Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday - Eating the Food I Already Own

Finance and Frugality Friday

One of my most favorite and most frequent money-saving ventures is called let's-eat-out-of-the-frig. No matter how I plan, there always seem to be this abundance of food in the refrigerator, but no specific meal planned. So Rob and I eat out of the frig. He gets a quesadilla and uses the last bit of the avocado and the leftover barbecued chicken and I'll eat the hard-boiled egg and carrots dipped in bleu cheese dressing. Dinner is served.

I also try to plan for meals based on what we have. Ever done this? You're walking around Costco or the market and you spy something wonderfu. Maybe it's those spinach-filled pasta things or a couple of cans of chili. And then 6 months later the pasta is still in the freezer and that chili hasn't budged in the pantry. So when I'm trying to meal plan, I open up the freezer and the pantry and see what I've got. Last week I found a bag of Barilla tortellini that said "Dinner for 2 in 10 minutes!" that Rob brought home months ago and a jar of pasta sauce and lo and behold in the freezer was a half bag of frozen peas. The dinner that followed wasn't that great, but we ate it and I also had a serving the next day at lunch.

So make some cornbread to go with that chili and eat the food you already own!

How do you keep your freezer and pantry from being clogged with long-forgotten purchases?



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday - Finding My Seasonal Schedule

Homemaking Thursday

I have flexible hours at work. It's great but also requires a decision from me about my work hours. I found that in the summer I enjoyed sleeping in a bit and then being able to walk the doggies in the morning - before the heat of the day set in. I'd get home at 5:30pm or so and still have plenty of daylight left.

But now it's getting colder and darker. The dogs are feeling lazy and don't want to go for a walk first thing in the morning. So I'm starting to get up early and going straight into the office so I can leave at 3pm and get home and walk the dogs while it's still light out. And I suppose it's working all right. The only tweak is that I get sleepy at like 7:30pm and it's cold and dark outside so I put on my jammies and cuddle under my big blanket and watch TV or read in bed.

Am I hibernating? It makes me feel a bit sloth, but is that maybe OK? Should I just enjoy this new cycle? The doggies are embracing it, I can tell you that. They love it. All right, I'll take the lead from the doggies. Never a bad idea.

How are you doing with your energy levels and schedule as winter approaches?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday - 7 days of Magic Number 5

Health and Wellness Wednesday

This has to be public. If you recall there are criteria.

My report card:

5 hours of exercise - done. Easy peasy between walking the dogs and hitting the treadmill on my lunch hour and also a fabulous yoga class.

5 days no booze - 4 days no booze. I enjoyed 2 glasses of wine during a weeknight movie with Rob and our regular cocktail consumption on Friday and Saturday nights.

5 mini meals a day - not working out so well. Easy while I'm sitting at my desk at work. Coffee at 7:30am. Then a banana a couple of hours later. Then a bowl of Uncle Sam cereal with blueberries mid-afternoon. Then I get home and I have 2 more eating sessions available but I have a bit of dinner and that's it. Might need to rethink this one.

5 minutes meditation a day - I only did 2 days. Why is it so difficult to go into a room, sit down, and be quiet for 5 minutes? Geeze.

All right, let's take a breath and start again. This week I will meditate (sit quietly and breathe in and out) for 5 minutes each and every day. Period.

How are you doing? Meeting your goals? Coming up short, like me? We re-dedicate ourselves here, every week.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TWIWtB - Stop, Stop, Stop Caring About What Other People Think

The Woman I Want to Be Tuesday

"They'll think I'm mean."

"That seems rude."

"I can't do that. What will they say?"

We've all heard these phrases from our friends, our relatives, our selves. But why do we care? Truly, why? What happens if someone thinks I'm rude? What happens if someone doesn't think my outfit matches? (Because it usually doesn't.)

Very often this manifests itself as saying yes too often. The best example I can think of is those Tupperware-style parties in private homes. I know several women who go to these again and again and purchase candles, jewelry, and kitchen items that they can ill afford and don't want because it's rude not to. Huh? So you choose to hurt your personal financial situation so that some friend won't be possibly offended? Would you ask your friend to spend money on something she didn't want or need? Of course not! No real friend (or acquaintance) would do that.

What about when that co-worker walks around with the tray of store-bought cupcakes to celebrate the birth of her first granddaughter? She insisted after I declined, so I took a napkin and a cupcake. I thanked her and we chatted for a few moments. When she walked away I threw the untouched cupcake in the trash. Another co-worker said I was rude. Was I? (And the answer to your question is yes, if the cupcake had been homemade I would've indulged.)

So I suppose the real question is - do I (may I?) be honest and kind to others while not compromising my budget, eating habits, or personal beliefs? Why on earth would someone encourage me to put something into my mouth or pull something out of my wallet that I don't care to? Would you say to a vegetarian, "But you absolutely must try my pot roast! It's a family recipe!" Or to someone allergic to peanuts, "But my brittle is the very best! Can't you just have a bite and then take a Benadryl?"

Everyone repeat after me:

"No, thank you. I don't care to have a cupcake."

"No, thank you. I won't be able to attend your Lia Sophia party."

"No, thank you."

"No. Thank you."


Monday, December 3, 2012

M&RM Can I Stop Complaining?

Marriage and Relationship Monday

Last week I talked about the freedom to complain because all my needs are met. And that's fine. A little kvetching is good for the soul. But what else? Instead of filling the days with bemoaning my comfort, what else can I do?

I know, this is starting to sound like a The Woman I Want to Be Tuesday post, but really, aren't they all?

So after I finish complaining, what do I do? Spend time with friends and family. Walk the doggies. Watch old movies. Watch new movies. Enjoy my home. Organize my cupboards. And organizing the cupboards, like all the suggestions on this list, is an ongoing activity. I find it to be very relaxing. Standing in my pantry surrounded by my purchases. Cornbread mix and marshmallow vodka next to each other on the shelves.  It gives me a feeling of warmth and comfort to just move things around and be reminded of jars of curry sauce purchased long ago and forgotten. And isn't December a wonderful time to focus on this particular activity? Things that no longer appeal can be donated to a soup kitchen and new recipes can be explored to "eat out of the cupboard." Yes. It's decided. This month I vow to explore my home and my pantry for that comforting feeling it awakens. Join me, won't you?