so here’s the deal

I’m exhausted, and it’s not like, “Oh, I don’t think I’ll have the energy to run that extra three miles today…” it’s really to the level of, “Oh. My. Word. Do I really have to get dressed?”

I do dress, however, and manage to brush my teeth and keep enough food cooked to sustain life and I get through work, but other than that- all bets are off.

That means the ol’ blog-o has fallen off the to-do list, right along with vacuuming and taking out the trash. I’m just too tired to even think about writing, my brain freezes up and screams, “PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME!!”

I should say that I saved up scraps of energy all week and used them to get the vacuuming done yesterday. I’ve become an energy hoarder.

So that’s my excuse for not having written in forever. I’m sorry.

Feel free to speculate all you desire and draw your own conclusions, Lord knows I have my own hunches about the matter… we shall confer at a later date…

Yours exhaustedly,

Andi

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the big binder theory

‘… zealfully attending life …’

She attended life with her accustomed zeal – and now – with organization.

The Big Book of Organization

This is my Big Book of Organization. I am very pleased with myself for having created one, but I can’t take the credit for the idea. My friend Maureen is the most organized person I have ever met. Just being around her is like being embraced by every handy, nifty, thrifty, clever, ingenious, and downright organized household trick ever conceived by man or wife. I mean, this woman has a system for *everything* from getting the absolute lowest price at the meat counter to menu planning and keeping the bathrooms clean. I’ve never been in a house that is run so smoothly – it’s almost a bit surreal. I’ve watched her cook in utter fascination as every container is marked, every recipe filed away under some encoded system that she has devised, every spice pre-measured, and I’m sitting there like, “How does her brain work?”

It’s honestly a little overwhelming, but in a good way. Every time I’m around her (which isn’t much, she lives quite a ways away) I learn something new. I’m a slow learner, a lot more bounces off my forehead than what actually gets absorbed, but it’s sinking in…

On this last trip, Maureen introduced me to the idea of keeping sheet sets inside pillowcases so that they’re all contained. Oh. My. Word. No more searching for lost pillowcases, or lone ranger top sheets – they’re right there in the pillow case. This has been invaluable advice, since we don’t have a linen cabinet in this apartment and the sheets just kind of live ‘wherever’. Now they’re in a neat stack of sheet ‘kits’, ready to be hauled off the pile and put on the bed. Viola.

She also got me hooked on the whole Binder Theory.

The theory is this: if you have everything written down and contained in one location – you won’t loose you mind trying to remember it all. So very clever. She even outfitted me with a binder (“I always pick them up at garage sales and keep them – you never know when you need an empty binder! We use them for everything…” she says.) some paper and a few page protectors – a Binder Starter Kit.

a glimpse into the secret passages contained therein

Lest I go home without anything in my new Binder, she passed along her recipe for sourdough bread (as well as the starter- which, for the record, is kept in the fridge, not the Binder… just saying.), instructions for making fertility tracking beads (people are getting antsy for us to start having kids, I’m thinking…) and a few recipes for popular condiments that can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of buying them at the store. Salad dressings, ketchup, mayonnaise – I have the recipes in my Binder and I feel like such a legit housewoman!

Oh yes. I have since added more paper and more page protectors and have set up various ‘sections’ for home, some day farm, kitchen, health, finances, and knitting. Yup, knitting gets a whole section in the Binder. Not sure why – it just does. The End.

So I’m thinking meal plans. Does anyone out there do this? Right now we go from day to day or week to week with groceries and I usually have *some* idea about what to cook next, but I would love to get to the point where it’s a monthly thing. Monthly meal plans and then just shop according. My hubs *loves* to go grocery shopping, so this will probably continue to be a weekly occurrence, which is cool, but I’d still like to plan ahead more. Is that even possible? Is that silly to do since there are just two of us?  I just think of all the brain space I could use on a daily basis if I weren’t consumed with figuring out what to have for dinner…

My thinking is this – someday, fertility tracking beads or no, if the good Lord so wills, we will have children. I’ve been thinking about that an awful lot lately, not exactly in a wishy-washy way, or a ‘tear up when I see a baby in the store’ way, but it’s almost like I’ve gone into Planning Mode. Weird, huh? Me – who plans for nothing. Who has No Plan. Suddenly – everything about my world is, “How is this going to work when we have kids?”

I don’t want to be a crazy mom who can’t stay on top of the game, you know? I certainly don’t want to schedule the fun out of life, but I don’t want to be so stressed out due to lack of knowledge and plannig that I can’t enjoy life.  I think the key is not in being perfect, not in having a spotless house, not in never having an unplanned moment, but simply Knowing What You Are About.

I have to admit, since living so far from Maureen, my ol’ buddy Pinterest has become my go-to place for ideas about getting my brain in order. Talk about organization overload! Printable meal plans, chore checklists, ideas and inspiration, recipes – it’s like an Internet Binder that fills itself -without page protectors. I’m lovin’ it.

So what do you do to keep yourself in check? Any tips? Any wives and/or mothers out there with advice to pass along to this here Pleb?

I’m all ears…

P.S. …thought I’d add some links of sites I’ve been on recently that fueled and inspired my nesting drive… more to come

Bowl Full of Lemons

The Nest Effect

10 things link-up

I was reading a post from Niki over at Meet Your Treat where she talked a little about the anonymity of blogging, and how it can be hard to give people a good sense of who you are, walking the fine line between ‘sharing’ and ‘babbling’. She then shared a few photos of objects from her life and told a little bit about them. Brilliant!

SO – here’s my big idea.

Let’s do a link-up of 10 Things lists. If you read this blog, and would like to get a little piece of who you are out there, you are welcome to join me and share a list of 10 Things – any things, that says something about you that may be hard to convey in a more structured venue. If you have a blog of your own – post something and comment below, leave the link to your site and I promise we will pack up our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and head over to visit. Don’t have a blog? List your things in the comments, and we’ll have an ‘in-house’ showing. I know a couple of you have already done posts like this and if you want to include your ‘old’ Things List – go ahead, but I think it would be pretty awesome if you came up with something new ‘on the fly’.

Who’s with me? Anybody? Am I going to post my 10 Things alone?

We’re bloggers, and readers of blogs – we’re a community of people, let’s communitize. (I don’t think that’s a word, but I’m going to use it anyway.)

Here’s My New List of Ten Things

10 Weird Things That Changed My Life

1) Coconut oil. I am a total frizz-head and have exceedingly dry skin. I found coconut oil and it works wonders on my wild, child-eating hair and scaly skin. (I sound a little bit like a Marvel comic monster there, don’t I?)

2) Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”. That song gives me goosebumps – every time.

3) Realizing that Mr. Darcy isn’t a real person. Never was. Never will be. The End.

4) The moment I realized how to count back change.

5) Taking a course on folk weather predicting in High School – I barely look at the weather forecast now.

6) Almond Milk. Amen.

7) Aiding my little milk goat while she was giving birth to her first kid when I was 17.

8) Pad Tai

9) My first Kiss. I know that doesn’t seem all that weird now, but don’t you remember *your* first kiss? It was a little weird, right? Yeah. My husband still teases me about it…

10) Probably the first time I ever made a list and realized that *this* was the way I would structure my entire life from there on out. Listing.

I’m a big list person.

There you go – my ten things. What about you? What are your ten favorite books? Top ten movies? Ten songs you absolutely can’t stand? Ten pictures from your house? Ten places you want to visit? Ten things you’d never do? Have at it, I can’t wait to hear…

a little bit of idealistic pep talking concerning the chicken *thing*

Because really, doesn’t it seem extreme to be counting everything so minutely? Pieces of lettuce, noodles, rice, chicken wings…. counting, counting, counting.

Oh – the frustration! Why count? Why?

WHY? Because it does count. I’m not just a freak about chicken. Really.

We are home chefs – aren’t we? Whether male or female, cooking for a dozen kids or one new husband, we care about what we cook – don’t we? And there’s good reason for caring, we’re fueling life itself. Are we going to put crappy, nasty, cheap fuel into those we care for and feed? Say it with me, No.

And we’re not just counting calories or pennies, we’re counting nutrition and time and effort – we are counting life, every meal we make and eat represents a part of our one, wild and free life. I want these chicken meals to be worth something for my family, even though we are small and new and still figuring out who likes butter and who likes olive oil. I want to be thrifty, and cunning, matching my kitchen wit against the debit card and clock and ceaseless tide of Bad Food, as much as I can, with the best results I can afford.

Because it means something to me. That’s why. I don’t want to take food for granted, ever, but always be a wise steward of the things I have the privilege to count.

the great chicken challenge

“…. a challenge for only the brave at heart…”

 

Yes, that means you.

Hello, random reader. My arm is almost completely better (thanks to the life-saving efforts of my ever-lovely physical therapist, Darcy) which is good for me – bad for the blog. It means I am back to working part time (a mixed blessing, I suppose) and actually doing things like gardening, serious bike riding, knitting, tying my shoes, and other things that were virtually impossible three months ago.  This, reader, is why I haven’t been doing the writing thing so much lately.

I, once more, have a life which involves both arms.

Can I get an Amen?

This week at our angled apartment, we are embarking on a challenge having to do with the plump chicken now sitting in the frigid-aire.

How many meals can I get from one chicken?

You are about to witness something worthy of its own reality T.V. show.

2 people, 4 appetites (all this bike-riding and shoe tying has increased my desire to eat, and happily, my ability to!) 1 chicken. How many meals?

We start today; Friday, the 27th day of April, with a 5.8 pound bird that cost $1.59 per pound for a total of $9.22. Here are some of the questions I am challenging myself to answer:

1) How many meals can be prepared from this chicken, remembering that we both have hearty appetites. It was Alex’s request that I be *reasonable* (I am always reasonable…) and not do something like use the chicken skin to flavor a rice dish. Doesn’t count. We need meat, people. We need to feel Satisfied in the end – like we’ve had chicken!! The challenge ends when the chicken does…

2) How much money per meal, person and serving? This may be a little tricky, but I am going to try to figure it out the best I can and report back with my findings. What do you think? Should I go pound for pound? How picky should I be with counting the cost of ingredients?

3) Also, I would love to do a comparison using common restaurant prices. Exactly how cheap can we get while still ending up with a good, hearty, delicious meal? Hmmmmm??? How does *my* chicken alfredo match up with Olive Garden’s? I know every one says it’s cheaper to cook at home, but exactly *how much* cheaper?

4) Will we ever be able to eat chicken again after having it so often in a short period of time? This, I believe, will be answered by the variety of meals we have. I want to do very different tasting dishes each time so we don’t grow tired because, really, when you’ve grown tired of food, well – what remedy can be offered? I’m thinking chicken chili, grilled chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken curry, chicken soup of some sort, chicken pot pie – – we’ll see. It’s all about being creative.

5) Can I remember to take pictures of each meal? Probably not, but my intentions are noble as I begin with saying – “YES!! THERE WILL BE PICTURES.”

 


SO. There you go. The Great Chicken Challenge.

Are you with me?

Humbly submitted by – me.