Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Today's Accomplishments

I am pretty lazy when there is no schedule. Also a lack of schedule really sets my anxiety off. My anxiety had been rearing its ugly head over the weekend, but sort of took a vacation yesterday. Yippee. Today I got up and spend a lot of time drinking coffee, surfing the web, feeding the kids. My first plan was to go to work. Yes, over vacation go into my classroom and get some things done. I eventually got there but not until close to 11:00 am. That is okay though. I did organize, clean, make some copies. Heck you could live in your classroom and never be done, but it was something. At 2:00 I left and headed to the gym.

Yes, the gym. My new venture, with the plan to hit it three to four days a week for some stress relieving cardio. It has to happen. I need that release. Too much to deal with without working it out. Now if I lose forty pounds that will be a bonus, but really my main reason to join was to gain tranquility and inner peace. I left the gym with phone in hand because my dearest friend who lives on the opposite coast was calling me to catch up. I grabbed a quick latte ( I am so not frugal) and chatted with my long time friend before heading into a grocery store to grab a few items. Since we are all home we are eating things very quickly. We both have hit the store a lot in the past few days. I needed napkins on Saturday and spent $42.00. Yikes. Today I spent $63.00, but I felt like I got a lot for my money.

When I got home I unpacked, showered, and made tacos for dinner. I cooked over three pounds of ground beef, used half for the tacos and froze the other half in two separate bags for quick meals next week. We did not eat all of the taco meat, which I must say is unusual for us. The kids did not eat much and I am trying to eat less. I took the left over taco meat, added tomato sauce and cheese and layered with tortillas for an enchilada casserole. We will either eat that New Year's or I will freeze it for next week. Tomorrow I have a big package of chicken breasts that are defrosting as we speak. I want to cook them in the crock pot and make up a few meals with them while I have the time.

For an unscheduled day I felt pretty accomplished. Tomorrow is catch up on the laundry and declutter day. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The First Official Day of Vacation/Feeding Picky Kids

It's Monday, so it is the first official day of vacation. Instead of getting up at 6:00, shower, clothes, make up, breakfast, motivating the kids to get ready, leaving the house without any breakdowns, dropping the kids at school, going to work, flying through the chaos of the day, cleaning my room up, getting the kids around 5:00, getting dinner on the table (always a struggle), share our day with each other, argue with kids who can't sleep, maybe do some school work, fall asleep, repeat, I am sitting on the couch drinking coffee. I also left out throwing in random loads of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, making four lunches for most days. The weekend isn't much better. On Friday's I could go to bed at 7:00. The weekend is full of activities, church, and housework that could not get done during the week. I know we aren't alone in this crazy busy life. My point is I would like to try to enjoy this vacation week and try to take some time to relax so I will feel renewed when the craziness starts again next week.

So how did I enjoy the first official morning of vacation? My five year old friend was up at 6:55. Once I was awake there was no going back. He is the hungriest friend one could have. Yesterday he helped me make two dozen banana muffins http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Banana-Oat-Muffins/. I doubled the recipe, and they are good. I kept twelve for this week and froze twelve for quick breakfasts or last minutes snacks next week. After eating his muffin he was still quite hungry. I made us scrambled eggs. While I was making these my other friend woke up. Instead of adding another egg I just split it all between the three of us (frugal try) and it worked. It was only one egg a piece, but I think that is probably enough. Less than I usually would cook, but enough for breakfast.

Now I sit on the couch as the kids watch television in their matching pajamas. So cute! Last night I turned the turkey breast from Christmas into turkey soup. It was pretty successful with everyone except "she who is never quite happy with dinner". Such a good girl, but her Christmas dinner was pineapple, cranberry sauce, and a roll. I like such a wide variety of food that it is hard for me to empathize with her. My husband is much more particular, so he does feel for her a bit more than I do. Also, since I do the cooking I get sort of VERY ticked off at the constant complaints. We also had ham on Christmas day, so tonight's dinner is going to be some sort of repurposed ham with mashed potato pancakes. I have never made them, but I thought if I fried them crispy they may get eaten. I really don't think so, but I am going to give it a try.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rain, Nausea, and Christmas Anxiety

Weird and random topics strung together,but I will do my best to provide some connections. Maybe.
It is raining, just three days after Christmas. Well actually, we had Christmas yesterday because someone, yours truly, had to cancel dinner on Christmas day due to some wacky stomach bug. I should have realized Christmas morning when I felt drained and terrible, coffee tasted off, and I could not get off the couch, but alas I did not realize it until the nausea hit at 2:30 that afternoon. Prior to that I thought my system could not handle the rich food from Christmas Eve. Maybe I had combined too many weird things at one time? Finally I realized I was pretty ill. I spend the next ten hours in bed sleeping, groaning, shivering, having crazy dreams and sipping juice to combat dehydration. The next day I no longer thought I was dying, but it took 24 hours to feel back to myself. Yesterday I went to the gym and thought things were just grand. However, during dinner I just did not feel right. Maybe I ate a few too many snacks. I could not even finish my wine and drank tea instead of coffee after dinner. Today I did eat breakfast and had some coffee, but still don't feel quite right.

I wonder if my not quite right feeling is a lingering illness or that old Christmas anxiety. I love the Christmas season. There's nothing better than hearing Nat, Dean or Frank crooning Christmas songs on the radio, watching It's a Wonderful Life, and singing carols with the kids, but the stress of Christmas is just too much. Too much giving and worrying, and planning and spending. Too much. Too much.

Since the kids attend Before and After care there were many people I wanted to thank with a small Christmas gift. I know baking is sweet and fairly economical, but I also know that some people will not eat food from a stranger's kitchen, so I choose not to bake for strangers because I worry that it will be wasted. Also, as a teacher, I try to stay away from mugs, too much candy (though I did give some people candy too), candles, ornaments and things that people just may not need. I opted for Dunkin Donut gift cards. They were only $5.00 cards, but I bought a lot. We wanted to try to catch everyone that runs activities for the kids and it really adds up. We totally forgot our mailman, so I actually regifted a gift card that was given to me. (My thoughts on regifting have changed a lot. If you receive something that you will never use, and you do not use it, I think it is perfectly acceptable to regift it. It is frugal, environmental, and cost effective. Go for it!) All those little gifts did not even include the classroom teachers. Both classes took up collections, which we just contributed to so the class could purchase a class gift. It was nice to check that off the list.

What I want to figure out is how to fix this so next year I don't go through the same old Christmas stress. Scour the aisles for the best sales and stockpile gifts all year. Take every $10 Kohl's coupon I receive and get some free dishtowels? That actually isn't a bad idea. What I could do is use the summer to plan, organize, and take care of a lot of Christmas stuff. It is early, but it would use the time that I have in the summer that I just don't have in December. We will see what I do. It's a good idea, but right now that is all that it is.