Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Finish Off 2013 - Bring It On 2014

Well, obviously I have not done well at blog updates or keeping it current.  So...let me attempt to lead you out of 2013 quickly and on point.

I left off in October with the completion of the cake course.  We decided to not take any more classes through the holiday season.  Was planning on starting back up in January, however with still no working kitchen that just isn't going to happen.  If you head over to my cooking blog, Dice, Slice, Spice...Nice! you can see the details of the l   o   n   g  time consuming remodel of the kitchen.  It will be worth it, but am really sick and tired of now counters to work on or sink to work with.  Hopefully, about two more weeks.

As I posted previously, daughter approached her school club sponsor about a bake sale.  DO NOT...I REPEAT...DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU.  Just a big friendly warning.  The teacher gave the approval to the girls on a Wednesday afternoon.  I bought supplies that evening and we made LOTS of cupcakes.  Not as many as planned, but they did end up only having about 6 cupcakes left over after the sale.  No went with out, not a huge amount to get rid of.  That part was a success.  However...we were up until about 1 a.m. and barely moving by the time we were done.

Read about the cupcake explosion to see how it all came out.  Add to that, I had made about two dozen cupcakes the week before to take up to church for the fall carnival.  At any rate, it will probably be March or so until I do another class.  Miss Zebra won't be doing one until much later in the year either.  Between finishing up her senior year, track, play rehearsal and now dance review, she barely has time to turn around as it is.

The last part of November, like the day after Thanksgiving, the actual demolish of the old kitchen started.  Everything removed down to the studs, major appliances moved around and new design started.  New cabinets, new paint, all new appliances, even a new window have all been installed.  Now waiting on the new counter tops, sink and faucet to be installed, then the backsplash added, a little trim work and I will be back in business.  I never dreamed that I would miss anything as much as I have missed having a kitchen sink.  If you are interested in the progress, you can follow this link to the start of the postings.

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas in Texas with our oldest daughter.  I was able to have all of my children and grand children under the same roof at the same time for the first time in years.  Since 2012 actually, when my mom passed away.  Wow, in print that doesn't seem so long ago, but sure feels like many years ago.  We did go see hubby's family as well, first time some of them have seen all the kids since 2008 and first time to see the youngest two grand babies since they were born.

Now we are home.  Trying to do some purging and deep cleaning, but not too easy with the two little ones under foot.  We have all been sick with the crud, gotten over it and given it back to each other.  Hubby is working hard to get some vehicles running enough to pass state regulations as well.  I am having a secret pity party for myself, which is making me procrastinate mightily at cleaning up this sewing/craft/office  room.  Other wise known as mom's room or the Diva Den.  I really am trying to get organized, just feeling a little frustrated over it all.  Maybe overwhelmed would be a better description.  I want to cut the spending, trim our budget and plan menus.  I am having a little bit of a problem with figuring out where exactly to begin. 

I really do have the best of intentions, honest real goals.  I get started surfing around the internet for information on how to start.  Did you know there is a HUGE cottage industry out there of people that smart enough to understand how to do all this and know how to get others to pay them for this information or service.  I can buy menu plans that are budget minded.  Problem is, my family doesn't eat like that.  I am not making my family live on oats and barley to save money, or have several meals a week that are meatless.  I would be in huge trouble if I even tried.  Also, I have an extremely pick assed hubby when it comes what he eats.  Oh he says he isn't, and he will try most anything, as long as it isn't pasta or chicken.  In other words, meat and potatoes only.  Have you seen the price of potatoes lately, at least here in my part of California?  I admit, I also hate to peel potatoes.  But, he only wants fries, mashed, baked, but nothing else.  No scalloped, Au gratin, no adventure.  Cheap buys are pasta, rice and cheap cuts of meat.  Rice is tolerated on occasion, pasta almost never.  In fact, I used to get to go out by announcing that I was making spaghetti.  It doesn't much work any more.  However, have you seen the price of meat lately.  I used to get ground meat for $1.99 a pound, now am lucky to find it for less $4 a pound.  I am tired of the same old dishes, but we are not a sun dried tomato and exotic spice type of family, nor am a trained chef.  I read a lot about menu planning on the web, follow some really great sites to see what others are doing as well.  I just get bogged down with the extremes to either direction.  I mean really, scallops with sun dried tomatoes, arugula salads and saffron infused rice is not the most thrifty of meals.  On the opposite end of that, a half of mayonnaise and onion sandwich with a salad of greens I found while out walking the dog is not for me either.  I just won't even get started on the "Extreme Cheapskate" aspect of what is being done out there.  I mean I want to save money, but refuse to make my own washable butt wipes and crocheted sanitary hygiene products.  So where does that leave me?

I know I am not the only one out there that feels this way.  I just have to sort through all the info I find and try to make it work for us.  Thankfully, we have no allergy issues food wise to deal with.  Unless you count the fact that my tongue is set on fire by pineapple and any type of salad (spinach especially but lettuce too) pops out of me with in 10 -15 minutes of consuming it.  However, we are truly in a  rut and I fully intend to pop us out of it. 

So, these are my goals for the year:
1.  Reduce spending - will keep better track of what is spent where, buy loss leaders and sale items, create menu plans using what is on sale and in season, introduce different types of protein (beef, poultry, seafood, pork) to the family according to what is available fresh and on sale.

2.  Less processed foods. Healthier foods.

3.  Create and use a cleaning schedule. Purge the clutter and extras from this house.  Try to sell some of what I don't want any more to get a little money back in my pocket.

4.  Work out at the gym more. Loose weight.

5.  Take care of myself more, go to bed a little earlier.

Well, that is about it for now.  Hope you come back again soon.