Saturday, November 30, 2013

Goals Check-in: November

Here's my end-of-the-month wrap-up regarding my 2013 goals:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Food This Week 21

Last week my coworkers and I left the office -- they're doing some major construction and we'll all be relocated until the new year. Some people will be working in a temporary office space in the city, but my team gets to work from home instead. So I am looking forward to hot lunches! I hope my hard-working wife will be able to come home to a cooked meal on frequent occasions. And, yes, I will be happy to work in my pajamas.

Happy Turkey Day!

Posting from my parents' place. I was reminded of the holiday this morning, more than once. In some ways, today is just a Thursday I don't have to work. (I hope -- I'm on call in case something catches on fire at work.) But it was nice to wake up and take a walk with my dad and the dog, and then come back to make a big breakfast for the 4 of us (my sister will appear tomorrow, boyfriend in tow).

We'll have an early evening turkey dinner tonight at a local family friend's. Tomorrow we'll be at my aunt's, with about twice the number of people, for Friday Thanksgiving. I made "real" cranberry sauce for that. Hmmph. Oh, and last weekend I made another turkey. Used a pesto rub and roasted it breast-side down, and it was crispy and good. We had a couple meals of white meat, cranberry sauce (from a can! my favorite), and roasted sweet potato fries. Already broke down the bones for stock, and the leftover meat will become turkey burritos, turkey pasta, and turkey soup.

Hope that you're able to take a rest today (amid work, family, and kitchen duties) and appreciate all of your blessings. See you next week!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Read Aloud Roundup: November 2013

This month we had a number of holidays to choose topics from -- my selections for Read Aloud covered Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah. I had an extra Hanukkah book left over from last year, which was fortunate, 'cause the kindergarten book Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood turned out to be written in stilted verse. The message was still inspiring, but the book was not as great as I thought it would be for reading aloud. Things got reshuffled. (And I ordered a used copy of How Many Days to America? by accident -- it was a withdrawn library copy with markings -- and managed to order a new one in time.) I included a "bonus" book that I can't use next month, as a backup in case any of the readers didn't like the assigned book. Here are the discussion questions for November.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Food This Week 20

Thanksgiving is here! Almost. We'll be eating a minimum of 3 turkey dinners next week, because the fixings are on sale, and because I loooooove turkey barley soup. This weekend I'll make a low-key turkey dinner and put up the turkey carcass for soup and extra sliced/shredded meat for planned leftovers. On Thursday, which most people in America know as Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I will be with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandfather (and perhaps assorted others) for dinner. This is a surprising twist, because my family always celebrates Thanksgiving on Friday (an excellent tradition). We'll be doing that as well, with a slightly different cast of characters -- largely because my wife has to work a double shift. (Customer service is like that.) So I'll have a weekend with my family, and she'll have a weekend of... driving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Surprise Soup Sale!

I saw my favorite flavor of Progresso soup -- Vegetable Italiano -- on deep discount at Lucky this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Food This Week 19

I've resigned myself to exceeding this month's grocery budget, because the holiday sales are so good. For example, this past week I scored a free turkey, but had to make a $25 additional purchase. Specific flavors of Progresso and Chunky soup (which I grew up eating and like to have in the house) were only a dollar a can (down from $2.99), and frozen pumpkin pies were BOGO. I stretched a little. We're getting food that will keep and that we'll enjoy eating, at a good price, and we have the money, so it's worth it to me. Also, did you know that hams are really expensive? I'd never bought one before, but I've been pricing them out at several stores. It helps that I'm getting a 10% discount because I answered supermarket surveys with the info on my receipts. Still over budget.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Follow-up on Paying Off My Student Loans

To recap:
I took out federal student loans to pay for grad school.
I saved up over time to pay them off before interest kicked in (or so I'd planned, and then the laws changed and interest started accruing on the second year of loans while I was still in school).
I asked FedLoan for a payoff amount. They gave me a number.
I paid off all of my loans in one big chunk, a couple of weeks before I graduated. That felt awesome.

CC Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones (Flickr)

And now, 6 months later, the final chapter.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food This Week 18

November is Eat at Home month -- no restaurant food until December. The freezer has lots of meats, and the pantry is fairly full, too. With so many holiday deals at the grocery store, I expect we'll have lots of yummy meals. I am especially looking forward to the traditional post-Thanksgiving turkey barley soup.

Declutter: Sell Used Books

For most of two years I've been selling used books and CDs on Amazon as an independent seller. Once shipping costs are factored in, it nets a few bucks a month that have been snowflaked into our Adoption fund. It's kind of a hassle to package everything and get it to the post office during open hours, but my wife's schedule has made it possible. (And I soooo much appreciate that.)

Business has been kind of slow recently. The other month I reduced all my sale prices to match the lowest amount for that item (often $0.01 plus shipping). We sold a few more and shipped them off. And then the other day I deactivated all my listings. All gone!