Sunday, January 12, 2014

Slashing the Grocery Bill

This week, I've spent most of my non working hours looking at our finances. Trying to figure out how much our monthly bills are versus our income. The income portion is pretty tricky. Ryan pretty much works for the kids' school to pay for their tuition, so there is no money coming in there, but on the flip side, we only have to pay about $400 a year for both kids to attend private school. My hours can vary drastically based on our patient census at work. And lately, we have been on a definite upswing. 

We still haven't nailed down a specific plan for our spending, I just haven't been home long enough to sit down with Ry and get it figured out. But we've made good progress. We know what our basic monthly bills total up to. So now we just need to figure out the variable and "extra" expenses, gas for the car, groceries, Kung Fu, vet, etc. 

I know for a fact we were spending more on groceries than we really needed to. It's so easy to go grocery shopping and pick up all those extra snacks and quick fixes. And while I like knowing we have something easy to fix for dinner on Kung Fu nights, especially on days that I'm at work until 6:30 or later, I also like to know I'm feeding my family nutritious meals. 

Yesterday, after picking up a few hours of overtime, I sat down at the table, surrounded by several cookbooks. And I planned out the meals for the rest of January, three weeks worth of dinners. I used a menu planner I found online several years ago. I can't find the link anymore, but just do a Google search, and find one that works for you. One of the ways we are slashing our grocery bill is to stop wasting food. I plan for 1 night of leftovers each week, and I take left overs to work for lunch each day. Left over night is always on Wednesday, mostly because it is a Kung Fu night, and being in the middle of the week, I can rework the rest of the weeks dinners based on what is left after leftover night. 

 As I mentioned before, I like to have some quick and easy meal stuff on hand for those super busy nights, so I looked through a cook book I got from my Secret Santa a couple of years ago, Fix, Freeze, Feast       ( ) and I planned 1 meal a week out of there. As I wrote out the meal plans, I also wrote on the back everything I would need for each meal. Whether I knew I had it on hand or not. I then "shopped" my cupboards, and marked off everything I already had on hand for the next 2 weeks. 

I went grocery shopping today. I live pretty close to several grocery stores here in town, Grocery Outlet, Walmart, Fred Meyer, and Albertson's. So before I left, I checked their ads online to get an idea of what was on sale where. I started at Grocery Outlet, generally, if they have what I'm looking for it's cheaper than Walmart by a few cents. They didn't have most of what was on my list, so I only spent  $18. 04. I then went to Walmart, where I spent the most-  $91.83. Fred Meyer was my last stop, and I spent $13 there. This totals to $122.87 for 2 weeks or $61.44 a week.This also includes my "extra" meals that I will be preparing for future weeks. So in reality, I probably got the weekly amount to close to $55 for a family of 4. I did pretty good at sticking to my list too. I bought some ALT bars at Grocery Outlet for $2.99 (to take to work for those extra long days where I didn't bring enough food) and 3 packages of canned fruit at Walmart for $1.88 each.

At this point in time, I'm still not 100% sure what our final grocery budget is going to be. I'm hoping as our family gets in the swing of eating what we have, I can also start cutting out all  or most of the the pre processed snacks. I plan to make a new item each week to replace the snacks. This week, istead of buying the Oatmeal to Go bars that I took for breakfast, I am going to make my own portable oatmeal bars. I've made them in the past and really enjoyed them. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Several years ago, I made a resolution to not make resolutions. Why bother? It's not like I ever made any that I kept. I get too busy, too caught up in the day to day minutia of life to follow through. My resolutions always seemed to take time I didn't have to give.

And that was BEFORE I had kids. Now, all that time I didn't have? I wish I had that much time! Gosh to be 20 again, unattached, unencumbered. The only demand on my time was my work schedule....

Just kidding. I have absolutely no desire to be that naive and stupid again. That self centered and bitchy when things don't go exactly as I want them. That selfish.

No, thank you.

I enjoy being busy, even somewhat stressed. In fact, Last week, Ry said that being a manager was the perfect job for me. I would always have something to stress and complain about. Ha! Does he know me well, or what!

So this year, I'm going to work on getting all aspects of my life organized.

So my goals (not resolutions!), in no particular order, for 2014 are:

  • To get financially back on track so I can provide a stable childhood for the boys.
  • Declutter, find a place for everything, get rid of the excess
  • Appreciate Sean and Aidan more, show them I love them
  • Take more pictures
  • Write more. Hopefully weekly posts, at least to start
2013 was a rough year emotionally. Too many loved ones lost, that I couldn't, and still can't write about. It had its good points though. All in all, I'm looking forward to a better 2014.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Yesterday, at around noon pacific time, a co-worker asked me about living in Oklahoma, specifically dealing with tornadoes. I told her about storm shelters, sirens, wall clouds, watching funnels drop. Little did I know, shortly after our conversation, an F-5 would drop over the town my grandparents live and where my mom was staying as she helps care for my grandparents.

When I got home, and turned on the computer. My first though was "Holy Shit!" I knew better than to try to call, phone lines would be down, power out, cell phone towers damaged. So I did the next best thing-- Facebook.

Generally, I scoff at the dependence our society has on social media (yes, even though I check Facebook throughout the day...), but yesterday and today I was so glad to have it. I frantically scrolled through my news feed, looking for posts from my mom, cousins, and friends. Luckily, everyone is safe and accounted for.

At about 5 pm my time, my mom was able to send a text saying everyone was fine, albeit without power, phone or water.

I had a friend in the hospital after having a baby that was displaced to the Warren Theater when the sirens went off. Her family is safe. There are so many families out there that are still waiting to find loved ones, looking for a place to stay, food, water.

This afternoon (or evening in Oklahoma) my mom has reported the return of water, although just a trickle, and electricity. Much love to the utility workers in Moore, working hard to restore services. I have read reports of people parked on the sides of the roads, handing out bottled water and nonperishable foods.Rescue crews have promised to triple check every damaged building, looking for survivors.Many stores and organizations are opening their doors to displaced families and animals. So many groups are accepting donations to aid in the relief

  • American Red Cross: $10 donations can be made by texting REDCROSS to 90999
  • Salvation Army: $10 donations can be made by texting STORM to 80888
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: $10 donations can be made by texting FOOD to 32333

I'm sure there are countless others, including the Humane Societies and animal shelters throughout the state that could use help with fostering, pet food, monetary donations, and donations of your time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Update on Bullying

Last Sunday, Ryan and I sat down to figure out exactly what has been going on and when it happened. We don;t want Sean getting bullied, but we don't want the kid to get in trouble for the same incident twice. During our conversation on Sunday, Sean mentioned a few incidences, but when we asked him if they happened before or after his teacher and principal talked to the class, he said before. He didn't (or wouldn't?) tell us of any specific incident that happened since the discussion. So, Ryan and I decided to hold off on talking to the principal again.

Well, as fate would have it, Monday on our way to Kung Fu, Sean mentioned a couple of incidences that happened AFTER the class discussion.... And of course, I had to go into work Tuesday morning.I did go into his class room before work and spoke with his teacher. She is very proactive in these situations, unfortunately, she is not usually around when it happens with Sean, usually at recess time, which is her lunch break. She did speak with the older boys that agreed to keep an eye out on Sean during lunch break and have them check in on him several times throughout the day. She also said she would speak with the ring leader again, and let him know that it is not okay to ostracize someone, or to only chase after 1 kid while playing tag, or knock him out every time as soon as he gets in during a 4 square game. 

I honestly don't know if I am making things better or worse. When we ask Sean how school was, he doesn't answer right away. He seems to be skirting the question and giving half answers.

There are 3 more weeks of class. We are going to finish the year, and start next year. Hopefully over the summer, things will resolve. We are planning on having the kids that Sean was friends with before this other boy decided to convince them to ignore Sean over several times during the Summer.(Apparently  when the ring leader is not around, they play fine with Sean.)

I've been thinking a lot of homeschooling both boys, or moving to the public schools. Both have positives and negatives. Both boys need the social interaction that attending a school provides. Academically, both are thriving in the small classes. Aidan has been extremely difficult and combative with us, so homeschooling him could be a nightmare and do more harm than good at this point.... Sean says he wants to continue at the school he is in.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


There always seems to be a lot of talk about bullying. How to talk to your kids, how to recognize the signs, cyber bullies, etc... 


What do you really do when your child tells you he is being bullied?

Your heart breaks. Of course, you hope for a peaceful resolution. You talk to him about it, trying to find out as many details as you can. Has it gotten physical? If so, how? Have you told a teacher/ principal? Did you tell the punk ass  other kid to stop? What did he do?

Then you talk to the teacher. Hopefully it gets nipped in the bud. 

But if it doesn't? If there is a momentary quiet, and just when you think, everything will be ok, you find out it is starting again?

Obviously, this is something that we are dealing with. Starting the end of last year, another boy in Sean's class (of 13) began socially isolating him. Telling Sean he can't play with him, starting a club and inviting all the other boys to join, but telling Sean he can't. Crap like that.

Fast forward to 3rd grade. It gets progressively worse. to the point that Sean's best friends won't play with him because this other boy doesn't want to play. Sean begins to think he is stupid and unlikable. He tells me this other boy shoved him at the play ground. He goes into the after care room at recess to play with his little brother since no one else will play with him.

Now, Ry and I have Sean in Kung Fu. We want him to be able to defend himself, to regain that self confidence he has lost since this has started. I spoke with his teacher (she doesn't have recess duty, and was unaware of most of the isolation and of the shove). 

That day, she gets the principal to come into the class and discuss bullying. They have a long discussion, and some of the older kids are invited in, 1 that was bullied and 1 that was the bully. Sean gets the chance to confront this other boy, and his former best friends, about how he feels.

And things are better.

Until they aren't.

The isolation is beginning again. A new boy starts school, and is "recruited" to the other boy's group. 

What do you do then? I mean, I know I need to let the teacher and principal know it is starting again.

But how do I heal the emotional distress of such a gentle soul?

This is a boy that hurts when he steps on a bug. That won't let me kill a spider in the house, instead, catches it in a jar and takes it outside.

How can I convince him he is smart, worth loving, worth having as a friend?

Part of why we chose a small private school for our children is the sense of community and family the school promotes. But if my son is being ostracized, and especially if it continues, am I doing him a disservice? I don't want to put him in a new school. He says he likes going to the school he is at. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Post Migraine Cravings/Dreams

I had a migraine yesterday. At work. I was close to being finished with my patient list, and luckily I have an awesome co-worker, Kim, who said she would see my last patient. I took a Zomig as soon as I was able to get into my purse, and did my treatment notes and billing, like a good little PTA. Ryan came and picked me up, and his brother came with him to drive my car home. (Do I not have just the BEST family?)  When I got home, I promptly went to bed and slept. Upon waking, I felt somewhat better, still not my normal self, and kinda in a drug induced state. I popped another Zomig to help with the pain.

When I woke up this morning, I still was pretty lethargic, with some neck and jaw pain (mot typical with my migraines, but is listed as a common side effect of Zomig). Went to work and got through my day.

Since I woke up from my nap yesterday afternoon, I have been craving protein, salt and spicy food.  Protein kinda makes since to me, it's what the body uses to heal itself. Spicy, well, let's just say I always crave spicy food. The hotter the better... But Salt??? I never crave salt. I mean I rarely (if ever) add salt while cooking. Ryan knows if I'm cooking, he should probably bring the salt shaker to the table... Perhaps I'm craving it due to an electrolyte imbalance? Sodium, after all, helps with nerve impulse conduction.

Right now, I am sitting with a quesadilla filled with pepper jack cheese, turkey and  the salt shaker, sprinkling salt on every bite....

Does anyone else have cravings following a migraine, or am I just weird?

And since yesterday was my first time taking Zomig, I'm curious about weird dreams? Has anyone had weird, vivid dreams after taking it, or any other triptan family medicine? I had a dream that I was at work, with my kick ass co workers, but instead of being at work, we were at school. We were late to class. I looked at the class schedule and said "Don't worry. It's just Drama. If we dance down the hall and into class, the teacher will just think we were trying to make a dramatic entrance." So we all went dancing, leaping twirling down the hall and into a room...

And yes, we were all wearing tutus. Even the men I work with.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

(Mostly) Finished Bathroom

My last post was all about what I wanted my bathroom to look like. See it here. Well, it's pretty close to my two week deadline, and we are just about there. Woo Hoo! I have an almost normal bedroom and bathroom back. Some before pictures in all their messy glory:

As you can see, we had the boring standard white walls, white cabinets, and builder's style mirror. We also had the yucky, tacky brass vanity lights, old yellow heat lamp cover. Disgusting, really.

Now here are some after pictures:


So, as you can see, we switched out the light switch and outlets and covers, changed out the light fixture, painted the heat lamp cover, replaced the shower curtain and rod, painted and added some art work.

We are still working on framing the mirror and deciding on some window treatment. We will also probably hang the pictures on the vanity top.

In the next year, we are planning on replacing the toilet, bath/shower combo, and tile the floor.

I also have some pictures of me looking smoking hot in my stripping (paint, you dirty minded people) and painting garb. You will probably see some when I write about how we done it.

Hope this inspires someone to update their boring old white bathroom!