Category Archives: Family & Relationships

The 4-Hour Workweek Book Review

BOOK: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 – 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

AUTHOR: Timothy Ferriss (@tferriss)

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

When I bought my copy of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from author Timothy Ferriss. But what I got was completely different than what I thought.

Tim’s no-nonsense approach to crafting a 4-hour workweek made me feel like he is nonapproachable and egotistical S-O-B. And so everyone that follows will be the same.

What made me come to this conclusion about Tim? It’s about automating your emails, being direct and to the point with the associates around you whether on the phone or in your emails, and hiring virtual assistants do everything for you. Tim, do you hire someone to ______ and _______ (fill in the blanks)?

Being a DEALmaker

The book talks about reformating your lifestyle to those of the New Rich by using the acronym D-E-A-L. He states, “the steps and strategies can be used with incredible results”.

They are:
D for Definition: Define the rules and objectives for living like the New Rich.
E is for Elimination: Eliminating the destractions that kill your ability to be effective. Using Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 Rule.
A is for Automation:: Automate, outsource, and arbitrage. Hiring those to do everything for you.
L is for Liberate: Testing the waters by taking mini-retirements.

Of course, Tim backs up his method by showing off his accomplishments as the First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango, being an MTV breakdancer in Taiwan, to being a National Chinese kickboxing champion. He throws in how he speaks like 6 languages (somewhere along that number). Yes Tim, we know you are the know-it-all guru.

Despite the egotistical notions

You are a love-hate relationship. I comment on your blog knowing I will never receive a response back. I would never send you an email or call you because it would either be answered by a VA or you would offer a military, direct response as to what I want.

Yet, I find myself becoming a #4HWW groupie. I went to work putting myself on a low-information diet and acheived more work in one day then I have for previous weeks. I’ve learned to delegate my lower priority tasks to my coworkers, thus freeing up my time to work on higher items on the agenda. This also in turns, have made my coworkers feel more important and responsive to the needs of our team.

I come home to do the same and find more time to play with my children, talk with my husband, crochet a baby blanket and read a book. My TV has been off for two days straight. I love it!

Now I am considering outsourcing the housework, lawn maintenance and perhaps batch cooking family meals for the week. Crazy I know. But I will explain why in a future post.


Even if I didn’t want to travel the world nomadically or completely put my life an automatic… Even if I want to stay an employee or become an entrepreneur…

Tim’s tactics/reasoning for achieving more freedom, WORK.

I love focusing just only the important jobs at work, I love spending time with my family, having more time for myself and my hobbies. It’s great! And it is creating a synergistic postive effect with my family and coworkers.

It’s refocusing your life around your drive, love and passion. It’s making time to spend with those you love – your friends and family.

He even has chapters for facing your fears and making the 4-hour workweek possible for anyone. I definitely need chapters like this, because my fear is what freezes me in taking the next step(s).

Since I am an employee, I am working on the acronym D-E-L-A. Liberating before automating. Going to see if I can virtualize my job 2 times a week by working from home. If that does not work, than I am looking into creating a small business that will work within Tim’s guidelines.

The book is a worthwhile read. I read it straight thru, once. Now I added flags to the front page of my book, because as I start reading it a 2nd time… it is time to mark all the pages I will needed to refer and re-refer to as I move along the steps.

Remember, Tim accomplished those pompous ass achievements because he is focused on the important aspects for living life to the fullest.

Take a reading to it – in my book its a win-win situation.

To read more about The 4-Hour Workweek or Tim Ferriss:


Menu Plan Monday

Oh boy, this weekend was fun! LOL. Understatement. We got an itch to repaint and redo some of the decor in the living room due to guest coming over for a Super Bowl Party. We dealt with moving furniture, matching paint, cleaning, removing chair rails, spackling, cleaning blinds, etc… needless to say, we are really worn out! Hey, I am a master painter now. LOL. Not something I am proud of. Do I really need to go to work tomorrow. *sigh*

The good thing, the living room looks great with the minor redo. And I cleaned out a bunch of drawers and magazines. Feeling lighter with out the extra weight of stuff.

So, my apologies for getting this post out late. But let’s talk food. The Super Bowl – frugal friendly – it’s a potluck. We are hosting Coors Light, Stella Artois, and a Nacho Bar. Went to Costco to buy 2 big backs of tortilla chips, 1 bottle of salsa, 1 lg. can of Queso (keep warm in crockpot) and then I am going to buy all the veggies (tomatoes, olives, cheese, avocado), jalapenos, and sour cream/guacamole later this week. Can’t decide who I want to win – Colts or Saints. Well, let me give it to the Saints since it’s their first time going. πŸ™‚

Sizzling Salmon & Spinach Salad with Soy Vinaigrette – I am craving a good salmon salad again. This one has 5 stars, so I gotta try it. Perhaps I wil accompany it with some cheese toast and a glass of white zinfandel My Recipes

Chicken Chimichangas – Tuesdays are usually mexican night and this is no exception. I have some left over shredded chicken from Sunday night’s chicken tamale casserole (which was worth making, but I added fresh tomatoes, olives and sliced avocados to the recipe – delish) that needs to be used up. I can’t think of a better way. My Recipes

Sandwiches & Cream of Celery Soup – Guess what? I have chicken stock made from Sunday’s night dinner too! Because after boiling my chicken to shred…well, you can’t just throw out the stock. Save it for better use. And this is a perfect way. The Wednesday Chef

Steak, potatoes, and veggies – This is usually a weekly menu item. My husband loves his steak and baked potato. His steak rub = his secret recipe. πŸ™‚

We are going out to eat – Our house is getting ready for a Super Bowl party. We’re gonna be tuckered out getting our house ready for a soiree of friends. So, this Friday night we are hitting the city for a bite to eat!

Fend for Yourself Saturday – leftovers, fix your own, lazy day Saturday… the kids love it because they can fix usually whatever their stomachs desire.

Super Bowl Nacho Bar – warm up the queso in the crockpot, put the beer on ice, gather good friends and watch a great game!

To find more great Menu Plan Monday’s, check out

Menu Plan Monday

Did you know there are over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes? Geesh.

Two years ago, I took a trip to San Diego for work (happy to oblige on company’s expense). During the last evening of my trip, I took a trip with a group of coworkers to a restaurant whose name escapes me. But what I do remember is the vegetarian pasta dish I ordered adorned with yellow pear tomatoes. Let me tell you, they were delicious! Slightly softened from cooking but burst with flavor in your mouth.

So, it is to no avail that I can’t wait to try the Steak, Potato and Portabello Kebabs from GoodLife’s Eats on this weeks menu. Maybe I should try to recreate the Warm Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for dessert. πŸ˜‰

This Week’s Menu:

Mexican Tacos – No recipe here. Simmer a can of black beans in taco seasoning. Prepared fried taco shells in oil. Fill with black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, cheese, and a dollup of sour cream.

Soups & Sandwiches – Would of made soup but didn’t have the time. Couldn’t decide the kind so I bought Tomato & Basil and Split Pea. Will be accompanied by Sourdough Sandwiches filled with sprouts, tomatoes, cheese, and meat.

Chili Cheese Dogs, Spiral Mac & Cheese, and Fries – Its a kid’s night. All prepackaged (and yes, totally unhealthy).

Tuna Noodle Casserole & green salad – Normally I make the same old Good HouseKeeping Tuna Noodle Casserole with the cream of mushroom, egg noddles, etc… But I am tres excited to find this recipe. Same ole’ ho-hum recipe but add cream of celery, French’s Fried Onions, and a Corn Flake topping. Can’t wait to try this one! Recipe Tips

Steak, Potato, and Portabello Kebabs – Paired with Yellow Pear Tomatoes. Mm-mm. This recipes looks so good! The balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary… these gals know how to fuse flavors together nicely. πŸ˜‰ Goodlife Eats

Chicken Tamale Casserole & green salad – Danger: will find delicous recipes in Cooking Light Magazine (this is the only magazine where I actually make their recipes instead of just drooling). Took the chicken out of the freezer to cook and shred. I am actually quite excited to try this one. Tip: 1/4C of egg substitute is equal to one egg.Cooking Light via

There some great stuff on this week’s menu! Now I am off to make a batch of curry for this week’s lunches.

Menu plan Monday is hosted by Head on over there to find more great recipes!

Menu Plan Monday

Southern California is going to get 8 inches of rain! To this gal who has been experiencing high 70’s sunshine weather this is a lot of water to be dumped in one week.To offset being drowned this week, I am planning on cooking up some comfort food (hopefully the comfort won’t be put on the hips – lol).

You know, the thought of rain makes me want to bake. Maybe I will whip up some Zucchini-Pineapple Muffins (store nicely in the freezer). They will go great with my morning coffee.

Well, enjoy this week’s Menu Plan Monday. BTW, MPM is hosted by I’m an Organizing Junkie. Head on over there to find many other blogger’s MPMs.

Baked Spaghetti Recipe – This recipe is found on Taste of Home. Heard it is one to try and I love it for being a casserole! Easy Peasy! Taste of Home

Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread – We’re suppose to get 8 inches of rain all in one week! For a So. Cal girl this is a BIG Deal! To help sooth the jitters from driving home in the rain, I’m gonna cook me up some comfort lovin’! Honest Fare

Easy Lemon Pasta with Chicken – I have to admit I love the Neelys recipes on Food Network. I think it is the Southern + Food = Home Comfort. The Food Network

Cauliflower,Potato & Pea Curry with White Rice – I’m all about the comfort food this week and with an Indian Flare… all the better! Plus, I’ve been craving going completely vegetarian again. International Vegetarian Union

Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad with Toasted Garlic Bread – Something Simple, Something Yummy, and Something Healthy! Mm-mm! Need I say more? Dr. Gourmet

Menu Plan Monday

Happy New Year’s! I only made a couple resolutions for this year, but one I do have in the back of my mind is to START EATING BETTER AGAIN! Ha! I was going to start calling 2009 the year that made my butt fat. The holidays were brutal – you know, with all that good food to eat. You can’t pass up the mashed sweet potatoes with all their marshmallow gooey-ness or the cookies that only come around once a year with their powdered sugar. But, I told myself, “Christine, lets eat now and we will work it off coming of the new year”. And that is what I intend to start doing by eating healthier for a great start to a New Year!

Can healthy eating be done frugally? Of course! First, plan your menu around the grocery sale’s ad. This is a huge saver for me. Right now, squash and asparagus are on sale. Yummy! I have squash to adorn my Thursday’s plate with that yummy teriyaki chicken.

Then, I make sure my plate is filled with 1/3rd veggies, 1/3rd grains, 1/3rd meat or meat alternative. Sometimes, I can even go 2/3rd veggies. I love my veggies! Many of times, I include a green salad with my meals. Top it with a simple vinegarette and cracked pepper.

Buy quality choice meats but slice them up at dinner instead of opting for a big cut on the plate. I did this in our family not only to save money, but to save on health. My family was consuming too much red meat. Not healthy. So now we will cook a couple steaks and slice them. Each person consumes about 1/2 a steak and doesn’t ever complain that there is not enough.

Healthy snacks – cut up those veggies when you come home and bag them to make them for easy grabs. Buy nuts and dried fruits at Trader Joes or Fresh & Easy (they are much cheaper at these places) then your local store. Put a bowl of fruit on the table. Kids love to go for what is available at a moments notice.

As you can see, it is easy to go healthy on a frugal budget. Give it a try. Not only can you save money but you can feel great at the same time from having better health!

This weeks Menu Plan Monday (graciously hosted by

(The underlined text are the healthy portions that I eat. The rest my family consumes.)

  • Sunday: Baby back pork ribs, baked beans, and macaroni salad (um… ya, not tonight)
  • Monday: Marinated steak, baked potato, and steamed broccoli with lemon pepper
  • Tuesday: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese and a green salad full of veggies, cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds (and a small portion of that pasta)
  • Wednesday: Tacos filled with black beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, green onions, and olives
  • Thursday: Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, and veggies (probably zucchini and yellow squash)
  • Friday: Chili dogs and fries (I think I’m gonna have my self a salad and a couple of toasted baguettes)

You all have a great start to the week! πŸ™‚

Menu Plan Monday

The menu plan for this week, starting Sunday, is as follows:

1. Egg & Cheese Breakfast Tacos with Salsa 2. Lemon Chicken with white rice & veggies 3. Creamy Fettuccine with Shrimp & Bacon and a Green Salad 4. Turkey, Turkey, Turkey Dinner! 5. Leftovers! Hot Turkey Sandwiches with all the fixins. Mm-Mmm. Sorry, I didn’t plan Saturday and Sunday. I am virtually stuffed just thinking about Thanksgiving day & it’s left overs. πŸ˜‰

For more great ideas, be sure to visit Meal Plan Monday hosted by

10 Thanksgiving Place Card Ideas

Since the big meal tends to claim the center of attention during Thanksgiving, here are 10 free or frugal ways to help adorn a beautifully set table:

Free Place Card Printables


Oak Leaves by HGTV


Oak Leaves by Lee Hansen


Variety by Delish


Turkeys by Lee Hansen

Thanksgiving Place Cards (small fee)

Fall Leaves beverly brown

Fall Leaves by Beverly Brown

Gourd Place Card by PaperSource

Gourds by Paper Source

Tasty Treat Place Card


Cookies by Good Housekeeping

More Great Ideas for Place Cards


Natural Living by Country Living

Martha Stewart

Oak Leaves by Martha Stewart

Pinecone Place Card

Pinecone Place Cards by Better Homes & Garden

*I need to apologize to my CDN readers for not presenting this last month. I’m just so used to following the US holiday schedule.

Freaking Out: Christmas is Just About Here!

Home for the Holidays

Is anyone else freaking out that there is only…

Christmas countdown banner


I may be freaking out about Christmas, but something is different this year.

As I was walking through the Christmas filled aisles of my local Walgreen’s drugstore I realized I was NOT infatuated with the Christmas consumerist buzz this year*. No more rose colored glasses honing me in with my “oohs” and “ahhs”. I was asking myself as I passed the aisles of plastic garland, cheap ornaments, Snuggies, cheap lotions and perfume, specialized coffee machines that only use one kind of pod, “who needs all this stuff?”. I can make ornaments with flour, salt and water, string up colored paper chains, wrap my self in a comfortable throw blanket, and sip on some home brewed coffee from my old school coffee maker or French press. Gadget-smadgets! It’s just a consumer’s society to produce ‘stuff’ and take our money.

I want to have a real Christmas with homemade ornaments that make wonderful keepsakes, the smell of home baked cookies, peppermint bark, and breads that make wonderful Christmas gifts, cinnamon-vanilla lattes to bring warm-fuzzies, and seasonal holiday get together’s with my friends and family.

So, I am freaking out because I haven’t planned my calendar or made my lists; what cookies and breads to bake, what day to have a Christmas get together (tis a potluck gathering for a frugal fun day), when we are going to take our family’s Christmas photo (matching reindeer sweaters? LOL. Just kidding), and when I will be able to steal my quiet time with my husband to enjoy cinnamon-vanilla home made lattes in front of the fireplace while watching a White Christmas (I have a thing for Bing Crosby’s talent).

Don’t get me wrong, I do plan on buying gifts for family and friends. In fact, I already picked up one of my daughter’s gifts this weekend (and keeping within budget – thank you). But there are things I am going to differently this year.

  1. owning my money this season and staying within my budget
  2. if I need to make gifts more abundant or have a last minute gift outside my budgetary range – time to whip up the good ole’ home baked sweets and adorn with a bow & tag
  3. making sure the holiday season is about family and not the glitter-n-shopping factor
  4. keeping to my gift list and not being persuaded by ads (unless I can get a better price on my listed item)
  5. making a donation to the city’s mission service to help feed the homeless
  6. finding frugal and fun ways to have a happy holiday season – the city’s tree lighting ceremony, listening to the high school choir sing, building paper chains with my daughter, watching Christmas movies in the living room with the family

I know it can be tough to stay away from the glitter-n-shopping factor! There is some really pretty stuff out there. But help yourself out – throw away the ads after you’re done skimming them, stick to your guns, take up Enemy of Debt’s Christmas challenge, and read these great posts to stay on your DEBT-FREE mission! πŸ™‚

Major Holiday Busters by Fabulously Broke in City

Have you ever had a DEBT FREE CHRISTMAS, And will you accept my challenge by Enemy of Debt – YES YOU WILL!

Homemade Christmas Ornaments and Decorations by Debt Free Adventure

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

My favorite article (I come back to it year after year), Bankrate’s 12 ways to de-commercialize Christmas

*Christmas = the holiday celebration you enjoy. I believe all and any religious holiday aspect receives the same consumeristic buzz πŸ™‚