Showing posts from August, 2013

Onward Ho - August Goal Update & How I Save Money

At the end of July, I decided to challenge myself to put an extra $1,000 toward my mortgage principal by the end of 2013. I didn't pick a certain dollar amount for each month because I was hoping to avoid stressing myself out if we were a little short one month or something unexpected came up. I was able to put an extra $250 toward my September 1st payment: I had an unexpected expense this month during my dental check up, which would have set me back $89, but I used a Visa gift card (the kind you can spend anywhere) to offset that cost. I also have some habits that help me stay frugal listed below. Book-buying ban:   I've been on a self-imposed book-buying ban since January of 2012. When I find something I want to read, I request it online and wait for it to arrive at my local library (and sometimes I wait and wait and wait, but that doesn't happen too often). I'm lucky that my library also offers magazines, DVDs, and CDs, so I rarely buy those, either. Added

Cooler weather = cat in my lap

linking up for Wordless Wednesday

Spelling Mistakes

So you may have noticed I have some recipes listed over there on the right hand side. These are the ones that people visit my blog for most often, which is why I feature them on the sidebar. But a funny thing happened the other day when I was scrolling down to answer blog comments - this picture caught my eye. Notice anything out of the ordinary? Yes - I spelled MACARONI wrong. In March . And it has taken me until the end of August to notice. (Needless to say, spelling is not my strong suit, and I rely heavily on spell check. I was also that kid who didn't seem to "get" spelling until upper elementary/middle school.)  Hopefully by the time you're reading this it'll be fixed ;) Are you a good speller?

School Lunch & Friday's Feature Film - YUCK

When I attended school, I almost always brought my lunch from home. (I don't remember the school lunches being terrible, I just wasn't interested in buying.) Favorite meals included peanut butter and apple jelly sandwich or peanut butter and fluff sandwich. The peanut butter had to be crunchy! Side items might include graham crackers, raw carrots or celery (noticing a crunchy theme?), and a cookie. I also had a Barbie thermos with a lid that doubled as a cup. I thought this feature was the coolest thing ever  - sometimes I even put my pinkie finger in the air when I drank from it. And speaking of lunch,  Joanna  featured this trailer a few days ago about a boy living in New York City who buys a school lunch every day for a few months and takes a video of the food. He compares the food to what the school lunch menus states. There are plenty of times the menu mentions a food, but it is absent from his footage - not sure if that means he didn't take it, wasn't off

The Aftermath of Dinner for 12

serving dishes not pictured ;) linking up for Wordless Wednesday

The Cost of Owning a Cat

As you may remember, I love info graphics . So when I found this one about cat ownership, I was immediately intrigued. I accepted its challenge and tallied up the amount I spend on my cats to see how my numbers compare. Not sure who my cats are? Dottie's orange and Capone's wearing a tuxedo: Purchase price: I paid $0 for both my cats. Capone was a gift from a friend who discovered he was allergic to cats after adopting him.  And Dottie was abandoned on the side of the road as a kitten and rescued by my dad. Food and treats: I spend $38 on a big bag of  Blue Buffalo dry cat food every two months and $20 a month on Weruva wet food  (the pumpkin jack splash is their favorite flavor). That comes out $468 a year for two cats, or $234 each. I think that's pretty reasonable considering the quality of the food. I get free treats when I buy cat litter at Target so no additional cost there. Litter: I use 2-3 boxes of Double Duty a month, at an average cost of $20

Good stuff to eat

Kristen over at Oh My Veggies likes to share her favorite recipes from other bloggers on Fridays, and I thought I'd copy her idea today. Or, as the author calls it, Spaghetti Omelet ! (Not sure why I was so confident that this recipe was called fried spaghetti pie - I even made the above picture without fact-checking first. I should probably learn a lesson from this experience, but I actually like the ring of fried spaghetti pie and will continue to call it such.) Served with a big side of steamed broccoli, this was a really filling, really quick dinner. I upped the pasta to 2 cups and the eggs to 4 because that's what I had on hand and it still came out great. I love that this dish is so flexible. Cookies! I found this recipe over at Averie Cooks and used it because it makes far fewer cookies than a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even still, shared among six people, we managed to finish the whole batch in two days ;) Sorry for the super yellow p

How do you cut cantaloupe?

Usually I go for the traditional cut-in-half method, but I decided to try something new this time after seeing it here . I think I waste less fruit this way, yay! Wordless Wednesday  link up

More Flower Beds = Less Mowing

My husband doesn't particularly enjoy mowing the lawn. I understand - I don't either. It's boring and hot and tiring. And I don't want a monotonous expanse of green as a backyard.  We have clover, thistle, cattails, dandelions, and other weeds I can't identify growing out there, but not much grass. (I think the random assortment of plants is one of the reasons rabbits love our yard.) So I have an idea to make this better for both of us:  more flower beds! :) Right now we only have flower beds lining the sidewalk up to our house. That's where you can see the Black-Eyed Susans and hibiscus . That leaves both sides and the back of the house open for some flower bed business! Here's the first area, right behind the sunroom: Not too exciting. I'm being picky about the plants for this bed. They have to be native to the eastern US, pretty (in my subjective opinion), perennial, and easy to care for. Basically, I want to put in the time and effort picki

Garden Update - August 9th

I can't believe it's already been a month since my last garden update. This summer is disappearing!  Here's an updated shot of the garden. The marigolds are certainly doing well! I think I planted the tomatoes and cucumbers too close together because they are growing all over each other in their quest for garden bed domination. Next year I might buy another tomato cage (or even this fall if there are any left!) for added support. The regular tomato plant died a few weeks ago, but we're getting plenty of cherry tomatoes! This is an average daily haul: And about 1 - 2 cucumbers a day. Just enough that we can keep up with eating 'em without getting tired of them. These are two of the more "normal" looking ones. You have to wonder what happens to the other odd cucumbers in between getting picked and not making it to the grocery store . .  The zinnias aren't have the best time. They're getting eaten by what I'm guessing are finches. They&

Tampon vs. Mooncup throwdown

Need a laugh this morning? p.s. I use a Ladycup :)

My Cat From Hell

I don't watch much TV. So little, in fact, that I tell people I flat out don't watch any television because it's easier. I occasionally watch movies but the only TV show I watch is The Big Bang Theory . And that half hour of TV a week is plenty for me ;) But when my dad called me about a cat show he watched that starred a cat who looked like Dottie . . I had to watch! It's called My Cat From Hell , and that's the host, Jackson Galaxy. It's fabulous. Jackson is a cat behaviorist (which I didn't even know existed). People submit tapes of their cat's bad behavior to try to get help for their cat, but often the cat's problems also bleed into the owner's personal life as well. Then Jackson visits their home, interviews the owners, meets the cat, and tries to change the behavior into something more positive. And these "bad" behaviors are pretty extreme (as can be expected since it's a reality show). Cats that attack their owners, c

July Goals Update

My goal for July was simple - eat at home, all day, every day (including bringing a lunch from home). I failed on this exactly twice (out of 93 meals this month, so I think that's okay). Mr. Giraffe's family invited us to stay with them at their beach house for a few days. This is where I slipped up.  First we underestimated our hunger before leaving the house, and snacks couldn't tide us over on the drive, so we stopped for pizza. Then we were invited out to dinner our last night there, and of course we accepted. Honestly, I think both these meals were worth the compromise - no one wants to be stuck in a car with me when I'm hungry, and we didn't want to eat dinner separately from the rest of the family when they had been kind enough to accommodate us at their house.  The main point of this goal was to break the mindless habit we'd been falling into - going out to eat 1-2 times a week for fun. And I think we accomplished that. I'm looking forward to