Saturday, January 7, 2012

What about me?...My road to the fifth decade.

This post is not meant to be a pity party.  It is not meant to be a complaint session or a lament for the loss of my free time or a desire to have fewer kids and enough time.  

I have 4 great kids.  And it is a big job.  I mean, $5 loaves of gluten free bread, medical expenses, dispensing medicine, and oh yeah, they like to eat.  I run the dishwasher at least once a day, but most days twice.  I keep my laundry machines in full hum at least two full days a week.  I prepare and clean up three meals and countless snacks each day.  I sweep the floor under my dining room table a lot. (but not as often as I should!)  My quest to get my kids exposed to stuff results in me driving all over: music therapy and piano, basketball, library and therapy appointments.  Some mornings it is 10am before I realize that I brushed 4 sets of teeth and none of them were mine. 

One morning this week, I looked in the mirror and realized I didn't really recognize the person staring back at me.  This isn't some TV movie kind of moment, but I haven't done something "just for me" for a long time.  I don't have coffee with friends, I don't get my hair done, I don't take long vacations away from my kids, and I can count on one hand how many times my husband and I ate dinner alone all of last year. 

I think I might like to have some time to do just stuff I like this year.  I have a bit of guilt as I write this, but I do want to be okay with the idea of being somewhere other than with my kids. 

Things are changing for my family in a really big way.  There is a certain amount of excitement and fear that comes with these changes.  Also guilt...maternal guilt.  In the coming months I will work through these feelings of self doubt and guilt and hopefully get ready to enjoy the fifth decade.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Budget

If wagon falling was an Olympic sport, I would be in serious training.  The budget is another area that I have lost track of in the past couple of months.  I mean, I am paying bills and buying groceries, but not with the same plan and purpose that I have in the past. 

Here is the deal, I have squeezed a lot out of our family budget.  We don't have cable, don't subscribe to magazines, don't have car payments, but we need to have a real plan for our money.  I need to have a real look at all the items in our budget and make some difficult decisions. 
I will spend the next couple of days going over the items in the budget and making a plan.  I am taking advice from Family Balance Sheet.  She has some great ideas and is on her way to debt freedom.  Also, I need to get the envelope system in full effect. 

I also need to get a handle on the food budget.  I usually pick a random number and say we are not spending more than $this, but I never really think about how much we are spending now.  Also, I am a bit of a food snob.  I like my organic produce box, my home delivered milk, and the grocery store that does the shopping for me.  (I see another post developing)

So, I will also be creating a budget tab in this family notebook.  With a real plan for paying off bills and creating some wealth.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal planning

I confess...I have fallen off the wagon.  Meal planning has not been a priority here lately.  I can feel it, the kids can feel it, and my husband can feel it.
Feel what???

Well, for one meal time here is chaotic.  Since there is no plan I am in the kitchen rushing around, throwing things together, and not as pleasant during the dinner hour as I used to be.

Another thing we feel is unhealthy.  Since dinner is a scramble, our choices have been less healthy.  We have been eating out more.  It is fast, convenient, unhealthy and expensive. 

And that leads me to the last thing I feel...over budget.  Because I don't have a plan I go to the store more often.  Making more trips does cost me more money. 
So the plan is to get a plan.  I am looking at e-Mealz.  There is a gluten free option there and for a three month subscription ($15) I am sure to get some good recipes. There is a grocery list and you can even customize it for specific grocery stores.  After trying it a few weeks, I will review.

I am going to keep a meal planning notebook as well.  I will post it when I get it the way I want it, but it will include a shopping and budget section.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Well, the new year is upon us.  The last 2 months or so here have been ones of transition, stress, holiday chaos, overscheduling, lack of get the picture, right?

I am glad to see 2012.  It gives us a natural reset button, a reason to make new plans, a time to set goals and renew old commitments.

So, that is what I am going to do.  Here is the list of things I want to reconnect with and recommit to:

1. Our diets and meal planning.  It needs it!
2. Making time for myself.  To read, to write, to reconnect.
3. Some sort of regular physical activity.
4. Minimizing my outside commitments and focusing more on my home and family.
5. Get back into a regular mass schedule.
6. Devote time to getting to know my husband again.

This year will mark my 40th (gulp) year on the planet.  I want to get ready for this decade by prioritizing my life and loves. 

Happy New Year!