Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do You Pin?

Are you a pinner? You know, of the pinterest variety? Never heard of it? Well, you are just missing out on the most fun ... seductive ... time wasting website ever invented!

Someone described it like having a new magazine delivered to you every day!

Did I mention its addictive? Very, very addictive.

Here's a few examples of what I've found on Pinterest this week.

Or how bout some of this ....

Or if that's not your thing there's always this ....

And that isn't even the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. So if this makes you salivate like it does me, drop me an email and I'll send ya an invite. Or if you're already a pinner, let me know so I can follow ya.

Til next time ....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Accck! My Espresso Machine is Dying!!!

I heard it coming. That sound that tells you that your beloved appliance is on life-support. This morning as I made my grande,low-fat, peppermint mocha the steamer would scream in high gear then sputter and slow, almost stopping altogether until it would sputter up to full steam again. It did this several times during the steaming process and even after letting my milk steam for several extra minutes, my mocha was still lukewarm, at best.

Cringing at the unexpected expense, I resign myself to the fact that I will be at the not-so-local Tar*jay or Freddies this weekend looking at replacement machines. Over the last 10 years I've gone thru about 3 Mr Coffee espresso makers. They usually last me around 3 years, give or take. They are cheap, they do a fair job, if not excellent. I've been ok with that. But now I'm wondering if it isn't time for an upgrade. I'd like to get a machine that would last 5-7 years of daily use before the motor gives out on me. I'll probably get online and see what kind of reviews are out there. I know my sister in law has been happy with her top of the line machine, but I know it is most likely out of my price range.

Or I could just start drinking coffee with my husband? Doctored up of course! Not as good in my book, but it might get me through a few weeks til I can make a better decision than rushing out and buying the first machine that looks like it'll do.

So what would you do in my shoes ... or my coffee cup?

Til next time ....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cash Envelope System

Long ago, in the days before the Internet, I heard about a system of tracking your expenses by using cash from envelopes. As I recall, it was called the "Cash Envelope System" ... great name, huh? I bought into the system, used it faithfully for a long time and it was quite successful for us during that time. I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the way, I went back to debit, and checks and cash without the accountability of the envelopes.

Then a few years ago, it came across my radar again, from people talking about Dave Ramsey. I thought several times, "I really should go back to the "cash envelope system" but never followed through.

Well, this month I did go back. For our two week pay period I dug out my envelopes and put my assorted, specified cash in each and we are using the system again. And can I say it is a relief!

I love being able to look in each or any of the envelopes and know exactly how much I have left to spend in that category. I love being able to look at the outside of the envelope (where I record what we've spent) and seeing where our money has gone. I love feeling like we are more in control of our finances. And I love feeling like we are being proactive in what we are spending money on.

Before we would say: Want to go out for dinner? Sure! We have money in the checkbook. Want to buy clothes? Sure! We have money in the checkbook. Now we say: Want to stop at McD's? Let's look at how much is in the envelope. We have "X" amount that has to last us til next payday, is it worth it to ya? And we can make a more seasoned decision on that info.

It may not be for everyone, but for me, my life just works better this way. And you know another upside? We've started a travel savings fund! Since we're not spending down to zero every paycheck, we can start saving for those longterm things we really want in our life.

So how bout you? Do you use the Cash Envelope System or something else? Have you had success with using cash, debit or ????

Til next time ....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Edition: 11 in 2011

Diana over at Smiles Go with Everything did a 11 in 2011 at the beginning of the year as well as doing a summer edition 11 in 2011. I thought it was such a neat idea that I've stolen the idea and am making it my own for Fall.

Now that the #1 son is back to school and the fall routine is shaping up nicely, I have been energized with all kinds of projects in the queue. Yesterday I cut out a knit top that has been waiting patiently for, ahem, much too long. I was so jazzed about it that I emailed my sister and told her all about it.

So I came up with my very own 11 in 2011 Fall Edition:
(to be completed by Dec 22nd when Fall ends and Winter begins)

1) Blog More: I have really been pathetic with my blogging over the last year or two and want to rectify that. I do love blogging and being part of the blogging community. So along with my other writing endeavors I will be squeaking out time to blog and my goal is to post 3x a week. Hold me to this, will ya?

2) Exercise More: It's time to get serious about working out again. I have a 3 prong attack for this goal: walk the trail, join the stretch class and/or zumba class in town, and do the dvd thing at home. 3x a week. Who's with me?

3) Write More: Now that the Joe boy is back in school, I have time and quiet to hear my own thoughts and get creative. I have a novel in progress that needs a middle and an ending, and I have a short story I've just started which has got me all excited. Quite a fun story if I do say so myself =) Three days a week I have an appointment with my computer to write. No interruptions allowed.

4) Read More: Found a new mystery author I'm enjoying and looking for another young adult fantasy author to replace the series I loved and finished this summer. Also have some non-fiction titles awaiting my attention as well.

5)Sew More: I have lots of patterns and lots of fabric, so I just need to make the time to do this. Use up my stash and add some new items to my closet. My goal is to complete one project each month.

6) Join a Writing Critique Group: I have scoped one out. It meets every other Saturday which would be very doable. Now to get my courage up to walk into a group of stangers. Wish me luck!

7) Set Aside Money for Travel Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of years, and we have been talking alot about a cruise. All my siblings have done the cruise thing and loved it! So we need to set aside some moolah every month to pay for it. I'd also like to visit one of my sister's in Colorado next year and maybe take the Joe-boy on a road trip next summer to visit friends in the midwest and east coast. We'll see ....

8) Date Night Once a Month: Before #1 son came along, we were great about having a weekly datenight. Even after the little guy entered our lives, I made it a habit to seek out the babysitter and off we would go. But ever since Mike's accident, we have been horrible about going out on the town. Some of that can be chalked up to limited funds, moving around and not breaking in a new babysitter, it getting easier to take Joe places with us, but none of that washes anymore! We need a DATE NIGHT .... and mama needs one tonight! (hee hee) So I have a potential babysitter in the works, I just have to meet up with him and do the final "walk-thru" and then plan a great evening out for the two of us.

9)Explore Portland n'borhoods: You've seen them highlighted in the mags, those cute, quaint n'borhoods all over Portland? We really need to take advantage of being so close to PDX and get out there and explore.

10) Improve My Cooking Skills: I've always enjoyed trying new recipes, but now I want to improve my skills and techniques. Case in point: we love a good steak, but I have always had a really hard time with steak. I either undercook them--ewww blood! or overcook them---ewww tough! So I spent several evenings this summer trying new steak cooking techniques to figure out how to cook the perfect steak. I can't say I got it yet, but I'm alot closer than I was last May. Other techniques I will conquer: making a great pie crust, a great pot roast, and cheesecake. Want a bite?

11)Go to the Portland Zoo: Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

So that's my list for Fall. Got a list of your own? Do tell!

Til next time ....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Recipe Roundup (#3)

photo courtesy of Lil Luna

Welcome to another edition of my weekly recipe roundup. I know I said I lean too heavily towards desserts and I would be more balanced, but I just can't not share this yummy looking recipe for White Chocolate--Butterscotch Chip Cookies. Are you drooling yet?

Now that I got that out of the way, I can share some other just as yummy, delish and oh so good recipes I found this week. Oh who am I kidding? We all know that desserts are the most delish of all, don't we? Unless you're my hubby, but that's a story for another day ....

Here's one you don't see all the time. Lemon-Lime Soda from a "new to me" blog Phaedras Adventures. Another adventure blog .... Yay! Let me know if you try this one and I'll do the same for you.

And I found these great looking appetizers: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. It's lunchtime as I type this and just the sound of them is making me hungry!

I have GOT to try these finger-lickin good sticky slow cooked drumsticks! I love my crockpot and these look easy and yummy. A great combination.

And last a great budget meal from Budget Bytes Taco Chicken Bowls. She even gives a cost breakdown, gotta love that!

Let me know if you try any of these recipes, or if you have tried any news ones you've found on the 'net. Or ones that you want me to add to my next recipe roundup.

Til next time ....

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Six Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Blogging

1. Cleaning the bathroom.

2. Emptying the dishwasher.

3. Finish putting away the groceries I bought yesterday.

4. Folding clothes.

5. Swiffer the floors, esp our bedroom.

6. Cutting out two top patterns that I've been drooling over all summer.

Can you relate? Have you ever had one of those mornings? What do you do to avoid the “to do list”?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day Bust

Spending the day in bed nursing a sore-throat and inflamed sinus's was not how I envisioned Labor Day. But there's no use fighting it when you're sick. So instead of rearranging furniture with the hubster, spending time at the river beach or going into town for one last summer flick, I spent the day napping and reading "The Last Detective".

I'm still battling the throat tho it feels better today than yesterday.

So what did you do on your holiday?

Til next time ....