Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meal Planning Awareness Exercise

In order to save yourself some precious time and money, you want to keep this simple principle in mind: Make the most with what you have.

If you’re able to stick to this idea, your meal planning will be successful and you will be amazed at home much money, time and energy you used to spend on something as simple as lunch and dinner.

The first awareness exercise I recommend on doing is figuring out how much time you currently spend on meal planning. Here is the conclusion we came to when we started looking at the numbers:

Every day, we spend at least 10 minutes in the morning to figure out what to bring for lunch. Then same for dinner so another 10 minutes there.

Week’s total: 140minutes

Twice a week, we need to run to the store because the sour cream isn’t “best before” anymore and because we ran out of eggs. 35 minute trip including round trip and shopping time only.

Week’s total: 210minutes

At least 4 times a week, we need to thaw some meat or fish which adds another 10 minutes to our prep time that could have been avoided if we’d planned our meal in advance.

Week’s total: 250minutes

So a total of 4 hours and 20 minutes a week of our time are invested in our current meal planning process. Note that I didn’t count in here the grocery shopping trip because this varies for everyone but you can definitely add it in there once you figure out how long it used to take you and how long it takes you with your meal planning list. If you already shop using a list, you can simply add this amount of time to your total – just remember to add in it again at the end of the process.

Big picture snap-shot: that’s 16 hours and 40 minutes a month, over 8 days a year – that’s more days than some people go on holiday each year.

We haven’t even begun talking about dollars and cents yet. Because money is a trickier and much more personal topic, we’re not going to dig right in there at this point but if you’d like to do the same exercise to figure out the extra money you are currently spending, here are a few things you can include:

• Cost of pre-packaged/frozen bought to save time.
• Gas for those last minute grocery store trips.
• Last minute fast-food meals.
• Food you toss out because you didn’t use before the expiry date or left too long on the bottom of your freezer.

Now that you have those magic numbers, keep them handy for the first weeks of your meal planning when it seems like such a pain... or every time you’re tempted to order take out. You can even write them on a sticky note and keep it on your fridge door as a friendly reminder of how much money and time you’ll save. Pick a goal – it can be anything from a new art class you want to take or a new purse you’ve been eyeing and figure out how long you need to meal plan to be able to attain this goal.

Next step, we are going to inventory everything you have in the house. Well... not everything... just food stuff.

Meal Planning 101

As promised, a detailed step-by-step process of our meal planning initiative that’s absolutely exceeded all our expectations both financially and in saving our sanity.

First, here’s a bit of back story. We’re always trying to find ways to simplify our lifestyle I wasn’t entirely convinced that planning out our day-to-day meals would simplify anything. What if we’re in the mood for something else? What if we run out of something and have to run to the store? How about lunches and breakfasts and snacks, are we going to have to plan those also to make it worth our while? Js wasn’t too convinced either. He’s more of a “spur of the moment” and “steak and potatoes” kinda guy so I didn’t envision our meal planning endeavour to last us very long.

One faithful day, while we were out grocery shopping and talking about our finances, we realized we spend way too much money on groceries and time trying to figure out what we’re in the mood for. I took up the challenge to stretch out our current groceries until the end of the month as much as possible.

Meal planning was my only option to make sure we didn’t:

A) Run out of food.
B) Run out of money.
C) Run out of patience.

We’ve been meal planning now for about 3-4 weeks now and it looks like we’ve got a nice rhythm going so I’ve come up with these step-by-step instructions for those who’d like to give it a shot. To make it easier for everyone, I will be posting a series of entries for each step so that you can figure out what works best for you before moving on to the next step rather than giant post.

Here are the basic things you’ll need before you get started.

Pen and paper;
Calculator; and
A book, binder or box would work just fine.

Freezer bags are not necessary but nice to have handy if you normally use them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our Infertility Adventures - Volume 1

We're finally done working through the first phase of pokes and prods to be on our way to figuring out what's wrong with this sad south of mine. It sucked but it's a huge relief knowing it's done and things are moving forward. I'm seeing my specialist doctor in two weeks to get all the results and see if we can move on to phase two or if we go straight to jail - do not pass go, do not collect 200$.

In any case, either way this goes just means more pokes and prods for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meal Planning

I'm working on a series of posts right now that'll be published soon, I hope. We've decided to give meal-planning a shot and so far, it's been absolutely awesome even if it was a bit hard to get used to at first. Once we get a better hang of things and we actually know what we're doing, I'll make sure to keep you all updated with info and tips if you want to give it a try. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Bob Barker Treatment

Seriously people, in today's society, how fucking difficult is it to understand the important of spaying/neutering your pets? How? I want to know why some people still don't get it. It frustrates me to NO fucking END when dumb people think it's okay for their dogs to go gallivanting about with all their privates.

Recently, I read something about the Bright Eyes Dog Rescue in Regina who received a dog-mom and her eight pups because the owners abandoned them. They got fed up that she kept getting pregnant and just gave up. This was her third litter in her short 4 years of life... and they still don't get the hint? So the eight pups are currently placed in foster homes, waiting for their forever homes. At least they get a better chance at a healthy and happy dog-life filled with tennis balls and human-love.

What pisses me off, I think, is those people who's dogs get pregnant... and then, thinking they are being responsible pet owners, they give away the pups to just about anyone for free. I'm sure some families will love the pups endlessly and care for them until they go to doggie-heaven... but when you can't commit a few hundred dollars to adopting an animal, it really makes one wonder about the level of dedication you have towards that animal.

Also, when you adopt an animal from a shelter (be it SPCA or any Humane Society) they normally will make a deal with you that you must spay/neuter the animal within so much time or the animal will be reclaimed. Why? So they don't end up with six to eight more puppies who look a whole lot like your dog in a few months. It's called overpopulation and it's a real bitch (pun intended). So these people, who are handing out puppies right, left and center willy nilly have no control over the dogs getting fixed in the long run and are just contributing to the problem.

//end rant.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bad Mane Day

So a few nights ago, I decided it would be a good idea to use these little roller-thingies in my hair. Why not?

Here's why.

So I washed my hair, towel dried it a bit and went to town with the rollers. No product. No nothing. Just pure, unskilled, totally improvised hair stylin'.

You guessed it, more than half the rollers had fallen out during the night. So the back part of my hair was curled in spots and straight as a pin in others. The rollers on the sides and top of my head had stayed put and tightly so.

The image in the mirror was quite frightening. With every roller I took out of my hair, the more I looked like Mufasa from The Lion King. Js walked by the bathroom and started singing The Lion King song... confirming any doubts that I had about going the hairstyling career route.

It was too late to shower again or do anything about it so I stuck a hairband on my head and stuffed what frizzy hair I could into a disheveled pony tail attempt.

I am still hearing The Lion King song. The hairband did nothing.
I woke up this morning to my husband singing The Lion King song.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crafty Craftyness

A good friend of mine recently started a crafting blog and she's doing SUPER awesome thus far. :) We're looking forward to exchanging some guest-blogs and I'm really looking forward to reading about her adventures and seeing her creations.

Check out Small Town Gal Crafts and show this crafty gal some love. You know you wannnna.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to reality.

Oy! Getting back to work after three whole weeks of doing next to nothing was pretty exhausting today. Before the holidays I finished up with my first contract with this employer (covering a maternity leave) and went in for three half days between Christmas and New Year's to do my part, today I started a new contract which takes me well into September as far as secure employment goes. It was kind of odd starting a "new" job that I kinda sorta already did, in a place where I knew everyone and didn't have to ask where I put my lunch bag or where the bathrooms are. I'm super grateful for having the opportunity to keep working there and I really hope to get something permanent by the end of this to keep my employee status and have transfer options when/if we ever do get posted outta here. I don't even want to get started on posting options/possibilities/odds right now... ugh.

Friends invited us over for dinner after work and it was nice to spend some time with them and their kids and just hang. On the not-topic of postings... I will cry every tear in my body when they get posted out. Seriously. We knew them both individually before they even met each other... and here they are, three years and two kids later... they're part of our Moose Jaw Fam.

Three more of my very close friends are getting posted out this summer. Again, just to be clear... we're totally not talking about postings. It's going to be a very long and sobby summer for this gal, me thinks. Don't get me wrong, I'm super thrilled for them that their husbands are finally done their training and they can move on to a more permanent and more family (vs career) oriented posting but there's a wee part of me that's a tad selfish and kinda wish I could keep them here with me forever.

The transient nature of our lifestyle sorta struck me today when I over heard someone say, with a distinct French accent, that they were new here and were looking for info for something... I literally RAN over and yelled "Don't go anywhere! I need to talk to you!" in hopes of introducing myself and offering help if they needed anything to get settled. As I ran towards her, my desperate little mind went "Way to look like a loser." but she seemed SO happy to talk and so relieved that I approached her, my more reserved self immediately forgave my insane self for looking like a complete tool.

It made me realize that we're always loosing friends but they make room for the new ones. And when we're the ones moving, we leave some behind to go meet total strangers. We'll have at least one thing in common and that's a good enough place to start when you're all alone...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Coming out of the Infertility Closet

There you have it. The cause for this blog-funk I've been stuck in over the last several months. I guess I was always hoping things would work out and I'd never have to bore anyone with my pitty-party posts.

Then, the new year came around and I realized how much I missed blogging and how much self-awareness it gave me. I decided I would just climb out of this whole and get back into the routine that used to bring me such comfort. For that, I need to wipe the slate clean and "come out of the closet" if you will.

I'm not entirely ready to post about it just yet and to go into much detail but I'll say this; it's been nearly three years since we started trying and I've been poked and prodded more than I care to remember over the last six months. We're still in the testing phase to see what's not working and why before we start fixing the broken pieces... if it's at all possible. So we know something's broken, just don't know what yet. But 97% of chances are that it's my biscuit that's busted. That's all we know so far...

So here's to 2012... to getting back to the old habits of positive and constructive posts. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails