September 29, 2011

Changing Shifts & Shifting Gears

The good news is that Nathan started a new job this week. The bad news? He works 3pm-11:30pm. He doesn't get home until I'm in bed and doesn't wake up until after I leave in the morning. Both our jobs are a half hour from home and 20 minutes from each other, so dropping by for lunch isn't going to happen either. In other words, we aren't going to be seeing much of each other.

This is going to be quite the transition. These last couple weeks before he started the job, I tried to make the most of our evenings, spending as much time with him as possible. I wasn't worried about things like dusting, reading, or blogging. Now, I'm going to be on my own each evening with plenty of time to get work done. But so far, I'm not doing much of anything. I've just been sitting around while the dishes pile up and the floors get dirtier and dirtier. I've gotten used to this relax mode I was in.

I need to figure out how to switch gears and restructure my time. My weekly chore schedule is going to need to change to make my Saturdays open. I'm thinking one day of intense cleaning, one day for intense cooking and baking, one day for shopping, and two days of light cleaning and whatever projects I want. We also need to figure out how to pack a week's worth of quality time into the weekends. We've been having date nights almost every Saturday since we've been married, but we'll need to make it a date day!

I'm thankful for this new job. I'm thankful we only had eight weeks with just my paycheck and didn't need to touch our emergency fund. I'm just not thrilled about this life change, and neither is Nathan.

Anyone have tips on how to survive working opposite shifts?

Check out more Try New Adventures Thursday at Alicia's Homemaking.

September 9, 2011

Picky Eaters & Other Quirks

I know I've mentioned before that Nathan is a picky eater. He says he can't change his taste buds, and I get that, but it sure makes my life complicated. I feel like I'm making food for a toddler!

Pizza with only toppings Nathan hates, a.k.a. deliciousness

These are just a few of the ways he's a picky eater:
  • He doesn't like "chunky" tomatoes. Even diced tomatoes have to go in the food processor.
  • He has no tolerance for spicy food. He even hates ginger. (Pepperoni is pushing it.)
  • He likes raisins by themselves but not baked in things
  • He won't eat lettuce, peas, broccoli, peppers, or just about any other vegetable.
  • Apples, apricots, and potatoes must be peeled for him to eat them.
  • He hates pineapple. He insists even a little pineapple juice ruins punch.

    But really, it's unfair for me to say he's the picky eater. Even though I will eat almost anything, I do have my quirks when it comes to food. One day when Nathan was kind enough to make me a sandwich for lunch, I complained that he hadn't sliced it diagonally. "Now who's the toddler?" he asked me. Oh. Oops.

    These are some ways I'm a picky eater:
    • I don't like milk on my cereal. Any cereal. Ever.
    • I hate fresh bananas or anything banana-flavored (just like the Pioneer Woman). However, I love dried bananas and banana nut bread.
    • I don't like donuts.
    • I like my sandwiches cut diagonally.
    • I can't stand it when different foods touch each other.
    • I hate asparagus.

    It's easy to make fun of someone's quirks when they're not your own. We might not even think some of our preferences or behaviors are odd because it's just the way our families have always done things. For example, since I grew up eating both canned and frozen varieties of most vegetables, I thought Nathan was picky for insisting that frozen corn and canned green beans are good, but canned corn and frozen green beans were disgusting. Then I mentioned this fact at his parents' house, and his parents agreed that these preferences were just common sense. We all have our own definition of normal.

    Marriage is a great way to learn about your quirks. I never realized until Nathan pointed it out that I drive with my left foot on the seat and my left knee over against the window. Apparently walking around while brushing your teeth isn't normal either. The good news is that Nathan hasn't discovered anything weird enough to scare him off (yet).

    Has your spouse pointed out quirks you didn't know you had?

      September 6, 2011

      Our Labor Day Weekend

      We spent a lot of our three-day weekend working on more decluttering. We filled Nathan's trunk (a huge one!) with boxes and bags of excess to take to Goodwill. We also sold a box of books at Half Price Books for $11.50 (and managed to leave the store with $3). 

      We continued weeding out the clutter after the Goodwill trip. I spent time going through my dresser, asking questions like how many pairs of Christmas socks is excessive? Nathan went through his closet and found several shirts, pants, and ties he didn't need. We came up with enough extra clothes between the two of us to fill at least another trash bag!

      Marsh was tripling coupons again this weekend, so we had to make a trip there. We got all of this for $10.65, and they weren't even tripling $1 coupons this time. That definitely topped my Memorial Day triple coupon shopping. It was fun having Nathan with me to help me decide what to buy and to watch my couponing skills in action. He said I "kicked some serious tail."

      (An old photo. It wasn't that cold Monday.)

      While we spent a lot of Monday relaxing, we were very active for some of the day. We started out the day by taking Nenya on a two and a half mile walk, and later Nathan and I biked another 11 miles. Not bad for two people who have hardly exercised at all the past year!

      It wasn't anything too exciting, but we have so many weekends with planned events or traveling out of town that it's nice to just stay at home sometimes!

      September 1, 2011

      5 Goals for 2011: Revising & Refocusing

      I haven't written about my progress on my goals since February, partly because hardly anyone read the first two posts and partly because I didn't feel like I was making much progress. I've realized that I wasn't making progress because my goals were too vague for there to be any way to measure my success. It's time to revise my goals and then refocus on them for these last four months of the year.

      1. Exercise on a regular basis
      That one hasn't happened at all. Nathan and I will say we're finally going to start exercising, but we never do. It's hard to be motivated when neither of us ever gain weight either. (I still weigh about what I did when I stopped growing. I guess it's no wonder people think I look 15.) I don't know that putting a number on this one will help, but I'm going to try anyway.

      Revised goal: Exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Any exercise! Just doing yoga again would at least help me get back into a healthier routine. 

      2. Wake up earlier.
      I was doing a little better at this one for a while, but we've been staying up later now that Nathan doesn't have to get up early. Lately I haven't been stumbling out of bed until almost 7:00, and I have to leave by 7:30 to make it to work on time. I think my original hope of waking up at 5:30 was a little unrealistic though.
      Revised goal: Go to bed at 10:00 each night and wake up at 6:00 each morning.

      3. Keep Our Apartment Clean
      I think I've done a pretty good job with this one, but it needs to be a more measurable goal.
      Revised goal: Complete my daily chores and leave no dishes in the sink at the end of the day. Obviously there will be days when nothing gets done, but I still want this to be the goal.

      4. Continue to find ways to decrease our expenses and increase income.
      I've found small ways to decrease expenses in certain categories. As for increasing income, I was mainly thinking of freelance work, but I don't think that's going to happen this year. If someone wants me to do design work for them I'll do it, but I'm not going to try to seek out any work when I hardly have any free time as it is. Hopefully next year. I'm just going to try to focus on one area of our expenses.
      Revised goal: Spend less than $200 a budget period on food (groceries and eating out). We've been consistently spending around $300. Yikes! Just cutting that by a third would save us $1,300 a year! (We track our budget in thirteen four-week periods.)

      5. Write at least 2 blog posts a week.
      That one doesn't need to change. I tried writing every other day for a while and even every day for a few days, but two is what I can manage during this season of life.

      If you set goals for yourself this year, how are you doing with them?