This is unusual. I have a meal schedule I follow that usually makes menu planning pretty quick. The schedule is still essentially the same as the one I posted in 2013, except leftovers night has switched with pasta night, and sometimes I make something on leftovers night, either because I don't like the sound of any of the leftovers in our freezer or because we're out of leftovers.
But I've been trying to get back in shape, and part of living the healthiest life I'll enjoy is cooking with a little more care towards calories. So, I'm trying to figure out what to do for pasta night, and contemplating a salad with a little meat instead of the cheese and sausage laden leftover pasta dish we have in our freezer. (That dish started out as a Cooking Light dish, but my husband tends to double the cheese and meat in recipes, which then makes them not quite so light.) Also, I wonder if homemade pizza dough would be healthier than the Boboli crusts we usually use. It would definitely taste better. So I'm searching for a make-ahead dough recipe, while debating whether or not to use it.
Meanwhile, one of the things we did this week was take the opportunity provided by a long evening uninterrupted by kid bedtimes to do a full audit of our finances and talk about what we should perhaps do differently. We ran some "what if" calculations on our mortgage and debated whether we should put a little extra pre-payment on that so that our house might be paid off before we retire or whether we should focus on increasing my retirement savings again. We settled on the mushy middle, as we often do when we're not really sure which financial option is the best. I got a retirement plan set up for my company and have a plan for a schedule of contributions, and we'll increase our pre-payment a bit.
But... I can't help but think that maybe I should be a little more cost-conscious in my grocery shopping. A recent post over at the Grumpies made me realize that I no longer think about cost at all when I do the menu plan and grocery shopping and that maybe I should change that, both to help our bottom line right now and to start teaching my kids how to do that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, we want to get moving on a plan to do up our backyard. The home remodel finished more than nine months ago, and we miss having a backyard that makes us feel relaxed. So we've been talking about our long term plans, and how we might start in on them, and how much we should do ourselves vs. pay someone to do... and there's a lot to do there. Mr. Snarky is working on the first step in the plan (getting our retractable clothesline back up) right this minute, in fact.
Meanwhile, school starts a week from tomorrow, and I have no idea what, if anything, we need to buy for the kids. They'll probably want at least one new outfit whether they actually need it or not, and I remember the back to school jitters so I'm inclined to make that happen. When will we go shopping? I don't know.
So, there's a lot that I want to do, and the usual amount of time in which to do it. Plus, we're coming up on one of my favorite times of year here: September and early October, when it is still beach weather but the tourists have mostly gone home. I am looking forward to a less crowded sidewalk for my rollerblading excursions, and I want to get a least a couple of good beach trips in with the kids.
One of the things I'm really good at is making a realistic plan based on the available time. Perhaps it is my personality, perhaps it is the years of being a project manager. Probably, it is a combination of both. Either way, I can look at that list I typed above and recognize that something is going to have to give.
I keep coming back to the ideas in the Brene Brown book I read about imperfection. I am not a perfectionist, but I do tend to expect myself to do anything I set out to do as well as I possibly can. I am starting to think, though, that the secret to making this phase of my life work is to allow myself to aim for "good enough" instead of my best. I think that the "take the fuzzy middle" road we settled on in our financial discussion might be the best answer for the larger question, too. Do it all, but aim a little lower on all of it.
But I'm impatient. I want the yard done now, and I want to lose ten pounds now, and I want to see more progress toward our long term financial (and life!) goals now.
|Life goal: more sunsets like this.|