Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Friday!!

I hope that you all had a great week, getting ready for Christmas. I can't believe that it's in just a few days. No snow on the ground, no hats, scarves or gloves worn yet, and no mention of salt or snow shovel. It certainly doesn't feel like Christmas to me without all of those things.

But, maybe there is something in the lack of traditional Christmas affects around here thus far. I've been questioning the craziness, the stress and the anxiety people feel buying the perfect gift, decorating just-so, and making those oh-so-delicious & beautiful cookies. Why do I need snow, warm fuzzies, cookies and gifts to feel like it's Christmas?

Christmas is about Jesus's birth. We should be celebrating His birthday and counting ourselves blessed because of the gift He's given us. I'm working so hard to fill it with glitz and glam, taking Him completely out of the equation, and missing the true reason we celebrate this time of year.

It's time to slow down, be thankful for what I have, and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas everyone!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goal #2

Another goal I have for 2012 is to learn how to cook…  Honestly, God love Matthew because I am no Betty Crocker. I may be able to clean the whole house top to bottom, without breaking a sweat, still looking stellar (that’s my June Clever coming out), but my cooking skills are that of an infant. I believe that my 7 year old nephews would be able to cook up a better tasting meal.

Let me give you an example of just how shotty my skills are. This summer, I made a FABULOUS pork tenderloin courtesy of Bon Appetit. It was so darn good that Matt raved about it to others and I shared it with the foodie I work with. I was on cloud nine! Then, just a few weeks ago I attempted the chicken roll-ups I found on Jenna’s blog. Big mistake, HUGE! They were awful. Honestly, the dog wouldn’t even eat the bit we gave him. Matt got up from the table and ‘needed a minute’ before he commented on them. Seriously, YUCK!

Truth be told, I loathe cooking. I’m perfectly content cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom and enjoy the smell of bleach much more than a well cooked meal. As I’ve said before, Matt is the cook. His palette is second to none that I’ve met thus far. His taste buds are so in tune with every stinkin’ piece of meat, spice, side dish, wine pairing, etc. that it makes me totally gag. His brother has this gift too, yet I’m partial to Matt’s geniousness; they should really quite their day jobs and open a restaurant. I digress.

So why, you ask, is my goal for me to learn how to cook?  Me, the girl who would be perfectly happy with the Yuengling and 5 oreo truffles I had for “dinner” a few nights ago while Matt worked uber late. Shouldn’t he be our cook if he’s so darn swell at it? I’d love to say yes, you’re right! But, the truth is when “the cook” doesn’t get home from work until 7:30 or 8:00 there is little time before stomachs start growling and the FEED ME NOW look comes out.

Since I don’t want to have another YUCK episode, I need to connect with skills that are buried somewhere deep inside of me and become a The Cook of our household. They must exist if I can rival a BA recipe, but where they heck did they go the night of the chicken roll-ups?!?!

I’ve been doing well this week, so far. I didn’t plan ahead one bit (hence the Krogering last night) but both meals went well. Only minor adjustments were made to each recipe, (may in fact be my downfall) but we enjoyed both meals.

Tuesday I made Individual meat loves, mac & cheese and veggies. Last night I made baked ziti. Matt went back for seconds so I consider them both a success. Hopefully, this winning streak won’t end tonight. Not sure what’s on the menu yet, but I’m keeping it simple for now. NO MORE disasters please!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spend Wisely

My dad and I have a lot in common. We are both quite tall and awkward at times. We love every type of sport and enjoy watching or participating in them. We’re competitive and loyal, considerate and giving. We think the same. We act the same. We even get sick, mostly with sinus infections, the same time (and we live 3 hours away). We are also both in charge of our family’s finances. That last similarity is uber S-C-A-R-Y to me. I, the girl who screwed up so much in college you’d swear the character Becky Bloomwood was based on me, am now in charge of money for my family. Goodness Gracious Lord Almighty!?!?

It hasn’t been an easy road: I’ve made budgets then tossed them out the window as I’m driving to the mall.  I’ve built up our savings just to deplete it twice as fast. I’ve stumbled. I’ve crashed and oh, how I’ve burned.

A few weeks ago, as I was starting the “savings build up” again anticipating the depletion, something sort of clicked. I felt a “one day at a time” attitude, cheering me on, giving me hope. I’ve always had the best of intentions, but let’s face it. That’s about as far as I’ve ever gotten.

So, in an act of sheer obedience (trust me when I say I did not want to do it), I asked one of my girlfriends to pray for our finances. Nothing outlandish like having X amount by such and such a date, but just plain and simple prayer for our household finances. Let me be honest about the obedience thing, I do not want to admit to others that I am the spender in my family, regardless of how "funny" it is. And I would never tell how much I have not saved up. However, the past few weeks (okay, months) I've felt a nudge to ask my friends for prayer. Finally, I swallowed my pride and did it.

I'd love to say "and they lived happily ever after" but that's a make believe ending. This is just the beginning.

Monday, our small group leaders asked us to write out 4 goals for 2012 and "control of finances / spending / writing out and STICKING to a budget" is one of mine. I've read other bloggers challenge themselves to "spending fasts" and think it is a great idea. We hardly eat out during the week so I should be curbing the extra grocery shopping, sticking to the meal plan, and stop grabbing that cup o’joe because I need to get out of the office. My Financial goal for 2012 is to have $5,000 in the savings by years end and stick to a bi-weekly budget.

Today, I bought the last two Christmas gifts on my list and stopped at Kroger for ingredients to make baked ziti. Please note that bought rigatoni noodles instead; I need to SLOW DOWN! In all, just under $100 (those gifts were expensive!). Hopefully tomorrow will be a big goose egg!