What a fun, relaxing way to be productive! It was a fun day when I graduated from the ability to use my one stitch to make blankets and scarves and other square or rectangular objects. Now I get to work on such fun projects as hats and pretty dish cloths...how exciting! Either way, it's fun and I feel productive when I finish. Plus, it gives me something to do at work when we don't have any kids!
Going out to eat and not feeling guilty, because you had money in the budget for it!
Establishing a budget was one of the best things I have ever done for my stress level. Don't get me wrong, I still stress about money. Quite frequently, in fact, but that's just what happens when you don't have any. But at least we know we don't have any!
I am a huge advocate of the envelope system. I didn't fully appreciate it until one day when, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, our car insurance was due. I had JUST paid it six months ago, and it had the nerve to be due again? But wait...I had, sitting in my desk drawer, an envelope containing cash in the exact amount required! That's right, several hundred dollars was due and I was ready! What a great feeling, because I certainly didn't have that kind of money in my bank account! I would have had to put it on a credit card or switch to monthly billing with it's seemingly minute $2 or $5 monthly sevice fee...I'll keep my extra $24-$60 a year, thank you very much!
I could go on for awhile, but I won't. However, if anyone is interested in learning how our little family of three can not only make it on almost no money, but can also chip away at their massive amount of debt, you are welcome to take me out to coffee and I'll share my secrets. Or have me over for coffee. Or come over here for coffee. Or tea. Or cookies.
Or, I suppose you could just check out this website for an overview, but then there's no coffee involved, and you don't get to enjoy my company. And what's the fun in that?
Being able to write something people actually want to read.
From the time I was in second grade until my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to be a children's book author. When I was in high school I got side tracked by music. What a detour that was! It took me until my junior year of college to realize that I didn't actually want a career in music. Oops. Even still, I don't regret a minute of it. Well, maybe that fourth semester of ear training...that wasn't awesome. But other than that, I'm so grateful for the opportunities music has opened up for me. And I do love performing; there's nothing quite like being a part of an amazing choir and presenting a beautiful piece of music.
But I digress. I love to write. When I was a junior in high school I discovered the joys of the research paper. No, I'm serious. I love writing research papers. I love surrounding myself with different books and articles and resources and working them together into a cohesive and intelligent piece of work. Maybe that should have been my first clue that I was headed in the wrong direction with this music thing. I had a college professor tell me in my last semester that I had a real gift for writing and should really consider pursuing it. Thank you, but where were you four years ago?
Now I have an opportunity to write again. I don't share anything exciting or earth shattering or deeply provocative. I'm probably not going to change the world or save a life or use my "talents" to shape the future president of the United States. But if I can brighten one person's day, then the time invested in this little blog is well worth it. As of the time this entry was published, my blog had 1921 views. That's pretty cool if you ask me! People have been interested in what I have to say 1921 times! I am flattered and honored that you have taken precious time out of your day to read what I have to say. And I know how precious that time can be! I feel so blessed that I can share something with the world. Hopefully it makes you smile.
We live in a basement apartment that we rent from my in-laws, who live above us. What a blessing that the baby gets to spend so much time with them. I wish it could be more even, but that's not an option right now. So I'm just going to be extremely grateful for what I have. There's a little area of the basement that's shared laundry space, which is separated by a door, and the rest is our place. So I was switching a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer this evening, and I left the door open. Because why not? Who comes crawling around the corner? Why, my baby, of course! How cute, right? That she wants to come visit her mama? She tried to help me vacuum earlier today, so I suppose laundry wasn't that much of a stretch!
But then she kept going. And going. And before we knew it...
That's right, my not even one year old child climbed an entire flight of stairs. She's a pretty remarkable little person, and she's raising a mommy who is constantly in awe of her abilities.
Not only am I amazed at how far she has come in being able to feed herself, but I am shocked at the quantity of food this little one is able to consume. The other night for her bedtime snack, she ate a third of a banana, a piece of string cheese, and one and a half oranges. No joke. I picked her up from daycare a couple weeks ago and was informed that she had an entire grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. And I don't mean one of those one piece of bread folded over type of sandwiches. We're talking two pieces of bread. Crazy! If she didn't spend 12 to 14 hours of the day on the move, I might be concerned about her!
This girl is certainly raising a mommy who is constantly on her toes!
A pack and play and humidifier that make nighttime more comfortable for baby (and mom) by enabling her to sleep in mom and dad's room.
When the poor baby has a cough, I just want to keep her close. I think it's probably good that we don't actually have a nursery, or I would sleep in there all the time. (Poor hubby!) I might wake up more when I sleep in the same room as baby, but it seems so much more restful when she's right there. There's something comforting about being able to hear her breathing.
Someone I know locked her keys in her car today. It was not her proudest moment, especially when you consider that she lost the extra set of car keys this summer and spent a good amount of time in the last week thinking about getting an extra set made but no time actually doing it. Lucky for her, a knight in shining armor driving a giant tow truck showed up in her driveway with the magic little balloon thingy that somehow pops the car door open. What a blessing. Learn from this silly girl's mistake and make sure you have an extra set of car keys!
There's just something that feels so good about being productive. I've always been one to look at a few dishes on the counter and say, "I'll wait until there are a few more to really make it worth my while." Ha! It always seems to go from, "Not quite enough" to "Way too many to do right now" with no convenient middle ground. Am I right? Well, no more. At least for the next week or two until my motivation wears off. I have no delusions that this is a turning point in my life and that I'm now going to do the dishes after every meal and wipe out the microwave every time something splatters. But I'm taking baby steps. I would love to hear from those of you who have had some success with baby-stepping your way to anything...a cleaner home, a healthier lifestyle, less debt...please share some tips and motivation!
I'm not going to lie, I've made some pretty awesome projects in my day. Of course, when I was growing up, I enjoyed making myself fun shorts, capri pants, and cute shirts. Then I got to high school and moved up to homecoming and prom dresses. Then I got into quilting (which is a very expensive but rewarding habit!) and other great stuff. More recent credits include a couple pairs of footie pajamas (with butt flaps, of course!) and a pretty awesome Elton John costume. My current projects are much less fun, but exponentially more practical: most notably, an alb (the long robe worn by priests and pastors). Those suckers are expensive to buy, so if this one turns out, I would be more than willing to offer my skills to help out other new clergy. (I'm not trying to turn this into a commercial, but seriously? Those things can cost over $400! That's ridiculous! Not a great way to be good stewards of our resources...)
I hope that someday my girl and I can sew fun projects together!
My mom is visiting for the weekend!
Sometimes, a girl just needs some quality mother-daughter time. I hope my girl enjoys spending time with me as much as I enjoy spending it with my mom! We share a lot of common interests, particularly when it involves products that can be purchased at stores like JoAnn's or Michael's. This weekend, we're trying to sew an alb (that long robe worn by a pastor or priest - aka my hubby). On a future to do list is the complementary set of stoles. Also, pretty dresses and dress up clothes for one little girl, homemade greeting cards, and various crocheted projects (maybe).
One thing is certain - my girl is raising a mommy who is so grateful for role models.
Every now and then I find some, and when I do, it's wonderful! When I was in college the only thing that could get me out of bed early was a run. If I had lots of homework to do, I knew I better stay up late and get it all done, because when my alarm went off in the morning there was no way. But if I had a meeting or extra rehearsal or something that interfered with cross country or track practice, you better believe I would be running down the River Road at 5:30 so I could fit in my miles before 8 am class.
Now there are two things that can get me out of bed before the absolute last possible moment or sometimes five minutes after that. One hasn't changed. I'm proud to say that there have been several days this month that I have been waiting in the parking lot before 5:00 am for the Y to open. It feels so good to start the day off by breaking a sweat. My college running coach always used to say, "Now you can be proud if yourself all day."
I would be willing to bet you can guess the other thing that will get me out of my wonderful cozy bed...she's small(ish), has dark hair and blue eyes, and melts my heart every time she says, "Mama!" She's my P, and she is raising one disciplined mommy!
I've never been a huge fan of walking for exercise; I grew up running, so walking just seemed slow and boring. However, when you're pregnant in Minnesota in the winter, you're vehemently opposed to treadmills, and you want to do something to stay in shape, you need to start looking for alternatives. So last winter when my former running buddy, who also happened to be pregnant, asked if I was interested in doing laps around the mall (walking inside, not running around the parking lot) I said yes, feeling just the slightest sense of defeat.
Surprisingly, I have actually come to enjoy my mall-walks with Karen. Don't get me wrong, I certainly won't mind when the ice melts in June and we can break out the jogging strollers, but for now I'm content to circle the stores. I guess you could say that P is raising a mommy who is content to take life a little more slowly sometimes. Until the ground thaws.
I live in a basement apartment, and, with these chilly Minnesota winters, I am extremely grateful for my space heaters. I've always been a freeze baby. Don't ask me why I still live in the upper midwest and can't imagine living anywhere else if I'm such a freeze baby, because I can't explain it. I also love my nice warm quilts, wool socks, and extensive wardrobe of sweatpants, but that's a post for a different day. Or three different days. To be continued!
My husband has decided that he wants to master the art of homemade bread making.
When I say homemade bread, I mean really homemade. From scratch. He felt guilty tonight using the stand mixer because it was cheating. I'm talking mixed by hand, kneaded by hand, shaped by hand. He's kind of a purist in that way.
Last week he made honey white bread. Tonight, chocolate chip. It smells amazing. I think this is a very good skill for a husband to perfect. Do you have an amazing bread recipe that he should try next? Please share!
Waking up to a little voice saying "Mama, up!"
The little voice didn't wake me up until 8:20! Amazing!
As you may have been able to tell from yesterday's post, I love to read! While I didn't get any new book suggestions from you guys (though I would still love some!) I have found another book to add to my list, and it's made it's way to the top. The book is Desperate, by Sarah Mae. I follow her blog, and it is refreshing and encouraging for a new mom. And I'm guessing for more experienced moms. Now, she is doing a giveaway for a free iPad and $300 Target gift card, and I am earning entries by blogging about it, but that's not my main motive. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn away either of them, but this book is definitely on my list regardless of what I could win by saying so.
You should definitely check out her blog. And maybe follow mine while you're at it? I don't have any followers yet, and it sure would make me feel good!
More books than we can fit on our many bookshelves
There's just nothing like curling up in a comfy chair with a good book. When I was younger I read so much that my mom actually told me to put my book down and go outside to play. So I took my book outside. Then she tried to take my book away. I solved that problem by climbing a tree. No joke. There is picture proof of this story somewhere at my parent's house.
I can see the practical use for something like a kindle or a nook. They would be great for traveling. However, there's something about holding an actual book in your hands that just can't be beat. Maybe it's the smell or the feel of the pages. I love being able to see my progress as I turn each page and discover the adventures that are about to unfold.
I don't have dilusions that P will be as big a nerd as her mother. I just hope she lets me read her bedtime stories. And I doubt it will take her long to learn that mommy has a hard time saying no to "just one more."
Tell me, what are some of your favorite books? I'm always looking for good suggestions!
I work four and a half days a week. If I worked that extra half day I would be considered full time and would have to be offered benefits, heaven forbid! I realize that may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I love my job. Obviously I would prefer to work that extra half day and get the benefits, or even just work the extra half day and make a couple extra bucks, but I sure don't mind having it off, either! It's so much easier to get things done (mostly grocery shopping) when you aren't fighting the weekend crowds!
Freezer meals! I love being able to pull something out of the freezer and have a healthy, home cooked meal with almost no work. I haven't really established a routine with my freezer meal-ing, but I'm working on it! Maybe someday I'll share some of my favorites on here. Until then, I'd sure love it if you'd share some of your favorites with me!