Showing posts from April, 2017

Our New Home Office (Almost!)

Yesterday was 'the day' - the long awaited day of 1) home office completion, and 2) home remodeling in general completion. My husband and I were so excited in that he'd been working off of folding tables ever since the cabinetry installation in mid-March left him with new cabinets, but no counter tops. A great big 'oops' that occurred when a change order for the counter tops got filed away accidentally, instead of processed.

So imagine how we felt yesterday morning upon discovering that just one, not two, of the missing counter tops was being installed. Because, somehow the correction change got messed up and only one of the two remaining counter tops got made. Oy vey.

The good news is that the missing counter top is for the least important element of the two - the one that tops the three-drawer window seat. The critical counter top - the one that supports my husbands computer, printer, work space and TV, was here and ready to go.

Here is where we started back in …

Spring Bucket List - Update #1

Welcome to Progress Report #1 of how I'm doing on my 20 Things Spring Bucket List! In that we just got home from our recent one month stay on the east coast last night, I think I made a decent amount of progress. And had lots of fun doing so - I am an extraordinary lover of lists so this project was right up my alley and I'm having a whole lot of fun working my way through them, one by one.

And just like the last time, I'm linking up with a group of other terrific bloggers to share Spring Bucket List updates, so be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see who else is participating, and to visit their blogs for additional spring inspiration.

Progress Report #1 for 20 Things On My Spring Bucket List
Make a batch of low-sugar jam with spring berries.Yes! I snatched up four 6 oz containers of fresh blackberries when they went on sale for $.88 each, and made Sunset Recipe's Blackberry Lime Jam, a super easy and super delicious refrigerator jam. It freezes beautifully…

The Push-Pull of Long Distance Grandparenting

For the first two years of our granddaughter's life, we were but a 90 minute drive away. Not only that, we actually lived with my daughter before, during, and after delivery while our son-in-law was deployed out of the country, then provided day care for six months after he came home and my daughter returned to her teaching position. All of which is to say we were/are very, very close to our now 2 & 1/2 year old granddaughter.

When we first got the news that my son-in-law was being transferred to the Pentagon in Metro-DC, literally the other side of the country, we were devastated. We understood, of course, and absolutely wanted them to do what was best for their family, but personally we went into mini-mourning, though we kept it just between us.

When they actually moved, I flew east with my daughter and granddaughter to assist with the physical move-in, and my husband drove one of their two cars east in tandem with my son-in-law, plus two dogs. It was both exciting and pain…

Road Trip Wrap-Up & What's Next

We are back with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law in Alexandria, VA after almost three weeks of road tripping through the Carolinas. We had an incredibly interesting time visiting Wilmington, NC, Kiawah Island, SC, Charleston, SC, Congaree National Park and, finally, Richmond, Virginia. We learned about the battles of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War up close and personal. We toured mansions, plantations and forts, walked miles and miles and miles, took walking tours, boat tours, canal tours and one very memorable ghost tour, enjoyed a bevy of craft beer, wine, and cocktails, and literally ate ourselves silly. In other words, we had a great time!

But we both agree it's nice to be back in familiar territory here at our daughter's for the last few days of our trip. This is our fifth time visiting since she and my son-in-law moved here in July, and it is feeling increasingly like our second home. Today, Sunday, we attended the Alexandria branch…

We're Going to Hamilton!

Thanks to our AmExpress cardholding son-in-law, we were able to snag two tickets yesterday for the Los Angeles leg of the upcoming Hamilton World Tour a full ten days before they go on sale to the general public. Whatever block of tickets were being held for AmExpress cardholders were apparently snatched up in minutes, so we are over-the-moon excited that we were in the group that was able to get through.

Oh, and we did not purchase the $650 or $750 tickets(!), in fact I didn't even know they had tickets in that price range until looking up our seat assignments this morning online.

And I thought the price we paid was high!

We aren't going until November, so we still have lots of time to become familiar with the soundtrack, and in my case, the history. My husband was a history major in college, focusing on American history, so for him this will be a breeze. In my case, I know Alexander Hamilton to be the guy on the $10 dollar bill, and that's about it, so I have a lot of br…

Charleston, SC - What We Did, What We Ate

One of the things I get the most enjoyment from is doing detailed trip planning for the many trips we take each year. Since joint retiring in 2012 (me 2011, spouse 2012), we have spent approximately 50% of our time, about two and a half years, traveling. We have had some amazing, amazing experiences, and eaten at so many restaurants I couldn't possibly keep count - somewhere around 150 would be my best guess. And though every so often an activity or meal doesn't measure up as expected, I would slot those as being less than 5% of the overall things we have done and eaten.

All of this to explain why our time in Charleston, which comes to a close this morning, was jam-packed and unforgettable. We can rest when we're dead, right?

Rather than belabor each and every thing we did, I'll just list them as links, and include either one, two or three asterisks as an indication of how we rated them on a scale of one (low) to three (terrific).

Things We Did (in alphabetical order)

Five Frugal Things - Family Vacation Version

It's not as easy to get value for our money when traveling, particularly when we are with family, as we have been this past week, but here are five frugal things we did manage to do:

We waited in the cell phone lot to pick up our family over two different flights, saving short term airport parking fees.We ate most of our meals in at our Kiawah Island Resort cottage. We had a three bedroom house reserved for our family trip, and one $130 trip to Super Walmart covered six people for seven breakfasts, seven lunches and four dinners. With the beach one block away, and the resort pool across the street, we rarely had need to leave the property.We bought our gas off the resort's property, saving 30 cents a gallon.Asked about, and received, a student discount for my visiting niece when we visited one of the area's large plantations, shaving 50% of her admission fee. We used Trip Advisor to find fun, tasty, casual southern BBQ joints to treat our family to three dinners out. Each …

Greetings from the Carolinas!


We are in the midst of a family stay in Kiawah Island, and in that that includes our two and 1/2 year old granddaughter, things have been busy, busy, busy! But we are having a wonderful time, and I know it's going to be sadly quiet once she heads home, so we are embracing all the noise and activity of her while we can.

Here's a peek at what we've been up to since departing Metro-DC last Wednesday:

We're here for another few days, then the 'kids' all go home, and we move onto Charleston for some serious eats along with our sightseeing. I had been checking daily for last minute cancellations at Charleston's hottest restaurant, Husk, and something opened up yesterday that works perfectly into our stay there next week, so 'yeah' for diligence!

Make it a memorable day wherever you are!

What's For Dinner Wednesday - On The Road Version

Today is Wednesday, the day I normally do my menu planning and grocery shopping when we are at home. In that we are not at home, but are instead traveling on the east coast, I do things a little differently, and I thought it might be fun to review how meal planning works on the road vs at home.

At home, I budget a flat $100 a week for groceries, and have found that adequate for almost six years now, using my first year of retirement in 2011 as a starting baseline. It's easy to stay on budget at home in that I cook most of our dinners from scratch, we generally end up with leftovers to incorporate into other meals, and the majority of our meals are built around the low priced and abundant legumes, grains and produce available year round in S. California.

On the road, this is obviously much more of a challenge. First and foremost, once we leave S. California produce availability seems to diminish, and prices to rise. Plus it's much less convenient to cook from scratch most of t…

Greetings from Metro-DC! Plus Weekend Wrap-Up 3/31 - 4/2

Greetings from Metro-DC, where we are currently visiting with our daughter, son-in-law and positively-delicious 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. We have a few more days left here before departing alone for Wilmington, North Carolina, then into South Carolina after that where the family will rejoin us. As much fun as we're having here, my restless spirit is super excited for next leg of our trip even as we're soaking up the pleasure of spending time with our granddaughter. We've been going back and forth between spending time with her, and having time to tour on our own, which is working out very well. Too many days in a row with her is, well, exhausting! But, too many days on our own while here leaves us missing her, so going back and forth seems to be the right balance for now.

Speaking of which, our weekend was both fun and super exhausting. I feel like this is a common refrain lately, and each time I write/say it, it highlights that without a doubt our biggest challenge in…