Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21, 2008

Item #75: Today, it is -3 ... and -31 with windchill. And we'd planned on going to the Arboretum, so we simply bundled up ... and headed out!!

As you can see, the snow is blowing across the road. And it's exceeding the speed limit, gusting up to 40 mph. I wonder if it'll get arrested.

It was fairly sunny, the light sparkling off the snow. Our camera couldn't do it justice!

And the running water of the rivers and streams was more like running slush!

We are happy to be home & back in a warm environment!

Item #95: We are currently within our holiday shopping budget! And all of our shopping has been done for a while, so I'm going to count this a success for 2008!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 11, 2008

Item #74: I was very tempted to use a credit card this afternoon ... just needed about 8 things from the grocery store -- 2 things to make dinner tonight, 1 thing to add to what I already have for dinner tomorrow, a salad mix (always good to have on hand), and 4 things that would round out supplies we have on hand to make more stuff for Cookie Day ... but I did not. I scraped together all the change I had, plus a few crumpled singles I'd tucked away, and managed to get all of it with the cash I had on hand. I am ridiculous proud of me. We'll get more cash into our accounts tomorrow & Monday, respectively, but I needed the stuff NOW.

Item #80: I thought of a couple people for whom I wanted to make soap as little Christmas gifts, and suddenly, *poof!* I've used up all of our soapmaking supplies! Cross one more off our list! Now, does anyone want some soap molds, dyes, and scents? All you have to do is add your own soap. *grin*

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 10, 2008

Item #19: We shopped for our gift last night & made out like bandits! We loved being able to spoil this little girl. I got it all wrapped up last night & packed the box this morning & it went out this afternoon. We are happy campers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8, 2008

Item #19: We just received our 2nd letter for the Season of Sharing program. Man, I almost want to cry. The little girl is in 2nd grade ... want to know what she asked for? A jump rope and some hair accessories. What a gem! I am sure Santa can make sure she gets what she wants! It makes me want to request another letter, just because I get such a warm fuzzy to do this kind of thing! We will probably wait until next year, though, just because the schools need the gifts by this coming Monday, and I don't know if I'd have time to wait for another letter, shop for the gift, wrap it & get it there on time! Next year, though, we're totally doing this again!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 7th, 2008

Item #91: You wouldn't think it's all that complicated, but at $6 a pop & requiring unscrewing & climbing, it sure is a pain to replace those halogen bulbs, but we've replaced all 5 of them that needed replacing. Hallelujah!

Friday, December 5, 2008

December 5, 2008

Item #29: We went another month without fast food (okay, 3 hours shy of being a whole month...close enough), and man, did that pizza taste good!!! Now we are resetting the clock & planning on not having fast food again until a month from now. It wasn't part of our original 101 list, but I'm liking this plan for us!

Tomorrow, we may be tackling Item #91 ... just have to see if we can afford to outfit the house with all those bulbs. They're not cheap!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 3, 2008

Item #19: I wrapped up our gift for the Season of Sharing ... and then we got an email about how 19, 688 letters were received from children who need to be matched with donors ... and as of today, there are still 7,471 left to be matched. Well, we made it 7,470 & decided to tighten the belt a teeny bit & buy a gift for another child. If you're moved to do so, click the image below.

or click here.

Item #74: We did it! We went for 6 months without using credit cards for anything other than travel expenses & emergencies (1 emergency only). I am just going to keep 'em tucked away ... we like this trend!

We've completed 40 of our 101 items thus far!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 29, 2008

Item #19: We have figured out what we want to purchase on behalf of Santa. I'll head to our local Toys R Us on Tuesday to acquire it, wrap it, and send it out!

Item #75: We went for our monthly visit to the Arboretum. All the leaves are off the trees, the sky was quite blue, and the air wasn't too chilled. We are hoping (okay, I am hoping, H is dreading) snow tomorrow!Item #99: We invested in an entertainment coupon book, and we found a number of restaurants that are near us that we've never tried before, so we'll be able to try out some new spots AND eat cheaply!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

Item #19: We are so excited! We got our "Dear Santa" letter in today's mail! I am now going to research & use all my skills to see if I can find a dollhouse for less than $30! I doubt it ... but I'll try. Her other requests are a doll & a book bag (easy enough to accomplish for less than 30 bucks, so I'll start with the grandest request first) ... but we also have clothing & shoe sizes if we wanted to get her clothes. It's such a tough call with kids who are below the poverty line. I want them to be warm for winter ... but I also know the innate desire of a child to have something to play with!


Item #90: We went to the local Teavana store we'd located & sniffed about 8 different teas, and chose 4 to bring home. We've tried the Ceylon one so far (I found it a bit too smoky for my tastes, but H admits he may have used too much tea ... and now we learn, possibly too hot water and too much steeping). Yes, tea brewing is becoming an art! We'll try the other 3 flavors over the rest of the winter.

Item #95: We purchased 3 more holiday gifts today ... and we've been reminded why we do not shop at Woodfield Mall: parking insanity, too many shoppers, and now a 10% sales tax! HOLY COW! We will not be returning there anytime soon. Except, maybe to visit Teavana in January, since there is only a 2% tax on the tea -- must be because it's a food item? I need to purchase one more gift, on Tuesday, then most of the rest are handmade to some degree!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

Item #51: Depending on which scale I use (gym vs. home) I have lost somewhere between 8 and 9 pounds ... WOOT! H hasn't weighed himself in a while, so I don't know how much progress he's made. I am confident we can, over the course of the next year or so, accomplish this task, though!

Item #74: We are doing great with our credit card usage ... or more accurately, lack thereof! We've got a few more weeks to go ... and I am hoping that, like with Item #29 (no fast food for a month) we will decide to continue it, because it's working out very well for us!

Item #81: I should take a new picture of the "potions & lotions" closet shelf, because we are really making a significant dent in the stuff. We are now totally out of stockpiled shampoo & conditioner (except for one set that is for guest use), and we are making our way through hand lotion pretty fast, now that the air is drier! We do seem to have an excess of bath gel and body wash, so I'm making an effort to use it on a more regular basis, too.

Item #84: I now have on the calendar to attempt making homemade ravioli the weekend after Thanksgiving. Just have to buy the ingredients & set aside a few hours. I may even invite some friends, because I think it will be fun!

Item #90: This weekend, we are planning on going to Woodfield Mall & hopefully we can scope out the Teavana store there.

Item #94: I asked our friends' handyman to look at our closet door ... it turns out that one of the disks has deteriorated rather badly, so that is why it keeps getting stuck. I'll have to call the manufacturer to see if we can get a replacement part. But, hey -- progress!

Item #95: So far, so good with the holiday budget. I am doing my best to keep us on track. We are making several holiday gifts this year, which we often do anyway, to supplement our funds. I'm finding new & fun ways of stretching out a buck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

Item #19: I'm so geeked ... we received our solicitation letter from the Chicago Sun Times' Season of Sharing, which gives us the chance to play Santa to a needy child! We want to sponsor 4 kids over the next couple of years, but for right now, we've just asked for 1 letter. If our finances improve, we may sponsor another one, or we'll just do a couple next year!

Item #95: I'm also keeping a careful eye on our holiday budget. We're making several gifts this year ... but even so, I want to be sure we stay under our limit!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008

Item #83: Complete! We made our 4th crockpot meal during our 4th week! Tonight's dinner was Mama's Chicken Stew -- easy and yummy!

What to tackle next??!

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7, 2008

Item #99: Today we dined at The Yardhouse, which is the 12th new local restaurant we've tried! Only 18 more to try! We had dinner/supper with two online WoW buddies & had a blast. We'll see them again tomorrow (they're visiting from Montreal) and may wind up at another new spot!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008

Item #29: We extended our "no fast food for a month" item to be that we wouldn't have fast food more often than once a month ... and so we've patiently waited until today, one month later. I chose to splurge at Portillos ... and H picked Taco Bell. We're resetting the clock, now, and will wait at least one more month before indulging again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the spirit of making changes, both big and small ...

I sent out an email to my friends & family this morning. And then I thought it couldn't hurt to make it public, and see if any of my online buddies might want to get in on the action as well. So, here it is:

Okay, here's the thought that germinated in my head while biking at the gym this morning (a wonderful spot for pondering the universe, let me tell you): I would like to begin an email discussion with you about
positive changes that each and every one of us can make, above and beyond what we're doing now. I am inspired by the wave of enthusiasm and excitement from the election, and regardless of politics, I think each one of you will agree with me that the nation, indeed the world, will be a better place if we each step up and do just a little bit more than we are doing now. Whether we invest in our communities, our families, our government, our places of spiritual value, our environment, or some area I haven't considered, we have the potential to create a massive positive effect.

I know that many of you are excited about last night's election results ... and just about as many of you are sorely disappointed. I would like to step beyond the question of who has been elected and move on to the question of what will each one of us do in our own lives? Some of you I know are already actively involved in church activities, in deepening your spiritual self, in helping your community, and in other forms of activism. I think this is awesome, because you can inspire the rest of us to consider activities that we might not ever have thought of.

Here's my vision: I am sending out this email, asking if you'd like to participate in this discussion/brainstorming session. If you agree, I'll send out an email with some of my thoughts & ask people to reply with more ideas, to everyone on the list. It will not be an arena for political discussion, merely an opportunity to exchange ideas & to come up with plans of action. If you don't want to participate, that's fine, too -- I don't expect everyone to jump on this as it's got the potential to generate quite a few emails & to start up a larger process than some of you may want to undertake at this time!

If you want to participate, please email me back (hit reply, not reply-to-all, please) by this Friday, November 7th. If you do not reply, then I will make the assumption you prefer not to participate. If you have friends who you think might be interested in this little undertaking, please feel free to forward the email to them, and then have them email me directly to ask to be added. On Saturday, November 8th, I'll send out the first email to get the ball rolling & start the process of identifying different ideas ... it is my expectation that from there on out, it'll be a fairly organic process, but I'll try to step in and keep people on topic if they're straying a bit.

If, at any point, someone sends a flaming email or makes a nasty comment, I will contact that person for clarification. If, in my best judgment, I feel the person's having a negative effect on the process, I retain the right to rein them in and possibly exclude them from discussions.

So, are you up for it? Let me know! :D

If you are interested in joining, please contact me through my profile & I will add you to the distribution list!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

Well, we are quite thrilled to have done our civic duty & voted today! We are eager to see the results of the presidential election & have our hopes pinned on Barack Obama. 'Nuff said. On to the 101 list progress for today:

Item #83: We made Enchilada Casserole in the crockpot, so the 3rd week in a row for a crockpot meal ... next week will be #4 & will mean we've reached our goal, but we may make it a trend for the remainder of the winter season, 'cause, gosh ... it's so super simple to cook like this! And it tends to make some pretty tasty leftovers for the next day or two! I'd share tonight's tasty recipe with you, by way of a link, but sadly, Cooking Light's partner, MyRecipes.Com is doing some kind of wacky overhaul & I can't access my saved recipes anymore ... and I can't find it on the site via search ... and I can't seem to get anyone to respond to my emailed requests for help. Ah, well. One more useful tool gone the way of the dodo. Maybe they'll sort it out sooner or later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Item #40: H played for 3,480 grains today, and I played for 2,000, bringing our total to 66,480. We have a long way to go to reach a million grains of rice!!

We managed to accomplish a couple of things in October ... and now November is right around the corner, so we'll have to give our list another look-over and see what we want to tackle next. I'm all for doing #90 & patronizing a Teavana store, but we're slim on funds at the moment, so it may have to wait until later in the month. Tires & contact lenses come first!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 30, 2008

Item #24: Yay! Our gutters are cleaned! About 2/3rds of the leaves have fallen for the season, and I wanted to get it done before the old soggy leaves could get frozen into gutters ... and our recent overnight temperatures have been just below the freezing level, so the timing is perfect!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008

Item #83: For the 2nd week (out of 4 weeks total), we're doing crockpot cooking tonight. Tonight's meal is Slow-Cooker Meat Loaf with Shiitake Mushrooms. We've made it before & it turned out great, so I'm making it again, with a side of red potatoes & some greens (salad for me, asparagus for H). we go to dinner!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26, 2008

Item #79: I forgot to mention that on Friday I sent H into work with cupcakes. With fall sprinkles on them. I made a bunch of cupcakes for (1) a meeting on Friday morning (2) to share with my friend's kids and (3) to take to yesterday's get-together, so I figured I'd send the remainder to work. They were a big hit!

Item #99:
We tried Go Roma today (gosh, I love having coupons that let us try new restaurants at reduced rates!), and declared it very good! It's not a very posh spot, but the food was quite tasty (I had pizza on a whole wheat crust, so it was even moderately healthy!) and reasonably priced (even without a coupon!), and the decor quite appealing. Two thumbs up. And we now have another 19 new local restaurants to try!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 23, 2008

Item #20: If you look at the sidebar, you'll see that we were promoting one of GlobalGiving's projects ... and we just got notification today that it's fully funded, which geeks us out tremendously! Read the report!

Monday, October 20, 2008

October 20, 2008

Item #83: Tomorrow night, I'm making Beef Daube Proven├žal, our first of 4 weekly crockpot meals.

Item #99: My brother & his wife were in town, so we went out to lunch at Redstone, which was quite nice! We will most likely go back. 20 more new local restaurants to go!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 12, 2008

Item #75: We made our 7th monthly visit to the Arboretum today ... 5 more visits to go. Every month is so different from the previous one!

Monday, October 6, 2008

October 6, 2008

Item #29: Although this item is complete, we are planning on continuing with a fast-food-no-more-often-than-once-a-month kind of thing. And we are resetting the clock tonight to day zero, because....

Item #100: We are trying Sarpino's Pizza tonight. It should be arriving soon. I hope.

Item #81: I didn't take all the little travel sized shampoos, conditioners, soaps & body lotions from our recent trip. We took ONE set, because we anticipated that subsequent overnight locations wouldn't have 'em. And we were mostly right. And we already used up the shampoo & conditioner ... so just brought home the half-used soap. 'Cause I hate wasting it. Maybe this is how I wound up in this predicament. *grin*

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5, 2008

We are back from our vacation in Washington State!

Just for good measure, we visited a 2nd roadside stand (Item #14) and it made me wish I had an empty suitcase ... I purchased 4 huge gingergold apples & 2 bartlett pears for only $2.00!!And we WERE able to complete Item #96, viewing a sunset from the top of a mountain -- not as dramatic as over an ocean or lake ... but still, very cool!
To answer Bethany's questions from the previous post ... H did NOT like mint at ALL!!!! ... and YES, it is THAT Cascadian Farms! I hadn't made the connection until we went inside the little stand & saw the cereal & thought I'd recognized the label!! Their ice cream was out of this world!!!!!!

On to more adventures!

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008

Item #41: On Saturday, H tried mint,rounding out our item on trying foods we think we don't like.

Item #14: And yesterday, we stopped at roadside vendor & bought stuff ... yummy yummy stuff!

Soon, we hope to see a sunset from a mountain top (Item #96) ...and if SUPER lucky (not likely), see the Northern Lights (Item #48)!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008

Item #40: We've got to get more rice! I just played for 980 more, to round out our current total to 61000. We have a long way to go!

Item #89: I forgot to mention in the previous post that H talked to the music trio he enjoyed at the farmers' market & got some leads on some places that might teach banjo!

In October, we are setting our sights on #24 (clean our gutters) and #83 (make a crockpot meal once a week for a month).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 21, 2008

Item #41: H has now tried broccoli, which he pronounced tolerable, and this makes 9/10 foods he's supposed to try. One more & we'll be done with this item!

Item #51: Sadly, on Friday, H's hard work didn't show up on the scale. I am certain it's a temporary condition and am behind him 100%!

Item #81: Although we spent last night at a hotel, I did not abscond with any travel sized soaps or shampoo. *grin*

Item #86: H was reluctant to go to the Farmers' Market this weekend, but when a parking space opened right where he was going to wait for me, he really didn't have much of an excuse. We purchased peaches, apples, kettle corn & cookies, all to take down to my parents for the weekend. But the best part? The live music!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 18, 2008

Item #29: We are on our last day of a month with no fast food! I am confident we'll make it through the remainder of the day, so I'll just go ahead and check this one off. We have decided to make this a regular challenge for us -- so our plan is that starting tomorrow, we can have fast food, if we want. Once we have fast food, the clock resets & we have to wait another month ... or more, if we feel like it ... and we'll just keep repeating it!

Item #41: I'm waiting for H to try his next 3 foods, and then we'll be done with this one, too. *grin* Comically, I tried 2 more on Tuesday -- parsnips and cauliflower. They were minced & melded into a cold salad, and they were pretty tasty, but I don't know if I'd rush out and have more of it tomorrow.
edit: I forgot to give H credit for the lima beans he tried last week. He only has 2 more foods to try. And he's trying to weasel out of it.

Item #51: According to the gym scale, I'm down 5 pounds ... according to the one at home, I've lost 2. Either way, it's the right direction. H weighs in tomorrow ... and I fully expect that he will have lost some weight, too!

Item #79: I made chocolate chip cookies & sent them with H to take into work, for no reason, yesterday. It turned out that they were dealing with some massive, unexpected issues ... so the cookies were much appreciated!!!

Item #81: I used up one of the refill bottles for handsoap & pitched it in the recycling. Slowly our stash is shrinking. Soon, we'll be completely out of travel-size shampoo (okay, I'm saving a couple of bottles for houseguests), and we'll have to start buying it at the store!

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 2008

Item #80: I forgot to mention that I gifted Bethany with 2 bars of my handmade soap. *grin* We're nowhere near "running low" on soaps ... but I will be making more in another month or so, to make for handmade gifts. Speak up if you want some soap! LOL. 'Cept for Kim, you l'il minx! I saw those 2 unused bars in your bathroom yesterday. Use 'em! I'll make more!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September 14, 2008

Kim & I met up with Bethany this morning, braving the persistent rain and the long wait to brunch at "Toast 2", in Bucktown! I loved our conversation & instant connection -- as Bethany said, you wind up knowing an awful lot about a person by reading their blog!!! I'm so glad we connected through this 101 Things process & I look forward to staying in touch with her!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008

Item #33: Today it's been pouring rain (enough that we may have actually gotten Item #22 done inadvertently, to powerwash the house! *wink*) , so we had a wonderful indoor project, to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. They smelled wonderful while cooking & I think we were both very satisfied with how they turned out. I think next time I'll let them rise a bit longer, both in the bowl & in the pan ... they were a little tough, but not bad at all, considering I hadn't made them in about 10 years & H has never made them!And it's not on our list, but it's related to it ... tomorrow Kim and I are planning on meeting up with a fellow 101 list blogger from afar, while she's visiting Chicago! It should be fun!

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008

Item #29: We're on Day #26 of life without fast food. For the first time in ages, I had another temptation today, but I fought it off easily. We are so close to the end of our month, I didn't want to blow it!

Item #33: I have all the ingredients to make cinnamon rolls ... maybe we'll be able to make them this weekend!

Item #51: The scale at the gym says that H's lost 4 pounds & so have I! I don't believe my readings, though, because my first weigh-in was post-breakfast, post-2-waters, and post-workout, so I don't know how reliable the reading was. Still, if my home scale's anything to go by, I think I've lost 1-2 pounds, which is good.

Item #74: Money is tight (just an ebb-and-flow thing with my job), and it is awfully tempting to put something on a credit card and "just pay it off later," but we are sticking by our plan to not put anything on a credit card except travel expenses & emergencies ... like the string of vet visits we just dealt with!

Item #81: I am doing my damndest to use up this soap/body care stuff, and it just seems never ending. The shampoo is almost all gone ... what we have surfeit of is body wash (neither one of us seems to be a huge fan of this stuff!) & lotion. And bars of soap, thanks to Item #80. I have to say, I will be stunned if we actually accomplish this item at the end of 1001 days.

Item #90: In keeping with #81, I thought about creating an item for our next list (yes, I am thinking that far ahead) to use up all of our tea before buying more, because we seem to have so much of it, but I've been making a serious effort to make iced tea for H, and also to make us both a cup of hot tea a couple times a week, and our tea supply is starting to dwindle. I am looking forward to polishing off a couple more tins & then maybe this item will surface.

Item #95: It's far off in the future ... supposedly, but I am already thinking about our holiday shopping & what I want to buy/make people. We're sticking to a plan to spend no more than $50 on each other and $20 on each friend or family member for whom we choose to buy gifts!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7, 2008

Item #29: Day 20 of life with no fast food. We were very close to caving today ... okay, and Friday, too, but we staved it off. *grin* Only 11 days left!

Item #75: We made our "September" visit to the Arboretum, this time with H's parents. It was a gorgeous pre-fall day, or as my dad-in-law put it "A San Francisco day"... cool, sunny, breezy! We got so many great pictures, it was a struggle to narrow it down to just 3, but here are the 3 we feel are most representative of our afternoon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2, 2008

Item #29: Day 16 of no fast food & we're going strong!

Item #51: I signed up for a class at the gym to help me with some of the 15 pounds I want to lose & H may sign up for it as well. Wish us luck!!

Item #64: Although I consider this item officially "done", I still wanted to share with you one of the zinnias that I grew from seed! Cool, yes?!

Item #99: We just tried Boudin SF, and pronounced it good, inexpensive, and close-to-home!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008

Item #29: We've made it a week without fast food ... just 3 more weeks remaining. And today's the first day I really had an itch for it, but it was easily squelched with the idea of having to start all over again!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008

Item #29: We are on day 4 of no fast food ... and doing okay. We did have a quick consultation about whether or not our favorite ice cream jaunt is fast food ... and decided if we're eating in, it's not. *grin*

Item #99: One of H's online buddies was in town, so we decided to try a new restaurant & went to Pappadeaux's. Good seafood & nice ambiance. The outer courtyard was quite pretty!And the food, although on the pricey side ($20 for tilapia, $25 for shrimp pasta), was well-prepared & quite tasty.
Only 23 more restaurants to try!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008

Item #29: Day 2 without fast food. So far, so good. I've made plans to meet a friend for coffee at Panera next week ... so we've decided that is also not "fast food." Our favorite ice cream haunt, though, has a drive-through, so sadly, no ice cream for us from them until after our month is up!

Item #41: I tried swiss chard today, making my score 10/10 ... H is still stuck at 7/10, so he'll have to try some foods he's pretty sure he doesn' t like. I discovered I'm not a huge fan of swiss chard ... but it won't kill me to eat it, at least not like tomatoes would.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008

Item #29: I am back from GenConIndy2008, where it is a virtual impossibility to avoid fast food. So, we are starting today with our month-long quest to have no fast food. We've decided that restaurant with a drive through (or that will deliver) is definitely fast food ... and any place where someone comes to our table and takes our order is definitely not fast food. I put forth the argument that Qdoba isn't fast food, because I eat healthy there & I do not rush. H put forth the argument that Sweet Tomatoes isn't fast food, because the food is also healthy. We're going to have to evaluate the rest on a case-by-case basis!

Item #64: While I was gone, H ate the tomato. He said it was sweet and delicious. I will take his word for it, since I think tomatoes are vile!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008

Item #64: Success! The tomato has been picked & will be eaten shortly, by H!

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11, 2008

Item #40 : I managed to reach level 49 today! And I donated 2060 grains of rice!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008

Item #35: Done! H had been to a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows in the past, but I had never seen one. We had hoped to catch La Nouba when we went down to Disney earlier this year, but it turned out to be the one week they were off this year! Argh! It's okay, though, because I loved this performance. The music was just amazing, and the acrobatics were stunning. My favorite act is a toss-up between the unicycle duo and the Wheel of Death. Just ... wow. H preferred the juggler, who moved the objects so fast that they blurred! And our jaws both dropped when the contortionists did their thing. Human bodies can't do that, can they?? Oh, yeah ... and the guy balancing on chairs -- raw power & precision balance. Two thumbs up, here!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 7, 2008

Item #99: Our evening's plans brought us out to Aurora, and we decided we'd find a new restaurant to try. Our options were heavily limited a we saw a Subway & a place that required metered parking (and us, with no quarters on hand!), and Walter Payton's Roundhouse. So, we went to the latter, which was tasty, but (a) pretty far afield from our usual travels and (b) way more expensive than we felt was reasonable considering the portion sizes & quality of the food. Don't get me wrong, the food was good ... just what I feel is comparable to TGIFriday's or Bennigan's, and I'd expect a similar sized bill. I guess we paid to dine in the virtual presence of greatness. Regardless, we don't regret it (and we do have a few leftovers), but I don't think we'll rush to go back! So, now we've tried SIX new restaurants ... but none have prompted us to complete Item #30!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 6, 2008

Item #85: We sent a random care package to my online buddy, Dalovely Damanda, and she received it today! She liked it & everything. We are so pleased!

Monday, August 4, 2008

August 4, 2008

Item #6: We cooked together for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, making Chicken & Bacon Roll Ups. We've learned something valuable, too. As long as we know which one of us is the chef and which one is the sous-chef, we do fine. If we don't clarify it ahead of time & have different ideas on what should be done at various stages of production, it's a recipe for disaster (pun totally intended). *grin*
Item #64: Although this item is technically "done," since we said we'd be successful at "growing something" if we managed to keep it alive for 3 weeks, I still thought I'd share a picture of our tomato, slowly turning red. See the slight haze on the photo? That's the rapid condensation on the cold camera lens as I quickly stepped outside to snap the shot. The 2nd shot was so fuzzy, it was unusable. Welcome to August!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

August 2, 2008

Item #7: A totally unexpected element for today, but we wound up going to Best Buy & buying a copy of Cars, coming home & making popcorn & staying up late to watch it. Awesome.

Item #50: In celebration of our wedding anniversary, we booked treatments at Kohler Waters Spa, at their newest location. We were too fluffified (plus we had too much respect for other patrons!) to get many photos, but the surroundings were lavish, yet peaceful!

The showers had lots of different kinds of jets coming out at different angles. H wants one at home, now. Riiiiight. The 25' whirlpool actually whirls. I'm not kidding. When I floated in it, I got pulled around in circles. How cool is that? And it wasn't crowded at all. There were something like 4 other people there the whole time. H had a 75 minute massage, during which he fell asleep. Twice. And the technician was able to massage his feet and legs without him injuring her, which says a lot. I had a 25 minute soak, followed by a Vichy shower & lime scrub (think margaritas!) exfoliation & moisturizer. Yeah. I'm fluffy now. I think we'll be going back.

Item #75: On another whim, H took us to the arboretum today. It wasn't too hot, yet it was mostly sunny, so the views were just gorgeous & we were able to cruise along slowly with the windows down. Just beautiful.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008

Item #6: We decided to make blazing noodles for dinner tonight, together! Want the recipe? Go here!

Item #26: And then, we realized, "Hey, this is Chinese food. One of our items is to have a Chinese banquet for friends and family..." and before you knew it, we'd added a noodle salad, chicken fried rice, egg rolls, pots of tea to our menu planning ... and shot off some emails to friends, after talking to some family members to be sure we had enough critical mass to pull this off. I expanded my tai chi playlist on my iPod to create the right ambiance & started pulling out teapots & chinese-themed bowls, and we were off and running, making dinner for 8!

Here's our menu:
Chicken & Pork Potstickers
Mini Pork Egg Rolls

Noodle Salad with Snow Peas, Carrots, and Radishes

Chinese Green Salad
Black Rice & Jasmine Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

Blazing Noodles

Homemade Fortune Cookies

Jasmine & Black Teas

Coconut-Banana Bread with Lime Glaze (okay, not very Chinese ... but tasty!)

I have to say we are both incredibly pleased with how the meal turned out!!

Item 64: Remember our tomato plant? Well, the tomato has stopped growing, and it is not yet turning red.

But the exciting news is that we have a second tomato! I pollinated a flower with one that had dropped off the plant ... and now it's becoming a tomato!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008

We just received a newsletter from Global Giving about a project that I think is just fascinating. Click here to read more about it. The premise is simple -- use kids' merry-go-rounds to power water pumps!!! Just think about all the times you've said, "That kid could power a small city with his/her energy." Now they really do provide valuable energy in areas that need all the power they can get! I think it's just fascinating & so very brilliant. If you're so inclined to donate, then do so ... but regardless, just read about the project. Very smart idea!

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008

Item #72: I put more money into savings on Saturday, thinking I might need to transfer it out again today, but it turns out I don't need to. So, that means we've met our goal of putting $1,000 into savings!

Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25, 2008

Item #40: 1,000 more grains of rice for!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008

Item #6: Tonight, we made Chicken Marsala, together, so now we just need to cook together once next week & once the week after that. We actually do a fair amount of cooking, but usually it's one or the other of us, taking turns, not cooking together!

Item #40: I played for another 1,000 grains of rice on I figure if we just keep at it, eventually we'll top the million grain mark. Eventually.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008

Item #40: I played for 1,000 more grains of rice. Every little bit helps, right? *grin*

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008

Item #75: We usually avoid the arboretum in July, with it being so hot, muggy, and buggy ... but today there was a small window where it wasn't too hot ... wasn't too muggy ... and wasn't too buggy, so we went, thus fulfilling our 4th monthly trip !

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008

We've completed 25 of our 101 items!

So, today we did some strategizing about which items we want to tackle next. There are some biggies on there: losing weight, traveling far away, paying off a credit card. Those are just simply going to take time. But there are some we can tackle over the next 2 months that we think will be good stretches for us!

Item #20: We discussed where we wanted to spend our $50 at Global Giving and we decided upon this project, which helps halt the progress of desert in Kenya through reforestation & alternative fuel sources. If you'd like to help us fund this project, please click on the link ... or click on the button in the sidebar! A mere $10 gives resources to plant 140 trees!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15, 2008

Item #40: As H updated below ... we're now up to 55,000 grains of rice. We have a long way to go! LOL!

Item #64: See? The tomato plant, with its lone tomato, is thriving! Compare this to the post from June 29th. The tomato's huge! (Remember, we bought the plant on June 14th ... so it's actually been thriving under my care for more than a month!)

Item #72: I put $100 in our savings account! It's not a lot ... but it all adds up, right?

Item #74: I kept receipts from our recent trip & just got around to totaling them & paying off the amount on the credit card, so we're not carrying a balance on that card! I look forward to the day we complete Item #32!

Will this ever be finished?

...I'm not too sure, but I've added another 2500 grains of rice. Slowly but surely.


Monday, July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008

These images show you what we were up to yesterday, to successfully complete Item #53! It was quite an interesting exercise, being out of contact with the rest of the world & not having access to our computers. It gave us lots of time to enjoy each other's time! I also noticed that time seemed to flow differently -- we had
nowhere to be, no one to connect with! It was strange, but enjoyable. Just a few hours into the day, H asked if we'd said anything negative, and I realized we hadn't, so we went
ahead and tackled Item #42 as well! It was odd, being inside on such a gorgeous day, but we had a fun time washing & freezing blueberries, making a lavish breakfast, reading in bed, watching History Detectives & Hogans Heroes, going through H's veneering stuff to see what else we need to try it out, making blueberry cobbler, making a lavish dinner, playing with our cats, making handmade envelopes ... the day just rolled on with one activity spilling into another! We both missed our computers, and we almost called out for pizza delivery, which would've blown it! I think it was a very worthwhile exercise & we might want to do it again in a few months, just to recalibrate!