Thursday, March 21, 2013

Here we go again

So at this point most of you know that by this time next month we will be moved into the DC metro area (probably northern VA)!

The move:

The timing is a little stressful but I know that it will all work out and at least we will be settled in before the baby comes in Oct (fingers crossed).  It is going to be a time of new beginnings and we are all excited for the move (well Orson doesn't really get it).  We are hoping to find a 4 bedroom with one of the rooms being an in-law suite because Matt's dad is moving across the country with us as well.  So far Gainsville, Burke and Herdon, VA seem to have a few options in them.  This upcoming weekend is our only weekend left when all of us will be home together, so we will spend it packing and organizing our lives so that the rest of the month works out.  The next week we will all be in DC looking for a house, the next Orson and I will be home but Matt will be staying in DC to work, the next week Orson and I are in TX for Nathans wedding and Matt will be home (Matt will join us for the wedding that weekend) and then we come back and the rental trucks will be here waiting to load!!!! Whew, we never do things the easy way.  We probably should have stayed home and packed this last weekend but we had been planning a trip to Tahoe with the Pats for over a month and we didn't want to cancel at the last minute and the weekend before that we didn't have the move offer yet (although we thought it was going to happen so we spent Sunday packing up the front room) so we went to a garden in San Mateo to take pictures for my class (which ends just before O and I fly out to TX).  
With all this excitement going on we are also having to say goodbye to all of our dear friends, the house (which we are trying to short sale), all the adventures we have had here in Sacramento and my garden.  Last Thursday was our last time watching Lucy :(, this Wednesday will be our last play date at the house and this week will probably be the last time I get to go out for tea with the moms sans babies, I have been trying to take lots of pictures of everything.

San Mateo Gardens (Folili Gardens and Estate):
The gardens were so pretty, they were walled off sections with gates in between each.  I really liked the formal flower gardens but the fruit and veggie area was interesting as well (Orson liked the unripe pears the best).  The house was also interesting but I am an outside girl for the most part.

Goodbyes during the week:
Last Thursday with Lu
Play Dates

Tahoe and Virginia City:
This weekend was tons of fun.  We stayed in the condo of one of Pat and Pat's friends in Incline Village (we had never spent time on the North side of the lake), met up with Matt's Uncle Greg, Aunt Rene and their twins Royce and Jackson who were in Squaw Valley showing their Rolls Royce (the pools there were amazing!!!), and then on Sunday, drove out to Virgina City to ride on a train and walk around.  It was so nice to have some family time and some time that we didn't think all too much about the move (except to hyperventilate every once in a while about how much we had to get done).  Thank you so much Pat and Pat for such a lovely weekend.  Orson is still complaining that we didn't bring Grandma and Grandpa home with us :)

Meal Planning and Food budgeting, oh my!

After two years in AmeriCorps I look at our current food budget and think I must be insane, we fed a team of 12 for much, much less a month then the 4 of us spend!  And, as the boys get bigger and their food intake increases, I am terrified of what will happen if we continue down this path.  The other main reason I am doing this is because Matt and I want to get the little we have on credit cards gone and get our overall spending more in control (hopefully start putting away for a rainy day or a vacation).  Since working is not a great option for me, with three kids and day care being so darn much, and since we love having me home with the boys, this is one way I can really contribute to the finances.  What are some other ways you stay-at-home moms help out?  I would love ideas. 

So I am embarking on the adventure of meal planning, limiting the food budget and still trying to eat whole, healthy, gluten free foods.  In that vein I have set a budget of $400 a month for all our food and have created a monthly meal plan.  I also want to start setting aside freezer meals for when the baby comes, so I plan on making extra soups and casseroles as I can.  We have two big addictions to regulate in order to do all this, the first is Eating Out (should be an easy fix, no more eating out) the second is fruit! I don't want to "fix" this but I do want to try eating more seasonably and more reasonably.  Lets just say I can't wait for the farmer's markets to open up around here. 
I found this cute meal planning worksheet online and have tried to include new and favorite meals on it.

 Some other small differences come from what I gave up for lent (buying treats at the grocery store, not so easy with pregnancy cravings) and the bread machine I got for Christmas (making your own GF bread really knocks costs down). The boys and I have been creating treats in the kitchen for the last month and I have been making GF bread products weekly as well.  I hope to continue to have the will power to do this and see where it all leads.  

Lastly, I am very ready to get a garden going, come on Spring! My little seedlings are going strong and I am excited to see what takes off this year.

I will try to get better about posting recipes again, It helps me to remember what we liked and how I made it and its always nice to share GF ideas.

Please leave me your favorite go to recipes if you have any!  I'm always on the hunt for simple, fast and healthy :)