Friday, December 23, 2011

Almost there!

So, I bought my first house. :) Yes, we still have "our" house in Texas..but since my name is not on the paperwork, it's always been "his" house. (And yes, we have renters in there!) We found our house on a rainy Sunday afternoon less than 2 weeks ago, the next day my husband and I put an offer on it.

We have until next Thursday, December 29 in our month-to-month rental until I become an official HOMEOWNER. We are both very excited to get settled in my beloved Tucson. The location is nestled in a very quiet, family neighborhood convenient to both of our jobs.

What's crazy is that we are adding 2 extra bedrooms and 500 square feet from our previous home. What the heck are we going to do with all of the space? Embrace it and make it minimal of course. We continue to wait day-by-day until the 29th comes but we are so blessed that we found a home we love that is a great price in a safe, quiet neighborhood.

2011 has been an awesome year for us! While the last 5 months have been nothing but chaos, when we get moved in next weekend, it will be completely worth it.

Merry Christmas everyone! We will be spending our Christmas in Tucson..probably drinking Starbucks (hey, they're open!) and eating See's chocolates and peanut brittle. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

January, really?

Wow, I didn't realize I was in that big of a blogging/life funk that my last post was in January. As in, one year ago. Whew. It's amazing how life throws so many curve balls that sometimes, one just wants to shut down...and I think that's what happened. I was in such a state of mild was too embarrassing to talk about..embarrassing, somewhat humiliated, and generally down...that I just didn't want to talk about it. But I should have...because that's life and reality and a lot of people go through what we did:

  • college graduation = job uncertainty + student loan repayment + "Did we do the right thing?"
  • Husband's unemployment to PRN/hourly work
  • 2 months of separation
  • Move to new state
  • Housing instability + trying to rent out current house + looking for a new place
  • The uncertainty of a new job for me while husband gets an amazing job
Does your head hurt yet? Mine to put it out there. Husband graduated from grad school, finished his paid, part-time internship, picked up PRN hourly work, filled out approximately 50 job applications, and got picked up by the Feds. :) I'm not going to get too in detail with the job description but it's a mental health position working with an extremely difficult population.

While he got the job in August (super proud, just an FYI) he moved to Arizona..yes, I'm BACK in Tucson! in September while I stayed behind in Texas SLAVING hour after hour, weekend after weekend, prepping our home for potential renters. Honestly, I've never been more stressed out in my entire life. I've moved a lot in my life, but never have I had a move as difficult as this.

Husband moved here in the middle of September, I moved down here 2 months later..and as of 3 days ago, we JUST moved into a month-to-month rental until we buy a house. Oh, did I mention we put in a bid yesterday on a house? Crazy. I'm baaaaack. 

Blessed and stressed

Monday, January 17, 2011

Goals for the year..#2: Use more

Things I have done in the past few months to save money, use less chemicals, and less waste:
1. Stop buying multipurpose cleaners. They are too expensive and although I love Seventh Generation, it's hard for me to justify spending over $3 for a bottle. So, I took an empty one (they have the BEST sprayer on the market) and I make my own cleaner. I put a few tsps of Dr. Bronner's soap (lavender or peppermint are my faves) and fill the rest with tap water. The lavender is an antiseptic and it smells heavenly. I've started adding a few tsps of white vinegar for some punch. Now, it costs me probably $.25 for a bottle of cleanser.

2. Cut back on paper towels. This one was hard...not for me but my sweet husband who would use about five. FIVE to dry his hands. I almost had a heart attack on several occasions. He is doing better and now knows to use the towels on the stove or fridge to dry his hands and uses far less now to clean. We are now down from about 1 1/2 rolls a week (scary, right?) to about 1 roll every two weeks. I use microfiber cloths for just about the rest of my cleaning, but when it comes to cleaning up meat juices from husband's dinners, I get way to grossed out to use anything but paper towels. I'm working on it though!

3. Stop buying rinse aids for the dishwasher. Use vinegar. Hello. Why haven't I done this before? It's ridiculous and cheap. So, adios rinse aids!

4. Use half the recommended amount of laundry detergent. I don't notice a difference in the cleanliness of my clothes and it makes my laundry detergent last twice as long. Zing!

A few minor changes with big results. What little things do you do in your home to make big changes?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Goals for the year..#1: Pantry

This year I'm really going to work on pairing down the other ways than just purging unwanted goods. My number one pet peeve? The pantry. I really have been sick of an overstuffed pantry that is quite inaccessible and quite inconvenient when I want to cook. Too much stuff and a horrible design. I've decided to get back into cooking, purge the pantry and save money at the same time.. sound good, right?

As a vegetarian for almost five years now, my main staples are definitely carbs (and I have no complaints about that!). I have an assortment of whole grains (bulgur, millet, quinoa, and brown rice) that have been neglected so my plan is to cook up a large batch of two different grains each week and then pair it with beans (black are my favorite!) and then whatever condiments I have in the fridge (olives and balsamic vinegar,f or example). Not only is this smart on my pocketbook, but also on my thighs. Eating whole, far from processed foods is definitely something I've been looking to perfect for the past few years.

Why don't you do the same? Save for fresh produce, why not get creative with what you already have in the pantry? Make a list of the items that you have and then create some recipes ideas from that. Be creative. Have sunflower seeds that you're bored with just snacking? Throw it in some spaghetti sauce for some added crunch and protein. Why not make your own tomato soup from some canned tomatoes? You can get some awesome recipe ideas from here.

Work through your pantry until you need to restock. Once everything is out, vacuum out any crumbs, wipe down the shelves with some cleaner and start fresh. Always wanted to store your food in glass containers? Why not? Not only will you have saved a ton of dough over however many months it takes you to go through everything, you'll be proud of a clean, streamlined pantry!

"Green" with envy..

It's a rainy day in Texas and I'm not feeling so bueno. I've been in bed all morning and am enjoying the silence with my pups sleeping sweetly next to me. Anyway, I just thought I would share this with you (found on The Non-Consumer Advocate) on this early afternoon; a beautiful, clean, self-proclaimed "zero-waste" minimalist home in California. *drool* I think that this is definitely what I'm striving for, although husband and his vast retro Nintendo collection would definitely not allow for it, I will get there one day, dear readers. Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011: Year of Progress and Changes

Well, 2011 hasn't exactly started as fresh as I had hoped, but nonetheless, I keep kicking, praying, and attempting to stay as positive as I can. This year, I believe is the year of changes and I'm really looking forward to what will happen and cannot wait to reflect this time next year to see all that has occurred.

This past weekend, sweet husband took a night shift on Sat from 3p-11pm since our income is more than tight. My bff left to go home to OK this weekend, so the pups and I had a night to ourselves. Since TV has been out of the picture in over a month, I am now over the withdrawal phases and much to my happiness, I'm over cable/satellite and I'm quite content in the silence or with a movie playing in the background. Ah, what a nice change from sitting on the couch sometimes six hours (yes, six) a night by myself watching nothing but crappy reality programs.

No, this is no longer 2010, this is 2011, the year of progress. So, this past Saturday, home alone, I purged with a vengeance. And it felt great. I'm learning to release more items because of this impactful post by this amazing blog I found. And I'm continuing to live as if we will be moving to England this year. :) I ended up with a carload of goods for donation as well as a nice space in the house dedicated of things in the house to sell on eBay and craigslist.

Sweet husband is being patient, sometimes doesn't understand "this minimalist thing" I'm into, but is supportive (most of the time) of getting rid of things (except for that ugly Nike polo..because it's from Africa). In any event, this weekend is just the start of things to come, positive things. A little extra cash, a lot more empty space, and who can argue with that?

Friday, December 31, 2010

out with the old...year.

In less than 12 hours, it will be the year 2011. Insane. Anyone else feel me? As I reflect on the year 2010, I am amazed at all of the changes that entered my life.
1.) New job.
2.) Marriage. (My one year anniversary will be in 3 months. WHAT?!)
3.) My best friend is finally in Texas. Finally.

I'm really hoping that 2011 will be my year. My year to really focus on the positive (when there is too much negativity in this world), my year to focus on this blog and bringing interesting, less self-focused, posts, my year to really focus on simplicity and not worry so much. Oh, and my top two? Shh, don't tell anyone.. I hope that this year will bring a new baby as well as a move to Europe. High hopes? Definitely! But with 3 "P"s, PATIENCE--PLAN--PRAYER, I think 2011 will be the best yet! :)

Thanks for sticking with me. Happy New Year!