful Wednesday I decided to jump on the bandwagon!
So this Wednesday...

I'm loving that my best friend Kristin is coming to visit TOMORROW!! We haven't seen each other since last summer, and were way overdue for a visit!

I'm loving that we're going to be going away to Port Townsend for a few days! I love getting away, and it means time off work, which is even better! (Though I will miss my awesome husband!)

I'm loving the spring weather! It hasn't broken 60 degrees yet, but it's getting close! It was 56 yesterday, and for this New England native that's warm to me! It allowed me to go out and work in the yard which is always nice.

What are you loving this week??

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu plan Monday

This week's menu is a little off because late Thursday night my best friend arrives!! We are going away for a few days, so next week's menu plan will be a little off too.
I've been struggling with finding things to cook and losing momentum after Wednesday and Thursday, which are both nights we are out. I need to figure something out but I'm not sure what, yet. Anyway, he's the plan for this week:

Monday: Weigh-in, eat out.

Tuesday: Grilled pork chops, bumped from last week, plus some veggies.

Wednesday: Youth group for Megg (I will eat at church), leftovers for Geoff.

Thursday: Thursdays are my nights to volunteer at Petco, so I usually get a smoothie. Geoff will have leftovers again, I think.

Friday: Kristin will be here!! We're going to Sushi Land!

Saturday: TBD, but I might try to convince Geoff to make sourdough pancakes for dinner. Yum.

Sunday: Also TBD, but probably out, because Kristin and I are heading to Port Townsend that day.

This is not a very exciting menu at all, but that's OK! As long as we stick with it...we're trying very hard to eat out less (it's not working well so far).

What are you eating this week? This post is linked I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cookbooks, and the satisfaction of a complete set

Every time I post something about what I've found at my local thrift store, I find something else, or remember something else that I want to share with you. The latter is the case this week!

A few weeks ago I had dragged Geoff into the thrift store, looking for a mini crock pot. He wasn't thrilled, especially since despite the fact that we found what we were looking for within 5 minutes I still insisted on wandering the whole store. He wasn't happy until we looked on a shelf of pots and pans and found this:

A word on my husband. While I love to bake, he loves to cook. The Frugal Gourmet books (which are now out of print) are some of his favorites, though we only own The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. So when we found The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine, Geoff happily snatched it up. I thought maybe I had convinced him to give the thrift store a chance, finally. We browsed a little longer, and, before leaving, decided to check out the book room. That is where we found this:

It isn't in as good shape as the Wine or American cookbooks, but, nonetheless, it is part of a set and we had to have both! The best part? We paid $1.99 for each book, for a total of $3.98...much less than if we had attempted to buy them online.
And of course seeing the complete set of books on our shelf is pretty satisfying too!

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, March 23, 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 Netflix Instant! I have spent far too much time this last week watching Wildfire, a drama-filled TV series from ABC Family several years ago. It is dramatic and silly, and I love it. Don't judge.

I'm grateful that the squirrels have, for the most part, started to leave our bird feeders alone. We decided, rather than try to stop the squirrels, to feed them...far away from the feeders! It isn't fool-proof, but it works at least part of the time!

I'm grateful that spring is coming, and I'm eagerly watching to see what comes up this year in our garden! More on that later.

I'm very very grateful that in just over a week my best friend is coming to visit! I will take a few much needed days off, and we will spend a few much needed days together.

What are you grateful for this week?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beard daze

Back in November my wonderful husband, Geoff, decided to grow out his goatee into a full beard. At first it wasn't so bad, but I soon discovered that a full beard, though it grew soft later, isn't exactly as comfortable for kissing and cuddling as I'd thought! Not one to dictate how Geoff keeps his facial hair, however, I let it play out. Sure enough, about a month ago he decided to shave it!
I'm kicking myself for not taking a before picture of the beard! I know I have one somewhere, but I can't seem to find it right now, so we will have to make do with during and after!
Here are the photos of the progress. As you can see, we decided to be silly with it!

The Civil War mutton chops.

From the side!

The stache

And finally...

The end result! It's been over 3 years since I have seen his face completely clean! On Sunday, when he did it, I couldn't stop laughing every time I looked at him, despite the fact that this is the face I fell in love with!
So, we're going to give it a month and see where it goes from there! After all, it is just will grow again!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu plan Monday

One of my goals for, well, life, is to plan my menu more often. It's been difficult to plan regularly, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of menu planning. Here goes nothing!

Monday: Weight Watchers weigh-in, eating out.

Tuesday: Out to dinner at Olive Garden for Geoff's birthday! (We have a gift card!)

Wednesday: Youth group for Megg, leftovers for Geoff.

Thursday: Geoff out, egg drop soup for Megg

Friday: Shrimp po'boys, fruit

Saturday: Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, some vegetable (provided it's warm enough out to grill!)

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner, bacon and eggs.

Next goal: Sticking to the plan!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


When I first began to think I might be depressed, the idea of going to the doctor hadn't occurred to me. It was also the late 90s, so while we had the internet, of course, it wasn't as important or used as much by me as it is today. It seems funny to think about that. So while going to the doctor did not seem to be an option for me, I did soon realize there were other things I could do aside from prescriptions to make me feel better.

Mini side-note: Some people need prescription drugs. Not everyone can treat depression without them, and that's OK. That is how I get through my day to day life. Better living through chemistry, as my grandmother always says. However, I do want you to know that there may be other options, and that either drugs or natural remedies are both acceptable. You just need to find something that works for you.

Herbal remedies
Anyway, at the time I worked at CVS and I was fascinated by all the different products out there. Products I had no idea existed until I was forced to wander the store and straighten, or put new shipments of products out. This is when I discovered the vitamin aisle. Today I simply take a regular multivitamin,  but there are so many different types out there that at the time I was overwhelmed and fascinated. However, I did find one called St. John's Wort. This particular plant is known for treating depression in other countries. I used it for a bit, and it seemed to help, though I wasn't monitoring my feelings quite the way I do now. It does interact with birth control, however, so it's best to avoid it if you're taking birth control and using it for...well, birth control!

Up here in the Pacific Northwest sun is, well, a scarcity. Especially in the winter. As a result, I've taken to trying to absorb as much sun as possible. It may sound ridiculous, but the truth is, humans don't naturally get enough Vitamin D themselves, which is why it is often found in milk. I'm not sure if the fact that Vitamin D is found in UV rays (the sun) or that the sun's warmth just makes you feel better, but whichever the case is, sunlight is a very natural way to boost your mood.
Like I said, out here sun is a little less available than I would like, but I actually think that's better. It means I appreciate every little bit of sun that comes out of our sky! So soak it in, because, depression or not, it will boost your mood.

When all else fails, I enjoy petting my cats. Don't laugh, it's proven that people with pets have lower blood pressure! Something about a small, warm, furry body on my lap just calms me.

What do you do to naturally lift your mood, or ease depression?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Frugal mish-mash

The other day I bought this shredder off Craigslist. It was $15.
Now I know what you're thinking. Seriously, Megg, you only saved $10! That's hardly worth talking (or blogging) about! Well, perhaps, but the truth is, I've actually been wanting to get a paper shredder for a while now! Partially for all the personal information that we get in the mail (but don't need to keep) and also because of our compost, which we are working on putting together for this summer.
I'm ashamed to admit that I also wanted it because The Frugal Girl talked about her shredder recently and I wanted one too. Also, I enjoy shredding. (Please tell me I'm not the only one!)

My friend Elizabeth wrote a really good post about Ash Wednesday this week. While I didn't grow up "practicing" Lent by giving things up, it is something I've developed and taken part in over the years since I've become an adult. Elizabeth has decided to give up meat, which is an excellent thing to do for both your body and your wallet. Though I don't think I can give meat up completely (I don't like beans enough!) I think I will actively give up meat on Fridays. Once a week is an easy way to start, and buying meat is, for obvious reasons, not something that is always budget friendly.

Seriously, I love being frugal. It doesn't hurt me, it doesn't (usually) put me out, and it leaves me with the freedom to choose to go away for a few days with my best friend, when she comes to visit next month. Honestly, I'm not sure why I waited so long to be frugal!

Wednesday, March 9, 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'm very grateful that it is Wednesday. Geoff and I are going away this weekend which means I asked for Saturday off...which means that I had to work Monday, after only 1 day off. At first I wasn't very happy about this until I remembered that I often worked 7 days a week when I was in school. Even so, it's been a long week so far, though I will have a 3 day weekend this week which makes it all worth it.

I'm also grateful for Swagbucks! This week I earned my 8th gift card...which means by doing almost nothing I have earned $40 in Amazon cards (and you can buy so many things from Amazon!) I will take that!

I'm grateful that every day my job seems to get easier and easier, and my manager and I are getting along very well, especially since she doesn't have to train me anymore. I am feeling more competent every day, and have less anxiety around losing my job (yes, I was anxious about that!)

I'm SUPER grateful that in less than a month my best friend, Kristin is coming to visit! We will be going to Vancouver for a few days and I can't wait to relax and spend time with her. Plus, neither of us has ever been to Vancouver so that will definitely be fun.

What are YOU grateful for, today?

Monday, March 7, 2011

52 letters, weeks 8 and 9

Somehow I let week 8 slip away from me, so I decided it was best to be on top of things this week. I'm posting this during week 10, however, because I don't want to ruin the surprise of what I sent my sister!

A few weeks back I found this mug at the thrift store. She recently spent 6 weeks in LA, so I thought she'd enjoy the small gift. I included a packet of hot chocolate too because she doesn't drink coffee. I thought it was a pretty good gift, even if I spent more on shipping than on the mug itself!

My second letter, the letter intended for week 8, is to my friend Elizabeth. She recently (well, about 2 months ago now!) bought and moved into her own house, so I thought she'd appreciate a bit of real mail! I know we are still getting junk mail because we moved. Apparently everyone thinks we need a plumber, roofer, newspaper subscription, name it!

If you are doing the 52 letter challenge, how are you doing?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Small changes, big savings

We're all about saving money these days, right? I mean, who isn't? Between the recession and the fact that Geoff and I are newly married, we are saving wherever we can. A few things we do are small, but add up to larger savings in the long run. And, best of all, I don't feel like I'm cutting anything out, or being put out while I'm saving. Here are a few things we are doing to save money.

Carpooling to work.
Geoff and I are incredibly lucky that we are on the same schedule, work in the same city and my work is on the way to his! This has saved us so much in gas money. I feel like I rarely drive my car anymore because we also carpool to church, even if we have to go early because Geoff runs the video projector. Thanks to small things like this, I didn't panic when I saw gas prices on the wrong side of $3.50 a gallon, creeping towards $4. Sure it's not pleasant, but I also haven't gotten gas for myself in almost a month and I am just now close to needing to fill up. That is a savings of about $40 a week to week and a half for us!

Packing our own lunches.
Geoff and I are back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon, so we've been actively trying to eat better. This means packing our own lunches so we know exactly what we are getting for lunch. It also means that we aren't spending money to go often. We do splurge occasionally, and I eat out every Saturday that I work. For me, however, it's once a week that I buy my lunch. This goes along with the carpooling. Before my schedule changed, when I had a car at the office, I was too tempted to go out for lunch. Now I can't because I have no ride! So I eat in, and save a lot more. I heard on the radio that if you pack your lunch just 2 days a week you can save $700 a year! I'm happy to say that since I take my lunch 4 times a week I'm sure I'm saving much more.

Swagbucks, Groupon and Living Social.
I love these sites! I used to shy away from them because a lot of times the deals were not something I'd typically use. But by checking them out regularly I've been able to make use of some deals. Recently I bought a $20 gift card to Emerald City Smoothie, a place Geoff and I enjoy. It was only $10 and when I went to activate it, they gave me a free smoothie! I've also bought and gift cards for half their value and recently I got 2 movie tickets for $9! The latter was especially profitable because when I bought it through Swagbucks I got 315 swagbucks...almost enough for a $5 card! These sites have saved me money on things I'd already be buying, as long as I avoid the things I really don't need, like spas and expensive restaurants.
(By the way, those are referral links, so if you don't want to be referred to me, just search Swagbucks)

So how are YOU saving money these days?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby bucket list...updated

Back in October I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before we decide to have a baby. I posted this previously, but I thought an update was in order. We have made progress toward a few of these goals and I am happy to see them being met, not just because it means a baby is in our future, also because they are general goals we want to do anyway.
So here is my updated list. I crossed out the completed goals and italicized the goals that are in progress.

Vacation in Hawaii Done February 2012!
Go on another cruise
Go to Disney World or Land
Visit Vancouver together

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 rainy day fund so it has 3 month's salary in it...and keep a set amount of money in there
Get out of credit card debt (This is always a work in progress)
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 He started fall 2011!
Get into shape and lose at least 50 lbs.
Have a vegetable garden Had one summer 2011, and will again summer 2012

Fun stuff:
Finish my wedding scrapbook (I'm at least halfway through!)

I think we are making good progress! I did remove the get a dog goal. Upon further consideration I think this isn't something we want to do right away. We already have two wonderful kitties who are not a lot of work, and a dog is both work and money. I'm not sure I'm ready to put our resources into one at the moment!
What do you think about our progress?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March goals

Remember back when I actually did goals every month? Yeah, I barely remember either. Not only did I clearly fail in October, but I didn't even post an update on November's goals! I have no idea if they were fulfilled either, because I didn't post an update! So, clearly goal number one should be actually sticking to my goal posts.
So here are my March goals:

1. Update these goals at the end of the month and create goals for April.

2. Play nice with I'm trying, I really am, but the problem is we tend not to stop going to restaurants when our restaurant budget is up! Oops. This should be fixed.

3. Plan the menu for the week and post about it. If I plan to post about it I have to do it, right??

4. Make at least 2 blog posts a week on something meaningful.(No more fluff, right?)

5. Go to Weight Watchers every week, regardless of how the week went.

Here's hoping I keep track this time around...

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