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August

I love August for one reason only – because I love fall and August means that summer is almost over. Fall is beautiful, the weather is wonderful. One of those hot days comes along and I remember why I like warm days. It’s a time of new beginnings (I always want to go buy new pencils and notebooks, even though I have no use for them!) – new goals, new ideas, new “I want to finish XYZ before the new year” type things. This year is no different. Nathan is starting a new school on September first. I may or may not be starting a new work arrangement that same day. This means new routines for everything. We never really settled into much of a routine in the new house and it shows. I am trying to think it through remembering about Murphy’s Law and that old saying of whatever can go wrong will. And of course I’m still trying to work on my goals of losing weight (down 3.2 pounds this week), frugal and green living and cooking whole foods from scratch. I want to get back to blogging on a regular basis, grow a readership and actually capture and retain interest. I am trying to figure out what I want this space to be for exactly and I can’t narrow it down. I think for now it will remain a hodge-podge of what I’m thinking about at any given point in time. But I’m open to hearing suggestions of what my readers find interesting for me to talk about. So here’s to the end of August, the beginning of a new month, a new season and new...
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This blog is so boring.

Even I can’t stand to read it. Ugh. The last 8 weeks or so have been absolute chaos. Between the loss of two people I cared a great deal about and the awful process of buying and selling a house, I have not been able to think about my goals, let alone write about them. However, it has not gone unnoticed that no one was really clamoring for more. Can’t say I blame them. I have been thinking about how life-altering my move to a new home will be. There are many things I’ve wanted to change for my family and for myself and moving will help me accomplish many of them. I hope to use this blog as a way to navigate that journey. I’m a little apprehensive about putting it out there until I can set things in motion, and I can’t really do anything until I get in that new house. Less than 2 days at this point, then some time to settle, then the changes happen. Hopefully I can keep you, my 3 dear followers, posted on my progress. Maybe someone else will read these posts. Maybe not. We’ll...
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Mid-Month Recap

In my effort to blog more, I’m offering this Mid-Month Recap. I’m checking the pulse, if you will, on my resolutions to see where I need to work a little harder. Goal #1: Weight. I have not lost weight, in fact I think I found some of last month’s. Hoping to change that. Goal #2: Cooking at home. This is becoming a near-mandatory thing as we need to reduce the amount of sodium we eat. I’m proud to say that 8 of 12 nights I have cooked dinner at home. Goal #3: Cleaning Kitchen. 11 of 12!!! And the one night I didn’t I was dealing with a pretty sick little boy, so I cut myself some slack. Very happy here! Goal #4: Water. Averaging 20-30 oz per day. Could be better but the lack of sleep has caused me to up my caffeine consumption, leaving less time for water. Again, I blame the sick child. And the sick me. Goal #5: Turning the computer off at night. 12 of 12!!! Can’t wait to see the electric bill go down a whole $.30! Goal #6: Work towards the move. 4/12. Not great. But again, illness. Goal #7: Exercise 3/12. Um. I’ve been sick. Get off my back. Goal #8: Parenting 7/12. Very unmeasurable and I promise to explain it at some point. But I am happy that I’m paying mindful time toward my goals. Eating from the pantry: The supplies are dwindling! I have enough to feed us for the rest of the month. Good thing, because I went over my grocery budget this morning. I set a goal of $100 for the month and to date I’ve spent $108. But the reasons for this were good, in my opinion. First, I was able to get 4 deodorants for $1 each that are normally $2.69. Instead of spending $12 on 2 packs of hot dogs, I got them for $4. Can’t beat that! I also stocked up on frozen veggies because they were on sale and I had the coupons. Regular price: $19.90, sale/coupons: $8. Finally, yogurt. Regular price: $4.50, sale/coupons: $1.50. I didn’t NEED all of that stuff, but it certainly will get used and the prices were too good to pass up on stuff we will need in a week or so. But can I get the rest of the month without going even more over-budget? I’m not so sure. I’m more than happy to stay out of the store...
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January Wrap Up and February Week One

I’ve been trying to post for 2 weeks now, so I guess I’ll just condense my thoughts into one. January was a pretty successful month, as far as resolutions go. Usually I abandon them by about Day 3, so I’m happy that I got through the month at least TRACKING my progress. Here’s how it turned out: No Spend: 5 of 31 days. I was only looking at TRUE no spend days, no bill paying, no necessities, etc. Yeah, nearly impossible. No Drive: 0 of 31 days. Completely impossible. At least right now. I started out trying to at least track mileage, but it’s just not happening. Exercise: 3 of 31 days. I was either sick or lazy or busy all month. Going to have to try harder here. Intentional Parenting: 5 of 31 days. This is the name I came up with (OK, read on another blog) for what I was thinking about the Mommy thing. More about that another time. Obviously I spent more time THINKING about it than DOING it. Weight: Went down 6 of 31 days for a total loss of 4lbs. Totally reasonable, so I’m happy. Also, that’s 10% of my overall goal, so definitely happy with that. Cook: 24 of 31 days, which includes days we were not home for dinner but didn’t eat out (party one night, ate at a friend’s another). Based on my history, this is amazing progress! Water: I couldn’t even track it, so I’m sure I wasn’t drinking it! Kitchen: All dishes washed, sink/stove clear: 14/31. Not too bad! I know some could use some work (Parenting, Water, Exercising). I’m not giving up and more importantly I’m not beating myself up. I’ve rearranged the goals for February. I dropped No Spend and No Drive, they are just not attainable right now. I’ve replaced them with turning off the computer/printer before bed and working towards the impending move. Since the start of the month I’ve been sick and I’m pleased with my progress so far despite that. The other goal for the month is a Pantry/Freezer Challenge. As of right now, it would appear we could be moving within the next 2-3 months, so I want to clear out my stockpiles. My goal is to make do with what we have, buying only produce and dairy as needed. I know it’s not 100% realistic because a demanding 3 year old will run out of cheese doodles next week, but I’d love to keep the grocery budget down to $100 for the month. Last month, with the stockpiling, grocery expenditures were roughly $500 – that included diapers, wipes, cleaning products, etc. My savings are estimated at $350, so my TRUE spending should have been over $800. We won’t need Cheerios for quite some time and I see a lot of chicken dishes in our future, but we have enough of most stuff for at least the next 2 weeks. That last week is going to be tough, but we’ll see how it goes. Finally, I’m hoping to blog more often. Ideally my thoughts would be more organized instead of all jumbled (you know, like this post), but I had to do a little brain dump tonight so I could get on with my life. I’m trying to make small changes, track progress and work towards building something better and more meaningful than passing my time until I feel like it’s the RIGHT time to start trying harder. I can’t change...
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Week One Down

The first official week of the new year is done. I only really started concentrating on my resolutions on Monday, so it hasn’t even actually been a week. Of course, one of my unofficial resolutions was to lighten up about things like that, so we won’t pay it any mind. First, the losing weight resolution. As of December 31, I was officially 22 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. I only gained 35 through out the whole thing, and lost almost all of it within months of the birth. So in the 3 years since my son was born, I put on over 20 lbs. Yuck. And, I really was still about 10 lbs overweight before the pregnancy, so… I decided to set a very reasonable goal of .5 – 2 lbs of weight loss per week. We’ll see how the weekend plays out, but I’m already down 3. Hopefully I’ll be able to get exercise into my routine and keep a steady loss going. Second, and the direct cause of the above, after tonight I will have successfully cooked 6 nights in a row. We’ll probably do takeout tomorrow, but then it’s back to cooking. I’m not looking to never have a pizza again, but we need to cut back and this is a good start. Third, the good mom thing. Well, that’s a little harder to quantify and a little harder to stick to. I’ve been more mindful, so I suppose that’s half the battle. I’ve started logging what Nathan and I do throughout the day. I’m trying to find what’s just filler and what’s meaningful. This is a goal I’m not going to be able to nail down this month, but hopefully flesh out over the winter and into spring. Fourth, the good homemaker thing. Triumph today!! I had a very successful grocery shopping trip and have another planned for Sunday. This should really stock the freezer and pantry well and I really saved a lot. I’ve been visiting websites loaded with coupons, printing and clipping and sorting. Then when the weekly circulars came, I was ready. I bought almost nothing that wasn’t on sale or that I didn’t have a coupon for. I only bought one thing off the list (raisins). Rather than bore you with the whole list of what I bought, I’ll give you the highlights: Total spent: $143.02. Total saved: $105.19. Paper towels, 6-pack, Orig. $8.29, I paid $4.49 4 cases of soda (this is for a party, wouldn’t normally buy this), Orig. $21.56, I paid $14.68 Tissues, 7 boxes, Orig $13.93, I paid $4.75 Muffin mix, 6 boxes, Orig $20.10, I paid $11 (this is for those days when Nathan wants to bake and I don’t want to drag everything out). Healthy Choice Frozen Meals (8), Orig. $22.61, I paid $8.16 Instant potatoes (for a quick side!), Orig. $1.35, I paid $.55 Meat Analogs, Orig. $9.18, I paid $4.67 Frozen veggies, Orig. $3.98, I paid $1.50 Progresso Soup (6 cans), Orig. $13.74, I paid $3.00 Select Harvest Soup (3 cans), Orig. $7.35, I paid $2.50 Total and Cornflakes (1 box ea.), Orig. $6.76, I paid $3.38 Apples and pears (4 each), Orig. $8.68, I paid $3.01 Approx 6lbs of boneless chicken breast, Orig. $34.39, I paid $20.61 All in all, very successful. I’m very pleased with my progress so far and especially for making such an effort to change things for good, not to go head first into craziness only to drop...
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The More and Less of 2010

As I always do this time of year, once the excess of Christmas Day is behind me, I have been reflecting on the new year and the hope for change it brings. Last year I had such high hopes for where I’d be at this point this year and I am not entirely sure what went wrong. I have some legitimate reasons, some really good excuses and many more lame ones. The question then is what to do about them. I realize that I have to narrow down my focus and my goals. I can’t be every kind of mom, the completely dedicated employee and the fabulous homemaker that I sometimes pretend I can be. Sure I can be any number of those on any given day, but I can’t be all of them all of the time. It’s time to really rethink the everywoman thing I have going on. This led me to wonder what I want more of and what I want less of. I want less running around, stress, exhaustion and frustration. I want more health and energy, quality time with Nathan, more productive time spent. I want to spend more time with my husband enjoying life and less time trying to catch up. That was the easy part. How do I achieve this? How do I meet these goals? And what specific things are involved? Here’s my preliminary list, in no particular order: 1. Less take out = more healthy. It also means more meal planning, cooking, cleaning, food shopping, but with practice and consistency I know I can make better use of time already spent doing those things. 2. Less time on frivilous pursuits. It’s ok to zone out on Facebook every now and again, but certainly less status updates, less checking to see if anyone cares about my status updates and less wondering what everyone else is doing. Also less time needs to be spent on other borderline interests (paid surveys, reading blogs and magazines I don’t love, etc.). 3. Less excuses for not excersizing and more time finding ways to squeeze it in. This is a necessary move for so many reasons. 4. More organization. I need to put stuff where it goes and find places for things that don’t have one. Part of this is also continued downsizing. I have too much stuff. I am hopeful that a move to a new house will really help push this along. 5. More quality time with Nathan. Less TV for him. More planned activities, crafts, learning etc. I’m not going to teach him a new language or anything, but I’m not his babysitter, I’m his mother. Overall, I need to spend less time and energy on things I can’t control and worry about what I can. I need to make good use of my time. I have the sneaking suspicion that if I spend less time wasting time and more time doing things that matter, I’ll find I have a lot more time to spend. Here’s to hoping for a better...