Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meal Planning 10/31-11/6

Sunday: Meatloaf with a Bite, mashed potatoes (from a pouch...I'm a bit ashamed), and peas
Monday: Santa Fe Chicken
Tuesday: Squashtastic Shepherd's Pie by Hungry Girl (in this cookbook) (I'm planning to make it just like the cookbook version, but HG doesn't have the recipe anywhere online)
Wednesday: Cheesy Good Breakfast Tartlets by Hungry Girl, shredded hash browns, a veggie
Thursday: Taco Pizza
Friday: Ham & Pineapple Dinner (and a veggie...)
Saturday: We'll be visiting family, so I know I won't be cooking at home

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meal Plan: 10/24-10/30

Sunday: Went to my parents' house and had homemade chicken & noodles over mashed potatoes, served with corn and rolls.  Yum.

Monday: Taco Puffs served with some sauteed bell peppers

Tuesday: Hash Brown Scramble served with the leftover bell peppers

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Fajita Fettuccine (if I can remember to marinate my chicken tonight...)

Thursday: Penne & Meatballs (needed something super fast since it's Trick or Treat night)

Friday: Biggest Loser Grilled Chicken Parmesean (it just seems like grilled chicken, some sauce, and a bit of cheese--no breading)

Saturday:  Not sure.  Maybe Chipotle or we might have friends over, in which case, I might cook up something fun.  Or we could just have pizza.  We'll see :)

This bag is not a toy

In the time BC (before children), I was aghast at the thought of allowing my child to play with a plastic bag.  Surely, what idiot needs the warning on plastic grocery bags that "this bag is not a toy"?  Why would some moron allow their small child to PLAY with a PLASTIC BAG?

Because she's cranky in the car and it made her happy, I answer now. 

(and, lest you consider calling Children's Services on me, The Hubby was sitting in the passenger seat and keeping an eye on her while she smacked it and the package of diapers inside it around)

Monday, October 18, 2010


This post was started 9/15/09 when Baby Girl was about 6 weeks old--I wanted to go ahead and publish it just to remember it :)

Motherhood has come with many surprises (more and more every day). They may not be the same for everyone, but these are things I've discovered:

1) Showering is a much bigger priority than ever before (if I didn't shower on the weekends, I was perfectly happy).

2) Motherhood didn't come naturally. I have wanted to be a mom for my entire life. I've always thought of myself as being nurturing and thought that motherhood would be completely natural for me. That's completely untrue, though. I feel like I don't have a maternal instinct at all. I question every decision I make and don't even have much of a gut feeling about most things.

3) Nursing isn't nearly as convenient as you'd think. You would think that since the food is always with you, you could feed the baby anywhere and

4) How much I would eat

Meal Plan: 10/17-10/23

Apparently this week we're paying homage to our Mexican heritage...that is non-existent, contrary to popular belief (many people think either The Hubby or I are Hispanic, which isn't true--for me, it's the curly hair and for The Hubby it's the complexion).  The Hubby requested tacos and I figured I'd just double the meat and do something different with it later in the week.  Then he suggested we have the Chicken Taco Bake that was in the freezer already...  And then he requested chili (which he claims is NOT Mexican at all).  You may want to avoid our house this week...

Sunday: One Dish Chicken Bake--this was really something that my mom used to make but I found the recipe online just for you!  I didn't make any modifications--I like the way it tastes as delivered :)  Oh, and we served this with peas, which Baby Girl ate at least a cup of.

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Ribs, baked potatoes (white for The Hubby and sweet for Baby Girl and me), and frozen veggie (maybe peas again)

Wednesday: Grilled Tacos (just pre-making a taco, but grilling it on the griddle after it's wrapped to give it a more crunchy texture.  Baby Girl might have a quesadilla.)

Thursday: Chili

Friday: Chicken Taco Bake from the freezer

Saturday: Probably Chipotle (haha--more Mexican!), which is our typical gameday tradition.  If we eat out during the week, though, we'll be eating whatever was planned for that night. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our grand plan

We have a plan, The Hubby and I.  A plan to simplify.  A plan to organize.  A plan to de-stress. 

We've had plans before and then something would happen.  The baby.  Him working late.  Someone dying.  An unexpected visitor.  Illness. 

This is our plan, for better or for worse.  On Saturdays (or on Sunday mornings) we're making a meal plan and a grocery list.  I go to the grocery every Sunday morning, so this works out well. 

Sunday evening is when the excitement happens, though!  Sunday evening we're planning out the week ahead.  We're looking at The Hubby's work schedule to figure out when he needs to work a bit late.  Based off of that, we decide who is doing pick-up and drop-off at daycare and then which dinner we'll have which night.

We've also decided that we want to work some activities into our nights.  We want to start working out a bit more.  We want to spend more quality time together.  So we're picking 2 nights to work out (and then will try to do some active stuff over the weekend).  Then we're picking two other nights to spend doing some more fun things.  We've made a list of six fun things we'd do and we roll a die twice--once for each night.  The number on the die corresponds to one of the fun activities.

For instance, Tuesday night we went through videos (The Hubby) and photos (me), worked on downloading, editing, and organizing them.  It's something we both like to do and need to do.  Then tonight or tomorrow (I forget which night is our workout night) we're going to put together a puzzle. 

This is all a structured way to eliminate the evenings that were filled with me sitting in the recliner with the laptop, watching TV and surfing, and The Hubby sitting on the couch watching TV and snoring.  We're hoping it will encourage us to interact more and really make the most of the limited time we have together after Baby Girl goes to bed. 

There will still be TV-watching, of course.  Last night, for instance, we watched The Biggest Loser in the basement while we worked on organizing stuff from the craft room.  Being productive, talking to each other, and watching TV all at once--love it!

I hope we can keep it up.  So far, it's felt so nice knowing what's going to happen each day and not going to bed feeling like the evening was wasted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Don't Cost Yourself Money

This, as many of the tips I offer up, may seem like an easy concept.  The thought here is: don't cost yourself money!

I'm not even talking about (for today) spending on cable if you watch it or paying for insurance, even if you're paying more than you should.  There will be another time for shopping around to get the best price.  I'm talking about times when you might as well light that dollar bill on fire and throw it out the window into the mouth of a waiting rottweiler who will then chew it up, spit it out, and bury it under a mound of dirt, which will then get washed away, down the drain, to hang out with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then Splinter will do a big karate chop and disintegrate it. 

A few examples:

Return library books on time.  Library books are FREE.  But they aren't free when you forget to return one of the CDs in a 2-CD set, tell the husband, forget again, and don't return it for another month.  Trust me, I've been there.  It would've been cheaper to buy that CD in the first place.

Don't hang onto a gym membership you don't use.  If you haven't been to the gym more than one time since before you got pregnant in November 2008, CANCEL THAT MEMBERSHIP!  (yes, this is also me speaking from experience...)

Eat, cook, or freeze your food before it expires.  I talk a lot about stock-piling and buying a lot of something when it goes on sale.  But that only works if you're going to use it or do something with it so that it will keep until you use it.  You might find a great deal on a big butternut squash, but unless you use it before it gets funky (do squash get funky?  I might find out soon enough...), it's not a savings if you weren't going to buy it in the first place.

Don't buy items just to use a coupon on it unless it's somehow going to make you money or you're going to use that item.  I've done it.  I've gotten sucked into those MEGA SALES (and yes, that deserves all caps), bought all sorts of things I *think* we'll use, but then they expire.  Or we find that we're getting fat because I'm saving spending money.

Trust me on these.  I've done them all (not the throwing away money, crazy do you think I am?). 

And I'm going to try to remedy them all by the week's end.  Wish me luck.

What sort of things are you needlessly spending money on?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan 10/10-10/16

We're getting back on track with organizing our house.  We printed out the weekly calendar, planned out our meals for each night based on how late The Hubby has to work, figured out which days we're driving together, planned out what we're going to get accomplished each night (if we don't, every single night is TV TV TV).  Tonight we're cleaning out the craft room/office.  It's so incredibly overwhelming that we have to load everything into big tubs and sort in some other room, Clean Sweep-style (which apparently is no longer on TV...).  We're really giving this simplified life thing another go.  Wish us luck...

Sunday: Taco Bell.  Yes, I fed my daughter Taco Bell.  And she ate almost an entire Chicken Taco (Fresco-style, thankyouverymuch), tortilla, lettuce, onion, and all.  That's my girl...  We'd been out of town this weekend and I didn't get a chance to get to the grocery until she was in bed.  Better for her than a donut...which is another post for another time.

Monday: Santa Fe Chicken (new recipe--should be good as long as I actually have everything I need...which I'm not so sure about!)

Tuesday: Chicken Burger Sliders and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday: Lasagna (my mama's recipe with some spinach thrown in ;))  We're taking Wednesday off, weather permitting, and going to the zoo, so we should be home early enough to do lasagna.  Yum!

Thursday: Pancakes & Turkey Sausage

Friday: Leftover lasagna

Saturday: Either Chipotle, a gameday tradition around here, or a frozen Mexican casserole I made a week or so ago.

And apples.  OMG, the apples.  I bought about 15 apples at the grocery last night at $0.88/lb.  I might go back on Wednesday to get more.  I'm planning on using most of the Granny Smith to make this.  Or this.  Or maybe this

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thrifty Thursday--Making Money

In honor of my missing Thrifty Thursday posts over the last few months, I'm giving you a MEGA post!  Hope you enjoy!

Every little bit helps, right?  Well, I'm going to tell you today about little things you can do to make a bit of money.  It may not seem like much, but it adds up over time.
Product Rewards

Do you drink Coca-Cola products?  If so, sign up at My Coke Rewards, where you can enter in the codes you find inside the caps of bottles and inside the cardboard packages of 12, 20, and 24 packs of cans.  You can use the points you get to buy all sorts of products--I've got my eye on a programmable crockpot!

To get extra codes, I've done the following:
  • I've started to solicit co-workers, who bring me their caps and flaps and I put in their codes as well. 
  • The Hubby and I used to walk around after sporting events and take caps off of 20 oz bottles of Coke around the stadium.  We would fill up an entire popcorn box (or our pockets) in just a few minutes!  (And then we washed our hands.  Three times.)
  • I also ask family to give me caps and flaps
  • I know people who go through neighbors' recycling bins on the day it's picked up and take flaps off their boxes.  We don't have recycling in our neighborhood, but I'd probably consider it if we did!
You can do the same thing with Pepsi!  I'm not much of a Pepsi drinker, so I haven't joined this site, but it looks comparable to My Coke Rewards.
    Buy diapers?  Both Huggies and Pampers have programs that reward you for buying their products.  You just find the code on the product and enter it online.  The nice bonus is that there are frequently extra codes available that aren't one-time use (the ones on the products are one-time use only) that will bolster your points balance.  The Frugal Girls keeps a running list of codes for Pampers and here's a master list of Huggies codes that I've found.

    When you get enough points, you can redeem them for toys or gift cards (refer to their rewards catalogs for more information)

    Join survey sites!  I've belonged to quite a few of them over the past few years and have deposited quite a few checks and used a lot of gift cards.  Here are a few:

    Opinion Outpost (earned $50 from them and haven't done hardly any surveys recently)
    Test Spin (have $24 ready to cash out)
    Pinecone (you have to keep on the lookout for a banner asking people to join--it's more selective, but a great company to work with)
    Survey Saavy
    GPT (get paid to) sites

    These are a little trickier, but fun to do.  You just click through some ads, enter your information (I got an email account just for these since they like to spam you) and make some money.  I made a lot of money one year doing this.  I think it's a bit less lucrative now, but still something fun to do :)

    My two favorite:

    Cash Duck
    Treasure Trooper
    Click-through emails

    These sites send you emails (so get a separate account specifically for them!) and you just click on a link in the email to note that you've read it and earn money (or points, which is the case with My Points). 

    My Points (no referral link, but just leave a comment if you'd like a referral--if not, just join on your own :))
    Send Earnings (have about $23 to cash out from them right now)
    Inbox Dollars (have gotten about a $30 payout previously from them and you get $5 just for signing up)
    Cash Back Shopping

    Use these sites when you're doing online shopping--you get money back just for buying the things you were going to buy anyway.  I've saved a ton of money using these!  The GPT sites also have cash back shopping as well.

    Shop at Home (you get $5 with your first purchase)
    My Points
    Search Sites

    Swagbucks--this is my favorite site right now.  You go to this site instead of Google (although in the interest of full disclosure, I actually get better results from Google, so if you don't find it on Swagbucks, go to Google) and earn Swagbucks for some of your searches.  They also offer Swagcodes that you can enter onto the site for extra Swagbucks (if you send me your email address after you join, I can email you all the Swagcodes I get sent to me).  The best reward on this site is Amazon gift cards--I've redeemed my Swagbucks for 22 $5 Amazon gift cards.

    Swagbucks also has surveys and clickable offers that can earn you even more Swagbucks!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Happy Birthday to Me!

    I am so incredibly blessed.  I had about 100 people on Facebook tell me happy birthday for my big day (you know, the big 2-9) on Sunday.  I know most of them would have had no idea if it weren't for Facebook reminding them, but I'll let that pass and just enjoy the well-wishes. :)

    On Saturday we had friends over to watch the OSU game (Go Bucks!).  We used to watch EVERY game with these folks, but since we both had babies last year (our little ones are 3 weeks 2 days apart), it's been pretty hard to coordinate game-watching and naptimes, so we've been watching games solo this season (they were so much more portable and flexible last year!).  Once the babies were done with naps, we all went out to eat to one of my favorite restaurants, BD's Mongolian BBQ.  The Hubby and I actually went there for my birthday last year while my parents watched Baby Girl (our first time out without her), but we had never tackled going there with her.  It's sort of like a buffet in that you go up and pick out your food--not so easy with a toddler.  It was nice to have extra people there--the ladies went and got food for themselves and their little ones while the daddies hung out with the babies, then the daddies went up to get their food.  It was fun and it's always nice to spend time with friends :) 

    Oh, and our friends got me some accessories for the Cricut that she and I share, so I'm really excited to try them out!!

    That night, Baby Girl decided she wanted to be the first to wish me a happy birthday and woke up at midnight....and again at three...and then again for the day around 6.  Ugh.  What a long night. 

    What I had thought would be a curse on my birthday turned out to be a blessing.  The Hubby found out on Saturday that he was going to have to go to work on Sunday morning and I assumed that meant I'd be on my own with Baby Girl all morning, but that didn't happen.  Instead, he took Baby Girl with him to work and let her run around there for a couple of hours...while I SLEPT.  He said he wanted to make a point that he needed to be at home.  Not sure if anyone got that point, but I sure appreciated getting to sleep in until 9:30 and waking to The Hubby and Baby Girl bringing me my birthday gift in bed--a gift certificate to get an hour-long massage and some Swedish Fish :)  The Hubby had also brought home breakfast, but Baby Girl wouldn't have let us eat in bed, so we went downstairs to have our bagels.

    Around 12:30 my parents arrived to the house and we all had a lunch of cold cuts and chips.  They gave me some gifts (including a fabulous new wireless printer!) and played with Baby Girl, then she went down for a nap while we watched the rest of the Browns game (Go Brownies!!).  When she got up, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden, then returned home for cake.  At dinner, Baby Girl was in rare form.  Seriously.  She was twisting and turning and wiggling and giggling--it was like we'd given her a bunch of carbs all day.  Oh wait.....

    We let Baby Girl stay up a little later than normal, but it didn't seem to affect her overnight sleep--she was stil up once last night.

    The only damper to the weekend was that I now have the cold that Baby Girl started coming down with on Friday.  Having a cold feels so different now and I don't think it's that my body reacts differently, I just know I have to keep pushing through.  Sure, I feel pretty rough, but I still need to do stuff around the house, nurse Baby Girl, work, etc., so I do.  So the cold didn't ruin the weekend like it might have in previous years...just keep on keepin' on!

    Thanks to everyone who helped me have a glorious 29th birthday!  Next year is the big one!  Can't wait to see what it brings...

    The curse of being DEWK (dual employed with kids)

    Step 1: Mommy and Daddy both have to work so everyone isn't living in a box on the street
    Step 2: No family lives close enough to be available to watch Child on a regular basis
    Step 3: Child has to go to a sitter
    Step 4: Other children at the sitter bring sickness
    Step 5: Child has a cold at least once a month
    Step 6: Mommy and Daddy have a cold at least once a month
    Step 7: Mommy and Daddy can't call off work because they are sick too much
    Step 8: Both Mommy and Daddy have diminshed immune systems because they cannot take care of themselves when they are sick

    Return to Step 1 and start all over again...

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    I'm Done!

    I know every mommy has had an "I'm done!" moment.  I had a small one this morning.  I'm not talking about the overwhelming feeling I get every once in awhile where I just feel like quitting and walking away altogether.  I mean the in-the-moment I just want to quit for a few minutes feeling.

    We had gotten up three times overnight with Baby Girl and none of those times was she really ready to go back to bed after she nursed, which meant all of us being more awake in the middle of the night than we're accustomed to. 

    And then she woke up for the day at 5:15 with a runny nose.  Of the 17 times Baby Girl has slept through the night, all of the most recent ones were when she was sick, so this is pretty abnormal for when she's feeling bad. 

    She had a hard time nursing and I realized that she had torn up my left side pretty badly overnight, so the whole time she was popping on and off, trying to breathe, it hurt like hell.  Then she decided she was done and wanted to play.  And by play, I mean she was pulling my hair out, beating me with the remote, wanting to get into everything in the room...and all I wanted to do was sleep.  My left nostril was completely stuffed up and I just wasn't ready to start the day.  Then she scratched my right eye.  It was unintentional, but it didn't matter in the moment.  I said it.  "I can't do this anymore. I quit."  I rolled over and shed a few tears, but mostly I just wanted to try to go back to sleep for a little while longer.  I just need a break, I thought.

    And then this little body climbed up my back, leaned over my arm, those glimmering brown eyes looked into mine, and she said, "Hi!"  I was a little shocked at first and then she said it again.  "Hi!"  I smiled.  I said, "Hi, baby", and rolled back over and snuggled her until she squirmed and said she wanted down.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek and obliged, thankful for my baby and my life again.