Moving.

The computer that is.

I have been quiet for a few days and it is because I am busy moving and organizing out home office. We finally bought a proper desk and have decided to set it up in the basement rathar than on the main floor where it is now.

The move should be complete this evening. I am looking forward to having a new working space with room to dock the camera/video camera/ipods etc. I am hoping this will make working and blogging much easier.

See you soon!

I am a quitter.

So, I quit my job.

Yup, you heard right. After a whopping 3 weeks I packed it in. There were many reasons for my decision.

I like to work. I like to do meaningful work that requires the use of my brain. And let me tell you…this job was not the kind of work I like to do. In case you didn’t know, I work in healthcare. I am not going to get into specifics because I want to my previous employer and position to remain anonymous.

The job looked good on paper – interesting – a challenge – something I have never done before. In reality, I was just a paper pusher with a nice title. You see, our healthcare system is good, but it could be much better. Our system has to hire educated people like me (the Ministry of Health has put in legislation that says so) to do mundane administrative tasks in order for organizations to obtain adequate financial support from the government. I could have been actually helping people, but I was sitting in front of a computer entering data.

 I was provided with some opportunity to actually work with people. I had big dreams for this time. I wanted to provide interventions that would actually benefit the client, but as you might expect, my dreams were shot down. Nope, heaven forefend I actually work to make people better. I was instructed to spend my time implementing interventions that go against best practice guidelines, but would make the organization I was working for more money.

On top of all of that, I really did not get along with a co-worker that I would have had to work closely with.  I know she is a nice person, but there was a real clash in our working styles, and she was trying to manage me.

I am sad that it didn’t work out, but if I am going to be away from my home and kids than I really need to enjoy the work I am doing. I knew that would not be possible in this situation.

Stay tuned…the next few months are going to be interesting!

FAIL!

So I am really trying to put the reins to my budget. I decided that I would withdraw 2 weeks worth of grocery money every second Friday and that would be that. You might guess from the title of this post that this plan has not gone so well. It is Tuesday, there is no money left in the envelope, I am not supposed to withdraw any more money until Friday and we need groceries. In addition to that we have already overspent by at least $50. How can this be?

The was a time, not so long ago, that I was really good at budgeting for groceries. Somehow that all went out the window.

I blame the kids.

Now that we have 2 “eaters” in the house I am truly astonished with how much food we are going through. Does this mean I am going to increase the budget? Nope…not yet anyway. I am going to give it another try.

On my “to do” list is to attempt making yogurt. I am intrigued by the idea and have been wanting to give it a try for a long time. Now with the grocery budget issue, I am more motivated. Secretly, for the past week I have been feeding my family plain yogurt, flavored with berry puree and stevia. Guess what? Nobody has noticed a difference!! On average we go through at least $10 worth of yogurt a week. If this yogurt making thing works out I can cut that by 75%. As I understand it, I can make a months worth at a time – so it shouldn’t be too time consuming. As a bonus – it will be healthier!

Sometimes Grocery Shopping Makes Me Sad.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store with Miss K. In the check out line next to us there was a woman and a teenager. They had two full carts. Because there were several packages of diapers in different sizes along with the volume of food I made the assumption that they were shopping for a family. Their grocery purchase included the following:

– multiple loaves of white bread/hot dog rolls

– at least 5 bags of potato chips

– hot dogs

– frozen breakfast sausage

– wide variety of sugary kids snacks

– fruit punch (and no other type of juice) 

– pop

– some type of chocolate breakfast cereal

The only fruit in the cart was a small bunch of bananas and the only vegetable in the cart was a bag of white potatoes. Perhaps I am being judgemental, but it seemed like a pretty crappy selection of food for any family, but especially one with young children. On the other hand, maybe I am completely wrong and they were already fully stocked at home with fruits and veggies.

I am in no way suggesting that my families diet is  perfect…far from it. However, we do buy fruits and veggies on every trip to the grocery store, and I have never purchased chocolate breakfast cereal. We, as a family, are a work in progress when it comes to nutrition and weight management.

I am not writing this post to be judgemental (although it seems like it, doesn’t it?). My point in all of this is that there is a significant lack of education out there with regard to healthy eating. I truly do not believe that a mother who knew better would feed some of that stuff to her kids (on a regular basis anyway). There has to be a solution! The rising rate of childhood obesity in our country is a significant indicator that the interventions and education in place right now are not effective.

There is belief that it is expensive to eat healthy. I really don’t think this is true.  Do I think it is more work to eat healthy on a budget? Absolutely, but I am learning that it is worth it.  I have been using my bread machine lots lately. Next on the agenda is spreadable butter (butter mixed with olive oil). Hubby is not pleased about margarine being banished from our home, but he will get used to it.

Some Thrift Store Scores.

I have been looking for a new desk. Since I started “facilitating” (we don’t use the word teaching anymore, apparently) an online course I am spending a considerable amount of time working at the computer. Our current setup is really bad, which is ironic since I am “facilitating” a course in Ergonomics.

I would really like to find a second-hand desk that I can paint or refinish so I have been frequenting the local thrift stores. It is no secret that I really enjoy thrift store shopping. During my trips I always make a point to go through the kids clothing. Sometimes I find one or two items, and other times I have a day like today…JACKPOT.

I spent $22 and change and got the following:

– black dress shoes – these are the next size up from what Miss K is wearing now

– brown Gymboree jumper  – it is a size 6 so I will be putting it away for a year or two

– pink Gymboree sweater – also a size 6

– denim Children’s Place overalls – Mister J will wear these in the spring

– purple Nautica dress shirt – size 3T & will be going into storage

– brown Gymboree zip sweater – should fit in the fall

– grey Osh Kosh hoodie – another for storage size 2T

– grey Carters T – size 2T

– brown Gymboree shirt – will fit now

– blue Osh Kosh T – will also fit now (this was new with tags)

– Carters footie pyjamas – they are size 4T so I was going to put them away buy Miss K said she would like to wear them

– summer romper – it’s size 18 months so I am not sure if it will work for the summer but I thought it was cute

Some people don’t like to buy clothing too far in advance. Since I try to stick to basic items I don’t worry too much about it. Occasionally I come across an item I wasn’t able to use because it didn’t fit in the right season, but since I usually purchase name brands I can often consign it to get my money back (and often a little more).

During this tight year I am going to make an increased effort to get the kids clothing for as little as possible. I am sure this will be a major challenge in the Fall as Miss K is starting kindergarten. Luckily, we already have quite a stash of Fall clothing that I am pretty certain is going to work.

I am also committing to keeping a smaller more basic wardrobe for the children. In the past we have gotten hand-me-downs and I have also purchased items (on sale or second-hand). The closets were jammed and many things got worn only once or not at all. I have been working hard to stop myself from buying things just because the are cute. No matter how good the price is, it is still too much if it is not something they need. That is what I keep telling myself anyway.

I have big plans to inventory what I currently have in storage. I am not sure if that is ever going to happen, but it would sure be helpful.

Let It Be.

I wish I could.

Sometimes I worry that I am letting life slip by, spending too much time worrying about things that aren’t important, like cooking and cleaning and laundry. I worry that I am missing out on chances to spend quality time with the kids and “make memories”. Sometimes I even pass up opportunities that could be really fun family experiences because of the burden of preparation and clean up. Keeping up with all of the regular stuff is sometimes such a challenge that I often can’t imagine adding more work for myself. 

I find it hard to relax when I am at home. I am constantly thinking of the baseboards that need to be wiped down, or the cupboard that needs to be organized. I have “relaxation guilt”…which essentially means that I have very little relaxation. 

I’ve noticed my tendency to gravitate towards blogs written by Christian women. I find this interesting because I am not religious. Much of what I read on these blogs regarding this topic is that I have to find the joy in the mundane everyday tasks.  And I get it…sort of. I mean, how do you find joy in laundry? Their theory is that you look past the laundry and see that the work you are doing is making a clean and happy home for your children. Hmmm…I guess it is true…maybe with some work I can get to that place.

At the end of the day, what I really need is more time. Since I can’t add hours to the day I really need to look at my time management. I know I spend too much time online – reading blogs, checking Facebook, etc. I know I spend too much time watching television – I could really pare it down to a few hours a week.

In somewhat related news, my weekly challenges have been going well. I did get my paperwork and filing up to date. I have made some real progress with organizing my electronics/ online accounts. I have even snuck in some time for scrapbooking. It was tough to find time for this stuff, but I did.

Weekly(ish) Photography Post #3

My camera has been pretty neglected the past week or two. I did get a few good snaps of Miss K the other day. I never cease to be amazed by what a little editing can do. I thought this picture was pretty good to begin with, but a few edits really made a huge difference.

I really like this photo because it captures her personality.

I am planning on going out this evening to take some photos of the nearby outdoor rink. I was walking “B” (our Chocolate Lab) last night and noticed how beautiful the lit outdoor rink was at dusk. Hoping to capture it tonight.

I LOVE BINDERS!

I love binders…and baskets. It’s a problem.

The introduction of a new basket to our home goes a little something like this; hubby makes a pile; I ask him to put the pile away; a week goes by and it is still there; pile is put into pretty basket; hubby complains about another basket in the house; we move on.

In addition to the baskets, we also have quite a few binders hanging around.

I have had a “Home Management Binder” for as long as we have had a home. Hubby refers to it as “That Book”. A few years ago I started to notice posts around blog land about binders that were similar to mine. It hadn’t occurred to me that for some people this is a novel idea.

As it is a new year, it was time for me to revamp my binder. As our family gets bigger and life becomes more complex, there is more “stuff” in the binder. So, last week I purchased a new binder – a 3 inch – I am in the big time now.

So, for the first time on the internet, I would like to present my binder:

The cover is pretty basic. I will add to it during the year with photos and clippings I like.

These are my tabs. The first one without a title is my calendar, internet passwords and other misc. stuff.

At the front I keep a pencil case with all the essentials...stickie notes, dry erase marker, pens, etc.

It is not all organized. At the front I keep stickers for the calendar, coupons, things to be filed, etc.

If you have read other posts about similar binders you will notice that mine is a little different. If you are going to make one  – this is important – make it your own. Do not try to copy someone elses – it won’t work for you and you will not use it. The other thing I would suggest is to make it pretty – it will take a little more time, effort and money but it will make you happy, and it’s the little things, isn’t it?

Food Waste Friday (a little late)

I forgot to take a picture of my food waste this week, but I can tell you that is was a lot. I am continuing to clean cupboards and…you know how that is.

Today also marks the last day of my first week back to work. I am working part time; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It has been a rollercoaster. Monday evening I came home and cried. Wednesday evening I was in a bad mood but no tears. Today I have a little more perspective.

The one thing I have taken out of this very emotional week is an increased level of motivation. I am very comitted to paying off our existing debt. It is very frustrating to go to work everyday knowing that your earnings are only covering daycare and loan payments. The loan is a combination of the last of my student debt and our poor spending choices following graduation. We have a fairly aggressive payment plan and I am hoping to make additional payments to get rid of it even faster. I would love to see it gone by the end of the year.

Food Waste Friday – Starting Fresh

I have been lazy with my blogging for the past few months but I am back at it. Yesterday I spent about an hour cleaning out my deep freeze. A while back I had planned on trying to use up everything in it over the course of a month. After the clean out there is still some food in there but not nearly as much (edible food) as I thought and certainly not enough to get us through a month.

I am very embarassed to admit that I had to throw out a large amount of food. There were a few hidden freezer meals prepared before Mister J was born. There was some poorly packaged meat that didn’t look so good – hubby thinks he can just freeze meat in the packaging from the store. There was freezer burned bread.

Yup, that is a prime rib roast in there…don’t forget the shrimp. It could have been a very good meal.

The good news is, I am starting fresh. We have a very tight budget this year so I will have to be much more mindful of food purchasing and storage. I am looking forward to the challange of working with a tight budget.