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Archive for November, 2006

How do I do it? Really?

November 30th, 2006 at 04:13 am

Ok, as I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I am getting tired of my habit of eating frozen dinners (i.e. Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, etc.) and am really wanting to do more from scratch.

But . . . I'll use today at lunch as an example. I came home from work and was really hungry. I was out of cheese (because I foolishly left it out on the counter yesterday!) So, making a veggie turkey sandwich w/o cheese just didn't sound appealing. Neither did having a Boca burger plain. So, I ate my last Hot Pocket (broc & cheese).

I've got dried beans and dried lentils and vege burger mixes in my pantry. I've got tons of oatmeal, and a good amount of flour and cornmeal. I've got lots of different frozen veggies in my freezer. I also have a good number of canned soups and veggie chili. Not to mention my numerous frozen Morningstar/Boca products.

I'd like to try once-a-month cooking, or even twice a month. But the majority of the recipies I find for that (or for crockpot cooking) are either 1: Meat oriented or 2: Really cheesey or 3: High in sodium or some combination of the 3.

A blogger mentioned something about freezing their oatmeal??? That would be great for breakfast in the morning - but how exactly do you do it?

I'm really trying to eat more healthfully and am working on losing weight (34lbs gone so far since May!) I'm also really wanting to keep my grocery expenses low.

For awhile there I was eating a lot of Yoplait Yogurt, but then I read the label and figured out why I had finally found a yogurt I liked - the sugar content and that ingredient Dr. Oz on Oprah warns about in foods (Hydro something or other). I eat a banana for breakfast pretty much everyday, and have 2 servings of veggies for dinner most nights.

I'm really coming up on a blank. Apparentally the computer program Mastercook also comes up on a blank when trying to figure out recipies using my pantry list. Arghh!!

I refuse to buy any more boxed meals (with the exception of Morningstar/Boca etc.) ! For awhile when Healthy Choice had a $1/4 coupon I was buying 4-8 boxes of their Manicotti w/broccoli each week. I just finished the last box of that a few days ago.

I want to reduce the amount of trash I produce.

So . . . anyone? Suggestions/advice please???

Condensed points:
1. Want to stop buying premade frozen meals.

2. Want to reduce amount of trash.

3. Want to have foods that are easy to pop in the microwave for a quick lunch/dinner/breakfast.

4. Want foods that are meatless (cheese,eggs, milk, butter, ok.)

5. Want foods that are low in sodium and not *too* high in fat.

6. Want foods that are not difficult or overly time consuming to prepare - or to make enough to freeze.

7. Want to keep my grocery bill low.

Spending report:
Tuesday - none
Wednesday: $32.11 (Cable Bill x 2 -- am planning on canceling this at the end of December - same time my Tivo 1-yr gift sub runs out. Just can't see paying $16+/mo for Tivo + 13/mo for cable. Just not necessary.)

You want me to do what?

November 28th, 2006 at 03:41 am

I've been looking for ways to spend my evenings other than watching tv or on the internet. I've also been looking for ways to increase my physical activity.

I had thought about hiring a personal trainer for a one or two sessions a month - but the least expensive I could find was a mininum of $75 per session, IF you bought a whole bunch of sessions. Ummm . . . no.

I thought about joining a gym, but there again it would cost a lot more than I really want to/can afford to spend. Plus, I can't be 100% positive that I would get myself there enough to make up for the cost.

So .... I found a physical education class at my local community college. It meets twice a week for an hour and a half. They do a physical/fitness accessement at the beginning and end of the semester. It includes aerobics, strength training, and flexibility. There are a total of 32 sessions. The cost? $39 tuition + textbook $?.

The college is about an 8 minute drive from where I work/live even in the 5:30 p.m. traffic, so by 6:40 or so when I would need to leave to get there, traffic should be no problem.

Anyway, tonight I went to register. Because this is a credit class, I had to fill out an application for admission. A few years ago I had actually taken an Excell course and Intro to Computers course online through this college --- but for some reason they didn't retain copies of my transcripts. So, I was granted "conditional" admidtance (sp?) until I had my official transcripts. Fine, whatever.

I then went to the place you register for your class. The guy at the desk tells me that my degree (B.S. Elementary Ed) makes it so I don't have to take the reading test, but without official transcripts, I would have to take the math and writing tests!!!

I'm sorry, but I haven't had to use any higher level math in nearly 10 years! I took Statistics in college (UGH!) and barely passed it. I'm not exactly planning on taking any math classes anytime soon - if ever!

So, I ask him if that really is necessary for taking a physical education class. He goes, "Why didn't you say that in the first place?" I didn't say this - but I sure was thinking it -- YOU DIDN"T ASK ME! -- or furthermore -- Did you look at WHY I'm applying? Do you not see the field "Personal Interest" marked at least 4 times?!

Oy Vey!

At any rate, I am now registered for the class. It starts mid-January. I think I took a similar class to this my Junior year of college from a Dr. H. I couldn't stand her as a teacher, but I enjoyed the class - especially when I was able to chest press more weight than any other girl in the class. Smile

I'm going to have to see how much of a workout I actually get from this class, and then readjust my own workout schedule.

There is a second level to this class, so if I really get a lot from it, I'll take the second level during the summer session.

I'm hoping my then 31 year old self will be able to keep up with the late teens/early 20's kids in the class. Smile Although, since it is a night class, maybe there'll be some other adults in it.

I wish though I could find a class for simple car maintanance or an on site class about computer repair/upgrading.
It would be nice also to find a class that teaches healthy, low cost cooking for one (vegetarian style preferred!)

You would think in a city as large as this that there would be more options available for adult education classes

I bought a copy of Mastercook recently and entered about 30 items into my "pantry". Then clicked on the "What can I make?" button. It came up with syrup and caramel drops. Some of the items I listed: flour, bread, milk, cottage cheese, veggie franks, brocolli, mixed veggies, water, sugar, veggie meat crumbs, veggie chili . . etc.

I'm not so sure I want to keep this. I was kind of hoping it would help me figure out how to use the stuff in my pantry. I've been eating way too many frozen dinners and other stuff out of boxes.

No Spend days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Monday Spending:
Walmart - $5.31 groceries (fruit, canned veggies, small treat)

Somewhat unexpected news

November 26th, 2006 at 03:50 am

Wow! I just got a call from my dad. His stepdad died this evening - my Grandpa Harold. My Grandma wasn't there when it happened, so I hope she doesn't feel guilty about it. Her first husband, Grandpa Tony, died of diabetes complications nearly 30 years ago. She and Harold had been married about 27 years, of which he had been an invalid for at least the last 10 - due to diabetes. The last 4 or 5 years he had been on the brink of death so many times that I think most of us had come to the conclusion that he would just keep hanging on.

I wasn't really close to him, because he was already going kind of senile by the time I was old enough to develop any kind of a relationship with him. I am sad though for my grandma, losing her second husband now to diabetes.

I just got off the phone with my mom. At first I was thinking there's no way I could go out there for the funeral (CA) but then she reminded me that maybe there is a bereavement policy at my work so I wouldn't lose paid days. As far as airfare, I guess this is what I have my emergency fund for.

I'm going to call my grandma tomorrow to see if she'd like me to be there for the funeral, or rather me come out at a slightly later date. If I went after January I would then have vacation days that I could use, while right now I have used all my sick days and don't have any vacation days.

It's a blessing I guess that he held out till today, and didn't die on Thanksgiving.

His dying also changes some of my dad's plans. I wonder how God will work all this out. I know from my experiences the past two years especially, that somehow God does make things work out, so I'm really curious to see what is going to come of this.

Now I only have my Grandma left of my grandparents. I hope she lives long enough to be a part of my wedding and see at least my first child - in other words, live a long, long time more.

Wedding Pictures

November 5th, 2006 at 11:55 pm

I finally have some wedding pictures from my brother's wedding that I can share. The wedding was beautiful and went really well. I am so happy for my brother. Smile He just called me after getting back from his honeymoon. He sounded so happy. Smile

Pictured: My brother and his wife - Reception

Wedding Pictures - Part Two

November 5th, 2006 at 11:54 pm

For some reason I couldn't post more than one picture. So . .

I had two other pictures I was going to post, but I can't for some reason. I loaded the filename in the picture box, but it's not uploading it (or giving me a button to add it.) Oh well.

Pictured: My brother and I - Rehearsal Dinner

Spendy Day thanks to my car.

November 5th, 2006 at 11:52 pm

Wednesday was a very spendy day for me.

I started out by going to the geological library to do some research. On days I go there, I get off work a wee bit early.

My check engine light had been on for about three weeks. I had stopped at Autozone and they told me it was my oxygen sensor (did the test for free.)

I wasn't too worried about that, and probably wouldn't have done anything about it ---- except for the fact that my car was due for inspection in October.

Well, I procrastinated about doing anything about it until after my brother's wedding - knowing I'd still be in the grace period. Smile

I stopped at a car place I've used before and liked pretty well. At first they were telling me that the part alone would be between $200 - $300, depending on if it was in the front or back. I mentioned that I'd had my oxygen sensor replaced about six years earlier, and I remembered it only being around $170 - part,labor,tax. So the guy was like, "Well let me see if there's any after market parts available."

There was. In the end, the part ended up costing $143. The labor + diagnostic test was another $94 == $237.xx Ouch.

The good thing was that I was in and out of there in less than an hour.

Then I went down the road a bit and found an inspection station. I'd been there about half an hour, when the guy came into the office. He then said the dreaded words - "Your car didn't pass." Arghh!! But then he qualified it by saying there wasn't anything wrong with my car, just that there was no info in the computer. I mentioned about having the oxygen sensor just replaced, and he told me that had reset the computer.

He told me to drive it 40 miles or so, and bring it back to inspect again. I was afraid I would have to pay the fee again, but no, I would not (as long as I went back there.)

So, all told, my car cost me over $300 on Wednesday (including gas.)

I went back on Friday and passed inspection in less than ten minutes time. I'd sat down and was reading a book, totally expecting another half-hour wait. It was a pleasant surprise. Smile

Better than getting a ticket for an expired registration - thanks to the HUGE numbers on the stickers nowadays. Rolleyes