The Dream Life Continues (Pic Heavy) – Sunday Diary #5

Happy Sunday! Happy memorial day weekend! We spent the entire day out yesterday. Today, a lot of people are still out and about but my husband and I are at home resting, working, and…chores. Not sure what’s on the docket tomorrow.

*We’ve spent today finishing up the updates on our free budget sheet so wait for that to drop if you like our spreadsheets 🙂 —Update: get the new and improved free budget sheet here.

*I got my 2nd ThredUP box and I’ll have a review of it later. Spoiler, I’m not as happy with this box.

*My mom came to town to visit us for 2 weeks and she’s cooking up a storm. It’s been fun having her here. Last year when she came and we had a huge fight over privacy and boundaries. She entered our bedroom while we were away thinking it’s somehow OK. This time we made the rules clear and everything has been much nicer and calmer. She homemade dumplings from scratch, noodles from scratch, and even made her own pork buns.homemade meat buns

*Life is a lot less stressful without a rental (details in the next budget report) and I’m catching up on a lot of work. Which…kind of increases the stress level back up.

I didn’t tie up the loose ends of a lot of old work so I’m going back now and doing them. I would say I’m being super productive but because they were supposed to be done right in the first place….I’m not feeling very productive. My husband (Hippo) told me I’m going to drive myself nuts because I’m stressed and overfilling to the seams but I still see people with 5x more productivity then I do with the same 24 hours. Ugh, I’m so slow.

I won’t bore you with that! Here’s the fun stuff I did these past 2 weeks! 😀

A Dreamy Life 💖

Homemade Sushi

sushi in the making
Spicy salmon, tobiko, cucumber.

I thought it was a wild idea to use farmed Costco salmon ($9/lb) for sushi but apparently, a lot of people do it and there are even tutorials on how to make it safer to eat. I know where to get tuna steaks (Central Market in Shoreline), yellowtail hamachi (Asian Food Center in Seattle) and now I can get salmon from Costco.

Now I can make the biggest, fattest, non-skimpiest fish filled rolls!

homemade sushi salmon

This was my 2nd attempt under the guidance of my mom. She has sushi restaurant connections…because Asian? 🙂

She is visiting us for 2 weeks in Seattle. I made California rolls because they’re the easiest. I also made spicy salmon rolls, avocado and cucumber rolls, and a few salmon cream cheese rolls. My mom is trying to master the avocado caterpillar cut, you know, the avocado slices that neatly folds and collapses on top of a whole roll so it looks like a caterpillar? When she does, she will teach me but I don’t think I have the patience for that.

We prep the fish by salting it and rinsing the salt off. Then we seal it airtight and freeze it for up to a week. We take it from the freezer into the fridge and make it into sushi on the same day.

If you think any fish in domestic Japanese restaurants is fresh and unfrozen, hahaha, you’re so wrong. They’re all frozen. Even if it’s fresh, it has to be frozen first to kill off the parasites.

sleeping dog

Lost Dog?

This isn’t the first time that I had to do this. I regret not carrying treats with me enough. I was coming home and I saw this little dog without a collar, dirty, without a leash, haggard looking, sniffing around my neighbor’s yard. I knew they didn’t have a second dog so I stopped to look.

I try to let the dog sniff me but he seemed so scared and backed away. I panicked thinking this was a lost stray dog. I ran home (2 blocks away), ran upstairs, grabbed a spare leash, grabbed some treats, ran back out and tried to find the dog again. I meet a neighbor friend of mine and told her what happened and we both started looking for the dog. Anyway, 5 minutes later, the little dog pops out of the bushes and went to a bunch of guys working in the garage.

I poke my head in like “oh, hey guys is that your dog?” and they said “yeah.”

Sigh…I really wanted to ask why they think it’s a good idea to let a dog wander around the neighborhood WITHOUT any ID tags or collars or leashes or a thread of supervision. With the number of cars near the freeway and other dangers around too!!!

Cat Killer?

See the two glowy eyes?

I remember a wanted flyer at the bus stop a few months back. The Seattle SPCA offering a reward for any information leading to the capture of a guy who has been filmed going around a neighborhood near our neighborhood…torturing and killing cats.

Yes, very graphic, I’m sorry. 🙁 🙁 🙁

Anyway, it was 2 AM and I was typing up the latest Soapy post when I heard the most grueling cat yow I’ve ever heard…from any animal…in my entire life. It was so loud and it sounded like it was coming from the block over! My husband was sound asleep and I was like…”OK, THAT SOUNDED LIKE A CAT BEING MURDERED.” I immediately remember the flyer and thought, that could be the cat killer. I must get down there.

So I got my robe on, grabbed my phone to double as a flashlight and Grace jumped out with me. I went downstairs and I guess a part of me went, “Is this smart? You’re naked in a robe and trying to catch a psycho killer?” I didn’t even grab a pepper spray.

But you guys know how Leeeeeeeroy Jenkins I get so I ignored my brain. It was hard to see anything even with a phone flashlight but Grace has a tendency to…chase after cats and lose her mind. Which I assume would also scare away the cat killer.

It was a good idea bringing her; her night vision is better than mine and she started dragging me forward before I realized there was a cat just sitting there looking like the most pissed off cat in the universe.

No blood, no funny business, just…a really pissed off cat.

Then Grace dragged me to the other end of the block which I assume was another cat. They’re very territorial around here and in our neighborhood, all cats here are free to roam. They were probably trying to mark their territory. You can walk down the block and pet a nice neighbor cat if you wanted to. ANYWAYS, no bigs. No cats being tortured or cat killer. Cats are territorial and…I guess makes that horrendous sound when pissed. So don’t freak out in your underpants to play vigilante like I did.

Amazing Dim Sum – $50-$60

A blogger, Financial Orchid, took me and hubby to eat dim sum (Fashion Dim Sum). Seattle dim sum isn’t as good as SF or NYC but this was pretty good!

I deliver foodporn, which from now on, will be what makes up most of these Sunday diaries 🙂 YUM!

piggy buns

Too cute to eat! These are gooey egg custard buns. It’s yellow and custardy in the middle and the outside is soft and fluffy. Instagram level 10/10.

sticky rice seattle

Sticky rice. It was good but…my mom could make it, mild flavor, tastes OK.

crab ragoon seattle

Crab Rangoon has got to be an American thing. I never saw this when we were living in China! I guess the cream cheese and “krab” filling should be a hint that it’s an American thing.

mini pan fried buns

Pan fried mini pork buns. Yum! They were so cute.

chinese fried dough

Oh yeah, this is real Chinese. It’s fried dough!!! It’s like a Chinese churro but it’s savory instead of sweet. It’s good anywhere as long as it’s freshly fried.

steam pork buns chinese

Classic steamed pork buns. Smaller and more expensive then buns in SF Chinatown but it tastes fresher, cleaner, and more refined.

dim sum piggy bun

Steamed ginger tripe (cow stomach) was the best dish of them all. I didn’t get a photo of the honey flower jelly (osmanthus jelly) but it’s OK. I like it so much I’ve decided to try to make it at home next week. It’s hard to explain but there are flower petals in there, sweet, bright, it tastes more refreshing than any ice cream.

osmanthus jelly
Pic robbed off Yelp

Personal Hot Pot – $30-40

So there’s traditional hot pot and this is a hot pot for the lazy. Everything is included and the pot is miniaturized, just for you, you don’t have to do anything except eat while it cooks some more.

(This was a few weeks ago, I forgot to post pics) The whole time I was eating with E.C., I thought…”how much extra does this restaurant pay for fire insurance…” LOL. I think we all got the lamb pot. She was smart and had a coupon which scored us free ice green teas and a discount $1 off. Those were the best green teas I’ve ever had!

The pot itself was good but I prefer regular hot pots where I can get 20 dipping sauces. I have a thing for overspiced, big bold flavors. That’s why I love and DIY my own Ethiopian food! My husband likes more subtle, clean flavors so we had to switch pots. Mine was the healthy bland stuff my mom makes at home all the time. 😉

personal hot pot seattle

Lamb and cabbage.

mini hot pot food

Laksa curry hot pot (tastes like regular yellow curry broth to me).

Taking Parents To Lunch – $36

This was an argument that took 30 minutes to settle. We wanted to take my parents out for Chinese noodles because….they don’t go out to eat. At all.

They’re poor. They’ve never been out to eat before. We have lived in the United States for almost 17 years. As a family, we’ve been to cheapy restaurants 3 times max in my entire life of 26 years. We just couldn’t afford to eat out so we didn’t.

They fought me even though I know they wanted to go out to eat for once like a regular family. When we finally got to the restaurant it took my mother 20 minutes to decide on a small 3-page menu composing of only noodle dishes. She asked the poor waiter like 15 questions. (We left a big tip because I was so embarrassed.) Anyways, it was just a nice gesture. They came home saying it was too expensive and they can just eat at home etc. just like I expected.

Basically, translated, “thanks for taking us out but let’s not waste money like that again.”

sesame rice balls

Rice flour with black sesame paste. I had this as a child in China and I haven’t had it in so long. My mom said she could make it but she’s missing the point of “dining out.”

bowl of chinese noodles soup seattle

Because my parents took such a long time to decide, there was an order mistake and they forgot to make my dad’s bowl. We were almost done eating by then and the bowls were big enough to feed 2 so it was fine. The food was really yummy. I’m surprised you can get such authentic noodles in North Seattle at Qian’s Noodles.

bowl of beef noodles

Beef noodle soup with lots of beef. They didn’t skimp. We had meat with every bite. I was sharing with my husband too because we were going to Costco and wanted to save room in our tummy for free samples 🙂 #frugalwin

Gardening & House Stuff

I went on a planting binge. Ms. Financial Orchid went with us to pick up seeds and I planted them right away. It’s been a full week now. There’s only 1 sprout so far (from a garlic bulb) and everything else (including an egg carton filled with dirt and seeds) is dormant. I don’t have the green thumb but my husband said it’s slow from seeds so I have to wait.

I went a bit overboard and purchased 24 planter pots ($1 each from Dollar Tree) because I thought my egg carton was going to be full off baby chives and garlic to replant. They’re not even difficult to grow! I’ve got a lot to learn…

balcony garden planter pots

My avocado seed is doing well I think but my pineapple looked like it was dying so I just tossed it out. I think someone said trying to grow pineapple in Seattle was an “idiotic thing to do.” There’s not enough sunlight 🙂

my pineapple plant died

We purchased a Bird House from Spring Hill 3.5 weeks ago and it finally, finally…oh my God I hate Spring Hill….arrived. The poor woodpecker has been homeless for over a month now I guess. It decided to pick another hole in our house to complete his nest. Instead of buying bird deterrent tape we pulled a frugal win which was doubling up on some heavy duty foil with tape and hanging the sheets of foil off the house.

Now our house looks like an ugly giant baked potato from the backyard and the neighbors are probably going “what the hell” but El Cheapo no care. El Cheapo keep going.

Unfortunately, we’re both scared of heights so to put up the birdhouse, we decided to find pros. I think a hospital bill from novices falling off an old ladder would be a lot pricier.

smart sweet husband

We were in the yard trying to put up the birdhouse (failed) by trying to balance a 30-foot ladder while our rabbit was bouncing around it. I don’t think he liked that the ladder was in “his yard.” Bunny gave me this look as if to say “don’t you dare.” Too cute :3

cute bunny in yard


Posts That My Brain Liked…

*If You Want What I Have You Have to Do What I’ve Done (ESI Money) – Categorized as one of the great rants in 2018, ESI smacks down what entitlement looks like in those who assume no financial control.

It reminds me of what my friend used to say every time she sees a bad driver on the road:

“It’s called bad life decisions. You made it, you sleep in it.”

*Can You Retire Early With Median Income? (Retire by 40) – Joe did a case study with a reader who makes $55,000 a year aiming for early retirement now that her kids are grown. It was interesting to see those numbers and spoiler, yes she can retire early!

*Keeping Up With The Normal (Mr. Tako) – That’s a big share of complaints against the FIRE community: many of us are not relatable to the norm. FI is a lot more difficult on a 35-year-old, non-six-figure income earner with a family to support. But it has also occurred to me that I’ve been using the FI (financial independence) and RE (retiring early) terms interchangeably. They are NOT the same. You can FI -or- RE. It’s not highlighted enough, because having that compromise is a lot better than complaining about how it’s not possible.

*I did a quick interview about blogging and personal finance over at Methods to Your Money so go check it out if you can’t get enough of me already….!

Word of the Week

The word/term of the week is definitely raindrop guilt. I think it’s just part of my crazy brain because no one went “OHHH I feel that way tooooooo.” In another form, it’s called Imposter Syndrome but raindrop guilt compounds on Imposter Syndrome and makes it worse by making you question the point/end result/randomness of everything in the world. Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my brain…it’s really annoying.

daiso wtf

P.S. Can someone explain to me what the heck these Japanese products do? I saw them at Daiso (Japanese dollar store chain) and…I have no words.

daison wtf 2


Readers: How was your long weekend? Did you guys do anything fun? 

32 thoughts on “The Dream Life Continues (Pic Heavy) – Sunday Diary #5”

  • Geez I’m so curious about that Japanese product. Like wth?

    My MIL has been making a lot of dumplings lately. I keep wanting to take photos, but when the dumplings are done, I just want to eat them and forget about the rest. I think the most difficult part is making the wrap. If we buy the wraps from the grocery store, then dumplings are pretty easy to make (based on my MIL’s recipe).

    Living together with parents is not easy. They always want us to do things their way, and sometimes they think there are no boundaries just because they gave birth and raised us *sigh* I’m glad you sorted it out with your mom.

    Glad you met Financial Orchid too. Sounds like a great weekend! 😀

    • I wish you’re going to FinCon with me 🙁 I’m scared to go alone.

      That Japanese thing is a gift! Like a gag gift for bachelors. Lol! I found out after Dr. McFrugal told me.

      It’s not easy with parents nope! Not everything is sorted but at least it’s better.. They make my husband uncomfortable with their heavily old school Chinese ways.

  • Wow, an avocado tree! Did you grow it from the seed? How long does an avocado tree take to grow? Considering they are $1.25 each around here at its lowest, that sounds like a good idea!

    I love those Japanese gifts hahaha, they’re so funny!

    • Oh if you want an avocado tree to bear edible fruit, it’s better to get a small tree from the nursery. The ones grown from seeds from the supermarket won’t produce exactly good tasting fruit. Plus it takes a super long time to grow from seed. I’m just doing it for fun 🙂 because I want to see it grow from a seed as an experiment 🙂

  • Very nice pictures Lily 🙂

    And so much great food, miam… Homemade pork buns looks so good. I did them 3 weeks ago, but mine don’t look nearly as good haha. Yesterday we did 200 dumplings with my wife, now we are set for quite some time of very nice eating 🙂

    Really no idea about the japanese products, looks insane…
    The Poor Swiss recently posted…We got married! Wedding in Switzerland

  • I absolutely love that Leeroy Jenkins video haha. I literally laughed out loud when I read how “leeroy jenkins you like to get.”

    Sounds like you guys have been busy! I am impressed with your cooking abilities. I love sushi but have definitely never made any at home.

  • Lol, we got that inflatable Swan thing at a white elephant gift exchange. No idea what purpose it serves. When you take it out of the box it self inflates (it is not a wearable piece) and has sticky tabs to affix where desired…
    On another note- your bunny is so cute!

    • Oh it’s a chemical reaction with nitrogen that blows it up for you haha. I know much about this product now! 🙂 Thanks Mrs. SS

  • Oh, Lily, you’re so delightfully incorrigible. I don’t know what I liked more–the food pics, the night you gallantly ventured out to save a cat from a grisly death, the attempt to make your Chinese parents more American, the angry bunny, the great reading suggestions, or the Japanese twist on body-part augmentation. My head is spinning. Thanks for enlivening my dreary Tuesday. Peace.
    Mr. Groovy recently posted…Building Groovy Ranch: Update 17 (We’re Back!)

  • Wow, what an activity-filled weekend.
    We went to a rock museum, ate out at an izakaya, went bowling with RB40Jr’s friend, went shopping at Ikea and Target. That’s already a lot for us. 🙂

    Your bunny is super cute. Our son would love it. Can we come by? Great pictures.
    Maybe you should take your parents out to try Thai food or something a bit unfamiliar. I know how your mom feels because that’s how I feel about Thai food. We never go to a Thai restaurant because I can make all that stuff at home.

    Thanks for the mention!!
    Joe @ Retire by 40 recently posted…My Best Advice to New College Grads

    • Is izakaya like Japanese tapas?! Ahhhh you went to the Portland IKEA!!! I’ve always wanted to go! I love their meatballs. Soo jealous!

      Of course you’re free to come by Joe!!! I think Thai food is on the list. We have a reaaaaaally amazing place near us that specializes in Thai street food. Super amazingly yummy!

  • OMG, the food porn! I wish I could find gluten free wonton wrappers, because I am 100% into Crab Rangoon (but can’t eat them, because wheat). And the dumplings, oh my gosh, the dumplings.

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