Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I have been up to this Halloween season

Here are some links to see what I have been up to the past few weeks.  I was contacted by a friend to contribute to her blog and represent her on the news.

Click here to see me on the news.

Here are the links to my posts on the blog, Mom it Forward.  Check it out for some great Halloween activities, money saving tips, treats, etc.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I did it!

Well, I did it!  I set a small(ish) goal to get caught up with one of the things that seemed to be causing frustration/stress in my daily life and I accomplished it.  Meal planning, had become non-existent as of late, and it was causing me undue stress, and hitting the budget hard (because when there is nothing planned on the menu, fast food, take out, and restaurants become an all too easy solution.

So, I made my list, matched the coupons, then made my meal plan.  Double checked my current stock of ingredients to those meals, and headed out.  I live within a stones throw of nearly everything (one of my favorite things about the location of my home), so I went to three stores, bought 83 items, spent $196.02, used nearly $30 in coupons, and got EVERYthing caught up for my house, menu, toiletries, OTC meds/vitamins, and some supplies from the list of my youngest’s classroom needs.  It took me less than 1 hour of shopping, and I am SO glad this was the one thing I focused on first to get myself back on track.

I detest thinking through a dinner plan, then starting to make it, and find out that I am missing one item (don’t you?)!  But this way, I am fully stocked for 14 dinners, and will not have to think about wheather I am missing anything.  When I am behind, eating and feeding my family becomes a chore rather than quality family time…so this is a great step!

I am starting to think of some other “I’ve been meaning to” items, but for now, I am going to make chicken bake pork chops (a recipe from my Grandma) for my family.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting back on track!

“Are you still doing your blog?”, I keep being asked. Arrrgggg…yes…I need to be doing that. What is stopping me? Well, I am TIRED (can anyone relate?)!! I don’t feel on top of my game right now, so it would feel VERY strange to try to motivate others to get on top of theirs.
If the shoemaker’s kids have no shoes…then…the organizer’s house is a mess? Something like that, it is what I had feared I would become, so, not wanting to be a hypocrite, I have just not said anything (on the blog).

What do you do to get on track, when you feel “off”? Many look at blogs or pintrest for ideas to get them going. BUT, do you ever find you spend your time looking at others interests or projects instead of working on your own? Catch 22, trying to get motivated without getting distracted.

Well, here is my effort, I am just going to jump in and do SOMETHING. Anything is better than nothing, right? Even if it is just sharing my journey.

“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps!”, my grandparents have said my entire life. Our generation tries to be more “Zen” about things, and claims to need to be inspired, rather than starting without the universe leading us along the way toward our passion. Well, passion or not, the family needs to eat, toilets get dirty, and pets need to be walked.

Let’s be serious, I do NOT have a passion about cleaning my toilets or weeding my yard. I do, however, enjoy getting it knocked out and off of my never ending to do list.

My focus for September was to be “I’ve been meaning to”, and that works with what I am feeling right now, luckily, so here we go.
I have been meaning to, get back on track, so getting back to basics, I ask myself, “what isn’t working right now?”. Well, I haven’t done a good meal plan lately, and always feel like I have nothing to make for dinner.

So, I will go back to my meal planning guide, and make my shopping list. I am tempted to just quickly do one week, but knowing how tired I am, I am going to push myself to do two weeks worth of planning and shopping to have one thing that exhausts me on a daily basis out of the way for two whole weeks!!
Saturday is not my idea of an ideal grocery shopping day (it is always so packed), but, it needs to be done, so I will NOT let that be an excuse, and I will just plan more time for the trip. Hubby and girls are all working on their projects anyway, so I will be able to go by myself, which should help me go faster anyway.

I am tempted to make a bigger list of things, “I have been meaning to…”, but if I do, I know I will get overwhelmed, and getting back on track is a marathon, not a sprint. So, here is my first step.

Hope you can find a few (or only one) thing(s), that could take a little stress out of your day, and perhaps get back onto the track that works for you and your family. Hope I see you soon, because that will mean that I am really getting back there myself, and we can continue our “chats” about what does and does not work for all of us toward our goals of clearing the clutter from our lives!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What has been going on this month?

I haven't posted for the entire month of May...so what have I been doing?  I have been doing the things I should be posting about.  So, in one way I HAVE stayed on track, but I haven't been documenting,and thereby trying to help all of you keep on track.  Sorry!

At the end of April, I got it in my head that a bigger deck would be a good idea, and then a sale at Home Depot lead to a LARGE delivery of wood and supplies to my house.

In case you didn't know, expanding a 10 x 10 deck to a 10 x 30 deck is a LOT of work, and a LOT of wood.  I thought I had at least a small idea about what it would take for my husband to do this DIY project.  No, my husband is not a natural handy man, but he is extremely smart and will research things until he becomes expert at them.  He is more of the measure 16 times, cut once breed, so I knew that it may go slow, but that he could do it.

He was cautiously optimistic as well, but we went for it.  Then it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained some more.  In fact over March, April, and May, my area of Utah has received more rainfall than in the past 150 years of those months.  Yes, I live in a desert, and yes I have mushrooms and mold in my flower beds.  CRAZY!

Every spare second of sun, or moment of dryness, or at least a slow drizzle was spent trying to make as much progress on the deck as possible.  A lot has been learned along the way, but I have to admit that I have learned a lot more than my husband who has done at least 95% of the work.

LADIES LISTEN UP!!!  I have had small, realistic expectations about the speed of progress, and because of it, my husband and I have not even had one cross word toward each other during this experience! 

He is learning a new craft that I really pushed on him (I can't be the only wife who has ever done this?), he can't control the weather, and we will have this deck for years to come, so what is the rush or reason to stress him out about the time line? 

Please know, this is RARE for me, usually I would push and make it a terrible situation for everyone, but WOW is this approach much better!
We started with this 10 x 10 deck, and it is MUCH better than nothing, but it really didn't leave much room for lounging and relaxing after the BBQ was up there.
Then the structure needed to be started, with a red headed audience (of course).
The stairs were removed and the deck began to take shape!

Okay, then I did add a bit of pressure to the hubby with my excitement (old habit, what can I say).  The deck was finally coming to life and all I could imagine was the deck furniture that I would soon be able to have on it.  Have you priced outdoor furniture lately?  OUCH!!!

I found a GREAT set at the best price I have seen for my needs at Bed Bath and Beyond.
This set is $299.99, but with the 20% off coupon it was $239.99!!  My only complaint is that it isn't very colorful, but with the outdoor pillows they also had for $9.99 each, it made for some much needed color (FYI I got two of the red stripe and two of the blue strip).
The basic structure is now built.  A few touch ups are needed, and I want a gate to be built on as well.  Then I will stain/paint the new areas, and we will be finished...well...the deck has gone so well that we have begun thinking about a pergola...time will tell, it is Memorial Day, freezing cold and still raining out there...

I do promise more pictures and updates as we go along though!  Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Emergency Packs

Commonly called 72 hour kits, but in my house, I have prepared an "emergency pack" for everyone in our family. 
You can find "traditional" kits at army/navy stores, or emergency sites for over $100 per person.  Many of those kits can be full of very useful things, but with any other pre-packaged kits, they will also include items that will be "over kill" for the needs of most families, containing food that most children would refuse to eat, even in an emergency.  I don't know many who want to spend $100+ per kit for an emergency that (hopefully) may not happen.

Several years ago I took a month and focused on emergency preparedness for my family.  My total cost for 4 packs was well under $100, and it contains things that I know will be of use for my family no matter when (or if) the items are needed.

Each person has an individualized back pack with their supplies.  I have labeled the packs by a large piece of duct tape and have written the name, number, and address of each person.  My daughters' packs also have their parents names on them.  As the parents we have more supplies in our bags, but the girls do have the basics in theirs, and they are small and light enough, that they can carry them without a problem.

The basics of our are in zip lock bags inside our packs, and include:

Juice box
Water bottle(s)
Fruit snacks
Ensure type of drink
Wet wipes
T-shirt, pair of sweats, and socks
Emergency blanket
Oatmeal packets
Wash cloth
Travel sized lotion
Travel sized tooth paste
Travel sized deodorant
Travel hand sanitizer
Travel container with Q-tips
Flashlight with batteries (not in it)
Individual drink mixes
Lip balm
Band aids
Roll of toilet paper
Spare disposable contacts and solution
Various candies (non melting)
Sunscreen stick
Hair elastics
Compact mirror and brush set
Granola Bars
Soap (in plastic container)

The girls' packs also include:

Small toys
Composition book
Mini Play Dough
We are beyond the diaper phase, but if your children are of that age, they would need to be included as well.

Adult Packs Also Include:
Scissors (can be used to cut clothes into shorts and short sleeved shirts as necessary for the weather)
Family Rx medications
Family vitamins
Cough drops
Shampoo and Conditioner
$15 cash
Contact and solution
10 4 gallon plastic bags, in compact packaging
Multi-use tool: compass, thermostat, whistle, mirror, magnifying glass, flashlight
Hand crank radio and ear buds
Hand crank flashlight
Now that we have a pet, I will need to include food for him as well.

We also have another pack filled with more water and a comprehensive first aid kit.

These backpacks were all extras that we had around the house, so there was no cost.  We keep them on hooks in the stairway to our unfinished basement.  This way they are accessible to grab in a hurry if necessary.

Periodic updating of these packs is necessary for items such as:
Clothing (sizes for the growing children)
Any food or beverages with expiration dates
Rx medications based on the current needs of the family

Many of these items I got for free because of combining sales and coupons, and certainly all Travel sized items are very easy to get free because of coupons.

No, these packs may not include EVERYTHING that we could ever possibly need in any level of emergency, but I am very comfortable with the level of preparedness that I have achieved for my family.

Ideally, Emergency Packs should contain the most valuable items in any level of emergency, without taking up a lot of room or draining your savings!