Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bathroom Water Saver

Last week sometime I came up with a great way to save water while in the bathroom. I meant to post about it then but somehow forgot. Lucky for you all I remembered. I have this weird thing about not being able to wear "dirty" clothes after a shower. Now, when I say "dirty" I guess what I really mean is previously worn. Let's say I threw some clothes on to go do some errands and then came home and took a shower. Even though those clothes were worn for an hour tops I won't wear them again. It feels weird against my skin when I try. In a similar vein I prefer to brush my teeth before washing my face so that once my face is clean it doesn't get "dirty" again from errant toothpaste suds. This is where I came up with my water saver. Normally I brush my teeth and then wash all of the toothpast gunk down the drain before I wash my face. However, I realized that I could leave the gunk in the sink, wash my face like normal, and the water from washing my face would wash the gunk down the sink for me. Genius idea? I think so.

A few Tips

I was looking at the frozen chicken sitting on my kitchen counter and came up with a good idea I thought I'd share. In order to understand the tip you first need to understand the story behind the tip. The frozen chicken came straight out of the freezer just an hour or two ago when my fiance decided to make chicken for dinner tonight, sadly we aren't very good at planning meals out ahead of time. I took the whole package out of the freezer because that was the way it went in and as I look at the frozen chicken I think, well this is gonna take a while. We will probably wind up popping the frozen chicken into a very hot bath until the chicken defrosts. However, I have the perfect solution. From now on when we buy chicken I am going to immediatly put each individual breast into its own plastic bag and then into the freezer. This way whenever I need chicken I can take the number of breasts out that we need and they will thaw much quicker. While I'm at it I may even put a plastic bucket into the freezer just for chicken that way I don't ever have to go rummaging around trying to see if we have chicken or not. Genius? I think so.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My blogging obsession

Okay, okay, I know you are probably thinking to yourself, "her blogging obsession? She barely blogs once a week. I know, this is a different kind of blogging obsession, not one where I am obsessed with keeping up my blog, though I wish I had that problem. My problem is more along the lines of reading blogs, and to many at that. I had a good friend come over a few weeks ago and help organize my office. She scoffed at the amount of magazines I keep. I tell myself I keep them to collage with but to be honest I'm not sure the last time I collaged, though I do have a project that is in the works, in my head at least, that needs to get done within the next two months. So, I took her scoffing to heart and decided it probably was time to get rid of some of them. Especially considering how heavy they are, and how that affects things when moving houses. I'd really rather not keep moving them. So instead, I sat down with a stack of twenty magazines and thumbed through them page by page. Anything that caught my eye for collaging got ripped out and put into a nice pretty purple decorative box that is just the same width as the page and a bit longer. I also ripped out any articles that seemed like something I wanted to keep for the long haul or those that were things I wanted to quick write down, like recipes. Where am I getting with this? I'll tell you. Two of the pages I ripped out were about blogs, and one in particular was a whole list of good blogs to read. Now, I'm not sure when the article was from exactly, however, I do know that some of the magazines dated back to 2008, and I'm sure some go back even farther. I hopped onto some of those blogs and saved any that I liked into my blog feeder thing. A lot of the blogs I read now tend to post craft projects they've done recently or ones that they have seen friends post on their blogs. Well, being the semi-crafty girl with to much time on her hands I would hope on over to those other blogs to check them out and would inevitably find myself adding more blogs to my blog feed. That coupled with the fact that one of my blogs posts interesting blogs that she's found in her travels made for way to many blogs for me to keep up with. I figure if I can see all of my blog titles on the left of my little blog feeder screen(all very technical terms I promise you), then I'm good and I can make sure to keep up with them all. Okay, finally to the reason for this whole darn blog in the first place. I started to add a few blogs and thought perhaps I should check out the one's I already have and see what was what, and you know what I found out? Some of the blogs I was following, mostly ones I just started following yesterday mind you, hadn't been updated in years, 2008 anyone? Hehe, so I realized perhaps I should see the currency with which the blogger actually blogs before I decide to subscribe to a blog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thankful Time

I was reading a new fav blog called Christina's Adventure's, check her out at http://christinasadventures2010.blogspot.com/. She listed out some things she was thankful for and seeing as how I've been having a bad couple of days I thought perhaps doing this would help to brighten my mood. So here, in no particular order is what I'm thankful for. 1. An amazing fiance 2. An hour at the gym 3. A semi-clean house 4. the sight of an asleep kitten on my fiance, you can't help but smile after seeing that. 5. Summer People by: Elin Hilderbrand, I have been noticing lately that most of the books I've been reading I've been slogging through and I really haven't enjoyed them, this one is different, definetly a must read 6. Lies My Teacher Told Me by: James Loewen, This book has opened my eyes a bit and is definetly also a must read. In fact I've decided that anyone wishing to become president should have to read this book before they put their name in the ring 7. Blogs: Namely The Mobile Home Woman, Chez Larrson, and Walk Slowly, Live Wildly. I don't spend or keep in touch with my friends as much as I'd like, reading these blogs makes me feel like I've have friends that I keep in touch with, is that bad?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring? Where are you?

As I sit here typing this I hear the lovely sounds of birds chirping and the not so lovely sounds of cars driving by, I will never live on a main road again. The sun is shining and it looks gorgeous out. It makes me want to throw my running sneakers on and head out for a nice run. However, weather.com tells me that would be a bad idea, well unless that is if I'd like to add multiple layers to my body to go running. Bah! March 21st is spring why hasn't mother nature gotten the memo?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Erasing $70,000 in debt and why I'll never do it

Wow, post two for the day, I'm impressed. I find that the more I write the more writing I want to do, and the more ideas I have. But before I start, if you want this post to make any sense head on over here http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/112352/how-to-erase-70000-in-debt?mod=bb-debtmanagement .

Back? Wow, wasn't that article a doozy? Oh, you never left, well let me give you the lowdown. A young couple had $70,000 in debt, thanks to school loans, car loans, and house loans. However, by cutting back they were able to pay it all off in about a year while also saving $23,000. Sounds amazing right? Want to know why I will never attempt something like this? Quick sidenote, I will probably never need to attempt something like this. Together they made $140,000 in one year, one year! They decided they could live on $40,000 post-taxes. Now, if my fiance and I made that post tax I'd be a happy camper. She says they took on extra work, but I'm guessing it couldn't have been $100,000 of extra work could it?

When I read this article I just had to laugh. She's only a year older than me and already makes more than I will ever make in a year. But readers I told you I wouldn't have to worry about things like this and would you like to know why? Good, cause I was going to tell you no matter what.

I was an English/Communications major. My dream since I was little was to become a writer. My dad, being the savy money man that he is, knew that with my degree after four years I'd be lucky getting a job that paid more than one flipping burgers. So, he wouldn't let me take out any student loans, and I owe him forever for that.

Second, my parents have instilled in me some amazing values and beliefs. The first brand new car they got was purchased when I was in college. For that reason it has never even been a thought of mine to purchase a car brand new. I am in fact in the market for a new car now and, while I'm planning on waiting until after I get married to finally buy one, I'm only planning on looking at cars that I can afford to pay cash for. Thank you no car loan.

And second, the condo I bought was cheap enough that the down payment was pretty miniscule. By the time my fiance and I started looking at condo's we'd already started putting money away towards a wedding fund and part of that fund went to pay the down payment on our condo. It also helps that our monthly condo payment plus our HOA fee is a bit less than we were paying in rent.

So, there you have it folks. Why I will never be $70,000 in debt, and why I won't have to pay it off. And, even though I am now unemployed when I was employed I was able to put a good chunk away towards savings each month. Though I think a lot of that savings also went towards house stuff, because it's gone now. Ah well, there's always the wedding fund.

Working out and Cleaning, sometimes they go hand in hand

As promised I'm back this morning to tell you all about my new workout regimen.

So, I've been on Paxil for the past few years. I originally got on it because I was working somewhere that was not conducive to feeling good about yourself at all. Pair that with just having worked at a similar spot and Paxil was in my future.

I tried to go off it once, when I had found a job back with some great guys. However, shortly after I went off it I spent three days in bed unable to will myself out of bed. I knew it was time to hope back on the Paxil wagon.

Now though I'm hoping I'm back on it for good. This time going off it came about for two reasons. One, I got laid off and thus don't have health insurance currently, though I'm working on getting it again. And two, a few weeks ago I ran out of my current stash, I e-mailed my doctor asking if I could get a refill and was told by someone else at my doctor's office that she wasn't in and that the doctor on call wouldn't give me a refill because I hadn't been taking it since April. Of course this all happened on a Thursday or Friday so I went all weekend without it and I decided maybe it would be best just to get off it once and for all. Thankfully either my doctor came back or my e-mail back to them informing them that I had been taking it since April smartened them up because that Monday I noticed that I had another refill.

This time in going off my Paxil I thought I would try replacing it with something. That something being exercise. I've read a few things here and there that always say that exercise is supposed to help your mood so I thought it would be the perfect solution.

I already had a gym membership, and with the nice weather coming up I had a 5k planned, and have already added a second one to my races for the year. I started going to the gym every other day. Originally I just biked, usually for an hour. I'd bring a book and sit and read as my legs went to work. In the beginning just stepping into the gym would give me a giddy feeling. I've now progressed to trying to run a bit as well as do some weight machines.

Now, I'm sure you are all wondering how that has anything to do with cleaning right? Well, here it is. Before I started working out if I cleaned for any length of time, say a half hour, I felt like an old lady. My hips would bother me and make it painful to walk. There was even times when I couldn't roll over in bed because my hips hurt so bad. I blame this on two things, one being my weight, according to the bmi calculator I'm obese, and two while in college I got bursitis in my knee, however, they didn't tell me that was what it was until I came home for the summer and went to see a real doctor. I'm fairly certain my knee will never be the same.

Back to cleaning. I cleaned for an hour and a half, thank you laundry timer, and the hip pain never bothered me until I was all done, and even then it was half of the pain it usually was. So, thank you exercise for helping me to feel my age again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Project Storage Cleaning

It has been my intention for a little while now to organize the storage unit we have. Originally we put anything in there that we didn't have room for in the house, a bike, a long overdue project, a Christmas tree, as well as a bunch of random stuff. We've since added things like empty boxes and extra plates and bowls we don't have room for in the kitchen. It's gotten to the point where I'm a little afraid to even look at it. Though I've had a few things that I've been wanting to put away there, mainly some extra plastic bowls that we don't have room for. I also cleaned our car out this weekend which added a whole new slew of stuff that didn't belong in the car at all, or at least not for now, snow broom anyone? Add to that the fact that our wonderful friend Lauren came and helped us finally tackle our office there's been lots adding up that isn't necessarily stuff I want to get rid of, but is also not something I want in the house.

So, I did it. I bit the bullet and tackled the storage unit today. The general set up of our unit is a small square room with shelves on the back wall as well as one side wall. I started by taking pretty much everything that was on the floor and moving it out into the laundry room. On a side note I was doubly productive because prior to starting the big clean I also started a load of laundry. This worked well on another front as well because it took me just over one wash and dry cycle, love being able to time it.

But back to the clean. I tried to make piles, or areas more like, of the things. One spot for things to get rid of, another for recycling, and so on. Part of the reason I finally tackled it was because we still had a bunch of moving boxes, we moved in October, are you as disgusted as I am? I thought so. I had decided today would be the day that I would finally bring them to the recycling center, and then I had another thought. Most of the boxes were from my fiance's work, they were uniform in size and pretty sturdy. So, I thought why not use them to organize the storage area? It worked out great.

I was able to take a bunch of flimsy Macy's boxes full and half full of dishes and glasses and consolidate them to two sturdy boxes. I found the perfect place for all our sports toys, the once empty cooler. I even had room for some empty plastic tubs. Part of me was thinking I should use the tubs, they are plastic after all and if any water gets in the unit that would stink. But I like the uniformity of the cardboard boxes and right now we don't have the money to go out and buy all the same plastic tubs, so for now this will work. Also, I noticed that everything seemed to fit quite well in the boxes, none were overfull, or close to empty, so that felt nice.

Sadly I didn't think to take a before picture until I was all done and so proud of my work that I wanted to take an after. So, you just have to envision it with me, ready, let's go. You cautiously open the door, afraid the bike on the top shelf will crash down on you, you eye a spot to put your feet in the unit and decide otherwise, you take out four boxes before finding what you wanted and then spend an hour trying to fit the boxes back where they came from. Okay, got a good picture of the before? Well get ready for the after....

Gorgeous isn't it? There's some space in front of the table to stand and there's space between the table and the green planter to stand as well. The bike is back up on the top shelf but it's not quite a precarious up there anymore. Sorry for such grainy pics but I didn't think to grab my digital and only had my cell on me.

Here's a close up of the boxes. Sadly, you can't read the labels but they all tell you what's in each box. I must say I find it quite fitting that my label maker ran out of tape just as I was labeling my last box. That box with three labels on it is simply because I didn't know how to lump a shower curtain, some throw rugs, and a regular curtain all into the same category, though I did have one small box of miscellanious house stuff.

There you have it, my wonderful storage re-do. I'd love to hear about any organizing or cleaning projects you've taken on that you're proud of. And check back tomorrow when I fill you in on my new exercise regimn and how it fits in with my storage cleaning

First Flower of the Season

I was so excited when I walked out the door this past weekend and noticed there was a flower that had bloomed right outside our front door. I was so excited I even took a picture.
Isn't it beautiful and exciting and just gets me reved up for spring.
And then today...
Yup, under there is my sad little flower. Ah, to live in New England.

A Love Poem to Danversbank

Oh Danvers how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways
You offer me complementary tea, coffee, or hot cocoa on every visit
You make it possible for me to take my nickels, pennies, and dimes and turn them into quarters
You up my debit card one day limit no questions asked
You have yet to overdraft me
Your tellers are kind and personable

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For My Bub

I'm not real sure what brought this about, well, maybe I kind of know, but well, then that's another time for another post. For whatever reason there are just certain times when spent with my fiance that just make me feel, blessed, I'm not a very religious person but that's the only word that I can think of. It's like someone/something, somewhere, saw me and made him just for me.

Today was one of them. Our day was jam packed. We had to head in one direction to deposit a check and get some money, then head in the total opposite direction to get our hair cut then we had to kill time until we could meet with our wedding coordinator. Now generally, when there are appointments to get to, or really whenever there is a time constraint put in front of me I get pretty antsy and can be hard to deal with. I'm not quite sure what was different today but I just knew everything would work out, and I'd like to put that partially on the fact that I was with my Bub the whole time, though I could be wrong.

I have been working on being more aware of my thoughts and feelings and not letting them overtake my life when they should not. I've also been trying to work out more often to help my mood, and perhaps that is helping.

But, this isn't about me, this post is about my Bub. I can't believe I met him. I can't believe that he stuck around long enough for me to smarten up. I can't believe I get to marry him in two months time. So, yes, I have been blessed hugely. I love the fact that he and I are so often on the same page. Friends aren't always perfect and thank god that he and I seem to agree on the same annoying habits of the friends we have. He understands me better than almost everyone in my life. I hope I continue to have feelings and thoughts like this towards my Bub for years and years to come.

So, Bub, Thank you for everything that you are and everything that you've helped me become. I love you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Breakfast of Champions

I've been meaning to blog more. I read so many blogs and always wonder why I don't blog as much as others. I think part of it is feeling that there is a lack of interest in my life which isn't true, but still. However, another part of it is trying to find things to blog about. Yesterday though I knew right away when I woke up I would be blogging.

Would you like to know why? The answer is simple really. This is what I woke up to.
Not only did my wonderful fiance make me chocolate chip pancakes, my fav, with strawberries, and chocolate syrup, but he made me all the awesome normal breakfast stuff too. Let me say, those pancakes were some of the best I've ever had. And to prove my fiance knows me oh so well, he only made me two pancakes because usually when we make them we get the bisquick shake and pour and we make about 4 or 5 of them and I'm overstuffed, and he being the sweet awesome guy he is wanted me happily full, but not overly so. Hmm, thought there'd be more to say but really that picture is worth more than anything I could say.
One last thought though. Before my fiance and I got together we were good friends we'd started hanging out more often, people were asking us what was going on, and he had informed me of his intentions(mainly that he wanted to stop being my boy friend and start being my boyfriend). I hemmed and hawed and couldn't seem to make up my mind. Then I went away for a bachelorette party for a good friend. We spent Friday night in Boston and went back to her place to crash before heading out to the cape in the morning. Well, what did we wake up to but the question of "What would you like in your pancakes?" followed by a list ten miles long of the options. And do you want to know who was doing the asking? My friend's wonderful fiance. The fact that he would plan ahead like that and do something so sweet got me to thinking about my own situation. I could see my boy friend doing just the very same thing and so on Sunday, after getting back from the Cape, I told my boy friend that I wanted to be his girlfriend. And that ladies and gentlemen is the beginning of the end. And I'm so glad I did it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bedroom Revamp

I've been working from home for the past month and a half and I was thrilled to have that opportunity. I thought I would finally have the time to get this place clean, organized, and looking like we hadn't just moved in. Sadly, I didn't realize, or more realistically, I didn't take into account the fact that I am a huge procrastinator. I don't remember when this started really, perhaps it's always been in my blood? I do always remember that my bedroom was a mess. I remember once falling out of bed right onto one of my toys, ouch. Perhaps it's inherited? I always remember the morning of a big holiday we'd be cleaning the living room and den, I'm sure this just added more stress to my mothers day, couldn't we have cleaned earlier in the week? Perhaps she didn't trust us to keep it clean, I wouldn't blame her. But that's not what this post is supposed to be about.

This post is supposed to be about me finally making/taking the time to make this house a place we love being, and not just because the other person is there. After almost five months of the bedroom being the same old way I decided it was time for a change. However, when I do things like that I generally do them half-assed, you should see my living room. So as soon as the bed was moved where I wanted it and the other furniture was moved out of the way so we could manuver around I let things be. Clothes were strewn everywhere, books were thrown about carelessley, basically the room was a mess. Basically, the room looked like this ...

And This...

And just in case you didn't get the picture...

There's a lot of stuff that could go. Like those two chairs in the bottom picture. The weird upholstored one was from our last apartment. I'd found it on the side of the road and it's worked out well, the only problem is that it's huge and takes up quite a bit of space. The other one, well that's an Ikea chair that scares the bejeesus out of everyone that sits in it. We've been meaning to get rid of it for a while but well, I think you can see we haven't. It would be great to have a chair in the bedroom. We are both avid readers and any extra reading space is well loved. Why just last night I was dealing with a bout of insomnia so I got up out of bed and read in the chair. It was so nice to not have to leave the bedroom to read.

We have clothes upon clothes upon clothes and I'm sure we don't need every last bit. We have three good sized laundry baskets and easily filled all three for our last trip to the laundrymat. I would love to pair down my clothes but yet when I look at them I just can't bare to get rid of anything. Part of me thinks keeping all these clothes might be beneficial. We don't have our own laundry facilities so we are chained to the quarter. The more clothes we have the less quarters we have to dish out, or am I just making that all up? Hmmm, a quandry for sure. We each have our own closet, I have the large ugly green dresser, he has the tiny grey dresser, and we share the yellow one in my closet. I'm sure we could pare down to not needing one of them, couldn't we?

Another thing I'd love to do is finally give this room a cohesive feel. We painted the walls purple and grey and pretty much left it at that. I figured black accents would look nice so we got some black curtains and a few black frames, printed out some cool b&w pics and put them up on one of the walls. Maybe I would work on that some more? I've got a collection of purple glass that I'm sure would help make the grey walls pop a bit more. I've also been meaning to paint that green dresser, well, pretty much since I painted it green. The yellow lingerie chest in the closet was my gram's and I hate to paint it which is why I've hidden it away in the closet.

In moving the bed to the smallest wall in the room we lost our bedside table space. My fiance is fine with that for now. But not me, for some reason I just like the feel of things next to me in bed. Perhaps it's because I wear glasses and it's nice to know where they are when you wake up. Today I got a tiny black shelf to hang on the wall next to my side of the bed. The placement is a bit tricky because on that side of the wall I have to vye for space with the light switch and the thermostat. I've put the wall up but I'm not sure I like the placement yet, we'll see how it goes tonight in bed.
There is really only one wall that I enjoy looking at right now and that is this one.

Aside from the ugly closet doors on the left it actually looks like I tried. And I like that. These next two days I'm gonna try and make the rest of the room look just like this wall. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Clearing the Clutter

I can't quite believe we've been living in our "new place" almost five months now. I had a friend recently come over that had never seen the new place and she asked if we had moved in recently. That should give you all an idea of how messy and over lived in the place seems. Every time I try to get the house under control it seems I can only handle a room or two and then it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

So, I was thinking I would post my accomplishments and ideas here to the web to hopefully kick my butt into gear. After all if you all out there in cyber land are expecting a nice clean house to see pic's of then how can I disappoint? For now I'll just imagine that there are hundreds of you readers out there, though I'm sure that number is much closer to one or two.

I've asked my fiance to have a cleaning day this weekend. I'm thinking perhaps if he and I work at it together I can't procrastinate as bad as usual, though I'm worrying that he'll only help me procrastinate even more :P. I think part of my problem is that I don't really understand what clean is to me.

There are so many different levels of clean. There's the white glove clean, then there's the toys under the bed clean. Which one am I okay with? I think that's what everyone needs to figure out before they really tackle a big cleaning like a whole house, even if that house is only five rooms big. Part of what I've figured out is that I need some empty space. To much clutter makes my head cluttered and I just can't stand it.

I recently went through our game shelves and purged. I took out ones that I didn't want(though those were rare), and more likely those that we just didn't use. We really don't have friends over that often so keeping a ton of games where I can see them on a daily basis just seemed like it was creating a wall. First, it was creating extra clutter for me to look at and second it was taunting me reminding me how I didn't play the games I had. I've now gotten it down to one shelf of games and an empty shelf and let me just tell you when I sat down after cleaning and saw that empty shelf it was like my brain woke up and pushed it's way through a brick wall. I breathed and inner sigh of relief.

Now, looking around the rest of my living room I'm noticing all the movies I don't watch, all the books I haven't looked at in ages and I wonder, how great would it feel to purge those too?