Sunday, May 31, 2009

Decluttering & Living With Basic Cable

Decluttering was a success this weekend. I got all of the bags and boxes and stacks of stuff lining the TV wall in the bed room out of the room and sorted. For the most part everything has a home now. There are a few items waiting for their new homes to become available when I hit the next place to declutter. It felt good to get it done and I realize I have to go slow at this or I will end up with a gigantic mess and get too overwhelmed. Baby steps.

The only thing on that wall now is the laundery hamper which I hate and would like to find a better home for it (not to mention a new hamper) but for now it works. I'm just so pleased that when I walk around the foot of the bed to get to my side (cause I'm closest to the wall) I don't have to navigate all of that clutter.

I didn't get any more planting done this weekend nor did I start cutting out my outfit to sew. I am saving the sewing for this week. I do want to get my topsy turvy tomato plant done tomorrow night cause I LOVE tomatoes! They go great in salad, bruschetta, sauce or just eating like an apple.

We turned in our cable boxes for both TV's yesterday. Both the hubs and I had been moving toward this for a long time. This will be a savings of about $35 per month. We have about 40 channels still. One thing I have noticed about cable is sometimes we just sit and surf the directory to see what is on when we could be doing something else like getting outside. We will miss the Sci Fi channel and the A&E and a few others but this will be a good thing. Wa can always go back!

About to go make some dinner and relaxing with a glass of red wine. If you ever get the chance, pick up a bottle of Menage A Trois. I kid you not - it's great even if the name is a little kinky. If you live in the Seattle area you can pick it up at Fred Meyer for $8.99 a bottle.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

May Wrap Up

This month just flew by and I pretty much abandoned my new philosophy on debt reduction and savings. With the nicer weather the hubs, dog and I have been outside more and watching TV/on the computer less.

My focus for June is to get decluttering started and follow our budget. I started decluttering Thursday night by going through a bag sitting along a wall in my bedroom. This wall is a pit stop for clutter. The bag I went through had some fabric for an outfit I bought last year I want to make. I cut out the pattern pieces and will start sewing today.

In an effort to reduce our monthly expenses;
  • The hubs took our cable boxes to the cable company today so we are down to basic cable. In the summer time who really needs all those channels?
  • We canceled a service we really have not needed.
  • We dropped the third cell phone line on our plan as the kids have phones now paid by their mom.
  • We went on the PUD monthly plan which spreads what you spend out over the year in twelve equal payments.
Total savings $109 per month.

As far as our budget goes, we did not pay any extra on the debt, total for eating out was $108.13 and coffee was $172.29. We hope to stick to Starbucks only on the weekends and bring coffee from home during the work week.

I bought the 30 Day Shred video by Jillian Michaels and have done that about five times. It really kicks my but!

We have some expenses this month; a vet visit, Father's Day and my parents 40th anniversary. We have those items budgeted in so adding about $200 to our personal loan will help getit paid down faster so we can refinance in July.

Well, got to get to some gardening and sewing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stuff

I have too much stuff. It's amazing how often I walk through my house without seeing the clutter. The pile of stuff behind the couch, the pile of stuff lined up along a bedroom wall, the extra stuff everywhere that I think I will need, was so expensive, was a gift etc.

June is almost upon me and I plan on spending this weekend decluttering. I need to be ruthless. I need to get rid of clothing that doesn't fit, is worn out or I just don't wear. I need to turn the fabric I have in a bag in to actual clothing I will wear. I need to post items on Craigslist that I don't use or want or are just in the way.

I need to spend time with my husband taking the dog to the park, cuddling on the couch or out Geocashing. Watching hours of TV when its nice outside does not get me closer to any of my goals. Living in a cluttered home does not make me feel calm and content.

I need space!

This weekend we will start. We will start saving money by taking the cable boxes to the cable office and exchanging them for the boxes that only allow basic channels. We will start by taking a good hard look at the stuff we have in our home and if its really needed or not. We will start by finding other ways to be entertained without having to resort to watching TV or movies.

June is the first month to the rest of the year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Long Weekends

The long weekend is over and it was back to work today. I had big plans for my weekend which I promptly threw out the window in favor of a "do whatever the heck I feel like" weekend. Friday the power was out in most of the area of downtown Seattle where I work. So, I got to leave at 10:30. My neighbor and I hit a couple stores for some plants for my yard nad her deck.

Saturday we helped my neighbor and friend find a new family member. May I introduce to you BJ's new girlfriend, Sara.


After a trip across Lake Washington to Bellevue with no luck we stopped at our local PAWS and there she was. Her big brown eyes staring at me from her pen. My friend was instantly in love and Sara came home with her. She's 10 months old and a mix of Jack Russel Terrier and Australian Cattle Dog. Smart and full of energy. BJ is a few years older than her and they get along just fine (don't let the photo below fool you - one of the few times Sara was not running around - BJ is still camera shy).

We finished off Saturday night BBQing with friends. Sunday we went to two dog parks and
met my husbands cousin and wife who are moving to the Big Easy in a couple weeks. Can't wait to visit them down there!

Monday was a gardening day and boy do my hamstrings hurt! I still have a few things I need to plant so photos to come soon!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Would you like a little cheese with your wine?


Today the hubs and the kiddos and I ventured down to Pike Place Market for their annual cheese festival. Basically rows of covered tables full of cheeses to taste from around the world. There was also a wine/beer tent but we opted for yummy lemonade and smoothies.

Everything was so good. My favorite was a tie between the honey flavored goat cheese by Chevre and the white cheddar soaked in Merlot. Yum! We passed by the original Starbucks location where some enterprising gentleman was playing his violin.

A lot of other interesting people down there. A guy with a parrot, a guy with a cat doing tricks and this guy playing the piano in the middle of the road.

I think I got a little sun and am glad to be home to enjoy the rest of the sunny day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Any Ideas?

The hubs and I have a flat panel TV mounted to the wall in our bedroom across from our bed. We have a "floating" shelf from IKEA to hold our DVD player and small cable box.


Do you see it? Do you see the thing I hate? Against my beautiful blue walls are all of the cables hanging down to the outlet. It's so hideous! The only idea I can come up with is buying one of those wire cord cover kits and then paint it to match my walls which would at least make them disappear.

Oh how I wish I were wireless!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When Slurping In Public Is OK

Today the hubs and I played hooky and took a PTO day from work to meet up with some friends for a day of coffee.



First stop was Victrola Coffee Roasters on Capitol Hill. We were attending a cupping which is essentially a coffee tasting technique to evaluate coffee aroma and flavor profile. This particular cupping had eight coffees from Sumatra.

This was our first cupping. Two tablespoons of the freshly roasted and ground coffee was placed in several large shot glasses. We were able to pick up the shot glasses and rub them back and forth between the palms of our hands and then sniff the aromas.

Boiling filtered water was then poured over the grounds where a crust formed. We all took turns walking around the table smelling the aromas of the different blends.


In the photo above is the hubs with our friend Paul on the far left.

After this we were each given a spoon to use to push the grounds away to get to the coffee underneath to then slurp back over our palate to get a taste of the coffee. We went around the table again and were able to try all eight varieties.


In the photo above you can see the coffee in the center still has its crust but the ones on each side have been tasted. The roasted beans for this blend appear in the background.

It was hard for me to identify differences in the smell of the ground coffee and then when it had water mixed with it. Once we were able to taste I was able to distinguish different flavors in each of the varieties. I definitely had my favorites one of which had a nice chocolate hint to it.

As I understand it its best to try coffees at a cupping from around the coffee growing region. This region lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.

Next stop was Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner. There we had a tour of their roasting facility. The tour was very informative. We were able to see from start to finish how coffee beans are roasted. Starting with pallets stored several feet high of green coffee beans. Then on to the blending machine where different types of beans are blended together via a recipe to get the blend they will roast. Off the the huge roasting machines where it only takes around fifteen minutes to roast pounds of beans. After roasting the beans go in to a huge cilander which sits over a fan and takes about five minutes to cool the beans to room temperature. If this isn't done quickly enough the beans will be burned. Then on to pacaking and shipping. All of this takes place in about 100 yards.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Steampunk

I love repurposing, vintage and things from another era. Many other eras to be exact. A friend showed me this amazing laptop a few years ago. Although kind of impracticle because it looks to be really heavy its definately one of a kind!

The concept of Steampunk is a combination of sci-fi and fantasy. The origins of Steampunk are found in the works of such authors as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, where modern or future technology is inserted into a time period in which it did not originally exist. If you watch The Legue of Extraordinary Gentleman you get the idea.

As far as fashion is concerned, steampunk is a fusion of an ornate, Victorian style and convenience of modern technology. I love the look below of a completely Victorian era top hat with a set of old fashion yet at the same time futuristic pair of goggles. Gypsymoon is an online retailer where you can find items with Steampunk flair. Clockwork Couture also has loads of Steampunk sytled clothing and really reasonable prices.

Some Steampunk works take on a kind of an “alternate history” path, where technological accomplishments such as computers are assumed to have been created at an earlier date. Take the computer featured below. Brass, vintage typewriter keys and an ornate sensibility.

Steampunk design is ornate and detailed and can be a refreshing change in the age of more modern design and utilitarian construction. The most well-known steampunk computer modification is from Jake von Slatt at the Steampunk workshop. People who crave modern technology with unique craftsmanship may find it in Steampunk.

I mean, who wouldn't want a Stempunk Vespa?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cheesecake & Nuclear Evacuation Kit

My husbands talks in his sleep. He does not remember his dreams. His sleep talking is a constant source of amusement for me.

This morning the hubs rolled over and said; "I need a cheesecake and a nuclear evacuation kit".

Usually when the hubs starts talking in his sleep its something random and weird like this and after much laughter I asked; "Why do you need a cheesecake and a nuclear evacuation kit"?

He was very insistent when he stated; "Because I need to get rid of the ghosts".

My reply; "If you are going to kill the ghosts then why do you need the cheesecake"?

"To feed to the ghosts".

"If you need to kill the ghosts then why do you need to feed them?"

"Because cheesecake is light and fluffy".

"Again, why feed them if you are going to kill them".

"Because they are ghosts and demons".

At that point I left to take the dog out. When I got back inside he was up and I had forgotten about it. I emailed him earlier today and told him what he said. His reply was, "That's the last time I watch Hellboy before I go to bed".

Apparently everyone knows you hunt ghosts with cheesecake.