Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Posting Every Day?

I had meant to write a blog post every day this month, even though there were a few things going on like our anniversary, my husband's birthday, and my birthday. Plus, we're still progressing through the Bible in 90 Days reading schedule and that takes a good deal of time. Overall, I don't think I did too poorly with my posting. This will be post #22 in 30 days.

The past few days, I've been too busy living life to have time to blog about it. I've come to the realization that I spent too much time online and need to control that. I've cut out a number of my blog subscriptions, unsubscribed from a ton of email newsletters, and only check Facebook once a day.

I think the biggest change, though, is how I've been handling my email. I love emailing with people, reading their responses, and staying up to date with friends. However, my email takes up so much time every day because it's always open on my computer and I check it every time my email notification dings. Last week I read an article about how humans actually aren't very good multi-taskers and how this relates to our use of email. The author suggested that we schedule a set time once or twice a day to check email. Deal with it at those times and only deal with it once. Read it and then delete it or reply. If you need to reply later because the response will take time, file it away but schedule a time to write a lengthy reply.

I must say, since I've started doing this, my email time has dropped dramatically. It's so much easier to filter through junk mail once a day and delete/unsubscribe as necessary. It's a bit harder to respond right away, as I have a tendency to read emails and then respond a week later. But my attempts to get my inbox down to 0 messages is forcing me to write more timely responses. I think this will make me a better time manager as well as a better friend.

Of course, I've only been implementing this new habit for the past five days. We'll see how it pans out in the long term! But so far I've really been enjoy the newfound time. I've been using that time to catch up on some much overdue tasks, like organizing my recipe book and filtering through that never-ending pile of junk mail. Right now I only have two emails left in my inbox to respond to and that will happen tomorrow. The day is late and my brain is tiring. If I responded now, they would be less than satisfactory. Until tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bible in 90 Days Update

I am currently three days behind schedule of the Bible in 90 Days reading plan. I have been consistently three days behind for the past week, each day completing a full day's reading but making little effort to catch up.

Today I finished reading the Old Testament! I started reading on August 20, so it's taken me just over two months. What a ride! I've done this once before but I forgot what a whirlwind it is to read the Bible in only three months.

I can't wait to dig into the New Testament. The reading schedule is going to involve a lot of flipping back and forth through the Gospels, since I'm reading through the chronological plan. I can't believe how many passages are included in each day's reading, most of them only a few verses each.

Even though I understand the benefit of reading the Bible this fast, I can't wait to finish so that I can spend some time studying something specific. I haven't decided what I need to study, but I want to really dig into a text and spend time learning as much as possible about God. Less than a month left!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Birthday present

Last night we went to Joann Fabric and picked out my birthday present. Both my mother and mother-in-law gave me some cash and it was burning a hole in my pocket. I really wanted to go fabric shopping but decided there was no point when I am still missing some vital quilting tools.

Instead, I picked up this beautiful rotary cutting mat.

Of course, my cat decided he needed to "help" with the cutting process.

I don't have a table large enough to cut on so I have to use the floor. Good enough for me!

This afternoon I cut out the remaining squares I need for my denim quilt. I want to add a second additional row to make it even longer, but the flannel backing I have isn't long enough to allow for that. Now I just have to figure out how to iron without an ironing board...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's on my Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

I'm still working through the Bible in 90 Days Chronological Reading Plan so my "other" reading has gone down a bit this month.

  • Jonah
  • Amos
  • Isaiah
  • Michah
  • Proverbs
  • Psalms
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Lamentations
  • Obadiah
  • Ezekiel
  • 2 Kings
  • Jeremiah
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Daniel
  • Haggai

As always, links are to my full reviews.

Christian Fiction
  • The Quilt by T. Davis Bunn, Davis Bunn - 4 stars. A heart warming story!
  • A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman - 1 star. For a book titled A Passion Most Pure, there is a lot of passion. Way too much for my taste. I cannot recommend it.

Christian Nonfiction
General Nonfiction
Secular Fiction
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney - 4 stars. Fantastic time travel story with NYC as the main character. I wish they'd turned it into a movie!

Currently Reading Last month I added three books to my list due to the Nightstand posts. I read two off my to-read list. Not bad! Of course, we'll see how many get added this month...

Happy reading!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pity Party - Want to Come?

Earlier this afternoon, I threw myself a pity party and invited my mother. She was sympathetic and let me cry for awhile. Then we started talking about listing our blessings. I told her I would write a blog post tonight and list some of mine...

  • My husband, who brought home a pizza tonight so that I wouldn't have to cook
  • The freedom to worship God
  • Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Pay Day!
  • A cat who hasn't sprayed since his neuter last week
  • Peppermint Mochas
  • A well-stocked library
  • Thirty years of life

I do have a lot to be thankful for. I suppose my pity party should be turned into a thanksgiving prayer meeting instead. Thank you, Mom, for reminding me to be more aware of the blessings God has bestowed!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New colors!

I learned something new and I am really excited about it.

I learned how to add a second color of yarn! Way back when I used to crochet, I didn't know how to add a new skein or a new color of yarn. I just tied the two colors together and continued crocheting. This resulted in color changes in the middle of a row.

Thanks to the Mighty YouTube, I discovered a tutorial showing how to add a new color.

This opens up so many more options in my knitting. I can't wait to learn more!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So tired

Bruno has been letting us sleep all night since he came home from the veterinarian. It has been lovely! But for some reason, both hubby and I are really tired tonight. It's not even 6:30 but we're going to bed. We're going to read for a bit and then sleep. Hurray!

I was going to post about a new knitting technique I learned today, but oh well. There's always tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Organization and frugality - groceries

Today has been a fairly productive day. I ran out of yarn on my kitty blanket so I'm again without a knitting project! If hubby is able to get off work at five, we'll be visiting Joann's to buy more yarn and some knitting needles for a baby hat.

Kitty blanket - in progress

This morning, I went grocery shopping at Safeway and picked up most of our groceries for the week. We literally eat week to week at our house, running out of groceries at the end of each week. It's crazy!

I've been collecting receipts for the past six weeks and today I started my spreadsheet. We shop at Whole Foods, Safeway, the Asian market, the farmer's market, and occasionally, at Target and Trader Joe's. I'm compiling a list of all the staples - things like refried beans, pasta, jarred tomatoes for our pizza sauce, coconut milk, etc. Most of these stores carry the same products, so I'm recording which store has the lowest regular price for each item.

My plan is to take this list with me each week. When I see that something is on sale, I'm going to stock up. It's frustrating writing down the same basic shopping list. Since most of our meals are the same from week to week, I'd like to have two months of pantry ingredients on hand. And I'd much rather pay sale prices!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good news!

I didn't post yesterday because it was my husband's birthday and our seventh wedding anniversary. Yes, on the same day. It was not intentional! We eloped and happened to have that day off work. But my husband likes to tease me and say that it's "all Cassandra, all the time." He says our anniversasry overrode his birthday. Plus, my birthday is only six days after his. We have all of our fun at the same time!

The vet called today with the results of Bruno's urinalysis. Everything was normal! So far, Bruno has been an angel, no marking. I know it's still too early to tell if it will be permanent, but I am cleaning like crazy to avoid him marking places he used to mark. Hopefully that will help. Our house is slowly starting to look less scary under the blacklight.

Not much else is going on. Since Bruno doesn't have to go back to the vet anytime soon, maybe we'll be able to afford an ironing board out of our next paycheck. Then I can start quilting again! Oh how I miss it.

Hub's is working so I'm going to reply to a few emails. Ta-ta!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sabbath rest

Today was a lovely day. It rained, sprinkled, misted, and rained some more. I'm not sure I'll still be saying this after several months in Washington, but I love this weather!

We stayed home today and relaxed, watching over Bruno to make sure he's ok after his surgery yesterday. One of the beautiful side effects of his pain medication is sleepiness. His sleepiness allowed us to sleep more than normal, since he wasn't trying to get us up at 4AM. I think I slept almost 11 hours straight last night and needed every minute of it.

I continued on the Bible in 90 Days reading plan. Today I read a large chunk of Ezekiel. I have some thoughts on this session but I'm not sure I'm ready to write a post about it. It's a lot of reading every day and I am looking forward to finishing. Then I can spend more time studying something in the Bible rather than racing through it.

And, this may be crazy, but I am contemplating participating in National Novel Writing Month. I haven't decided yet. It's next month and I won't be done with the Bible in 90 Days reading until right before Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if I should add writing a novel in 30 days to my plate but I am tempted. Still pondering that one...

Well, I'm off to give Bruno his pain meds and then to read for a bit before bed. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cat Saga: Home Again

Image Source: Cheezburger

Bruno is back from the vet, a bit altered. My poor baby! He's shaved on both his front legs and at the surgery location. He's still groggy but the procedure defintely did not affect his appetite. How are we supposed to keep him from eating everything in the house?

Hopefully this helps his behavior. The vet said it could take a couple weeks before he stops marking. I guess we will deal with that if/when it becomes an issue.

In the meantime, I am waiting for a phone call from the vet on Monday. He said there were some concerning abnormalities in Bruno's urinalysis and he'll let me know what's going on once the full results are available. I will be praying all weekend for my beloved kitty.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cat saga continues

Today I called the veterinarian and asked when we could schedule Bruno for being neutered. They said tomorrow morning! We are supposed to drop him off at 8AM, no food or water after 10 tonight. I'm sure that will be fun, as Bruno is used to having his food dish available. We measure his food but he rarely polishes off the bowl before the next meal.

This afternoon, I drove over to PetsMart and picked up a black light. Boy oh boy. I have a lot of cleaning to do. If you want to believe your house is truly clean, don't buy a black light. Gross.

I really hope neutering him either eliminates or lowers his need to demonstrate inappropriate elimination. Another gross. We'll see how things go tomorrow.

Why don't they stay this cute?

Cat Troubles

Even though it's technically Thursday... since I haven't gone to bed yet, this counts as Wednesday's post, right?

I'm wondering if anyone who reads my blog has experience with cats spraying. Our cat is getting neutered next week but we're struggling in the meantime. He sprays when he gets stressed or feels ignored. He gets plenty of one on one interaction with both of us but he's extremely clingy since he was hand raised.

I know we've got some training to do after he gets neutered. Right now, my issue is what to do when I can see that he's getting ready to mark something. Spray him with water? Distract him with a game? Ignore him? It seems anything I've tried results in a very temporary distraction and he's back to the initial marking attempt within 10 minutes.

He's not letting us sleep at night because he constantly wants attention. My husband is working on an intense project right now and has been up until three or four in the morning lately. So the cat is already really confused about when it's nighttime and when it's daytime. If I go to bed while Jeff is working, Bruno comes downstairs and makes noise or sprays until I get up. But if Jeff goes to bed and I get up to keep Bruno from making noise, he lets Jeff sleep. So frustrating!

I love this cat, won't get rid of him, but need to figure out a solution to the spraying. I have a feeling we'll be hiring a feline behaviorist for a consultation if neutering doesn't fix the issue entirely.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Experiencing Fall

In Arizona, fall means pumpkin lattes at Starbucks and pie pumpkins at the grocery store. That's about it! The temperatures don't start dropping until well into the season and the palm trees don't change color.

In Washington however, I'm starting to learn what fall really means.

Changing colors...

Lower temperatures...

And learning best how to stay warm...

I love fall!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Step Closer

I am one step closer to quilting! My wonderful husband bought me an iron. Woohoo!

And of course, since it has to do with quilting, one of my cats had to come check it out.

Now I just need a new rotary cutting mat and an ironing board. I cannot wait to get back to my quilt!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Teapot Vegetarian House

Recently, my husband assisted a coworker with a very challenging issue. As appreciation, the coworker sent us a gift card and told us to use it at our favorite restaurant. Well, we're still fairly new to Seattle so we've only tried a few places. We decided to make a second visit to the Teapot Vegetarian House. Last time we visited, I tried a Mandarin style tofu on rice that was fantastic and couldn't wait to taste other entrees.


"Traditional Northern Chinese dim-sum made of fresh diced vegetables and spices hand wrapped in an envelope of flour." - Yum, yum, yum!

My dinner - Stroganoff

"Our interpretation with nuggets of compressed mushroom blends to perfection with a savory creamy sauce of mushrooms and onions." - It was pretty good! I enjoyed their "beef" stroganoff over jasmine rice. I probably wouldn't order it again simply because there are so many other options to try!

Hubby's dinner - "Duck" Chow Mein

"Udon wheat noodles stir fried with "beef", "chicken" or "duck" mixed with seasonal vegetables in a savory brown sauce." - I did not like the "duck" as it was very thin and crunchy. But the chow mein and vegetables were good!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before we dove into the best part of dinner: dessert. We had their vegan cheesecake. "Our cheesecake, made from tofu and fresh fruits, is said to be the best our clients have ever tasted, even better than the real thing." Oh boy. My husband said it was the best cheesecake he's ever tasted, vegan or not. I thought it was incredible and very high on my list of favorite cheesecake. Tonight's cheesecake included mango and another berry I couldn't identify. I don't even like mangoes but I thought the whole thing was absolutely delish. It's worth going back just for dessert!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pizza night!

Saturday night is traditionally pizza and a movie night. We've been trying various pizza sauce recipes that people were kind enough to leave on my fabric giveaway post. We found the perfect sauce!

Pizza before baking

1 T. olive oil
3/4 cup onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups tomatoes (from a jar, NOT a can)
3/4 t. oregano
1/8 t. salt

1. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet.
2. Add onion. Cook until almost translucent.
3. Add garlic. Cook until lightly browned.
4. Add tomatoes, oregano, and salt.
5. Simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Baked pizza

Tonight's pizza has mushrooms, fresh basil, and Daiya "cheese" on top. It was really, really good.

The movie? Not as good. We watched The Day After Tomorrow as my husband hadn't seen it. In his opinion, and mine, 2012 was much better.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Barely Sick Day #4

Today I feel almost normal! My biggest problem is exhaustion. I am so tired and have no staying power. But at least my headache is almost gone and my sinuses are clearing up! Hurray!

I had a few books due soon at the library so we made a quick jaunt last night. I was able to pick up two of my Fall Into Reading books but couldn't locate the third. The catalog said it was available but it wasn't on the shelf.

In addition to the challenge books, I picked up several other Christian novels that are on my to-read list. Every month, when the Nightstand link up is posted, my to-read list grows. I am determined that it will shrink this month!

I also dug around in my craft bins and found some leftover pink yarn. I started the kitty blanket! After all, every cat needs a hot pink blanket, right?

Of course, the real reason we left the house last night is that we ran out of cat food. Our cats are demanding eaters and I know they would be crying if they didn't get dinner. So we picked out a new cat food per vet's orders. Do you know how hard it is to find a cat food with no fish? We exhausted almost their entire shelf before finding a natural food with no grains and no fish. What a difficult combination!

We couldn't help but bring home a new cat toy. Is this creepy or just realistic?

If I catch a glimpse of this toy out of the corner of my eye, I wonder what the cat dragged in and left in the middle of the living room floor. It's a catnip toy and our older cat seems to love it. Our cats are so spoiled!

Hubby got paid today so we're off to the yarn store to pick up some supplies for a couple Christmas presents. I sure hope my family likes handmade gifts!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sick Day #3

I really don't have the energy to post something intelligent. So I won't! :)

Today was more of the same except less of a headache. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I feel normal! My house is getting messy and I'm itching to clean.

The only news from today is that I started a new knitting project. With my limited supplies, I frequently run into one of two problems.

1 - Yarn with the wrong sized needles.
2 - Needles with no appropriate yarn.

Luckily, I discovered most of a skein left from the yarn for my very first project, a practice scarf. It's acrylic Walmart yarn that will work great for a small cat blanket. It'll probably look hideous but at least the cats will have something else to lie on! Pictures to come once I have something more to show.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sick Day #2

Today was another sick day. The headache is ongoing but now it's moved forward and is definitely in my sinuses. Fun! At least those I know better how to deal with. I've been taking hot showers, sleeping when I can, standing over a pot of boiling water on the stove, and will be eating a spicy curry dinner. Hopefully something will loosen things up so that I can start to recover!

I spent a lot of time today catching up on my RSS feed. I've been ruthlessly cutting the number of blogs I follow because I know that I spend way too much time reading about other people's lives and not living my own.

I also spent some time looking through quilt books to pick out a pattern for my nephew's quilt. I have it narrowed down to three options and need to decide soon. He's due to be born in only two months!

And of course, we've watched a couple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. That show points out the ridiculous things we do to our spouse like not being completely honest or putting work ahead of the spouse or putting parents ahead of the spouse. Eek!

I'm still reading this book:

I have a feeling I shouldn't have waited to really get into it until two weeks before having to return it to the library. It's not one to be read quickly, but instead to ponder and take action on some of the principles that shold be applied in my marriage. At least I'll know if it's worth purchasing my own copy.

Thus ends a random post for a very random day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sick Day

Wouldn't it figure that today, a day in which I am motivated to tackle the world, happened to be a sick day? I woke up with a massive headache and it still hasn't gone away. I'm trying so hard to take it easy but I am a terrible patient.

Thankfully, I was able to complete all of my Bible in 90 Days reading this morning. I don't want to fall behind! This week marks the half way point of the program.

I read this entire book today, spent some time giggling over quilting humor.

I also introduced my husband to one of my favorite television shows, Everybody Loves Raymond. Did you know that Netflix has all nine seasons available to watch online? I don't think we'll be watching the entire show anytime soon but it's a good sick day television show.

Once hubby gets off his conference call, he's heading to Subway to pick up dinner. I'm so blessed! He's going out to get sandwiches so that I don't have to cook or wash dishes.

As much as I enjoy the royal treatment, I sure hope that I wake up tomorrow feeling normal!

Monday, October 1, 2012

30 day challenges

I wasn't planning on undertaking a 30 day challenge in October. Last month's homemaking challenge was kind of a failure, partly due to circumstances beyond my control and partly due to a varying level of motivation. Considering homemaking is my job, I should be able to rise above the lack of motivation and complete my job regardless of how I feel. However, that was only partially successful.

This month I am going to continue my homemaking challenge. I came up with a good cleaning schedule last month. I started a loose routine. This month I want to work on my menu planning and grocery lists and price sheets. I might throw in something else as well but that's what I am going to concentrate on.

Then I stumbled across this:

31 days of blogging! October is my birthday month, the start of fall, and the first chance we have to sleep on a comfortable bed every night. Things are looking up! Hopefully this means I will have more to talk about and can get into a comfortable blogging rhythm. I want to post more often and I have tons of photos from the past several months of exploring Seattle and surrounding areas.

Is anyone else participating in the Blogtoberfest or something similar?