Monday, March 29, 2010

Cleaning Up, Sorting Out

After an long stretch on the road I found myself home this weekend full of vim and vigor for a proper clean out and set myself off to cleaning out some storage areas. Because I also run 2 businesses from the home (Far Flung Craft and my law office) I have boxes of paper stacked in my bedroom. Needless to say, looking at this stack everyday is well disheartening as it is not moving as quick as I would like and frankly it is ugly.

Let me also preface this post by saying that closet space is a real premium in Singapore. Most places don't have walk in closets and those that do are well small at best. The current unit we are in has this small storage closet...that is it. The remainder of the closets were built in and not well done at that.

I have moved all of those boxes, behind a screen and moved the items that were behind the screen into our storage closet. I pulled out empty boxes upon empty boxes (I guess I thought I might need them? I released a bunch of floor rugs to the greater good and they are on the way to the Philippines to be used in home of our helpers family. I got rid of three old worn suitcases and really just dumped a bunch of stuff. I still have two small boxes that need sorting and that will happen this week.

Here is the closet in the early stages of the reorganization

And, after reorganization I have open shelf space. All of the Christmas stuff is in one tote (save the tree and the wrapping papers). All of the tools are put on the same shelf.
The car seats that we save for when we travel back to the US are neatly stacked on top of the Christmas tree and the odds and ends pet stuff is in the cat crate.

More importantly, all of the luggage is stacked neatly to the side, with room for the ironing board and people to walk in and out. I may play more in this room and may designate space for some long term food storage now that I know I have the room! What types of closets do you have?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ready for Vacation

It has been a busy week, planning and preparing for our vacation to Indonesia. A budget vacation is one of the advantages of living in Asia and after reading the The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich I am resolved to take the kids and family more places. Do more with them, enjoy the fact that we live and work in Asia. Our current vacation is to Java Indonesia, specifically to the city of Yogyakarta and the UNESCO heritage sites of Borobudur and Prambanan.

Living so close to a multiple World Heritage sites is a gift that I hope to share with my kids and be able to expand the view of their world. I will fill you all in on the details when we get back!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cookies and Food Choices

I tend to be a bit- well- eclectic. While thinking about what I want to eat this weekend and the lower food chain items I want to eat more of (think veggies), I started to crave Naniamo Bars.

Naniamo bars hail from just north of my old stompin' grounds. When you live 8000 miles from your home town like I do now, by just north I mean a reasonable 300 + or - miles and a ferry ride. Anyway, Naniamo bars are the rich chocolate vanilla layered confectionery treat hailing from Vancouver Island and the little town of Naniamo (bet you didn't see that coming). I am sure that in terms of calories they hover between 100 and a million per bar but hey... they sure taste good. Growing up we would occasionally find these at a coffee shop or cake house and it was always a treat. Later as a young professional working as a lawyer back in my home town, the 20 pounds I gained during those three years I am sure were directly linked to the fact that the Coffee House down the street from my office served these regularly.

I found a recipe here on Eclectic Cook and they turned out pretty good. I have to say that I can't get the nice smooth chocolate topping, I think it has to do with the quality of chocolate that I am using, but considering that they still taste good I figure who cares!

Here is the recipe for you Nanaimo Bars I also borrowed her picture for this post. Thank you~

Stir Fried Lettuce and ShaoXing Wine from the Perfect
Now, onto other eating topics. Part of my thoughts on living simply are to eat in connection with where we are, store food for cost saving as well as in the event of emergency, and to eat locally and lower on the food chain. Eating more local veggies and combining them with staples from my pantry seem like a great combination. But here is the problem. While I appriciate the numerous LDS food security websites and super frugal websites that use powdered eggs and really practice what they preach, the food well from a foodie standpoint seems to be blah.

So, cut to today, while trolling the interwebs... I found the "The Perfect Pantry". So much eye candy here. Glimpes into other peoples pantries and oh the receipes... they look so good. The one on the front page alone for Lentils... well call me giddy. I can't wait to make this Lentil Barley Pilaf and this receipe for Sweet Potato/Lentil and Raisin Stew or a Chinese style receipe with Shao Xing wine? Think I will be lost on this site for a while. Be back 100 pounds later.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The 4-Hour Workweek, Revised and Expanded: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich The 4-Hour Workweek, Revised and Expanded: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hard to really put into words the effect this book has had on me. The writing itself is not great, parts are clunky. The tips and techniques he includes are not novel or unique. What Ferriss calls "Lifestyle Design" is really downshifting on steroids. Passive Income meets Hipster.

How I really realize how much I hate working 70 hour weeks. How much I want to be able to travel with my family. How I realize how much time I waste avoiding the work I don't want to get done. How very cool it would be to re-learn German, increase my Chinese, learn Bahasa. Will this book win awards for writing? No. Can it change your life? Maybe.

The time managment portions of the book are great. Some of the techniques are terrific (nothing new, but a good collection put together). As for the passive income stuff, well I can't tell you if these are workable or not.

Do I believe that Tim Ferriss works 4 hours a week. No. It is part of the sell.

But do I believe that while he is a bit of an egomanic (just watch his videos), the idea that we can work smarter not harder is true. The idea that we don't have to wait until the magic age of 65 to live our dreams. Also true. Don't buy the book and expect that all your work will instantly be decreased by 90% while you travel the world.

Can you and will you be able to incorporate some of the ideas and get inspired? Well, that is why I said maybe. It is really up to you.

View all my reviews >>

Night Swim At Dairy Farm

This is what it is all about. A weekly tradition of swimming with our friends. Sometimes all of the stress and conflicts that a week brings can be erased by a swim in the dark on a Friday Night.

Thanks to Lisa for making and posting the video!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Patio Garden-Planning stages

I want to have this. You know, the lovely patio garden. It is just a matter of getting one of those "round tuits". There are a number of veggies that I have tried in Singapore and I have failed each time. I figure it is one of the following things: either the soil in my planters stink...which it does... the veggies are not suitable for Singapore... probable... the dog digs it up...often...the seeds are old...maybe...I have a brown thumb..

image from

So, the goal is to create a real container/patio garden this spring. I want to grow tomatoes, lettuce and herbs for sure. Maybe some eggplant and some peppers. I would love a zucchini plant, but I have no idea if it will grow in a tropical container garden. I am traveling this week and dreaming of the home projects I want to do over the next few weeks when I am back home.

<= My patio

First step I think is to give up on the DIY store seed packs. I have yet to have a single one turn out. The plants fail to thrive, if I can get them past a sprout stage at all.

Second, find a good nursery that sells real compost, not some crap (like we have purchased before that is nothing more than dirt from the side of the road). Third is probably to have someone from the nursery come and help me re-do the container on my patio. While the trees are nice and offers privacy, I would rather have the trees in a pot so I can use the full extent of the built in bed. Who knows though, I need to plan out the garden, look at the brightest spots from the sun perspective and get crackin. Fresh veggies in 2-3 months? Can't wait.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Some awesomeness shared.

One of my favorite blogs is Zen Habits. I also try (when I find time) to follow his Twitter. The only thing wrong with following Twitter is it can be too much and take too much time, so I don't feel too stressed if I don't catch it all. It is all about slowing down and simplifying afterall.

So, in terms of trying to again gain control and gather some life hacks that I can use to simplify my life I stumbled across this post off of Leo's Twitter.

Four Best Inspiring Blogs Every Life Hacker Should Subscribe To off the Make Use Of Blog.

Just saying I am already loving the Tim Ferriss blog (his book has been on my list for a while).

I am also looking again at some lifehacks that I can use to free up more time. I tend to be a bit scattered and any tips I can find I will share! In the meantime, I need to get back to work.

Oh PS. My Twitter is here
Who links to me?