Friday, January 27, 2006

Control Journals and Menu Planning

I have been setting time aside this week to build my control journal the Flylady way. Hopefully, by following her steps one at a time, I will be able to do this long term!

Ever since the beginning of the year, I have come to a standstill with my weekly menu planning. I just can't seem to think of anything to cook! My pantry and freezer are well-stocked, so the problem obviously lies with me.:-) I made a master list of the foods we like in their respective categories and started doing a monthly dinner menu. Then each week, I can transfer it to a weekly menu and include side dishes and breakfast and lunch menus, which are simple to come up with in comparison! After several months, I should be able to rotate the menus, and it will help me to remember to prepare our favorites on a more consistent basis.

For the sake of simplicity, I adopted and adapted the "If it's Monday, it must be spaghetti" meal plan.(On the Flylady website.) This was helpful in preparing the monthly menu because it gave me a game plan to go by. I also left at least one day open a week for Cook's Choice, so that I can either try a new recipe or use leftovers(my friend in cooking and eating frugally.) Here is the plan I came up with, which I'm sure will be tweaked as the year moves along :-):

Monday: dinner with small group 3 weeks out of month, otherwise Cook's Choice
Tuesday: Soup and salad or sandwich
Wednesday: vegetarian night
Thursday: crockpot or something from freezer
Friday: Cook's Choice
Saturday: Breakfast foods(I like doing this in the evening when there is more time and it will be helpful when yard sale season rolls around! Heehee!!!)
Sunday: Snack-type foods

My husband's supervisor sent home some cooking magazines for me to look at yesterday. Some of them are the Kraft Food and Family magazines. I am getting lots of great ideas. A lot of these recipes call for convenience items that I don't normally keep on hand, but others use cheaper ingredients that I do have in stock. I already found a few that I want to try and some more expensive ones that would be good for a special dinner(think Valentine's Day!). If these are good recipes, I will share them with you on my cooking blog!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekly Specials

Even though I do the bulk of my grocery shopping on a monthly basis, I still try to save a little of my grocery money to use towards the end of the month on great deals that come up, especially meats and produce.

I have been using the Sunday Savers site to check the weekly specials for those store circulars that I don't receive in my mailbox each week. They have a ton of stores listed and you can click on whichever ones you frequent and see this weeks specials. I use it to check specials for the stores that I don't normally shop at, but are known to run really great specials on meats, like Harris Teeter. Having it all online also helps to eliminate some of the paper piles around the house.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


As I was writing the post below, I suddenly felt something scratchy beneath my neck and realized my sweater is on backwards.The stitching of the tag is quite noticeable and the funny thing is that I didn't even get dressed in the dark this morning. Oops!!!:-)

Engagement Anniversary

Today is two years since we got engaged. We don't make a habit of really celebrating these special days, but it is fun to remember them.

The day we got engaged was Martin Luther King Day and we both had the day off. I had no idea he was going to propose, but we had been discussing marriage and starting to plan our wedding. I knew he had picked out the ring and was paying for it.

Anyways, we had a very nice quiet morning talking about wedding plans when out of nowhere, he said he was working on a special song for the wedding and wanted me to hear it.(He writes songs and sings, so I wasn't suprised about it.) So he proceeds to sing this lovely song and I thought it was wonderful. When he was done, I hugged him and told him how great it was. He told me to sit back down and then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He actually put the ring on my finger and then ask me to marry him. :-) Then we called everyone to tell them that I had said "yes", and no one was really suprised but they were all very happy.

And that, my friends, is the story of our engagement. Oh, and he later sang that song to me at our wedding.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Quick Shopping and Bargains

I finally did it. I was in and out of Wal-Mart in less than 10 minutes. Sure, I only needed 3 items, well, 2 and ended up with 3, but it was also Saturday morning. So that counts for something, especially since a few minutes of that time was walking to and from our car which was parked in Outer Mongolia. My husband, who sat in the car because he hates shopping at Wal-Mart during busy times, was quite impressed.

My little impulse buy from this morning turned out to be a package of corndogs for my husband who sometimes craves food from his bachelor days. :-) This will be game food while he watches the Redskins and Seahawks play this afternoon. Go Redskins!

Since we all like to brag on our bargains from time to time, I thought I'd share my buys from this week. If you know me at all, you will know that I love Mary Engelbreit. I am thrilled that Michael's has been carrying a line of her cards and papers and such in their dollar section. I popped in the other day and they had the Mary Engelbreit Christmas cards for .30 a package so I got 40 cards for $1.50. I was pleased. I also found 2 large cans of sweet potatoes for .79 each(half-price). The only reason they were discounted was that the labels were a little torn. While I love a good deal, I think I save a lot more money by just not buying many items even if they are on sale. Just because it is cheap doesn't mean I need it. But if it is something I use anyways and will need in a reasonable amount of time, I go ahead and buy it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thought For The Day

This quote was found on a Mary Engelbreit card:

To be happy: Don't do whatever you like; like whatever you do.

That is pretty profound and a good thought for most of us to ponder. The picture on the card shows a woman pushing a vacuum and waving a Flylady-style duster while dancing and holding a rose in her mouth. Now I don't know about the rose part, but I need to remember to be cheerful no matter what my circumstances. It is easy to generally be discontent with life because "It's not what I expected." Well, I guess that's the way life is, isn't it? This quote reminds me of a familiar Bible verse: "...And be content with what you have." Hebrews 13:5. Also in Ecclesiastes 5: 19 and 20: "...When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." I wonder what will happen in my heart and home as I cultivate a spirit of contentment and joy?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Three Year Anniversary

Today is three years since my husband and I met in person. We were introduced on eharmony in September 2002. After 4 months of communicating through the site and personal email,we decided to meet face to face.

I already felt like I knew him, so I wasn't too worried about that. I was, however, concerned that maybe he was not as healthy and independent as he had led me to believe.( My husband was born with spina bifida.) I was also highly concerned that his voice would sound funny. Evidently voices are a big deal to me! :-)

We chose to meet at a Cracker Barrel and I suggested the Cracker Barrel nearest to me. Not only would I not have to drive very far, but I also knew the area well enough if I needed to make a quick escape. (You can never be too sure about these men you meet on the internet.)

My sister and her friend went with me, because they felt the need to protect me. He came alone. I did have a moment of panic when I drove around the front of the restaurant and saw him- only it was a sixty year old man instead and I thought he had lied about his age.

Anyways, he brought me daisies, which he remembered were my favorite flower. My bodyguards were impressed. He had a very nice deep voice, was very conversational and was very much like I thought he would be. I was impressed. He paid for our meals. We all were impressed. Especially him, who used a gift card he had gotten from his boss for Christmas that year.

He passed the test and we soon found ourselves sitting alone in rockers on the front porch of the restaurant, while the bodyguards went shopping next door. We meditated in silence for several minutes and then discussed the weather. Eventually the topic changed to other things. We exchanged phone numbers. I told him that he could call me.

I could hardly wait to check my email that night to see if he was still interested. He was. He said he would call me the next Saturday around 9:30. He did, on the minute.

We laugh now, because he was obviously very interested in me right away and showed it. I still felt I needed to check him out. It takes me a while to get to know someone and feel comfortable. So the first several dates were spent with him talking and me listening. I learned so much about him in that first month or two. ( Good thing too, because now I talk and he listens!!)

After a previous rough dating experience, I said I would not date someone again if we were not friends first. Funny, I hadn't met him, but I felt that through the eharmony process we were already friends.

Somehow, in many ways it seems as though we have known each other much longer than three years. Maybe we should go sit on the rockers at Cracker Barrel and celebrate- by talking about the weather.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Study The Word of God- Acts 17:10-12

These verses stood out to me in my quiet time yesterday. We also studied them in our small group last night.

Acts 17:10-12(NIV): As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians. For they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

I really like the word eagerness there-it shows a love and a hunger for the things of God. Studying and knowing the Word of God will protect us against being deceived by Satan's clever tactics.

One of my main goals and prayers for this year is that my heart will search after God more than ever before, and that I will keep His Word as the apple of my eye! (Proverbs 7:2)

Friday, January 06, 2006

First Week of the New Year

Ahhh! A new year. It has been quite a week unwinding from the busy holidays. My husband and I have also been feeling under the weather most of the week. Whatever he had was worse than whatever I had, but we are both feeling a whole lot better now. PTL! Hopefully as the year gets rolling, I will get back into the swing of things and post more regularly again.

As the first week of the new year comes to an end, I will share what happened in my house this week, however boring it may be.:-)

Monday: My parents and brother left at 4:30 am for the Charlotte airport to fly back to Oregon. We got up to see them off and went back to bed. Actually, I started laundry before going back to bed... the piles of laundry were starting to take over the cottage! We got up a couple of hours later and rushed around to clean up the house, wash the glasses and prepare for some guests. My husband's grandparents were on their way back to New York and had time to stop by. My husband had also invited a friend from work with her husband and baby over for lunch that day, so everyone stayed and met each other and had a nice time eating potato soup, fresh French bread, sliced cheese and ham, fruit salad and Christmas cookies. In the evening I paid bills.

Tuesday: My husband and I were both coming down with something cold and flu related today. I did manage to pack up all Christmas decorations and put them away. I thanked God for being newly married and not having accumulated a houseful of decorations yet. The tree is out by the curb. We ate leftovers.

Wednesday: I worked on a grocery list for Thursday. I also worked on a Master Shopping List that I can print out and use each month, simply crossing off the items we do not need that month. I worked on Children's Ministry stuff for church. I took care of an almost 9 month old whose newest accomplishment is climbing up onto the coffee table, using my husband's shoe for a step stool. We ate leftovers again for lunch but for dinner, I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, an impulse purchase from last month's Sam's Club trip. It is tasty and less expensive than eating out, however, I need to remember to never shop hungry or with a hungry husband in tow.:-) We both have Wednesday night meetings at church every week- Worship team practice for him and Children's Ministry meeting for me.

Thursday: I did my monthly grocery shopping and was pleased to stay well under budget so that I have extra $$ for store specials that will come up during the rest of the month as well as extra fresh produce and anything I forgot to buy! I stopped at Target and found a very nice Christmas gift for next year at 75% off, staying in my Christmas budget of $5 or less per person. I also got a Mary Engelbreit Family calendar for a great price and filled in all birthdays and special days for the year. I really like this calendar because it has large spaces to write in plus stickers to draw your attention to birthdays and such. While I was at it, I went ahead and got my birthday cards ready for the year. They are not signed, but I chose a card for each person then put the card in envelope and wrote the name on the envelope. That will help me a lot! For dinner, we had burgers and Baked Potato Salad
. Then we were off to church for our weekly prayer time.

Friday: That's today! I am again doing laundry. I washed some "hand wash only" items today, cleaned up the kitchen and am in the process of taking care of my little buddy once again! I don't know what I am cooking for dinner tonight, but I have a pantry and freezer full of food to choose from!

So that's my week in a nutshell...

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Day

I buy a lot of diaries,
Fill them up with good intentions,
Each and every New Year's Eve,
I make myself a list.
All the things I'm gonna change,
Until January 2nd,
But this time I'm making one promise.

This will be my resolution.
Every day is New Year's Day.
This will be my resolution.
Every day is New Year's Day.

I believe it's possible.
I believe in new beginnings.
'Cause I believe in Christmas Day,
And Easter morning too.
And I'm convinced it's doable,
'Cause I believe in second chances.
Just the way that I believe in you.

This will be my resolution.
Every day is New Year's Day.
This could start a revolution.
Every day is...

One more chance to start all over.
One more chance to change and grow.
One more chance to grab ahold of grace
And never let it go.

This will be my resolution,
Every day is New Year's Day.
This will be my resolution,
Every Day is New Year's Day.

Written by Carolyn Arends
copyright 1997 running arends music
New Spring Publishing, a division of Brentwood Music Publishing