Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meal Planning, Cont.

I posted a quick blurb on R.O.U.S. that I was trying to plan out meals in advance for several reasons:
  1. I spend way too high a percentage of my money on fast/convenience foods.
  2. We eat way too much quick, easy, highly processed/preserved meals.
  3. I want to incorporate more fresh/locally grown foods into our diets.
  4. I'm sick of trying to decide at the last minute what the heck I'm going to fix for dinner.
  5. I'm trying to save money at the grocery store. If I know exactly what I need for the month, I (hopefully) will be less likely to have to throw away food that expires before it gets eaten. Also, I'm hoping I'll be less likely to make "impulse" food buys at the store - thus, saving money.
I started with the goal of planning for the month. Well.... I got a little carried away. My meals are all planned through the end of the year. I've incorporated two nights a month having fast food (because, c'mon, gotta have my yummy fries sometimes!), one night a month ordering pizza, and one or two nights a month for leftovers. We won't have them more than that because I generally wind up eating the leftovers for lunch the next day. This schedule also takes into account times when Jamie will be gone on overnight trips and I will be eating either leftovers or microwave meals and our church's weekly Wednesday night dinner right before services start.

There isn't as much repetition in my schedule as I was afraid there'd be. Turns out, I know how to cook lots more than I thought I did. For recipes that we really like, I've scheduled them to repeat about every 25 days. For those that are good, but take a long time to fix, have more expensive ingredients or are not exactly what we ask for on a regular basis, I've scheduled them to repeat every 45 days. I also move things around so the more complicated items are on Friday or Saturday nights when it won't matter so much if we don't eat until 8:30 or 9 p.m. School nights are dedicated to recipes that are simpler and are a snap to fix.

I did this project in the calendar feature on Outlook. I will also be transferring it into iCal on my laptop. This makes it very simple for me to print out a week or a month at a time and put on the fridge. It also makes it easy for me to change out what days we do what, eliminate items we're sick of and substitute others, etc. It also makes it very easy for me to see what is needed for the month so that I know what to buy at the store.

I'll keep you all informed if this plan helps me save any money, and if I can actually stick to it. My first order of business is to go to the farmer's market this Saturday and see what kinds of fresh items are available (and how much they cost).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


In honor of my upcoming 500th blog post - okay, it WOULD have been my 500th blog post if I hadn't gone back through and deleted all my "draft" posts. Now it's more like the 485th blog post or some such. But, anyway - I'm going to be hosting a giveaway on my blog here soon. But, in order to do that, I need to know what you'd like to see given away... Cookware? Bakeware? Bed linens? Home decor? Toys for your kids/grandkids? Pet accessories? Home improvement stuff? Home storage? Office/school supplies? Shoes/purses/luggage? What strikes your fancy? I'm considering giving away a cobalt blue enameled cast iron dutch oven. Is this something you'd like? The company who is sponsoring the giveaway has tons of stuff. Leave me a comment and tell me the kinds of things you'd like me to giveaway.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

No Ranting Today

I was going to post a rant today. Then, while I was cruising through the "coming soon" trailers, I came across this:

I want to see this movie!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heaven, Help Me!

I was bombed yesterday. Not bombed as in "drunk", not bombed as in "actually had an explosive device dropped on me".... Bombed, as in "Mom we're talking about sex in health class for the rest of the year and so each night for my homework I have to ask you questions."

Oh, dear Lord, help me.

Now, I've talked in quite graphic detail with my son about sex. I've talked about how it's best to wait until you are old enough to handle it mentally, emotionally and physically. How God wants us to wait until we've found the person we're going to spend the rest of our lives with and actually are married to before we take that particular step. How oral sex is definitely still sex and it shouldn't be done, either. How diseases can be spread no matter which orifice is used, so it's much better to wait until you've both decided you love each other, are getting married, and have had all kinds of tests to make sure neither one of you is going to give each other a not-so-pleasant surprise. I even described in graphic detail the things that can happen to one's body parts as a result of some of those nasty diseases.

But I'm not sure how I feel about my baby boy asking me personal questions about sex. I mean, it's one thing for me to tell my son about sex, oral sex and such. It's quite another for him to ask me personal questions. And then, for him to say, "Yeah, the questions at first aren't so bad. But then I looked ahead in the book and.... oh, man! You aren't going to like the questions we have to ask!"


Lord, help me get through these next few months. Help us all. And help it do some good and keep our babies from trying to make babies of their own.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Opinions, Please

I have been approached by a company that is interested in hosting product giveaways and/or reviews on my site(s). What is your opinion of this possibility? Are you all for it? Do you hate it? Let me know in the comments if this is something you'd be interested in, please.

Also, I've slacked off on the "Rant Thursdays" a bit. Should this be a weekly feature? Or should I save them up and post one big rant once a month? Or, should I split the difference and just do it whenever I think of something to rant about? Again, please leave an opinion in the comments.

Also, if you have any other opinions about my blog, let me know. Do you want to read more about Jamie, the original reason for the creation of this blog? Do you want more pictures? Do you want more freaky-but-true stories about my life? Do you want me to post more poetry/short fiction? Or do you hate all those things and just want me to stick to stories about daily life? Is there any recurring item you cannot stand and never want to see again? Let me know you opinions in the comments. True, just because you leave a comment does not mean I'll change something you don't like, but at least then I'll be aware I'm annoying the crap out of you. Hey, I AM a little sister, after all. We like knowing we're annoying you. It makes us happy. :-)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


After months of posting ads on craigslist and every other "lost/found" dog website I could find, putting ads in the newspaper, putting up flyers, begging rescue organizations to help me find a home for my stray dogs - all to no avail - I had to take one of the dogs to the pound last night. It broke my heart. I chose the dog that had caused me the most trouble - she chewed everything, loved to drag my stuff outside through the doggie door and destroy it, and got loose and got pregnant, to boot. But she also would curl up by my feet, rest her sweet, soft furry face on my knee, and look at me with absolute adoration. And I took her to the pound.

As soon as we got there, she started crying. So did I. She hid under my chair while we waited in the lobby for the "intake process" to begin. She pressed herself as far up against the back of my legs as she could and shivered and shook the whole 15 minutes we had to wait.

And I bawled all the harder when they took her. She cried and scrambled to get back to me. The absolute betrayal she felt was clear. I know I had no choice, but it doesn't make me feel any better. Not one bit. I'll miss you, Li'l Bit. I hope they find you a forever home, but I know the odds are against it.

I wish I were young enough to delude myself into believing they'll find her a home right away. That they'll be able to find someone to love her and care for her, train her out of destroying stuff. But I know the pound only holds stray dogs for four days before they deem them "adoptable" or euthanize them. If a dog does, miraculously, get deemed "adoptable", they only hold them for about a week in the pound before they destroy them. And in that week, sweet, loving dogs are held in cold, concrete cages. No freedom to run and play. No one to rub them behind their ears or find that special "tickle spot" that makes them kick their legs and get a look of absolute bliss on their faces. They're kept locked in cages, where I'm sure they wonder what they did wrong, why their people don't love them anymore, why, why, why.

I know I had no choice. These stray dogs are killing me - financially, emotionally, and just the hassle. It's part of what's keeping me up all night. I exhausted every other possibility. Again, it doesn't make me feel any better. Not one bit.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Breathing Underwater

I kind of fizzled over the weekend. That seems to have become a pattern with me; I bust my butt all week at work, can't sleep nights, then wind up crashing (and usually having some sort of illness) over the weekends. This past weekend was no different. I've been battling a sinus infection for a while, and it apparently has decided it wants to move into my lungs. I've felt like I've been breathing underwater for days.

There for a while, my sinus infection seemed to be doing better. Mama Tooz and Daddy Dave gave me a nasal asperating thingie (basically a neti pot, but less breakable) and I was using it daily. Then parts of it disappeared. I used it one morning, handwashed the innards of it, and laid them out to dry. Jamie got home before me and started doing dishes, as he'd been instructed. Normally, I'd be jumping up and down for joy that he actually did something he was supposed to. But when I came home from work, the innards were missing. We didn't see them on the floor, couldn't see them in the crack between the dishwasher and refrigerator.... Nowhere. Since he lost the top and the tube that carries the saline from the bottle up to and through my nose, it is now unusable. A couple of days later, the infection started kicking in with a vengeance, then migrated south to my lungs.

Because I've felt craptastic all weekend, Jamie got to help me do some necessary fixes around the house. The funky, spinny, roof vent thingamabobbers had come off their spindles, and the wind blew them off their holes at about a 45-degree angle. This meant that any rain could get into the attic, possibly causing mold. Unfortunately, there is also a hole in the garage ceiling that is right below one of the roof spinny thingies, and under that hole in the ceiling is where the washer and dryer (and, ergo, the electrical outlets for the washer and dryer) sit. Rain would not be a good thing to introduce to the electrical outlets. We were forecasted to receive (and did receive) rain over the weekend and into this week. So, we borrowed a ladder from the neighbor, and under my close supervision, Jamie got to go up and fix them for me.

Of course, "supervision" meant I took pictures of him up there, and made sure he didn't fall completely off the roof should be come tumbing down. He was very excited and enthusiastic about being up there. Considering I was several years younger than him when my brother and I used to beat the crap out of each other with cane poles on the ridgeline of our three story house, I didn't see much harm in him climbing up on a single story house to fix the doohickeys.

Fixing doohicky number 1

Fixing doohicky number 2

He was much more enthusiastic about getting up there and looking around the neighborhood than he was about getting down. When it came time for him to swing his legs around and feel for the ladder, he announced emphatically, "I'm just going to stay up here. I don't want to get down. I don't want to get down! I can't get down! You can't make me!" By this point he was screaming, while I was snickering (and coughing) into my sleeve. Finally, I was able to get him down with minimal screaming and no destruction of gutters, roof, ladder or boy. I then rewarded him with a cup of hot chocolate.

Other than that, we did nothing all weekend. Food consisted of soup and sandwiches and whatever else Jamie could fix himself. I'm marginally better today (well, better enough to come to work). I'm hoping Mucinex will loosen enough of this crud to get it all out. I can't afford to go to the doctor, so I'll be fighting this with OTC medicines and spicy food to clear out the sinuses.
Jamie's spring break is next week, so I'm hoping to be feeling well enough that we actually get to do something on his spring break, instead of me spending my vacation days at home in bed, being miserable.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Life in Haiku (Or, My Pathetic Attempt to Make My Mundane Life Seem More Interesting)

Sleep is elusive.
The sheep I count defected.
I am so grouchy!

Work is still stressful,
reports unending burdens.
I need a day off.

Relaxation comes;
babysitting night at church.
Solitude beckons.

Infinite worlds will
blossom in my mind tonight.
Love that "new book" smell.

Sadness comes this way.
Tomorrow one puppy leaves
to go to the pound.

No rescue groups came
to help me find her a home.
I cannot keep her.

Two puppies remain
but are not as aggressive.
I can take my time.

My boy grows by leaps
and bounds; he climbed on the roof
to fix broken vents.

Climbing up was fun!
He could see for miles, but the
climb down was scary.

UT was so great!
Making Rube Goldberg Machine
highlight of the day.

He grows so fast, my
heart breaks watching my boy turn
into a young man.

The sands of time move
swiftly. They take childhood and
leave behind a man.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rant Thursday - Fatigue Edition

This week's rant, I'm afraid, will be just as brief as last week's. I'm tired, folks. I've been working for two weeks on the same monster report (in fact, I took my laptop with me today and worked on it while I was waiting with Jamie to see his pediatrician. He has yet another ear infection.) So my rant this week is about being tired. All. The. Time. I wake up tired, I go through my day tired. Get home tired. Trudge through the evening tired. Then I go to bed. What do I do when I get there? Stare at the ceiling. Insomnia's a pain, yo. When I do finally fall asleep, it's only to have to get up in four hours or whatever and do it all again. Then I got on the scale at work today and about had a heart attack. But I'm too tired by the time I get home to do anything about it. Being tired all the time stinks. So tell me, when coffee fails, Mt. Dew leaves you dozing and you don't have one scrap of energy left in your body, how do you keep going? Got any secret, sure-fire energy boosters? Please share! I'd love to have some new things to try to get me through my day.

Oh, yeah, and if you have something you want to rant about - please, feel free to leave it in the comments section. I want to know I'm not the only ranting and raving person in the blogosphere.