Tag: frugal living

March 2024 Project Goals

March 2024 Project Goals

March is upon us and it is time for new monthly goals. This year my focus is on finishing up projects that I have so it should come as no surprise that my main goal for March is to work through my project backlog. I […]

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

When I created my post about rereading books kept in storage for too many years I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have time to read the books on my list. My post “Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1” was an attempt […]

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Eight years ago when we moved into our house I pared down my book collection by about 25% and put the rest into boxes. Until a few months ago those boxes largely remained untouched as we navigated life and I stopped reading all together while we raised young kids and also worked. During this time I was also given a large quantity of newer books over the many holidays. Most of these books are unread as well. Do you see where I am going? I have tons of books I don’t read and nowhere to store them.

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I used to read a lot, voraciously as some say, up until we had our second child when reading adult books pretty much halted. My middle child is a huge fan of reading so I was definitely reading all day long, but it was all kids books and my spare time was spent cross stitching or sleeping. Many of the books I had stashed away got me through some rough times and I have many fond memories of reading them. My Dorothy Dunnett series are tucked away in their own box and I fully intend to read the Lymond Chronicles again next year but during our giant clean out of everything in our house this year I discovered some books that we straight up gave away and others that I wanted to read one more time before making that decision so I am making this list of books with what I remember about them to get myself started. I will say that I am in the middle of A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley so I do need to finish that first but my intention is to get through this list by the end of 2023. All of these books are a quick read and I am confident that if I read a little bit every day I will be able to achieve that goal.

 

Here is a list of the books with links and what I can remember about them. It will be interesting to see if what I remember is accurate and whether or not I still like these books after so many years. I will post reviews of the books as I go and link them in this list.

Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

My first book is Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell and when I went to link it I noticed it is the third book in a series so now I want to read the first two. Maybe this project wasn’t such a great idea. Ha! This book is very much a fun summer read about a lady that goes pearl diving and there is some sort of mystery if I am remembering correctly. I really liked this one so I might have to read the other two from the library when I am done.

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

 

We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

This book is a mystery about a lady that runs into someone from her past and there is a murder of some sort. I mainly remember there is a plot twist revolving a door bolt and the killer tries to murder the main character as well. This book was pretty good but I also don’t particularly remember it being so good I would read it multiple times but I did keep it when I was pairing down my books so maybe.

 

The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge

I honestly don’t remember what this book is about, but clearly it is about a beach house. Now that I am thinking about it this may be the one with the floor bolt in the door that involves the plot twist. I am interested to see if my memories of this book flood back in after I start reading it.

 

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

 

An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

Confession time. I love this book and I am not sure why it is in the give away pile but maybe it got mixed up with the I want to read it again pile? It is set in Hollywood about an affair between a wealthy man and a poor waitress and very well written, at least as I remember. Maybe it isn’t as good as I remember any more? We shall see!

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

I have two books by Jhumpa Lahiri on this list and Interpreter of Maladies is the first one. I don’t remember which book is first or if they are related but I do remember that they were good books. My dad gave me these when we were still swapping books and they are very him if you know what I mean. I may pass these back to my dad if he wants to read them again.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake is the second book by Jhumpa Lahiri that I have in this list and I don’t remember what it is about either. I will also see if my dad wants this book back when I am done since he is the one that gave them to me.

 

And now we enter the more mass-market phase I went through were I bought bestselling books instead of just getting them from the library. My goal was to build my collection. Why I thought buying mass market paperbacks was a good idea I will never know but rest assured, I now try to get books like this from the library.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I fully remember what this book was about but I haven’t read it in so long I would love to read this book one more time before I give it away. I would highly recommend getting this one from the library instead of buying it. This is a very good book about a young girl coming of age as a Geisha before WWII.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This book took the world by storm at some point and I bought it. I remember it being a great book but I also don’t remember exactly what it is about and I am ready to pass it on once I read it one more time. I think it is another coming of age story or something like that but I don’t remember. I just remember it is a good book. I am trying really hard not to read the synopsis of these books when I link them so I don’t get any spoilers.

When the Emperor was Divine by Juliet Otsuka

Last but not least is When the Emperor was Divine by Juliet Otsuka. I don’t really remember what this book is about but I think it might be the one where the main character is in a work camp and has a relationship with another woman there but I may be mixing that up with another book.

 

Well, that’s my list of books I am going to read before passing them on in 2023. I will write brief reviews of each one when I am finished and link them in this list for those that are interested. I am positive I am forgetting most of what I read in these books and it will be interesting to read them and see what I remember. Maybe I won’t want to give them away? Maybe I will do this with the rest of my collection? Time will tell!

 

I didn’t plan it but it looks like I have 10 books to read before the end of the year. Do you think I can finish them all? Leave a comment below.

 

 

Gardening Update 07/05/23

Gardening Update 07/05/23

It’s been a while since my last garden update so I thought I would write up a quick one today even though my garden is in pretty bad shape. It looks like my last garden update was in April of 2022. Every year I think […]

2023 Goals Mid-Year Check In

2023 Goals Mid-Year Check In

As I sit here mid-way through 2023 with my first official Covid infection I thought I would take some time to look at my progress with my 2023 goals. For 2023 I wanted to focus on self-care and take time to relax every day. I […]

Arboretum in April

Arboretum in April

Recently we went to the Washington Arboretum near the University of Washington in Seattle. We have gone there many times in the past but have not been there for quite some time. We love to walk the trails and learn about the plants from all over the world. In the past we have met up with friends but this time we ended up just going as a family on a day off from school. The park does get busy on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice but if you get there early enough the parking is easy to find.

One of the new things we found was a garden from New Zealand. We loved a bunch of plants we saw, particularly some of the grasses. There was also a fabulous view from the gazebo at the top of the hill which the kids loved.

These trees were part of the New Zealand section of the Pacific Connections Garden which featured plants from all over the Pacific. Even though parts of this garden were installed as far back as 2013 we had not been to this part of the Arboretum since then and it was great to see how the gardeners had restored this section of the park. It was beautifully done.

Up the hill from the New Zealand section was a bunch of gigantic Japanese Camellia plants. The flowers were as big as my hand! We loved seeing these, especially since they bloomed the same week as our camellias at home which was exciting for the kids.

I tried very hard to get a good picture of a salmon berry flower the last time we were out on Whidbey Island and was very unsuccessful. I could not get it to focus because there was just enough wind my phone couldn’t find a spot to focus on. I did however get this picture at the Arboretum and I am pretty happy with it. Salmon Berries are native to the Pacific Northwest and are some of the first native foods for bees in our area. I love their flowers and the kids look forward to eating them every summer.

After looking over the gardens at the top of the hill we wandered down to the playground for a bit then back up the hill. We took a detour after looking at some rhododendrons to check out a swampy area near a stream. I believe these are ostrich ferns but I could be wrong. They were very beautiful.

What is a swampy PNW area with out skunk cabbage? Even though they smell pretty badly I love their yellow color. I tried to get a close up but didn’t want to damage any plants. These were a nice bright spot amongst the green.

We were lucky enough to hit the tail end of the cherry blossoms at UW. We did not walk up to campus to look at the larger collection but checked out the ones along the large path at the Arboretum. We love cherry blossoms at our house and it was nice to see them in a much less crowded area. They had both pink and white and both were amazing!

 

We love the Arboretum and have plans on going back more frequently this year so the kids can see the changes in the trees and plants over a period of time. I love that we have this place in the city where you can go see a variety of plants and everything is free. In the past we have taken picnics and enjoyed an afternoon out in nature.

 

Links:

Washington Park Arboretum

Pacific Connections Garden

 

Tulip Fields In Bloom

2023 Goals

2023 Goals

My goals for 2023 revolve quite a bit around self-care and doing things that make me happy such as cross-stitching, gardening, puzzles, hanging out with my family and reading. I am also trying to make them pretty open ended so I don’t feel to rigid […]

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career […]

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September was an expensive month for us as far as groceries go. All of our stock up trips seemed to happen this September and that caused our grocery total to be higher than usual. We also have been trying to eat healthier which of course costs more in general. Our goal was to keep spending at $600 but we ended up nearly doubling that at $1,185.21. Needless to say, we are going to try and keep our spending as low as possible for October. I am hoping to keep it at $600 for October and so far I think we can be close.

 

Grocery Spending Total
September Grocery Spending Total

Our above numbers for September reflect the stock up trips we took to Franz, Bob’s Red Mill, the large Amazon order of Benefit Bars and the Clif bar order which was actually Luna bars. I am working on getting our kids weaned off of bars as a source of protein but we will always have Luna bars in the house since they are gluten-free and sometimes it is the only thing I eat for breakfast on a busy morning! Having something quick to grab and eat in the car is always a bonus.

This haul was our first one for September at Costco and it was a pretty big one. We were out of a lot of basics and I wanted to buy some prepackaged items for meal prep that we don’t usually buy. Overall we have eaten most of what we bought at the start of the month. We are still working on the snack type items but we definitely had to replenish our fresh items this month. All of my grocery hauls are on my YouTube channel which can be found here. I don’t get everything filmed but I at least try to get the big Costco hauls.

Roast Beef Sandwich
Roast Beef Sandwich

I tried to take more pictures of what we made with the food we bought to show how we were using everything up but I have fallen out of the habit and had a hard time remembering. We found a good deal on chuck roast so my husband made some homemade roast beef this month. I replicated a sandwich I had at Pickles Deli out on Whidbey Island where a gigantic pickle is used instead of bread and it was pretty good. I bought these pickles at Winco a while back and they are just ok.

Egg Bites
Egg Bites

Another strategy I tried this month was to do more batch cooking towards the start of the week and then eat through that and it worked really well. When I was working I never had time to cook on the weekends but now that I am home and child free during the week I can dedicate a couple of hours to cooking on Monday or Tuesday so that I don’t have to worry about breakfasts or lunches for a few days. I loved making these egg bites and now that we have more eggs I will definitely be making more.

Bob's Red Mill
Bob’s Red Mill

We definitely did some bulk buying this month, including a trip to the Bob’s Red Mill store in Oregon while we were down there on a business trip. We bought two 25lb bags of gluten-free oats which will last us about a year. Bob’s Red Mill stopped selling large items on their website right when we were thinking of buying another 25lb bag so since we were down there we bought two. These are the oats we bought and we love them. As someone with Celiac, I have never had a problem with these oats but I do have issues if I eat regular ones.

Pumpkins
Pumpkins

Another item we did go into Costco for but I am not counting as part of our groceries is 300 pumpkins for our fall school event. We called around and local farms were not able to have pumpkins to us in time so we went to Costco and were able to buy them there. We went to two separate stores to get these. I did bake one of the ones we had previously bought for ourselves and it is quite tasty. I have a soup recipe I want to try with another one and I will probably just bake the others after Halloween. I love buying a bunch of pumpkins in the fall to decorate and then eat later. It is such a sustainable way to decorate and I am pretty sad we could not get any of our pumpkins to grow this year because I love including home grown ones as well!

Squash and Beef
Squash and Beef

One of the smaller trips I took at the end of the month was purely for sale items. I bought another pack of chuck roast to be made into roast beef and one gigantic yellow squash. I was not able to grow squash again this year due to the wet spring so I was happy to find it on sale at Fred Meyer. We just bought some zucchini this week at Safeway which I am very excited to eat.

 

That’s it for our September grocery spending recap. Bottom line is that we spent a bunch but we did buy items we won’t need to buy for a while so I am hoping October will be much closer to our goal. What are you spending tips for this fall?

 

Links:

Benefit Bars

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats

Pickles Deli

 

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

 

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We were out of a lot of staples for July so I knew we would have an expensive month for groceries. We are still working hard at keeping our food budget well under $1,000 by watching prices more carefully, eating up what we have and […]


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