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Saturday Morning Tea – December Edition

December 9, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Happy Saturday! Today is not just any Saturday, but today is Army-Navy, the day the greatest college football game of the year is played!! Given the excitement in the air, I thought I’d take a slow moment with you first to savor what is going on right now. Grab your cup of tea (or coffee, if that’s your thing) and take a pause with me.

Army-Navy

I don’t think I’ve ever really written about this here, but Army-Navy is a big day for me, full of memories. Yes, sure, this is a day that will mean something to every cadet or midshipman, but it also means something to those of us who are supporting those guys.

In my case, Army-Navy was kinda-sorta mine and Casey’s second date. A group of my sorority sisters (one of whom will be one of my bridesmaids!!) and I already had tickets by the time Casey and I were dating in December 2013. The game was in Philly, and it snowed SO much. My sisters wanted to leave so badly but they braved the storm with me so that I could hang out with Casey a little more. Kelly was such a champ for making that drive.

In 2014, I got to sit with C’s dad throughout the whole game while he answered all my silly football questions. 2015 was the first time we went to a game post-graduation, and the first time we got together with that group of friends since graduation. C had just graduated from Ranger School, we were doing the long distance thing, and we explored a city we had never explored together before (Philly).

Last year (2016) was the first game we didn’t spend together since we had started dating. It was also the first time Army won- not just over the course of our relationship but in over a decade!

This year, much to my chagrin but perhaps to Army’s benefit, we won’t be together again during the game. C is off doing Army things while I’ll be texting him game updates. They really better win. I plan to sit on the floor of my living room and working on 2018 Powersheets prep, goal setting, and planning throughout the game.

Zest Tea

It wasn’t that long ago that I hated meeting people at coffee shops because, well, I didn’t drink coffee or tea. A couple of months ago, though, I realized that my energy levels just weren’t cutting it during the day anymore. Most adults drink coffee, people reminded me. Not interested in picking up a coffee habit but okay with a caffeine habit, I started drinking Zest Tea, a Venture for America Fellow-founded business (whose laptop sticker I’ve been sporting since 2015) based out of Baltimore.

One cup of Zest Tea has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Blue Lady Black is my favorite, by far, but the Earl Grey and Pomegranate Mojito have grown on me. Blue Lady Black is what’s in my glass this morning.

After drinking diligently for three months, I decided it was time to buy in bulk. I bought 60 oz of the Blue Lady Black looseleaf tea from Zest Tea and a tea ball thing (because it’s looseleaf tea, not tea bags) off Amazon. The tea bags are so big that they don’t fit in my tea area, so I filled one mason jar’s worth and am leaving that in my tea area and keeping that bags in a top cupboard!

So far, so good. You can get $5 off your first Zest Tea order by using my referral link.

Homemade Bread

Driving home from Thanksgiving, we were listening to some random episodes of the Choose FI podcast. In one grocery-focused episode they talked about the costs of buying bread vs making your own. You can make your own bread for about 30 cents per loaf (as opposed to at least $1/loaf) at the grocery store. Well, we were convinced and bought a bread maker off Amazon before the episode was even over. We have been making our own bread ever since.

The thing about making bread, by the way, is it’s much more a science than an art. That means, the measurements in the recipe actually mean something. If you want to make good bread, can I suggest making sure you have measuring cups so you’re not just guessing all the time? Well, yea, we didn’t have measuring cups, so… well you can compare our first loaf to our second loaf for yourself. We did have measuring cups for the second loaf.

Actually, this whole making-our-own-bread thing comes on the tails of us deciding to change how we do our whole grocery system! Now, we’ll be doing one big monthly grocery shop with a budget of $260 at BJ’s that will be where we stock up on meat and everything we need for the month except for produce. Each week, we have $20 to spend on produce at the Reilly Road Farmer’s Market. We have up to $360 to spend on groceries for the month, which is a lot for two people, but since we’re prioritizing eating really good food (including steak once per week), I’m excited by it. Because we’ll be making our own bread, I won’t end up having to go to the grocery store for some other reason and busting our budget! I’m very excited to be trying this system out!

Thank you Brittany from Pennies Into Pearls for inspiring this grocery strategy. I have been watching Brittany kill her grocery shopping experiences and joint budgeting for over a year. She’s been such an inspiration to me. Even though I’m not one to watch Youtube videos (seriously, I follow three Youtubers and I only religiously watch Brittany’s videos!), I have on more than one occasion roped C into watching something on the Pennies Into Pearls channel with me! We’ve adjusted the system into something that we think will work for us, but it was definitely inspired by Brittany! If you want to know where to start, I suggest watching her Meal Planning and Grocery Haul vids for November.

Instant Pot

In addition to splurging on a bread maker on Black Friday, we also splurged on an Instant Pot. I decided to pick up even more work, so the goal with the Instant Pot is to buy ourselves the breathing room to continue to eat good and good-for-us food while cutting down the time I spend over the stove.

I already used it last weekend to make rice (no, we don’t have a rice cooker)! I’m hoping to try the sauté functionality this weekend to really understand how it works, so that I can take advantage of it during the week.

We’re also doubling recipes to help stock up our freezer a little bit! For example, today I have chicken in the crockpot so that I can make Lauren Greutman’s Chicken Enchilada recipe (my fave!). I will split the recipe into two casserole dishes. One we’ll eat later this week; the other will go into the freezer for next month. (Another idea I got from Brittany!!)

Christmas Cards

I got our Christmas cards in the mail this week and will be addressing them and sending them out today (in between goal-setting during the Army-Navy game, duh!). I absolutely love still sitting down to write and send Christmas cards. I am a huge fan of sending hand-written notes for lots of occasions and just because. If you’d like a Christmas card, send me a DM on Instagram, Facebook, or email me (emilie at burkedoes dot com) and I will get one out to you!!

I ordered our cards from Minted because I plan to order our Save the Dates there and wanted to test them out first! Are they the best place to order? Is there somewhere else we should be thinking about? Let me know in the comments!!

That’s all I’ve got for you right now. I hope you enjoyed this cup of tea and slow moment. Tell me what’s on your mind this morning. Thanks for sharing with me.

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Emilie is a data engineer by day and lifestyle blogger by night. A Jersey girl at heart, she is currently living in her fifth home in three years, Savannah, GA with her college sweetheart. She’s learned the hard way that home is wherever the Army sends them. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV.