Get To Know Me

Lately in the land of the facebook, people are sharing random facts about themselves. The shtick is, someone gives you a random number and then you share that many facts about yourselves. At first, I thought it was dumb, but then I found myself enjoying learning new little tidbits about my friends. So I jumped on the bandwagon earlier this week. I thought it would be fun to post my list here, and add to it some things that I though of later. I was given the number 8.

And actually, it was kinda hard to come up with 8 things I wanted to share with all the people on my friends list. You'd think from reading my blog that I'm an open book, but most people don't actually know that much about me. For instance, the majority of my real life people don't even know I have a blog. I don't want most of them reading it because I don't want to hear their negative comments. Plus, its easier writing to an audience I don't know for the most part.

So, here's a few random facts about me!
- I hate whistling. And other noises you make with your mouth, like smacking gum or food. And loud swallowing. I don't even like to hear people kiss.

- My favorite type of music is rock - everything from classic rock to heavy metal. My favorite is 90s "grunge," though. I'm a major country gal, so people are usually surprised to hear I don't really like country music and like rock instead.
- I'm not a hard core rock fan. Meaning, I don't know the names of people in bands that I like. I can't even tell you which band sings most songs I like. I just don't care. The music is enough for me.
- I think modern "country" music doesn't deserve to have that title. They need to come up with a new name, cause this mess is not country! I like older country stuff, especially 90s country. And then I like the really old stuff like Waylon, Willie, Haggard, and Hank.
- I am a die-hard Michael Jackson fan. And I'm not ashamed of it. I'm still sad that I never got to see him in concert. But I did go see his movie "This Is It" in the theatre!
- Keeping with the music theme, I despise rap. Except some of Eminem's stuff. I really dig him, for some reason. But only on the radio. I don't like to watch him. I also like to listen to some "pop." Not a lot of it, though. Adam Levine's singing voice makes me want to smack him in the head, for instance. Can you tell I'm pretty passionate about my musical preferences? ( :
- I'm left-handed. I can't even feed myself with my right hand, but I put on my makeup with my right hand. And I can't use left-handed scissors. People who know me try not to sit on my left side in restaurants.
- I hate reality TV, but I love watching pageants and awards shows. If there's one of those one, you can bet I'll be tuning in. Even the Tony awards. I never see Broadway shows, and I never even know any of the actors who get awarded, but I just love an awards show.
- Speaking of pageants, I was once a Fire Princess and competed in a pageant. I didn't place, but the pageant was fun. And being the Fire Princess, I got to ride on top of a fire truck in a few parades.

Duh, I can't have a pic of somethin I'm terrified of on my blog!
- I am absolutely terrified of clowns. And ventriloquist dolls. As I type this I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure none have mysteriously popped up behind me. Irrational fear. I blame Stephen King's "It."
- I dyed my hair once in high school and vowed never to do it again. It turned out metallic purple. No lie. After that, I decided I was just fine with the color God gave me, thank you very much!
- I hate the feel of painted fingernails. Knowing that, once a year or so I paint them, just to see if that's changed for me. It never has. Right now, my nails are painted and I can't stand it. My toenails have to be painted, though.
Just looking at this makes me hyperventilate. No, thanks.
- I've never been in a tanning bed. And don't ever plan to do so. I'm happy being pale.
- I'm an avid reader. I go through at least a book a week, sometimes more. My guilty pleasure is YA paranormal romance.
- I've read the Twilight series more times than I should probably admit. That being said, I love parodies of the series. I'll be the first to crack a Twilight joke if I hear a good one.
- I'm hopelessly addicted to Chapstick. Its been this way for as long as I can remember. If I can't find my tube, I have an honest-to-goodness panic attack. When I was younger and I'd spend the night with friends, I'd keep my chapstick inside my dog that I slept with (he was a puppet).
And when I did a Google search for "1980s dog puppet, let's just say I shuddered.
- Speaking of that dog (Brandon), I still sleep with him every night. My husband doesn't seem to care, though occasionally he'll tease me about it.
- I say the word "crooked" weird, I'm told. It sounds totally fine to me. I say it "crook-erd."

( :

Budgeting: Step 2

Back in February, I wrote a post about how I was starting to budget my money. And okay, so it didn't actually happen, I'm sad to admit. I sat down, wrote down my monthly take-home pay and all my expected monthly expenses, and realized I had more money than I expected that was unaccounted for. Money that was being spent, I just didn't realize where. I vowed to figure it out and make a budget for myself. You know, tell my money where to go. And I was serious.

And then I guess I realized that creating a budget and sticking with it is hard. And it takes discipline.


So for a while, I basically abandoned the idea of budgeting. Its much easier to live in denial, pretend a problem doesn't exist. You know what I'm talking about. But lately, God's put it on my heart again to be better with my money. It probably happened the Sunday I realized I didn't have enough money in my checking account to tithe at church that day. Ridiculous!

Being the stubborn sinner I am, though, I still pretty much ignored the problem for a little bit longer. But I just can't ignore it any longer. I have a money problem. There, I said it.

And still, I can't figure out where all that extra cash goes. Like I've said before, I don't get my hair dyed (or even cut regularly). I don't wear the latest designer fashions. I don't get my nails done. My vehicle is paid for. Where am I spending my money?!

I will now be taking a hard look at all my "expenses." I actually think my main problem is buying stuff for C. I'm much better about it than I used to be, but I still have a really hard time passing up cute stuff that she doesn't really need. In my mind the expense is justified since it wasn't money spent on me. (Mommy guilt, anyone?)

I've already decided I won't be depriving myself of things I really enjoy. Like my Kindle books. I read probably a book a week, sometimes more. I won't buy a book for more than $6.99, and most of the ones I purchase are $3.99-4.99. But that still adds up when you consider how much I read. (I've tried borrowing them from the library, but my Kindle doesn't support Wifi or somethin dumb like that. I have a really old one!) I could just say I won't buy any more books, but who wants to live like that? Books are vital to me. And yes, I could go to the library and borrow physical books, but I absolutely love reading on the Kindle - its so much easier. Plus, who has time to go to the library?

Besides, I know that if I "deprive" myself of something like that, eventually I'll go nuts and totally overspend. Or just become really bitter and stressed about it. And you know if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

So, I'll be budgeting for books. And Netflix. My little family has come to love Netflix! Its a new subscription for us, but we watch it all the time. Well, on weekends. Our new "thing" is to eat an early supper on Sunday nights and watch a family movie on Netflix. I love it!

My husband pays all the bills in our house. I mean, we both pay for everything, but he's the one that physically writes out the checks. So I'm sure there are some expenses I don't even realize we have. Which is why he's gonna have to help me with this budget. Right now, we have separate checking accounts, but I hope to eventually merge them into one. I think it will make budgeting a lot easier for us. We'll see what happens there.

I've been reading a lot on Dave Ramsey's site this week. I'm toying with the idea of the cash envelope system. Obviously, it won't work for every purchase I make. But I do like the idea of it, especially for stuff like groceries and clothes. I hate carrying cash around, though, so I'll probably do a modified version of the cash envelope system. I read somewhere recently where you can make the envelopes for cash, but just place a piece of paper in there and keep a running tally. Then you can use your debit card as normal. That method sounds much more doable to me. And its probably exactly what I'll do, once I get this thing figured out.

For now, I have printed out a monthly cash flow plan worksheet from Dave Ramsey. I filled it out as best I could (I need my husband's input for the rest). Its already starting to come together in my mind how I need to make up different categories for my money.

Wish me luck on this latest venture of mine! I feel like I'm all over the place lately. Well, always, haha. But I guess all my recent interests kind of meld together for the same goal. ( :


Practicing A New Technique

On the camera, that is. I've really been delving into my photography lately. I love it! Last month, I shot a maternity session for my niece and her boyfriend and I was really pleased with the results of that. Well, she had her baby Friday night (I'm a great aunt!!), and sometime soon I'll be doing my great nephew's newborn session. I'm excited about that one, since I've never done a newborn session before. Actually, all of these sessions I've been doing lately have been new for me!
When C was born, I didn't have my fancy Nikon camera. I had a point-and-shoot that looked like a fancy camera, and it took great pictures, but it was pretty old and just not the best quality. But I loved taking pictures, so I was constantly doing just that. We brought C home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, and the day after Christmas we had a blizzard (which is pretty rare for eastern NC). She was almost a week old by that point (she had to stay in the hospital an extra couple of days due to jaundice), and I felt like her newborn period was slipping by. With all the snow outside, I was worried that we wouldn't ever make it to a photographer before she started changing too much. So, I decided to have a little photo shoot with her at home. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had studied tons of newborn pictures that I loved, and tried my best to recreate those images.
I set our Boppy up by the Christmas tree and draped a silky white blanket over it. Thankfully, C slept the whole time, and I was able to move her around and "pose" her with no trouble. I think I did pretty well, and I know if I had had my Nikon back then, I would have gotten some awesome shots.

But that's the extent of my newborn photography experience. I mean, I took photos of C basically every day for months and months, but most of those were quick snapshots using Auto. After I got my Nikon, every once in a while I'd do a "shoot" and actually try to get good quality pictures of her. But most of the time she's not cooperative, and I am always alone trying to do this, so I don't get many good shots. Which is why I still take her to a professional photographer at least once a year!

Anyway, since I've had quite a few people asking for sessions with me lately, I've been really getting into it. I only shoot in manual mode (unless I'm just snapping a quick shot of C or something), and I've really been trying to get out of my comfort zone and get some artistic shots. I can tell I'm getting better, though I definitely wouldn't call myself a pro! I really love taking pictures, though. And for the first time in my life, I'm starting to think maybe this hobby could turn into a source of income for me. In time. I would love that!

But back to the point of this post. I've been studying professional newborn photos and getting ideas for my great nephew's session. Last week, I came across a technique that I thought was awesome - bokeh. Now, bokeh basically just means that something is out of focus, so that it creates a pleasing blurry effect in the picture. Normally, the background is bokeh, but I've seen shots where some of the foreground is blurred. I achieve this effect all the time in my shots. I love for the subject to be crisp and completely in focus, but the background to be nice and blurred. I had no idea the term was "bokeh," though.

I kept seeing bokeh shots with pretty Christmas lights in the background, blurred. Well, its actually pretty simple to achieve that effect, but it does take some practice. I studied up on it last week and then went to the dollar store to get my supplies - Christmas lights (with white strands) and a white sheet for a backdrop. Saturday morning, I set up my "studio" spot and got to work. After a few tries, I got it!
Can you tell that's actually a white shower curtain? The store I went to had plenty of sheets, but none plain white like I wanted. I was about to give up and head to WalMart when I noticed the shower curtains. For the baby's session, obviously we'll have a basket or something with soft blankets to lay him on, but the shower curtain will give a nice white background. I actually bought two, so I can use one on the floor if needed. Plus, it helps bounce light back onto my subject.

I tried to get C to sit still for a few test shots, but that was easier said than done! She was snackin on Cheetos and just wouldn't be still, haha.
I wouldn't say I've "mastered" this technique just yet, but I feel confident that I can get some good shots with this backdrop. My niece loves the idea, so she'll be game to try it, at least. Of course, we'll do some "normal" backgrounds, too.
Nemo had to get in on the bokeh action, too! His shots didn't turn out quite like I wanted, but by that point C was getting antsy with me ignoring her. ( ;

So here's a wide shot of my setup. I took this to help myself remember what I did.
Nice, huh? Haha. Clearly, I need to get more lights. That's on my agenda for today. I want to have a wider area with lights. When I bought these, I had no idea how this would all work, so I wasn't sure how many to buy. And I bought mini strands. I think I'll try to find regular length strands today. DH even suggested icicle lights. We actually have a bunch of those, but I'm hoping he'll put those on the house in the next few weeks, so I want to have a special set just for this purpose.

I've been brainstorming ideas of how to hang the backdrop for indoor sessions like this. Here, I just draped the shower curtain over our china hutch, and then taped the light strands to it. But at other people's houses, I might not have that option. Plus, I need a way to drape the lights so that they are higher. And maybe put a table in front so the subject is elevated...hmmm, now there's an idea! (I had the tractor and Nemo on a stool, and C was in a chair, but obviously I can't do either with a newborn.) Either way, I definitely need more lights to make it wider.

I'm really having fun learning more about photography. I thought it might be hard to admit that I'm not as good as I think I am, and that I have more to learn, but honestly, its not been hard at all, and I've been enjoying the process. I like seeing my photos improve over time. Photography has been something that's interested me for a long time, and for as long as I can remember I've wanted to take a class. So in a way, I'm kinda living my dream by pursuing this. I hope to take a real class next year. And get more equipment (like an external flash!). And gain some actual paying clients. I did have someone contact me last week about doing a (paid!) session, so hopefully that will happen soon.

I'm in the process of creating a facebook page for my photography "business," and seeing where it takes me. Eventually, if things go well, I'll do a separate blog and website, too. Who knows? Maybe this will make me some money one day. Wouldn't that be nice? My sister is always telling me about a woman she knows who started out just like me and learned as she went. Now she has a successful photography business and that's her full-time job. That would be awesome, cause then I could be with my child more. I tend to get really caught up in my dreams, so I'm trying really hard not to let myself get my hopes too high with this one!

Last weekend, I shot a session for my friend's 2 year old son. I was happy with that session, too.
This was in the field behind my house. I was pretty nervous about this session, since I know from experience how 2 year olds can be! But he did really well and let me get some super cute shots of his adorable smile.

My aunt is getting married in January, and she's asked me to be the official photographer. That makes me nervous, even though I've done two weddings before (two of my cousins couldn't afford a photographer, so I shot their weddings, and was actually pretty proud of my work, even though that was pre-Nikon for me). It makes me nervous because this time I'll expect much more of myself, since I have a fancier camera and I know more now than I did. Plus, it'll be indoor, and indoor shots always make me nervous. I'll be studying up a lot between now and then!

After my niece had the baby on Friday, my sister told me that I better be preparing myself to be the photographer at her wedding, as well. So I guess that's two weddings I'll shoot next year. Yikes. Unfortunately, I won't make money at either of those events, but hopefully they'll help me build my portfolio and get some paying clients one day.

Next up, I gotta figure out how to put a "watermark" with my logo on my photos! I did it once, but it took forever. There's gotta be a simple way to add a watermark to multiple photos, right? I mean, if I'm gonna start advertising on facebook, I need my name on my shots so people will know its my work! Whether this venture actually works out or not remains to be seen, but even if it doesn't I'm gonna have fun learning, and if nothing else, I'll get some cool shots of my family along the way! ( :



Last week, I talked about some changes I wanted to make in my home life. Well, its been a week since I wrote that, and I can happily say I am well on my way to making those changes! Not all of them, mind you. But hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

Every morning now, while I'm eating my peanut butter toast, I've been doing a Bible study instead of scrolling through facebook. (Well, technically, I do both. My Bible study only takes a few minutes. I don't rush it, but when I'm done, then I allow myself to check facebook/instagram.) I'm reading through a study called "The Excellent Wife Day By Day." I think that's the title. I've blogged about it before. I really like it. I actually started it earlier this year, but forgot about it, so I just picked up where I left off a few months ago.

I've been a LOT better about not using my "technology" once I'm home with C. "Technology" meaning the iPad (unless I need to look up a recipe). Once I consciously decided to stop looking at it so much, it wasn't too hard to enforce the new rule. When I get home, I turn the iPad to silent, so I don't hear when I get new e-mails or facebook messages. It goes on the shelf next to my rocking chair, and I don't touch it until I sit down to rock C. During the week, this rule hasn't proven to be very hard for me to follow, but it was tougher on the weekend, for some reason. I found myself picking up the iPad several times over the weekend when I could have been doing something more productive. But, I was better than I normally am, so that's something!

So far, I haven't been able to get back into meal planning yet. DH knows I want to do it, and I say every day that I'm gonna start. I haven't quite found the time to start yet, though. Hopefully tonight. Actually, I fully intended to make a meal plan on Sunday night. I went to the grocery store and got a bunch of good staples like chicken. But C has been pretty sick - more on that in a minute - so that's been preventing me from doing anything "extra" these past few days. Hopefully tonight I can complete at least Phase 1 of meal planning - making a list of everything that's in the freezer, fridge, and pantry so I can begin to formulate meals based on what we have. That's how I started last time, and it really worked. Then, once I use up what we already have, I can make plans and shop based on that.

Budgeting hasn't happened yet, either, for the same reasons listed above. I'm not stressing about it, though. I'll get to it eventually.

So here's the real purpose of this post. I said that C has been pretty sick. Well, she actually has pneumonia. Thankfully, we caught it before it became too serious. Her and I have both been sick with sinus infections for several weeks now.  Both of us were on antibiotics. The drugs didn't help me much, and 4 weeks later I am still congested. C got better, but then last week started to get worse again. I just assumed her sinus infection hadn't been cleared up, and maybe she needed another antibiotic. She was acting just fine, so I decided to wait a few more days and see if she got over it on her own.

Saturday, she seemed pretty tired and cranky off and on, but that's not too unusual for her on the weekends, so I didn't think much of it. Sunday morning, she was acting like herself, and she had a good time in her Sunday School class. During church, she started feeling bad, and wanted me to hold her, which is highly unusual for my child. After her nap, she seemed much better, so we played outside for a few hours. But that afternoon, she started coughing more and more, and by that night she was coughing almost nonstop. I still figured it was just allergies/sinus infection. As the night wore on, she felt worse and worse. We did everything we could to stop her coughing and make her feel better, but nothing helped. Finally, she fell asleep while I was rocking her. I noticed she was breathing very rapidly, but I didn't know what to think about it..

Yesterday morning, I took C to the walk in clinic at her pediatrician. She got a breathing treatment because her lungs sounded "junky." After that, the doctor made the diagnosis - pneumonia! She said it was because her sinus infection didn't clear up. So I was partly right. We left with a prescription for another antibiotic and an inhaler. She's already doing much better than she was, though my mother-in-law says she's not eating today and is laying around more than usual. Hopefully it won't take her long to get back to normal.

But during this time of her being so sick and not wanting to eat much, I am so thankful that she is still breastfeeding. Yes, she will be 3 years old next month (woah!) and she still breastfeeds. And I'm not ashamed of it. I don't flaunt it. I don't make a point to tell everyone I know. Mainly because most people just don't get it and think its gross. Its not gross to me. Its just natural. C hasn't shown any signs of being ready to wean, and I haven't felt the need to make her. If it ain't broke, why fix it, right? I plan to post more about breastfeeding soon, but for now I'm just thankful for it. Because even when she's not eating, I can still know that at least she's getting nutrients from my breast milk, and she's getting awesome immune system-building stuff (technical, huh?). She's been asking for milk a little more than usual the past few days, and I've just been going with it. If it makes her feel better, and provides her with some nutrition, why not?


Fall Changes

Ah, life. I feel like I'm so busy all the time, but when I look back and try to write about what's been going on that's had me so busy, I come up empty-handed. What have I been doing with myself?? I've come to the conclusion that just life in general is busy and crazy. Even when I don't have events going on. And that's okay. Its my life, and I love it. ( :

Not all the time, of course. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that, exactly. Its not that I have true moments when I just hate my life. Hate certain situations, yes. Either way you look at it, I'm not happy-go-lucky all the time. My glass is not always half full.

I'm on the quest to find a new blog to follow. I know, I know, I need another blog to read like I need another hole in my head. But this blog I'm looking for will be different. All of the blogs I follow are written by stay-at-home-moms. And I love that. For them. I'm truly happy that these women can be with their kids every day. And I love that they have enough time to blog so people like me can read and learn from them.

But its hard to relate to SAHMs. And I feel like maybe they can't really relate to women like me, who have to work full-time and still figure out how to manage a family. I would love to be able to stay home with my daughter (and any future kids we may be blessed with), and I would love to eventually homeschool her, but right now that's not a possibility. No, I'm not giving up my dream of doing just that. Maybe one day it'll happen. But its time to stop daydreaming and start living in the here and now.

I'll still follow my beloved blogs by the SAHMs - they are good inspiration for me, and I truly love reading their stuff. I just want to find a good blogger who is a working mama. There's got to be some of us out there, right? Or are we all just too busy to do it all and blog about it? Cause I know that's my problem. I struggle with keeping up with all my normal, every day stuff - throwing a blog into the mix is almost impossible. Which is why this baby doesn't get updated daily. Or even weekly sometimes.

I want to read about someone else who is struggling like I am. Struggling with having to be away from home 50+ hours a week and not having enough time after work to get things done that need to be done. Struggling with the fact that I leave my child every day to be raised by someone else. Struggling with the fact that I miss out on so many moments with her, and that I missed so many of her firsts. Struggling with coming home and trying to be the wife God has called me to be, and the mother He has called me to be, all while being exhausted from working all day. Struggling to cook good meals for my family when I am home just a few waking hours every day. Struggling with wanting to spend time with my daughter after work, but needing to wash clothes and cook supper, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I know SAHMs struggle, too. I know they're busy. I know that. I know when you're home all day with a toddler or a baby its hard to get stuff done, and I know how an entire day can go by without you realizing it. But its still a different struggle. Cause us working moms have to deal with all that, plus our mommy-guilt over not being with our kids all day. At least, I do. Every day, it kills me to leave C with her grandma. Even though I know my MIL is doing an excellent job with her, and C is shaping up to be a nicely mannered girl.

So when I get home at 5:45 with her, I want to just drop everything and play with her, make memories with her, do stuff with her. Instead, I have time to take just a few minutes to talk with her, maybe read a quick story, then I have to rush around and start supper, do laundry, what have you. Otherwise, I'll spend my entire Saturday doing nothing but cleaning. As it is, I spend at least 1-2 hours on Saturdays just cleaning. And I feel guilty for doing that, cause Saturdays are supposed to be our days together. Guilt is so powerful.

Sure, C helps me around the house. She likes to "help" in the kitchen when I cook - but not all the time. She likes to help get clothes out of the dryer, or put them in. She likes to help hang wet clothes on the drying rack. She likes to "sweep" with her little broom while I sweep the house. So we're spending time together, and I have to remind myself that that's what's important. It doesn't really matter what we're doing. And I know that having her help me do housework is good for her.

But some nights I lay her in her bed and think wow, we didn't do anything fun tonight. We just worked. And it makes me sad.

So, I'm gonna make a few changes in my life. (Again. I feel like I am constantly doing that! But I guess that's good, cause it means I am constantly trying to improve myself, right?) Three weeks ago, my iPhone was stolen. (Yeah, that was a fun day.) Since then, my boss hasn't given me a new one. At first, I was pretty bummed, and couldn't wait for a new phone. Now, though, I kind of like it. I didn't realize how attached I was to that thing. I still have my other cell phone, so I've gone back to using it. I can talk and text on it, and that's it. Sometimes it would be nice to have a smart phone (like when I need directions!), but for the most part, I don't need it. Its been nice to be "unplugged" a bit. I don't have my phone attached to my hand at all times anymore, so I'm not constantly checking facebook and my email. Or taking random pictures. I have, however, taken way more "real" photos with my nice camera.

However, I still have the iPad. Its big and bulky and heavy, and I don't like using it, but its easier than my laptop, so I do use it quite a bit now. I don't use it to check email and facebook as much as I was with the phone, but I still do it more than necessary. So I'm gonna put a stop to that. Starting tonight. Tonight, I will not touch the iPad until I'm rocking C to sleep. Instead of taking a few minutes after supper (and before bath time) to scroll through facebook, I'm gonna play with my daughter. I'm gonna squeeze in as much time with her as possible. When she's asleep and I lay her down, I'm gonna put the iPad away for the night. If I don't go right to bed, I'm gonna talk to my husband. Instead of ignoring him like its so easy for me to do.

And tomorrow morning when I'm eating my breakfast, instead of opening up the iPad and checking facebook and Instagram, I'm gonna do a Bible study. It just hit me earlier today that during breakfast is the perfect time for me to do Bible study. I always eat alone, since DH is gone by then and C's not up yet, but every morning I eat and stare at the iPad. I attempt to do Bible study at night, after C is asleep, but I'm normally too exhausted to do it then, and some nights I don't even lay her down until 11 or after, then I need to get to sleep myself. So breakfast and Bible study it is. I'm kinda excited to start tomorrow. And I wish I had thought of this sooner!

What else? Well, I'm finally gonna make a budget. I've been talking about it for a year almost, and its time to get serious. That's my plan tonight, actually. I want to sit down with DH and get him to help me. I want to be smarter with my money. Even if I'm never able to be a SAHM, I need to do this. And if I'm ever gonna be able to be a SAHM, I need to do this. No matter how you look at it, I need to do this!

Starting this week, I'm also gonna get back into meal planning. I haven't done it for several months, and supper time has been so stressful. This time, though, I want to do it a little differently. I want to meal plan and shop accordingly. The last time I did meal planning, I just planned meals based on what we had already. Which was fine, and its a good way to go through your pantry/freezer/frigde. I'll be doing that again, and then when its time to buy groceries, I want to shop with a plan of what we'll be cooking. Eventually, I want to try once a month shopping, but at first I think weekly or hopefully bi-weekly shopping will do. We need to cut out these little quick grocery store trips. And I want to cut out all this eating out we've been doing lately. (Well, its only once a week or so, but it adds up!)

The last change I want to make is to employ a home management schedule. I started one a while back and stuck to it for a while, but for whatever reason I just abandoned it. I need to go back and think on that, figure out what went wrong so I don't make the same mistakes this time around. My house cleaning goal is to do a little bit every day, so that I can have the weekends to have fun. A little cleaning on Saturdays is okay, but I don't want to be doing heavy cleaning every Saturday. Plus, more often than not, I end up gone for at least part of the day on Saturdays, so my house needs to be in order prior to that.

In reality, I end up just doing the bare minimum during the week (keeping the kitchen clean, washing clothes, sweeping - which is a daily task for me), and on Saturday mornings I find myself having to vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, etc. Luckily, it doesn't take me all day since I live in a small house. But I feel like I could be using my time better during the week.

No, I don't have a lot of time between the time I get home from work and the time I put C to bed, and I want to spend as much time with her as possible, but I also want to spend as much time with her on Saturdays as possible. If that means sacrificing just a few more minutes with her each night to do something quick (like wiping down the bathrooms so they don't need to be scrubbed on the weekend), then so be it. More likely, it'll mean "sacrificing" a few minutes on facebook each evening. I can do that. I'm already halfway there, since I don't have the easy temptation of the iPhone to deal with anymore. I can do it!

Okay, normally when I write things down and blog about it, I do it. Hopefully that'll be the case this time. This blog will hold me accountable, like it has for so many other things before. Wish me luck! Oh, and if you know of any bloggers who are in my situation, please share! Cause I truly want to read about other women like me! ( :