Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? I really don’t know where time goes to, it definitely speeds up the older we get. Given how late Thanksgiving was this year we have Christmas bearing down on us pretty quick!
We had a milestone birthday at our house this past week, Belle turned 18. It feels like yesterday she was just a little stinker (and she was quite the stinker!) and now she’s morphed into a beautiful young lady. We are so proud of her and the person she’s become. Below is a picture from when she was little (can’t you just see the mischievousness in her eyes?) as well as a couple shots from her senior picture photo shoot.
Being busy and procrastinating can be very costly. How many times have you run around trying to get everything needed to participate in a rebate, buying things you didn’t need right at that moment only to realize that you forgot to mail in the rebate form and missed your window of opportunity.
Have you ever forgot to mail in your car registration resulting in the $10 late fee plus the $3 “convenience” fee for doing it online?
What about the last minute gift that you had to pay through the nose before because somehow your kids birthday came earlier this year than you thought?
Where was Pinterest when my kids were little? Of course, when my kids were little we could send cookies and candy to school and didn’t have to worry about this healthy snack stuff
Recently at work, my friend Jennifer and I were talking about what we did on the weekend. She shared that her and her mom had made some butterfly snack packs for her kids to take to school. As she was telling me about I asked what every good friend asks, “do you have pictures? That would be a great post idea!” That is what a good friend would ask, isn’t it?
Wellness is a big deal at the company I work for. While it is does feel a little ironic that a large portion of the stress in my life is brought on by the amount of work that is sometimes required, they are sincere in their desire for us to be happier, healthier and less stressed.
At least a few times a week we get emails reminding us to take our stretch breaks, get up and walk around occasionally as well as tips to alleviate stress in our lives. This past week they sent out an email that I thought was pretty good on how to reduce the stress over the holidays.
Christmas use to be one of the most stressful times in my life. As part of my Wonder Woman complex, I felt that need to create a magical Christmas that got better and better each year. I’m sure you can guess what typically happened. The kids would break down in tears. I’d probably have some kind of psychotic break that would result in me screeching like a banshee. Mike and I would have the inevitable fight. I’d be so exhausted and worn out I couldn’t even enjoy the season.
I’m one of those people who use a spreadsheet for their budget. I also have a pie chart that I use to determine where our money goes to. I find the pie chart really interesting because some of the things that I complain the most about are really one of our smallest spends. On the other hand, some of our biggest spends I don’t worry about at all. Crazy – isn’t it?
Whenever I get on a “we must cut the budget” craze, I look to my pie chart to tackle the biggest pot. Inevitably the biggest chunk (that we can touch at least) is our food budget. Our food budget is crazy big. We spend a lot each week at the grocery store and we also (did) spend a lot each week eating out. The anomaly here is that no matter how much or little we ate out, our grocery spend didn’t really change.
The obvious place to start was eating out. Seriously, we were spending over $100 each week on take-out. I know – it’s insane. The problem is I work some long hours, my husband typically works second shift but his days off and his hours change regulars and Belle is off doing her thing most of the time. Kind of makes it difficult to put meals on the table.
When I was young my Godmother bought me a bunch of cookbooks one year for Christmas. One of the cookbooks in particular, Kim’s Cookbook for Young People, caught my fancy. Many a dish was cooked out of that book by yours truly.
As you know, I don’t do a lot of plugs for items (that is an affiliate link) but if you have a young kid I would definitely recommend this cookbook. It’s out of print but still available (used) on Amazon. The book starts out talking about kitchen safety. It shows examples of different cooking utensils, has a dictionary to help explain terms and also has a measurement conversion. The recipes are simple written and honestly, pretty good. But I digress.
Although the book was a big part of my culinary learning while growing up, I really didn’t think much about the book until a few years ago. At a Tastefully Simple party I tasted their apple cake. As I was eating it, I got a weird sense of deja vu. I knew I had eaten that cake before but I couldn’t remember where. It suddenly struck me, it was almost identical to one of my favorite recipes in that cookbook!
It snowed the other night by us. OK – it was just a dusting but it was still snow! I guess fall has officially come to an end and we’re entering winter. Brrrr.
We’ve been doing really well with limiting our eating out. I’m not saying we’ve given it up entirely (that just wouldn’t happen in our household!) but I’ve been doing really well with sticking to the menu plan.
As you know, it’s been a while since I’ve written. Here’s an update on what was going on.
Chicken and stuffing
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sab·bat·i·cal [suh-bat-i-kuhl] any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now (or at least I hope you did!) I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing (except for a post here and there). A sabbatical to re-fuel. Truth is, I just could not summon the energy to write. The well was dry. The gas tank was on empty. Something in my life needed to give, unfortunately it was WWIN that was chosen to be neglected. While I love writing and spending time with you guys, WWIN just couldn’t get the attention that I needed to give to my family and job.
During the second half of October (and the first week of November) I took the self-imposed sabbatical to recharge my batteries. I found myself run-down, stressed out and exhausted. You know when your co-workers actually tell you that you look like sh*t things are getting bad. Yes, on several different occasions I had people ask if I was OK because I looked so bad.
Who’s ready for another week? I ended up not posting my weekly menu last week since I was out of town all week. I did do a bit of cooking for Mike but even he went off the menu and ate out a couple of time. I of course ate out every night! I was in Vegas for the week on business. While I’d love to say that I was totally wild and did all sorts of crazy stuff, I’d be lying. My big excitement for the week was treating myself to a 30 minute massage with the $50 I won playing video poker. While we didn’t get wild, we did gamble a wee bit (I’m not much of a gambler) and enjoyed some awesome meals. During my down time I tried writing a few posts to update you on the restaurants I ate at but had such terrible internet service I wasn’t able to get anything up. The lack of internet service was very frustrating while I was trying to get some of my regular work done. Ugh! When I got back Saturday night I was really looking forward to some home cooked meals. Unfortunately that didn’t happen until Sunday night. I was so exhausted I ended up ordering Dominoes for dinner ( I love their artisan pizza and Mike enjoys their chicken bites while Belle is in love with their pasta – a little something for everyone!) On Sunday Mike wanted to go out for breakfast, since I hadn’t seen him in almost a week I didn’t have the heart to say no. Finally on Sunday night I got my home-cooked meal, although it was pretty simple. We invited my parents over for dinner and had brats and hamburgers on the grill. Probably won’t have to many nights when we’ll be able to do that, at least without freezing to death!
Wow – was the weather beautiful in Wisconsin this weekend! Mike was off so we spent the whole weekend playing. Play weekends are productive but I think very important for the well-being of your marriage and your own inner peace.
We started the weekend with a long ride to Kettle Moraine Park on the bike. The peak colors must have been about a week or so ago but it was still gorgeous.
We stopped to stretch our legs at a beautiful cemetary and got bratburgers at The Hamburger Haus. Last time we were there I got a hot dog which I didn’t enjoy very much. This time Mike made me get the bratburger with everything on it – heaven!
Sunday we did do some grocery shopping (reality set in a bit) followed by a trip to the local apple orchard with Belle for a trip through the corn maze, huge caramel apples and an apple pie. The whole weekend was super relaxing and a lot of fun.
Of course, we’re back to real life this week.