A Little of This, A Little of That

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I made a few snowflakes yesterday and a couple of things I’m calling “icicles;” I’ll string them together for a wintery garland on my mantle and call seasonal decorating done. This was my creative project for the week and it was relaxing. It took me a minute to remember how to fold the paper correctly but then I was set. I found templates online and free-handed the designs onto my scrap paper. It seemed kind of wasteful to print out a template when my goal is to use up scraps for these crafty projects. I was pleased with how they turned out.

Otherwise this week has been kind of stressful; school started and the reality of this semester is really sinking in. It’s pretty intense, with lots of reading and assignments from the get-go. I struggled with depression this week, too, and that made everything seem worse. I’m really paying attention to how closely these depressive episodes are linked to my hormonal cycle and while on the one hand it is nice to know some of what is behind the slump, it’s aggravating to think about this being a regular part of every month. Ugh. I also had a bit of a stomach bug so that probably didn’t improve my outlook. I feel much better today and am pretty sure I’ve turned the corner on this particular event.

I had to take the new car back to the dealership so they could figure out why the check engine light was on. At first I had thought it was nothing and that they had maybe forgot to reset the light after I had my recent oil change. But then I started hearing a weird sound occasionally when I was driving, usually when accelerating. Turns out that some sensor was messed up and needed to be replaced. I’m glad that my car is still under warranty so we didn’t have to pay for the repair. I’m also happy to have that taken care of and feel much better about driving now.

I’ve been reflecting on the pantry challenge and what we’ve been eating and what I would LIKE to eat. Ha. We don’t really have that much chicken in the freezer; in fact, I think just one package of boneless skinless chicken breasts. But otherwise it hardly looks like I’ve made a dent in our stores! And of course adding three loaves of quick bread sure filled in any holes that did appear. However, aside from that, I am mostly pleased with what I have in my pantry/freezer and how those stores do actually reflect the foods we like to eat. I would like to have a few more “cop-out” type things on hand, though. I love to cook, but I don’t love to cook all the time. Michael is willing to cook but needs a recipe and is unwilling to deviate from it too much. Which means that sometimes his cooking requires almost more prep than if I just cooked (especially when I am not buying anything special for recipes this month). We also just sometimes want takeout or whatever. And I don’t think it’s bad to grab takeout every so often, but somehow our process goes pretty rapidly from buying takeout every so often to a couple of times a week. And that is not how I would like to spend our money. So when I go back to buying pantry supplies and meat, I’m going to grab some frozen pizzas and maybe some boxes of mac and cheese (except…it really is so easy to make homemade mac and cheese…) or something similar. I think that will satisfy the craving for slightly crappy food without us feeling like we need to go out and grab fast food or whatever.

Regarding the freezer, I sometimes feel like we will never get through all the food in there! It’s been a bit of an eye-opener in regards to how much food two people really need to have on hand. Although I will say that I feel very nice about being able to stick to a very low budget this month and I know that in large part is due to having such a large stock of meats and so on. I’ve been avoiding the fish, though, which is dumb. Over the last year or two I’ve developed an aversion to fish, or at least to the thought of cooking fish. Consequently we haven’t been eating it nearly as much as we could. The aversion is kind of weird and I’m not sure what it’s about or where it came from. If I can get over myself and cook the fish, I generally enjoy the meal. I don’t know. Maybe it’s lingering guilt over the state of our waterways. Which is weird and somewhat hypocritical since I have no problem stocking up on tuna. I have probably more roasts in the freezer than I need, since I don’t make them all that often. Really the thing I need to do is get into the habit of using the food we have, not just storing the food that is a good price. I’m hoping that by sticking to a really minimal budget for as long as possible, I’ll get a better handle of what that balance actually looks like. I think when my budget was higher, I pretty much just bought what we wanted to eat right then that week plus bought food to store in the pantry and freezer. So we never really had to use much of the stuff I had stored.

We’re watching the football playoffs this weekend and feeling a bit bummed about the lack of football in our lives coming soon. I’d transition to watching hockey or soccer but unfortunately those don’t seem to be aired as often as other sports. It’s probably good to have one less distraction during the semester, but actually I like having a game on in the background as I read or clean or whatever. Are you a sports fan? What do you do when your sport’s season is over?

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6 thoughts on “A Little of This, A Little of That

  1. Those snowflakes and icicles are really neat! A garland of those would look very lovely! Sorry the week has been stressful and you had to cope with depression, as well. Sometimes all one can do is take it one day at a time. I hope the coming week will be better. Glad you were able to get the car taken care of while it is still under warranty.

    It was interesting to read your thoughts on the pantry and freezer challenge, take out food, etc. I, too, have been eating from the freezer and pantry, this month. It’s been going well, so far. But, sometimes, I don’t want to eat what I have in the freezer!

    1. That’s exactly it, Bless. Sometimes I don’t want to eat what I have in the freezer! Or, more accurately, I don’t want to take the time to cook what I have in the freezer — I want it to be ready right NOW. πŸ˜‰

      One day at a time is a good reminder. Also, Michael and I went for a really long walk yesterday and I need to make reminders for myself to do that even when it truly is the last thing I want to do. Getting up and getting moving improves my mood so much, once I actually do it!

  2. I also love the snowflakes! But I had to go back and make sure that I wasn’t reading an old post because for me winter is over once Christmas is over. I know that technically it isn’t but with temps in the 70s and 80s and the holidays behind us, I’m ready to call it “Spring!”.

    I hear you about not wanting to cook what’s in the freezer. Especially when it’s really full and you either had to dig deep to find what you’re looking for or to find anything that you might feel like cooking. I know you said planning ahead doesn’t work for you but that’s really what has worked great for me. Without it, I’d have ordered take-out tonight instead of ending up with a truly delicious beef stew that cooked by itself in the crockpot while I was out having fun.

    I always make sure we have mac’n cheese in the oven but we have no room for frozen pizza now. Which sucks because I was going to get 3 pizzas for free from CVS on Wednesday but now it looks like I’ll have to come up with a different plan because I filled my available space with ground beef and chicken breasts. As for the mac’n cheese… my kids ONLY like the boxed kind and my boys ONLY like the cheap 33-cent boxes from Save A Lot. On Friday night I cooked a box of “deluxe” mac’n cheese (the one that comes with the gooey cheese, not the cheese powder) and my son turned down seconds, something that he NEVER does when any kind of pasta is involved, because it wasn’t the mac’n cheese he prefers, lol. I made it from scratch before and they all hated it. Nice.

    I’m sorry you’re having depression episodes. Those hormones are horrible, aren’t they? Honestly, I can’t wait until menopause. I’m sick of the mood swings and crying fits, etc. that I go through every month.

    Good luck with all the school work. You have a lot on your plate with that and then you piled on the personal projects. Maybe extend some of your goals to February so you don’t feel so much pressure? It’s lovely that you got to take a walk with Michael yesterday!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Nathalie. πŸ™‚ I don’t make formal meal plans, but I do go through the fridge and also the freezer to check on what’s available. I even write down meal ideas on a dry erase board in the kitchen. I just find that what I actually make tends to deviate so much from my original list that for the blog, I feel more honest if I just post what I actually make.

      We do both like homemade mac and cheese, but it’s actually almost too good — there is so much cheese and yummy stuff in the version I make (usually) that it’s not really what I want when I want something cheap, fast and kind of junky. So I’ll probably pick up a few boxes in February.

      Hormones and depression are awful. It’s interesting to be studying all this, too, although, as ever, knowing something doesn’t necessarily mean change in your own life.

      I’ll definitely be extending goals into next month! I for sure got carried away when I made that list. And the weather has been so lovely that I want to be out walking or doing something and not necessarily hanging out in my home.

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