Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#74. Meal Planning - Success!!

You guys, I've been trying to find an efficient method to meal plan for almost 3 years. I tried monthly (but I would inevitably lose the list, or forget, or food would go bad). I tried magnets (I'd forget to buy certain ingredients). I tried both premade and homemade. Literally, nothing worked for me. Inevitably, we would get lazy and go out to eat. Or, make other things, and then not have ingredients for other things later. Or make a frozen pizza. It was a miserable failure.

I think a huge part of it was that I thought it was very stressful to not only pick meals but to also write down all of the ingredients, figure out what I did or didn't have, and then go shopping. Planning my meals was making my life stressful and complicated, rather than simple like it promised.

Until now.

I'm a pretty avid reading of Feeding the Soil. It's a great little blog about a family that's trying to get the most out of life while spending the least amount of money, and helping their community grow in the process. I don't always agree with everything, but I love some of the ideas she has. She recently posted a meal plan grocery list that her and her husband set up, and it clicked with me.

(my grocery sheet)

I took a night or two to enter in all of my meals/ingredient (she'll email you a pre-loaded menu, but it's vegetarian which doesn't jive for us), and I was done. I used meals that we were already familiar with, and "lazy day" meals. I love that it has a place for staples, which we buy weekly. I can select the meals, and I have the ingredients right there. I can print them off if I want. I'm doing really well at only going to the grocery store once a week, and spending anywhere from $50-70 dollars. On weeks where we spend less because we have stocks of things, I buy extra staples to stash away. I put everything on there from breakfast for dinner to crockpot meals to frozen pizza. And, we're saving money. We haven't had it in place long enough to have cleaned out our pantry, but a lot of that is because we're snackers that need stuff for lunches and mid-afternoon starvation attacks. :) It's super easy. I think I'm in love.

Seriously. If you're struggling with meal planning, this is totally worth a shot.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


- I've been working on meal planning again. I know that when Sean's in Bar Prep, there's going to be a lot less free time and a lot less free money. I'm really taking inspiration from THIS site.

- I've been tempted to write a post on the benefits of social media. It was my emphasis in college, and I think there's a lot to be said about it. Maybe soon.

- I've been thinking about starting running outside. But, thanks to my asthma diagnosis, I technically need to get a life alert bracelet. That's so weird to me. I never considered asthma life threatening - until my dad tried to die on me 6 years ago.

- I've also been working on my recipe binder. I've finally got all of our recipes typed up! Now to just print them all out...

- I really do not want to start packing my life up again. But whenever we buy a house, things are going to move FAST.

- I'm finally working on my brother's business again. And I gotta say, I have to give made props to web designers. I'm frustrated with it, and I'm using a template. Erg.

- I didn't get either promotion I applied for. I'm bummed, but there's nothing I can do about it - right now. I guess I'm more frustrated. But I guess I just need to keep plugging along.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye.

Yesterday, we said our final goodbyes to my grandpa.

 (Grandpa's Last Birthday, in December)

It was something that was expected, but at the same time, not. My grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson's many years ago. He's been shaking quite a bit, and in the last couple of months he started with head shaking. I know that's a bad sign, unfortunately. He was feeling bad and losing energy - we knew he was fading. But at the same time, two weeks before he died he was in South Carolina - visiting his brother and getting along better than most others. We thought that, while he was having some bad days, that the good days were still outnumbering them.

Last Thursday (almost two weeks ago now), he was lying down doing his morning stretches on the floor. He couldn't get up. My step-grandma wanted to call 911, but he refused. So my step-grandma did the next best thing - she called my dad, who drives right by their house on his way to work. When my dad tried to lift him, my grandpa went into cardiac arrest.

Apparently, his losing energy was red blood cells dying off - he was losing oxygen rapidly. Even if they had called 911, the same thing probably would have happened (which made my step-grandma feel a lot better). They stabilized him in the hospital, but opted to wait for the weekend for any non-immediate tests. On Monday, nothing had changed. They opted for a brain scan. They quickly found out that grandpa wasn't having any brain activity, and after being without a heartbeat for 15 minutes, it most likely wasn't going to come back. When my mom called to tell me they were taking him off life support - it was crushing. I had my meltdown, cry in Sean's arms moment. And the next day...

He was snoring. Without life support. I had never heard of someone not immediately passing away when taken off life support, but apparently it happens. Grandpa finally passed on Wednesday afternoon - a blessing which meant that the wake had to be pushed to Sunday and my cousins wouldn't miss their First Communion. We had the wake, funeral, and burial on Sunday and Monday, and it's nice for closure.

Anyway. My grandpa was the first of the mad men generation. He did a lot of things (really, check out this link - it's his obit) - with the church, the community, and work. He helped fight the Lambert Airport Expansion, he fought for new parks, he was a math teacher, he worked at McDonnell Douglas, he was on parade floats, and he was a city councilman. But for me, he was grandpa. He's the one who I cleaned the city pool with (that he managed) and the one who took me to the park. He let my brother draw on the couch in a sharpie. He delivered meals on wheels with me. He gave me Coke for breakfast. He was also my last biological grandparent - it's weird that I don't have any left. And kind of makes me feel doomed in a way.

The entire turn out was amazing though. There was SO many people his wake - former students, my grandma's family (she died 17 years ago), neighbors, the mayor - it was crazy. There was literally a line out the door. I'm so thankful that so many people came - most of them didn't know me, but it was great to see all of the people who respected him. It was great that they got to meet who he left behind - me, and my stepgrandma, and my cousins (down to age 3, who were all there).

Wakes and funerals? They truly are for the living. And truly healing. 

Together Again

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Relaxing Easter.

Easter is quickly becoming our holiday. The holiday we spend at home. The holiday we don't travel.

It's wonderful.

I feel like we spend so many holidays driving to St. Louis, rushing here, rushing there, eating huge meals upon huge meals, and staying up too late. Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and St. Pat's. It's great to see everyone, but just because we don't live there doesn't mean we want to constantly go home. I love that we're establishing our own traditions, and our own time.

When we have a bigger house (or really, just a formal dining room), we'd love to host Easter - whether it be for friends or family. But right now? I'm enjoying that distinct lack of 2 three hour drives.

So what did we do? We went to mass, we did laundry, we walked the dog, and we cooked dinner.

That's it.

Pretty relaxing holiday, if you ask me.