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Showing posts from January, 2016

Free TV is Not Frustration-Free TV

We've been without cable and DVR for more than a year, but we still had regular cable because the company never turned it off (we're still Internet and phone customers and overpay for that so I didn't feel too bad about that, although maybe I should?). It was just the basic 60 or so channels, and I'd watch the networks and maybe one or two others on occasion (big fan of Hallmark and Lifetime for Christmas movies, and I watched the heck out of Big Bang on TBS).

But now the cable company has started "transitioning to digital," which means if I were going to keep even the basic level of cable we'd have to get a digital converter box to somehow change the signal. I'd obviously have to start paying, and when I looked it up it's like $33/month. Well, I like TV, but not $400 per year without the ability to time shift programming. (See: cheapness in all my latest posts!)

The cable company is also in a fight with the local NBC affiliate, so that signal is…

Collection of Updates

We are going back to ballet today. Woe. When I contacted the dance studio they said all funds would be reset on June 30 so we could take a break but have to come back before that. Given our spring timeline that's not realistic SO we're going to do two more months and stop at the end of February. At some point we may just want to walk away from the money (Jane still says "I don't wanna go!") I'm so cheap though. SO CHEAP!

I've stretched out my silver sparkle Toms shoes to the point they are comfortable. When I bought them they were so uncomfortable, but somehow they've become my go-to shoes (although it's taken more than a year -- I bought them from Zulily in November 2014 ... not that I wore them much before recently). I think the trick is wearing them with thin socks. My Bobs, which are similar and were handed down to me from my mom, have never felt uncomfortable and I can wear without socks. Maybe when it is consistently warmer again I'll tr…

Bullet Journal FAIL: Late for a Conference Call

Scene: Target checkout line. ~10:50 a.m.

Me: Checking my phone to pull up Cartwheel app for a discount (that didn't even apply anyway ... stupid, stupid, stupid), and because I'm connected to Target wifi I can see a new email message letting me know my 11 a.m. conference call (Google Hangout) would be starting a little late.

Cue: PANIC, increased blood pressure, omigod-omigod-omigod!

I type back a reply that I messed up the dates so would be even later, get through checkout without sobbing and high tail it to the car. Throw in the goods and peel out. Get stuck behind a slow-AF truck on Highland (maybe should have taken the Interstate, but that's always risky),

I still made it home by 11:15, set up the Google Hangout and get into the call without missing too much. (Because of the delay I was probably only 7 minutes off the call's actual start time, but still.)

My heart is still racing thinking about it.

Thankfully the call itself was good and productive, and we talked f…

Late to the Keurig Bandwagon

Another Christmas present from this year was a Keurig from my inlaws. I have had it on my wish list for a while but figured it was too extravagant, and it really is.

This one can do the single cup brews AND brew a small pot of coffee. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the reusable pods so I can just use regular ground coffee for both single cup and pot brewing. They work OK, but the best flavor so far is single brew with pre-made pods and selecting "strong" for the brew. Even decaf tastes delish. I'm sure with a little more trial and error I'll get the reusable pod down (how much to put in, how much to tamp it down, etc.).

Shawn's been out of town this week and his hotel room had a Keurig brewer and they provided K-cups. I told him to squirrel them away each day and bring them home to me! He said he has about 10 to bring and toward the end they started leaving him 3 per day thinking he must be a coffee fanatic. LOL at that because he really doesn't ev…

Jane's Stewardship Thoughts

January is stewardship month at our church this year, so the first sermon of 2016 set the ground work. Our pastor talked about  how we can grasp too tightly to the gifts God gives us. The thought puzzle was that letting go brings more and grasping or clinging brings less. (He cited Parker Palmer's The Promise of Paradox for that concept.)

Tuesday during lunch, apropos of nothing, Jane said, "When you close your hands tight you say no to God. when you open them up you are saying yes," and she did the accompanying hand motions. I asked where she learned that and she said "church" very nonchalantly. I asked - "from Pastor Jay's sermon?" And she said, "Yeah." (Kind of like - you were there too - don't you remember?!)

SO -- at least part of the stewardship message is getting through a 4-year-old's skull, and I take this as strong evidence to support my fervent belief that kids belong in worship with us. I also hope my heart and …

Christmas Project Gift: Shell Frames

One of our projects for Christmas was to make these BEAUTIFUL frames for Jane's grandmas (also known as my mom and Shawn's mom).

We collected a lot of shells on our beach trip to the Outer Banks in May, and this was a good way to use them. Shawn made the frames in his workshop, and he had glass cut to fit, added hangers, etc.

I laid out all the shells and Jane decided which ones went on which frame. She worked hard on the placement. Then she decided who got each frame (I took all the pictures, and I decided who got which picture so put the chosen picture into the corresponding frame).

I hot glued the shells in place, and Jane and Shawn signed the frame backs. (Maybe I should have signed the prints themselves as the photographer? LOL.)

They didn't travel so great -- some shells fell off in transit, but hopefully will be easy enough to glue on. Of course Jane chose frames with huge, heavy shells for her grandmas. Mine is the top one in this picture and it's my favorite …

Not a Ballerina

After a lot of thought and many "are you sures?" we've decided to give up on ballet classes, at least for now.

It is just a beginner 3-year-old class -- 45 minutes per week on Tuesday afternoons. But Jane was having such trouble, and I felt like I never got a kind word from the teacher. It was only problems, dirty looks, a couple of lectures and annoyance. Jane was even booted from class once for not cooperating (with five minutes left in the class!) -- and after watching during the parent day it's pretty clear most of the girls don't cooperate that much... (But I don't want to be that parent -- I know Jane can be difficult and not cooperate. I'm the person she drives craziest, with Shawn a close second.)

The traffic getting home after class is always terrible (and includes a scary left turn across Bluebonnet). The bottom line though is that Jane doesn't want to do ballet any more, and I don't want to have to cajole her every week, even if some w…

Christmas Cards

I'm not the friendliest person, but are there tips to getting ON someone's Christmas card list? I feel like a reject since we barely got any Christmas cards this year. I sent out around 80, and I think about 5 were returned as undeliverable, so say 75 reached their destinations. We probably received 12 cards. I don't send cards only in order to receive cards, but it sure would be nice to get a few more in return!

I wonder if people are just not sending out cards at all any more OR if we're not making the cut and I should take a hint and take people off our list. What a crazy "problem" to have. Good grief.

But here's the thing. I LOVE doing Christmas cards. I like picking the photo (this year it was just my best recent one of Jane and I didn't even try a separate Christmassy photo shoot -- and I even included a family photo of the three of us from my cousin's wedding in November). I like shopping for the best deals on cards and trying out a million…

Caught Up on The Mindy Project

Because I am cheap (frugal?) I don't have a Hulu account, so I've been missing The Mindy Project that moved there from Fox (which is still dead to me). My mom did a free week trial from Hulu over the holidays (although it said it was a free month in the original email -- I know because I almost signed up myself). She didn't cancel soon enough because of another shady email technique and so paid $7.99 for the month (or maybe just for the remaining three weeks? I'm not sure on that).

She couldn't really find anything on there she wanted to watch so is definitely canceling, but while she had an active account she gave me the password so I could watch The Mindy Project episodes that have been airing on Hulu. I got caught up last night. *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Basically I don't much like this season of Mindy. The pregnancy stuff was lame (especially since she's an OB-GYN so she should have been more educated about her birth options) and then her relationship with Da…