Sunday, April 29, 2007

It doesn't pay to recycle

The day started off right with a trip to the grocery store. They were selling these cool bags with the store logo for reuse. I like the size of the new bags, plus they have a piece of plastic on the bottom for reinforcement. I already would take my paper bags back to the store for reuse, but these hold a bit more. I'm hoping that the baggers will be more amenable to using these bags and I won't get the annoyed looks I usually get when I bring back the paper bags.

Later on, A decided we should take in all the bottles that have been piling up in the house and garage, probably three months worth. We drove to three different recycling places and at all of them, the machines were out of order. We finally went to one place that was staffed, but it was closed for lunch. Thankfully, we only had to wait few minutes. So, for all that effort, we got back $3.55. Big whoop. Not that we were doing this for the money, but doing something good shouldn't take so much effort.

Scrapbooking funny

Yesterday, I went to a friend's house to scrapbook. The guests all brought dinner, which brings me to an aside. My contribution was lasagna from the frozen food section. It was pretty darn tasty (though a little salty). I told A, for the price, that's what we should be buying for an easy dinner. It was way cheaper than those make-your-own-dinner places I talked about earlier, and also way cheaper than going out or fast food. So, if I have the time (they take about an hour to bake), I have a new standby. By the way, I bought the lasagna from Smart and Final. They had a much larger selection than the grocery store.

Back to friend has a million supplies and is very generous, letting us borrow ink, use ribbon, buttons, or whatever else she has. I didn't bring my QuicKutz with me because I knew she had way more fonts than me. I was browsing through her collection and brought out two fonts to finish my project. I told her, wow, you have all my favorite fonts and went on extolling the beauty of "Maddie Anne." The rest of the conversation went something like this:
A: I just love Maddie Anne.
Y: I don't have Maddie Anne.
A: Yes you do, it's right here.
Y: Are you sure that's Maddie Anne? I was thinking about buying it. I'm pretty sure I don't have Maddie Anne.
A: This is Maddie Anne.
Y: Really? That's Maddie Anne?
LOL, one of the other scrappers was able to verify that indeed, she did have Maddie Anne. Though we all agreed that maybe I shouldn't have told Y so that after she bought a duplicate, she could sell me her extra at a discount. ;)

I'm sure buying duplicate scrapping supplies has never happened to any of you, lol.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've been tagged

by Becca to list 10 weird things about myself. (Only 10, lol?) In no particular order or importance, here are the first 10 things that came to mind.

1. I love to sample other people's food, but I can only sample from the untouched side with a clean fork.

2. I hate getting my hands dirty, but I have a compost heap and a worm bin.

3. I never, ever talk about my age.

4. I prefer to eat my pizza with a knife and fork.

5. I prefer savory breakfasts rather than sweet breakfasts.

6. I don't like soda.

7. I like to drink hot water.

8. I have tons of cookbooks, but hardly ever follow a recipe exactly.

9. I can put together a good meal with whatever I've got in the cupboard/fridge/freezer.

10. I don't like these tagging things because I'm usually the last to get tagged so there's no one left to tag (shades of elemenary school) or the questions are too personal. But this was fun. Thanks Becca!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New scrapping buddies

L invited me to a new scrap group last week and it was so much fun. What was most exciting to me was there were Asian scrappers there. Woo hoo! Everyone was so nice (and talented). I don't exactly feel out of place being a multiple minority scrapper, but it does get tiring being the only one like me at crops. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss their next get-together, but I hope to be invited to the one after that.


Yep, eight cents in four days. Wonder if the company will ever promote telecommuting.
Lest you think I'm obsessed with gas prices, I'm not. I'm obsessed with saving $ and rising gas prices aren't helping with that, lol.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dinner report

I was going to give a report on the freezer dinners last night, but was too tired. Guess I better do it now since you asked. ;)

The first place we went to (in December) was Supper Thyme. I think I just didn't pick the right things. Most of the food was casserole type and the "sauce" was most often cream of mushroom soup. Now, I don't have anything against cream of mushroom soup. In fact, it is a staple in my cupboard. I checked their menu for April and May and it seems like there is a larger variety than when I went.

This time, we tried Dinner My Way. They are significantly more expensive, probably $1 to $1.50 more per serving. They have different pricing structures so that's just an estimate. It seemed like they had more things on their menu that we liked and also, a slightly larger variety. It was also helpful to have the meal prep directions on the menu, which helped in the decision making. I also liked that rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes (instant) were included with all the entree. It was a nice extra touch.

I thought the ingredients was of higher quality at Dinner My Way and the recipes a little more complex (in a good way). Saturday, we had Dijon Steak. It was supposed to serve six, but A went back for seconds and thirds so I'd say we got three servings out of it, lol. Sunday, we had Wild Rice Chicken (chicken topped with wild rice/cornbread stuffing, wrapped in pastry). Well, anything wrapped in pastry is a plus in my book. Unfortunately, this dish was overly salty (especially the sauce) and rather tasteless. (I still liked the pastry though.) Then we had Apple Dumplings for dessert. I liked it, but A thought it was too sweet. Tonight, we had Beef Burgundy Roast. I was surprised that A liked it since the recipe included dried fruit. It was a bit sweet, but not overly sweet, so I'd say this was another winner.

We purchased 12 meals, which is more than what I normally would purchase, but like I said earlier, they had a special. I had emptied two shelves in the freezer, but it wasn't enough room to fit everything. Good thing we were giving some away and planned on eating some right away.

Thus far, the pros are dinner planning is a lot easier (especially for A) and I'm trying recipes that are out of my comfort zone. The cons are the cost, not liking some of the entrees, and space in my freezer. Another con, though this doesn't seem to bother most people, is these meals are stored in the freezer. My issue with that is I want to eat as soon as I get home. Neither one of us gets home early enough to put a casserole in the oven to bake for an hour. So during the week, crockpot meals are better for us. I do think if I made these meals myself, the food would be of higher quality (and include more vegetables), but all in all, I think we'll continue to give these places our business a few times a year. After all, there are three more of them in the area that I need to review, lol.


Yep, that's the price at the station where I usually fill up. And I'm excited at the price since that's two cents less than it was last week. Hope the price keeps going in that direction, though all the news reports are talking about prices going up.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Make and Take (and Freeze) Dinners

Today, A and I went to one of those assembly meal places and prepared enough food to fill half our freezer and a shelf on the fridge. That's a slight exaggeration, but not much. We made one dessert and 11 entrees (one to give away to the mom of twins). Each item serves 4 to 6, so that's a lot of food. We tried another place a few months ago and found that most entrees ended up more on the 4 side, rather than the 6 side. I suspect that will be the same with what we made today.

The last place we tried was just okay (too many casserole type meals). But I guess that A liked it well enough since he was open to helping me again. I'm a little skeptical of the cost since we paid $199 and that's more than our entire grocery budget for the month. I know I could make the meals myself for much less, but somehow, I think it helps A to have the nice labels all printed up and everything packaged just so. That $199 was a special deal and was about a 30% discount. Otherwise, I would have opted for fewer meals, though, this month there were several dishes that I liked. As we were finishing up, they offered us the $199 special for May, but I knew that there's no way we'd finish all these meals in time to empty the freezer for the next batch (plus there weren't 12 items that sounded interesting).

A was telling a friend about this and he said his wife does this all the time, but selects the pickup option. I think I like making the meals myself better, though it did take the two of us almost the entire two hours to make the meals. I think we were getting in each other's way. It probably would have been more efficient for each of us to make six items, rather than helping each other make each entree. At least when we make the meals ourselves, we can control the spices (less pepper and rosemary, more garlic and cilantro).

If you're interesting in finding one of these places near you, here's a list. It turns out there are six of these places within just a few minutes drive from us. That's a lot of competition. It will be interesting to see who lasts and who doesn't.

Tax day has come and gone

Hopefully, we're be getting our refund soon. Somehow, our tax guy miscalculated and we waaaaaay overpaid last year. Usually, we're pretty close. But with A changing jobs and some other changes in our lives, withholdings didn't get calculated correctly. Every time A paid his estimated quarterly taxes, I'd try not to freak out at the amount. No wonder money was so tight last year.

The funny thing was, I had been thinking, if we had an extra $XXXX, life would be so much easier. And it turns out our overpayment was just about that much. Hmmmmm, and A doesn't think I know how much we spend/earn/save.

I just changed my withholdings and it didn't make a whole lot of difference in my paycheck, but multiply the diffence over the rest of the year and we're giving Uncle Sam a lot less this year. Don't tell A, but I opened another savings account and am socking that money away for a rainy day (which have been coming along more and more often).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Just call me Rudolph

Yep, I've got the red nose going, though today isn't as bad. I ended up staying home a couple days last week since my cold came back with a vengeance. Unfortunately, my Puffs (tissue with lotion) was at the office and by Wednesday, I had rubbed my nose raw. I guess that's one way to exfoliate, lol.

Today I ended up taking a nap so I'm pretty sure I'm not healthy yet. When I was home sick, I had a low fever. Now, I can't even hit 98 degrees. No wonder I'm cold! Being sick sure is getting old.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who's who

We spent Easter Sunday at A's SIL's parents'. (got that?) We had yummy Honey Baked ham, sour cream potatoes, baked beans, jello, rolls, and a side dish that I made up. I wish I could have taken home the ham bone to make split pea soup. Little G wasn't really interested in lunch. All he wanted was dessert and the egg hunt.

He was sooooo excited when he finally got to search for the eggs. I wanted to hide all the eggs again, just to prolong his fun.

The twins were darling in their matching green gingham dresses. C put different socks on them so we could tell them apart, but we still kept getting them mixed up. Is that E you're holding? No, I've got C. No, you've got E, lol. Good thing their Mom and Dad can tell them apart. Everyone else wants to get them tattooed, lol. Just kidding about the tattoos, but they really would help. Obviously the twins are identical.

They're growing quite a bit. C says they're almost out of premie diapers and will soon be using regular infant diapers. They seem so "big" to me now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


So on Tuesday, we both had the day off to recover from the funeral. I was actually hoping for a relaxing day, but it turned out to be a rather difficult day for me. We had some errands to run and everywhere I turned, I thought of Uncle T. Stuff like, I should write and tell him a little something. Or I should make him an Easter card. Or was reminded of something he told me.

It was worse at the grocery store. I thought of all the foods he liked. And then I really lost it in the produce section, I thought of all the trimmings that Rascal used to eat. I never used to worry about having leftover veggies because I knew that Rascal would eat them. The only veggies he didn't like were asparagus and jicama. I used to put small pieces of celery or broccoli or carrots in empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes and then fold down the ends. He'd dig and dig and dig at them till he could get to his treats (which only took a minute).

It's a good thing I went back to work on Wednesday. Back to a "normal" schedule. I'm feeling a little better. Thanks to everyone for your condolences. It means a lot to me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It has been a long weekend

We're home, finally. The viewing was on Friday and the funeral on Saturday. Did family stuff Sunday and this morning before the long drive home. Came home to find that Rascal had escaped somehow and died. We have no idea how he could have escaped since the cage was latched. There was no evidence that anyone came into our backyard (A had put stops up against the gates so if someone had come in, it would have been obvious).

A took pity on me and buried him tonight instead of waiting until the morning. Maybe it is a good thing, to have another reason to cry instead of holding everything in.