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Pits and Peaks This Week

I’m starting a new weekly series that I’ve decided to call Pits and Peaks This Week, after the little dinnertime game my parents used to play with my sister and me.

The game is very simple: You share your best event of the day (the peak) and the worst (the pit). That’s it. Everyone goes around and shares what their pits and peaks were, and you discuss. It’s a good way to get a family talking about the day and it helps with expelling frustration about the pits.

arriving home with cecilia
A definite peak moment! Arriving home with Cecilia.

Since I would certainly bore everyone and possibly not have enough material if I did this every day, I’ve decided to share my weekly pits and peaks with you. Since a big focus of mine lately is saving up for our van trip, I’m going to focus these pits and peaks on how well we were able to live below our means and stash away our cash each week, along with some general pits and peaks.

To a certain extent, I’m shamelessly copying the format of Mrs. Frugalwoods’ “Weekly Wook & Grumble”  (now discontinued but still very fun to peruse) – it’s the highest form of flattery, right? I like the concept and I think it will really help me to stay accountable.

So, without further ado, this week’s Pits and Peaks:

Pits

My Amazon Prime membership renewed automatically…yeah, I had forgotten about that. $107. Urk.

I signed up for the free trial year of Amazon Prime years ago when I was in college and it was 100% worth it for the free shipping on books and such scholarly accoutrements. I kind of just…forgot about it after that, and somehow it surprises me every year. Dumb, I know.

I keep thinking about canceling, but then I think, Well I already paid for this year… and the cycle continues. This year I might actually cancel it. I don’t order that much from Amazon these days anyway, so I think I guess I’ll have to do a cost/benefit analysis of shipping costs versus Prime membership. (Has anyone already done this? Want to spare me the math? I’d be ever so grateful!)

Another pit isn’t quite from this week but it was recent and this is the first Pits and Peaks so I’m going to present it: our IKEA bill. Yes, I know, I know, we should have used Craigslist! Or dug through the trash! Etc, etc. But we just finished a 9 month remodeling process, we were finally able to live in a house-structure by ourselves again, we finally had a working kitchen and bathroom, and we were dog-tired.

So, we bought some things at IKEA. Storage bins, kitchen items, a couple of small furniture items…it came out to a whopping $585. Ouch. So that was rough, but it was a one-time expense and we are sourcing all of the rest of our house items from more frugal places.

Peaks

On Sunday, we discovered that the Aldi (the legendary super cheap grocery store) near us is right next to the Vons (our favorite) and the 99 Ranch market (authentic Asian grocery on the cheap). Yippee! Our grocery shopping is going to be fantastic from now on.

Also, we took our first grocery trip to stock up for the week since we’ve moved. It’s a great feeling to be able to plan what you eat and then cook it. Sounds super simple, it’s actually the best thing ever if you haven’t had a kitchen of your own for months.

pits
A bit of a pit moment when installing our kitchen floor.

On Tuesday, we went out for happy hour drinks and snacks with a friend in our old neighborhood, because she is briefly in town before jetting off on one of her many work trips. I wasn’t terribly worried about the price tag because this particular place has a fantastic all-night happy hour (if you live in West LA: K-Zo, great sushi, awesome happy hour Mondays & Tuesdays!), but when the bill came our friend insisted on treating us!

We protested and argued, but she said that since I had been editing her grad school application essays  throughout her application process, it was the least she could do. It was certainly overkill; her essays were a pleasure to read and there was very little to edit as she’s an excellent writer. Still, it was nice to be treated to some fancy happy hour yums! Thanks, CH 🙂

Finally, another food related peak (we like food…A LOT) from recent days: We finally got around to opening all the boxes that Anna’s mom sent her from her childhood bedroom. Among relics of her childhood were also some items that her dad had bought her a few years ago, as well as some of his own items that were willed to her.

We owe Anna’s dad a big, huge thank you because he basically outfitted our kitchen. And not only did we get lots of fun cooking gadgets from him, they are all top of the line items. We are now equipped with an entire set of All-Clad pots and pans, a bunch of fancy Thai knives (including an enormous cleaver…), some Le Creuset cookware, a very scientifically-engineered whisk in rainbow colors, and various other fancy and fun kitchen implements.

In fact, we got so much that we had to give some things away. Someone at one of our local thrift shops is really going to enjoy a set of very fancy glass drinkware that we didn’t need and simply couldn’t fit into our kitchen. Enjoy, stranger!

We’re finally back to cooking again now that we have a kitchen, including making bread.
We had a bit of wine (I had sparkling water) and snacks the other evening with my parents in our new place to bring in some good vibes.
I’m still so proud every time I look at that ceiling!
This is what our rainy LA mornings have been looking like for me lately.

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