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Moved!

Well, sort of. I mean, we live at our new house, and all. But, WOW, I forgot what a mess moving is! And! I didn’t have a job for our last, um, four moves. So now I feel like it’s taking ages to get through every box. I did not get Eriana’s room completed by the time we moved in. She’s doing okay, though. She likes the new house, and her bed is purple and pink and her room is purple. She’s got a bunch of toys back about which she’d forgotten. She’s better than I feared, it what I’m saying.

(Of course, she got a double ear infection, a stomach bug, and her allergies attacked all at once, so she’s been home from school for the last three days. But she’s getting over that.)

Right now we are living in a sea of cardboard. We have an entire closet spilling over into the spare room full of stuff to take to Goodwill. We have at least two more trips to the old apartment to get everything, plus we have to clean it top to bottom this weekend. We have till the 24th, which seemed like a long time until now because it’s the 16th and… that’s not a long time. Where did all of this stuff come from? Why did we bring all of this stuff with us? Why do we have a full closet of stuff to give away and still have boxes that need to be emptied? Good gracious.

PLUS! On Thursday (you know, moving day) night, I pushed the button for the garage and the door went almost halfway down, made a very loud banging noise, and went back up. It didn’t hit the car (that was out of the way), and it didn’t fall off the tracks, thank goodness. The panel that holds the motor thing to the door broke off, and the top section of the door cracked. So. That’s awesome. So I made a work order, and someone came and said it would probably need to be replaced. Then, THEN, when I hadn’t heard back from the apartment office in a couple of days I called the office and the guy who had put in the work order had the gall to ask if we hit the door. He said, “Well on your move in form you said the door was working. So did you maybe back into it with your car?” First of all, I think I would remember doing that. And second of all, the damage to the door is not such that would have been caused by hitting it with a vehicle. And THIRD of all, nope! Come check my cars, Dude. I said, “Well the garage door was working. We didn’t, like, check every screw and examine each panel of the door.” Do you do that when you move into a new place? Whatever. They have a vendor coming out tomorrow to see what will need to be done for repairs.

So I don’t know when I will be able to post pictures of our house, but I won’t until it is clear of boxes and decorated. Only one piece of furniture wouldn’t fit upstairs (YAY! I FEARED IT WOULD BE MORE!), so our “guest” room is sort of a mess, what with the piles of stuff to donate, the couch we need to sell, and a huge armoire that wouldn’t fit upstairs. But I will happily share pictures of our home once I’ve put my decorator’s mark (ha!) on it. So far we’ve made one trip each to Home Depot (paint and supplies!), IKEA (new dresser (since our armoire wouldn’t fit upstairs)! New bookshelf! Meatballs! Little things we needed!), and Target (new soap dispenser for Eriana’s bathroom!) just for house-related stuff. I’m sure those numbers will go up soon.

But! We have beds to sleep in, and dishes to eat from, and food to cook. The mass amounts of storage in our new house are great! But! Lots of cabinets and few drawers. So that’s going to take some creativity. Plus everything is made for tall people. Or at least average-height people. Basically the counters are high and the upper cabinets are high. I need a step stool. And, also: I haven’t lived in a home with stairs since 2003. I’m not a super-fan of stairs. Living here will either guarantee I only live in one-story homes for the rest of my life, or be a stair-climbing master. Three stories. THREE stories. That’s taking some getting used to.

Anyway! Let’s see some pictures of my kid, shall we? Okay.

“Helping” paint her bed pieces.

Sitting in the “perfect place for [her] booty” at brunch.

What is your best moving story? (Good or bad.)

 

2014 First Quarter Books

9 books read : 66 to go (I need to step it up.)

I’m going to do things a bit differently this year, and organize by stars on a 1-5 scale. (On my 2014 Books page I’ll just organize by reading order and then tell you how many stars I gave.) Five stars are my favorite! Books! Ever! One star books are not worth even going to the trouble of picking it up from the library or downloading it for free. Very few books get five stars from me. I’m stingy.

5 stars

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: A reread, but OH! I loved it even more the second time around.

4 stars

Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin: I love Allie Larkin. This book was lovely. It was quite unbelievable, but I loved it anyway. I spent the whole book wondering what was going to happen and when everything was going to blow up and it was great!

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner: Oh, this book. Oh, Lia’s story broke my heart, and I want a group of friends like hers.

Stay by Allie Larkin: Because I loved Why Can’t I Be You, I checked out this book and devoured it. I loved it. I really really want a sequel. Or to know what happened after the book ended. Because I need to know that Van is happy with… the guy (no spoilers!) in the end.

3 stars

James Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman Lippert: Well. I really want to love this story, and I still gave it three stars even though I was a bit frustrated by it. It took me FOREVER to get through. Lippert is just so long winded! And complex! So much of the story could have come through with less TALKING. Holy moly. But I love the characters and his development of Rowling’s characters. So three stars it is.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes: Meh. I went into this book expecting to love it. But I didn’t love it. I was just annoyed, mostly.

2 stars

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed: Oh, goodness. I have a love-hate relationship with the works of Cheryl Strayed. I felt the same way after reading Wild. This book, though, was a bit much for me. I needed quicker resolutions from her advice column. BREVITY, Cheryl.

Christmas Proposal by Cheryl Parsons: Hmph. This book was strange. I bought it on the recommendation of a mutual friend the author and I have, and I was with her till the end when it just… ended. I actually checked Amazon to make sure there wasn’t a problem with my download. Because what the heck happened? I was so confused! It wasn’t even a good set up for a sequel, it just was over. Weird.

1 star

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Nope. No. This book was so annoying. SO slow, and with a complex plot line I expected to be more into it. And I did not like the main character. At all. He’s kind of a douchebag. At one point it seemed that everyone in the story turned British. That was weird. Overall not a fan. NY Times Best Seller? Sad I wasted money on this one.

Meatless March

We’re big into themes here.* I like to do Meatless March** every year because it’s a good way to remind myself that I don’t need meat to make a meal delicious. I love meat, especially bacon, but I also really like meatless meals. I was a vegetarian about 10 years ago for almost 3 years and it was a good exercise for me. So I like to Meatless March to add new stuff to my recipe box and to remind myself how delicious food can still be without meat.

Here’s what we ate this month***:

March 3: Vegetarian Black Bean Fajitas with brown rice
These are good! But I tweak the vegetables and add extra spice.

March 4: Quinoa Burgers with sweet potato fries

VERY good. Excellent, I’d wager. Even you anti-quinoa folks might like them. I gave up making the perfect sweet potato fry a long time ago and just buy the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s.

March 5: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

I love this sandwich, although I’ve taken to making it with jalapenos instead of green chiles. And this tomato soup is one of my favorites! I don’t have an immersion blender, so I just put it in the food processor in batches.

March 7: Naan Pizza and Buffalo Tofu

Eriana started asking for pizza every night, so I added pizza night to our weekly menu. Then, of course, she stopped eating pizza. But Jim and I have been having pizza night with buffalo chicken thighs every week anyway. With Meatless March the chicken thighs have been sorely missed. Buffalo tofu was good! But Jim doesn’t really like tofu. We make pizzas on small naans and use a jarred pizza sauce.

March 10: TJ’s Deeleeshoos Noodles

Very good. I opted out of the fish sauce because I couldn’t find any, but I substituted Trader Joe’s gyoza sauce and it was really good.

March 11: Veggie Balls with Spicy Noodles

The veggie balls were made with lentils, and I was surprised at how much I liked them. The recipe made a lot, though, so I froze half. No word yet on how well they defrost. The spicy noodles were just plain linguine with spicy oil on top.

March 12: Garden Nachos with Avocado Sauce

I made nachos loosely based on the recipe linked-to above, and then used the avocado sauce as dipping/topping. Highly recommend.

March 14: Naan Pizza with Buffalo Cauliflower

Apparently the only picture I took of our dinners this month. Buffalo Cauliflower, garlic naan, and naan pizza (with red onions, jalapenos, and cilantro).

Since the tofu wasn’t a big hit, I tried cauliflower. It… tasted like hot sauce. Cauliflower doesn’t really have a taste of its own. The batter made everything all soggy. I should have pan-fried instead of baking.

March 16: Veggie Taquitos

I make these taquitos a lot. This time I just substituted extra veggies for the meat.

March 17: Frito Chili Pie

We had chili leftover in the freezer, so I just bought Fritos and toppings and this was an easy peasy meal. I love Frito Chili Pie almost as much as I love Sloppy Joes.

March 18: Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodle Salad

Meh. I was really hopeful about this salad, because it’s SO! MANY! Delicious things mixed together. But. It was too many tastes and not enough flavor. I used extra jalapenos in the dressing and it still wasn’t spicy enough because everything else just sort of drowned it out.

March 19: Zucchini Parmesan

I like this meal. Cheese! Vegetables! I usually use Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce, to add extra veggies and because it’s affordable and delicious for a store-bought sauce.

March 21: Naan Pizza with Buffalo Seitan

Third time’s a charm on the buffalo-flavored non-meat? Nope. This was the best, by far, but seitan is a little too chewy for my liking, and the oil on the seitan plus the butter in the sauce (I used butter instead of margarine and it was TOO much butter in the recommended recipe) made it super greasy. I think we’ll skip pizza night next week.

March 23: Japanese Curry Rice

Mmmm. That is all. (There would be more but I forgot what veggies I put in this time. Lots of green stuff, but beyond zucchini I don’t remember what.)

March 24: Stuffed Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Very good! Topped with salsa and plain greek yogurt. I added jalapenos and cilantro because, well, it’s what I do.

March 25: Korean “Beef” Bowls

I used faux beef crumbles and this dish was as delicious as it is when not meatless.

March 26: Dragon Noodles

Meh. This was not even the tiniest bit spicy. And the attempt to make it so was a little… weird. We still ate an entire doubled recipe. I probably wouldn’t make this again, even though it was fine.

March 28: Jalapeno Grilled Cheese with Sweet Potato Fries

This sandwich is delicious. Plus we had cream cheese in the fridge that needed to be used up before it goes bad. Again with the Trader Joe’s sweet potato fries.

March 30: Garden Nachos

This dish again. Delicious. This time without Michelle’s avocado sauce because the only avocado I had was already brown and I don’t eat brown avocados.

March 31: Um. So I forgot about the remaining day of Meatless March when I planned this week’s meals and then I worked 12 hours and so Jim made Chicken Lettuce Wraps which aren’t meatless, but are very good.

*By we I mean me. Jim really has no opinion on the matter.

**Meatless in this house is a vegetarian diet, including eggs and animal products but excluding fish. Jim does not wholly abide by Meatless March because, well, see above. I only cheated once. Until today, when I ate chicken because that’s what was for dinner.

***I realize there are gaps here. We usually go out to eat one dinner a week, and/or have a leftovers night each week. And neither Jim nor I really eat lunch, but when we do it’s leftovers or whatever our company buys for us. Eriana pretty much lives on saltines, cheese, and turkey pepperonis with a solid insertion of Trader Joe’s cereal bars or poptarts, Annie’s instant macaroni and cheese, rainbow goldfish, and Market Pantry fruit snacks, so she was not included in Meatless March.

Like a Good Neighbor

No, this isn’t a post about a well-known insurance company with a catchy jingle.

As I may have mentioned previously, we are moving soon, and are SUPER ALL CAPS excited about it. We have moved… a lot. This is our seventh shared home in almost 11 years of marriage, and while we understand that is ridiculous, it’s sort of in us now. Although we are very hopeful that after we leave our next home we will find one we like enough that we can live in it for 20-30 years or more.

In all of our moves we have been friends with our neighbors exactly zero times. In the neighborhood where I grew up there were only about 20 houses and my best friends lived in two of them. Neighborhood parties for holidays and for fun were the norm, and everyone tended to live together in harmony (for the most part). My mom and stepdad still live in that house and are friendly with a lot of the neighbors.

In the house where Jim grew up, his neighbors were his aunt and cousins, and other neighbors he knew and grew up around. It wasn’t exactly a party situation, but he was comfortable with his neighbors.

Jim and I have not had these experiences in our homes together.

1. Apartment in Denver, CO: We lived there for about two months and never talked to our neighbors.

2. Apartment in Denver, CO: We lived there about two weeks till Jim went to basic training, then I lived there alone for another two months. I knew no neighbors except a guy I had known from church a couple of years before who I didn’t talk to.

3. Apartment in Biloxi, MS: We lived there for about four months and knew no neighbors.

4. Duplex on an AF Base in Altus, OK: We lived there for three years. We shared lawn care with our wall-sharing neighbors, but were never friendly. When one couple moved out I baked cookies for the new couple, but we never hung out. We had to call the cops on them just a couple of months later when the husband started beating the wife, and we never spoke to them again. Most of our friends lived on base, but none close by, and the people we did know on our block were not really hang all the time friends.

5. Apartment on an AF Base in Japan: We lived there for just shy of three years. One of Jim’s coworkers lived in our building until he got divorced and had to move to the dorms. We were sort of friendly with other neighbors, but our immediate next door neighbors moved out when the husband got caught embezzling money from the Comptroller Squadron and his wife transferred without him while he was in jail. And we called the cops on several other neighbors because of noise. A couple on another floor was in our birth class, but we never spoke to them again after what happened happened.

6. House in Norman, OK: Our across the street neighbors were related to some good friends, but hardly spoke to us. The most I ever talked to them was when I locked myself out of the house with Eriana inside and I asked to borrow the guy’s cell phone and then he helped me break into my house. The house next door to him was a family that was nice enough, but their teenage daughter used to come over to ask if she could hold Eriana. And we thought that was weird.

7. Apartment in Beaverton, OR: Our upstairs neighbors are LOUD and oversharers. They are nice, but I know way more than I probably should about their IRS woes, their children, the grandchildren who live with them, the foster child they had for a while, and how much their bills cost. Also they smoke, so they’ve pretty much ruined our ability to use our porch, eat outside, or leave our windows open. Our immediate next door neighbors are lovely, but they’re two ladies in their mid-20s, I think, and they work odd hours (one waits tables and one teaches ballroom dancing), and also we are older and have a kid. Just in different places in our lives. We regularly exchange pleasantries with other neighbors in the complex, but haven’t made friends with any of them.

So eighth time’s a charm? Maybe we’ll have fantastic neighbors at our next place? How about you? Do you want to come be my neighbor?

I have a cute kid who would also be your neighbor.

Do you hang out with your neighbors?

Quick Takes

1. Meatless March is in full effect, and I’ve only cheated once (Kailua pork omelette at brunch (our favorite brunch spot, where we go every Saturday) last Saturday. Come on, meat eaters, can you blame me?). I plan to post all of the recipes I made and talk about what we ate when it’s over.

2. My 32nd birthday is… soonish, and I’ve asked for a set of Bloomsbury Harry Potters and a slanket. Aim high, folks.

3. Work is, well, work. I’m struggling while simultaneously doing well. I’m being given a lot more responsibility and being taught new things on a daily basis, but there is one expectation of my job where I’m failing miserably, and it’s really frustrating. I wondered on Twitter the other day: “At what point does failing at one expectation become failing in general?” Hopefully not soon. I’m trying really hard. So I hope those deciding whether or not I should continue to rise or get canned recognize that.

4. Eriana is in full threenager mode. She cries at the drop of a pin, gets mad and asks us to stop talking, tells us she’s angry, and has Opinions about everything.

Little bit of pirate, little bit of evil eye.

5. As difficult as three has been so far, it’s also really cute. She asks “What o’clock is it” when she wants to know the time, told me the other day “I’m sure not” when I asked her a question (I’m not sure), and went shopping with me the other day, helping me out to pick out clothes, and picking out for herself some shiny pink shoes and a shiny pink soccer ball. We taught her that she’s now “three and a quarter”, and she was super excited to tell her teacher that at school.

Soccer-playing princess. In dinosaur shoes.

6. I’ve been turned on to some new-to-me podcasts lately and thought I’d share a few. Thanks to Sarah I’ve been listening to “Stuff Mom Never Told You” and “Stuff You Missed in History Class”, and I’ve been really enjoying back episodes of “Freaknomics.” I’ve also been listening to “Girl on Guy” and “You Made it Weird”, plus my old standbys.

7. We’re moving in 16 days (who’s counting?), and I have done… very little. We booked our movers! And bought boxes. I future-date transferred our electricity and renter’s insurance. That’s about it. My list of what needs to be done keeps growing, but I’m too tired to do any of it.

What have you been up to?

Moving (but not far)!

We are moving to a different part of Portland in a few weeks!

Not actually a different part, I guess, since it’s the same side of the city, but about 10 minutes from where we are now. It’s not exactly where we wanted to be, since we had hoped to move CLOSER to the city, but it’s a nicer complex in a nicer part of town and it’s bigger by about 400 sq ft, which equates to a “guest room”, a garage, and a bigger kitchen.

We had to rehome both of our beloved cats, and we thought all of our apartment-searching problems would be over after we did that. Turns out… NOPE. Apparently the three breeds present in our two dogs are on a lot of restricted lists! (Raisele is boxer-Dalmatian, and Rubeus is boxer-German Shepherd.) I honestly had no idea. As a homeowner I would think there are legal precautions that can be taken. If a renter wants to have any pet, they have to sign to take responsibility for any problems that may arise, to include if their dog (no matter the breed) attacks someone or something. Right? Come on, y’all. Lawyer me, because I’m confused.

ANYWAY, my point is that we had trouble finding a place that would accept dogs over 50 lbs, and our dogs’ breeds. We put down a deposit at a place that marked up the price 20% above what we’d originally been told it would be, then we took the deposit back. Then we called or emailed every complex in every area of PDX we thought was convenient enough to Eriana’s school, our office building, and the downtown area where we like to go for fun. Finally we found this place, and I texted Jim after I toured it:

20140315-130659.jpg

 

(It says Husband because I have that as his first name if I lose my phone and someone finds it. See also: Mom, Dad, Sister are like that.)

I took Eriana and Jim back on Saturday to see it and halfway through the tour Jim told the lady we’d take it. So. That was that.

We move April 7. Our current lease isn’t up till April 24, which is longer than I wanted to pay for two places, but we didn’t want to miss out on this one. We picture renting for another year or two, and then trying to buy again, hopefully our forever home, and hopefully in the part of Portland where we want to be. We are hiring movers for this move, something we’ve never done on our own (though we did two non-DIY moves in the military).

After we moved here Eriana had kind of a hard time for a little while when we were getting settled. I mean, she had just left the only home she’d known and been moved away from her school and extended family. When Jim and I got a new mattress in the fall and picked up our old one to move out she started crying because she didn’t want to move again. Poor kid. So we want to make sure her room is comfortable and fun and all set up ASAP when we move. Our movers are booked for April 10, so I’m going to go paint her room on the 7th when we have the space, then she’ll be in school when the movers come so we can get her bed all put together and her toys all arranged and everything before she comes to her new home. Try to make it as seamless as possible!

Those two in the middle are the colors Eriana picked out for her room. I’ll paint the walls opposite each other so she’ll have two of each. :)

Anyway! We are really excited, and hopeful that we will be more comfortable there than we are here. So YAY! Moving! Again! Ugh. (This will be our eighth home together in our almost 11 year marriage.)

MOVING.

Anybody local have some boxes we can have?

One and Done

Some of my wise and lovely friends have talked about this topic, but it’s been on my mind like crazy lately, and I feel the need to get my thoughts OUT of my head. And into yours, apparently.

Eriana has been asking for siblings lately. It’s really been getting to me. I think it’s getting to me because I don’t want to be done having kids. But I think we are. So when Eriana says thing like, “When I get bigger I will have a baby brother” while telling me about the new baby brother of one of her classmates, I feel sad, and guilty, and incomplete.

So as with all of my big life problems, I took to Twitter for advice. Here’s the gist of what I learned:

  • The majority of only children loved being only children.
  • Only children reported good relationships with their parents.
  • Only children reported understanding from a young age understanding that they get more (both attention and material items) as a result of being an only.
  • Most parents of only children went through the phase where their kids asked for siblings, but the kids grew out of it.
  • My friends who are only children are kind, compassionate, friendly, unspoiled, and well-adjusted, and most have good relationships with their parents (which, of course, is not to say that adults with siblings don’t have good relationships with their parents. Let’s not get over-sensitive here).
  • Adult only children largely longed for siblings when something big happened, such as a loss in the family, a big move, etc.
  • Only children who longed for siblings during rough times would not use that ~1% of longing as a basis to choose whether they, as parents, have more than one child.
  • Several of my only children friends opted to have only children because they loved it so much.

 

Things I knew already, but it was nice to have reiterated:

  • Eriana’s longing for a sibling can go in a pro column if we need a pro column, but should not be the whole pro column, as she is a child and doesn’t get to make those decisions.
  • Just having a sibling does not mean that your child will get along with that sibling, and have the relationship you hope they will.
  • Having just one child does not harm your child in any way, shape, or form.
  • It’s a lot more likely that Eriana will have her college paid for if we don’t have any more kids (and with the ridiculous number I’m looking at paying back in student loans, that’s something I really want to give to her).
  • It’s a lot easier to travel with just one kid.

 

Things that make me sad:

  • If something happens to Jim and/or me later in life Eriana won’t have a sibling to help shoulder the burden.
  • Eriana will never have a sibling who is also her best friend.
  • Eriana will have to find people outside of the family (like her therapist and friends) to complain to about her crazy parents instead of people who understand from experience.

Even though Eriana is the one that brought up this topic (her and that jackass kid at school who talks about his new baby brother all the time), I think the realization that we are probably never going to be able to afford to adopt, and that we are truly never going to try again to have a biological child is hitting me harder than I thought it would. I mean, I’m SUPER happy with my family, and I love my child more than life itself. She will always be more than enough for me. It’s just really hard to reconcile that I don’t get to have two babies like I thought I would. So. Unless someone pays for an adoption in full, like, now, it would seem that we’re done. 

Were you okay being done when you were done? How did you reconcile any lingering feelings or guilt? Did your kid(s) ever ask for more babies?

Internet

Guys. The Internet is so cool. I’m sure, if you’re reading this blog, you understand that, but think about it.

Where are you? I’m in my living room, outside of Portland, OR. You’re not here, reading over my shoulder (are you? That would be creepy), but you can read the words I’ve written. Immediately after I publish them.

Today I worked on some spreadsheets for tax stuff and shared the document with Jim. He can open that document on any of his devices.

I sent messages, tweeted at people, and posted pictures, and you guys could see them! Right away!

I paid bills, viewed documents, saved stuff to my computer to use later, and sent emails.

I have been using the Internet for… a long time. Since before I could use it at home and had to go to the library to check email. So about 15 years? Almost half my life? But today it was like a REVELATION of how amazing the Internet is.

Of course, I told Jim of my revelation, and he just looked at me like, “Yes. And?” He said, “That’s why I do what I do.” Whatever, Geek.

Coolest thing that happened today from the Internet? I took Sakana to the airport to fly to Colorado where my friend Kate, someone I knew in high school and reconnected with on, you guessed it, the Internet, was going to pick her up and welcome her into her own family.

Picture from @katewelsh’s Instagram.

Y’all, what a blessing.

Man, I love the Internet.

What’s the coolest thing that happened on your Internet today?

Grocery Budgeting

M asked on Twitter yesterday:

“What is a “normal” weekly grocery budget (and for how many people)?”

 We have gone back and forth on our budget for weekly and regular expenses. It took a (very) long while to formulate a good plan and budget. But I’m pretty set these days, and I thought I’d share it here. I’m sure you’ll skip this post if you aren’t interested.

Our weekly grocery/household items budget is ~$150, which is $600 per month. This includes:

  • food for six meals (that will include leftovers for lunch)
  • snacks for adults
  • toddler snacks
  • alcohol for the week
  • dog food, cat food, cat litter
  • toiletries, makeup
  • cleaning supplies

We have a separate budget for eating out, which we do minimally, but regularly.

To some of you this budget may seem high, and to some of you it may seem low. It’s what works for us. We spend a significant amount on food, but we eat good food. We eat healthy, I make most things myself (rarely frozen or canned), and I cook at least six nights per week. We eat leftovers, we rarely throw out food. Once we have a larger apartment we will have room for our deep freeze, and I’m super looking forward to being able to double or triple meals for freezing. I know I will be able to cut back a bit by buying some in bulk.

An example of a regular meal:

Cheeseburger Salad! (The brown stuff on top is a homemade dressing.) Recipe derived from Home Sweet Sarah‘s Instagram account, a.k.a. where I get many new meal ideas.

Example of a weekly menu:

I plan meals every Sunday afternoon, and plan our grocery list against ingredients needed for meals, plus extra stuff we need or like to keep on hand (example: snacks for Eriana, cheese snacks to keep at work for if Jim and I get hungry so we don’t buy lots of food, coffee, etc.).

After I have a plan I go grocery shopping. Usually I go to Target first, because sometimes the meats I need have random $1 or $3 off coupons on weekends, then I go to Trader Joe’s. Anything I can’t get at those two places I head to Fred Meyer (a super store not unlike a Super Walmart or Super Target in that you can buy anything there) later in the week.

I post my meals on a special Google calendar to share with friends and glean ideas. I usually cook one new meal a week, two if I’m feeling adventurous. I get my new meal ideas from my friends’ calendars, Pinterest, and Instagram. Lucky for me a lot of my friends also love food, so they post pictures of meals a lot.

That’s… about it. Sorry I suck at being brief.

How do you plan your meals? Do you have a strict budget, or are you pretty lenient?

Sophie’s Choice

When we moved here from Oklahoma we talked to no less than eight apartment complexes, trying to find somewhere we could live with all four of our pets. We found one. The one in which we currently reside, obviously. We went from a 4br house in about 1750 sq ft and a yard in which to turn out dogs, to about 980 sq ft and 2br, with no option of turning out crazy dogs. (Two bedrooms isn’t necessarily the issue, although we’d definitely like to have more space and not have to have half of our stuff in a storage unit, plus some room for guests to stay.) It’s really cramped here, y’all. In addition, it’s way out in the ‘burbs, and we want to be closer to the city, and it’s also kind of, um, ghetto here. So we’ve been hoping to move, but after looking for more space in our price range, we came to the terrible realization that we would not be able to keep all four of our pets.

We LOVE our pets. All of them. We brought Sakana back with us from Japan. Rubeus worked as a therapy animal when we were reeling and healing. Raisele is ridiculous but we love her anyway, and the way she and Eriana love each other is something fierce and beautiful to watch. And Zaya, well, she completed our furry family.

So we had to make the hardest decision ever, and figure out whether to move to a place where our family would be happier, or stay in a crappy apartment with our whole family intact. Ultimately, making sure the humans are happy won out. Our next task was to figure out who to rehome. Eriana loves all of our pets, but has a super close connection to the dogs. Plus the dogs love her, whereas the cats are just tolerant of her. So dogs won out. The apartment complex where we hope to move only allows 2 pets. That meant rehoming both cats.

We were lucky enough to find a home for Zaya right away. Jim’s sister and her boyfriend live outside of Detroit and had been hoping to get a second cat. Last Friday I dropped Zaya off with American Airlines cargo and she jetted off to live with R & J in  Michigan.

It’s proving a harder task to find a home for Sakana. My dad said he would take her, but we aren’t sure how his little dog will react to it, and if it doesn’t go well we don’t know what would happen. It’s probably okay that it’s taking awhile to find a home for her. I managed to not cry when it came to Zaya (although narrowly), but Sakana has been mine for more than six years.

So what I’m saying is that it has been a super hard choice to have to make, and we are not taking it lightly. I love our pets so very much, you guys. I love them. But… ultimately making the humans happy is more important to us than staying in a place where we aren’t happy with the size, location, and safety afforded us just so we can keep our pets, especially when we are able to find good homes for our highly adaptable cats.

Cats

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not that (m)any of you are judging us, but y’all, I just feel like I had to explain that it has been super difficult.

Related: if anyone in the PDX/SEA-TAC areas or surrounding by a few hours wants a cat or knows someone who wants a cat, we have a lovely and wonderful one who needs a good home. I’m happy to give you details and pictures via email (tara AT ourlittlegeekling.com), or just comment here and I’ll reply via email (providing, of course, that you submit your email address when you comment). 

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