March 16, 2012

Grilled Cheese Rolls with Bread Heels

We don't eat a lot of meatless meals around here, thanks to my meat-loving, anti-vegetable husband, but one meatless meal we do enjoy often is grilled cheese with tomato soup. I normally use eight slices of bread for grilled cheese, making 2.5 sandwiches for Nathan and 1.5 for me. But when I wanted to make grilled cheese this week, I realized we only had four slices of bread left. However, we also had two heels. I had recently read about making grilled cheese rolls by removing the crusts and rolling a slice of cheese with a slice of bread, so I decided to give that a try with the two heels I had.

The verdict? They were delicious! They're really more grilled cheese "envelopes" than rolls since they wouldn't fold that well, but they tasted fantastic

What do you do with the heels in your loaf of bread? Do you eat them like the rest of the slices or use them for something else. I have a few in the freezer that I've been meaning to use to make bread crumbs. Sometimes I'll put them in with the brown sugar if it gets hard to soften it up again. And now I know I can use them for grilled cheese!

March 13, 2012

My Home Office

If you've ever wondered where I am when I write my blog posts, this is it. It's been a little over two months since we moved, and my little work space is finally getting close to how I want it.

I use the term "home office" loosely, as you can see. My desk is very much out in the open! So, I've tried to make it look as nice as possible without spending a lot of money.

With two monitors, I don't have a lot of room for much else on my desk. The keyboard and mouse are wireless so they can be shoved in my desk drawer when I'm writing or clipping coupons. I keep all the papers that need to be addressed (bills, coupon inserts) in one pile that I try to go through once a week. Other than that, I only have a coaster and a magnetic sculpture on my desktop.

My brother-in-law put up this shelf for me (thanks, Tim!) that I can use for my office supplies, a few design books...and toys.

Hanging from the shelf brackets are my cork board and dry erase board. I wish I'd taken before photos of these! For the cork board, I spray painted the frame of an old bulletin board, cut fabric to size and adhered it to the cork with spray adhesive. The dry erase board was just a large picture frame that I also spray painted. It had a collage mat in it that I wrapped with matching fabric and put behind the glass.

It's may not be the fanciest home office, but it's a functional and happy office!

And unlike at my cubicle at work, I can actually see outside!

Shared at Take it on Tuesday at Romance on a Dime.

March 2, 2012

Being a One Car Family

One cost-cutting measure I've seen recommended numerous times is becoming a one car family. Ugh. Every time I saw someone make that suggestion, I cringed. I vowed that would never happen in our family. I'm sure part of my thinking came from my grandmother, who had her own car despite the fact that she almost never drove. Cutting back to one car just seemed too radical.

I started to think a little differently when we moved at the beginning of this year. Instead of being 20 miles away from work, my commute is about 0.4 miles. In other words, I can walk to work, home for lunch, back to work, and back home in less time than it took me to drive to work before. Do we really need another car when I'm that close? Even if the weather conditions make it unsafe for me to walk, it wouldn't be too inconvenient for a coworker to give me a ride. In fact, three people offered to take me home one day when it was snowing.

I still resisted the idea of going down to one car. I wanted to at least have the option to drive. But two weeks ago, Nathan's car died. Completely died. There's still a chance it could be fixed, even though we've been advised not to put another dime into it, but so far we haven't messed with it. Nathan has been driving my car to work, and I've walked every day, even in rain and snow. And guess what? It hasn't been that bad. Will we buy a replacement car? Maybe..maybe not. It will of course be necessary when we move or if I change jobs, but for now, one car is actually okay.

There are several advantages of not having a second car and walking to work...
  • I'm forced to get some exercise.
  • The walk to work makes me much more awake and ready to start my work day.
  • I can't go buy fast food for lunch (at least not on my own).
  • I sometimes see geese, ducks, and killdeer on my commute.  
  • We save money on gas, even if not a lot. 
  • If we do get rid of the second car, we'll save on insurance and maintenance. 

And the disadvantages?
  • I don't feel like jogging when I get home. (I do walk another mile with Nenya though.)
  • If Nathan has car trouble, I can't go pick him up.
  • I can't run errands during lunch.
  • It's not easy to go to doctor's appointments, although I found a dentist right by work.
  • People think I'm weird. Walking commutes are rare in the suburbs I guess.
  • I don't like inconveniencing people, so I hate asking for rides.

We aren't sure what to do about our car situation for the time being, but at least I know we can survive with one car.

Are you, or have you ever been, a one car family? If not, would you ever want to be one?