K.I.S.S. : Lowering food costs

If you can’t tell by now I’m a no holds barred, grab life by the seat of my pants, lets “get ‘er done” type of gal.

I don’t like slothfulness.  I have the patience of an Indy Car racer revving the starting line.

And if I can’t go all out, I tend to have withdrawals.

But I’m trying something new.  I’m ridding my life of any “extras.”  Extra clothes that aren’t being worn, extra household items that aren’t being used, extra interactions that aren’t productive, and I’ve got to say, so far so good.

The area where I’m having the biggest time letting go is my food selection.  I tend to buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Along with that, I tend to buy tons of bread and milk.  But theres a definite trend I’ve been noticing these past few months…no one is consuming my large quantities but Tiny & I.  In turn, that leaves us with plenty of uneaten leftovers, and lots of formerly fresh turned spoiled and forgotten perishables.

What is a mother to do?!

For the past two weeks I’ve been folding my newfound K.I.S.S. program into my grocery shopping, and unfortunately the jury is still out.

While we haven’t wasted nearly as much food, I found myself adding about $35 additional dollars to my overall bill.

*insert confused emoji here*

But I’m not giving up all hope.  I kept last week’s grocery receipt so I can use it as a means of compare.

In the meantime, I’m looking for ways to lower the overall cost.

If you have any suggestions, I’d sure like to hear them.

The day Shorty disappeared

It’s the day every parent dreads… the day your little ones aren’t so little, and don’t need you quite as much.

For me, that “day” has been slowly building for months now, but the chickens came home to roost last week, and I was NOT prepared!

She’s only 8, with a birthday just around the bend!  Is it really time for the ‘parental disconnect?’

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Here’s how it went down:

It began as any other day. I grabbed Shorty from school and made the bee line to the library.

(Side note: we typically kill time before soccer practice by going to the library after school on, Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays.)

Back to the story—Shorty, in her ever-growing independence asks if she can walk to our homework spot alone.  The walk involves a trip up two flights of steps.  I cringed when the question was popped, but I thought it over and gave in.  I mean, we were only going to the third floor right?  What’s the worst that can happen?

So, I put on my big girl pants, watched her walk to the stairwell, pushed the elevator button to the third floor and rode to the top.  When the elevator door opened, I hopped off,  copped a table, and sat in front of the stairwell door.  I waited, and waited, aaaannnnddd waited for what was likely a minute, but felt like an eternity,  then it happened….I heard tears coming from the stairwell. Familiar tears. My baby’s tears!!! That’s when I panicked!

I ran over to the stair well and began frantically looking for my child, “Shorty?!” “SHOOOOORRRRRTTTTYYYY!!!” No answer and more importantly, no sign of shorty!

Now I’m in total come apart mode… Where did she go?  Did someone snatch her? Is she hurt?  Think, think, think!!!  What if she stopped by the second floor to say hi to her little classmate?!  Yeah, that must be it!  So, off I ran to the second floor to find said classmate! When I found her, I asked her if she’d seen her?

Pregnant pause…. “No ma’am”

*worlds colliding, volcano erupting, mom convulsing*

This is not good!

*Cue the scared mama tears!*

I rush over to the second floor librarian’s desk to see if they’ve seen her: Nada.

Now I’m running toward the stairwell!  Next stop, first floor!

In what seemed like an eternity I make it to the bottom, and I head straight toward the information desk,  my heart drops. No Shorty!

That is until I turn to my left to see her standing, visibly shaken, near a well dressed man. My spider senses are going crazy at this point guys.  Who is this dude?! Why is she crying?! How quickly can I take this guy down?!

While I’m checking off my mom-Kung fu checklist, she waddles over to me with arms outstretched and tears in her eyes and gives me the biggest hug I’ve received in months.

Through tear-stained eyes she tells me returned to the first floor after she was unable to open the door to third floor stairwell.

She returned to the first floor only after remembering what I’d told her as a small child: return to the front, find an adult, and wait.

At this point I’m relieved but horrified at the same time. I’m happy she remembered what I told her but I’m upset at my parenting fail. How soon is too soon to downsize helicopter parenting?  How old is old enough to walk alone?
I dunno folks. I need help here. I’ve been kicking myself for days about this situation, so please, feel free to weigh in while I commit myself to the corner to calm my nerves.

It’s official: CG is now a Soccer mom

Shorty has been playing soccer for about a year.  This year, however, the organization she plays for is trying something new…they’re trying to train up a competitive team for the following year.  So for the next year, several  of the players (who sign up of course) will undergo labor intensive skills/drills training to become the best players they can be.

Sounds great!  I think…

But I had to warn her: to whom much is given, much is required.  Practice days will increase from two to three.  There will be more physical exertion required than on her current rec league. Out the gate, the players will have to run a 5K their first week of practice, and their first game will be played an hour away from home.

So where does that leave me?  In “soccer mom/tiger mom” land?

Who’s bright idea was that?  Oh yeah, I forgot…it was mine.
So now the rat race begins…

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I fully expect this year to be full of long nights of completing homework and extended road trips.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to lie down…even the thought of the upcoming year is making me tired.

#timetorun
#letuspray

 

Unconsciously conscious: Day 2

You ever have one of those days where you have this nagging feeling that you’re missing something?

You know the feeling I’m talking about.  It haunts you until you harass yourselves and those around you incessantly for the answer. 

That’s how I felt about today.  I just knew there was something I had forgotten to do.  It was something important, something necessary for me to function. 

Believe it or not, it took me all day to realize what it was.  Now that I know what it was, I feel annoyed, and somewhat perturbed…I needed to take care of me.

Every morning, I awaken to the footsteps of tiny feet, and a soft whisper asking “what’s for breakfast?”  This is typically followed by some request for liquid refreshment and a book.  The day typically continues in a cycle of food requests, activity requests, and cuddle demands.  Add that to the increasing demands of entrepreneurship, and you have one taxed mommy.

So weeks ago I set outo make a point of making time for me.  If only for 30 minutes a day. In that time I do absolutely nothing for anyone. I sit. I relax. Sometimes I daydream. If I’m really lucky, I take time to read.  

Today was a day I forgot to take that time. Up until now, I hadn’t realized how crucial it is for me to function during my day to day activities. 

Tomorrow I vow to take the time, dare I say, make the time to take care of my mental and physical well being. 

And if you don’t take the time, I ask you to join me…trust me, you’re with it.

Burritos: Vegan Style!

As a mom I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, doing mom things like: helping with homework, cleaning the never ending pile of dishes, and of course, cooking the family dinner.

By choosing to go #vegan, my dinner options have become a little, ahem, mundane.

Most things I prepare for the personally, are often rinsed, chopped and consumed…which is both good, and bad.  Namely because I find myself eating much of the same thing over and over again…despite the growing database of vegan entrees and websites popping up all across the interwebz.

I’ve perused a few of those sites, but honestly I find many of the dishes overwhelming and often require a plethora of ingredients, some of which I do not have on hand.

While I can admit there have been several strikes, there’s at least one dish in rotation right now that I’d like to give a worth an honorable mention: a burrito created by yours truly.

The base of the burrito, is of course the tortilla.

Followed by quinoa (rinsed and cooked in cilantro seasoning).

Add a few black olives, an avocado, top it with some  cilantro sprinkled with a little bit of cumin, and voila…dinner is served!

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I’ve scarfed this down for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  And unlike some of the other things I’ve tried these past few weeks, this burrito  has staying power.

So, let’s hear it…three cheers for CG’s Vegan Burrito!

Hip, hip, horray!!!

Back in the game!

Life at Casa de CG has gotten back to normal; for now.

There are daily conversations about “what’s for dinner” and what’s on the Disney channel.  There are sporadic moments of raucous laughter that are often preceded by pillow fights and tickle-fests.  When I’m not looking, there are even spats between siblings that are blown way out of proportion just because.

What I haven’t seen these past few days is the return of the infamous”Tween Drama Queen.”  You know the one I’m talking about.  The one who’s annoyed with the world, closed off, and unruly for what seems to be no reason at all.  Turns out, her Royal Moodiness needed a break. (thank goodness)

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Credit: Gray Manor Photography

Since our last chat, I’ve taken some time to sit down with Shorty in hopes of hammering out the rationale behind some of her attempts at mutiny. (I’m sure you know how those talks panned out: full of silence)

So I went back to the drawing board.  This time I came up with a method that turned out to be a major home run!

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Credit: Gray Manor Photography

You see, Shorty has recently begun keeping diaries.  The fascination first began when my sister bought her one of those electronic diaries; you know the ones with the password and invisible ink pen.  Then we hit second grade, where some classmates reading the “Dork Diaries” book series, and later ran across the kid movie, Dear Dumb Diary on Netflix.  Are you noticing a theme here?  I sure did.

So, I decided to create us a joint journal.  In it, she can express herself however she wants.  She can ask questions, write poetry, and more importantly, she can communicate with me the things she’s unwilling to say.  We’ve had the journal for about two weeks, and so far so good.  The first few entries were pretty generic on her behalf, but now it seems we’re getting to the good stuff: worries about getting older, being a great big sister, and moving on to the third grade.

So, please tell me I’m not the only one looking for new solutions to an old problem.  What are some unconventional ways you adopted to help you get through to your kids.  If you don’t have your own, but you know, or take care of kids, I’m eager to hear your response as well.

 

A Gastronomical Problem

Holy smokes Batman…We have a MAJOR problem, and it’s gastronomical!

Why did I not realize changing my eating habits would result in some unfortunate abdominal issues?

I thought, sure, I’d likely start craving a good ol’ grilled cheese first chance I got.  I was certain I’d be hoping to hawk down a bacon cheeseburger every night, but alas, that didn’t happen.

Unfortunately, what DID happen was very much unexpected.

For the past few days I’ve been feeling fairly empty after eating, like I simply did not eat enough.  I’ve been trying to stick to veggies, like spinach and zucchini, as well as tubers like sweet potatoes.  I even added in brown rice: BROWN RICE!!!  The most difficult grain to slave over the stove for, (in my humble opinion, of course).

Even my coffee has been fairly unsatisfactory.  So much in fact, I decided to toss some heavy whipping cream in, just for old times sake, and man oh man, I thought I was going to die!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve long suspected I have certain issues with dairy, but I never would’ve expected my stomach to react like that.  I mean, let’s be honest, I can down a bowl of Blue Bell like it’s going out of style!

So now, I’m supposed to believe after one week of not eating dairy, my body is rejecting it?

I need answers, quickly, so off to the library I go.

~and miles to go before I sleep~

 

A major leap of faith

Ok guys,

 There comes a time in everyone’s when you have to put the pedal to the metal, and move.

For months, I’ve been dragging my feet about something I must do.  Now, that the day has finally come, I’m sitting here processing my next step.

As you all know, I’m in the midst of a personal journey: professionally as well as personally.

Professionally, I’m at peace.  I’ve made some moves that are pretty final, and am in the midst of learning new skills to start a new journey.

BUT personally, I’m at a standstill.  For quite some time I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the most out of my journey to improve my health.  I’ve boosted my workouts to 5X a week, up from *cough* none.  I’ve started back making smoothies, and trying to eliminate sugar. Unfortunately,  some of the things I continue to eat, like dairy and certain wheat products continue to upset my GI system.

That brings me to the dreaded process of elimination: the elimination of food I find not only tasty, but comforting as well. (cue the world’s smallest violin)

  • A life without dairy?  Por qua?
  • Red Meat?  This is getting ridiculous!
  • Dare I say, bread?! *faints*

 So what will the changes mean?  How long will the elimination process last?  Can I keep it up?  Does this sound pretty vegan to you?!

*cue the dramatic music*

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So it’s time to do some research… in the meantime, get ready world.  CG is going meat, bread, and dairy free, in 3, 2, 1

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days where everything you needed to get done got done? With no delay.  No fuss, no muss.

It’s almost as if nothing could stop you.

Today was my golden day.

I went to the gym and totally brought it.

Had an impromptu afternoon date with Captain followed by some much needed time with my mom and the kids.

And I topped it all off with a macha latte. (sips tea) Life.Is.Good
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New year, new me

It’s a phrase I’ve coined every year since 2012. A new CG is coming at you for 2012, 2013, 2014…and every year life happens.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s take a brief trip down memory lane.

In 2012 Captain and I found ourselves in a 2 bedroom apartment, awaiting promotions, and newly pregnant.  We spent the next year searching for a home for our growing brood.

We accomplished that goal by the summer of 2013. Unfortunately, by the years end we had a new roommate: my mother whose health had been declining for years found herself unable to care for herself and wound up moving in with #teamCG.

2014, was a blur: complete with doctor’s appointments, physical therapy sessions, and new health diagnosis. My entire immediate family suffered.

Spring of 2015 mom moves out.  I spend the next few months coming to terms with the damage/neglect my immediate family suffered as a result of my decision to devote all my time, effort and energy to mom.  I spent the next few months on damage control, in hopes of improving those relationships at all costs.

So now here we are, four years after initially setting out to improve CG: three years after putting my life on hold to become a caregiver to the woman who gave me life: two years after I found myself at a professional crossroads where teetering between freelance and wanting to leave: one year  ago I realized I must first mend my immediate relationships before embarking on my journey.

Now, I sit, on my back deck watching my kids play in the yard and for once I’m at peace with the direction my life is heading.

Day 1

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