Monthly Archives: September 2011

September Goal Review

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It’s that time of the month again…goal review! I both look forward and dread this because I love seeing that I’ve accomplished things, but hate when I haven’t! Here are my goals for this month, and how I did:

1. Paint the guest bed white.
I didn’t do this because my garage is currently being taken up by another refinishing project! Details on that when I finish it. Someday.

2. Sand, re-stain and sell the Freecycle table on Craigslist
Sanded and re-stained, but not sold yet šŸ˜¦

3. Make $50 on ebay and Craigslist (I’m hoping to list the table at $50, so this should be an easy goal to reach)
Well, I made $20 on Ebay, and $60 babysitting, so I call this goal a success, even if my table is still sitting in the garage. Sigh.

4. Read three new books
This is a failure. I read 1 old book, 1 new book and I’m in the middle of an old book and a new book! So, I’m doing alright.

5. Apply to 4 jobs.
I don’t think I need to make this a goal anymore because I’m so adept at it! I applied to at least 10 this month. Whoa.

6. Lose 5 pounds.
Well…almost. I’m down 4.5 but I think that might be since the very end of August.

Did you set goals this month? How did you do?

Guest post AND giveaway!

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It’s a big day for me on the interwebs, guys.
First, I’m guest posting over at my friend Elizabeth’s blog…
And my Etsy shop is also being featured in a giveaway over at Fabulous but Evil!

This is excellent because now I don’t have to come up with a post for today. So check them both out. The guest post is kinda a big announcement (big at least for me) and the giveaway is awesome because, well, it’s my Etsy shop! So go check them both out!

Music

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Little known fact by most who don’t know me very well…I don’t like music.
That’s not right. I don’t like music with words.


Less than a week before our wedding we sat down with the DJ in the coffee part of Barnes and Noble. It was my mom, sister, Geoff and I. The DJ looked at me, and asked me what music I liked, and I told him the truth. “I don’t like music.”
Needless to say, my sister and Geoff took care of this particular meeting, with the odd comment from me {I vetoed theĀ MacarenaĀ and chicken dance pretty quickly}. This was just one of many last minute meetings we were having in the days leading up to our wedding. Considering we planned this with Geoff in Seattle and me in Alabama…getting married in Massachusetts, there were a lot of little meetings to fit in. Usually I had an opinion. Not in this one. I’m not even sure why I was invited!

One of the most striking parts of that conversation, however, was the comment my sister made, explaining me to the DJ. She said, “She likes instrumental music. I think she understands it, because she used to play in the band in high school.”

With that one comment, everything made sense to me. The way I love to listen to piano music (it’s my favorite instrument). The way I can always pick out different instruments in an orchestra, or the way I hear the bass part in certain songs that I played in school. The way I instinctively pick up on the background music in a movie, the way I used to listen to Harry Potter soundtracks before watching the movie, just so I knew what I would be listening to.

Instrumental music just has a whole different language, and it’s not in words. It’s just one I happen to understand.

I discovered instrumental piano music during a difficult time in college, when I was having a hard time sleeping. I’m not sure who introduced me to George Winston, but I’ll always be grateful that they did. The first time I heard this piece I knew I would walk down the aisle to it at my wedding, and I did. I love it.



Food Waste Friday: A no waste week!

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After a not so great food waste week last week, I am happy to report that I have had no waste this week! (At least that I can remember. Maybe I should pay closer attention).
We’ve been really good about eating what we have in the house and finishing leftovers. I’m relieved, because last week wasn’t so great so I wanted to try a little harder this week. Yay!

How did you do this week with your food waste?

Creamy tomato soup

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I found this recipe on PinterestĀ and decided I just had to try it. Like I said in my menu plan, fall is suddenly in the air, and I have been craving soup like crazy!
On Sunday I made this delicious tomato soup and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it! We had it with grilled cheese sandwiches. Why is it that tomato soup and grilled cheese go together so well?



Ingredients

4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 slice onion
4 whole cloves
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons half and half (or, for a lower fat option, skim milk)


Directions
1) In a pot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves and chicken broth. I added some basil, as well (we didn’t have an onion!) Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture in a food processor until blended. Strain the soup through a mesh strainer and into a large bowl. Set aside. Discard the tomatoes that were left in the strainer. (If, like me, you don’t have a mesh strainer, you can skip this step, but it will be a little chunky, and you’ll find the cloves in the soup!)

2) In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Add 2 teaspoons of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of half and half or skim milk. Stir. Season with salt and pepper, adjust to taste. Turn of your heat and pour the soup into serving bowls.

This recipe served 4, for us, but I didn’t measure it, so I guess it depends on the size of your bowls!
And that’s it! Super easy and super yummy!

Money and our love/hate relationship

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The other day my mom commented on the fact that I talk about money a lot. I don’t particularly like this trait about me, but I guess right now it’s just a fact of life. See, when I graduated from my undergrad, I moved in with my parents and, lets face it, I had it good. I didn’t pay rent, cable, internet or for food, most of the time. I had a full time, not so well paying job, and though I had my phone, car payment and car insurance, that was about all I had. How I wish I had saved back then!! But the past is past, and there isn’t any changing those decisions.

I did move out in 2008, and started working and paying all my own bills, but rent was pretty cheap, and though I don’t think I could have saved, I was able to pay most of my bills. I did rack up a little credit card debt that I’m still paying off, but aside from that, I was living fairly decently.

When I started school later in 2008, I had a scholarship and a stipend from being a graduate assistant. This stipend paid my rent and car payment, and all other bills were paid with the 2 part time jobs I had. I did take out more student loans than I needed, and this helped supplement as well.

When I got married, things got serious. I started following money-saving a frugal focused blogs, and between the 2 of us (OK mostly Geoff) I was finally making enough money to make regular payments into our savings accounts. This is when I became obsessed with money. Not so much in a bad way…more in a, “I need to save money” way. I started looking for ways to be frugal, making sure we didn’t succumb to laziness and eating out (this has only worked recently!) and focusing on our financial goals.

Do I talk too much about money? Perhaps. I look at it as being focused on saving, keeping us out of debt and working towards paying off what debt we do have. Hopefully, over the course of our marriage, it will all pay off eventually. One can only hope.

Menu Plan Monday

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Just because I’m not feeling inspired lately doesn’t mean I don’t have to try to get inspired about cooking again! It cooled off significantly overnight last week, so I’ve been craving soup like crazy! It’s definitely reflected in this week’s menu plan…
Here’s what we’re having:

Monday: Rotisseri chicken with corn on the cob

Tuesday: Easy Chicken Tortellini soup…using leftover chicken from Monday!

Wednesday: Free dinner at church! Youth group night.

Thursday: Bacon and pancakes, fruit

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Some sort of pasta with chicken and sauce

Sunday: Homemade pizza

Lunches will be leftover soup from Sunday and Tuesday, and sandwiches.

As always, this is subject to change…

What are you having this week?