Budget Challenge and Weekly Meal Plan

So yesterday I joined a budget challenge for the month of February.  It involves cutting back spending to $75 per person in the family for the month.  That gives me $375 to work with for the month, which is only $85 less than I usually spend.  Often, my monetary creativity would make this easy, but I have a couple of obstacles. 

First, I normally use cloth diapers for Nicholas.  I just like them.  We use gdiapers (www.gdiapers.com) with cloth inserts.  They are super cute, easy for me to keep up, environmentally friendly, and when we were trying to figure out how to afford losing my income, I thought what better way to cut out a chunk of our spending each month than to not have the expense of disposable diapers and wipes.  It was a good call, because like my other two loves, little Nick has super sensitive skin as well and these keep his little bum soft and rash free!  However, with all the sickness in our home over the past month and with two birthdays within a week of each other, I failed to strip the diapers, which if you know about cloth diapering is necessary.  Anyhow, I had to buy a pack of disposables.  I had a coupon so we’re only talking about an extra $6.99, but I am competitive and want to do well at saving this month.  I do love the art of cloth diapering and will be back to our routine by Wednesday at the latest.

Challenge number two is weight loss. It is easy to save money if you aren’t concerned with health, but I generally am and as Matt and I are also competing with one another to lose our baby weight over the next 90 days, our menu has to be a little different.  I actually don’t have to alter my cooking much but in order to save money and lose weight I am cutting back how much I cook.  I noticed last week I threw out a lot of leftovers.  So I am cooking enough for the meal and a one or two person lunch of leftovers

That being said I spent $102 on groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies this week.  I only saved 45% of my total bill, but bought a lot of veggies and special food for Matt’s birthday.  Not bad, considering I bought Matt a new razor and bought extra contact solution since I had a great coupon that was about to expire. I hope I can do this!

Without further ado, here is our menu for the week.

Sunday: Garlic chili chicken legs with rice and broccoli
Monday: Green chicken enchiladas with black beans
Tuesday: Shrimp Victoria, rice, asparagus and Caesar salad
Wednesday (Matt’s b-day): Steak, braised cabbage, tomato gratin, wedge salad and Bavarian Apple Torte (mmm)
Thursday: Lemon skillet chicken, warm green bean, tomato and feta salad
Friday: Jamaican jerk chicken with broccoli and roasted potatoes
Saturday: Red beans and rice with turkey sausage and sweet cornbread

Hopefully we’ll find a babysitter one night and get to go out to celebrate Matt kid-free style!

Thoughts I’ve thought while pondering my Kitchen Aid

Thoughts from three days ago …

So while making meatballs this afternoon I was ruminating.  I have tried to explain to my husband that my mind works so fast that I must share some of my thoughts or I’ll explode.  “Really, Lindsey? You’ll explode?” Ok, Matt so I might be exaggerating just a little bit, but that is the way it feels sometimes.

Anyhow, one of the things I was thinking of is I might be less apt to express some of the not-so-stellar thoughts I have if I would sit down and write more frequently, and thus, here I am.  The beauty of writing is that you have the opportunity to edit your words.  With speaking, thoughts shared can never be retrieved.

So in my mind I was crafting a letter to Black and Decker.  This is where I feel like something’s gotta spew forth from the recesses of my vocabulary to give a voice to my frustration.  Have you ever had a “gift” you couldn’t with good conscience use?  I do.  My “gift” is words.  I wanted to quickly use my food processor and eliminate the need of chopping, which as any lover of cooking knows is a necessary part of the creating process, but especially in Italian foods, can be time consuming.  As a mother of three (with an extra love to care for on Thursdays), time is not something in great abundance at the Price home these days.  Anyhow, since I’ve taken pause I realize that my letter complaining of three B and D appliances would only be somewhat relieving to me and wouldn’t benefit anyone else, and so (eliminating all the clever things I thought) the moral of the story …  save a little longer and spring for Kitchen Aid appliances.  My Kitchen Aid mixer has never failed me.

Today has been one of those days where I’ve allowed myself to be frustrated, to not attempt to change my bad mood.  Why do I do that to myself and to those who I love?  I don’t know.  As I’ve said before, I can get overwhelmed with all I have to do and everything I’ve taken on as a responsibility.  Truth be told, many of the things I consider my responsibility are not.  Now as I sit and consider my mood, I am challenged to change it, refocusing my mind on the positive instead of the negative which is oft so much easier to find.

Truths:
I have an amazing husband who isn’t afraid to ask me when I’m in these moods, as I’m expressing myself, making great use of my “gift”: “What are you hoping to accomplish here, Lindsey? What do you want the result of this conversation to be?”  I heard his voice in my mind while drafting the intangible aforementioned complaint letter.  Can your husband be your conscience? No.  But he knows the best and worst of me, and knows how I feel when I give way to words.

My gift is not a gift if used to gripe and complain.  This year I will challenge my words to creatively express the positive.

I want to be a peacemaker.  When the world seems to fall to chaos, especially in our little home, I want to be used to restore peace.  How often has the Lord redeemed the broken parts of me and restored me to himself?  Too many to recount.  I want to be his instrument to breathe peace into my children and to my husband.

I cannot expect my children to be miniature versions of myself.  Sometimes, they will choose to do wrong.  I am here to guide them, to teach them, to forgive them, and to move on with them even when the season is challenging.  Their choices do not always reflect my parenting, but sometimes they do reflect my mood and my words.  With that in mind I should behave in such a way that the best in them is encouraged to flourish and the worst of me be mirrored less and less in them.

It’s a new year, with new expectations and new promise.  Today, I choose to thrive in its newness, to explore new opportunities, to discover what really makes me tick, to delve into experiences with fervor, to cast aside behaviors that hinder me and my family from reaching our potential.  With this in mind, I am cognizant that “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it … yet.”  (Anne of Green Gables) Where there are mistakes, there is also forgiveness.