Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August goal review

I gotta be honest with you guys. I don't think I did anything on my list this month. Worse, I have no excuses as to why I didn't do any of it! I guess the month just got away from me!
Here are my goals, so you can see how terribly I've done:

1. "Balance" our checkbook weekly. (I need to explain. Geoff and I have started sitting down on Fridays, after payday, and looking at our upcoming expenses, subtracting those and leaving a $200 buffer in our checking account, to see how much money we have to spend for the week. So far, this has worked out really well)
Yeah, not so much. We've been able to keep our buffer for 3 out of the 4 weeks this month, but we were hit with an unexpected expense, so we're thrown off. We also haven't been sitting down and talking money, so we need to get on that too.

2. Sell $30 worth of stuff on Ebay (My new decluttering friend! This money all goes straight into furniture fund!)
Also no, mainly because I was too lazy to take pictures and post things. I did list a few things that I'm hoping for at least $25 from, and we did sell something on Craigslist for $45 this week, so I'm not completely off. This money, we've decided, is going to go towards credit card debt.

3. Apply to 4 jobs (as usual)
I did do this!

4. Vacuum, sweep and mop the kitchen and sweep and mop the bathroom weekly (It needs to be done. Yes I'm embarrassed. Stop judging)
Fail. I only did it before our company came.

5. Paint the guest room bed white (this is part of the house list for this year. See what I mean about the year sneaking up on me?)
Nope. Again, because of family coming, I think, this just didn't happen because someone was actually using the bed!

6. Eat out no more than twice a week. (A definite money suck for us, though we've been getting better!)
I am pretty sure that we did this! I know there was one week that we ate out 3 times, and we ate out a couple times when family was here, but I think we only ended up paying twice.

Did you set goals for August? How did you do?

PS Don't forget that I'm guest posting over at Stress Case today!!

Guest post!

I'm guest posting over at Stress Case today, so go check it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Target Tuesday!

I'm linking up at Fabulous but Evil for Target Tuesday today!

Today at Target I'm loving...

This awesome sweater. Does this not look like the most comfortable thing ever??

Loving this color! A librarian can never have too many cardigans. Plus, clearance!

This sweater, which comes in several different colors! I might need them all.

This dress, which would look great with one of my new cardigans!

And this dress, which is in a color I don't normally wear, but I'm strangely attracted to it!

What are you loving at Target? Go link up!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Food Waste Friday...beef stew

This week I only have some leftover beef stew to claim as my food waste. I don't have a picture because, well, I haven't throw it out yet (but I will tonight!) because it's a recent decision.

When I went grocery shopping on Monday, some stew meat was on clearance (please tell me I'm not the only one who buys clearance meat!) so I bought some of that, beef broth and a couple of potatoes. We made the stew this week along with some carrots from our garden. It was good that night, though the amount of potatoes overwhelmed everything else, because I bought two when I really only needed one.

I proceeded to have it for leftovers on Wednesday and Thursday, and I wasn't impressed either day. So, rather than (literally) choke it down one more day, I decided to call it a lost cause and chuck the rest. It just wasn't as good as the first night. Luckily Geoff got two free lunches at work this week so that was good, but it also meant that he wasn't choking down the stew with me! So, I'm throwing the last two or three servings away.

I might also have a bag of lettuce from when my family was here, which they bought. I need to check on that, but if it isn't good then it's going to the worms!
All in all, not a bad week, compared to others I've had.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday

I'm very sporadic with my "What I'm Loving Wednesday" posts, but I decided that today is Wednesday and I'm feeling in a loving kind of mood, I'd link up today.

Today I'm loving the beef stew we had for dinner last night (no, we don't have to talk about the fact that this is a fall/winter food and it's the end of August), the baked potatoes we're having for dinner tonight and the Jam Tarts (with homemade jam, of course) that I'm making for a baking contest at Geoff's work tomorrow! All these things are very frugal, and that makes me happy!

I'm loving the show Medium that we've started watching at night! Despite the fact that we've only just started it, I'm always looking for new shows to watch (I think Mad Men is next) so I'm open to ideas!

In that vein, I'm also loving Netflix Instant! It's saving us a lot of money since we canceled cable.

I'm loving my very patient, wonderful husband, who is putting up with my money-saving techniques!

I'm absolutely loving my garden, which provided carrots for last night's stew and has 4 lovely, hopefully still growing, pumpkins that I can't wait to decorate with! It's way bigger than that picture now. I should really do a garden update...

Finally, I'm loving the freecycle table I picked up months ago and am finally going to get around to refinishing and planning to sell on Craigslist! (Fingers crossed on that one!) I'm also excited that I was able to borrow a palm sander instead of buying our own, which I'd considered. Yay for both saving and making money!

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Target Tuesday!

I'm linking up to Target Tuesday this week! This is the first time I've done this, but it sounded like fun and I didn't have any other ideas so I figured why not?
Since you can blog about anything, I figured I'd link up to home decor! There's plenty of awesome home things that I love at Target!
Color Splash Border Rug {for my living room!}

Entryway Bench {I'd LOVE this for my entryway!}
This Storage bench would be nice too.
This 5-piece outdoor patio set would be awesome as well!

Sadly, at this time, I can only dream, because with our current financial goals we can't afford any of this. Don't worry, I do keep an eye out at Goodwill for anything that could be turned into something awesome (sorry Target!)

What are YOU eying at Target these days?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall line-up

Everyone's posting about the fall TV lineup. Everyone except me. Why? Because we canceled our cable earlier this summer.

Do I regret this decision? No way. That's $50 more into our pockets that we were throwing into commercials and shows that, honestly, I'm not really all that excited about. However...I do find myself missing it this summer as I see my fellow bloggers gearing up for the excitement that fall brings.

For me, the cable just wasn't that important. Despite the fact that Netflix raised their prices, we stayed with them, keeping the plan we had, at $5 more a month. That's $45 less than keeping cable, which I think is a good deal. So, instead of getting excited about the fall line-up, we're choosing to get excited about the shows available on Netflix.
We recently finished watching every single season of Lost. We're working our way through Supernatural, but had to stop because we ran out of seasons we owned (we'll go back to it...eventually). We watched Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly. (Why, yes, we are fans of Joss Whedon! How did you know?) We've just started Medium. And you know what the best part of all is? We don't have to wait 2 or 3 weeks between episodes and there are no commercials.

The benefits, for us, outweigh the bad things, and I absolutely love our lack of cable.
I just need to remember that the next time I read yet another fall line-up post.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christmas in...August??

I have a confession. I've already started my Christmas shopping. In fact, I have ideas and, in a couple cases, people completely taken care of for Christmas gifts. Best of all, I've spent $32. I've spent $32 on 4 and a half people (I say half because one person's gift is only half completed).

I'm here to tell you that you may mock. You may think I'm crazy and ridiculous for starting this early. However come December, or the end of November, when you're thinking about doing your Christmas shopping, I'm going to be laughing, because I will be done. Well, I won't be laughing, because I'm kind like that, but I will be wondering what you were doing in August while I was completing my Christmas shopping!

PS Most of my gifts are courtesy of Swagbucks. It's a pretty awesome site. Oh, and Groupon helped a bit too.

So, am I crazy, or what??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book review: Poison Study by Maria Snyder

Poison Study came highly recommended, and since it is both young adult and part of a series, I borrowed it from the library with high hopes. High hopes which were semi-dashed. I'd give this book three stars because while it was good, I wasn't enamored. (It just so happens that friends on Goodreads did enjoy it a lot, which goes to show that everyone's different, so don't take my opinion!)

Yelena lives in a world where there are no excuses and no second chances. We first meet her on the day she is to be executed for killing a man. However, since she is the next to be executed and the Commander's food taster recently died, Yelena is offered the choice of death by hanging, immediately, or the unknown death of being a food taster. She takes the latter.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way the story unfolds, piece by piece, through memories and, as she gets more comfortable in her new role, stories that Yelena tells Valek, the Commander's right hand and her "supervisor". As the book goes on we learn why exactly Yelena killed the man she did, and how an innocent girl was forced into murder.
Though I wasn't overly excited with the book, the story was interesting and the writing well-done, so I do recommend giving it a try. If you do like it, there are two other books in the series, Fire Study and Magic Study, which I may check out at a later date...when I'm not so busy weeding through my to-read list!

Have you ready this book? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On why I'm afraid of airports

I've never really done well with goodbyes. I cried every year of college that I had to say goodbye to my parents except the last year. The only reason I didn't cry then, was because I was going home, to the family with whom I'd lived the year before. I cried when I moved out after I graduated.

When Geoff and I started dating, we only saw each other every 4 months or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. I was living in Massachusetts, working as a reporter and Geoff was living in Idaho, finishing up school. It was then that I started to hate airports. The excitement of seeing Geoff again couldn't override the anxiety I always felt leaving him.

Even now, after just over a year and a half, I still can't stand the airport. Of course now I'm leaving family behind, which is a completely different feeling, but causes pain nonetheless. This week I said goodbye on 3 different occasions, since our family left at different times throughout the week. The last goodbye caused a complete meltdown, despite the fact that Geoff and I really are happy to be alone in our house, getting back to our routines again.
At least when I said goodbye to my mom, I didn't have to see the airport.

Do you have any completely unreasonable fears or dislikes?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week in review

Here are some of the awesome things we did this past week, in no particular order, while entertaining two moms, a dad, and a sister and brother-in-law:

  • Curtained the last room in the house (pictures to come!)

  • Went to a Red Sox game and watched the Sox win (yay!)
  • Grilled and ate fresh salmon from Pike's Place Market
  • Grilled chicken, burgers, veggies and corn on the cob (our grill got a workout!)
  • Drank wine, beer and Moxie
  • Repaired the outside faucet and a leaky-not-up-to-code bathtub, thanks to my plumber brother-in-law
  • Generally had an excellent time with a lot of family.
What did you do last week?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book review: Graceling

I first discovered Graceling when I was at school in Alabama. Every year we received hundreds of books, both young adult, children's and picture books to review. At the end of the year, the young adult professor (also who I was a graduate assistant for during my last semester in school) would hold a book sale, and sell the books that he didn't want to keep. All the profits went towards a multicultural conference that he led each year.
To make a long story short, Graceling was among those books. It intrigued me, as it was a fantasy, so I picked it up...and was lucky enough to get Fire, the companion novel at the next book sale.

Graceling is set in a world where some people are graced with (excuse my pun) a Grace, something that sets them apart, that they can do very well. It could be a swimming Grace, or some kind of a fighting Grace. There are some pointless Graces, but you can see that some Graces could easily be turned against people and used for evil.

Katsa, the main character, has one such Grace. Her Grace was discovered when she was only 8 years old, and accidentally killed an adult cousin who tried to touch her inappropriately. She is Graced with the ability to kill. Though Katsa, in her heart, is a kind girl, she is used by her uncle to carry out her dirty work, something she hates.

After disobeying the king and her new friend, Po's father, Katsa is forced to leave her hated uncle. She travels with Po to the kingdom of King Leck, who has a history of murder, yet, for some strange reason, no one can say anything bad about him.
As Po and Katsa travel to Leck, encountering strange things and adventures along the way, they learn more about themselves and each other, revealing their own secrets that they did not even know about themselves.

If you have read Graceling, you should also read Fire, a companion book that takes place about 35 years before Graceling. If you haven't read Graceling, then what are you waiting for? Both are excellent reads, especially if you love a good YA love story, like myself. Of course there is adventure and excitement in it as well, to keep you interested.

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