Monday, July 21, 2014

I seem to always need a summer break...

I'm the type that gets overwhelmed easily and I feel like I haven't had much free time to devote to this blog. So what do I have on my plate right now?

My husband and I just leased a new car, so that took some time going to varioius dealers. Though my husband did most (by most I mean like 99.9%) of the work (of course). Since my credit is still better than his, I'm actually the main person on the lease even though I don't have a license. I find this very amusing :) We are leasing it for 3 years at 250/month.

So what exactly did we get? An all electric car: the Leaf. It's pretty techy, it has cameras all around so it gives you a birds eye view of your car when you are parking/backing up. It has a hatch back so we can fit more things in it. It has a range of about 81 miles but Neil has a charging station at work so we don't have to worry too much about that. Plus we got two years of free charging when we got the car, so we will only have to pay for one year. Woot! If you want to know any more than that... um, I have no idea. It's blue.

So since we got the new car that needs to be plugged in, this started some home projects:
  • Cleaning the garage (ugh, so much junk!)
  • Getting a new motor installed for the garage door (so we can actually open it)
  • A new side garage door put in
  • New garage floor
  • New Shelving
  • Install a plug for the car to charge
  • Have all the junk removed (seriously, SO MUCH JUNK)
Some of these we have started, others are going to get done soon (like in a few weeks). So there have been many trips to home improvement stores after work to look at doors and flooring and the like! We are hoping to get the garage completely done so we check that room off our massive list.

other non garage related projects:

  • back fence!
  • new front door
  • (this one is a maybe) new downstairs shower

And how have we managed to tackle all of this? By doing something we said we wouldn't do. Dip into the equity of the house. I know, I know. Neil asked one of the lawyers at his work if it was a good idea, and he asked how much equity do you have? Neil said 300 thousand. Lawyer: Cool, so are you going to buy another house? Neil: Um... should we???

No, we didn't take out the full amount! We took out enough to cover credit card debt and some home improvements. Neil and I actually had a talk about our finances and realized we just were not doing great (despite my awesome credit score!) and we needed to figure some things out and change our spending habits. So our new loan is WAY less than our interest on our cards so we will be paying less in interest in the next five years. Even our loan guy for the house was amazed at the interest rate we were able to snag. Neil always likes to consult multiple people on subjects that they are more professional at than we are. So that makes me feel better :)

Getting married, buying a home, and doing a major house remodel in the same year really hit our credit but neither of us talked to each other about it. I started with savings when we bought the house and now I'm back on that track again! Such a relief off my shoulders. That was stress that I didn't know was affecting me as much as it was. So we still have a loan payment, but its all consolidated so it just feels more manageable.

What else? I feel like I've already typed so much, might as well keep going!

I've also been using the rowing machine for twenty minutes every night (so far four days in a row... I took a break Fri/Sat/Sun because my arms were so sore!). Deciding to use my free time being a little more productive ;) Neil says my form is improving, as long as he isn't talking to me. I am not coordinated at all and it takes a lot of concentration.

We are also going on vacation next week (this was planned and paid for BEFORE getting the loan, just wanted to put that in there otherwise it sounds like we are being irresponsible with the money!), so I have been trying to plan and pack for that as well. I am looking forward to a whole week off! We are only going to be gone three days but I decided just to take the whole week off. Which is only going to be partly relaxing because that is when a lot of home improvement is going on.

Yeah, yeah, first world problems.

I'm not trying to sound like I'm complaining! I'm actually really excited about everything that has been going on :) I hope to get my act together and have some before/after photos to share with you guys.

But in case I don't get to that in a timely manner, you can always follow me along on Instagram and Twitter. You know, if you are actually interested in my day to day life and musings ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Literary Lunches: A Girl of the Limberlost

For some reason this post took me FOREVER to prep for! Usually I plan out one bento a week, and the rest are leftovers from dinner. This one I had to try to make FOUR and try to integrate the food into other meals... I think I like being more spontaneous because trying to follow someone else's menu for too many wasn't great! And apparently I'm super lazy. Who knew ;)

If I do any more books (and I really want to!) I will only do ONE bento per book! At least now I know what works and doesn't work for me. You would think it would be so easy! So as much as I wanted to be completely true to the food mentioned in the book, I may have "cheated" a little bit :) See if you can spot the cheats. Hint: turkey doe NOT look like ham ;)

So onward to the book!

I still enjoy reading this book even though the first half is less enjoyable than the second. I don't care for the mother and her selfishness (they do go into her motives, but I still don't have any empathy for her) and I really don't care for Billy (and not just because he ate the main character's lunches ☺). You can read the book for free here
I really like reading period pieces because it's so interesting to see what was thought of normal then (such as washing your hair every two weeks) and what everyday life was like. 

I also find it interesting that a few of my favorite books take place about the same time period: early 1900's (The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Like Water for Chocolate, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: also any one can correct me if I have the time periods wrong on those!).

So onward to the food! 

Despite all the lovely lunches described in the book, poor Elnora didn't get to eat the first three! On her way to school she came across a hungry little boy that she gave her lunch to three times until her schoolmates intervened. 

Girl of the Limberlost
"Wesley opened the package and laid a brown leather lunch box on the table. "Might be a couple of books, or drawing tools, or most anything that's neat and genteel You see, it opens this way."

It did open, and inside was a space for sandwiches, a little porcelain box for cold meat or fried chicken, another for salad, a glass with a lid which screwed on, held by a ring in a corner, for custard or jelly, a flask for tea or milk, a beautiful little knife, fork, and spoon fastened in holders, and a place for a napkin."

I did not find anything online that would even come close to such a lunch set, so I settled on purchasing a lunchbot cinco which has been on my list for awhile. Figured this would suit the lunches since most of them seem to consist of five items. It is a pretty big bento. You may not think it can hold a lot of food until you start to fill it! I recommend this bento if all the items you are going to eat are going to be cold/room temperature.
 Lunch #1
"I had milk in that bottle, see! And custard in the cup. There was salad in the little box, fried chicken in the large one, and nut sandwiches in the tray."
Lunch #2
"Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring."
Lunch #3 (Technically her fourth lunch, but lunch her #3 is almost the exact same as #2)
"We got to refill this box first!...Who's got the butter?"...A loaf of bread was produced and... filled the sandwich box... A bottle of olives was unwrapped... and filled the salad dish... A bag of macaroons was produced and the cake compartment filled...a bag of sliced ham filled the meat dish...A box of candy was handed to her and she stuffed every corner of the lunch box with chocolates and nougat."
Lunch #4 (The first dinner they make for their visitor)
"She broiled ham of her own sugar-curing, creamed potatoes, served asparagus on toast, and made a delicious strawberry shortcake...cooked dandelions...blanched some, and made a salad."

There is a lot of ham, which if I have come to understand correctly, was more popular than chicken because they thought chicken was fairly bland and ham had more flavor. Beef was fairly expensive compared to pork, so that also explains the lack of cow. Weird how tastes and prices change!

So this is also the "big reveal" of my bento site! I actually made the site a few months ago, but I was waiting on finishing the limberlost bentos before I introduced it to this blog. Who knew I would be so lazy on that project!

So go ahead and clickity-clack the new link and let me know what you think! If you follow me on instagram, it isn't really anything new, just might have more description.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Recipe: Spring Rolls

 You can pretty much put whatever you want in these things, just cut it into match sticks and there you go. You don't have to keep it vegetarian either. It's basically a wrapped salad.*
Here is the list of what I used:
grated carrot
bell pepper

So for the rice paper, you need to submerge it into water for about 30 seconds (or until it's not stiff), then quickly lay it flat and arrange your items like in Step 1.

Fold the left and right side in first, then the bottom lip. Tuck everything tight, and roll it to the end. This "paper" will be very sticky!

My Sauce
Because I'm a dairy girl, I made a "spicy" sour cream sauce to go with mine. I think a soy sauce or peanut one is usually used.
sour cream
bell pepper
lime juice

I put the jalapeno, the ends of my bell pepper (it was too curly so I had to cut the ends to make them more straight), and cilantro into the food processor. I then mixed it into some sour cream and seasoned to taste with the salt and lime juice.

*Some examples of other food items you could use:
Bean Sprouts
And so many more! Get creative :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Not annoying things

I figured since I did a whole post on what my housemates do that annoy me, I figured it's only fair to do a post dedicated to the stuff they do that DOESN'T annoy me :) You know, stuff I like. And those photos have nothing to do with this post except that I'm not annoyed in them :)
  • I love it when my roommate wakes up before I do and makes coffee in the kitchen. The lovely coffee aroma wafts upstairs and fills my nose with its deliciousness. Best mornings ever! Usually just the smell of coffee is enough to fulfill any coffee needs that I may have. The smell is almost intoxicating for me!
  • My husband never wakes up in a bad mood. Ever. Every morning he comes up the stairs from his shower and does a little dance for me. They are always silly and always cute. And on the rare occasions that I have Spotify on, it inspires new dance moves :)
  • Coming home to the dishes done! My housemate loves to do the dishes and will sometimes surprise me with an empty sink and clean dishes! Super awesome!
  • My husband is really tidy; he always has his towel hanging up, socks in the hamper... He has definitely made me more tidy... Though my towel is sometimes on the floor...
  • Also another morning thing: if it's really cold, my husband will turn on the heater when he goes downstairs so that when I get up, the room is a little bit warmer. I get up a little after he does, mainly so that I can get my morning grouch out of the way before he makes his way back up the stairs :) I have about twenty to thirty minutes to myself which REALLY makes a difference. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Caturday: Soya's Lion Cut

 She loves smelling the rosemary more than I do!
We got her this janky lions cut for two reasons:
we were tired of her getting foxtails caught in her fur
she was getting dehydrated so we figured this would help cool her down
 Silly Izze was not sure who this cat was!
 Oh hey...
Wait, you look different so therefore I don't know you.

link within

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