Getting back to normal

Hey there everyone! I know it’s been a full week since I’ve posted, but I was out of town for the holidays, and therefore was not worried about my technology 🙂 But, all things must come to an end, thus here we are.

    I’m pretty sure we all know what it’s like to go visit family for vacation. You go to your family’s homes, and since you’re the guest, you typically aren’t required to do much work. So, you sit around and chat, have meals made for you, and don’t usually have to clean up much. Not saying that you don’t help out, I’m just saying its not an obligation. But this definitely comes as a disadvantage in the long run because it, like everything else, will end too.

     Today was my first real day of “getting back”, and let me tell you, I’m all out of sorts. My schedule and routine is all thrown off, so my house is a wreck because I couldn’t seem to keep it picked up, dinner was 30 mins late because I started it way too late, and Chloe was in bed an hour past bedtime. Oh, and did I mention I’m EXHAUSTED?! How is it, one can be so tired after a day of ,what seems like, doing nothing?! Well, let me just say, it is definitely possible… Hopefully, I will be back on a better routine tomorrow! It also doesn’t help that I’m kinda spoiled from not having to do much, and now I don’t want to clean my house. I think I just need a housekeeper…. I need Amelia Bedelia! 

     Any who, at the end of my day, Chloe is asleep in bed, dinner is put away, I still have a sink full of dishes that will just greet me in the morning, my folded laundry has been strewn around the room by my toddler like Christmas decorations, and my sweet baby is sleeping heavily in my arms. At the end of my day, I can’t complain because I have a happy, healthy family, and had a fresh hot meal tonight. So, thank you God for what I do have 🙂 Goodnight all.

  
     

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Love and let go

Contrary to your present belief, this post is not about forgiveness or anything of the sort in fact. This is about our wonderful kids of course! So keep an open mind and let this soak in 🙂

     My Chloe is a handful. I won’t sugar coat it one bit. Some days I want to run away from my own home! She’s not bad, just…. Emotional, headstrong, and very determined, all things she gets from her mother. But ever sense I had Kimberly, Chloe has become much more stubborn than usual. I think a lot of it is because she just needs attention. Well, I’ve been working on giving my girls an equal amount of attention and playing with both of them when possible, but it’s definitely not easy when they both want to be held. Also, when I finally get the baby happy, Chloe wants to play. By that time, I’m exhausted and just want to have some “me” time, which rarely happens. But if it’s one thing I’ve learned from my two year old, it’s how to relax and enjoy life.

     There are days where I feel like I can’t get anything done, and Chloe will be wanting me to do nothing but spend time with her. She will eventually just say ” mama, don’t do dishes, please don’t” and it hits me like a brick wall. I put don’t what I’m doing and I go and play with her. I have to remember that my babies are more important than the house being clean.

    So, next time your kid asks for some attention, give it to them. You never know when they’ll stop asking for your attention and approval. Don’t worry so much about your things, instead, give your heart and soul to your kids because they are what matter in the long run.  

 

Finding yourself

We all have several versions of ourselves. There’s the mom you, the wife you, the friend you, the sibling you, the child you, and then there’s the you when no one else is around. The question is, are all of these versions of yourself the same? or are you different around each situation?

It’s okay if you have different versions of yourself and they’re all different. It’s normal to have one demeanor around your family, and another around your friends. But who are you when no one is looking? The real you that doesn’t have to impress anyone, doesn’t have to watch what you say around kids, doesn’t have to be on your best behavior. Who are you then? It’s okay if that is a different you than when you’re out in public, there’s nothing wrong with that. But let me ask you, why do we have all of these different personalities? Is it because we’re afraid that each group of people won’t like us for who we really are? Or is it because that side of our personality is brought out by those specific people?

I’m not here to tell you that you need to be a certain person, I’m simply giving you some food for thought. So many times, we get caught up in being so many different versions of ourselves that we forget to take time alone and remember who we really are. Remember the things we like and what makes us really happy. Our minds get tuned to taking care of everyone else, feeding kids, and pleasing people that we don’t even realize that we have become someone else. Again, that is not a bad thing at all. It’s perfectly normal, and a good trait, for us to put aside what we want in order to help and satisfy others. But what we don’t realize is that little by little we get run down, and the joy of doing things for others turns into a chore that we eventually dread doing. It’s at this point when we need to take a time out from life and fulfill our hearts again. I know that seems cheesy to “fulfill our hearts”, but it explains it perfectly. If our heart is not in what we need to be doing, then it makes sense to check out and do something for ourselves that will be rejuvenating to our hearts and minds.

I want to leave you with something to consider. Take a day out of the week for yourself. I understand that getting out and going somewhere is not always possible (I know for me it’s not), so find a small hobby that you can call your own. Something that only you can do. Then, take either a few hours a day, or a few hours a week, to devote your mind to that one activity. See if it doesn’t help give some light to your tiring, everyday, life. I blog and bake. These two things are things that I love. Writing helps me express myself and get emotions and feelings out that I can’t express just anywhere, and baking gives me completion. It’s the starting and finishing something that is relaxing to me. I can see what should be (the recipe), follow it, make it my own, and then I get to see the finished product. These are some ideas, but definitely find something that completes you personally.

Meal budgeting: the sequal

My most recent post gave a few tips on how to keep costs down while feeding your family. I didn’t get to share all that I wanted because I ran out of time, so I decided I’ll go ahead and add on that.

It’s no secret that cooking at home automatically saves you more money than eating out. Sure, the items themselves may add up to cost a little more compared to one meal out, but you can feed several more people for the same amount. I had gotten to the point to where I wanted the “eating out” taste without the cost, so I decided to up my skills. I started looking for different recipes, recipes for food I didn’t typically cook; things like pork tenderloin with brown gravy, green beans, and mashed potatoes. I had always thought that I would spend an arm and a leg for that type of meal, but after watching a little Worst Cooks in America, and checking it out on Pinterest, I found that making up-scale meals is actually somewhat do-able. But today, I wanted to talk about things you can do yourself to cut costs when shopping.

  • Make it yourself. Sure, it might take a little extra time, but no one ever said that you could be lazy AND save money. When I say “make it yourself”, I’m referring to any and everything. Yes, there are somethings that are better and cheaper to just buy, like boxed pudding mix, but there are many things that you’ve had homemade before and wished you could do it. Well, you can! One thing I’ve started making from scratch is my tortillas. Corn, flour, doesn’t matter, I make them. For the corn tortillas, I just buy a bag of Masa and follow the directions on the back of the bag. It’s literally just the masa flour and water and you stir it into a ball. Yes, it really is that simple. Now, I had always thought that, because I didn’t have a tortilla presser, I couldn’t make them. Well, nonsense! I cut a gallon sized Ziplock bag in half and cut the zipper part off. That way I had two sheets of plastic that the dough wouldn’t stick to. Then, I got my glass pie pan, placed a ball of dough between the two sheets of plastic, and mashed it with the pie pan. It gave it the nice circle I was looking for and I could see through the pan to know how big the tortilla was going to be. Then you just cook it about 30 seconds on each side,  on a non-stick, non-greased, pan. Super easy and they are SO good. I also do flour tortillas which are a little trickier because you have to let them rest a few minutes, then roll them out which is a little difficult, but possible. Another thing I love to make myself is bread rolls. I found the best recipe ever on Pinterest. Here’s the link if you want it. www.laughingspatula.com/easy-homemade-rolls/ . It’s really easy and very good, and if you try to say you don’t have time, it only takes 45 minutes to make, start to eating. So, there you go. If you want to cut costs, make the food yourself. Don’t buy prepackaged if you don’t have to. You’re paying for someone else to make food that you could make better.
  • Don’t over-cook. What I mean by this is don’t make more than you will eat. If you make too much and don’t eat on it for days, it will go bad. Then you will have to throw it away, and you’re basically throwing away money you could have saved. That’s why it’s important to portion out your ingredients, and only use what you need. If you want to have leftovers, that’s fine, just make sure you know how many leftovers you want to have, and portion for that. For example, when I make baked fish, I make as much as we will eat that night, plus a few extra pieces for Chris to take for lunch the next day. But, I don’t cook the whole bag of fish fillets because we would either eat it when we should be eating something else, or we wouldn’t eat it and it would spoil. Always always portion.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. We all have those days where it’s the day before payday, and we have nothing to make a decent meal. Well, instead of going out and spending MORE money, go through your pantry and see what you have, then DO something with it! Let me just say, you can make a decent soup out of the strangest ingredients as long as you season well. Just try to include a starch (corn, potatoes, pasta, bread, etc..), a veggie (canned is just fine), and a protein (this includes beans, chicken, tuna, lunch meat, etc…). I’ll give you a few”toss together” meals you can look to try to make. First is quiche, which you can basically just put cheese and you have a meal, but you can add spinach, lunch meat, bacon, or go a little crazy with beans, but I wouldn’t suggest it. Next is soup. You can put corn, beans, cheese, frozen veggies, cabbage, and any other vegetable you might have. If you don’t have veggies, try to go the chili route with beans, meat, tomatoes (canned is just fine) and a good amount of cumin and chili powder, and you’ve got yourself a nice bowl of chili. to raise the bar a little, you can whip up some quick cornbread to go with it. But, if you can’t seem to find items to make these meals, don’t be afraid to try something a little different. Sure it might be really weird, but at least you won’t starve. If you have food, eat it, don’t buy more.

There you go, there’s a few more tips to help keep your money in your pocket, and food in your belly. Until next time!

HAK – Lindsey

P.s. Here’s a couple of super cute pictures of my kids 🙂

   
  

 

How to feed a family on $10 or less per meal.

Finances are a tricky thing. You have to make sure that you budget correctly while not getting to stressed out by making sure you have all of your pennies accounted for. Well, lately I’ve been having to penny pinch, and one of the areas I’ve gotten pretty good at is budgeting meals. So I figured I’d share a few of my tips with you today.

  •      The first thing you need to do is make a meal plan. While you make your plan, go through your freezer, pantry, and cabinets and plan meals based on what you already have. That will cut down on what you have to buy. You always want to make the best of your current resources.Without a meal plan, you typically end up buying a bunch of random stuff that you won’t end up using. You also run the risk of not buying enough items that go together to create meals, so you have to make several runs to the store which, in the long run, will cost you more money.
  •      Next, make a list of what you need ONLY for your meals. That can includes flour for pie crust or butter for sauce. While you make your grocery list, make sure you keep in mind things you may need for breakfasts and lunches. I typically just make enough at dinner time to have leftovers for lunch the next day or so. I have a motto, “if you don’t need it, don’t get it”. Sure, if you have a little extra cash, go for that bottle of soda, but if you’re tight on funds, stick to the necessities when making your list.
  •      After that, go through and see which “always have’s” you need or are running low on. These include, but are not limited to, flour, butter, milk, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices/seasonings, and any other food items that you use on a daily basis.
  •      When you go shopping, STICK TO YOUR LIST! One of the main reasons we end up spending so much when we go shopping is because we buy stuff we don’t need. Sure you may think “oh, it’s just a small bag of chips”. Then it turns into several “small” items which quickly adds up. It’s okay to get a small candy at check out, but limit yourself to one thing at the END of your trip. That way, you can make sure you know that you’re only getting one splurge item.
  •      Stick to your meal plan. If you go off of your meal plan too much, you’re going to use items from other meals. If that happens, you’ll need to go buy more stuff which, you guessed it, costs more money. So do yourself a favor and plan meals that are diverse and that you know you’ll cook.

Now, lets talk about some meals. Now, these aren’t going to be five-star meals, but it’s not Ramen. I do most of my shopping at Walmart, so the pricing on these meals is based on shopping there.

  • Spaghetti and meat sauce – Yeah I know, it’s an everyday meal, but it’s a good one to come back to when nothing else sounds good. Now, if you’re trying to go the healthy route, you can go with wheat pasta. You can find the Great Value brand of pasta for about $2. If you want to brand – up, you can find Barilla whole wheat pasta for $2. But if you want to go the original white pasta, you can get the Price First brand for $0.88. Now, for sauce, I had always gone with name brand because it was supposedly so much better. But, brands like Ragu and Barilla are extremely costly, so I started looking for a cheaper brand that was still tasty. I found that the canned Del Monte spaghetti sauce is right up there with the expensive stuff, and it’s only $0.88 for a 24oz can!. I like to spice my spaghetti sauce up with some meat. But not just any meat, I use the Great Value ground Italian sausage. It’s about $2.50 a roll, and is just as good as Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage. I like to freshen it up with a quick salad. Bagged salad is going to run you close to $3 a bag. If you buy a head of whatever kind of lettuce you prefer, you’ll only spend about $1.60, and you just cut it yourself. All in all, you’ll end up spending about $8 if you go with whole wheat pasta, or about $6 if you go with regular pasta. With a pound of pasta, a pound of ground sausage, a can (maybe two if you like more sauce) of sauce, and a head of lettuce, you can easily feel 4 people with some leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Chicken Pot Pie – This one is one of my favorites, its a warm, home style kind of meal, and it feeds a crowd! Now, you want to start out with your pie crust. Find a recipe you like and stick with it. This is where you will need your stock items like flour, Crisco, eggs, etc. But in a ball park figure, a recipe of pie crust that will give you two round, double crust pies, you’ll spend about $1 if that. Again, this figure is based off of Great Value Brand flour, Crisco brand shortening (other brands just don’t compare), and the cheapest eggs and other ingredients. Next you will need your filling. I use chicken breast, but I know some people who prefer thighs. You can use some of both if you’d like. Now, you will want about 1/2 a breast, decent sized, per person you’re planning to feed. You can get a pack of about 7-8 good sized breasts for $10-$12. This may seem like a lot, but remember, you only are going to use 2-3 of those,which will be about $1.20 each breast, so you have a few meals out of that pack. I portion out my chicken into zip locks when I buy it so I can freeze it but only have to thaw what I’m going to use. I get the cheapest brand, and it’s usually about $1.80 – $1.99 per pound which is decent. For the veggies, I stick with Great Value frozen mixed vegetables. Let’s say you’re going to be making two pies. You will need the 16oz bag of vegetables, more or less to your desired amount. You can find these for around $1.50 a bag. Total, for two pies, you’re looking at about $7 – $8. Two pies will feed about 6 people with leftovers.

Well, I’d give you one more meal, but I’m ready for bed so it’ll have to wait for some other time. But now you have an idea of how to cut costs where you can.

 

 

When it’s change for the best.

What do you do when a possibility comes into play that you’ve been needing, but it comes with a cost? A cost that involves losing part of your life temporarily? A cost that would change how loved ones interacted with you. Would you go ahead with it? If it meant you would get back on top and out of the rut you’ve been living in for so long. If you could finally breath again. Would all of this be worth the sacrifice? Missing out on your babies lives, this is the cost. 

     So answer this, would it beworth it? Is there another way? Would it really be temporary, Or would you have the temptation of getting sucked back in? Yeah, the lifestyle would be great. You wouldn’t ask for anything, but living that life would be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. What then? Would it still be worth it?

    You would be doing it for the best interest of your family, but it would mean your family would have to do without you for lengthy periods of time. How about now? Still worth it? Your kids would learn to live without you and have a long distance relationship, what would you think about that? Would you still go through with it?

      I ask this because I don’t know if I could. I don’t know if that’s the life I’d want to live even if it meant I’d never be in need. But that’s the irony of it all, I would be in need everyday. I would need my family. I don’t know if I’d be ok with missing out on life events. I cherish that too much to lose it. 

So, would it be worth it?

A trip back in time.

I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, and was gathering items from the baking aisle, when I came across the boxed cake mixes. Chloe started pointing and saying “cupcakes cupcakes!”, which then reminded me that I needed stuff for cupcakes for her birthday. That’s when it hit me, my baby girl, who is not such a baby anymore, is about to turn two… TWO! It was a bittersweet moment. I love seeing her grow into a beautiful little girl with such a firecracker personality, but I’m not sure I’m ready to accept that she is not a baby anymore. Sure I have another baby to fill that spot, but no matter how big she is, she will always be my baby. It got me thinking about all that has happened since she was born, and how dry our lives would be without her.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with her. Two weeks before, Chris and I had decided that I would go off of my birth control just days before he came home from work. You should know that at this point in time, he was working in the oil field two weeks in a row out of the month, so I only saw him for two weeks, then he was gone for two. He got back from work and we decided we wanted to try for a baby. Fast forward two weeks, and there we were. It had been an interesting day, and I hadn’t been thinking about the fact that we had tried. In fact, I had completely forgotten until I was on my way home from who knows where. I was driving past a CVS pharmacy, and I was suddenly reminded of our attempt. But I wasn’t due for “aunt flo” for another week at least, so I wondered if it would be a waste of time to test that early. I went ahead and got a pack even though the chances of me finding out just barely 2 weeks from possible conception were really slim. I got home, took the test, and left it on the counter while I straightened up the house. I was having a friend over to help me paint my kitchen chairs so I needed it to look like I somewhat cared about the tidiness of my home while my husband was at work. I got carried away cleaning and painting that I totally forgot about the test until my friend left hours later. I was about to go to bed, it was about midnight by now, and I went to brush my teeth and saw it laying there, patiently awaiting my inspection. At this point, I was so nervous that it took me a few minutes to even look at it. Once I finally got the courage to look at it and see the two little pink lines proving that I was indeed expecting, my heart began to race. I never thought it would happen this fast, and I was suddenly doubting if I was even ready to be a mom. Realizing that I was way to late to be thinking like that, I moved on to the next phase, total freak out. I had no idea what I was going to do. I knew that this was planned, but there was so much going on at that moment that I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. So like any normal person, I called my best friend (at 1:00 in the morning) and spilled the beans! Of course she freaked out too, which was actually kinda nice that I wasn’t the only basket case. Then, instead of finding some super cute way to tell Chris, I was an idiot and texted him out of freak-out mode. I totally regret it now because there are so many cute ways to tell someone you’re pregnant, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.

Fast forward to November 25th, 2013. I had been doing everything I could to progress my labor, but nothing was happening, so my doctor decided I needed to be induce. Worst thing in the WORLD! But it was definitely worth it. I don’t remember much of the first few weeks. Two weeks of crying, no sleep, pain from giving birth…. It was excruciating. But it evened out, and we had the sweetest little bundle of joy anyone could ask for.

She loved monkeys and frogs, so naturally, her first birthday was full of monkeys and frogs and sugar! One of the most memorable parts of her birthday was when we were opening gifts. She stood on her own for the very first time! Luckily, we got a picture of it before she quickly sat down. It was a wonderful birthday! and I hope her next one is just as good.

The past year has been very interesting. I got pregnant a month before her first birthday, which wasn’t exactly the plan, and it changed the next year for us all. Being a mother of a toddler is tiring. Being a pregnant mother with a toddler is exhausting! But Chloe’s speech, mind, and personality has grown and improved so much. She speaks in full sentences, has such humor it’s surprising, and is way to smart for her own good. Lately though, it has been hard on her that I have to invest so much of my time with the new baby. I have to remind myself that she is only 2 and still needs so much attention from me. So I’m trying my hardest to make sure she stays being my sweet, funny, happy girl.

For her second birthday, she wants puppies. I’m making her cupcakes that look like a puppy, and decorating everything with puppies. Unfortunately, she wants a real puppy, and that’s not happening. But when she’s old enough to take care of it on her own, then she can have one.

Well, there you go. There’s a trip down memory lane that you didn’t ask for, but you got it anyway. Here’s some pictures from the past year 🙂

Christmas 2014 IMG_2699 Cupcake