Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary Babe!

In our house, we celebrate many things and many "holidays". Today is one such day!

It's the 4th anniversary of the day Chad asked me to be his wife!!!!
(this is not our wedding. It's another celebration!)

It was a lovely day, full of unexpected surprises (I knew it was going to happen, so there were many other weird surprises instead!)and interrupting foreign tourists.

When it actually happened, it was so funny and obvious what was going on that afterwards we realized he never actually said " will you marry me?" and I never said "yes"! Some how we communicated our intentions anyway and it was wonderful.

Sweetie, I'm so glad you asked me to share your life. There has never been a day or moment in the past four years that I've regretted it or even wondered if I made the right choice. The only thing I've wondered was what it would have been like to marry you sooner! I love everything about you including (but not limited to)- your curly hair, attached ear lobes, and brown eyes. Without you I would never have learned so many things about the world of science, history, the Navy and love.
(this is Chad with Nicola Tesla)

I love you wonderful, handsome, hubby! Here's to our forever!

Grocery Shopping and Menu Planning for Dummies (Like me!) Pt.1

So being a competitive grocery shopper is a big deal on the Internet, if you haven't noticed. It seems like every where I turn is some new way to cut your grocery bill by "(enter obscene number of $$$)". But most of the help found on the front page of Yahoo isn't really helpful to the family who's trying to REALLY cut their grocery bills. People who are not doing it because its a fun hobby in a time of economic crisis but because they have no other option in their current financial situation.

So I headed over to the blogging world.

There are thousand upon thousands of blogs out there advocating extreme couponing, playing the "drugstore game", and becoming an tightwad of Olympic proportions. Not that there's anything wrong with those money saving measures but...they're not for me. Especially, if I need to practice them on a longer term basis, like the duration of Law School.

If you are at all inclined to research those methods of saving money, you need to consider a few things first-

1) What is your personality?
Are you very competitive? Are you motivated by a feeling of victory when you get a deal others might feel guilty about getting? (I'm not saying you are doing something wrong but some people feel guilty for various reasons in that situation. I am one of them.) Do you like the idea of cooking more than scouting for coupons? Are you a homebody? Are you easily overwhelmed or confused? Does the grocery store stress you out?

2) What is your Husband's personality?
Does he think this would be a huge waste of your time? Even after showing him how great the deals are? Does he disagree with stockpiling items you might not need in order to get a deal you do need? Does he like home cooked food or convenience foods? Is he willing to join in a grab deals when you can't make it out? Is he willing to learn the ropes too?

3)What stage is your family in right now?
Can you afford the time to learn the ropes of competitive shopping? Can you afford the inevitable mistakes you will make? Do you have to much on your plate already, be it that you're in the toddler stage or the driving your teens all over creation stage? Do you live in the city/suburbs or in the country? Do you know how to cook or do use a lot of convenience foods? Will this be a short term adjustment or will you have to practice it long term? Do you a car available for you?

All these things are very important to consider when choosing how you will attack your grocery bill. After struggling with trying to be like those amazing extreme shoppers, I've finally made peace with where we are right now. And surprisingly, our target budget and bills are comparable to the extreme shoppers without the hassle!

So I'm going to try and explain in the next few weeks/posts how I do it. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Red, White and Fall

This autumn my fireplace mantle has taken a less than "fall-ish" feel. But I'm okay with that.
This summer I decorated my mantle for the 4th of July and not long after that my oldest, younger brother (does that make any sense? For some reason it does to me!) finally fullfilled a dream to join the Army and left for bootcamp. I decided to leave it up for him until he came back.

How amazing is it that there are still young men who dream of serving their country by voluntarily joining during a time of war. I'm so proud of my kid brother.

The mantle has been the perfect reminder of the sacrifice many families are making this fall so we can have the freedom to celebrate the upcoming holidays in our own homes.

Lord of the Rings has nothing to do with 4th of July, BootCamp or the American Flag. My brother Jordan is a big geek and loves it sooo much. He'd read the books and play LOTR Risk all day if we let him. (We don't. We avoid it at all cost) It reminds me of him so much.

I love you kid brother! Thank you for making such a sacrifice for all the people you know and all those you don't know by defending your country. I can't wait to see you at Graduation!

I've linked up to The Nester's Mantle Party. Check out the other great ladies linked up there too! Later this week I should have all my other Fall decorating done so come back and see me then!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

(Rain, rain go away...Little Bram and I want to play!)

Why is it that as soon as you decide you're going to make a change for the better, something gets in your way?

I told myself that this year I was going to build the discipline of exercise in my life. I decided walking would be the easiest and most consistent way to accomplish with a very active tiny toddler. I even bought a stroller because Bram was getting too heavy for the slings. But after a couple of weeks of doing pretty good...rain, rain, and more rain! I forgot how rainy the fall is!

So I guess it's back to squeezing in a Yoga video! Wish me luck in attempting Downward Dog with a helpful partner...

P.S. The clouds parted this afternoon and we were able to squeeze in a walk! Yipee!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Blog?

Or more accurately- why should I blog?

When I started blogging, I really didn't know why I was doing it. Worse still, I didn't know what direction I wanted the blog to go. I though it would just fall together and produce lots of readers (!) and lots of money (!!!). Dream on!

What happened instead was a mis-mash of posts that didn't connect and didn't reflect me as person. I was trying to be a copy cat of other successful blogs but without taking into consideration who I was and more importantly, what stage of life I was in.

After Christmas last year, I took a break and got a glimpse of what might be off. My other blog Use What You Have, was an attempt to remedy the situation. But by then my life had changed and I wasn't able to keep up with regular posts. My baby was older and needing more of my time. My hubby was going though a rough patch at school. I was barely able to get dinner on the table, besides trying to make freezer meals, and blog about it. It was a hard place. It was very discouraging.

By the summer I had (mostly) made peace with not regularly blogging. It was an increadibly busy summer. Lots of visits and visitors. Quite a few stressful situations that needed to be resolved. My husband worked at an internship. By the time I felt like I was able to breathe again, it was time to start school.

A couple weeks ago, Pioneer Woman wrote a list of what she's learned about blogging that resonated with me, especially #1- "Be Your self. Write in your voice. Write as if you're talking to your sister."

That's what I wanted to do but frankly was too nervous to do it. You see, I'm actually a very private person in real life. If you were to meet me, I'm pretty shy and don't like to talk about myself. I like to hide at home and watch movies, cook lots of dessert, drink coffee and hang with my husband.

So what on earth am I doing blogging?!

I ask myself that all the time.

I've come to the conclusion that what I really want for this blog is to be a record of the victories and special moments that we have while going through "the three most difficult years of your life". I want it to be a kind of scrapbook of what I've learned from all the wonderful, talented women in the bloggingsphere. I really want to "bless the Lord with my efforts". I want to be authentic here.

So I'm going to be doing things a bit differently. On the surface it might not look terribly different but the motivation and attitude are and in the end that's all that matters.

P.S. Another great article on the "how" and "why" of blogging was posted on Simple Mom. Check it out!