The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


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Meal Planning is on the List


So last night, as I scoured the house for what to make for dinner, it occurred to me that now, more than ever, we need a meal plan! In the past, I’ve been slightly interested in this concept, though it was more for once-a-week/month cooking and I’ve since officially given up on ever having this as a possibility. But I’m sick of every night getting home from work, and the last thing The Boyfriend or I want to do is cook. Then we sit there for an hour trying to figure it out and by the time we’ve figured it out, we’re not hungry anymore, so getting up to go make dinner is becoming WAY too much of a chore…

I seriously just want to get my life back on track or at least closer to the track, because right now, I feel like my big old boat of a car is stuck out in the middle of the ocean! (Did you like that metaphor?) I need to learn how to live life without everyday being this huge burden and stress. It should not be this hard and I know it can be easier, it has to be! And I think getting a budget going and planning our meals are two really amazing steps towards a more organized life.

The budget thing I’m still massively working on. We’re nowhere close to being where we could say that we have any sort of budget, though I think we’re both pretty conscious of where our money is going. The big thing we need is a way to not spend as much on stuff we don’t need, that and cutting down on all the stuff we want like smokes and pop. It’s one of those things that I’m not really comfortable with figuring out, so I’ve put it on the back burner for a really long time. But I really want a car this year, really bad. And while The Boyfriend came up with one idea to make it more possible this year, it won’t matter if we can’t save a penny towards it!

But anyways, back to the meal planning. I think a big problem with meals lately is that The Boyfriend and I are both being so choosy when it comes to what we’ll eat. We often choose the same things over and over and could probably live off of burgers, fries and gravy. Not only is this not healthy for us or the kids, it’s not helping me get anywhere closer to my goal of losing my baby belly and it’s definitely not good for our wallets. The big issue for us though, is that we don’t like to mix it up with our food too much.

Some of the other things that stand in the way of us making meal-time (including planning, prepping, etc.) is that my kitchen just straight up sucks. There’s not much room, the dishes are never done, it’s almost never as clean as I like it and now my oven door is popping off it’s hinges. We recently got new pots and pans to eliminate the issue of never having the right sized pots or pans, but now we have a new issue where we’re missing appliances or kitchen gadgets that we need. Mixing bowls and measuring devices are the one I hate the most!

We have slowly been making headway with keeping the kitchen tidier. It’s still not anywhere near where I’d like it to be, not even close. But at least the dishes are getting closer to done everyday and the counters are finally clean! When my floor and walls have been scrubbed and my oven cleaned, then I will be truly happy. Until then, I think that kitchen is not going to inspire any meal-time loving…

I also don’t know how to make a meal plan. I mean, I get the basics. Plan out your meals for X amount of days/weeks/month, put it on a calendar and stick to it. My issue is that, like I said, we eat a lot of the same food. You can only see Mashed Potatoes and Rice so many times on one piece of paper before you start thinking your palette is pretty pathetic! Then there’s the issue of how the heck do I plan for these meals. Normally, I separate up my meat as soon as it comes home, and it’s always the same thing. Then it’s normally whatever we have available as a side and corn as the vegetable. A lot of times, the entire meal comes from a box or bag that had been in the freezer (Hamburger Helper, Tacos, etc.). Those aren’t really things you plan, that’s things you pull out of the fridge…

I’m just not sure how to start, I’m definitely not sure how to follow the plan and I’m not sure how to incorporate what I’ve read with what my real life is like… I need to start researching recipes more and start experimenting and changing and buying the stuff I need to be able to do all that. Why does everything that is on my to-do list make my to-do list even longer?!?


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All Work and All Play


I feel kind of bad… I’ve completely neglected my computer for two whole days. I haven’t checked my Twitter or my Facebook, I’ve done absolutely no work on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous and I haven’t even played any computer games!!

The other day, The Boyfriend asked if we could get him StarCraft. Well, I went out to get the kids stuff for school, and got him StarCraft at the same time. So I came home with stuff for him and even stuff for kids, plus a ton of groceries of foods I know they all enjoy. Nothing really for myself.

The next day, The Boyfriend comes home from work with two movies. Both of these movies I don’t really care to see, I’ll probably enjoy watching them, but wouldn’t go out of my way to see them. So I was a little disappointed, but then…

He pulled The Sims 3 out of a bag. I’ve wanted this game for quite awhile and could just never really justify getting it. I tend to rarely play video games, preferring to be on my computer, so I just never got it. But now I do and I have to admit I’m a little bit hooked.

I spent almost 16 hours on the poor XBOX, playing the heck out of the game. Mostly learning to build houses. I think the house that I have right now absolutely rocks! I’m letting The Boyfriend play now, and it’s the first chance he’s had since he got me the game.

Somehow, even though I’ve been playing all day, we ended up getting a TON of cleaning done today. I had mentioned it last night, and normally that means that we probably won’t do it the next day. But I was insistent. We cleaned under the furniture in the living room, finally cleaned under the desk and The Boyfriend has even got a good bit of laundry done.

The kitchen was a group effort, so I did the dishes while he swept the floor and then we had cinnamon pancakes for dinner, which is always fun. The kids love getting “snow” (icing sugar) on their pancakes and I love that I’ve finally figured out the perfect amount of syrup, so that they can still taste it, but not so much that they get completely sticky!

Kaeidyn and Kenzie are both officially in school and so far that’s being interesting. We’ve created a special spot just for their school papers, and I’m hoping that this year, we can actually keep that up. Last year we had created a space, and then everything else just kind of got piled on top of it. This year, I hope it’s different!

In other news, my boss at work is quitting and I’m a little sad and peeved about it. Her and I have finally gotten a pretty decent flow in the office and it’ll suck to have her leave when I feel like we work so well together. She’s been a great trainer, even though it’s harder for her to focus, but it’s been a great learning experience.

I’m peeved because I figured if she was quitting, likelihood would be that they would either bring in someone else from the office to do her job, or they would ask me if I would do it, being that she’s spent the last four and a half months teaching me her job. But instead, they hired somebody else and my boss is spending the next couple of weeks training her to take over her job.

We also had our receptionist quit awhile back and have recently hired a new receptionist. Since no one’s ever been trained on being the receptionist, we’re all trying to help out everywhere, and I personally feel like a lot of it falls on my shoulders. I kind of hate it that I have all these responsibilities outside of what my actual job responsibilities are, but I don’t get to have any title other than “The Assistant”…

Well, that’s what’s new today…


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My Day Zero Project – To Do: Clean the Kitchen


Another one of those things that has been on my to do list for WAY too long. While I make small strides towards this goal every week, it never gets anywhere closer to getting done. I’d like to change that.

I would really love to pull all the appliances out and clean behind them. I want to scrub the walls behind the stove and scour the floor beneath the fridge. Then I want to clean inside the appliances. I see this being a total gong show!

My oven is going to be the worst. That thing is so disgusting, and I’ve never had the opportunity to clean it out in my 3+ years of living here. It desperately longs to have a good clean. I want that oven to shine as if my old oven were new.

I want to pull all of the dishes and crap out of all the drawers and cupboards and completely clean those up and out. All the junk and stuff we don’t use at all (like martini ice strainers?!?) can be given away or thrown out. I’d like to pare down to what we actually use and then start saving up to buy myself things that I really really want, like a stand up mixer or a waffle iron.

I’d like to get all of the dishes completely cleaned and done. While I do dishes almost every night, there are always some left over in the sink or one that we didn’t know about out in the living room or some other thing like that. I’d like to have every single dish in my house completely cleaned and preferably put away.

I’d love to scrub all the walls down and get the table and chairs so clean that they shine. I’d like to get all the worst stains off the kitchen floor and I’d love to get this black shelf thing that we have out there, either thrown out or cleaned up so that we can use it for something.

Then, I’d like to keep the kitchen cleaned and organized. Make it a welcoming place for me to cook our family meals in, instead of a hostile environment that I tend to avoid like the plague. I’d like to get it set up enough that if one day I felt like baking with the kids, we could without having to dedicate 2 or 3 hours to cleaning up beforehand…

Ah, to have a clean kitchen. That’ll be the day! You can check out my clean and organize the kitchen task here and see the rest of my Day Zero Project tasks here.