|Memorial Day Weekend Plans|
As the June 22nd deadline for my book looms, I have been hyper-focused on getting it finished. Paul and I haven't thought much about Memorial Day Weekend except for enjoying the idea of being home for three days.
Happily, our only commitments are on Saturday. He is heading to San Jose to judge the longsword competition at the Ultimate Internationals martial arts tournament. He will also be coaching two of our students that will be competing in grappling.
I volunteered to teach Saturday morning's FFIT class so Coach Erika can go to the tournament and also help coach our students. By only having to teach for an hour tomorrow, I will have the rest of the morning to work on the book, although I am sad to miss cheering on our guys.
On Saturday night there is a very big Mixed Martial Arts fight (Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson) that we are very excited to watch. The Pay Per View fights are always a big deal in our home and usually involve a big batch of popcorn and dark beer in a frosty pint glass from the freezer. One of the benefits of owning a martial arts school is that we get to write the fights off on our taxes as we record and study them.
Yesterday, Paul and Dante headed to our favorite video store, The Movie Groove in Redwood City. We have learned to get our movies by Thursday as the store gets cleaned up if we wait until the actual weekend. It is a very popular destination.
Paul got a scary movie to watch after I go to bed. He picked up The September Issue for me, Buckaroo Bonzai for us (I haven't seen it before) and we got Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Dante is a HUGE Star Wars fan and hasn't seen that one yet.
The one thing I do have planned is a lot of baking. Paul's birthday is on Wednesday so I plan bake him a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup birthday cake. I also hope to bake a few loaves of bread to eat over the weekend and to freeze.
At some point during the weekend I want to purchase an American flag to fly on Monday in honor of Memorial Day. It is something Paul and I have wanted to do for awhile and just haven't made happen yet.
The only other thing I would really like to do is to go fly a kite – literally. We purchased a kite for Dante last year and we haven't been able to time our off weekends with good kite flying weather. Hopefully, this weekend we will have better luck.
I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday weekend.
|Financial Fitness, Maker Faire, Sherlock Holmes and More|
The last few days have been a bit of a blur. I can't believe it is Wednesday!
Saturday's Financial Fitness seminar was very successful. It was one of my most diverse audiences which made it even more fun. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaming with Matt Broadway of Edward Jones. We are planning another event in the coming months.
After the seminar, I picked up Paul and Dante and we headed to Maker Faire in San Mateo. This is an event we have wanted to attend for years. Our friend Tim had a booth at the event and we used that as an excuse to go. The $25 admittance fee was a bit steep, but I would pay it again. We were there for over 4 hours and only saw 3/4 of the show. It is such a unique event. The work and creativity on display is inspiring. Next year, we hope to attend again, but go first thing in the morning so we have plenty of time to explore.
Sunday was spent working on the book and doing chores around the house. That evening Paul grilled cowpooling steaks. I had a few potatoes in the cupboard so I roasted those and made homemade cornbread. I also steamed broccoli and made a vinaigrette out of the last of our dijon mustard and a little balsamic vinegar.
Paul rented Sherlock Holmes for me and we watched it with an open mind. I am a hard core Sherlock Holmes fan and did my best not to compare it to the books, past movies or television shows. I am a big fan of Guy Ritchie (the director) and Robert Downey Jr. so I really did want to give the movie a chance. We both thoroughy enjoyed it and hope they will make another.
Monday morning started off well, but around noon, I began to feel ill. Paul was home with the flu on Thursday and Friday and I must have picked it up from him. He taught my classes at Fearless on Monday night so I could go home and sleep. I ended up sleeping 15 hours on Tuesday and am still a bit slow and groggy today, although I feel much better!
I am a bit stressed that I lost a day of writing as my June 22nd deadline for Living the Savvy Life looms. Luckily, we have no plans for Memorial Day Weekend so I will have plenty of time to catch up.
|The Ladies of Missalonghi|
Growing up in the country made trips to the public library a little difficult. Luckily, my Aunt Sadie, who lived an acre away, had a healthy appetite for books and was kind enough to let me borrow from her.
One afternoon I noticed a hardback on her shelf that had three ladies dressed in Victorian clothing on the cover. Being a fan of historical novels, I grabbed it and took it home. It was 10:00 am. By 8:30 pm, I finished it. The book was The Ladies of Missalonghi, by Colleen McCullough.
Set in Australia, just before World War I, it is the story of a spinster who endures a dreary existence with her mother and aunt and how she breaks free. Although it is one of Ms. McCullough's lesser known tales (she wrote The Thorn Birds), it is one of my all time favorite books. Over the last 20 years since reading it, I have thought about the characters often.
A few months ago, I stumbled across a copy at a thrift store. It was the first time I saw the book since returning Aunt Sadie's copy. I bought it for my personal library.
Last week, I had some free time and looked on my "to read pile". I saw the book and decided to read just a few pages. This time, it took me three days to read, but with running two businesses, writing my own book and being a mom and wife, the extended time is understandable.
What a fun, sweet and uplifting story! If you need a spiritual boost or are looking for a quick, enjoyable read, I highly recommend spending an afternoon with The Ladies of Missalonghi.
|Camp Haze & Carrot Soup|
I love weekends that include a little adventure, but are balanced with getting things done and just enough relaxation squeezed in.
On Saturday, I drove Paul, Dante and our friend Jesse to my dad's ranch in Chowchilla (Camp Haze). My dad is under doctor's orders to take it easy for awhile longer since the stent procedure. Heading down to help around the ranch is something all four of us had been looking forward to.
Jesse is a mechanical wiz and was there to change the carburetor in dad's tractor.
Paul and I moved some corral panels for the horses and unloaded bags of cubed hay into the barn.
Dante, enjoyed the afternoon getting a chance to hang out with "Grandma and Grandpa Haze". In fact, Dante did his first solo horse back ride with grandpa leading and Paul and I on either side of him. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, Dante, me or my dad. He had been asking to ride on a horse ever since he saw us ride in the Chowchilla Stampede. My dad is thrilled that he is interested in the horses. Very soon, all three of us will be able to ride together.
The only downside of the trip is that it was one of the first hot days of the year. We ended up cutting our visit a little short as the heat started to get to all of us. Still, it was a wonderful visit and I look forward to heading back down again in June.
On Sunday, I had a lot of grocery shopping to do. Dante opted to stay home with Paul so I was able to power through hitting:
I managed to hit all five places in two hours. I really enjoy shopping for groceries and supplies, as long as I have the time. I hate doing it when I am in a hurry so Sunday's shopping was a treat. I started just after 11:00 am (after working for a few hours on the book) and the stores weren't too busy. The crowds must have still been asleep or at church.
When I got home I relaxed for a few hours and then spent the rest of the afternoon cooking. With the two pounds of carrots that I bought at the farmer's market for $.75 per pound, I made Curried Carrot Soup. It's a recipe I pulled from an old issue of Oprah and it is one of my favorites. I made enough for the entire week to enjoy after getting home from Fearless.
I had planned to make a loaf of bread to serve with dinner but remembered too late. Luckily, while I was lounging around, I watched an episode of Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa D'Arabian where she baked popovers. They looked easy to make so I tried it. While the popovers baked, I cooked two chicken breasts in olive oil and started the water for whole wheat tortellini. I made a goat cheese sauce for the ravioli, but must have missed a step because it didn't thicken as much as I would have liked. It was still good as were the popovers.
I must have been in a forgetful mood because I also forgot to cook the broccoli that I had planned to include with dinner. We had plenty of food so it might have been for the best.
We served an Alexander & Fitch Cabernet which is from the Alexander Valley (near where Paul's family cabin is) for dinner which went well with the chicken and pasta. I picked it up at Trader Joe's for $6.99. We drank half the bottle and will enjoy the other half next weekend.
For dessert, I made strawberry shortcake with Bisquick and homemade whipped cream. The shortcake was a perfect way to end a fantastic weekend!
Dante on Turlock
|Yahoo - It's Pizza Night!|
It's Wednesday night and our local Round Table's 1/2 off pizza night! It is also my night off from teaching classes at Fearless Fitness. I'm looking forward to catching up on a few chores at home, working out to a FFIT.tv video and doing a craft or reading a book with Dante.
Once Paul gets home with the pizza we plan to watch the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter. If I can keep my eyes open after the show, I'll review the latest edits from Kevin on our manuscript Living the Savvy Life.
I've got a lot on my plate for tonight, but that is ok. I'm just looking forward to having a week night at home. Happy Wednesday everyone.
|Many Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day|
One of the drawbacks of writing a blog about savvy living is that my family and friends read it. Because they read it, I can't write in advance about the birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day gifts that I have purchased.
Let's just say that I found beautiful and thought-filled gifts for Dante's Grandma Joan and Grandma Linda at savvy prices. Dante and I also made cards for them which, knowing Dante's grandmothers, they will appreciate more than the gifts.
As for my mom and grandmother, we made an agreement years ago that we wouldn't purchase gifts for each other. Instead, we make it a point to spend time together. My grandmother isn't as mobile as she used to be and just appreciates a card and the fact that I bring her great grandson down every 6 - 8 weeks to see her. My mom is of the same mindset. She is just thrilled that I bring Dante down as often as I do so that she can be such a big part of his life.
I recently heard about a Portuguese restaurant in Sonoma called LaSallette. There are not a lot of Portuguese restaurants out there so I called and asked my mom if I could take her there in honor of Mother's Day. Growing up, we both at Portuguese food, but there are many traditional dishes we haven't tried. This will be an adventurous afternoon for us.
I am excited to do something extra special for my mom this year. I wish we could bring my grandmother along, but the trip would be too hard on her. Although, knowing my mom, she will be able to recreate the dishes for my grandmother once she has tried them and they will be just as good as what we order at the restaurant.
Mom is in Arizona on vacation right now so we decided to wait until the end of June or early part of July to go. By then, I will be finished writing Living the Savvy Life so we will have more than one thing to celebrate.
|The Bisquick Experiment|
I often write about the healthy and affordable meals that I cook. I realized last night that I rarely write about our family's guilty pleasure meals. One of Paul's favorite dinners is Bisquick's Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to bake. The dish costs $4 - $5 depending on the current price of hamburger and cheddar cheese. If I have the time and the potatoes, I will make oven fries to go with it rounding out the meal.
Last year I purchased a big box of Bisquick at Costco. I realized when I was cooking dinner last night that it is on the verge of expiring. Paul and I agreed to take the expiring box of Bisquick on as a challenge and will be testing recipes that we have been wanting to try. I will let you know if there are any keepers.
|Expired Coupon? No Problem!|
Dante and I were at Kohl's yesterday doing a little shopping. I found a few items and headed to the register. While standing in line, I remembered that I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $25 or more. When I pulled it out, I was bummed to see that it had expired the previous day. I decided to ask if I could still use it. I figured the worse the cashier could do was tell me no.
When I approached the register, I handed her the card and asked if it was still useable. She said, "No problem," and ran the card giving me $10 off of my $29 purchase - a significant savings.
For some reason I have always been shy about situations like that and was proud that I asked.