Friday, February 22, 2013

Finacial Gurus

I believe it has been mentioned here before, that "The Tightwad Gazette" is an awesome read and changed my perspective about money and frugality.   Amy Dacyczyn, the author, taught me some important money 101 basics - like that being frugal means spending your money deliberately and thoughtfully on whatever is most important to you rather than waste it on stuff that isn't.  Her humor and approach throughout that book made me feel like I found a long-lost friend.  The other day I grabbed my copy from my cookbook shelf in order to find the pizza dough recipe and then got to wondering what Amy is up to these days (She retired from writing the Gazette in order to spend time raising her 6 kids).  So I consulted "the Google" and found an interview of her.  She still seems like just the type of person that I would love to have over for game night and popcorn and to swap lentil soup recipes.

As I read through the comments I stumbled upon Mr Money Mustache.  This guy and his family retired early and are able to live a comfortable life on their investments.  So I started reading about his philosophies and ideas.  He is awesome!  I feel like he and his family would be another great family to have a bbq and game night with.  Cool people.  The thing I like about MMM is that he shows how small steps add up quickly.  Suddenly it seems like an easy trade.  I also like his do-it-yourself approach to things - perhaps I will put my own fence up in the backyard this year ;) or get a bicycle. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


Thursday night as Ryan was driving back from work, the minivan starting lurching and stalling between gears.  When an automatic does that, you know you are in trouble.

With the van out of commission, on Friday morning I walked to the train, rode the train to the metro, then rode the metro to the Rosslyn stop, then walked to work.  It was nice to get a little fresh air and exercise and to get a bit of knitting done.  It was not so nice to spend 1.5 hours of my morning doing said activities.  The return trip actually turned out to be even worse because I missed the train while trying to pay the extra metro fare (apparently the peak fare is not enough because they charge an additional dollar each way if you use a paper ticket, so my ticket for the exact amount that I purchased that morning was $2 short) on a machine that only took cash but them started flashing "no bills" when I tried to insert my money that took me a while to fish out of the bottom of my backpack - arghh!  So I sat outside and waited an extra 40 minutes for the next train but only got a nominal amount of knitting done because it got cold when the sun dropped.

Ryan dropped off and picked up both girls and then in the evening took them both to Audrey's tumbling class.  Then he brought Meredith back and I put her to bed while he went back to get Audrey.  It was a completely tiring way to start the weekend.  And I was so glad it was the weekend, because if that was all the time I got with the girls on a weekday, I would have been in tears.  But at lease this time, I knew that I was going to still get lots of time with the girls over the next few days.

The dealership called on Saturday and confirmed our suspicions, the van needs a new transmission (to the tune of $5-6k).  Thankfully, Ryan's parents kindly offered to let us use their old civic for a while.  It will give us a little time to figure out what kind of car we want/can afford.

It was funny in the morning on Friday, the commute was so pleasant that I figured out how much money we would save by dropping down to just one car.  However, by Friday evening, I was ready to figure out a way to keep driving because I was so sad at losing that time with my girls.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Sick Kid

One thing I appreciate about my current project is that for the most part, I can do it from my house when needed.  This week that has been the case.

Audrey has the flu (the pediatrician confirmed it yesterday).  She got kind of fussy at the neighbor's superbowl party Sunday.  I was already putting Meredith to bed when Ryan brought her back early.  I took her temp and it was 102, she went right to bed and has been fighting a fever ever since.  Luckily, aside from the extreme tiredness that a fever can bring, she has not had any other symptoms.

So this week Audrey has been my little buddy.  I sit at the kitchen table and review documents and participate in conference calls and she lays on the couch - occasionally watching a movie - but sleeping for the most part.

I hope she feels better soon, but I have loved being home and taking care of her. :)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

New Favorite thing - homemade wool socks

I finished my first pair of socks.  I am now officially a sock knitter.   I can see how socks can be addictive.  They are a quick knit and very portable, not to mention functional and beautiful.  I love my new pair, they are so comfy and warm and cute.

I used Susan's recipe for the socks.  I learned that, I may need a smaller needle, they are a little baggy around the ankle (but in a comfortable way).  The next pair is already on the sticks - and the sticks are a size 0 instead of a size 1 (which is what I used for the first pair).

I also learned that I am going to need to get some new Birkenstocks to wear with my socks when things warm up a bit.  For those of you who are reading this and have known me for a while, you may well remember my old well beloved birks.  My Mom bought me my only pair of birks at Costco the summer after my senior year of high school.  I patched the cork layer with rubber cement, then the bottom with a bit of duct tape a few years after that.  To add the final touches, I painted the boring taupe suede with sunshines, rainbows, and other lovely decorations one year.  They were seriously well loved, awesome shoes.   I wore them until they were literally shredded.  Eventually I admitted defeat and they went the way of all the earth.  Recently, crocs have taken their place for the most part.  However, crocs don't show off socks like birks do.  I am feeling like birks might just be making a come back in my footwear rotation this spring.  Because I have always believed that socks and sandals go together like pb and j. :)

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Mexican food

I *love* Mexican food. So much so that we have Mexican Friday night and usually a couple of other nights during the week too.

So while we were at Disney world Meredith and I spent some time in Mexico. It was really fun and we ate inside the big pyramid at the fancy restaurant there. It was decorated like an old time Mexican village and that was really cool. The whole time I was there I kept thinking how it is such a shame that Mexico is so dangerous because otherwise I would love to go there for a family vacation.