Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Overheard at my house

My darling children planned their next activity while sitting in the living room with me, petting the dog.

"C'mon Leah, let's go play in your room."

"No, I don't want to. Let's play in your room and close the door."

"Why? So you can climb on my top bed while Mommy's not looking?"



Excuse me. I just heard a thud.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu plan Monday and the why

We've been tightening our belts around here after surviving Christmas and two birthdays within a month of each other. I think my credit card might be speaking to me right now, but I'm not sure. It got a workout.

Every month or so, Hubby will look at the finances and tell me where we fall in a number of categories. Eating out is always our downfall, especially Hubby's lunches at work. But the one category that I have complete and yet zero control is our grocery budget. When he reads me the number at the end of the month, it boggles my mind. It makes me mad. I shake an angry fist at the people who keep jacking up food prices (yes, I get that it is a domino effect and they're not doing it for shits and giggles. Let me have my rant). I watch for sales! I use what coupons I have! I buy generic! What the hey!?

I've been planning my meals by the week for awhile now, thanks to a friend who set up a Facebook group for planning and ideas. It's cut down immensely on the "oh crap everything is frozen what the h-e-double hockey sticks are we gonna eat" nights that end up in take-out. Or the afternoons of me flipping through my recipes and sighing heavily when nothing sounds good.

In January, we took it up a notch: a MONTH of meals, so that we could do one big trip for everything I'd need for the month except for milk and produce that wouldn't survive that long.

It was a success in that I stuck to the plan pretty well, which was great since it took all my energy to even make dinner most nights. The downside is that it still didn't save us all that much. Of course, we had a run to Sam's in there for TP and paper towels and other stuff that we won't need for months. I'm blaming that.

February is almost over and I've stuck to the plan again, but I haven't seen the bottom line to know if we've really saved.

I'll keep doing it for next month too, but it's going to get a little more interesting. Hubby wants to stop stock-piling so it's less to worry about if/when we move. It'll be a short enough distance that we don't need to worry about the freezer, but a full pantry will just be a pain. So no more massive cereal-buying sprees when it's on sale and I have coupons. (Hubby had a bowl for a snack last night and said, "Is it bad that the cereal pile (on top of the pantry) is so high I have to jump to get the one I want?")

And on top of all that, last week No. 3 decided s/he wasn't too keen on dairy, which has made meals and snacks harder for me. Doc says it would be strange for lactose issues to just show up, and said it may be a phase. Um, are babies really allowed to have phases in utero?

So this week, we are mostly dairy-free (Tuesday will be interesting).

Monday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and green beans
Tuesday: Chicken and rice casserole and salad
Wednesday: Pork chops, stuffing and a veggie
Thursday: Spaghetti with smoked sausage, garlic bread and salad
Friday-Sunday: ski trip with another family. I'm making enchiladas for one dinner and bringing pancake mix and a Butter Braid for breakfast contributions.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The New Other Woman

In the midst of our holiday craziness, my darling, wonderful Hubby found himself a new project. A New Other Woman. Another woman who is available year-round, unlike the first Other Woman, who has been relegated to a friend's barn in the off-season.

Once again, she's older, bigger and will become a giant suck of time and money. And once again, being the thoughtful, kind wife that I am, I approved.

Here she is.

That folks, is a 1970 El Camino. It originally belonged to Hubby's (step)grandfather's dad, but has been sitting in Grandpa's barn for the last 30 years. It hasn't been registered since 1985, but we're pretty sure Grandpa renewed it for a few years after he stopped driving it.

Grandpa has had a few people express interest in the car over the years, but he wasn't ready to give it to just anybody. When Hubby's dad casually mentioned that someone else had come by to see it and Grandpa was thinking of selling, Hubby's ears perked up. We went to the building and checked it out, saw that it needed some TLC (and to be aired out for the next 30 years) and Hubby offered to buy it. After Grandpa grilled Hubby's dad on why exactly Hubby wanted it - "But what's he going to DO with it?" - it was ours. For "free." (Nothing about this car from now on will be free.)

Grandpa is meticulous about his vehicles, so he kept it in stellar shape for the years he used it. But it hasn't been used in quite some time. We brought it home at Christmas, and a few weeks ago, Hubby had cleaned enough out of the engine to actually start it. It needs new tires and new brakes before it can move from its spot in the third bay of the garage.

And that's just the beginning.

We figure he might have it done by the time Nathaniel graduates from high school... 2025.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We don't do things that way...

Most people take on new projects one at a time, so they can fully submerse themselves in whatever it is and come out the other side refreshed and ready to take on something else.

I am not most people. Case in point:

I was MIA through the Thanksgiving-birthday-Christmas-birthday cluster that is November through January. That's a given. But right about the time I should have been able to recover, we got those two little pink lines on a stick that said, "Hold on, you're in for another wild ride!"

So for the last 13 weeks or so, I have been a tired, forgetful, exhausted mess.

But wait, there's more.

Before we knew for sure we were adding to our family, I felt like I needed another outlet. Something a little more regular than my paid writing gigs and that required slightly more different brain cells than it does to mother my kids 24/7. And so while I've never been a salesperson and have only ever hosted ONE direct sales party in my life, I signed up to be a consultant with Thirty-One gifts.

Yes, I knew I was pregnant when I did it. That really shouldn't surprise anyone that I'm that crazy.

In case those two things weren't enough, Hubby and I started taking a look around at the chaos that is our house. Our dear, sweet house where we brought our first two babies home. Our first house in the nice neighborhood with awesome neighbors I wouldn't trade for the world.

But the actuality is, no matter how big we thought it was seven years ago, we've about filled it to the brim. And now we're bringing another person here to live. A little person who will have a crap-load of stuff no matter how many clothes/toys/etc. I have from his or her older brother and sister.

I don't have an office. Hubby really doesn't either. Between the Other Woman and the New Other Woman, his tools and "workshop" the cars, the kids' toys and general storage, our garage is crying uncle.

N's room has a kick-butt new closet organizer, but it would be a squeeze to put both kids in there once No. 3 arrives.

You get the picture. So today, Mother Nature permitting, our realtor is coming with a "For Sale" sign for our house. If I think about packing up the contents of our house and physically moving all of our crap treasures for too long, I start to hyperventilate. Hubby isn't fazed. He is the master packer and could probably have our entire house packed in five evenings. My job will be to make up for my lack of strength and ability to carry anything since I'm pregnant by calling everyone we know and begging for help, once the time comes. We aren't looking to go far - we've settled into this school district and don't want to be any farther (or closer, really) to Hubby's job.

I hope our neighbors will forgive us.

And that I don't lose my ever-loving mind between now and well, forever...