New Computer

As I mentioned in my last post, my laptop has not been working properly anymore so I needed a new computer.  Instead of another laptop, I decided I wanted to get a desktop computer this time.  I wanted to get a computer that would last me longer than 3 years before starting to crap out.  I don’t know a lot about computers so I’m lucky that my husband is a total computer geek!  I say that with love 🙂  His nerdiness came in handy!  He has built a few computers before and they have always lasted a long time so I decided I wanted him to help me build one.  We spent almost an entire day picking out parts on Tiger Direct and Newegg.  Finally we had what we needed and I paid for everything.  Luckily I didn’t have to buy everything.  Ethan had an extra monitor and graphics card that I could have.  A few of the parts I bought were on sale AND had rebates so I got pretty lucky with the total price!

IMG_1434Here is a breakdown of everything I got, their prices and how much I saved.

Case: Rosewill Blackbone midtower – $29.99 (after savings of $20.00)

PSU: XFX 550 Bronze – $25.99 (after savings, including a rebate, $54.00)

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 (bundled with motherboard and RAM) – $309.99 (after savings, including rebate, $134.00)

MB: MSI B85m-P33 V2 mATX

RAM: 8 GB DDR3 1866 Kingston HyperX Fury

Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB Blue, 7200 RPM – $54.99 (after savings of $25.00)

Tiger Direct Discount: $15.00

TOTAL: $405.96                   Total Savings: $248.00

I originally got my keyboard, speakers and surge strip from Walmart but have since returned the keyboard and speakers.  The keyboard had a TINY backspace button and that just didn’t work for me.  The speakers I realized were the same ones I have at work and I have had nothing but problems from them.  The surge strip was $19.98.

I got different speakers from Target that were $24.99.  They are much better quality!  I ended up getting my keyboard on Amazon.  It is Microsoft brand that has the right sized backspace button AND it was $2 less than the crappy keyboard from Walmart!  WIN!  Ethan ended up buying the wireless card for me on Tiger Direct after we found out that Walmart doesn’t sell cards anymore, only dongles.  That was $14.00 on sale.  We had an old copy of Windows 7 to put on but found out it was only 32-bit.  That would have been fine except 32-bit has a limit of 4GB of RAM and I have 8GB so that would have been wasting RAM.  So we ended up upgrading to Windows 8.1.  I was not looking forward to having Windows 8 but at least I can make it look more like Windows 7 by switching the screen to desktop mode instead of the modular screen.  We got the Windows 8.1 upgrade from G2A for $15.00.

I already had a mouse, mousepad, monitor and graphics card so I saved there as well!

So all in all, my total was around $487.92!  I looked around for a desktop that came already built with similar specs and found I spent less than half than many of the options out there!

I’ve been using the computer for a few days now and I love it!  Everything is so much smoother and faster than my laptop.  I’m now able to play Sims 3 again without it crashing!  I want Sims 4 really badly but after spending almost $500 on the computer itself, I think I should wait a little while before shelling out more cash.

Here are a few photos from the build on Saturday!

The build begins!

The build begins!

PSU and motherboard are in!

PSU and motherboard are in!

She thinks that she is helping...

She thinks that she is helping…

IMG_1456 IMG_1465

Computer nerd at work!

Computer nerd at work!

Everything is now in the case!

Everything is now in the case!

Running!  And very quiet!

Running! And very quiet!

First stage of setting up the OS

First stage of setting up the OS

I just had to have Gone With The Wind for my desktop picture!

I just had to have Gone With The Wind for my desktop picture!

Ok!  So now that I have a working computer, I won’t disappear for so long.  Now, it’s time to go play with my new toy!

Back In Action

I’ve been away for a little bit.  Unfortunately my laptop has pretty much crapped out on me.  Luckily my husband is a computer geek so he helped me pick out parts to build a desktop PC.  The last parts finally arrived on Friday night so we spent most of the day on Saturday building it.  I took lots of photos.  I’ll be doing a post about the build, complete with photos but  I haven’t gotten around to uploading the photos yet though so it will be posted sometime this week.  I’m still working on getting all of the computer settings the way I like them.

So check back for a post about my new computer!

Crock Pot Cheesy Potatoes

Today I am trying a new recipe that I found recently on Pinterest.  I’m a big fan of cooking in the crock pot so I was exciting to find a new recipe for it.  There was one change to the ingredient list I made.  She used onion flakes but neither Ethan nor I like onions so I skipped that ingredient completely.  Also in her directions she doesn’t explain where to add the salt and pepper so I just mixed it in with the first set of ingredients.

Here is the link to the recipe I used.  Crock Pot Comforting Cheesy Potatoes

Original recipe is from Taste Of Home

IMG_20140920_145809Ingredients:

  • 1 – 10 3/4 oz can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 – 32 oz frozen cubed hash browns, thawed
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add hash browns and 1 1/2 cup cheese and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into a 4 qt slow cooker, cover.
  4. Cook for 4-5 hours on low or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over potatoes and continue to cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

IMG_20140920_194837-1Final product… A delicious creamy, cheesy potato side dish, perfect to go along with barbeque!

Moleskine Planner DIY

My Moleskine Planner

My Moleskine Planner

I always seem to be on the lookout for the perfect planner but can NEVER find exactly what I want.  So I did some checking around on Pinterest for some good ideas on making my own planner.  I didn’t want a ring binder because those always get bent out of shape.  Anything with a soft cover would get junky pretty fast, too.  So I needed something with a hardcover but nothing too expensive.  I’ve seen a lot of organization bloggers create planners and sell them but they are always so expensive, at least for me anyways.  So I was happy to find a couple examples of people making their own planners with Moleskine notebooks!  I’ve always loved the look of them.  Of all the blog posts about creating a planner from a Moleskine was from Charmingly Modern.  I really liked her weekly layout.  That was always the main section of a planner I could never find one that I liked.  I had a few features that I added to make mine meet my needs and left out some of the sections she created in hers.

You Will Need:

  • Moleskine Notebook – click for the one I used
  • A ruler
  • A black pen
  • Highlighters in multiple colors
  • washi tape (optional)
Month Page Layout

Month Page Layout

I didn’t change anything from her month layout.  I left 3 squares at the top and bottom to leave room for notes.  Each square is 7×7.  With the size notebook I have, that made 5 rows.  For the long months, some of the last squares will have to be cut in half.  My color code helps keeps different events and appointments in order.  Green is for my personal things.  Blue is for Ethan’s.  Yellow is for our bills.  Only the ones I have to remember to pay.  Any bill that is automatic I don’t write in the planner.  Orange is for family events.  Pink is for events with our friends.  The washi tape on the side doesn’t really represent anything.  Just another splash of color.

Weekly Page Layout

Weekly Page Layout

My weekly page layout is where I made my personal touches to her layout.  I started 3 squares from the top.  Monday through Friday are 9 x 26.  Saturday and Sunday are 7 x 13.  Within the days I sectioned off two 9 x 3 chunks.  The first chunk is to record my Fitbit stats for the day.  I record my daily activity minutes, steps and flights of stairs.  In the second chunk I plan out our meals for dinner.  I try and do this ahead of time but sometimes it doesn’t happen until the day of.  Saturday and Sunday have smaller chunks.  Fitbit stats: 7 x 3 and dinner plan 7 x 2.

At the bottom of the pages I have the left side for my To-Do List and the right side for my weekly goals.

I’ve been using this planner since April and I really like it!  I actually use it everyday unlike other planners that I have purchased in the past.

Have you found a planner that you like?  Or have you made one of your own?

Wishful Thinking

We bought our townhome about two and a half years ago.  It was great.  We got out of the crappy apartment we were living in and made our first big step as a married couple.  We had two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a two car garage and a nice deck.  As time has gone on, I’ve slowly become very unsatisfied with our home.  A few of our neighbors are renters and they never seem to stay long.  Our current neighbors in the rental are awful!  Loud, thumping music at all hours of the day.  Loud, screaming kids banging on walls.  Squealing cars that come and go all day long.  Then there is the newest neighbor across from us.  She lives alone with two dogs but her adult children are always coming over and parking in the middle of the street instead of in her driveway.  Her son seems to love honking the horn to get her attention rather than go up and ring the doorbell.  I’m slowly being driven mad by these crazy neighbors.  I’m constantly daydreaming about moving away to a real house that has zero shared walls with any neighbors.  Unfortunately we will have to deal with living in our current situation until E is done with school and can find a job.  We aren’t limiting where he looks for a job so we don’t have any idea where we will end up.  So enough of the complaining (which I would prefer to call venting at this point haha) and on to the point of this post.

Wishful thinking.  As I said, I’ve been constantly daydreaming about moving to an actual house instead of a townhouse.  I’m always looking at realty listings in the area, trying to see what I like and don’t like in home features.  So in this post I am going to layout my dream house.

I would like at least 3 bedrooms.  I definitely want to have a master bedroom.  Something that is a decent size that I could sit and read in or just relax if I needed some alone time.  Something similar to this would be perfect….

  Our “master” bedroom is just the larger of the two bedrooms and it’s not even that big.  We have a queen bed, some bookshelves and a dresser each so there is just enough room to walk around the bed.  Definitely no room for me to have a nice chair to relax in.

At least 2 bathrooms, including a separate master bath.  My ideal master bath would feature a standing shower with glass door, a whirlpool tub and dual sinks.  Something similar to this…

Our bathroom that is upstairs by the two bedrooms is very small and has a tub-shower combo (which I hate), just a small sink, small linen closet and barely enough room to do anything.

My master bedroom would have an awesome walk in closet.  I’m not talking about those ones you see in mansions where the closet is as big as a bedroom.  That’s overkill.  Something like this would be great….

  I love the different heights of hanging clothes, the shelves for shoe boxes and drawers.  It would definitely be a welcome step up from my smaller walk-in closet with the wire Rubbermaid closet system.

Our laundry area is just a small closet outside of our bedroom upstairs.  We have front load washer and dryer.  And because of the way the builders situated the washer tray we had to take the closet doors off otherwise the washer and dryer doors scratch the heck out of the closet doors.  It’s pretty annoying.  I’d love to have a small laundry room rather than just a laundry closet.  Something that has a counter top where we could fold the clothes right away.  I would also be okay combining this room with a mudroom too.  Something like this as a laundry room only would be great….

A mudroom would be great to have.  Especially when we have kids.  Something like this would be great… 

I would like to have a living room on the main level that is mostly just a sitting room for visiting with company, reading, or anything that doesn’t require a television.  I’d like to have this room be TV free.  Something like this, without the tv though…

I would like a separate family room or entertainment room in the basement.  This would definitely have a big flat screen and plenty of shelving for my giant movie collection.  Something like this would be awesome! 

  I love the little bar seating behind the couch and the U shaped sectional couch.  I would prefer darker wall colors though and of course shelving somewhere for my movie collection.

I would love to have a dedicated library room, but that is big time dreaming right there.  It would be great to have one that looks like this….

  I love the shelving and the arrangement of the furniture but I don’t particularly care for the furniture itself.

An office area would be great to have.  Especially if it had two desk areas.  E is a big time computer geek so he would definitely need his own space to have all of his computer stuff.  Something like this would be great…

I’d love to have a nice organized garage.  Something big enough to hold 2 cars and our bikes without them bumping into each other.  Big enough where we don’t have to back the car out to get the garbage out on garbage day.  I’m not too particular about how it would look, just as long as it was organized and efficient.

I know you’re probably wondering, “What about the kitchen?”  Well I saved that one for last because right now that is my greatest desire… a nice, big kitchen with lots of cupboard space, counter space and a pantry.  Our current kitchen is a small galley style kitchen that is nowhere near big enough.  It drives me crazy cooking in that space.  I would love a pantry like this…

   And my dream kitchen would like similar to this…   I LOVE this kitchen.  Lots of space.  Tons of counter top space.  I love the range.  So awesome.

Ok so that would be what my dream house would look like on the inside.  I have too many favorite types of exterior design that it would be too hard to pick just one.  I know I’ll probably never have a house like this, but a girl can dream!  Any house we find after this will be a big step up from where we are now.  I can’t wait until we get to that next step!

(All photos are sourced from Houzz.com which is a great resource for dreamers like me, or people who are looking for renovation ideas and companies!  Check it out!  If you liked any of the photos I included, just click on it and it will take you to Houzz.com!)

New Blog!

I’ve decided to start a new blog.  It’s called The Worn Bookmark and it’s all about books!  I’ve been spending most of this blog talking about books so I decided to just make one for books only.  I just started it yesterday so there aren’t many posts yet.  But I’ll be posting book reviews, reading challenges, book hauls, and plenty of other things.  So head on over to The Worn Bookmark!

http://thewornbookmark.wordpress.com/

Summer 2014 Reading Quarter FINISHED!

OK!  This is the last post for the day and I will finally be caught up!!! 

Goal: 16 books        Total: 32 books – although 8 of these were novellas

The worst book was probably one of the novellas.  I’m not a big fan of those.  You get thrown into the middle of the story, and then it ends before you can even connect to the characters.  Oh well…

The best book was definitely The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  This book I read in a day.  I could not put it down.  I’m a pretty big softie when it comes to watching movies and tv shows but I don’t often cry when I read.  But this book turned me into a tear factory.  Normally I don’t like reading books about people with cancer because of everything my family went through but this book was so completely not what I was expecting.  The characters were so real and relate-able.  I loved the writing and the storyline.  I haven’t seen the movie yet but am really looking forward to seeing it.  I’ll definitely be watching it alone though… If the book made me cry, then I will definitely cry during the movie! 

But I also loved the Game of Thrones books that I read this quarter (3, 4, 5).  I’ll always be a sucker for this kind of book.

And now, on to the books…

 

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Spring 2014 Reading Quarter FINISHED

Almost there!  Almost caught up!  Whoo let’s hope I don’t get behind again!

Goal: 13 Books           Total books read: 23

I can’t really decide on the worst book because none of them were really memorable enough to like or dislike.  The best book was The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.  I will always be a Nicholas Sparks fan and his latest definitely made me like him even more.  I’m not sure exactly why but I really, really liked this book!

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Winter ’13-’14 Reading Quarter FINISHED

And still playing the catch-up game!  Moving on to winter 2013-2014 quarter! 

So the goal was to read 13 books.  I blew that goal out of the water!  I read a total of 30 books!

So many good books!  Quite a bit of variety this time around.  Everything from memoirs to fantasy to Christian fiction.  The best book of the quarter was without a doubt, Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I LOVED this book!  I read the entire thing in one day.  The worst book was most definitely the novella In Love With Eleanor Rigby by Stacey Cochran.  Luckily it was only 38 pages so it wasn’t a huge waste of time.  The story line was completely ridiculous and the characters were not likable or even relatable. 

01 02 02 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 1314 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Fall 2013 Reading Quarter FINISHED

Ok so I know this post is WAY overdue… I’ve been slacking on my duties.

So my goal for Fall 2013 was to read 12 books. I ended the quarter with 18 books under my belt! Some of the books I read were a complete waste of time. I also started one book that I still have yet to finish as of today.
The worst book out of the bunch was probably On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. I was completely uninterested in the topic and it just seems to go on and on even though it was only 203 pages.
The best was a tie between two. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. PHfPC was such an interesting book and nothing like I had ever read before. I loved that the author wrote a story around weird photographs. TPoBaW I could not put down. I just wanted to keep reading and reading.

Without further ado…. here are the books that made up my Fall 2013 reading quarter.

The Choicevampire-diaries0061140988.01.LZZZZZZZBook05chesilBook067_The_Vampire_Diaries_the_return_midnight152ce3f019ec530ec1ffcbd20a8bc2ea405b815c11094857726143BloodlustCover41+yVH4wtgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_MissPeregrines51F-kPHQ0RL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_519+K24GhhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Perksofbeingwallflower151CINOZlzpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_