Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.

I’m getting close to the end of my second month home, but still not feeling settled.  I had a fire under me for the first couple of weeks: cleaning, reorganizing, painting, meal-planning, blogging, schooling.  All of these things that would make me feel like a proper SAHM. 

Yet here I sit surrounded by list after list, uncrossed.  It’s left me feeling unaccomplished and very confused. 

I’m home now.  Aren’t I supposed to be soaking in the moments with my kids, doing all of those things I never had “time” for?  And shouldn’t my house be a little more tidy without the distraction of work?  Shouldn’t my kids be a little more obedient with the consistency and structure of mom’s presence?

And school… do we even need to talk about that?  Addie attends a kinder program so I don’t do much with her.  Alora attends a high school program so her home study time is only 3 days, but she is so super independent that all I have to do is ask how she’s doing once in a while.  So the only child I am responsible for is Aidan.  How hard should that be?  Yeah, it’s that hard.  I can’t get a handle on the schedule and routine with him.

I just feel so lost right now, between two worlds.  I thought coming home would solve all of the problems we were having.  I thought I would be more organized.  I thought my house would be cleaner.  I thought I would see my friends more. I thought I would do more fun things with my kids.  I thought it would make me feel more like part of the SAHM crowd — But just like high school, I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere.  Being home just isn’t fitting the expectations I guess I had. So here I sit in my hole, while trying to figure things out.  Maybe staring at these dirty walls will at least inspire me to finish my painting projects. 

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laundry (n): articles of clothes or linens to be washed and ignored.

Okay, so maybe the actual definition said “washed and ironed,” not ignored.  But ignoring the laundry sounds closer to reality.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reset the dryer to get the wrinkles out of the clothes so I can fold/hang them.  (I could probably lower my energy cost by 50% if I could just fold the laundry when it was done.)

Laundry and dishes are the two household chores I dislike the most.  No one loves scrubbing toilets or baseboards, but I’d do that 100 times over laundry and dishes. 

The problem with laundry is that it is never ending.  I could spend an entire day washing, drying, and folding to get to the bottom of the hampers and just when I see it, my beautiful family changes into jammies and brings down a full load of clothes.  Ryan and Addie spent 8 days out of town, meaning 8 days that I didn’t have them bringing new clothes into the laundry pile.  Yet, somehow I was STILL doing their wash on day 7.  That means it takes me a full week to get to the bottom of one hamper, just to get started on the next.

Dishes are the same thing.  You finally get to the bottom of the sink, and suddenly everyone is hungry and dirty dishes reappear.  Plus, I’m pretty sure they multiply like tribbles when I’m not looking.  Sometimes I think the solution is to but more dishes so it wouldn’t be a big deal if they were done all the time.  But maybe the better solution is to just stop feeding my family…  Or maybe just eat pizza off paper plates.

I hear the dryer calling to me again to come empty it.  *sigh*  Maybe I can squeeze in one more cup of coffee before the “wrinkle out” cycle is done (for the 3rd time).

Good intentions, no time

I had these grand plans to blog regularly.  I even have a reminder set so I’ll know when a week has passed.  But alas, reality has set in and I realize that even a SAHM doesn’t always have TIME. 

My husband went out of town for 8 days, taking my 6 y/o with him.  I had great ideas for what I would accomplish when they were gone.  But my 3 y/o had other plans for me… starting with getting sick right before they left.  This made him very clingy.  Plus, his daily partner in crime was gone so he wanted my FULL attention during the day.  On the third day, I woke up sick myself, probably thanks to the coughing in the face from the 3 y/o.

I did manage to get the bathroom painted while they were gone, and paint purchased for the office.  And I suppose getting a garage sale done on Saturday was quite the feat, too.  At the end of the week, however, I still feel like there was so much left undone.  No grocery shopping had been done while they were away.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I only cooked dinner twice in a  7 day span.  But no one went hungry so they can’t complain.

On a side note, fresh paint on the walls always reminds me how dirty my floors and baseboards are. 

A month of meals

Those of you reading who have me on Facebook have probably seen my bits about my Costco meal plan and shopping/planning for a month at a time. I figured it was time I organized my random posts into one nice article.

I saw someone else post a link about doing $5 dinners, shopping for 20 meals at once. I have been wanting to do this for quite sometime so in February I took the plunge. I paid the couple of bucks to download the PDF file because it made things SO much easier rather than printing or bookmarking 11 different recipes.

http://www.5dollardinners.com/20-meals-from-costco-for-150-recipes-printable-shopping-lists/

Initially I spent about $160 at Costco and another $40 on pantry items at Wal-Mart. I labeled and froze the meat and rolls, then filled out a calendar for February.

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Most of meals were kid-approved. However, the beef stew dishes did not come out that great. Maybe being a vegetarian has something to do with my lack of meat cooking skills. 😉

Following this meal plan, we found there were family favorites that we were all missing like pot pie or even just BBQ burgers. So I decided to give it another go, but do it MY way this time. Using what I learned in February I created my own monthly menu. We shopped at Costco and did an entire month of shopping for $200, plus left myself another $50 per week for perishable items like milk, bread, and fruit.

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Month 2 is more than halfway over and I am so relieved at not having to think about what I’m going to cook every night, or what I need to shop for. Worth the time I put in at the beginning of the month.

Death by chocolate?

Chocolate is always associated with such negative words like sinful or Devil’s food.  Why so bad when it tastes SO good? 

Perhaps because it consumes me.  Really.  I baked brownies last night when we had company over for dinner.  Even though I was full, I ate two.  And what was the first thing I put in my mouth when I woke up?  Another brownie — even before my morning coffee!  It’s sad, really.  My younger two kids catch me often sneaking sweet treats because I “smell like chocolate.”  My older two probably know better than to say something after all these years. 😉 

I complain often about how unhealthy I feel, how little energy I have, and how nothing I own fits me comfortably anymore.  Yet, here I am eating half a pan of brownies in the past 24 hours.

The first step in the road to recovery is to admit you have an addiction.  So here goes:

Hi, my name is Bethany.  And I’m completely addicted to chocolate. 

Now I just need to stop bringing it into my home. 

The dreaded budget

With the decrease of income, hubby and I had to rework our budget.  Being told my spending is being limited is never fun, but every time I ask, “where else can we make cuts?”

When we knew the job change was coming, we got right on refinancing the house.  We were able to get some cash out of the house to pay some bills, and reduce the payment a little.  Small savings, but every dollar counts now. 🙂

Since refinancing the house and picking up the serving job on the weekends, we’ve been able to pay off nearly $13,000 in debt.  This cut a huge chunk out of our bills which was helpful.  At one point, our minimum payments were about $800 per month.  Yikes!  (We have one card to go and I’m hoping to have that one paid down within the next calendar year, continuing to work weekends at the restaurant.) 

The other two areas we were able to cut back were gas and groceries.  Gas was easy, given that my commuting days are behind me – saving $300 per month.  Groceries was a little trickier, trying to feed a family of 6 – saving $150 monthly.  (I will share more on that in a later post)  All in all we were able to make the budget work – on paper, that is. 🙂

Any additional expenses for “fun money” is going to have to come from outside resources such as garage sales and reselling larger items on craigslist.  Now I just have to make it my goal to stick to that budget going.  (And I will probably have to get tougher on the kids with turning the lights off. ;))

Welcome Home

So I’m new to blogging, and I hope not to bore you, but I thought it would be fun to journal my transition from work to home. A little background – let’s see… I worked for the same company for over 11 years, 10 of which were full time. I have been juggling (and failing miserably) working, mothering, house cleaning (really failing here), homeschooling, cooking, shopping, and trying to fit in being a good wife. Some days went well, and others ended up in many tears – most of which were mine.

After years of praying whether I was to quit my job, the Lord finally made it clear to me. I think I had to set aside my selfish reasons for wanting to leave that job. I needed to be ready to do what He wanted me to do. So in November, I gave my notice to quit.

My last day at work was February 28.* I have spent most of my time embracing my role. The rooms have been reorganized and shuffled around and reorganized again. We find ourselves wandering around at times trying to remember which room the desk is in now. 🙂

I’m already working on meal plans, lesson plans, DIY projects, and more — all the things I never felt I had time for before.

*My disclaimer: I do still work a couple of nights as a server at a local restaurant, and I will begin an additional part time data entry job in a few weeks. It’s not quite “full-time” at home, but a significant improvement. 🙂