Friday, September 28, 2012

Seven Quick Fall Takes

--- 1 ---

Do any of you night owls (Melanie? Anybody?) have advice on how to get ready for the day in an efficient but stress-free way? I'm at my wits' end with our current morning routine. Scott isn't quite so frustrated, but he doesn't like it when I cry so I'm assuming he's on board with the idea of reducing stress. As long as he doesn't have to get up any earlier.

He already sets out his clothes and packs up his bag the night before. I pack his lunch. I've tried to implement a "Shower in the evenings" policy, with mixed success. (Mostly it's just moved the nagging to a different part of the day, which is kind of a lateral move in terms of stress levels.)

He's 23 years old, so it's not like I can restrict his video game privileges if he doesn't come downstairs and get in the car when he's supposed to. Plus, that would still involve me enforcing a routine from the outside. I know internal motivation isn't something you can force, so I'd settle for "How to not go crazy when your husband moans and flops about like a dying fish about for several minutes instead of GETTING OUT OF BED."

UPDATED TO ADD: Because Hyperbole and a Half makes every situation better, here is an artistic rendition of what Scott feels when I tell him to get out of bed in the mornings:

--- 2 ---

On a lighter note: Matthew learned how to climb stairs yesterday. And he has FIVE teeth now.

He's beating Teresa on the tooth front...she has three missing teeth and one more that's loose.

--- 3 ---

I cleaned the bathroom this week. It took me three days and I didn't even clean the tub (Scott does that), but I DID IT. The floor is very shiny. I like it. Not enough to not go several months in between moppings, though.

--- 4 ---

The other day, just for kicks, I decided to count up the number of calories that Scott eats in a day and came up with about 1400. And that's with breakfast. Sometimes he doesn't eat breakfast.

For the record: He's trying to gain weight, though obviously not very successfully. And he was offered several additional food choices, so it's not like he thinks that he can only eat what I offer him because we have a tight grocery budget. He just doesn't get hungry or something.

Remind me later to buy some bacon and douse everything I cook in butter.

--- 5 ---

Scott's breakfast request this morning: Half of an egg sandwich. HALF. As much as it pained me, I fulfilled this request. (I made up some egg salad yesterday in anticipation of not being able to eat meaty leftovers today, but when I offered it to him I kind of meant a whole sandwich.)

When I took out the piece of bread and contemplated cutting it in half, I thought to myself, "Self, if you use a knife the bread will get all mangled. Maybe you should try scissors instead."

So I took out my handy-dandy kitchen shears and cut the piece of bread in half. It worked marvelously. I am going to do that all the time from now on. (Up until the point at which I convince Scott that he's going to waste away to nothing with this "half a sandwich" nonsense.)

--- 6 ---

I LOVE this fall weather. The trouble is, it makes me want to bake things...pumpkin muffins, apple cobbler, chocolate chip cookies, caramel things... (I don't even know what I want to make out of caramel. Anything.) But we currently have more than enough muffins and desserts and things for me and Mr. Eats Like A Bird. *pout*

At least there's a lot more fall still left.

--- 7 ---

Here's a picture of Matthew sleeping:

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September grocery shopping and menu planning part 2

These groceries were purchased on Thursday, September 13. (Yes, I went 12 days in between shopping trips. Did you see how much food I bought in the first trip of the month?)

Milk: $1.69 at Aldi

Corn: 99 cents

Frozen strawberries: $1.99 at Aldi

Mayonnaise: $1.99 at Aldi

Orange juice: $1.29 at Aldi

Cream cheese: $1.19 at Aldi

Lunch meat: $3.49 at Aldi (I was very offended that the price of lunch meat went up 20 cents.)

Sliced cheese: $1.99 at Aldi

2 pounds shredded cheese: $5.98 at Aldi

Raspberries: $5 at Meijer (I was SO EXCITED, you guys. I don't get out much.)

Apples: $4.58 at Meijer (99 cents/lb)

Bread: $1.29 at Aldi

Grapes: $1.50 at Aldi

Broccoli: $1.69 at Aldi

Eggs: $2.78 at Aldi (That's 1.39 per dozen! Aldi was not winning my loyalty this week.)

Flour: $1.58 at Aldi

Tomato sauce: 87 cents at Aldi

Basil: 99 cents at Aldi

Chocolate chips: $4.71 at Kroger (That's $1.57 per bag; cheaper than Meijer's sale price of $1.69 a bag. And I didn't have to buy 10 to get that price. I don't know if Kroger brand chocolate chips are any good, but I'm willing to sacrifice for science.)

Brown sugar: $1.39 at Aldi

Dry kidney beans: $1.19 at Kroger (My mom tipped me off to the fact that they're cheaper at Kroger than Meijer. You know you take frugality way too seriously when you get excited about saving 31 cents on dry beans.)

Total: 48.17

Grocery > Other total: $15.76

September month-to-date: $157.09

Grocery > other month-to-date: $25.16

Now, on to the menu plan!

(There were breakfasts and lunches and snacks, but I don't feel like listing those. We buy enough food that you believe me when I say we eat like it's going out of style, right?)

Friday, September 14: Homemade macaroni and cheese. It occured to me that there should be a vegetable, but there was not. Bad Megan.

Saturday, September 15: Midwest chicken. Beans are a vegetable.

Sunday, September 16: Chili and cornbread. Again, beans are a vegetable. I meant to make this Monday night but then we had a pizza party with the schola on Monday night instead, so I planned ahead.

Wednesday, September 18: Chicken alfredo and steamed broccoli. I had to promise Scott that the broccoli would not go IN the alfredo sauce before he'd agree to this. I will report back on whether he actually eats the separated broccoli.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September grocery shopping part 1

These groceries were purchased on Saturday, September 1. I dragged Scott along with me, because I like the company/slave labor. (Really, don't you hate it when you have a cart full of food and realize you need crackers from way back on the other side of the store but you're alone so you can't send your companion to run and get it?)

About 12 pounds of chicken: $21.77 at Meijer

About 9 pounds pork: $16.76 at Meijer

I split all the meat into smaller packages and put it in the freezer. Then Scott sanitized the kitchen counter while I took pictures on the table.

2 gallons of milk: $3.38 at Aldi

4 dozen eggs: $3.96 at Walgreens

24 ounces cream cheese: $3.57 at Aldi

2 pounds butter: $3.98 at Kroger

Lunch meat: $3.39 at Aldi

Orange juice: $1.29 at Aldi

2 pounds of shredded cheese: $5.98 at Aldi

Sliced cheese: $1.99 at Aldi

Bacon: $2.99 at Aldi

Ice cream: $4.99 at Aldi (Scott was very anxious about the ice cream, so he put it away before I could take a picture of it.)

Apples: $2.99 at Aldi

Pickles: $1.19 at Aldi

5+ pounds fresh green beans: $5.11 at Meijer (I was SO EXCITED about these, you guys. And they are indeed delicious.)

Celery: 99 cents at Aldi

Bread: $1.29 at Aldi

Bananas: 73 cents at Aldi

Potatoes: $2.99 at Aldi

Tomato sauce: $1.45 at Aldi

Sugar: $2.28 at Aldi

Crackers: 89 cents at Aldi

2 containers of spices: $1.98 at Aldi

Olive oil: $2.99 at Aldi

Pseudo-Oreos: $1.79 at Aldi

Marshmallows: 89 cents at Aldi

Black pepper: $1.99 at Aldi

Chicken bouillion: $1.69 at Aldi

Rice: $1.75 at Meijer

Egg noodles: 99 cents at Aldi

Total: $108.92

Grocery other total: $9.40

I don't feel like reconstructing our whole menu, but I will note that we had cheesecake on Saturday, September 8. Hence the 3 packages of cream cheese and the pseudo-Oreos. (Fun fact: It only takes half a package of Oreos to make a cheesecake crust. Scott thought I should save the rest for another crust. Ha ha ha.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seven Quick Takes: Too tired to think of a title edition

--- 1 ---

Random pet peeve: If your child is 2 years old, he is NOT in his second year of life, any more than 1492 was in the 14th century.

This was actually inspired by one of my Facebook friends getting this concept right. Yes, I am so peevish that I can be annoyed by someone NOT setting off one of my pet peeves.

--- 2 ---
Some funny Amazon review reading for you:

1. Bic for Her Ballpoint Pen

2. Victorio Banana Slicer

I thought the pen reviews were funnier, but I figured I'd include the banana slicer just in case you're offended by the first one.

--- 3 ---

I actually won an argument on Facebook the other day. (By which I mean that the person with whom I was arguing ended up admitting that yes, that text-picture was kind of offensive when he thought about it.) I think I should write the Guinness Book of World Records or something.

--- 4 ---

Yesterday, I was getting some groceries at Kroger. As I walked to my car, I noticed a elderly lady in a van in the space next to my car just beginning to pull out. I made sure to go around the other side of the car so I didn't get in her way. Anyway, she stopped, rolled down her window, and said, "You look pretty in purple!" I said, "Thank you!" (score one for Megan for being able to come up with a suitable response on the spot) and she rolled up her window and drove away. It was bizarre and yet awesome.

A couple of hours later, I had finished all my many errands and was carrying 6 large bags of groceries from my car to my apartment. I had to set them all down to open the door of the apartment building, and one of my downstairs neighbors noticed me trying to gather them all up in order to haul them up the stairs and offered to help. I declined, but I still thought it was sweet. That's the second time that scenario has happened, with two different downstairs neighbors. (Both older and male, though.)

--- 5 ---

I decided the other day to start putting things in Google Calendar so it would be easier to keep track of appointments and such. (It occurs to me that I should put in when our cell phone minutes expire...they last for 90 days, which is just long enough for me to completely forget about their existence.)

Anyway, I was counting and realized that even if you only count immediate family (our parents and siblings) there are 8 birthdays between now and the end of the year. (One in September, two in October, two in November, and three in December. One of the November ones is mine.) Not to mention Halloween (How am I going to score free candy if I can't "help" a 5-year-old eat hers? I'm very concerned about this.), Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. (I'm not a big party person, but I like having some sparkling cider at least.)

After that, though, there is nothing I need to plan for until my niece's birthday at the end of March. Phew.
--- 6 ---

Yesterday it took about 40 minutes to get from "Waking up my computer from hibernation" to "Reading new emails in Gmail." Mostly because Firefox was S-L-O-W. So I bit the bullet and updated it, after ignoring the little popups for, oh, a few months now.

So now Firefox is all different. I don't like it at all.

(It is faster, though.)

--- 7 ---

Matthew would like you to know that he is very big now. But also not too sure about how to get down.

Teresa would like you to know that leopards are very fierce. Even pink, glittery ones.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

August grocery shopping Part 4

Finally getting around to posting about groceries again. (I'm sure you're all thrilled.) These groceries were purchased Thursday, August 23.

Eggs: 2 dozen for $2.30 at Aldi. (Walgreens was still out of eggs.)

Bread: $1.29 at Aldi.

Shredded mozzarella: $2.99 at Aldi.

Sliced cheese: $1.99 at Aldi.

Lunch meat: $3.29 at Aldi.

Sausage: 2 pounds for $4 at Meijer.

Pasta: 10 pounds for $4.90 at Kroger. (It was a buy 10 get $5 off sale.)

Cream of mushroom soup: 69 cents at Aldi.

Tomato paste: 3 cans for 1.17 at Aldi. (Tomato paste is cheaper than tomato sauce if you consider the fact that you're adding water to it to make more than 6 ounces. But I didn't like it; I went back to tomato sauce the next week.)

Here's a bonus shot of 7 boxes of pasta in my hall closet (the other 3 are in the "pantry"). I feel like I reached some kind of frugal milestone, storing food in non-kitchen areas.

Total: 22.62

Total for August: 198.58

Grocery > Other: 12.74

Total Grocery > Other for August: 46.35 (Hooray for me!)

Seven Quick Drama Takes

--- 1 ---

I could claim that real-life unbloggable things have been keeping me away from my computer and that's why I'm not blogging much lately. But in actual fact the reason I haven't been blogging much lately is because I've been working on my novel. And eating cake. Cake is very motivating when you're writing a novel.

Those of you who pine for my insightful and witty writing (ha) don't have much hope, since this novel needs at least one more full draft before people can read it without their brains exploding and dribbling out their ears from the sheer inanity of me discussing at length what my characters have for dinner. (My beta reader is always commenting on how often my characters eat. Food is important, okay? We can't all live off beef jerky and ramen like some people's characters.)

--- 2 ---

Speaking of food and cake: For his birthday, my parents got Scott a whole bunch of steak. It was the best birthday present ever. (I say that and it wasn't even my birthday. Maybe I'm just projecting.) We ate some for Scott's birthday celebration (which was two days after his actual birthday; you can't eat steak on a Friday), but the rest has been sitting in our freezer waiting for a "special occasion." Last week, while making the grocery list, I suggested that we have some for Labor Day since Scott had the day off and everything. That's a special occasion, right?

Well, Scott did not think Labor Day counted as a sufficiently special occasion, and it's his steak, so I kind of have to defer there. Don't worry, though! I thought it over for a minute and then suggested that the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (September 8) was a sufficiently important holiday and required steak. Scott agreed. Yay!

I decided that while we're having steak I might as well go all-out and make cheesecake. I've been wanting cheesecake ever since I was too disorganized to make my ex-roommate a cheesecake for her birthday last year. (Her birthday is May 13, which was the day before we graduated. By the time I finished finals everyone with cars had left campus.) Scott has said that if I want cheesecake I should just make it, but it seemed like the sort of thing that should be saved for a special occasion.

--- 3 ---

When you were children, dear readers, did you ever say to your parents something like: "When I grow up I am going to eat cake EVERY DAY"? And your parents always replied that when you are a grown-up you have to do boring things like go to work and pay the bills and it is nothing but unending drudgery?

Well, going to work and paying the bills is unending drudgery (says the happily unemployed woman, having sent her husband off to the salt mines), but it turns out that when you're an adult you CAN eat cake every day. You might get lectured about it by your physician, but if you're willing to accept the consequences...

Instead of belaboring this point, I will leave you with two XKCD comics.

Update: I can't get the embed option to work, so go here and then here.

--- 4 ---

Given events that transpired this past weekend (namely, me bursting into tears because THE STUFF NEVER ENDS for the first time in 3 or 4 months), Scott and I decided that the "Save everything for the weekend" method (mentioned here) is not sustainable long-term. See, if I save everything for the weekend, then Saturday night (or Monday night, in the case of Labor Day weekend) sends me into a panic spiral because anything that didn't get done has to be put off for another whole week and and and...You get the picture.

--- 5 ---

Sometimes Scott and I have these arguments where we talk past each other because he's using logic to approach the problem and I'm using emotions. I mention this only so I can brag because I actually notice when I'm doing this now and am usually able to tell Scott that I am not looking to have a logical discussion; I just need to have my emotions acknowledged and validated so I can move on to the logical part myself. (Okay, usually I phrase it as, "NO. THOSE ARE MY FEELINGS, YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT THEY ARE BECAUSE I'M THE ONE WHO FEELS THEM." I am very mature.) This is progress because I used to maintain that I am entirely logical all the time and I would fight to the death when I didn't have a leg to stand on because if I lose the logical argument it means my feelings don't count. Or something. I don't understand this all myself; my brain is weird.

Then again, I tend to fight to the death even when I am approaching a problem logically rather than emotionally. For some reason, my brain thinks that if I concede a point to someone, I am giving them total authority to dictate what I am allowed to think. And they can't do that because my thoughts are MINE, NOT YOURS, AND I CAN THINK WHATEVER I WANT.

I'm sure there's a reason Scott married me, but I'm not at all sure what it is.

--- 6 ---

Also in the file of "Why did you want to live with me again?": Some conversations from last night.

Scott: "Did the light just flicker?"

Me: "I DON'T KNOW. I can't pay attention every time something smells funny or there's a weird sound or the lights flicker because if I did I'd spend my life huddled in the corner because THE WORLD IS WEIRD....Don't laugh at me; I'm a delicate flower."

(Just so y'all know, "I'm a delicate flower" makes whoever is laughing at you laugh more.)


Shortly thereafter, I am moving some blankets from one box to another. Scott stops next to me and sniffs a couple of times.

Me, sternly: "The blankets are musty. Do not be alarmed."

Scott doubles over laughing.

Me: "Why are you laughing!? I can't win with you."

Scott finally managed to explain that A) He was just sniffing because his nose was stuffy. REALLY. and B) "Do not be alarmed" is just hilarious no matter what.

In my defense, he really does perpetually point out smells and sounds and such and ask if I notice them too. It's annoying.

(In his defense, there really is nothing to do but laugh at me when I'm having one of those days where the drama meter is set to eleven. Don't try that at home, though, kids; Scott is the only one who can get away with it.)

--- 7 ---

If you got all the way through that post, here are some cute pictures as a reward:

1. Teresa did her schoolwork on top of her swingset's tower earlier this week. Isn't she so pretty?

 2. Matthew loves meatballs. (He has FOUR teeth now.)

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