halloween 2014: our hero in a half shell

This summer, Miss L got to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the theatres, and soon after the obsession began.

Little figurines showed up around the house. Then coloring books. And soon after, there were endless drawings of her hero, Leonardo, all over the house.

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So when it came time to decide what her Halloween costume would be this year, is it any wonder that she requested her own turtle shell and mask?

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Leonardo will be guarding the neighborhood tonight. As will Mikey and Donnie. Shredder (Lincoln) is locked up in his cage, and Master Splinter (Memphis) is also on the mend…

This is one retro cartoon character we’re all happy to be reliving this year!

Past family Halloween costumes:

the “I’m so worn out, but if I’m going to cook it is going to be worth it” meal

Life in the M household has been a bit stressful and crazy lately. Luckily, I can report that all of it is of the “first world problems” variety, but it also has all happened to pile on momentously as the days go on. In other words, things like sleep and laundry and memory are all lost somewhere in the house and I’m not sure when, where or how I lost them all. No matter… just keep swimming!

So when I stopped at the market on Sunday evening with Miss L in search of “something” for dinner, I asked her what she wanted. We were in the proximity of the seafood counter, so she happened to glance over and immediately requested, “Oysters!”  I spent about 2 minutes trying to tell her why her mommy would be unable to open the oysters for her to eat (worst shucker ever, ladies and gents) until she just gave a giant me a pout and a little huff and gave up on the request. Hello mommy guilt-trip 101… all because Kim can’t pry open a silly shell.

Then we walked in that general direction and I asked if she’d want something else. Some other fish perhaps?

“Mussels! I want mussels!”

OK kiddo… THAT I can do. [my favorite recipe right here!]

And so we got 1 1/2 pounds of mussels, some shallots and I let L pick out a baguette, and off we went home.

And about an hour later… this was sitting in front of my plate.

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Suddenly, it was a happy Sunday. And I wasn’t worried about hopping into bed at an insanely early hour, but rather just sitting there and enjoying every last scumptuous bite.

But what made me even happier? This kiddo…

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… DEVOURING her mussels with fervor.

And suddenly the world was all ok. (It didn’t hurt that the Giants were winning a beautiful baseball game at the same time)  Isn’t that all we need from a home-cooked meal every now and then? Yeah. I think so.

Also, I’m pretty certain her sushi and shellfish consumption have led me to believe she was a mermaid in her former life.

dots, stripes, wave and duck footprints

A few days after I ordered my new iPhone 6 for delivery, I commissioned Miss L to create a case for my new phone. She had done such a great job with the last case (and got so much pride from it as well) that I knew she’d love to contribute to a new one.

So I got out her watercolors and some paper, and asked her to make me a few designs to choose from. I told her I wanted blues, so we mixed up a palette of blue/green hues, and then I left the room to let her create. About 20 minutes later, she grabbed me to come back and see my choices.

First, we had “dots” :

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Next up… “stripes” :

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Finally, we had “waves” :

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I pondered my options closely, then scanned and uploaded them all into sample cases at GetUncommon to help me decide. In the end to go with a clear deflector case with “dots” as the design and she seemed pretty pleased with the idea.

Every day after I placed the order, she’d ask to go to the mail to see if the case had come yet. She was so excited to see her artwork on my phone, and each day it didn’t come, her excitement built up even more!

Finally, the case arrived to cheers heard around the block, and we got to put it on the phone for everyone to see. And trust me, EVERYONE has seen my phone case.

“Have you seen my mom’s phone case? I made it! It’s watercolor and I painted it!”

She told me to tell all my friends about her designs as well. And that she’s happy to design cases for anyone that needs them! So if you’re in need of a commissioned iPhone case, it looks like I’ve got an artist ready to go for you!

p.s.  She’s really trying to sell people on her “duck footprints” designs. In her own words she said, “They’re way cooler than plain dots!”

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going solar at home?

We’ve been in our house since 2008, and it seems like we ask ourselves the same question every year: what do you think about getting solar? In the beginning, we thought it would only be a couple of years before we added it to our house. Then, that whole housing bubble burst and we saw the home we purchased as a foreclosure dip down in price and the whole neighborhood along with it, and costly additions were the last thing we were thinking about. But then we had Miss L. And, as other parents know, your desire to keep the house climate at an optimal temperature suddenly increases exponentially, and you usually start using a lot more energy as a result. For us, it meant our energy bill doubling in the summer… which wasn’t a pretty sight.

So we thought, “Hmm…. maybe we should look into that solar stuff again?” But when we did, the initial expense of capitol wasn’t attractive and the 0% down plans didn’t save us any money on our monthly bill. So, we kept on keeping on with the status quo through this year.

Yet, after 2014 being the hottest year on record for California and trying to keep our a/c use as minimal as possible, this question popped up yet again. So this time, I did something about it. I contacted Sunrun.

But this time around, instead of just dismissing the option outright due to cost, we’re actually considering solar as a legitimate choice for our household.

I filled in our information online, then scheduled a chat with a Sunrun representative to walk me through the pricing options of Sunrun solar service and see what we could do. First, she shared a general diagram of what solar panels would look like on our home. I guess we’re pretty lucky that we have lots of sunny surface area!

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Then we walked through the per-month cost of a Power Purchase Agreement with Sunrun, and what that looked like in comparison to our monthly PG&E bills. And for the first time ever, that bill actually came in lower than our current averaged electricity payment… actually 25% lower!

The solar panel system wouldn’t cover all of our needs in the hot summer months, however, with this plan, we’d never get past Tier 1 in energy costs, which is the cheapest tier to be in. (p.s. we hit Tier 3 by the 12th of every month… it’s not fun!)

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SAVES US MONEY…. CHECK!

Now what about those costs right now? Well… with the solar lease that we talked about, we spend nothing out of pocket. Over 20 years, our expenditures for the system are essentially 160% of the cost of the system today. BUT, when I compared that to what you’d pay on a loan, you’d have to have less than 1.9% financing on a 20-year loan to beat that cost.

See… now this is getting complicated, because it’s at the, “Why wouldn’t you do this?” point. Right?  Ugh… why can’t I just make decisions!

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I asked about the roofing guarantee. Sunrun’s policy is a 10 year warranty on the roof. And 20-year replacement on the panels and equipment. Ok… well there’s that. Guess that’s pretty awesome too.

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So here I am. It’s cheaper than our monthly electricity bill NOW, let alone later when those inevitable rate hikes occur. It’s good for the environment now too. And the financial risk is minimal to us, and it’s actually saving us about $500 in the first year along. So why are we not signed up yet?

Well, ask Mr. M and he knows how I go into a panic-induced sweat whenever there’s a purchase exceeding $500, and then maybe you’ll understand. So can anyone help me out?  Are you insanely happy you went with solar? Does your energy company send YOU a check every month? You became the coolest family on the block? Anything?

So while I look through your comments and hope that I can get back to my Sunrun representative with an answer either way, I wanted to share a special a special offer for KimberlyMichelle.com readers. If you go solar with Sunrun before Nov. 30, you’ll get a $500 VISA® Prepaid Card. (Conditions apply.) Get a free solar quote here.

Maybe we can all save the planet and our wallet some money? Or I could just end up writing a post about this exact same thing next year as I continue to ponder my hours away…

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

left knee surgery runs in the family

Carmel Beach - Oct 2014

Did you know that Mr. M and I have both had our left knees reconstructed? Miss L doesn’t think our scars are strange, since we both share them in the same place, and instead considers poking them a silly game.

But this morning, another member of our family is going to have their left knee repaired with some plates and bolts. And we hope that he will be back to his normal playful & silly self in no time at all, just like we were.

Carmel Beach - Oct 2014

So any happy thoughts for Lincoln today, and during his 8-12 week recovery, are welcome!  As are tips on handling his recovery from other doggy parents who have been-there/done-that.

Carmel Beach - Oct 2014

I think we’ll celebrate his recovery with a romp in the snow… since his last big hurrah was at the beach a few weeks ago!

Carmel Beach - Oct 2014

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