Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking to 2010


Our New Years Eve celebration is pretty mellow. We are spending it at home with some friends and our new Blue Ray player (Christmas gift from the inlaws).

Looking to 2010 I am ready for a fresh start. Here we go!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Artwork Giveaway!

Brooklyn Limestone is having a giveaway! Free artwork! Run on over and check it out!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas

Today I am making cookies with my step daughter. A little later we will head over to my parents house to kick off the craziness that is Christmas. Tomorrow morning it will be with my in laws then we drop the kiddos off with their mom at noon.

Our Christmas day tradition is to go to the movies. We are going to see Sherlock Holmes and It's Complicated. We "might" also see Avatar which my SD says is amazing.

I didn't get everything done I wanted to this year. I didn't make stockings or my indoor "mink" wreath. I have not even test driven my new sewing machine. I think I may just do the stockings and wreath this weekend in preparation for next year. That way they will be done and I can pack them away with all of the decorations as we take them down. The wreath is brown velvet that looks like fur and could stay up year round if I felt like it.

Well, I am rambling - have a happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Days Left

OK - no sewing was done yesterday. I have decided not to stress myself out by trying to make six individually designed stockings by tomorrow. I have ideas in my head but I really want the process to be fun and stress free so I have decided to use the stockings I have for the hubs and I and get the kids new stockings that we can use for this year.

I might get around to making my indoor wreath today though. Right after I finish a pile of gift tags for the huge pile of gifts under our tree. I wrote the names near the back seam of wrapping paper so I would know who's was who's. I did think it might be fun to just put the pile in the middle of the floor and let everyone at them. Then the gifts could be distributed to the giftee. Yeah - no.

For some holiday inspiration, go check out Brooklyn Limestone for her annual holiday gift. This year it was personalized tea towels. That Yudu looks like something I might have to put on my wish list. Also check out this post of previous holiday gifts she has sent out. Brooklyn Limestone is so darn creative!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Closer to Christmas

I got a new sewing machine. Today is my day to sew. I have stockings to make (I know, better late than never) and my sister asked me yesterday if I could make a pillow in time for Christmas Eve.

Shortly I am off to the fabric store to pick up the last items I need. Then its a day of sewing. The hubs and I are having a dinner date and then going to pick up the last of the Christmas gifts we need so they can get wrapped and we can spend tomorrow (Christmas Eve Eve) just enjoying the day off and spending time with the kids.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hand Made Christmas

I'm off work for the week and about to head out and meet my sister with her two kids and my mom to have lunch and finish up Christmas shopping.

Head on over to Small Notebook. They are having a handmade Christmas this year. Her post has some great ideas. Also, if you are renters (of an apartment or a house or whatever) and you desperately love the look of a fireplace check out theirs. Her husband built it. Looks like stacks of different types of wood. I love the different colors. I don't think its a real working fireplace but you could certainly put candles in the "firebox" to achieve the same look.

Then you can head over to Brooklyn Limestone for her recipe for her Sugar Plum Shortbread. I always love the extra details she has in her packaging. If I ever get myself organized I would love to do this as a cute little Christmas gift.

Hand Made Christmas

I'm off work for the week and about to head out and meet my sister with her two kids and my mom to have lunch and finish up Christmas shopping.

Head on over to Small Notebook. They are having a handmade Christmas this year. Her post has some great ideas. Also, if you are renters (of an apartment or a house or whatever) and you desperately love the look of a fireplace check out theirs. Her husband built it. Looks like stacks of different types of wood. I love the different colors. I don't think its a real working fireplace but you could certainly put candles in the "firebox" to achieve the same look.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Like Our Christmas Wrapped in Dysfunction

I don't know what it is about this time of year but it seems to bring out the craziness inherent in families. I absolutely love to watch dysfunctional Christmas movies. It makes me laugh and not worry so much about the own bit of dysfunction in my extended family.

The Ref

Denis Leary plays an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandoned by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple's blackmailing son (Robert J Steinmiller Jr) and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they're driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences, before he can be nabbed by the police.

The Family Stone

The Stone family unites in common cause when their favorite son (Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) home for the Christmas holiday, with plans of proposing. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister (Claire Danes) to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications.

Fred Claus

During childhood, Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) suffered his younger brother Nick's (Paul Giamatti) saintliness. Jump ahead: Fred is a fast-talking, genial but self-centered guy in Chicago looking for $50,000 to open an off-track-betting shop. When one scam goes awry, he calls Nick at the North Pole for a loan: Nick will give him the money only if Fred comes up to help a few days with the Christmas rush. After his girlfriend (Rachel Weisz) dumps him, Fred heads north. Santa's facing an audit from an efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey), and it's not pleasant. Fred's job is to review charts and determine who's naughty and who's nice. Is there any fraternal feeling left, can either learn from the other, and what about Santa getting fired?

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

It's Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark (Chevy Chase) , his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo)and their two kids (Juliette Lewis & Johnny Galecki). Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.

The Holiday

In London, Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) writes a wedding column in a newspaper and has an unrequited love for her colleague Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell). Nearby Christmas, she is informed that Jasper is engaged and will marry another colleague, and her life turns head over heels. In Los Angeles, the movie-trailers maker Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) has just broken with her unfaithful boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns) and wants to forget him. Amanda access a house exchange website, and impulsively swaps her mansion for Iris' cottage in Surrey for the holiday along the next two weeks. While in Surrey, Amanda meets Iris' brother and book editor Graham (Jude Law) and they fall in love for each other. Meanwhile Iris meet her next door neighbor, the ninety year old screenplay writer Arthur (Eli Wallach), who helps her to retrieve her self-esteem, and the film composer Miles (Jack Black), and they fall in love for each other.

The Matador

A chance encounter between a travelling salesman (Greg Kinnear) and a lonely hitman (Pierce Brosnan) triggers a strangely profound relationship which provokes each to act in ways neither would have imagined possible. Fate steps in to form a friendship between two men from irreconcilable worlds that will alter the lives of both forever.

A Christmas Story

Ralphie (Peter Billingsly), a young boy growing up in the '40's, dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun. He sets out to convince the world this is the perfect gift. But along the way, he runs into opposition from his parents (Darren McGavin & Melinda Dillon), his teacher, and even good 'ol Santa Claus himself.

Home Alone

In this film, Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) is an eight year old boy left at home by his parents (John Heard & Catherine O'Hara), when they leave with the rest of the family for Christmas holidays to Paris. At first he seems to enjoy living alone, but after a while he understands that things aren't so easy. Especially when two robbers (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern) decide to break in a particular house. HIS house! Is he able to defend his home?

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Based on the book by the famous Dr. Seuss. Inside a snowflake exists the magical land of Whoville. In Whoville, live the Who's, an almost mutated sort of munchkinlike people. All the Who's love Christmas, yet just outside of their beloved Whoville lives the Grinch (Jim Carrey). The Grinch is a nasty creature that hates Christmas, and plots to steal it away from the Whos which he equally abhors. Yet a small child, Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), decides to try befriend the Grinch.

Scrooged

Frank Cross (Bill Murray) runs a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. Frank's childhood wasn't a particularly pleasant one, and so he doesn't really appreciate the Christmas spirit. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past (David Johansen) , present (Carol Kane) and future(Chaz Conner) , Frank realizes he must change.

Elf

Buddy (Will Farrell) was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father (James Caan), Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.

The Santa Claus

Divorcee Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is disgusted to learn that his ex (Wendy Crewson) and her husband (Judge Reinhold) have tried - and failed - to break it easy to their 6-year-old son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) that Santa isn't real. On Christmas Eve, Scott reads The Night Before Christmas... then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he's startled by Scott's calling out and falls, the Santa impersonator disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if he's involved in an accident. Scott does, and is transported around the town dropping gifts through chimneys until he's taken to the North Pole and informed by the head elf (David Krumholtz) who claim they're elves that he is now Santa. Charlie is proud of his dad's new job, though Scott's convinced it's a dream. Until his hair turns white, his beard refuses to stay shaved, he gains weight inexplicably, even for his sudden love of junk food... Now he's accepted it, there's just one problem: how to keep it secret from his disbelieving family?

Die Hard

New York City Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife (Bonnie Bedilia). Unfortunatly, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it's up to McClane to stop them all. All 12!

Movies on my must see list (hopefully this Christmas season) are...

Four Christmasses

Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) have been together three years, in love, having fun, doing all sorts of things together with no intention of marriage or children. Christmas morning, they're on their way to Fiji, having told their two sets of divorced parents that they're off to do charity work. Through a fluke, they have no choice but to visit each of their four idiosyncratic parents. As the day progresses, Brad and Kate remember growing up, each learns more about the other, and Kate realizes that her life may not be as good as it could be. Do they know each other well enough to weather the storms families bring?

Mixed Nuts

Philip (Steve Martin) runs a crisis hotline with Catherine (Rita Wilson) and Mrs Munchnik (Madeline Kahn). That's the easy part, now it gets tricky... Stanley loves evicting people and he evicts Philip. Philip loves helping people and he is loved by Catherine. Catherine is loved by Louie (Adam Sandler) who loves writing songs. Chris (Liev Schreiber) loves dancing to songs and loves to wear large dresses. Gracie (Juliette Lewis) also loves to wear large dresses because she's pregnant. She loves the baby's father, Felix (Anthony LaPaglia), who loves to paint. That just leaves Mrs. Munchnik who hasn't been loved by anybody in a very long time.

Bad Santa

"Bad Santa" is the story of two conmen (Billy Bob Thornton & Tony Cox) who go on a road trip to malls dressed as Santa and his elf. Rather than spreading good cheer, the duo's motive is to rob each establishment, a strategy that becomes complicated when they encounter an 8-year-old who teaches them the true meaning of Christmas.

What is your favorite dysfunctional Christmas movie?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Budget Update

The hubs doesn't get paid for two days and I get paid Tuesday next week but I don't see a lot of spending in the next two days so here we go.

Budgeted/Actual

Student Loan - $93/$93
Netflix - $27/$26.27
First Mortgage - $796.73/$796.73
Home Owners Dues - $217.41/$217.41
CC1 - $35 (minimum plus a little extra - I rounded up)/$35
CC2 - $30 (minimum plus a little extra - I rounded up)/$30
CC4 - $105 (minimum plus a lot extra)/$105
Groceries - $100/$168.01
Gas - $35/$69.50
Save - $800 (earmarked for bi-weekly mortgage plan)/$400
Mad Money - $328 (mostly Christmas gifts)/$476.02
Left Over - $115.80 (to filter in to the second half of the month)/$106.05

I went over in all the places I normally do. We did get some Christmas shopping done and we are close to being finished. Groceries was extra because of a holiday party we held that I didn't account for. We did more that normal driving due to the kids having plans with friends which accounted for the overage in gas.

We decided not to do the bi weekly mortgage payments for now. What we did decide to do was figure out how much extra a month bi weekly payments would add to our mortgage payment. I have budgeted larger than normal payments for our first and second mortgage next month to make it like we were doing bi weekly payments.

Budget for the next two weeks.

Income - $2053.45
Cell - $199.23
Cable/Internet - $68.70
Car payment - $200 (minimum plus extra)
Personal Loan Payment - $460
Second Mortgage - $96.15
CC4 - $30 (minimum plus a little extra)
Car/Home Insurance - $148.39
PUD - $83
DSHS - $400
Mad Money - $367.98 + $106.05 = $474.03

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Decorating Ideas

Still super busy at work but I thought I would post some links to some great Christmas decorating ideas.

Karla at It's The Little Things has a wonderfully decorated home. Her front door and entry are truly decked out for the holidays.

Stefanie over at Brooklyn Limestone had an impromptu Buon Natale party. The inspiration was a family member visiting from Italy.

Christie at Just Beachy came up with a great way to wrap gifts and recycle fabric at the same time.

Designer Eddie Ross has a wonderful red and white decorated table for your holiday meal.

Janis at Junk Dreams found some wonderful old trophy's perfect for a trio of mini trees.

For a creative and easily personalized gift idea you can jump on over to Linda & Dixie's blog Funky Junk Sisters to get the scoop on making individual cupcakes in a jar or candy stix. Add them to your reader so you won't miss any of their homemade holiday ideas.

Brin at My Messy Thrilling Life has made the cutest tiny sweater garland! I have a few tiny knitted sweaters I have been making for gift tags. If I make enough I can do this too!

Finally at the Nesting Place we have a great way to wrap packages with Garnish.

I need to drag out my Christmas decorations and get on the ball myself. I hope to post some photos soon. My colors are chocolate, cream and green. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Budget

I am taking a clue from Sallie's Niece and spelling out my budget for the next two weeks. Payday is tomorrow for both the hubs and I (that does not always happen). Here is where it's supposed to go.

Beginning Balance - $2717.94 (income of $2053.45 + account balance of $664.49)

Student Loan - $93
Netflix - $27
First Mortgage - $796.73
Home Owners Dues - $217.41
CC1 - $35 (minimum plus a little extra - I rounded up)
CC2 - $30 (minimum plus a little extra - I rounded up)
CC4 - $105 (minimum plus a lot extra)
Groceries - $100
Gas - $35
Save - $800 (earmarked for bi-weekly mortgage plan)
Mad Money - $328 (mostly Christmas gifts)
Left Over - $115.8 (to filter in to the second half of the month)

The money that will go in to savings will be held there to pay our January mortgage. Then we will also make two half payments in January to set up our February mortgage payments. By paying bi-weekly, we will end up making 13 mortgage payments a year and pay our debt down faster as well as save on interest.

I have tried to buy some Christmas gifts for the past several months and because I didn't have lists from people it was hard. I should have just put some money aside every month and then I could use it now.

Now off to sew and watch more Samantha Brown - please tell me how to get her job?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Resolutions

I know we still have a few weeks before the start of the new year and the traditional resolution experience.

This year went by way to fast and the last couple months have been a blur. I am completely worn out due to being overworked (and yes underpaid) along with biting off more than I can chew with sewing two complete outfits for the hubs and I in under two weeks. Oh yeah, and dealing with getting custody of the hubs kids.

So, needless to say I have not been taking good care of myself. My weight loss plan went out the window and its rare that I get more than six hours of sleep.

My only resolution for the new year is to put myself first. To take better care of myself. That is a simple statement but oh so loaded with possibilities.

Taking care of myself means getting regular exercise, eating healthy food, making personal time for myself, learning to say no, figuring out what I really want out of life and instead of putting things off - living in the now.


In the spirit of this new "resolution" I am hopping off the computer and going to spend at least one hour working on getting my corset for the Steampunk Ball this Saturday. It may not turn out like I had planed and I do have a contingency plan.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Wrap Up & December Goals


Been up for a couple hours cause I can't sleep. I have a lot on my mind. First, I still have four garments to make by this coming Saturday. Second, I feel like we hemorrhaged money this month and wanted to see where we actually stood.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty shall we?
  • Income - $7975.21 ($4100.22 regular earnings, $2870 savings transfers & $1003.79 additional deposits)
  • Coffee - $137.20 (up $68.47 and $102.20 over budget)
  • Eating Out - $176.93 up $87.12)
  • Groceries - $222.36 (down $150 and $22.36 over budget)
  • Gas - $167.06 (down $50.10 and $27.06 over budget)
  • Save - nada (see below)
Goals for November were...
  • 6 days of Starbucks (5 Sundays and Thanksgiving day) - epic failure
  • 9 workouts (5 walking Sundays and 4 workout Wednesdays) - total of 4 walks
  • $400 extra payment on car - nope (see below)
  • $900 in savings - nope (see below)
  • loose 10 pounds - stayed the same
  • knit SS fingerless gloves and three more ornaments - nada
  • buy Christmas gifts - did purchase some
  • either paint the living room or tile the hearth - nope
Yeah - now that you see the numbers I've got some splainin to do. My husband sold his car last month in order to buy a car from my dad. That car needed some work and so did my car.

Sold 87 BMW - $2400
Mortgage didn't have to pay - $900
Prepaid taxes from previous mortgage reimbursed - $760.13
Overpayment reimbursement from previous mortgage - $1003.79
Total additional available monies - $5063.92

Subaru work (axle, timing belt, water pump, various pulleys, oil change) - $1425.19
Porsche work (brakes, motor mounts, clutch) - $2637.60
Total work done to our cars - $4062.79

Total left over is $1001.13.

Oh yeah - and we exercised our credit cards this month too. I don't have the final numbers but probably to the tune of around $500. This is above what we spent on our cars that we have not reimbursed from cash.

Both my husbands kids have decided to live with us. So, once the dust settles and after attorney's fees to make it all legal (we are hoping around $1000 for attorneys fees) we will increase our spending every month by $118 to add the kids to the hubs health insurance and $200 for groceries (they are teenagers). We will no longer have to pay child support and expect to receive it from their mother.

We are also working on changing our new refinanced mortgage from a monthly payment to bi-weekly payments. That means we will end up paying an extra payment a year and potentially save tons in interest as well as pay off our 30 year mortgage faster. We will also slightly increase our payment to add extra every month to the principal. Currently our first mortgage is $796.73 and I think we will do bi-weekly payments of $450.

Because of the kids wanting to move in with us we now need to get a house. Our current 900 square foot two bedroom condo was fine when they just visited three weekends a month. Now that they will be living with us permanently in the new year (plus my SS's 70 pounds dog) we will need more space. Our goal is to put our place on the market in the late spring/early summer and move to a house.

I would like to still set some December goals but life is really in flux right now. Here is how the budget stands today.
  • Income - $4106.90
  • Bills - $2023.29
  • Loan Payments - $753 (minimums with a little rounding)
  • CC Payments - $200 (minimums with a little rounding)
  • Groceries - $200
  • Gas - $140
  • Mad Money - $900 (still not done Christmas shopping)
  • Save - $805.67 (this represents money we may need in January to get set up on the bi-monthly mortgage payment plan)
Other goals for this month
  • Finish four other garments for Steampunk Ball by Saturday December 5
  • Walk all four Sundays and do Wii Fit or Jillian Michaels all four Wednesdays
  • Track eating for WW - get back on plan
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Paint living room
  • Christmas gift purchased/made and wrapped by December 22nd
  • Print copy of paycheck so I can take to cell company to get 6% discount
Here is to getting custody of the kids, revamping my budget, sticking to my goals and surviving the holiday season!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apple Cup

I have been absent as I have been madly cutting out and sewing garments for the upcoming Steampunk Ball next Saturday. I have two garments completely finished and have started on the third.

I am going to take a break and go watch my Cougs beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup.

GO COUGS!!!!!!!




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Steamy!

So, a few months ago I discovered this little world of Steampunk and the hubs and I have been going to a regular meet up on Monday nights at a local coffee house to hang with other Steamy individuals.

In a few short weeks the Emerald City will be hosting the first annual Steampunk Exhibition Ball. I have a dilemma. Because its a ball I feel like I should wear a skirt. Not really certain I want to. I'm not a big fan of skirts. Not only that - I have no Steamy outfits put together yet. I have multiple ideas and can't pull the trigger on a one of them. So, I have been trolling google images for ideas on what to make for myself and the hubs.

I am more comfortable in pants. I had thought about doing a skirt gathered in the front to show pantaloons. But, I love the idea of wearing something most other women will not be and I'm drawn to the idea of a pant.

I saw these and decided they looked enough like pantaloons to pass for what I want. They have a costume feel to them that I like. I can make these in a wool menswear stripe as shown or in a nicer satin for a ball. Not certain if I am going to do the bustle on the back. Depends on what type of corset I decide to make.

Next up is the corset. I love this style of corset. It has the feel of a jacket and the back is long (if I choose) as a bustle. If I went with this option I might not put the bustle on the pants. Love the collar and how they are connected.

Under the corset I will have a chemise like top. I have not decided if I want short sleeves as shown or long sleeves.

If the chemise is short sleeved I want to make some cuffs. If I make the top with long sleeves I want them to go over the wrist like the cuffs shown below.

That's it for the main costume items. I am going to look for boots but I have shoes that will pass if I can't find what I want for the right price. I still need some steamy accouterments like goggles, a raygun a steamy hat and such.




The hubs has a few things at home already he can wear. He has a black pair of pants with a stripe down the leg much like tuxedo pants. Or, he also has a grey pair of wool pants that would do as well. We can get him a button down shirt, and I can make him a vest, cravat and a velvet lab coat much like the one below.

We need to find him a top hat and some steamy accouterments of his own. Spats and a walking stick would be great too. Love the steamy flask below!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Like Whoa!

OK, my little universe as I know it has suddenly been turned upside down. Last weekend the hubs kids came down after us not being able to see them for most of October due to their mother's lack of cooperation in drop off and pick up.

The hubs son (C) told us that he wants to live with us.

Let me just let that sink in.............................................................

Did I mention that C wants to live with us?

I'm honestly excited. He chose us. Ever since I started dating my now husband I have wanted to opportunity to be a full time parent. Sadly, their mother has had the opportunity to make the best possible decisions for them and has not. The kids are teenagers and are voicing their opinions.

The hubs daughter (A) is of the same opinion but can't quite pull the trigger on a decision to move. I think she is nervous about telling her mom and I don't blame her. She has a real hard time with change. She is adamant that she not change schools again (can you say four moves in 8 1/2 years?) but I suspect if she stays with her mom there will be yet another move in her future due to her current circumstances.

Getting back to the fun stuff. We just refinanced our condo. Now it looks like we will need to start house hunting in the spring. The reason - we have a two bedroom condo. The kids have to share when they are visiting. With C living with us full time that is no longer an option.

We have an interim plan in place though. My in-laws also have a two bedroom condo in the same building. Literally one landing away from us. They have generously offered their spare room for a child to use. Problem solved, even if A moves in with us. It will be a little weird until we can move on to a house but we will make it work. The important things is that we give them the support and stability they need.

Here we go!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Dance!!!

Today when I got home from work I had a nice fat check waiting for me. I knew I would have a reimbursement check from escrow for prepaid property taxes. I had a number in my head around $300. The check was for $770.13. Woohoo! That brings my E-Fund up to $875.55 and my goal is $1000, only $124.45 short.

Since I had to get work done on my car I did not think I would be able to put money in savings this month and I would never reach my $1000 minimum for my e-fund. I still will not be able to make a larger than normal payment on my car but will start doing that in January.

Someone accepted a position at my company today and starts on the 16th. This will greatly ease the amount of work that I have been doing and relieve some of my stress.

Christmas is coming!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Car Is Well Again

Originally I was planning on putting what would normally go to my mortgage in to savings since we refinanced and get to "skip" a mortgage payment this month. I had also planned to put an additional $400 on my car payment this month. I took my car in for service today.
  • New timing belt
  • New water pump
  • New pulley's & tensioner's (for timing belt)
  • Transmission flush
  • New radiator cap & random hoses
  • Car rental for the day since we are down to one car
  • Brakes were checked but they are good
They forgot to do the oil change or forgot to charge us. We will call on that tomorrow. This is all stuff that needs to be done and is the way I am going to be able to keep my car alive until I can pay it off and buy my Mini Cooper S in chocolate brown.


Total damage - $1349.67.
Total budgeted - $1360.00
Total left over - $10.33 boo ya!

Even though we have debt. It's a pretty good feeling to be able to pay for this "emergency" with cash. I say emergency because my dad thinks I could have gone miles on that bad axle. Such is the opinion of a man who for the better part of his life has had to fix something or other on his daily driver (old Studebaker's) . Now he owns a nearly new Porsche and doesn't have to worry - too much. Well, we actually used a credit card since we don't get paid until Friday. But...we will pay $900 the next payday and $400 the following payday to zero out the card.

I could use money we have in savings from the sale of the hubs old car. But, that money is earmarked for some stuff that needs to happen to his new car so I don't want to get us in trouble there.

The reason for this is that he needs his car up and running by mid December. Right now we carpool but in mid December to early January my office is moving and we will no longer be able to carpool. If he can't drive his car - it's the bus.

Don't you think the above is a better alternative (not our actual car but a stock photo)?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums...


Halloween is over but even before October was officially out the door I started to see advertisements for Christmas. I think that is totally crazy and "they" should wait for November 1st. Even if I do start my Christmas gift planning in the summer, I don't expect to see holiday decorations out until at least November.

I have ramped up my efforts for Christmas gift buying. I have no idea what to get some people and I'm hoping for some suggestions...
The hubs and I already have the kids figured out and the big ticket items purchased for them. We don't have a ton of money available to us and I want to not use a credit card if at all possible. We were successful last year and I think only used a credit card for one purchase. I was at my wits end and used my Macy's card to get my mom a gift card cause I couldn't find ANYTHING on her list.

We have my parents, my sister, BILL and their two kids, my brother, the hubs parents and hubs grandparents and a few friends we exchange with .

The only thing I plan to make this year are new stockings. I have some brown velvet that looks like fur that I use to trim them. Just need to get some brown fabric.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sidebar Updates

First post of the new month and I have updated my sidebars.

Progress Not Perfection

This month for my espresso challenge I will attempt to go 24 days without buying from Starbucks. I am limiting myself to Sundays and Thanksgiving day.

My emergency fund goal for right now is only $1000 until I can get some things paid off. I would prefer my emergency fund to be around $3000 at all times. Because of our refinance we don't have a mortgage payment this month.

The car rehab fund is for the money the hubs made selling his 87 BMW. That $2400 is going towards a few repairs and the purchase of an 89 Porsche the hubs is buying from my dad. This fund should go away by the end of the year.

The travel fund is set for $2000. This is a number I pulled out of my head. The hubs and I are going to Savannah next spring or summer for a long over due honeymoon. We think we can do the trip for around $2000. The money for this fund this year will come from our tax return.

The hubs and I would eventually like to have two laptops and no desktop machine. We are going to start with one laptop and an external hard drive. We have a budget of $600 for the laptop and will be looking to buy around Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). We are due some money from our old mortgage for prepaid property taxes in escrow. That money, plus any money we make selling things on Craigslist will go here.

Debt Reduction

We have used our credit cards since paying them off in August. Some things were necessary and some were not. I do make more than the minimum payments on them. The ultimate goal is not to use them but they are available now until we can get things paid off and money saved to free up more of our take home pay. We have only used 14% of our available credit.

The personal loan from my parents is something I want to aggressively pay off once I have my car & credit cards paid off and more money in savings.

My car loan is about half paid off and this is what I am focusing on right now. This month I plan to put an additional $400 on my $200 payment.

The hubs student loan is something we are going to continue to put a minimum payment on. It has the lowest interest rate of anything (except the loan to my parents) but because the balance to my parents is so much larger I would prefer to pay that off first.

The mortgage and home equity loan have zero percentage pay down because we just refinanced a couple weeks ago. Our first payments are due in December.

The Christmas knitting projects are pretty self explanatory.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm Ba-ack! - October Warp Up & November Goals

Life for the paisley penguin has been pretty hectic and crazy lately. My supervisor was let go about a month ago and I have been an army of one at work. I met the final two candidates today and a decision will be made next week. One of them will be employed by Thanksgiving. I love that I was allowed to meet with them to give my impressions as that will be taken in to consideration for their decision.

This week has been even more hectic. Wednesday was the hubs birthday. The kids, a friend, the hubs and I went to Bucca di Beppo for family style Italian food. There are only two in the state of Washington and both are within easy driving distance of my home.

One of my favorite things about Bucca is their decor. All of the walls are filled with framed photos. The main theme is definately anything Italian. Photos of Sophia Loren are hung right next to random photos of everyday people. If you look long enough you will see other photos tucked in here and there of every shape, size and subject. Just above the table we ate at I saw photos of
  • a kitten
  • three priests
  • an Italian villa
  • several people eating spaghetti
  • Sophia Loren
  • a bunch of men that looked like gangsters
One of my favorite photos from Bucca is this woman in a wedding dress kicking a soccer ball.


The walls at Bucca are the inspiration for something I want to do in my dining room. I am in the planning stages of but will reveal soon.

Thursday night the hubs and I were lucky enough to go to the Sounders FC playoff game for free against the Houston Dynamo. It was a draw (in football speak that means tied at zero). The other team was super aggressive. I also thought the officiating was a little one sided and they were not siding with us. We had tons of shots on goal, spent a majority of time on their end of the field and actually got one in but it was denied due to an earlier penalty in the play. Total crap!

The month is almost over and I have not managed to post any photos of my Halloween decorations. I plan to do that tomorrow.

I thought I would do my wrap up for the month finance wise.
  • Income - $4,100.49 (paychecks)
  • Coffee - $68.73 (down $58.94 and $1.73 over budget - budget adjusted to include hubs b-day and day trip coffee spending)
  • Eating Out - $89.81 (up $53.16)
  • Groceries - $372.36 (down $25.55 and 172.36 over budget)
  • Gas - $217.16 (up $64.37 and $77.16 over budget - due to additional extra driving)
  • Save - $2609.20 (up $2459.20 due to sale of hubs massage table & car and cash back from condo refinance)
Goals for October were...
  • Reduce CC balances by $336 - $207.49 less than planned
  • Save $150 - oh yeah, and then some
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($67) and gas ($140) budgets - good and bad here
  • Add one more workout day a week using Wii Fit or Jillian Michaels - NOT (does watching Biggest Loser count?)
  • Make better effort on drinking four glasses of water a day - can't really tell you as I need to define this with better metrics
  • Limit coffee (Starbucks) purchases to Sunday only - caved but not too badly (adjusted for day off and hubs birthday)
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day - did really well bringing a large salad for lunch and pieces of fruit as well as at dinner
  • Actually take a multi vitamin - fail
  • Paint living room - fail
  • Install tile on hearth & possible mantle - started working on it
  • Start SS fingerless gloves - fail
  • Complete at least three knitted ornaments - almost done with one more (could finish that tomorrow
  • Finish refinancing condo - we closed on the 21st!!!
  • Blog at least fifteen times this month - yeehaw this post makes 18
I think I need to streamline my goals with better metrics to measure against. I also don't want to have a huge long list to measure against. Since we are headed in to the holiday season I want to keep things pretty focused on a few areas.

So, goals for November.
  • 6 days of Starbucks (5 Sundays and Thanksgiving day)
  • 9 workouts (5 walking Sundays and 4 workout Wednesdays)
  • $400 extra payment on car (decided to focus on that to pay it off)
  • $900 in savings (no mortage this month)
  • loose 10 pounds
  • knit SS fingerless gloves and three more ornaments (not inclduing the one I started)
  • buy Christmas gifts (need to define list)
  • either paint the living room or tile the hearth
There you have it - here's to another great month!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The third day of my three day weekend. I'm gearing up for month end at work and planning a pretty lazy day with the hubs at home.

Yesterday we headed out to the thrift stores. We found some bits and bobs to take apart and make some steampunk ray guns for our costumes. The hubs found a few DVD's he wanted. My greatest scores were some amber Mexican wine glasses and three bunches of dark purple grapes.

My mom loves amber Mexican glass and since St. Vinny's had them for so long I got four for $2 plus tax. I had been to Michaels for grapes a couple times and they never had the color I wanted. I got the three bunches of grapes for $1. Perfect for my dining table centerpiece.

I have my house about as decorated as it can get for Halloween. Stay tuned as I will post photos.

Last night we went to a party held by someone we both went to high school with . There were a few others from high school there. Not everyone could make it but it was so nice to meet up after all this time being as how neither the hubs nor I went to our ten or twenty year reunions.

It's crazy what time and space can do. It was so interesting hearing out their lives and people we knew and remiscing - looking through yearbooks and such.

The great thing about it is that I have probably made some new "old" friends.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

The hubs and I are taking the day off.

It's really nice to just take a day to do whatever we feel like. We are planning to go to a pumpkin patch and maybe carve pumpkins tonight. I want to hit some thrift stores and a few antique shops up north and my favorite tea shop as I am out of my chocolate tea.

If you still need some Halloween decorating ideas click on over to Eddie Ross. He brings sophistication to holiday decorating which is what I try to do. That is why I drag all my silver, crystal and glass out every year.

Here is a teaser.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check Something Else Off The List

Yesterday the hubs and I went and closed on our refinance for our condo. Pretty exciting stuff. We are not saving too much per month on the actual payment. However, we are getting a better interest rate, don't have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) and are out from under our interest only loan so a lot of our monthly payment will actually go to pay down the balance.

Onwards to getting our car paid off!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Link Love

Could of been the extra glass of wine I had last night but I forgot a couple other bloggers I LOVE to read and look forward to a new post every day.

Crystal at Brunette On A Budget writes about personal finance, travel and her experience writing a novel. Her weekly dash of Rachel Zoe cracks me up. She's seriously a great read so head on over.

A creative mask maker, Tom Banwell creates one of a kind Steampunk inspired masks from everyday objects. His imagination is amazing!

You may or may not have heard of Rachel Ashwell. She is the creator of the Shabby Chic idea of decorating. At one time she had a TV show and several stores selling her line of furnishings. Now she has a blog and even though times are tight in this economy she is looking at the silver lining.

Someone who loves Halloween so much she is getting married that day, Wicked Bride has a lot of decorating ideas for the creepy month of October.

Hope you are having a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We are $2525 richer!

OK, so the title of this blog doesn't have a whole lot to do about the actual subject matter. We (I mean the hubs) are indeed $2525 richer. The hubs sold his massage table for $125 and his 1987 BMW 325is for $2400 over the weekend (don't worry - the chin spoiler was attached when it went away).


The hubs bought this car about four years ago and has loved it. My dad made him an offer he couldn't refuse on his old Porsche (old meaning my dad bought a new one and well the old one is from 1987). Yes indeed I did marry my father (when it comes to cars). Suddenly the hubs got all the little projects done on his car that he had been meaning to do and sold it. The cash from the car will go towards the Porsche so I am not technically recognizing it in the savings account.

So, my blogging of late has been rather shoddy. I have not even uploaded photos of our Halloween decorating. Because.............

Life has been crazy! This is the start of week four of being an "army of one" as I am being called at work. My email accounts (yes I have TWO at work) are crazy! My supervisor has been gone for three weeks and I know they are looking for a replacement. I am SUPER busy at work and SUPER tired. This morning we had an acquisition announcement and now my life is going to get even more hectic in the next couple weeks.

A nervous breakdown is a great idea but I don't have room in my schedule. Can I get an assistant to manage that for me?

We did manage to actually get our Roku working on Friday. We got sucked in to Harper's Island over the weekend and watched all 13 episodes. As I type this I am listening to Vanity Fair. I have not really been paying attention so I will probably watch it again. For the uninitiated, Roku is a way to stream movies from Netflix to our TV. No waiting for a disc to arrive. If you don't like something you just stop watching it and watch something else. It's like a DVR for Netflix.

This is day number 16 for my espresso challenge. Check out my sidebar for the gorey details. I'm doing pretty good actually and I'm proud of myself. Oh yeah - and I have lost 14 pounds!

Yesterday I met a friend at Starbucks for a Stitch n Bitch. We are hoping to do this once a month. It was nice to sit down with a bunch of girls to knit while decaffeinated.

I don't do this often but I thought I would give you a little link love...

One of my all time favorite blogs to read is Crazy Aunt Purl. A woman who came home from work one day to be told her husband wanted a divorce and she turned that in to a blog and then a book. I discovered her the day after she was in Seattle on her book tour for her last book. Her next book comes out in February and she better come to Seattle again! She talks about knitting and life and she is a hysterical read!

Moneyopolis used to be Escape Booklyn. As you can probably guess from the title of her new blog she did indeed escape - Brooklyn that is. She is busy settling in to her life in Minneapolis (yes they got snow over the weekend) and remodeling her "mansion".

Now, someone who still lives in Brooklyn is Brooklyn Limestone who I found a couple weeks ago and proceeded to spend and ENTIRE SUNDAY reading her entire blog. Love, love, love her house and so want it!

Shameless plug for the hubs blog, A Kilted Travel Agent. He mostly talks about his deep love of the automobile (second only to madame paisley). If you are so mechanically inclined take a jaunt on over.

A local gal (by local I mean in the greater Seattle Tacoma area), Karla at It's the Little Things blogs about her amazing home remodels on a shoestring budget. Check out her post from today. Yummy chowder and cider recipies!

That's about it for me. Hope all is well and I promise I will be a better blogger!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finally Success!

We are finally able to stream from Netflix. After ordering our Roku, having it get lost in the mail, buying a router, buying an external network card and having Comunistcast ping our modem - we are live and streaming!

I imagine I will be spending quite a bit of time glued to my TV!

Here is a photo of one of my bigger goals I am saving for. A Mini Cooper S hard top in Hot Chocolate.

Can you just picture the license plate holder with "Take life with a grain of chocolate"? Now THAT'S eye candy!

Guest Blogging at Mrs. B's!

Just a quick post today. I am a guest blogger today over at Mrs. B's Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. So if you have not checked her out yet there are still a bunch of days left in the month and plenty of chances to win some great stuff! She's also got a haunted blog tour and other fun stuff!

Thanks Ellie and Wendy for stopping on by!

More Halloween blogging to continue tonight adfet the work week is behind me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Small Things Accomplished

Last night I drug out a bag of clothing that needed repair in order for us to be able to wear it again. Two pair of pants hemmed, one top that needed part of the trim reattached and one shirt that needed buttons reattached. Done and are now back and hanging in the closet.

The rest of the bag consists of fabric that needs to find a home. Some of the fabric is yardage in prints that I like. I use it for table cloths and such. Then there is some fabric that needs to be made in to something. This part of the bag still needs to be sorted.

As I may have mentioned before, we live in a small 900 square foot condo. When the hubs kids come to visit on the weekends they share the second bedroom. So, we are really tight on storage. For the better part of several months I had bags lined up behind my couch. I was so sick of seeing them there that I moved the bags to my bedroom where they ended up lining the wall. I am desperate to get rid of the last of my visible clutter. Once that is done I can move on to the invisible clutter. You know the items stuffed in closets, drawers and under the bed. Out of site - out of mind.

On the espresso challenge update for October. I did cave and bought a coffee at Starbucks yesterday. You know, it just wasn't as good as I expected it to be. Up have updated my side bar and I'm at 41%. I thought this challenge was going to be really hard but it hasn't been all that bad.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy News To Report

So, we had a friend over last night for dinner who works in IT and diagnosed our computer woes. It was a double wammy. The brand new router we bought was bad. Kind of like a brand new faulty starter in a car. Also, our network card was indeed bad as well. We exchanged the router and our friend is getting us a network card today. Woo Hoo! Happy dance for no expensive computer repairs! It could almost be one of those priceless commercials!

This is day 11 of no Starbucks. I have 16 days left in the month and I am having a hard time keeping strong. I managed to get to work without going through the drive through but I know there is a Starbucks within walking distance. I have all these rationalizations going through my head like....
  • You could be like the Amish, they always leave one imperfection in all their handcrafted items because only God is perfect.
  • If I make it to 100% this month then I will have to do that every month and where is the challenge in that?
  • I tightened my belt a notch because I have lost 12 pounds. That is certainly deserving of a yummy coffee beverage to celebrate.
  • The hubs bought a coffee at work the other day (not Starbucks), I should be able to as well.
  • The hubs is going to buy our IT friend a coffee today (at Tully's) as payment for the network card, I should get one too.
  • I refrained from buying any Halloween decor items last weekend.

On and on ad nauseum. I have not updated my sidebar this morning to 40% which would reflect 11 days of no Starbucks. We shall see how the day progresses.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What I Did Today


I found a fabulous blog that I pretty much spent my ENTIRE DAY reading from the beginning. Stephanie and her husband bought a Brooklyn row house in December 06 and have renovated it. Now she is busy putting her personal stamp on the interior with carefully thought out furnishings and accessories.

Oddly enough my decorating style is exactly like hers as explained by Sproost.com as French Eclectic which is described as...

Parlez-vous français? Even if the answer is no, you can confidently say your home does! French Country, like its name, somehow manages to both be formal and casual, classy and unassuming at the same time. You like your spaces to feel inviting from the moment you (or your guest) opens the front door and this feeling should continue even after you've entered your most formal room. Even though there are French antiques here and gold details there, the rustic elements provide a balance and warmth that seems to say, "come in, relax and stay a while." Your love of antiques leads you to flea markets, garage sales and hours of eBay hunting.

Materials

The materials and pieces you are drawn to play on the mix of formal and casual. Many of the pieces look like they were passed down from your great-great-aunt (even if they are brand new!) and you managed to upholster them in a way that made that piece both then and now. Much of the furniture is wood-framed and the wood is either left natural (hey there rustic!), painted white (hey there country!) or even gold (hello refinement!). And many times there is a strong mixture of all of these. If you find yourself leaning much more towards the "country" side of things and away from the Parisian side, drop the gold details and replace them with wrought iron.

Colors

When it comes to color, you are drawn to bright and airy options. Thoughts of the French countryside are key - warm colors such as yellows, reds and oranges hinting at fields of gold. But the nice thing about French Eclectic is you can just as easily go in the opposite direction: pale blues and greens hinting at acres of lavender fields and expansive blue skies.

Space Planning

When you think about laying out your French Eclectic room the key is to invite people in and encourage them to stay. So furniture should be grouped nicely to encourage intimate conversation and the main pieces should be comfortable in both look and feel. There should be plenty of places to set drinks, prop feet and lean back. And yet the functionality of these pieces doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't beautiful antiques or replicas.

After perusing her blog for the better part of the day I encourage you to take a visit. I am now very motivated to get my home completed. I honestly don't have a lot to do as far as major projects go. I do have a few ideas I want to employ after I do some research but I feel now more than ever I have a direction in completing my condo.

Even though our condo was generic and bare boned I have always wanted for people to walk in and feel somewhat transported and aware they have found a gem among the paste so to speak.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Planning for a Different Future

I’m a planner. There is nothing I don’t love more than sitting in front of a big lined tablet and making lists. Or daydreaming about a future life not yet realized. The problem is I sometimes fall flat on the execution of a plan.

I have spent the better part of the last ten years in the planning stages for major life decisions. I got married and became a step parent. My husband and I bought a condo. We pulled ourselves out of consumer debt and then got ourselves back in.

The one thing I have not accomplished is getting my degree. I woke up a few months ago and realized I was 38 years old and my life was not exactly as I thought it would be at this age. Problem was, I never planned on how my life was going to be. I just woke up every day and went to work and spent my money and lived my life one day at a time with little thought to the future. I thought I had more time.

I know part of my problem is putting things off until I was skinnier, we were in less debt, we owned a home, etc. [Insert excuse here].

The heart of the matter is that I am not satisfied with my job. What I spend more than 40 hours a week doing is mind numbingly boring and not fulfilling what so ever. The pay is enough but just enough. It has been this way for a long time. I don’t have a career plan. I have a job for the simple reason I need to keep paying silly things like my mortgage, my bills and my debt.

That’s right, it’s a JOB – not a career. I did go to college but I did not graduate. I was not certain when I was there what I wanted to do so I decided on Fashion Design. You see, I wanted to design costumes for film and theater. I wanted a career that would be creative and exciting and different every day of my life. I ended up in accounting and have been working in that field for the better part of the last fifteen years.

Sometimes I feel trapped in my life. I have a husband who I love dearly. He has two kids we help support. We have a condo and debt and I have no idea how I would even go about going back to school and paying for it and choosing what it is I would want to study all the while working full time.

Then there is the ticking clock of my age. To most people I am still young, easily able to change from a job to a career of my choosing. Even if I had no college classes under my belt and started today I would be 42 when I graduated. That is still not unreasonable to start a new career. I still would have over twenty years of working life left to live.

My fear is that I will go through all this extra schooling that I will have to borrow money to pay for and I will have to start out making less than I make now. My fear is that I decide on something and then I end up not liking it. My fear is that I might not be good enough.

Even though I have those fears I am going to do it. I have given myself just under two years to prepare. At the ripe old age of 40 I plan to go back to school and finish a degree so I can change careers and do something I enjoy. I'm certain my plan will change as I go along and find out more information but it's a plan and you have to start with something.

Do any of you know of people who have started over in their 30's?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Apartment Therapy

I don't know if you have every heard of Apartment Therapy. It's a great site for decorating ideas. Especially for small places.

Fellow blogger Karla entered her bedroom on over at Apartment Therapy so go on over and have a look. I love what she did with her TV in the bedroom. I had a similar idea in mind and this just gives me more of an idea ofwhat to do. Just have to figure out what to do with the cords.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Computer Update and Other News

So after unplugging the modem for 24 hours we were able to get back online last night. Still no Roku action which is very frustrating. A friend who works in IT is going to come over tomorrow night and look at it. We are hopeful this will be a relatively inexpensive fix and our Roku issues will be resolved by the weekend.

Cross fingers for me!

In other news, this is day 6 of no Starbucks for the month. Just 21 days to go to meet this goal. This is amazing for me and I am pretty darn proud of myself.

It goes to show that when you put your mind to something you can do it. A few years ago I would pay for lunch nearly every day. It's been a couple years now and I rarely eat lunch out. Just something I put my mind to.


If you have not checked her out yet, Mrs. B is having a month long Halloween celebration over at her blog Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. She has giveaways every day and guest bloggers. Click on over and check her out!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Computer Died


Last night I turned on the computer to warm it up since its a little slow and takes a bit in otder to get online. After stopping at my neighbors to get my dog and chatting for a bit I came back down to see that I still could not get online.


Everything works on the stupid computer but it is unable to get online due to some network card. The computer is 3 1/2 years old and I was hoping to keep it a little longer before needing to replace it. This is also probably why we are unable to use our Roku to stream from Netflix to our TV.


The hubs and I have been wanting to get two laptops and eliminate the computer all together since we don't have a lot of room in our place we had to reserve one corner of our dining room for the computer. With laptops we can get rid of the temporary setup we have there and just put a cabinet to store things like the external drive, printer, etc.


We are shopping around and will end up buying some sort of laptop by the weekend. My husband is selling a car (hopefully tonight) so a portion of that money will be used for the laptop purchase.


Until then we can't get online unless we go to our neighbors or I do it at work.


Ug! So very inconvenient.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Espresso Challenge


So, I made a pledge of sorts that I would not go to Starbucks this month with the exception of Sunday after walking with my friend. I'm calling it the Espresso Challenge.


We are on day five of the new month and I have not gone to Starbucks with the exception of yesterday which was one of my four Sundays.


I'm getting along OK. I had a ceffaine headache last Friday and I have international coffees stashed in my drawer at work. The hubs brought a french press to his office so he could make coffee for himself. I might invest in one for myself at work too.
27 days for the challenge
4 days down
23 days to go
I even added this to my sidebar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Halloween Inspirations

A few images that are inspiring me for Halloween. Could be a fun costume but I don't think I would want to put green makeup all over my body.


These curtains are actually outside the front door of this home. I love the noose and skeleton arm as tie backs. The rug on the porch is so great. I love to do and see things that are out of their element so to speak. We have a regular fogger but would need a ground fogger for this effect so it could be hidden behind the curtain for added spookiness.

Archie McFees is a great store to find all kinds of stuff. Fake bugs galore for really reasonable prices. An easy way to create this centipede and rotten egg centerpiece.

I'm keeping my eye out for apothecary type glass jars. I love the way they look. So old fashioned and you can store so many lovely treats in them!

I love candles. During the colder fall and winter months I often have then burning along with my fireplace. This is surrounded by figs and blackberries. I don't think they should be eaten though as the roaches have made a meal of them.

More ideas can be seen here from a post I did last year at this time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September Wrap Up and October Goals

I don't know about you but when we turn the corner in to September I am ready for my "New Year". A change in the weather and one of my favorite holidays is in October.


Income - $4116.19 (paychecks)
Coffee - $127.67 (up $26.98 and $77.67 over budget)
Eating Out - $36.65 (down $100.65)
Groceries - $397.91 (down $8.81 and $197.91 over budget)
Gas - $152.79 (down $60.30 and $12.79 over budget)
Save $50 ($150 under budget)

The goals we had for September were...
  • Pay off major CC's from August usage - epic failure
  • Save $200 - nope 1/4 of that
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($50) and gas ($140) budget - epic fail
  • Start working out two more days a week with Wii fit and Jillian Michaels - epic fail
  • Drink at least four glasses of water a day - fail
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day - check
  • Start taking a multi vitimin - fail
  • Finish baseboard molding in main part of house (purchased without using CC's) - check (and I used power tools to install it too!)
  • Paint living room - fail
  • Install tile on hearth - fail
  • Finish SD's Tabi Socks for Christmas - check
  • Complete at least five knitted ornaments - completed one
  • Refinance condo - in process
So goals for October....
  • Reduce CC balances by $336 (minimums plus extra)
  • Save $150
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($50) and gas ($140) budget
  • Add one more workout day a week using Wii fit or Jillian Michaels DVD
  • Make better effort on drinking four glasses of water a day
  • Limit coffee (Starbucks) purchases to Sundays only
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day
  • Actually take a daily multi vitimin
  • Paint living room
  • Install tile on hearth & possible mantle
  • Start SS's fingerless gloves
  • Complete at least three knitted ornaments
  • Finish refinancing condo
  • Blog at least fifteen times this month
What I have discovered with goal setting is that if you don't have your goals in front of you it's so easy NOT to achieve them. Every day when I head out to work I have a couple instances when I am tempted to swing in to a Starbucks. Its such a habit I have to make a conscious effort NOT to go. Even when I get to work I can easily walk to a Starbucks for my coffee. I know that if I make it past 11 o'clock I am probably good.

I admit it. I am a coffee snob and I am not a fan of drip which we have in endless supply at work. I do have a couple canisters of flavored international coffees in my desk that I just need to add water too and I have been trying to stick to that instead. Today was the first day of a new month and NO STARBUCKS WAS HAD!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halloween is Coming

Just another quick post. Sorry I have been so absent lately. Much going on at work. I am now a department of one and I am absolutely swamped. I work in accounting and its month end. Got to jump off the computer so I can be in the office by 6 tomorrow!



This is also heads up for all you Halloween lovers out there. Mrs. B over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom is going to have an awesome line up for the entire month of October. Give aways and guests posts (yes, I even have something to contribute) galore. You can also get to her by clicking on the 31 days of Halloween badge in my sidebar. So head on over!

I had hoped to do something similar but October snuck up on me and work is crazy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roku

The Roku we ordered finally arrived last week. We have successfully watch one TV show and that is it. For some reason the Roku cannot get online. I am so frustrated.

I have checked online forums and have already tried everything suggested. So at a loss and will return it if need be. Would prefer to actually use it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Update

I apologize I have not been more of an active blogger of late. Just a quick update.

I got a call from my bank today. They are running a promotion right now. I was entered in to a drawing and won $100. It's not a lot but every little bit helps! Right now my e-fund goal is only $1000. I'm still following the Dave Ramsey plan of getting to that point and then focusing on debt reduction.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lullaby Moon


Tonight we went down to Magnusun park to see Lullaby Moon. "Lullaby Moon is a year-long invitation to Seattle to explore a world of dream. A celebration of the night sky, the series of performance events brings bedtime whimsy and wonder to parks and other public spaces throughout the city, enlivening and enlightening the dark time of each month. Performances take place on each new moon for an entire lunar year beginning in October 2008."

This performance was one of the most original things I have ever experienced. It's interactive with the audience. The performers do no speak and their costumes are very stylized. All are wearing white with the exception of the ushers who are wearing black tails. People attending are asked to wear white but its not a requirement.

Above are two of the several people dressed up in "clock face". At night their head pieces glowed with LED lights.

A procession of horse women pushing prams. The prams were all lit up at night. They walked very gracefully, bowing to passers by.

The costuming was truly wonderful and very Victorian in feel. There were cat people and owl people and musicians dressed in long white nightgowns and nightcaps. Beds were set up for people to get in and snuggle up.



There were even horse drawn beds taking people for rides. My friends daughters were super excited to ride on the big bed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rockin the Knitting

A couple weeks ago I ordered this kit from Knit Picks. I started my first ornament yesterday and finished it today. It's so darn cute! This is my gift tag plan for this year. I'm certain I have more than enough time to finish them.

Crackberry shown to give you and idea of size.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tabi Socks Done!

Last night, or early this morning I finished the toe of the second Tabi sock for SD. It's a Christmas gift I started last year (way to late) and am proud to say I have completed them for Christmas this year.

The photo below is my feet in the socks. They are super silly looking but I didn't have any great flip flops to put on over them. For a better photo check here. The pattern came from the Not Just More Socks book by Sandi Rosner. I used Imagination yarn in the Wicked Witch colorway (Evil Stepmother wasn't as pretty).

This was the first time I attempted the Kitchener Stitch and is so very cool I want to do it all the time! The yarn is hand wash so I hope my SD will remember that. They are so soft I want a pair now!


Being frugal means planning for Christmas in August my friends.