Friday, December 2, 2016

Six Months of Retirement

Tomorrow marks six months from my last day of work.  It has gone by quickly and I can honestly tell you that there has never been a day where I have been bored.  I was reading an early retirement blog the other night where the author stated one of the reasons for retirement is the inability to physically or mentally work.  People also retire because they simply want to and have the financial means in order to do so.  I thought about where I fit in.  Maybe a bit of both.

The girls' summer break from school began two weeks after my last day of work and that time of year is so very different from when school is in session.  We travel and tend to be on the move so life is a bit unstructured and less routine.  When the girls returned to school in September, I took a mental break.  I fully admit to being lazy.  But I was meal planning and cooking and doing laundry and taking care of everyday cleaning.  It's not like I completely checked out, but I told Rich that my mind needed rest.  I needed to recharge from the past eight years of a challenging, sometimes nonexistent work/life balance.

Do the girls like having me home?  Yes!

Do the girls like when I don't cook dinner?  No!

I am so not a fan of cooking, cleaning, meal planning, etc.  You know - all the things I willingly take full responsibility for now.  At times, I feel creativity swelling inside of me and I need a release so I'll turn to photography or work on a new sewing project.  There's time for that now.  I don't know how I fit it all in before.  

I feel healthier now.  I'm eating better (but not the best.)  I'm getting more exercise.  (I haven't been able to run for a few weeks now because of an injury in my left leg.)  I didn't need to lose weight but I dropped those last 5 pounds or so leaving me at about the weight I was before I became pregnant with the girls (but not pregnant with Abbey.)  I even fit into my black dressy pants that I had to stop wearing a few years ago for fear the thighs would tear open when I sat down.  However, I have no practical reason to wear those pants as my outfits these days consist of jeans and pajamas.  My stress levels have dropped but I still lack patience.  That's a personality flaw for sure.  I did some major adulting a few weeks ago that in the past would have caused my stomach to freak out, but now I remained mostly calm.

I don't know what the future holds but I can tell you I haven't really given much thought to tax work.  I have considered other business ideas but there's no rush.  It will be interesting to see how this winter goes as I'm already craving warmer weather.  I may go stir crazy.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meal planning, quiche recipe, and blog changes

Do you meal plan?  Now that I'm at home I sit down every weekend, study the grocery store flyers and plan our meals for the week.  It's a task I'm not a fan of (I don't like grocery shopping either) but it has been saving us time and money.  Originally, I thought I would just run to the grocery store a few times a week as needed but due to my dislike of shopping for food and the extra time that would take, I prefer to buy everything for the week in one trip.

We weren't meal planning before and it definitely showed as more money was being spent but we never seemed to have anything for actual meals.  To me, saving money is part of meal planning so I take into account what is on sale for the week and what we have on hand.  I also try to plan meals that have very little or no leftovers so as to not waste food.  In our home, leftovers are eaten the next day, maybe the day after that but never more than once or twice.  We aren't leftover fans and I hate throwing food away.

We eat dinner out as a family about once a week and for the most part almost all of our meals are eaten at home.  Rich has been bringing lunch to work most days and the girls only buy lunch from school twice a week.  Emily actually went a few months without buying lunch at all.  School lunches cost $2.75 and do include milk.

So here's what my meal planning looked like for this week:

Sunday:  Broccoli soup (homemade tastes like Panera's) with crusty french rolls
Monday:  Stuffed shells with garlic bread
Tuesday:  Cheese steak subs with toppings - grilled onions and peppers, and sliced tomatoes
Wednesday:  Chicken tenders (as in I buy raw meat and cook it), mashed potatoes, green beans, sauteed spinach, homemade pan gravy
Thursday:  Chicken pot pie (chicken and peas)
Friday:  Quesadillas with shredded chicken

Because the girls like goat cheese, I decided to try to make a quiche a few months ago.  I used a basic quiche recipe and then added goat cheese and fresh spinach.  Sometimes I add chopped tomatoes if we have any on hand.  I usually serve it with homemade breakfast potatoes.  It's a popular meal and I like how easy it is to throw together.

Recipe:

- Place room temperature pie crust in pie dish
- Layer crumbled goat cheese on top of the crust, then place fresh spinach on top of the cheese
- In a bowl, mix together 4 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Pour egg mixture on top of the spinach and cheese
- Bake at 350 degrees until knife inserted in the center comes out clean - the basic quiche recipe I found had a bake time of 40-50 minutes but I cook this for almost an hour

12

So I finally sat down and took the time to update the look of my blog.  It's more 2016 now.  I don't need anything fancy and actually prefer basic.  There's still some work to be done, mostly on the pages, but it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.

Monday, November 28, 2016

More customs for sale, and sewing stuff

Okay, I have a few more items for sale.  I think I'm going to save the remainder and list when the weather warms up.  See the post right before this one for information on shipping, etc.

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Princess Maxi Skirt

$28

Very good used condition, worn 2 or 3 times, the fabric is high quality so it doesn't easily fade.

Best Fit Size 5/6

Measurements:  Waist - 19.75 inches unstretched, length - 21inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband and there is a secret opening on the inside of the waistband which allows a seamstress to easily alter the size of the waist.

DSC_0831edit

DSC_0833edit


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Minnie Dot Animal Kingdom Dress

$29

Good used condition, I believe this was only worn once, no stains or rips but there is some fading of the black on the zebra fabric.

Best Fit Size 5(ish)

Measurements:  Bodice width (chest) - 23.5 inches (there is no elastic in the bodice but you can tighten it with the ribbon), length - 27 inches (from top of shoulder strap to bottom of rick rack)

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Circus Skirt

$13

Very good used condition, I believe this was only worn once, no stains or rips.

Best Fit Size 5(ish)

Measurements:  Waist - 20.25 inches unstretched, length - 11.5 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.  This would look super cute with a Dumbo top.  I think the fabric is out of print now too.

DSC_0829edit

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So that's it for now.  In the future, I may open up for some custom orders.  Obviously, you'll be the first to know if I do.

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Of all the sewing projects I've tackled over the years, I'd never sewn a drawstring bag.  This one was sort of an experiment to come up with my own pattern and may become part of a Christmas present.  I had "dance bag" in mind when I was making it because it can easily and quickly be opened and closed and I don't have to worry about a stray shoe tumbling out as the bag's being swung around and then left on the stairs at home.  (True story.)  But now that I have Disney in my head (posting these clothes AND the girls are already asking for another vacation), this bag would be cute to carry autograph books, Mickey ears, water bottles.  Having your kids carry their own stuff is a game changer.

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I thought I was so clever using shoelaces for the string part of the bag.  The bag is fully lined too.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Sarah's Sew Shoppe is OPEN

Hello!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  Our week was semi-busy with appointments and such. Also, Rich and I were able to sneak away to Foxwoods Casino to enjoy a show by the Goo Goo Dolls and play the penny slots.  I began the process of sorting through all the custom clothes I've made for our Disney vacations.  As you can imagine, I have a huge supply.  I'm offering the below items for sale (some are new, recently sewn!) but I have many, many more.  If there's a demand here, I'll add more for sale.  If not, I'll move on to a customs resell site.  If there are items you're interested in from our fall 2014 Disney vacation that aren't listed here, please ask.  I have most of those clothes but didn't want a massive post of items for sale.

Contact:  You can leave a message below (I've opened comments to all but the moderation is still on to control spam) or email me at thegreatumbrellaheist at yahoo.com.

Shipping:  I've included the cost of shipping in the price listed.  This is for standard postage in the US only.  Once it's dropped off at the post office, I claim no further responsibility.

Care:  I wash everything in cold water, gentle cycle.  Line dry.  Warm iron - items with appliques are ironed inside out.  As always, we are a smoke-free, pet-free home.

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Mickey and Friends Christmas Knot Dress

$37

NEW, Ready to Ship

Best Fit Size 3/4/5

Measurements:  Width of bodice - 25 inches, length - approximately 23-24 inches and can be adjusted depending on where you make the knots

I love how versatile this dress style is.  It can be layered with short or long sleeves, worn with or without tights and leggings, or even as a tunic top.  The length is adjustable depending on where you make the knots.

11.25a

11.25b

11.25c


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Hello Kitty Christmas Twirl Skirt

$27

NEW, Ready to Ship

Best Fit Size 5/6/7

Measurements: Waist - 22.5 inches unstretched, length - 13 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.  There is a secret opening on the inside of the waistband which allows a seamstress to easily alter the size of the waist.

11.25d


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Olaf Tank Top

$14

Excellent condition, worn once

Size 5/6 The Children's Place tank top

11.25e

11.25f


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Olaf Skirt

$22

Excellent condition, worn once

Best Fit Size 5/6

Measurements:  Waist 22 inches unstretched, length - 14 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.  Note the fabric is polyester and doesn't wrinkle like cotton.

11.25g


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Anna Tank Top

$14

Excellent condition, worn once

Size 5/6 The Children's Place tank top

11.25h

11.25i


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Elsa and Anna Twirl Skirt

$22

Excellent condition, worn once

Best Fit Size 5/6

Measurements: Waist - 20.5 inches unstretched, length - 14 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.  There is a secret opening on the inside of the waistband which allows a seamstress to easily alter the size of the waist.  Note the fabric is polyester and doesn't wrinkle like cotton.

11.25j


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Piglet Tank Top

$14

Excellent condition, worn once

Size 5/6 The Children's Place Tank Top

11.25k

11.25l


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Pooh and Friends Skirt

$18

Excellent condition, worn once

Best Fit Size 5/6

Measurements:  Waist - 21.5 inches unstretched, length - 13.5 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.

11.25n


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Lilo Tank Top

$14

Excellent condition, worn once

Size 5/6 The Children's Place tank top

This is perfect for the character breakfast at 'Ohana (Disney's Polynesian Resort) or even Aulani.

11.25p

11.25o


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Princess Themed Twirl Skirt

$22

Excellent condition, worn once

Best Fit Size 5/6

Measurements: Waist - 20.5 inches unstretched, length - 14 inches

I used a high quality non-roll elastic for the waistband.  There is a secret opening on the inside of the waistband which allows a seamstress to easily alter the size of the waist.

11.25m

Friday, November 18, 2016

Current Reads

I've read quite a bit these past few weeks, mainly because multiple books I had on hold at the library became available at the same time.  Funny how it always seems to happen that way.  A month can pass by without any books freeing up and then suddenly, three pop up within days of each other.

First up is Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston.  I loved this book.  The author's writing style reminded me of The Goldfinch so if that book is on your favorites list, you should definitely read this one.  Note that it is not as long as The Goldfinch.  When an 11 year old boy disappears, his family is left to pick up the pieces and live with the unanswered questions of what happened to him.  His miraculous return home four years later is joyous but strenuous.  The majority of the book takes place after Justin returns home.  This is not a crime/mystery novel.  The character development was superb and I actually have nothing negative to say about this book.

I would classify The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena as a beach read.  The main characters are at a dinner party next door when their unattended baby is kidnapped.  Who took the baby and why?  This book was written as a page turner but almost in an outlandish way.  I found myself rolling my eyes or saying, "Seriously" quite a bit.  I wasn't a fan but because it was super quick read, I didn't feel that I had wasted my time.

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott is another mystery, page turner but with better writing.  Here's a blurb from Amazon:

How far will you go to achieve a dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits--until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk. 

I feel somewhat neutral about this book.  I didn't love it, but I didn't completely dislike it either.  The mom annoyed the hell out of me though.  I didn't agree with her actions and she almost seemed to have no common sense at times.

And apparently I've decided to read all the blogger books.  Positive reviews for Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton kept popping up so I looked into it.  I'd never heard of this blogger before but based upon what others were saying, I added Love Warrior to my hold list and checked out Carry On, Warrior.  Her first book seems to be a collection of various blog posts.  Meh.  It was okay.  Too much God talk for my liking.  I do like memoirs and I thought that's what this way.  It's not, in my opinion.  I'm currently in the middle of Love Warrior now and it's the memoir that I was looking for.  I'll let you know what I think when I've finished reading it.


Happy Friday!