Family Life

Happy New Year

Well, here we are, entering year three of a pandemic that I believe we were told would last two weeks. I should make it a point to never listen to politicians or people in power. My family has remained COVID free, but I feel like our luck may be running out as the virus creeps closer and more and more people I know have it. Thankfully, we are all fully vaxxed, so I expect that if we get sick, it will be mild.

Like with every new year, I try to come up with a list of goals that I want to accomplish. This year, I am trying something new and skipping the lose weight and go to the gym more. I already go to the gym regularly. I have been very slowly losing weight the last year and while I wish it was more, it’s better than nothing. So, I am going to keep that status quo for now. Instead, I have some other goals that don’t involve my physical health.

  1. I am going to attempt to not buy any clothes for one year. As my daughter has pointed out many times, the textile industry is one of the main causes of global warming. The fast fashion industry has made it too easy to purchase cute clothes for cheap. But we need to ask ourselves, what is the true cost of buying that $15 sweater that won’t even last that long. I have more than enough clothing to get me through a year. I went into 2022 prepared. In December I purchased a pair of workout shoes (my old pair was literally tearing away from the sole), the summer work shoes I will need and new socks. Unless some kind of special event happens where I need a dress, I am set for one year. This challenge shouldn’t be too hard for me. I hate shopping and am so frugal that I do wear things out before replacing them.
  2. My reading goal is 135 books for the year. I keep track of my books on Goodreads. Last year’s goal was 130 books, finished 10 days ahead of schedule. Reading is my escape from the real world. It also the activity that grounds my daily routine. I read every single night before bed for at least an hour. This is a routine I have followed since second or third grade. I have always been a patron of my local library. It is no shock that I now work at a library.
  3. I am going to order our state park sticker this week so that we can start visiting the parks sooner. Wisconsin has some really beautiful state parks that we need to utilize more. Since a long distance vacation appears to be at least one more full year in the future, sticking close to home is our only choice.
  4. I am going to learn to say “No” more often to requests. I am terrible about saying no to pretty much anyone. I only hurt myself when I do that.
  5. In January, we are going to challenge ourselves again to eat from the freezer and pantry without going to the store (eggs and bananas will be the exception to that rule). By starting the year with this goal, we save money and clear out the freezer and pantry of food that was lost over the past year.
  6. This one is a big one for me. I need to stop cancelling and rescheduling appointments. I do it all the time. There is no reason for it, just procrastination and laziness. I am starting today. I have a 10:00am doctor appointment, that I considered rescheduling for absolutely no reason. I will go and then it will be done. This will be a good goal to test my saying no goal. “Can you work on Thursday?” “No, I have an appointment scheduled”. Sounds easier than it is.
  7. We need to remodel our kids bathroom. It is in DESPERATE need. I think this summer is the target date. When that happens, we will only have 1 of our kids still here. She will only be here for summers and breaks though. It was something that has been backburnered for years because it was always in use.
  8. We also need to finish replacing the moulding and doors. That has been slow going because my husband has been doing it. Target date of summer for that to be done.
  9. Replace a couple pieces of our furniture. Again, I let things wear out until the bitter end. Our couches are in serious need of replacement. My understanding is that furniture everywhere is on backorder. I am going to start looking in the summer when the inventory has hopefully been replenished.
  10. Finally, finish a couple of crafting projects that I have sitting around. I like doing them when watching TV, but forget to pick them up. Should be an easy goal.
Family Life

Sunday Coziness

It snowed A LOT in my neck of the woods in the last 24 hours. During days like this, I stay home. I hate driving in snow and ice and I really hate being cold. We started the day with a big breakfast. I thought my husband earned it after snow blowing the driveway. I also baked a lovely loaf of zucchini bread and made a batch of tortellini soup for dinner.

The most important part of my day though was that I watched the movie Dig on Netflix. Watch it. For some reason, movies that take place in 1930’s England on old British estates are just better than everything else out there. Make sure to add watching Dig on to your To Do list.

Family Life

Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

I am currently writing my latest blog post from the comfort of my bedroom. Alone. In isolation. On New Year’s Eve at 3:00 pm, the dumpster fire that was 2020 decided to give me one final blow. The dreaded “you have been exposed” phone call. It felt like a punch to the gut. We actually had plans! At home, but we were going to get sushi, watch Scarface and ring in the new year. Together. I started to cry, gathered what I needed and headed to my bedroom. What a fitting way to say good bye to a shit year.

Mind you, I am taking precautions for the love of my family, but I am exceedingly careful and do not believe that I have COVID. As a textbook rule follower, not isolating after such a phone call was just not an option. So, I sit and read. I have journaled. I some how managed to get 10,000 steps in yesterday, in my bedroom. I did some yoga and meditation. My bathroom closet has never been cleaner and all my drawers are organized. I watched a shit ton of really bad movies and enjoyed some of the British mysteries I love. I found that the 85 year old woman from the library who has been begging me to watch Silent Witness for the last 3 years was not lying! It’s great television. Not to mention a much younger and very handsome Mr. Bates (Downton Abbey) makes an appearance. I am officially hooked.

All of this time alone has also had me thinking about all I want to accomplish in 2021. I started 2020 with so many plans, most that had to be back burnered. I found myself just letting things go because, well COVID. We all had an excuse to set stuff aside. But, maybe it is time to take a second look at what I had planned. Or better yet, make a new list that fits my needs for what is bound to be another unpredictable year.

  1. Spend less time on my phone, FB, Instagram. Technology in general. I have actually made progress with the less FB. The algorithm that has been set for me gives me a really boring feed. I don’t feel compelled to check it often, because it’s the same stuff. I do like Instagram because of the pictures though. I follow a lot of homesteading sites and the photos of people’s farms, home projects and animals have me hooked.
  2. Limit some toxic relationships. There are a couple people in my life who are not great for me. That is not to say that they are not great people, they are. I just find that it is ok to say “this is not working and not everyone needs to spend time together.” I know that sounds harsh, but life is simply too short.
  3. I need to walk the dogs more. A lot more. We have golden retrievers and golden retrievers need a lot of exercise to stay sane and normal. Every time they eat a non food item, which is surprisingly often, I have to remind myself whose fault that is. Ours. A bored dog is a curious dog. More walks. They also need to be socialized a lot more. When the world returns to normal, we are going to have a lot of anti social dogs who have not seen other people or been alone for any amount of time. Again, through no fault of their own.
  4. Expand my canning from water to pressure. I would like to can green beans that are not pickled. Summer 2021 will be my next step in preserving our bounty.
  5. Continue with my daily walks and expand that to walks in my local park. We have a gorgeous park with trails that seem to go on forever. In the fall it feels like a walk through a Disney forest. I will not take the dogs there. Too many scents and they go in opposite directions.
  6. I want to have a summer party to celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation, son’s college graduation and life returning to normal. I am so very optimistic that come summer, we can at the very least have a small gathering to celebrate some milestones that were set aside.
  7. Date night is back on the goals list. We started out strong and then let it fizzle. I realized that we can have date night at home. Just unplug, get some take out and watch a movie or do a puzzle. This absolutely has to be a weekly thing.

I think that is about it, for now. I am going to allow myself to just take the next several months as they come. I do see a light at the end of tunnel and do believe that 2021 will be so much better. What are your goals for this new year.

Family Life

2020 Goals Update

  1. My number one goal is to get my pressure back to normal.  Several of my goals have been set to help bring it down with the help of medication.
    • I continue to be on the high end of normal. 
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
    • Slowly losing
  3. Continue to get 10,000 steps a day in.
    • I have been a rockstar at this one.
  4. Go to the gym 3 days per week.
    • My membership at my gym remains frozen.
  5.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  I eat a lot as it is, but it’s time to add more, especially potassium rich produce.
    • I am crushing this goal.  I make every meal at home right now so I am able to achieve this every day.
  6. Try to start trying to meditate at least 2 or 3 days per week.
    • My fitbit app now has meditate as a weekly goal. I am sticking to it.
  7. Get back into the yoga habit.
    • Nope
  8. Cut down on the alcohol.
    • Accomplished
  9.  Pay off the house.  We had every intention of paying it off December 31.  A couple of unexpected expenses put that on hold.
    • DONE!
  10. Read 110 books in 2020.
    • Two more to go and done
  11. Read 3 classic books this year.
    • My number of classics stays at two.
  12. More dates with my husband.
    • Since we don’t go anywhere, we have designated Friday night, movie night.
  13. We have a membership to the Milwaukee Art Museum that I plan on utilizing a lot more this year.
    • There’s always next year or the year after.
  14. Spend more time outdoors.
    • This has been easy to do.
  15. Throw away 20 items per day.
    • Done
  16. More no spend days.
    • This is easy.  I have been trying to purchase from local businesses right now to help them out.
  17. Spend more time with my friends.
    • I have been doing Zoom chats on a regular basis.
  18. Finish a knitting project I started in November and start and finish another.
    • Done
  19. Learn how to can!
    • Boy did I learn how to can. I canned nearly 200 jars of food this year.
  20. Go on 2 weekend getaways with my husband.
    • Maybe we can do this in 2022.

Family Life

Meal Plan July 27-August 2

This week’s plan is going to incorporate as many vegetables as possible from our garden and our CSA box.  This is my favorite time of year for food.  The fresh vegetables that are available are such a treat.  We have reached that “I am overwhelmed” by zucchini stage, so that is nice.  However, based on what happening in the garden, we will be feeling that soon.  Below is our week ahead for meals.

Monday July 27 – Coconut Lime Chicken

Tuesday July 28 – Chicken Salad and Buttermilk Dressing

Wednesday July 29 – Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn

Thursday July 30 – Ratatouille and fish

Friday July 31 – Vegetable Quiche (I will use whatever garden fresh veggies we have)

Saturday August 1 – Pork chops, corn, tomato and cucumber salad

Sunday August 2 – Husband’s birthday celebration! Steak, tomato and cucumber salad, potato salad, corn, cake and ice cream

two people holding cake with lit candles
Photo by Ami Suhzu on Pexels.com

 

Family Life

2020 Goals Update

I have really let things fall apart over here in the last 7 weeks.  I recently saw a meme that said something to the effect of “When this is over, will you be a hunk, a chunk or a drunk?”  I plead the fifth!  I need to hold myself somewhat accountable and revisit those goals and see how I have been doing, which I assume is not good.

  1. My number one goal is to get my pressure back to normal.  Several of my goals have been set to help bring it down with the help of medication.
    • I checked my bp last night and this morning.  I continue to be on the high end of normal.  This is an improvement over the high end of high, which I was.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
    • I have maintained since March 16, my first day of shelter at home.  Since I know people who have gained, I am counting this as a win.
  3. Continue to get 10,000 steps a day in.
    • Nope!  But, I do walk most days.
  4. Go to the gym 3 days per week.
    • This one makes me sad.  I had joined a really nice gym on February 16.  I am not being charged right now.  But, I was going very regularly for a month.
  5.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  I eat a lot as it is, but it’s time to add more, especially potassium rich produce.
    • I am crushing this goal.  I make every meal at home right now so I am able to achieve this every day.
  6. Try to start trying to meditate at least 2 or 3 days per week.
    • I took a meditation CE class for work.  I realized in that class that a lot of the things I already do are considered meditation.  So, yes, I have been meditating.
  7. Get back into the yoga habit.
    • Nope
  8. Cut down on the alcohol.
    • Are you kidding me?  I am at home, every day, in Wisconsin.  I am not getting drunk, or even tipsy.  But, I am having some wine.   My husband and I have also enjoyed a couple of old fashioneds on our porch on some nice evenings.
  9.  Pay off the house.  We had every intention of paying it off December 31.  A couple of unexpected expenses put that on hold.
    • We are going to hold onto that cash for the time being.
  10. Read 110 books in 2020.
    • This one is easy for me.  I am currently at 44 books read for the year
  11. Read 3 classic books this year.
    • My number of classics stays at two.
  12. More dates with my husband.
    • We were doing this weekly starting in February.  It’s hard to have date night at home with two daughters at home moping that they can’t see their friends.
  13. We have a membership to the Milwaukee Art Museum that I plan on utilizing a lot more this year.
    • There’s always next year
  14. Spend more time outdoors.
    • This has been easy to do.
  15. Throw away 20 items per day.
    • Done
  16. More no spend days.
    • This is easy.  I have been trying to purchase from local businesses right now to help them out.
  17. Spend more time with my friends.
    • I have been doing Zoom chats on a regular basis.
  18. Finish a knitting project I started in November and start and finish another.
    • Done
  19. Learn how to can!
    • I am hoping to teach myself by making dandelion jelly
  20. Go on 2 weekend getaways with my husband.
    • Maybe we can do this in 2021

This is not as bad as I thought it would be.  How are your goals doing with our strange new normal?

people holding mask over a sculpture
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Family Life, Frugal Living

Meal Plan March 29 – April 4

Well, here I am a couple days late again with my meal plan.  Unlike last week, my tardiness is due to me actually doing stuff around the house.  Notice, we are eating more meat than we normally do.  I have found that during these weeks, I have wanted to make more comfort foods.  So often, those meals include meat.  I am being gentle with myself these days as we get through this.

Sunday March 29 – pasta with sausage, salad and bread

Monday March 30 – grilled steak, asparagus, baked potato and salad

Tuesday March 31 – vegetable pot pie

Wednesday April 1 – vegetable fried rice

Thursday April 2 – minestrone soup and bread

Friday April 3 – fish, potatoes and salad

Saturday April 4 – chicken noodle soup

What is on your list for the week?

soup served on bowl
Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

Family Life

Meal Plan March 22 – March 28

I did not get our meal plan out here on Sunday as planned because I was binge watching The Office instead.  It got my mind off of things which I think is more important.  I didn’t do it yesterday because I was trying to be productive around the house.  I made waffles for breakfast, tuna casserole for lunch, had dinner in the crockpot by 9:00 am and baked brownies.  I read for a couple hours, went on an hour long walk and tried to convince myself that my son continuing to go to work wasn’t going to make him gravely ill.  These are rough times we are living in.  And honestly, if that orange buffoon that we call president doesn’t learn to shut the F*** up, I am going to lose my mind.  Honestly, what the hell is wrong with him?  Anyway, on to my meal plan.

Sunday March 22 – pasta alfredo with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes

Monday March 23 – black bean soup, bread and salad

Tuesday March 24 – chili and salad

Wednesday March 25 – chicken au gratin, potatoes and salad

Thursday March 26 – vegetable pot pie and salad

Friday March 27 – Maybe takeout to support business. I have been really scared to do this, but I have a friend, who is a doctor.  She has assured me that it will be safe.  If not, I am breaking out the frozen chicken nuggets and fries.

Saturday March 28 – salmon, roasted potatoes and it will time to break out the frozen vegetables.

We are eating a lot of salad because I am trying to use up the last of our fresh lettuce before the expiration date.  At that point, we will pretty much be out of fresh vegetables and we are not going out.  I probably sound crazy because I won’t leave the house.   But, with the heart issue I have, which is very minor, it feels prudent to just not take any chances and stay home.  I am just a week away from the 14 day milestone that will signal that I am virus free.  I want to keep it that way.  Happy isolation everyone!

rocky shore with rocks on the shore during sunset
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

 

Family Life

Isolation-Day 3

I have been determined not to talk about the gigantic elephant in the room, coronavirus.  Honestly, do any of us need to talk about it anymore?  The only reason I am bringing it up, is that today, I finally accepted this as my new normal and got my shit together (sorry to those who don’t like profanity).  Today is technically my third day in isolation.  I was home all day Sunday, but worked on Monday.  The library was hopping, as people knew we were going to be closing up for the foreseeable future.  I was able to load up on books and DVDs with a due date of May 1.  A due date that far into the future really put things into perspective.

Yesterday, my son was laid off from his job.  Two weeks ago, this kind of event seemed impossible.  He has a job on campus while going to school full time.  His school is now online, but his job seemed stable.  He is maintenance and works alone.  But, the university has it’s first positive case, so he was laid off.  Thankfully, something literally came up within a couple hours and he started today.  It’s sounds like a company that is taking necessary precautions.  He needs the work not only for the money, but also for the mental health.  He was feeling really down, like so many of us.  Going to work will be good for him during this time.  I will constantly worry about him being out and about, but he takes the precautions seriously.

Last night, I fell sound asleep at 10:00 and slept until 8:00.  Ten hours of sleep is pretty much unheard of for me, so it’s obvious that a little bit of depression is setting in.  That’s not a shock, I spent two days watching TV, scrolling Facebook and CNN and going back and forth between feelings of anger, fear and sadness. Since the entire planet is in this mess, I am guessing that I am not alone in those feelings.  But, I can’t go on like this.  Projections are that this could go on 18 months, I simply cannot allow myself to feel like this for 18 months.  So, I got up this morning and made a good breakfast.  I got in the car and drove myself to the local county park that has trails and took a 4 mile walk.  I spent that time listening to music (Journey) and thinking about all this.  I spent the last mile on the phone with my mom.  Neither of us cried, but I think we both realized that it could be a really long time before we see each other again.  That is a hard reality to face.

I have spent the afternoon making candles.  I also put some almonds in the crockpot with spices and siracha sauce.  I am not sure how those are going to turn out.  I will only post the recipe if they are edible.  They smell terrible, but I hate the smell of siracha so that could very easily be the problem.  The candles turned out well though and I have been meaning to make some for awhile.  I made lavender lemon for myself and a couple of citrus scented ones for my daughters.

Eric and I started watching Malcolm In The Middle again on Hulu.  Thank goodness that show exists.  We laughed very hard last night and expect that Malcolm will get us through this situation we are all in.  I have also started to watch anything by Judd Apatow.  The 40 Year Old Virgin on Monday night was just the medicine we needed.  I say that during this event, let’s not worry too much about whether or not something is offensive, if it makes you laugh, just watch it.

Let’s remember we are all in this together.  For everyone of us who stays home, that’s possibly 10 less people who get infected.  It’s going to be worth it the end of this journey, it’s just going to be really hard to get there.

IMG_0659

The view on my walk.  It was cloudy, but it was outside.

IMG_0662

Grapefruit candle

 

Family Life

Meal Plan March 15 – March 21

Here is our meal plan for the week.  Last week was the first time that I stuck to the actual meal plan, with the exception of Friday and Saturday, when our plans were changed.

Sunday March 15 – fish, brussels sprouts, potatoes and salad

Monday March 16 – bean burritos, tortilla chips and guacamole

Tuesday March 17 – shepherds pie

Wednesday March 18 – broccoli and kale casserole, salad

Thursday March 19 – spinach quiche

Friday March 20 – spaghetti, french bread, green beans

Saturday March 21 – chicken au gratin, broccoli and potatoes

table on wooden plank
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com