Fridge Friday

I’m inspired by Simply Being Mum’s Fridge Fridays, “No Waste Tastes Great” blog posts.  Every Friday she posts a photo of what’s in her fridge, highlighting the waste (or lack there of!). Not only is it a great exercise in keeping your fridge tidy and clean, but taking a weekly inventory can help you meal plan more efficiently and frugally.

So, here’s my first Fridge Friday post (and by the way, I’ll be posting one week retroactively, so these photos are actually as of last Friday):

Let’s start with the waste after I cleaned it out:

Wasted food = money down the drain. Sad face.

I threw away (from left to right):

  • half a container of Coffee-Mate (When I decided to take a more whole foods approach to my diet I stopped drinking this – too much added sugar.  I use half-n-half now.)
  • a bunch of wilted cilantro*
  • 1/2 cam of corn
  • left-over home-made bean burger patties (in the container with the blue lid, it was a Pinterest recipe flop)
  • a bunch of dried/wilted basil*
  • 1/2 of a shrimp quesadilla from our favorite Mexican food place

And this is what I was left with (after a trip to the grocery store for new supplies . . . next time I’ll try to do this post before the shopping trip):

Top shelf:

Fish (for dinner on Monday), lunch meat (something we rarely buy because it’s not that health but we had a “make-your-own-sandwich” buffet when my parents were over on Saturday . . . cheaper than eating out! This will be used for my lunches at work), an egg salad deli sandwich (purchased by DH . . . eaten by me), whole milk yogurt (for the bubbah), applesauce

Middle shelf:

two containers of spinach (for dinner and lunches), Country Crock margarine (rarely use this anymore now that we use real butter), bottled water and two Pepsi cans (the Pepsi’s were for my step-mom who is a Pepsi-aholic – no joke, she is SUPER addicted to soda.  We need to have an intervention!)

Bottom shelf:

Blueberries( in the metal collindar), a box of butter (hidden from view by AJ)

Bottom left drawer:

various shredded/sliced cheeses and two zucchini

Bottom right drawer:

Bottled water (DH has a bottled water problem . . .)

Here’s the door:

Top shelf: 1/2 an avocado that AJ will eat, pumped milk, a container of sliced blueberries for AJ, strawberry jelly, a bottle of breast milk for the bubs, mustard, two bottles of syrup (the gross, corn syrup-y cheap kind that I prefer not to eat anymore). 

Middle shelf: OJ, Organic whole milk, two containers of half-n-half, ranch dressing, sliced pickles, ketchup and salsa

Bottom shelf: bottled water, a beer, sparkling pear juice, white wine

I didn’t bother with my freezer this week because, my goodness, it is a disaster zone.  One of these days I’ll showcase it as well. 

What’s in your fridge?

I’m off today.  AJ’s daycare is closed for a professional development day and I’ve never left her with a babysitter, so I decided to enjoy the day off with her!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Peace and love,

Margie

*After throwing away the sad looking basil and cilantro, I wondered if I could have done something to save them?  Any ideas on how to put wilted herbs to use . . . perhaps I could have dried them??

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Bringing Up Baby: She’s a Toddler Now!

Newborn AJ: 12 hours old

AJ at 11 months

How did it go so fast??

 This morning DH and I had our “needs and services” meeting with the lead teacher of the toddler room at AJ’s childcare center. We took a tour of what will be AJ’s new learning environment for the next year and discussed what we as parents should expect.  As the teacher was showing us the diaper-changing area she pointed to a miniature sink about two feet of the ground and a miniature working toilet.  She said that when bubs is ready, she will start washing her own hands and, a little later down the road if she’s curious, she can try out the potty.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this had me in tears.  My little baby is not such a baby anymore! Wahh!  She’s learning to become more independent and do things on her own! This is a bittersweet moment.  While I know she’s ready for the transition (all of the children she was playing with in the infant room recently moved over and now she’s the eldest by several months), it breaks my heart to see how big she is.  It really is true what they say about parenting . . . “the days are long but the years are short.” ::Sad sigh:: I know that at every stage there is something to worry about.  And while I know that worry gets you nowhere, there are certainly things I have concerns about as we make this transition. 1) Partial weaning.  I’ve been pumping at work since I returned from maternity.  In the beginning I pumped 3x/day.  Then it went down to 2x/day a few months ago.  As of this past Monday, I started pushing my mid-morning pump session a little later and eliminating the late afternoon session. I’ll continue at this pace for a few more weeks and soon I hope to be all done with the pump (until baby #2).  I can’t say that I have loved pumping but I am proud that I kept up with it despite the challenges. I’m not ready to wean Bubs completely and I don’t think she’s quite ready yet either. So at night and in the morning we’ll continue to nurse. This leads me to wonder,  what kind of milk should she drink during the day? The center provides whole cow’s milk for the children as part of the cost of tuition.  However, we are welcome to bring in alternatives if we’d like. I wonder what the best option is . . . I need to do some research.  2) AJ is still on a 2-3 nap/day schedule.  In the toddler room there is one nap in the middle of the day after lunch.  I worry about her transition to this new routine.  They sleep on cots instead of cribs.  There isn’t any rocking. I forgot to ask if there is a sound machine.  The teacher said that usually the children are so tired from the activity (prior to nap time is art/music, outdoor time and lunch) that by the time nap time rolls around they are ready to nap and remain asleep for much longer.  I hope this is the case with AJ as well. 3)Breakfast, two snacks a day and lunch are provided but I’m not super thrilled about the menu options.  A menu is posted at the start of the week.  This is what’s on the schedule this week for lunch: tuna roll ups with lettuce and cheese, chicken nuggets with green beans and pears, turkey sandwiches with carrots and apples, and burritos with corn and peaches (no lunch on Friday, school is closed). Am I crazy or do some of these things sound unhealthy or just a little “old” for toddlers.  For instance, chicken nuggets? Turkey sandwiches?  I’m not a fan of processed foods, especially for the little one.  And I’m not crazy about lunch meat (although I’m eating some this week in my lunches – still, it’s a rare thing).  I’m probably being a little neurotic but I told the teacher that I’d like to supplement AJ’s meals with things from home.  She said that was fine as long as it was easy to prep and didn’t require extra work.  I’m happy that they accommodate me but I worry if AJ will want to eat what the other kids are eating and refuse my food?  I guess I will just have to roll with the punches on that one. We’ll see how it goes!  In the meantime, I’m planning a teacher appreciation gift for AJ’s infant room teachers (there are three).  I can’t buy supplies until the weekend after next when I get paid, but this is what I was thinking of: Pinned Image

 (via Pinterest and Giggles and Galore)In other news, tomorrow I’m taking a vacation day so that I can sit with my step-mom in the hospital waiting room while my dad has surgery to remove some tooth implants and gum tissue that appears to be pre-cancerous.  As I think I mentioned on Monday, a recent CAT scan showed that everything appears normal with the bone. A few years ago they found cancer in his gum around these implants and he had some work done.  Since then he’s been cancer free . . . until a recent doctor appointment when they found the abnormalities.  We’re hoping that the implants are the problem and that once they are removed he’ll be good from here on out!

Friday is an off day for me because AJ’s childcare center is closed for a professional development day.  I’m not sad that I get to have the day off and I’m looking forward to getting a head start on my weekend chores with a few trips to the park thrown in! 🙂

Hope you are all having a good week and I’d love to know . . . do you have any tips to help make this new transition from infant room to toddler room easier on all of us? 

Peace and love,

Margie

 

 

Monday Afternoon Chit-Chat: Park Edition

We went to the park three times this weekend! It’s our new favorite weekend activity.

This week’s Monday Afternoon Chit-Chat brought to you by Carla:

Reading? Working away (about 25% complete) on book three of “Game of Thrones.” Keeping all of the characters and plot lines straight is good brain exercise!  There so many layers to these books but I’m enjoying the series immensely!

Watching? I wanted to watch The Bachelorette finale last night but no dice, it seems like the audio on our TV went out.  Hope it’s not permanent!

Listening to? Random office noises.

Cooking/Baking? This week’s menu includes fish, cous cous and zucchini (tonight), pasta with feta, tomatoes and spinach (tomorrow) and Mexican Casserole (Wednesday & Thursday). Yesterday I made a really yummy blueberry oat bread – I hope to have time to post about it later this week, it turned out so good!

Happy you accomplished this week? Ah, my mind is coming up blank.  I guess I’ll say I’m happy that I accomplished mopping the kitchen and entryway floors on Sunday. That’s one chore that often gets pushed aside for other tasks.

Looking forward to this week? I’m looking forward to having a day off on Friday.  I’m also taking Thursday off but am not as excited about it – I’m going to be hanging out with my step-mom in the hospital waiting room while my dad has surgery to remove a few teeth and some precancerous gum tissue.

Thankful for today? That a recent CAT scan revealed that the abnormal precancerous cells found in my dad’s gum haven’t spread to his jaw bone.

*Bonus Question*

What is your favourite summer food and/or drink treat? I love, love, love summer fruit: citrus, peaches, melons and, my personal favorite, blue berries!!  And everything is so inexpensive, too!

*

Our weekend was yet another whirlwind.  My dad and step-mom came to AJ’s last scheduled swim lesson at the Y.  The lesson was cut short about 10 minutes into it. I’m not sure why but everyone was ordered out of the pool – I can only speculate that one of the kids had an accident! They opened the splash pad so DH and AJ had fun playing there for the remainder of the lesson time.  Later in the afternoon, after AJ’s nap and our lunch, all of us went to the park. It was the first time AJ was skilled enough with walking to enjoy roaming around the playground equipment. My dad had so much fun showing her how to climb the stairs to a small slide.  As it turns out, she’s quite the thrill seeker! I got a great video of her gleefully laughing as we pushed her on a swing.  It was so cute!

On Sunday, while DH was surfing mid-morning, I decided to take the baby to another park nearby. We ate lunch in the shade of a tree and we roamed the playground equipment again before heading out the grocery store (I need to post an update in another post but I’m still doing the envelope/cash system and it’s working out great!). In the afternoon I got about 90 minutes to myself while DH and the baby napped together – that was pure decadence!  I finished knitting AJ a winter beanie (more on that this Wednesday).  We wrapped up the day with another trip to the park – it’s truly the best way to wear the little one out.  She slept so soundly last night . . . and so did I!

 Have a great week, everyone!

Peace and love,

Margie

 

WIP Wednesday: Knitted Dishcloths, form meets function

I finally have a couple of finished products to showcase!  I finished two knitted washcloths this morning.  Here are the beauty shots:

Knit Pick’s organic cotton – cable-y goodness

Peaches N Cream cotton yarn – I love the blue stripes! So cheerful!

 Dishcloths are the perfect “quick” knit and easy to pick up and put down when you have distractions (like a toddler!). 

Recently I was reminded of how icky kitchen sponges are. I don’t remember exactly where I read this fact but did you know that kitchen sponges can be one of the dirtiest and germiest places in your house? They are right up there with the remote control.  Gross!  You are supposed to de-germ-ify your sponges every day but that’s not something I’ve ever been in the habit of doing. 

The great thing about cotton dishcloths (especially handknit ones!) is that they are durable, easy to toss in the wash and more environmentally friendly!  And they are pretty!  Form, meet Function! 🙂 I’m planning on making many more.  My goal is to have at least seven for the kitchen (one for every day of the week) and then seven for my bathroom so I can toss the poof (another germy item) in the trash. I think it might be difficult to convince DH to replace his poof (wonder if there is a way to knit or crochet one – there must be!) but I’ll be working on him next. 😉 

This project fits well into some of my personal finance goals as well: 

Dishcloths can be used to wipe down the counters, the baby after a meal, and they have a multitude of household uses. This equates to less use of paper towels, baby wipes and those swiffer duster things I buy. I’d love to become a greener, zero paper towel household (again, would need to get DH on board with this). 

These dishcloths are knit with cotton from my stash of yarn.  Folks, I have a HUGE bin and several plastic bags full of yarn in my daughter’s closet. It’s accepted in knitting (and I’m assuming sewing and other crafting) culture (I know, it sounds ridiculous that there is such a thing as “knitting culture” but there is!!) to have stashes of supplies. On Ravelry (a knitting/crochet website) people even post photos of their massive stashes like it’s something to be proud of!  But I can’t judge too much – I used to drool over those stash pictures and purchase yarn like crazy – I love yarn! And I love knitting!  (I even went to a conference in Portland on JUST sock knitting). 

Today, I truly have so much yarn that it would take me YEARS to knit through it all. Also, yarn is not cheap.  Yes you can buy it cheap at Michael’s or other big box craft stores (and the cotton I’m using for my dishcloths is actually really inexpensive) but most of my skeins are from specialty yarn stores with delicious blends of fibers like wool, silk, alpaca, cashmere . . . you get the picture. I’m cut off. No more yarn until I’ve used up what I’ve got! 

So there you have it, knitted dishcloths – what are the good for? Absolutely everything! 🙂 Tell me, what do you use to wash your dishes? Washcloths, sponges, or something else?

Peace and love, Margie

Monday Morning Chit-Chat: Pool Edition

Water Baby! AJ loves splashing in the pool.

Ugh, I really want to blog more regularly but it seems like all I do is post these Monday morning posts (brought to you by Carla)!  Oh well, at least it’s better than nothing! What are you….

Reading? A knitting pattern for a winter beanie (with ear flaps!) for AJ.  I just have to put the finishing touches on it and it will be done!

Watching? Last night I was watching Bridezillas.  I wasn’t kidding when I said that trashy reality t.v. is my indulgence when everyone else is asleep in bed! 

Listening to? Garth Brooke’s Greatest Hits album – borrowed from one of DH’s co-workers. DH and I saw Garth Brooks live in concert at the LA Staple Center back in 2007 (or was it 08?) and it was the best concert of my life.  He was amazing and I’d love to see him again sometime.

Baking/Cooking? I made these delicious blueberry lemon scones on Saturday while my mom was here and playing with AJ (having someone to distract the baby makes baking in the kitchen so much more pleasurable!). I also made this tomato cucumber salad.  On the menu this week is black bean sliders and zucchini corn quesadillas.

  Happy that you accomplished this week? I’m still on budget for eating out and grocery shopping using the cash-only envelope system. I’m pretty proud of that – it hasn’t been easy!

Looking forward to next week? I’m looking forward to my dad and step-mom being back in town and seeing them this weekend!

*BONUS QUESTION*

What goal is your top priority right now?

My top priority is keeping healthy, home-cooked meals on the table in the evenings.  This is the key to staying under my food and eating out budget! 

Ok, your turn!!

*

It was a busy, long weekend.  I took a half-day off on Thursday to go to DH’s company picnic at Morley Field.  It was such a hot, humid day and something that I did not want to attend with the baby but we went anyway.  DH was proud to introduce me and the baby to his bosses.  He’s relatively new to the company (started in December 2011) so I’m glad I was able to attend and help make a good impression to his higher-ups.

Friday was my “Mother’s Day Off”.  I take a day off during the work week every other month so that I can get my hair done at the salon (a 2.5 hour process) and run errands or do chores without being interrupted.  I can get so much accomplished on these days even with an entire afternoon spent in the beauty chair.  The day went really fast but my hair looks great and I was able to clean my bathroom, do some laundry, scrub down the kitchen and pick up around the house.  I wish I had a day off every week to do these types of things!

Saturday was AJ’s fifth swim lesson at the Y.  My mom met us there and she was thrilled to watch the 30 minute lesson.  Then she came over and played with the baby while I did some baking.  My mom and I have an interesting relationship.  Basically, she drives me absolutely nuts . . . but the baby loves playing with her.  She stayed a few hours past my “mom threshold” but we managed okay.  Sometimes I wonder what my adult relationship with AJ will be like.  Will she feel the same way about me that I feel about my mom?  I will feel successful as a mother if we can have a much better relationship and understanding.  I hope we can truly be friends when she grows up.  Sigh.

Sunday was lovely and relaxing.  DH had to go into work for a bit so I went to C and E’s place.  We splashed in the pool (first time I was in a swim suit since the baby was born . . . blah), BBQ’d burgers and got some sun (a little too much sun in my case! I burned my back). 

And now the week begins!  Have a good one everyone!!

Monday Morning Chit-Chat, I Ran Out of Time so I had to Put My Make-up on at Work Edition!

Today’s Monday Morning Chit-Chat, brought to you by Carla:

Image

At the park on Saturday with the triplets.  Four babies and four adults, and yet we still could have used and extra set of eyes and hands! The husband snapped this in a rare moment when all four were on the blanket at the same time.

What are you:

Reading? Read a “Jon Snow” chapter from Game of Thrones . . . I’m on book three now and I must say it’s getting much more interesting!

 Watching? Caught up on a few episodes of Real Housewives of New York last night. My hubby watches the RH of OC with me but draws the line at New York.  He insists I turn it off when he’s in ear shot because their voices are so annoying.  I completely agree but yet I continue to watch.  🙂

Listening To? Nothing – absolute silence around me!  Just the sound of typing.

Baking/Cooking? I’m making a veggie lasagna tonight with squash from a friend’s garden so I’m expecting it to be totally yum.  Tomorrow will be homemade pesto pizza (I prepped the crust dough on Sunday morning).

Happy you accomplished this week? Continued with the envelope system for groceries and eating out and so far so good!

Looking forward to next week? It’s a short work week for me – just 3.5 days as I’m taking Friday off for a “Mother’s Day Off” to get my hair done and spend the day however I’d like (probably crafting and/or watching back episodes of Downton Abbey).  Thursday afternoon is the husband’s company picnic.  Sounds like good fun.

Thankful for today? Air conditioning – it’s going to be hot this week and I’m glad we have it both at home and in the office!

*Bonus Question*

Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18, line 4, and type out what it says. The nearest book to me is “Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors” by Bill Bryson and the 4th line on pg.18 reads: “apogee. The highest or most distant point, usually in reference to orbiting bodies. Its opposite is perigee.” Hm, well how about that.

*

This weekend was a really busy one!  Saturday we were bouncing all over the place. . .

AJ had her 3rd swim lesson at the YMCA. Husband gets in the pool with her and they have a great time. This time AJ was dunked under water (ugh! I’m glad R was in the water – I wouldn’t have been able to do it) but she did great! She looked a little confused and wasn’t a fan of the water in her eyes, but no tears!

We had lunch in Cardiff with our friends A & E.  Now that AJ is walking, eating out is becoming more rare because it’s such a pain to wrangle her.  Sitting in the high chair is fine for about 10 minutes, and then it’s all about exploring.  I took her outside to walk around and she fell and got her first skinned knee.  I felt AWFUL.  Again, it didn’t seem to faze her at all but I was crushed.  Poor baby.  I swear, it was if MY knee had been scraped! Ugh.

In the afternoon we drove down to North Park to see our friends with the 16 month old triplets.  It was the first time I’d seen them in about 10 months – they moved, very briefly, to Texas and are now in San Diego for my friend’s husband’s job.  We are glad to have them back and AJ has more playmates her size. 🙂 I think she met her match with the three boys! And I have to just say, my girlfriend, R, is a saint in my eyes.  I don’t know how she manages to stay so calm and sane with triplets in a tiny 3 bed, 1 bath 1920s bungalow sans a/c.  A saint I say!

Sunday was a little bit more calm. . . chores in the morning, grocery shopping, and then a trip to the park with the little one. While we were playing near the jungle gym, a 16-month old toddler came rushing at AJ and pushed her right down on her tush.  The dad came over and apologized and of course I said it wasn’t a problem (and it wasn’t – AJ just looked a little inquisitive about what the heck happened but again, no tears!).  It’s going to be interesting to see how AJ adapts to toddler-hood.  I’m sure that little one has just realized the power of pushing and is testing out how many things she can topple over, babies included. 😉

And now, here we are, it’s Monday morning.  I guess my little one is getting SOME toddler tendencies, as this morning she really didn’t want to get dressed so it was a much longer process of putting on her onesie, pants, shoes, socks and basically getting her presentable (enough) for daycare.  That’s why I was sitting at my desk, 30 minutes late, hoping that no one would swing by as I was applying my mascara and blush. 🙂

Monday (afternoon) Chit-Chat, Ready for a New Month Edition!

First, a little Monday (afternoon) chit-chat, brought to you by Carla:

Bubs and her “best baby friend” taken Saturday afternoon.

What are you….

Reading? A new blog I just found called “Princess Nebraska.”  I spent way too much time going through her archives . . . love her home improvement/decor photos and her fashion posts . . . oh, and her book reviews.  Inspiring!

Watching? Tonight the Bachelorette is on!  I’ll probably tune in for a little bit before I crash. I know, it’s complete trash . . .

Listening to? Dave Ramsey on the radio during my lunch break run to the bank.

Cooking/Baking? This week I’m making Mexican Lasagna.

Happy you accomplished this week? Moping the floors and wash the shower curtain and liner in my bathroom on Sunday.  I know it doesn’t seem like much but sometimes the little tasks like this get neglected.

Looking forward to this week? Having Wednesday off for Independence Day! We are planning on going to a house-warming/cook-out at a friend’s new home. It’s a little weird to have a mid-week day off but I think it’s make the work week go by super fast.

Thankful for today? I’m thankful for a new month, a financial “do-over” and clean slate!

*Bonus Question*

What are the top 5 tasks on your “to do” list this week?

  • Be super productive at work considering that it’s a shortened week!
  • Finish painting the shadow box for AJ’s home-from-the-hospital clothes.
  • Bring my lunch to work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Do “something” with those over-ripe plums in my fruit basket before they spoil
  • E-mail baby-sitter to cancel (keep putting this off – for a date mid-month, would have been the first time we would have left AJ with non-family but we decided we couldn’t do it yet!).

*

As I mentioned above, I’m really grateful for the start of a new month.  I get paid only once a month – the first business day to be exact (TODAY!)- and last month money went through my fingers like sand.  I spent much more than I should have on clothes and accessories for both me and the bubs. I ate fast-food WAY too much (8 trips to McDonald’s alone!! Ick, feel gross just thinking about it.). I frittered money like it was going out of style!  And I’m supposed to be paying of my credit cards (right now just above $4K).

SO.  This month I am resolved.  This month, I shall put an end to this two-steps-forward-one-step-back nonsense. This month I am . . . doing the cash envelope system! Dah-dah-DUM!

I’ve been keeping a spending journal for the last three months and this is what I noticed from the exercise, I use my credit cards and debit cards way too much. I pull out the plastic for every. little. purchase. – from coffee in my company’s convenience store to party dresses for my little one (baby clothes are my Achilles heel). And I forget about them (well, until I write them down in my notebook about once a week . . . then I’m like, OH YEAH I FORGOT ABOUT THAT! but by then it’s too late, the damage is done. Cycle repeat.)

So today, I went to the bank on my lunch break (whilst listening to Dave Ramsey – very appropriate!) and withdrew $300.  $200 is for groceries and $100 is for eating out. I think the grocery budget is going to be tight but I don’t have much wiggle room because I over-spent so much on my credit cards last month and I HAVE to pay it off this month or else it will drive me crazy.  We can do it on $200.  I will be the queen of the casserole!

A little financial experiment – we’ll see how it goes this month.  I’m kind of excited.  If this works, next month I will be able to go nuts and pay off a huge chunk of debt because I won’t have back slid!  That will be an awesome feeling.

Have a great week, everyone!

Peace and love,

Margie