Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Baby Update

Well, I went for my appointment yesterday and there's still no change. I have to go back next Friday to be checked again. If I've made any progress they are planning to break my water, if not the baby will be monitored and, if everything is ok, I will will have the choice to induce early in the week.

I'm just not sure how I feel about all of this. On one hand, I really want this baby out. On the other hand, my doctor said that if my cervix isn't ready an induction may fail and I'd have to have a c-section. But I will be 41 weeks pregnant by the time the induction is offered and there is a risk that the placenta may begin to deteriorate. I am praying that I will go into labor on my own before we have to make this difficult decision. If not, I am just praying for the wisdom to make the right choice.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cash in the Kitchen

If you are reading this blog you've probably experienced a time when the funds coming in were not quite what you expected or maybe the expenses for the week were a lot higher than usual. When you find yourself in this situation the first place to look for a little extra cash is in the kitchen. Eating out of the pantry is a great way to reduce your grocery spending and avoid wasting the food that your hard earned cash has already paid for.

Since we're having one of those hairy weeks right now I thought it would be a good time to share my method:

1. Go through your cabinets, fridge and refrigerator and make a list of all foods that need to be used up quickly. I actually try to do this every week because I am so bad for forgetting things and having to toss them. I hate tossing food! You'll probably find some things that you have forgotten about, add those to the list too. Be sure to check the date on everything.

2. Decide how much money you can set aside for groceries for this week. Aim for the lowest amount possible.

3. I keep a list on a small cork board in the kitchen and add things as I use them. For instance, if I open a can of veggies I will add that to the list so that I always keep my stock up and don't run out of things. If you keep a list like that then add those things to your grocery list first. If not, make a quick check of all items you use regularly, like vegetable oil, etc. and jot down anything you may need. Don't forget to include things like cat food, toilet paper, etc. if you buy those things out of your "grocery" budget like I do.

4. Next, I add up the cost of the necessities that I have on my list. I subtract this number from the amount I've set aside for groceries. I now know how much money I have available to fill in the gaps and make meals out of the foods I have on hand. Take a look at the items that you have on your "foods that need to be used up" list. What can you make with these items? What will you need to buy? Add those items to your list, being careful to stay within your budget.

5. Write down a list of your meals for the week, including breakfast, lunch and supper. We use a lot of leftovers around here and that is a great way to save money. For example, on Wednesday we had round steak with beef gravy, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and rolls. Last night I made ham that was leftover from Christmas (frozen of course), potato cakes from the leftover mashed potatoes, reheated the mac and cheese for my son, opened a can of veggies and used the rest of the pack of rolls. If you can't incorporate the leftovers into your next dinner, consider using them up at lunchtime.

This is a method that I use often and it works really well for our family. When we don't have to be as careful I stock up on things, especially when they're on sale, so that when a lean week does come we are ready for it. It has also been a huge help in reducing the amount of food that we toss. If you haven't already, try visiting Mommysavers for some really helpful tips, especially on their forums.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Pregnant

After getting a lovely report from my doctor at my 37 week appointment I have made no more progress. I'm not going to say I'm not disappointed, but one thing this pregnancy has revealed to me is my incredible lack of patience. I would like to say that the only reason I want this baby out so much is so that I can finally hold him, but that would not be true. I wanted to have a good idea about when he was coming so that I could whip our house into perfect shape, fire off as many articles as possible, line up the perfect amount of work for the weeks following his birth and make sure that every things stays organized during the process. And of course, I want to hold him too.

Any of you who have recently given birth are probably snickering at this point. I actually sat down and allowed myself to remember what those first weeks were like with Bug and yes, reality has hit me in the face. So, I have been taking it a little easier, slacking off on all writing assignments and staying off the internet in order to spend more time with my son and husband. I am also trying to enjoy these last few days of pregnancy because it is likely to be my last. I still want to get things in order and I'm working on it, but I have found that it is so nice to cut myself some slack and just try and enjoy life for a change.

I go in for my next appointment tomorrow and if I have made significant progress the doctor said he would likely break my water to try and get labor going. If not, I think he is going to schedule an induction. I am just leaving it in the Lord's hands, none of this is in my control and He is working everything out for our good. I will keep you updated and will hopefully be sharing some wonderful news soon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Why I Love My Home Management Guide

When I first started attempting the FlyLady thing I was a little overwhelmed by the control journal that she encourages everyone to do. It seemed too complicated and I couldn't really see how it could make my life any easier, especially considering the fact that it was going to take me so long to put together. I am the first to admit that I don't do well with baby steps.

Eventually I gave up on the idea until I stumbled across the notion of a home management guide on Heather's blog at Want What You Have. Her method seemed so much simpler to me and gave guidance while still allowing room for tweaking to suit my own needs. Here are the sections that I have in my guide:

1. Contacts - I break this down into family and friends and professionals like doctors, repairmen, etc.
2. Prayer and Bible Study - Here I keep a printout of my Bible reading plan and notes about things that I would like to study more about, study programs that might be worth looking into, etc.
3. To-do lists - I am completely out of control when it comes to list making so I try to keep them all here. And yes, I have a list of my lists.
4. Cleaning - I have my cleaning tasks broken down by days as well as a list of weekly tasks, monthly tasks, etc. that need to be done.
5. Finances - This is where I keep our running list of monthly bills, expenses, and debt owed.
6. Shopping - I have my pantry list here, list of seasonal sales and a list of foods that need to be used up quickly. This is a great help when it comes to menu planning.
7. Holidays - I keep a page for each holiday, including birthdays, here and transfer things that need to be done over to my to-do lists.
8. Pets - Since we have two cats, two parakeets, an outdoor dog and who knows how many chickens this section is vital to our family's existence. I keep up with medications, vet visits, etc. here.
9. Writing - I keep a short section for my freelancing here, mostly keeping up with expenses and money earned. This section will likely be eliminated as the business grows but for now it is a simple way to keep up with the financial side of things.

There you have it, my home management guide in a nutshell. I don't have pretty pictures in mine yet and there is definitely more that I would like to add, but I can't say enough about how much more smoothly that our home is already running.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it is actually a great way to get things in order and you can take as much time as you need to complete it. It's completely up to you how many sections to include and what they will consist of, the important thing is that you are able to take control of your time and finances. If you are an obsessive list maker like me, it may just become one of your favorite ways to relax!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Baby Maybe?

I have been very, very uncomfortable this week. I have cramped and hurt until I cried and felt exhausted but as soon as I am sure this is it, it stops. My pregnancy with my first son was so easy but everything about this baby has been different. With Bug I cramped a little, my water broke, I got an epidural and six hours later, there he was. I have already hurt more this time around than I did during my entire labor and delivery with Bug. Seriously.

I went in for my weekly appointment yesterday terrified that he would say no progress. I'm not sure what my reaction would have been but it probably wouldn't have been good. Thank the Lord he said I am almost 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. At 37 weeks and four days that isn't too bad and he doesn't think I'll make it to my due date of January 19th!

I still hurt like crazy at times and am so cranky that the devil couldn't stand me, but I am fairly certain that the baby will be here within the next week and a half or so which does make me feel a lot better. Of course this means that I had to stay up until 1:00 last night paying bills and organizing my binder but it was well worth it. I will get to that post about binders on Monday if I don't go into labor before then. I would really appreciate it if you would keep my family in your prayers during this exciting and (a little) scary time!


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