Home Sweet Home

FOOD

I didn’t snap a pic of it, but my Christmas dinner made by my BIL was Tofurkey sausage, baked potato, sweet potato, and corn. It was very filling and yummy and I couldn’t finish my plate!

Thursday I had lunch with my boyfriend – Thai of course!

Dinner was veggie burgers. Nothing fancy.

Friday morning was a smoothie, lunch was a slow cooker sweet potato, white bean, and kale soup, and dinner was R and I out with my guy and his son at Yard House where I had the gardein orange “chicken”.

Saturday was an oatmeal and banana breakfast, and lunch was busting out the Ninja Foodi for a brown rice with roasted sweet potato and tofu meal. SO good. Plus a BAS (big ass salad). I made a vegan ranch dressing for the salad and for dipping veggies.

Dinner Saturday was out with my guy at the Grilled Cheese Bistro in Norfolk. I had a vegan caprese sammich that was epically delicious. I couldn’t finish it – but I really wanted to! Before dinner, we stopped for drinks at one of our fav eclectic spots downtown.

This morning was a breakfast salad at Whole Foods and then leftover soup for lunch. Snacked on some veggies with dip too.

FITNESS

Friday I did a YouTube spin class in my garage followed by some yoga.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did the weight circuit and then ran 3 miles.

Also – today marked a 14 day streak for daily meditation. I’m using Headspace and love it.

LIFE

Okay, Christmas evening was spent at my sisters with my mom as well. We exchanged gifts and had dinner. After taking my mom back to her place, I walked Kuma and then R and I packed since we were hitting the road early the next morning.

My seester made me vegan cookies!
Little bear and mini moose!
Christmas afternoon cocktails with my sister
My parents look so young!!!
My mom holding me as a baby

Gift from my sister. So funny (and it shouldn’t be – it’s actually tragic)
Jordy getting jealous of my sister snuggling Kuma

Silly text with my guy about Kuma hogging the bed

And indeed, on Wednesday we were on the road by 540am. A quick stop at Starbucks, and we ended up pushing straight through to home with brief stops for gas and to walk Kuma. Traffic was strange – part of I-80 was shut down due to a major accident, so we were routed into Michigan for a bit. All was fine until we got near DC, which sucked royally. We should’ve gotten home by 930, but it was almost 1130 by the time we rolled in. But – felt great to get home.

Kid slept the better part of the 16 hr drive.

Thursday early my guy came over. Excellent timing as he helped save Kuma’s life! She had gotten into some chocolate my son left on his floor (ugh), and thankfully my boyfriend knew how to make Kuma vomit! Hydrogen peroxide on a pancake. Worked like a charm too – poor bear. Once we knew she was fine, we had some wonderful quality time together.

Thursday afternoon R and I went to the SPCA where we promptly fell in love with a 1 year old cat named Mena! She was very outgoing and demanding face scratches. We knew she was meant for us. We filled out the application and went home. Sure enough, the next morning we got the call that we were approved! They had to validate I owned my home and that Kuma was up to date on her immunizations. So – off we went! We’ve renamed her Luna (a name my boyfriend picked out and R and I thought was perfect). Her and Kuma’s meeting was relatively uneventful. I think Kuma is happy to have a kitty again. She’s missed Ginny and Bumble.

Saturday was grocery shopping and errand running, and then an evening and overnight with my guy. We were originally planning to go to Christmastown in Williamsburg, but decided to stay close to home. By the end of the night, we had gone to 3 bars and 1 restaurant. Heard some local music, and then went back to his place. Awesome night all around.

One of our stops was at Grain. I wanted to see the life sized ginger bread house in the Hilton Main where Grain (it’s a rooftop bar) is. And we’ve always enjoyed going there for drinks.

This morning we went out for coffee, and then he headed home while I went to Whole Foods. Went home, ran out again for some errands, and have mostly been just relaxing (aka – bored out of my mind!).

All my kids are now home! M got home from NY yesterday, and A got home from Toronto today! Nice to have them all home again.

And Luna is having fun exploring! The first day she spent much of it under my bed. But she’s been going around a lot, but mostly seems to stay upstairs.

Her food and liter box are in the laundry room, which I separate with a baby gate to keep Kuma out

So it’s been a week of home sweet home for sure! Going back to my old “home” to visit family for the holidays. Then the joy of coming back home to Virginia, which is very much our home now. To bringing Luna to her new forever home. All sweet indeed.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, still nothing great to report. Haven’t been overly contentious of spending, and that’s not good – that’s backtracking to old habits.

Comfort vs Survival

FOOD

Fairly typical eats. A couple smoothies and oatmeal largely in the mornings – especially cold ones.

Minor explosion in the microwave. Oops.

A few outings for Thai, Indian, and a veggie burger.

Vegan burger at Yard House – out with R before an event

Ezekiel bread, sunflower seed butter, banana, and agave

On Thursday a couple friends came over (long overdue hanging out), and I made a build your own taco bar with tofu/potato tacos, Venezuelan black beans, and a totally yummy slaw. The slaw was freaking amazing – A and I kept picking at it while waiting for people, and she eventually just ate a big bowl full.

Ate mine as a bowl topped with Daiya shreds, hot sauce, and pickled jalapeños

FITNESS

Went for 3 runs last week and did yoga twice. Ankle feels totally fine and my calf was mostly good too, yay!

Now, must avoid any other dumb injuries…..

LIFE

Speaking of injuries, R started physical therapy for her wrist this week. She hurt it about 6 weeks ago. No break, but the doc was calling it a sprain/soft tissue damage and she was in a splint for a month. She has to do her exercises at least 5 days per week, and she’ll go to physical therapy weekly for the next 6. Overall though, she’s healing nicely. Was worried for a bit there that she’d need a cast.

On Tuesday, R and I went to an Camping Basics class at REI! It was really interesting, and we learned a great deal. For example, the differences between men’s and women’s sleeping bags are both in where the zipper is, and in what the number ratings actually mean.

For example – I’m eyeing this beauty right here.

See the 20? That means it will be comfortable for me to sleep in when the weather is as cold as 20 degrees.

Now see this one? Same manufacturer. Same numeric rating.

The difference? This means that a man can survive in weather as cold as 20 degrees. He will NOT be comfortable. He simply won’t die.

Our camping instructor was very specific that we understand this. And then complained at how dumb it is to have a difference at all. Men would like to be comfortable too. And women care about not dying. So yes – the numbers on a sleeping bag are about comfort vs survival.

Wednesday I focused on getting the majority of my school work done. Everything was read and 2 papers written. I spent a bit of that time at Starbuck’s with R as she did school stuff too.

Thursday was my friends A and D and his wife P over for dinner, drinks, and laughs.

Friday was running around like crazy, and then Saturday morning it was off to Alexandria for a holiday celebration with my guy and my grad school friends. Our hostess A was perfect as always, and the event was a ton of fun. We did a white elephant gift exchange.

We stopped in Richmond on the way up for a store I wanted to hit up for one of our gifts, then got to Alexandria, stopped for a drink or two (I had a sangria + margarita that was pretty tasty!). Then to the hotel for a while, then dinner and off to the party!

Today was up early to hit the road. I spent some time suffering for the amount of fun I managed the night before (ugh), but after a nap and some caffeine and food, I felt fine enough to get the rest of my school work done.

Me just getting comfy on the drive home

So all told, awesome festive weekend full of friends, fun, and the best boyfriend/babysitter a girl could have 😂.

Okay, so this is a screen shot of part of a book I’m reading – all still part of the becoming a morning person gig (which honestly is going pretty well). It talks about people who are overwhelmed so they hate mornings, and then people who are underwhelmed. This really spoke to me and think that’s largely been me. Kind of goes back to a previous post about not having that 5 year plan worked out. Thankfully it’s coming together a little bit at a time.

MY YEAR OF LESS

I don’t have my November stats yet (Quicken doesn’t post pending charges, so it’ll be a few days), so that report will come in the next post.

I have all my Christmas shopping done with the exception of my guy’s youngest, but I know what I’m getting – just need to coordinate getting it.

I also paid off two credit cards at the end of the month, which is cool, and added several hundred to the emergency fund. All told – good progress!

Leftovers, Road Trip, and I am NO Amateur

FOOD

Well there have been LOTS of leftovers! Nothing wrong with Tofurkey for breakfast! (Along with mashers, butternut squash, etc…).

Saturday was a day trip to Richmond. Had a couple apps (black bean hummus and creole chips) while out with friends, and then a veggie stir fry at a Chinese place called Fat Dragon that was totally amazing.

Today I made a big batch of ramen that was just okay. I was in a hurry, and skimped on the broth – which made it decent enough, but not worth leftovers. Shame too.

Dinner was a simple stir-fry tofu BAS. And yes, I found lettuce not trying to off me. Still find it funny that this is my daughter’s fav way for me to make it – pan fried until starting to brown and then add Tamar (gf soy sauce).

FITNESS

Oddly enough, I think my ankle is totally fine. It was still a little sore Saturday, but by Saturday night, I took off the Ace bandage and all was well.

Wanted to run today, but it started pouring. Did some spin in my garage instead! Hope to run tomorrow – should be dry!

LIFE

Been a great couple of days, other than my epic day of school procrastination hell, I really can’t complain. Saturday was up early (yay for the morning person thing!), got a few things done, and then headed over to my guy’s house. I left my car there and he drove to Richmond, with a shopping pit stop in Williamsburg along the way.

Spotted this in a WB shop. Thought it was funny.

We spent the afternoon with my girlfriend HF and her husband and two little ones. She picked this hipster bowling alley, and it was a ton of fun. The idea was the boys bowl so the adults to could hang out. It largely worked. Then we went furniture shopping (we were all on the lookout for something).

We also had a Governor sighting! We didn’t bother him, BUT I did surreptitiously snap a pick and tag him on Twitter. (Psst….not a skilled bowler).

So – it was a totally crap day weather wise. Pouring all day. Between the bowling alley and furniture shopping, we stopped at Target and I saw this car. Dude really needs to re-evaluate his transportation options. The tarp was full of rain water.

After we went to Buskey’s – our fav cidery, and then dinner and home. I was up early Sunday and headed home. I took a nap and then got cracking on laundry and school stuff. Let’s just say I had to finish 4 papers and 4 major spreadsheets with varying approaches towards demand forecasting. Fun. Times. I went to bed about 130am….

Needless to say, I did not set a 530 am alarm today. 7 was early enough, thank you.

Today R finished putting together the bookshelves. I’m so excited – everything is coming together nicely. I still need a side table for the new accent chair and about 2 nice sized area rugs – one for the study and one for the family room.

The no-show/no-reply contractor finally did contact me and ended up coming over on Sunday. He’s the only one who went into the crawl space to see if there was any water damage from the bathroom. But, now I have my three quotes. I’m already discounting the first guy, so it’s down to the other two. My preference is the 2nd group that came out, but will depend on timing. Those quotes were literally $10 different. Hopefully that’ll be completed in the next two weeks, and then the floors will really be done!

Slow morning this morning with sleeping in a bit

So A braided her little sister’s hair over the weekend. Promises to teach her how to do it

So the morning thing is going well. Other than this morning getting up at 7, I’ve been up at 530 every day. Earlier on Sunday – woke closer to 430. It still takes me some time for my brain to wind down – which is why it took me over 90 minutes to fall asleep last night. After being hyper focused on school stuff for over 12 hours, that was bound to happen. Overall though, the insomnia is light years better.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Again, been pretty tame. I’m nearly done Christmas shopping – which NEVER happens this early! All my kids are done, my sister, her husband, her daughter, my guy, and his oldest. I have left my mom, my nephew, and my guy’s youngest – though I know what I’m getting him – just need to get it. Very proud in how I shopped and planned this year.

That’s been the only expenditure other than the weekend adventure. Haven’t needed to pick up groceries, so it’s been the gifts and bills.

Awesome Weekend and NO MORE CARPET

FOOD

All yummy on the food front! Managed only one smoothie since my last blog post! You know it’s getting chilly out when smoothie intake tanks.

Did have lots of other fun stuff tho – and a mixture of eating in, eating out, and travel meals.

The fickn quesadilla from Hell’s Kitchen in Norfolk.
General Tso’s Tofu out w my guy

Whole wheat roti

One of foods I really liked growing up was egg salad. Thankfully, it’s easy to make a vegan version, and I literally seen dozens. My stand by is so simple, but I make it all the time. The firm silken tofu from Mori-Nu is perfect. I cube it, put it thru an egg slicer, and mix with vegan mayo and mustard. Sometimes I add things, like onion, celery, relish, etc, but not this time!

Also made a vegan mac that’s an oldie but goodie from the very first vegan blogger I ever followed – and have been lucky enough to meet several times now. Her food is amazing and very much in line with how I like to cook (low or no fat/oil).

This time of year I really go for the kale-based BAS (Big Ass Salad for new readers) always with a tahini dressing and loaded with whatever I have.

So simple! Equal parts water, lemon juice, tahini, and nutritional yeast. Plus salt.
Love my Tribest personal blender for dressings. My vitamix is just too big for that.

My guy spent the weekend and we had a couple really yummy meals. Friday night was Italian and listening to A tell funny work stories (she works in the emergency department).

Last night was him on the grill and me on the baked mac no cheese! So excited to finally have the Beyond Meat brats! Rounded out with salad and rosemary/garlic grilled potatoes, it was awesome.

Made the mac gluten free for my son’s gf who can’t have gluten

FITNESS

Embarrassing to say – not a whole lot! Had about 2 runs and some yoga at home. That’s it. The good news is that as of today, I officially have my garage back to normal – and that means the home gym!

LIFE

THE FLOORS ARE DONE! Finished them on the 10th, and the rest of the trim this past Friday. We all signed the back of the last board that went in. I do have to get a professional in to do the downstairs half bath, but otherwise, they are finished – and totally beautiful! The house is largely put back together – just a few things I need to pick up yet, but I seriously couldn’t be happier.

Veteran’s Day I went to lunch with my guy, one of my really good friends, her husband, their son, and his brother and his wife. All but two of us are either active duty or vets, so it was a free lunch and a chance to see J and K who moved to MD this past summer – so it was awesome they were in town.

I had a quick work trip in Chicago last week that went really well. It was ridiculously cold – but otherwise had a great time.

I always stay at the Palmer House when I’m in Chicago. They have this amazing old world apothecary called Merz’s that I just love. I definitely picked up a few things, including fun bath stuff for while I was there.

The conference was about consumerism – and this was probably one of my favorite sessions about DIY care.

I mentioned my guy spent the weekend. Friday after the trim was done and dinner eaten, we watched a movie. I had been wanting to see the new Blade Runner 2049 since it came out, and we were going to rent it. Did some reading and found we really should watch the original 1982 one. I had seen it once, but I think I was 17 or so and didn’t remember it. I’ll be honest – I REALLY wanted to love it. But it was just strange. We were both not thrilled, so decided to not watch the new one after all. I probably will someday – when I don’t have to pay for it 😏.

My great friend NS from Nairobi sent a care package to me of coffee! His friend is in Virginia Beach for a dental conference, and brought this for me. Definitely had the one on the right this morning! It was so good.

Saturday we did a bunch of errands – took carpet to the dump, got his tools back to his house, and returned all the extra boxes of wood I ended up not needing. Then it was dinner, and he and I and my son and his girlfriend went out. Starting at Birch, then Torch, a brief stop at Grain (was WAY too busy), and then ended at Hell’s Kitchen. And of course we used Lyft the entire night.

Today was naps, school work, and laundry and not much else ☺️.

All told, it was a really perfect weekend, and I am one lucky girl.

Good progress on the becoming a morning person thing. I finished the Miracle Morning and have been using it as a blueprint for my own mornings. So yay!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Other than home improvement stuff, this is going quite well. I’ve started Christmas shopping and have a very set budget for it – so here’s hoping I stick within it! I use the Christmas Club account through the credit union at work, so that makes a big difference. R, Kuma, and I are going to WI for the holidays, so there will be more expense than planned, but it’ll be fine.

I do need to buy a bookshelf for my study. The one I had was broken, so this is a replacement. I also need to pick up a couple area rugs as well and I’d like a wingback chair and table for the sitting area in my study. I’m looking at Wayfair and Birch Lane and will see about Black Friday furniture sales. The rugs can wait – will be in the DC area in a couple weekends and will hit up IKEA since ours doesn’t open in Norfolk until Spring.

Meaty Bananas & Cranberry Juice that’s NOT for Vodka

FOOD

Not a lot of kitchen inspiration this week. Leftovers, popcorn, soup, and a few outings in the last couple days.

The best meal was Thursday night though. It was an early birthday outing with my guy, where we went to a local winery we like and split a bottle of our fav easy drinking cab, and then went out for Italian. We had a marinated mushroom appetizer that I think was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had.

Yummy zucchini ribbons and pasta with olive oil, garlic, and bread crumbs

On Friday (my actual birthday) we went out for Indian. Went to a different place than last weekend – one where we know it’s always good. And it was. I had to Goan Vegetable Curry.

FITNESS

No runs this week, but definitely yoga and weight lifting.

LIFE

Overall, the past several days have been pretty amazing. Lots of school stuff, but that’s nothing new nor unwelcome.

Thursday I had a really important thing happening all day, and after, went to my guys house so we could jet to our romantic evening out. And it really was awesome.

While we were out, A sent me a text asking if we had any bananas, and if she could please have one. Thought it was an incredibly strange question since no one needs permission to eat food in my house (especially healthy food!). Turns out that, as part of her nursing school instruction, she needed to practice injections on the banana. Huh. Okay…

Well, then she asked if she could have the cranberry juice. And I assumed – since I came across all the vodka on the counter the day before – that she was going for a vodka cran before going to sleep…

Yesterday was my birthday, and I’m pretty sure it’s the best one yet! I took off work and spent the entire morning and then lunch with my guy. Then I went to see M at his Starbucks, and then it was off for spooky Howl O Scream fun! It was supposed to me, my girls (M couldn’t get anyone to take his shift 😒), my guy, and his youngest. Shortly after lunch though, my guy got really sick, so he stayed home. But, the rest of us went as planned and had a total blast.

Traffic sucked on the way, but the ride ended up being hilarious. A and I were telling crazy stories about patients we’ve encountered and everyone was cracking up. We then started talking about bananas and A asking me if she could have one of the bananas. I proceeded to tell the kids that I thought it was funny, and then she asked for cranberry juice, presumably to pair with vodka. A started laughing and said that no, the Cranberry juice was actually what she needed to inject INTO the banana in order to determine if she was doing a good job. And that it was important that the banana be really meaty. It probably didn’t help that she had only 2 hours of sleep in about 36, hadn’t eaten, and everything ended up being hilarious. There were many jokes about meaty bananas the rest of the night….

We walked around the park until full dark set in and we could start with the really spooky stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell really spooky characters that they weren’t allowed to kill be because it was my birthday. One particularly funny/spooky guy commented how cool it was that my birthday would also be my death day…

A posted this on FB. She’s so cute!
Creepy jester DJ spinning some jams

So my guy’s son had never been to Howl O Scream before, but for me and the girls, this is totally our jam. The more spook, the better! Nothing like getting scared out of your mind, chased with chainsaws, and just generally laughing and screaming so much your throat started to hurt. At least that’s MY idea of a fun night 🙂

So yeah. Half a day with my guy, half with my kids (except M), and dozens of messages from friends and family all over the world. Other than M and my guy not being able to come with us for spooky fun, overall the entire day was totally perfect.

Couple other pics

Bday present from my guy. Heart = Melted 😍
Woke this morning to this awesome gift from my sister!
Meet Beverly. She’s been hanging out with us all week. She’s very friendly, actually, and R is really digging her.
My car on the left, A’s on the right. Mama bear and baby bear!

MY YEAR OF LESS

So I will admit I spent a bit more this week than I’m proud of and I do need to refocus on my challenge. I bought a new coffee pot. I had a Ninja Coffee Bar and I noticed some green mold growing in the reservoir, despite cleaning it regularly. So I contacted Ninja, and after some back and forth, said they’d give me a discount on a new one. Well – I did some googling and saw quite a few people comment on the green mold, so I knew I didn’t want another one nor one with a reservoir quite like that. But, most of the time, only a single cup is consumed per day (unless M or A want some, and then it’s a pot), but I refuse to get a Kuerig. Despite the intense wastefulness of those K Cups, I find the coffee pretty crappy. So the hunt began for a coffee maker that can do a pot, or a single cup, and not be those K cup things. Thankfully, Cuisinart pulled through. Could I have just used my French press forevermore? Yes – and it wouldn’t have cost me anything. But – I spent the money and replaced my coffee pot.

My youngest did get me an Amazon gift card – mainly because she doesn’t like that I can’t buy myself books on my shopping ban. I’m pretty excited!

Nope. Brain isn’t Melting. I Hope.

FOOD

Been a fairly typical week. Smoothies, salads, soups, curries, and stir fries mainly! I’m loving the (mostly) chilly weather.

Lazy meal – beyond meat crumbles + marinara over pasta
Simple Instant Pot dish – 1 c soaked pintos, 1.5 c br rice, 1 jar salsa, 4 c broth 25 min high pressure

Yes, popcorn is a meal!

Out for Indian with my guy!
Enjoying drinks on the water
Special order FAIL. Our admin is amazing – always orders me vegan eats. Kitchen screwed up and added feta 🤨
Thankfully (or sadly) I expect them to screw up, so I always bring back up eats. This time – leftover soup!
Killing time at the Sbux where my son works. Apparently this is my new nick name??

FITNESS

Been another really active week. Runs several days and LIIFT4 on 4 of the days. Good times!

LIFE

School, work, school, family, school, school, school. Oh, you get the point. Every waking minute when I’m not working, working out, with my family, or my guy – I’m studying. And since I sleep for crap, that leaves a LOT of time for studying! I can’t tell if my brain is melting or expanding. I’m hoping for the latter. It’s all good though. I really do love learning.

Kuma – my study buddy sleeping on the job
Was a really cold saturday, so studies with tea!

Friday night was fun. R and I hung out, played Backgammon, and watched Black Panther.

My guy got some new shades and he sent me a selfie in them. I was already in bed, so sending a reciprocal selfie was met with squinted eyes due to the flash. So I got my old Burberry glasses (that he hates) and did one with those instead!

I was feeling pretty run down on Saturday, and while I took a nap, A took R (and Kuma) to a local farm to get pumpkins!

Also having all 3 kids home – at the same time – for a picture! (Ignore the floors – we’re mid- home improvement project!)

Sunday was studying during the day and then most of the day and evening with my guy. Was tons of fun, as always.

Otherwise- my life in miscellaneous pictures!

R and I were at Sbux waiting on M and saw a rainbow!
My guy’s youngest and I whine about math. So I sent him this 🙂
For my next house?
Showing off my new glasses for my guy (while wearing his fav sweatshirt 🤣🤣)
Quick wine and magazine break from calculating statistical control charts. Can ya blame a girl?

Looking forward to the rest of the week. Have a few really cool/nerve wracking things happening, my birthday, and fun times planned!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, I was confronted for the first time for something I didn’t allot for. Eyebrow waxing! Now, thankfully I’m not really hairy or anything, so every 2-3 months is fine. But I will tell you – I will NOT tweeze. Ugh. So, I did pay the $10 to get them waxed last weekend.

The only other unplanned thing was an Uber – which was a necessity after the golf tournament! Otherwise, everything is within expected categories: replacing things that ran out, groceries, and going out, but not going over my monthly limit.

And what am I doing with all this $$ I’m not spending? Paying off bigger ticket item bills, loans, and putting stuff into savings.