Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Menu Monday

This week's menu:

Monday -

Tuesday -

Wednesday -

Thursday -

Friday -

Friday, July 23, 2010

What are you reading?

Each year I set goals for myself. I give myself a whole year to incorporate this goal into my life, each year adding another one. One year it was to become more organized. I started using a calendar coupled with a planner for my purse. So far so good. Dunno why I did not think of that sooner. Actually, I did. When I tried it, a dayplanner that I carried around worked best. So you see, sometimes our goals need a little tweeking to make them work in our busy lives.

This year I wanted to spend more time with my friends. Let's face it, friendships are relationships. You have to WORK at relationships. Not like a marriage, but it still takes spending time together. It does not have to consume your time. It can be as simple as an early feature movie, appetizers together, coffee and dessert, movies at home, or shopping. This year I can happily say that I have made time for my friends and enjoyed it. My husband is a huge help with this. He knows how valuable friendships are and encourages me and tells me it is OKAY to spend time with the girls. For many years I was a stay at home mom and there was no time for girl friends or shopping or leizure lunches. I sacrificed a lot. I rarely had ME time. The kids are teens now and love going to the mall for the afternoon while the girls and I shop at MOM stores. They love sitting at their own tables when we grab a bite. They feel so grown up. I feel like I am setting a good example to them by making time for myself but also including them.

Another goal was to bring back a favorite past time of mine: Reading. I used to spend hours reading. My friends would come spend the night and we would lounge around and read, swap books, and talk about the books. I love holding a book and turning the pages. I love the smell of a new book. The spine is tightly bound. It creeks a little when you push it too far. The pages are crisp. The hard covers edges are pointy and hard. Even a paperback has the same feel. You don't wanna bend that cover around the back just yet.

I remember diving into books for hours on end. We did the summer reading programs at the public library. Times were very different then and my mom would even dropped us off at the library while she ran errands. I can remember gathering up a stack of books and turning the rest of the world out, becoming lost in the story on the pages. Animals of every kind. Kids doing amazing things. Far off places.. the visions danced in my head. I was practically there myself!

Somewhere between finding boys, getting married and having a house and kids there was no free time to read. Where there was time, I wanted NO stimulation. I wanted to REST my brain.

My other goal this year was to start reading again. And read I have! It feels so good. I love to spend a rainy day curled up on the couch or the bed reading. My boss loaned me some books to read. I blazed thru them. This was becoming addicting. I was spending less time in front of the computer and more time using my imagination. I was able to slow down my brain at the end of a busy day by deverting it with a book, giving my brain something else to focus on.

Then my boss informed me she bought a Nook.

A
Nook
?

Oh yeah! A NOOK! I had to have one. I am a gadget freak. A Nook is an Ereader. You read ebooks on it. Remember when we had 8-tracks and 45s? They were cumbersome to carry around. Then came cassettes and CDs. Now we have Ipods to carry around all our music. The same goes for an Ereader. You can put hundreds of books on there and carry them around with you. You can make notes, highlight things, put bookmarks for reference.... you can even lend an Ebook to a friend who also has a Nook. You download books from Barnes and Noble. They also offer Free Book Friday. You can download a book for free! There are even free books on the B&N website. Awesome!

Then I discovered you can also download books from the public library onto your Nook (and various other Ereaders).

I am loving it!

So, what are you reading?? Right now I am reading Dirty Harriot and have Dear John waiting next! I have already burned thru a few books from the library and some paperbacks my boss loaned to me. My Nook is charging, getting ready for a weekend of reading. Goal accomplished!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bento - Frugal Style

I dunno why but I love bringing my lunch to work. Maybe it's knowing what I am eating. LIKING what I am eat. Or, maybe it's the Frugal Person in me! What ever the reason, I love bringing my lunch to work. Having an obsession with containers does not help, at all.

I made a list (yes, I love making lists) of all the foods that would make good lunches and divided them into catagories: Main, fruits, veggies, snacks, desserts. I check this list while making my grocery list for the week. Nothing worse than having nothing to pack in your lunch. It's supposed to be FUN to eat your lunch. Chances are if it's not fun and flavorful you won't bring your lunch very often. We have a microwave at work, so that helps when I need to reheat things. I also have a thermos to keep soups hot. Nothing beats soup and a sandwich in a pinch.

I had a fetish for a bento box. I really wanted one. That turned into wanting a Laptop Lunch Box. What an expense. Yikes! Instead, I opted for Fit and Fresh Containers that were purchased at Marshalls. This one is my favorite. I was worried it wasn't going to hold enough. Trust me when I say it does! Leftovers or a sammie in the bottom, chips and fruit/veggies or crackers and cheese in the smaller containers. Sometimes I take apple sauce, yogurt or cereal and eat it mid morning or late afternoon as a snack. The ice pack will keep my foods cold until lunch. Whatever I don't eat, I put in the fridge at work after lunch if it needs to stay cold. Surprisingly, even those smaller containers hold a good amount of food. Having set sized containers also helps with portion control.

Besides being frugal by bringing my own lunch, I am also big on recycling/reusing. Reusable containers cut down on wasted ziplocks. And when packing my lunch, a homemade cloth napkin and real utensils also get tucked into my tote bag. I am sure my co-workers think I am some crazy nerdy dork.

I have also snagged some other Fit and Fresh containers that I love - especially the salad container. Perfect for those bulkier leftovers that need a lot of room. I also tote around these.

I keep the ice packs in the freezer to they are ready to go anytime. These containers are perfect for those errand days. Pack up some veggies, dip, cheese, pepperoni, etc.. make your own lunchables.

My sister and I pack up containers when we do our Cmas shopping. There is no time to stop for a lengthy meal and no extra funds for splurging on lunches when we are power shopping for the holidays. This is one of our favorite traditions. Summer sauage, spicy mustard, crackers, cheese, carrots, dip, celery, grapes... we swing by Sonic and get a drink during 1/2 price time and nibble our power lunches. Then it's off to more shopping after eating an energizing lunch!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Netflix

We did Netflix years ago. Like, 5 plus years ago. Boy, has it changed.

We signed up for the 2 week trial. I think we may end up keeping it a bit longer. We opted for the 1 DVD at a time package. We get a movie near the weekend, enjoy it, mail it back and by the next weekend we have a new movie waiting to be watched. The only drawback is there are a lot of things we want to see. We are kind impatient.

That leads me to the next topic... streaming Netflix! WOW. Besides the 1 DVD at a time, we also get unlimited streaming Netflix. We hooked up the PS3 to the TV and stream the "watch instantly" movies to the TV. Granted, not everything is "watch instantly", but some really good ones are! We have also been catching up on movies we wanted to see, but for some reason we missed them. We are also enjoying watching some old favs.

It's a great way to spend a HOT day or a rainy day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The job, uhm, the NEW job

Has it really been over a month that I have been at my new job?? Really? Time sure flies when you are busy.

First, yes, I love my new job. I love going to the office. I love hearing about how everyone spent their weekend, what they like, what they hate, etc. I love talking about current events, hearing their views and their opinions. I love learning my job. The "teacher" is awesome and I'm doing really well. I love the mix of medical work, office work, spread sheets and phone calls, faxes and copies.

Crazy?

Probably.

I can say the move was the best thing for me. I feel very comfortable in my new job, with the people I work with and all the other people I come into contact with on a daily basis. Work is good.

How is the homefront? Trust me, it suffered. My poor bathroom! YIKES. It's clean now. Whew! It was a mess.

It helps to have older kids. It helps it is summer time and they are at home to pick it up and keep up on the chores. You know, unload and load dishes, sweep, vacuum, mop, dust. Yes, these are their normal chores, but it sure helps !!

The only problem is squeezing in the grocery shopping and the cooking of the food. Good thing my husband loves to cook and is home a good bit of the time and does most of the cooking. When he is gone we fall back on simple and light meals.

The only other thing that bothers me is the constant having to pick up and put things back where they go. Like, the nail file or the clippers, the tiny pieces of paper that seems to sprout in the middle of the night on the living room floor, the book that never got put back, the pen, the paper, the magazine, the purse, the keys, the cell phone, the DVD, the... surely you know what I am talking about???

Usually on the weekends we hit the mall, a few other fav stores and go out to dinner. This weekend I vowed to stay home and enjoy the time off. Laundry is always done on the weekends, so that was a given. I have enjoyed just being home and feeling quite rested. Hopefully tomorrow I can get a few chapters in on a book I am reading and make a run to the store for much-needed items.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Day

I feel like it's the first day of school. I'm nervous and anxious, excited and eager! My mind races and soon I'm daydreaming.

Why?

Today is my first day back to work, in an office. I have worked for the past 9 yrs..8 yrs at home. I recently took a new position that requires me to go back to work in the office. Most would say I was crazy to give up working at home. HAHA. If they had worked for the company I did, I doubt they would feel that way. I loved working a home. I loved it. But it was no longer fun. It was miserable. So miserable that I often hated my job. NOBODY should have to work a job that they hate. I prayed every morning when I sat at my desk. It helped.. but I still hated my job.

I worked at home so I could still be a MOM to my kids. It was great. My kids are 15, 18 and 21...not hardly babies. My husband is home more now. I know, but we were both WORKING at home. People often have the image that if I work from home that I don't actually work.. but someone get a check put in my account. HAHA!~ It's work... just like if I were to go to the office, just my desk is at home.

My old job I worked long hours for measly pay. Often I was still working and my husband was cooking supper. Now I will have set hours. I can PLAN things!

I am looking forward to working with people again, people I know and worked with before. I was feeling pretty lonely at home. I look forward to starting a new career. I don't like change.. but I do like learning.

I am sure there will be an adjustment period... everyone will have to find their place ... it will all be fine. I had God's push and blessing to take this new job.. I'll have to tell you about it one day. For right now, I know this is where I am supposed to be!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Love of Lists

I love lists.

Why? I can think about it once and be done. After that, I can let the list tell me what to do and can concentrate on other things. Why burdon my brain with unneccessary things??

I made a list of meals we eat routinely. I put them on index cards and keep them in my home binder. When I get in a rut, I can pull out the cards and it gives me ideas. I have them in categories like: chicken, beef, pork, sides, crockpot/quick and easy.

I based this off of Flylady. I made of list things I wanted done weekly. Then I divided that up between Mon - Fri. A little each day is much easier than a full day of cleaning. I made of list of all the things I wanted done in each room, divided my house into zones like FlyLady suggests, and now have a list for each room. I keep my pages in page protectors and check them off with a dry erase marker. This way, if I don't get to it this month I will know where I left off when I come back to it. No more trying to remember.

I make a list of menus for the week, making my grocery list for the week based on that list. I also put my list in order of the store. Ohoo, i can feel your face tensing up and looking at the computer funny! I'll tell you why I do this.

Ever go to the store and forget something making you back track with that loaded cart?? I have. Many times I decided it was too much trouble to back track. I regretted that once I was home and NEEDED that one thing to make my meal. A quick trip to the store can turn into much longer than you wanted if your stuff is not in order. One day I drew the layout of my store. I labeled each isle. Now I can look at my drawing, see what's on that isle and make my list in order. Rarely do I have to back track now. I also put the pages in my coupon binder according to the store. flip the page as you hit the next isle. Think about it once and then it's done!

Running errands is no different. I make my list of stores and what I want at each store. I then number the stores in order of going to them. I group store together by location and the same side of the road. It's a pain to cut across the traffic back and forth. This way I can go up one side of the road, stopping as needed, but across once and then do the places on that side of the road. Much less stressful.

When my sister and I Cmas shop at the mall, we park at one end then walk to the opposite to start shopping. We have our list for each store and each store is numbered as to what order we will hit them. When we are done shopping we are near the car. Much easier to carry bags once thru the mall.

I love lists. Think about your list while you have free time, make it and forget it! Let the list tell you what to do next. Free your mind, ease your stress!