Showing posts from February, 2013

Work, Home, and Family - Spousal Connections (and John's Birthday Gift!)

Goodness - I've had this post half-written for over a month now.  It's amazing to me how fast the time goes and how I just can't seem to fit it all in from one day to the next.  Throw in sick kids and things really get crazy!  This is the first week we're having that seems to be 'back on track', so to speak.  Hopefully things will keep moving forward this way!

John and I are busy, busy people - we have 3 jobs between the two of us, we're both in school, we have two children who are also in school and have various other activities they're part of, we own our own house and two vehicles, have a yard with flowers, grass, vegetables and trees that we need to maintain, we're part of a faith community, and have extended family and friends that we enjoy spending time with as well.  And I could add more to that list too.

With all of these things going on it's very hard to maintain our connections to each other - especially time to really connect and lis…

Healthy Habits in 2013 - Little Changes

One thing that I've learned the hard way over time is that trying to make big changes, especially several of them at once, just doesn't work.  It's making lots of little changes, one at a time over time, is what makes things stick - it doesn't matter what it is - health habits, work habits, or relationship habits or whatever - slow and steady really does win that race!

Which brings us to today's healthy habit:
Healthy Habit #4: Little Changes When it comes to health, most of us can and need to make changes.  Unless you have  a dire, life-threatening situation that requires major immediate action, I've found in my personal life that the best way to make those changes is Little Changes over time.  Most importantly, you'll stick with those changes over the long haul!
I'll give you an illustration:  
I recently ran into a former co-worker of my husband's - someone I hadn't seen in several years.  I honestly didn't recognize her (who is this pers…

Goals - Week of February 17, 2013

We've had two sick kids here - Missy had a double ear infection one week and then Buddy had Influenza B.  Neither of them are quite all the way back to normal - sleeping a lot and crabby, crabby, crabby (which then makes this Mama crabby - but that's a whole different post! ;) ).  I guess the Influenza B can hang on for a really long time (the active period is 7-10 days and then I guess secondary effects can last longer than that).

I'm just hoping that we don't get any more sick and that John and I stay healthy.  We're trying to eat well, sleep enough and drink plenty of liquid toward that end.  I'm also not going to revisit my to-do list from a couple of weeks ago - what I didn't get done doesn't matter at this point and I just need to move forward.  My goals this week are basically that - to keep us moving forward and not overload ourselves so much that we all get run down and sick again.

So here's what I'm up to this week:

* Grade Tests

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 17, 2013

Hopefully everything is back to "normal" here this week - I'm keeping my fingers crossed, knocking on wood and praying hard!  :)   I'm hoping that all the "bugs" are behind us for this year, or at least this spring. I spent a lot of time last week wiping down all the switch plates and door knobs, washing bedding and towels, swapping out toothbrushes and all that kind of stuff.  We're still trying to keep things simple this week - we have a busy week and we don't need to make things any more difficult than they already are.

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, February 17, First Sunday in Lent:
  Breakfast: Cereal
  Lunch: Leftovers
  Snack:  Popcorn, Girl Scout Cookies
  Dinner: Leftovers

Monday, February 18:
  Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
  Lunch:  Macaroni and Cheese, Sliced Apples
  Snack: Popcorn
  Dinner:  Easy Black Bean Soup, Irish Soda Bread, Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Salad

Tuesday, February 19:
  Breakfast:  Yogurt, Bananas and St…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Valentine's Blessings

We had a very quiet Valentine's Day coming off of two weeks of sick children.  With Buddy still not being 100% back to normal, I think that was good.  We had cards from us and the grandparents, a yummy dinner of pork roast, roasted potatoes, tossed salad and grapefruit or oranges. And of course the cupcakes in the picture!   I also bought a grow-your-own strawberry kit for the kids to share.  That should be fun once it warms up a bit.

Sometimes the quiet holidays are the best - being able to really take stock of how you are and what you have.  The little blessings are the best....

...time with family and friends...
... a hug from  a loved one...
...beautiful flowers when there is snow on the ground outside...
...a lovely candlelight dinner with my 3 favorite people...

Truly my Valentine's Day was filled with blessings and it is one of my favorite things. What more can I ask for?

Super Savings Saturday - $40/wk budget and a splurge

Yet again I totally forgot to take a photo. Argh.  I will remember - one of these days!

We are back to our $40/wk budget for groceries, toiletries and paper products.  And we are still eating from our pantry and freezer!   We have our CSA starting up in June and have a load of veggies in the freezer still that need to be eaten.   Yes, we have a long way to go before we get to June, but I can only eat so many beets, green beans and chicken each week! :)

We've also decided to buy a 1/4 cow from a local farmer, which will be butchered in the late summer/early fall, so we will be saving up for that over the next few months - we pay half now and half when we receive the butchered animal. It comes out to about $3/lb, which is a great price for organic, grass fed, local beef.  We're way excited about that!

I was under budget again this week since we're eating from that pantry and freezer (come back on Monday to see what we're eating) and we're also starting Lenten Dinners…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 10, 2013

I've really spent the last week or so - and most of January really - thinking hard about all that the Lord is bringing us through this winter.  I chatted with a friend who had a similar winter 3 years ago and she said that while she'd never opt do it again, she is grateful for that time and how it brought her closer to her family and to the Lord.  I'll write  more about that later this week - Lord willing, of course - but for now, part of what's happening in our lives is a simplifying of our menu to go with an extra busy season of life. 

Missy had a double ear infection with a fever of 103F last week and was home from school 3 days, my Dad's white counts were so low that he had to have extra medical interventions and then Buddy was diagnosed with Influenza B and the accompanying fever (also 103F) and cough at the end of the week.  To top it all off we had a major 'explosion' over what we all thought was a "small" matter at my work and John has b…

Healthy Habits in 2013: Habit #3: Get a Check Up

I'm not really sure this is a habit, unless you count it as a yearly habit, but it's still very, very important.
Habit #3: Get a Check Up
So many times in today's busy world as women we tend to let our own needs fall to the bottom of the list.  This includes things like getting a yearly check up with our family practice doctor or women's health provider.  
I know, I've been there, done that!  
We don't go for a variety of reasons: full schedule and can't find a convenient time to go, want to lose those last 5 or 10 or 20 lbs (or more) before we go, want to break that bad habit (whatever it is!) first, we forget, or we're afraid, or whatever.For whatever reason we just don't make the time and schedule that appointment.
In reality, this is our first line of defense against the really big stuff.  It gives both us and the medical community a chance to check to make sure everything is all right and to catch things before they get really out of hand.  It …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 3, 2013

Brrr - we're cold here.  Warmer than we have been but still cold!  It's good soup weather out there right now.  Even so, I'm with the Groundhog and spring can come whenever it likes, thank you very much!  In the meantime, we're enjoying lots of warm, yummy soup at our house.

I still have quite a bit in our pantry and freezer and we're continuing to eat up some things that we've had around for a while.   Here's what's on the menu this week:

Sunday, February 3:
  Breakfast:  Cereal and Milk
  Lunch: Gingerbread Waffles with Strawberries and Bananas
  Snack: Popcorn
  Dinner: At a Super Bowl Party (we didn't have to bring anything - we chip in for pizza)

Monday, February 4:
  Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
  Lunch: Leftovers for Adults, Hot Lunch for the Children
  Snack: Yogurt
  Dinner:  Corn, Bacon & Potato Chowder, French Bread, Strawberry-Blueberry-Melon Salad

Tuesday, February 5:
   Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter, Orange Wedges

Goals: Week of February 3, 2013

This last week was crazy but we're officially back into the swing of things.  I *think* I even have my schedule worked out so I don't have to bring much work home for work and can concentrate on my family and home and maybe a little schoolwork (if needed) in the evenings!  Hurray!

Here's my goals from two weeks  ago:

* Continue revising my first unit for class.
* Finish moving my office.
* Meet with my department chair.

* Meet with someone else on my committee  scheduled!
* Meet with my adviser
* Schedule another meeting with the Statistician
*Revise my Literature Review I'm working on this - it's taking longer than I thought it would.

* Piano x2 Monday
* Dance Lessons Thursday
* Dance Lessons Saturday
* Family Night on Friday: Titus, Timothy & Silas, Missionaries; Lydia, Dorcas & Phoebe, Witnesses to the Faith: Make Thank You notes for our Pastors
* Sleepover Saturday Night for Buddy
* Date Night Saturday Night; Play a Game, Apple Crisp
* Finish…

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - Little Things

Watching big fat snow flakes fall with a cup of hot tea and a good book.
Ice Skating.
Cozy evenings curled up with a book (or homework) and hot tea or cocoa.
. Spending time playing board games with my family.
Our huge collection of board games that we got as hand-me-downs or as gifts.
Baking and decorating sugar cookie cut outs to send to my Dad as a treat.
Homemade cards for my Dad - to cheer him up while he's "doing" chemo.
Homemade Valentines
Secret treats hidden away until February 14.
Plans for observing Lent
Looking forward to some fun upcoming events this month!

How about you? What are some of your favorite things?

Super Savings Saturday - Back to "Normal" Budget

Wow -- I really didn't mean to take over a week off.  Where does that time go anyway?  Hopefully now that we're back into the swing of things, it won't happen too often in the future.  Just don't hold your breath, okay? :)

We just made it with our $50 pantry challenge in January - only by buying TP through Amazon with our Swagbucks gift cards. Sigh.  I also completely ran out of onions, couscous, and a few other things that we eat regularly.  We were able to buy onions in the tail end of our $50 budget (the $4 we had left last week) along with oranges with the blessing of some serious sales.  These things always make me realize how reliant I am on certain ingredients and how a little prior planning would just make sure I don't run out.  I always resolve to rearrange my shopping habits and hopefully this will be the year! Being intentional, remember?

This week we're back to $40 per week.  John did the shopping today since I was down and out with yet another medi…