Cooking Ahead

One of the biggest changes or should I say most difficult change for me, is going to be that I am responsible for dinner most days of the week. Both Matt and I will be working until around 4:30pm each day.  I know myself and realize that if I don’t have something that is already complete in the crockpot or can be placed in the oven with five minutes or less of prep than I will want to eat out. But really after working all day who does want to cook?  With this in mind, I spent most of my day today working on meal preparation. I know there are a couple of people who wander what and how so I am going to provide probably too many details.

First up was left-over chicken and pasta from the beach.  This was an excellent meal made by Amanda but we had leftovers especially chicken breast.  I shredded  1/4 of the chicken breast, mixed in about half a block of cream cheese together with the left-over pasta and this was our lunch today. I shredded the rest of the chicken breast, added a bag of frozen vegetables, cut up a potato, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup mixed with a cup of chicken broth and pour on top. Kendall wrote a index card with the directions for the topping and in the freezer it went.

I purchased a 10 pound bag of chicken breast from Costco that I pulled out next. I used my insta pot to cook approximately 4 pounds, really as full as it would go. Next, the kitchen aid shredded the chicken. I was able to make 2 containers of Chicken Broccoli Casserole .    I have learned that I needed to chop up the broccoli in order to make everyone happy.  I also made 2 batches of Chicken Enchiladas-  I don’t add the salsa or cheese on top before freezing. Finally made a regular Chicken Pie. Kendall added a card with instructions. I also labeled both the top and side with what each thing was.  I added about another 3 pounds of chicken breast to the instapot and cut this is cubes for Chicken Fried Rice. ( I will try and add the recipe for this soon). I left 6 breast in the bag and added a bottle of Italian dressing. This will marinate for 3 or 4 days and become awesome grilled chicken. That is a total of 8 meals from one bag of chicken and 9 meals prepped for the day.

We, Matt and I did an inventory last night and we have 2 meals of cowboy beans, a meal of taco soup, several meals of Salisbury steak, taco meat and sloopy joes all prepared.   Matt is also excited to find 10 more frozen burritos.

Taco meat is easy, brown 5 pounds of hamburger dump in crock pot along with water and seasoning, cook on low for 3-4 hours. We divide ours into 1# bags for either tacos or nachos.

Sloppy joes are similar with 5 pounds of browned hamburger, this also cooks in the crook pot for several hours. These are also packed in 1# bags, which feeds the 6 or 7 of us easily.

We also have lots of beef from the cow we purchased. I do want to make some easy breakfast this week but am starting to feel more comfortable with our meals. The last stage will be writing out a meal plan for the month some time this week.

Five Things Friday 8/10/2018

1. We are currently on vacation in Cherry Grove South Carolina.  Our vacation started last Sunday and we will head back home this Sunday, the August 12th. Haley came down on Sunday and stayed to Wednesday.  My mother came on Monday and will be leaving on Saturday. Amanda and her significant other arrived late Wednesday night and will stay till Sunday.  We have had the perfect beach weather with lots of time on the beach!

2. On Tuesday, I was offered a position at Davie County Schools.  I accepted it the same day. This is a different school district than the kids are in, but the schedule should be similar enough to allow us the flexibility we need.  I will get off two months in the summer in addition to a couple of weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring and all major holidays.!

3. After accepting the new position, I realized that I have been wearing scrubs  for the past 7 or more years. I have purchased some jeans and shorts but did not have but one pair of pants other than jeans.   We have also spent some time shopping at the outlets near by.  I was able to purchase 3 pair of pants, 2 shirts and a long sleeve dress for $125.00

4. Today is my 46th birthday!  We spent the morning on the beach. We shopped at the Nike outlet this afternoon, prior to going to eat real fresh seafood.  We also spent time shopping at a Christmas store. Both LIly and Amanda purchased new items for my birthday at the store. This has been an awesome birthday.

5.On Saturday our lawn mower, started an untimely death. We will have to replace it during this next week.

Monday menu Plan

I really think it is more important to have a menu plan on vacation than on most normal weeks. The reason is that a plan allows you to bring food from home and prevents overspending.  So here is our plan for this week.

Sunday:  breakfast- Biscuit King, lunch-TGIFridays, dinner-pasta salad, made at home.

Monday- breakfast- gravy and biscuits, lunch-sandwhiches,dinner- hot dogs

Tuesday- breakfast- Jimmy Dean crossiant, lunch- tacos, dinner- Cheeseburger in Paradise

Wednesday- breakfast- Poptarts or leftovers, lunch Pizza, Dinner- baked ziti

Thursday- breakfast- Atlantis, lunch- sandwhiches or leftovers, Dinner- Amanda cooking

Friday- poptarts; toast donuts or crossiant, lunch sandwhiches or leftovers, dinner – seafood

Saturday- breakfast Atlantis, lunch- leftovers or McDonald’s Dinner- leftovers

Sunday- Breakfast- Atlantis, lunch- fast food on way home, Dinner- chicken nuggets

Thursday Thoughts- Sheila’s Work Update

I have been sort of quiet about my job change for a couple of reason.

The first of which is that the hospital required a 28 calendar day notice.  I also needed to tell my patients/ families in person.  I was also concerned about how notice would work out. I have only one day left and am relief that all though it has been very stressful and I have struggled, things have worked out the way anticipated regarding dates.  My official last day of work will be tomorrow August 3rd, but my official termination date is August 10th. The difference is I was allowed to use my already scheduled vacation. This does not seem like a huge difference because vacation time will be paid with my last paycheck but the difference is my insurance. We, as a family, will lose insurance on August 18th.  I will plan to post an entire blog about insurance and my thoughts in the very near future.

Another issue has been working out details regarding both of my new jobs. The first is really a night time job as I will be working in the evenings/nights Sunday- Thursday via Skype in the territory of Guam.  I am still not certain of the number of hours even each day but hopefully will be able to schedule around the kids activities.  I have been working on receiving OT license for Guam since May. The latest update is that I should be approved on August 10th.  I am now anticipating starting this in September. My second or daytime job is   I will be doing Home Health therapy with children under the age of 18 years.  I have signed a contract with this company but will not be official begin work until August 27th. I will be working four days a week, continuing with Thursday off, the biggest change is my hours will be 8-2pm so that I can pick the kids up from school each day!

Did you look at the calendar?   Let me share that I will have an extended 3 week vacation between jobs!  We have our annual family vacation the first week but I am so excited to have a couple of weeks at home to catch up and enjoy before going back to work. I am planning to share a lot more on the blog during this time and also hope to share other changes including finances as well.

July in Review

So July did bring some much better news for us financially. Matt started his new job in July!  We will not see a huge benefit with this until at least September but it is a huge first step.

Financial- July was not as good as June,  We increased our overall debit by $459. I am hoping to see a significant change in this in August. We have some outside of the box plans that I will share as they occur.

Grocery budget $475- Total spent $580.23. Yikes. This is another month over budget. I may need to increase this amount again in the coming months when things settle down.

Gas budget- $280- Spent $291. I am going to increase the budget to $300 a month starting in August.  We purchased a small car to use for my home health job so I am hopeful that this will keep our expenses close to $300 each month.

Kid/Summer expenses : No extra expenses for July. However both Baseball and LYT will be due in August

Earned $115- This is also a slight improvement over the month of July. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. Extra money is always a bonus!

Personal-
Blogging- 7 for the month. This should definitely increase with my new job!
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.

I am going to be really honest and say that August appears to be another tight month until we are able to adjust to our new incomes. I will only be paid for 2 weeks in August and Matt will be short of pay for our week of vacation. 

 

Monday Menu Plan

Life happens so you have to adapt some days. We usually plan out our menus a month in advance. This way we can use what we have and then purchase what we need. I also hope that it eliminates trips to the store.  However, life happens, on Friday, Matt discovered that our small refrigerator in the building went out. We were able to salvage everything. But that meant we grilled 24 pork chops and I used the crock pot for a 5# bag of chicken legs.  You will notice, we are eating a lot of chicken and pork this week. We also leave for vacation on Sunday, so I like to empty out the refrigerators as much as possible.

Breakfast- Saturday-BLT on sour dough bread with fresh tomatoes , Sunday- Bagels Monday- smoothies for kids, eggs and grits for me.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or  grits.

Lunch- Saturday-veggie day- to use our fresh garden vegetables and some we were given   , Sunday- Lunch with friends.  Matt and I will have leftovers or sandwiches and the kids will be treated to lunch by my mom at least 3 days this week. She is picking them up from VBS.

Dinner – Saturday- Grilled pork chops or BBQ chicken legs, potato salad and fried squash, Sunday-  Leftovers from fridge, Monday- Steaks with veggies again from refrigerator , Tuesday-  mashed potatoes or cowboy beans ( Lily and Zach have orthodontic appointments) , Wednesday- Chicken pie (using chicken legs), Thursday- Pork Fried rice (using grilled pork chops) and Friday-free style- including left-overs.

Survival Mode

I can definitely say that for the last week and probably at least till next Saturday (August 4) we are in survival mode. The fact that everyone is dressed and breathing is the goal. Eating should occur but otherwise count me out.

Why survival mode?
During this two week period, Matt and I both are working full time jobs. Matt’s job is extra stressful due to this being his first month. He is working hard to make improvements that are noticeable but still being respectful to his predecessor. I am completing  my final two weeks at the hospital. It is hard to say goodbye to some of my patients and the management is continuing to make it very obvious that I have made the right decision to move.

Kendall and Zach attended an Art Discovery camp this past week and plan to attend our church Vacation Bible School during this coming week. This adds stress for being on time, drop off and picking up. In addition, grouchy children are very possible.

I have been diagnosed with an infection, which is occasional painful. The bigger issue is that I think that the antibiotic is adding to my fatigue and overall poor mood.

I am still trying to obtain licensure in Guam. I have been working on this since mid-May.  I am becoming more and more frustrated. The first problem is that the department ONLY reviews licensure application on the first Friday of each month.  The second problem is that they appear to only answer email on the third Friday of each month.  Finally, this process is set up for a new graduate, not a season therapist. For example, based on their required forms, I need a professor from my college to sign a document that detailed the number of theory hours and the number of fieldwork hours. This document needs to be attached to my official college transcripts from the college. Last Friday, I received an email reply to one of my four previous attempts that simply stated these were required in order to review my application.

The blessing that are being discovered and enjoyed in this survival mode.
Matt LOVES his new job and the hours will be perfect once I am no longer working so much. I am convinced now more than ever, this job change is much needed!

My mother has been so generous to help with picking up and dropping off children and is making sure that get to eat lunch or a snack with her.

Because of the antibiotic, I need to limit my sun exposure. Saturday, we all stayed home and got a lot of housework and cooking completed. Today, Sunday, Matt and the kids are at the pool. I am using the time to catch up here and in other small ways around the house.

Because of my notice, I ended up with only two patients on my schedule last Friday which allowed me time to head to Winston Salem State University. I contact the OT department to discover not only was one of my professors still on staff but she was in the office on Friday. I spent several hours but was able to get the form completed and attached to my transcripts, which were sent out in the mail Friday afternoon. I have again provide all the required information, so hopefully my licensure will be approved.

5 days and counting………..

Job Update

Matt has started his new job and absolute LOVES it.  He is currently working from home 50% of the time, which allows us to continue with our busy lives!  We have purchased several pair of dress pants and a couple of pair of dress pants but less than $50 has update his work clothes.

I am currently working out my notice at the hospital. I officially have 8 days left but who is counting. I had a previously scheduled vacation for the second week of August, which they chose to honor.  My last official day will be August 10th. My job with the home health company will not begin until August 27th.  I am a little anxious but mostly looking forward to the two week break between returning from the beach and officially beginning the new position.  I realize that I will need to purchase some new long sleeves/pants outfits to wear. I have been wearing scrubs for most of the last 10 years with a coat in the winter time or long sleeves under shirts to this is a huge need.  I have enough OT t-shirts that until it turns cold I should be ok.  I am actively working with the company to get started in Guam. I am anticipating this to start in mid August as well. I have no concrete details but hope things start to take shape in the near future.

We have purchased a new to us/used car to reduce the number of miles and improve gas mileage.  We currently have spent several hours cleaning it up but are very hopeful that we have not discovered any major issues. Matt will be driving for the next month until I start my home health job.

I am hopeful to increase my post as I look forward to having additional time at home starting in August.

Season of Change

I have hinted several times that big changes were in the works for our family.  I am so excited and scared to death to share and start these changes. First  let me explain the reasons for the changes.  We have been struggling for over a year with two things, first finances and second- how busy we are. The answer to our financial problems seems easy- increase your income. The answer to our crazy busy lives seems much harder.  I could have never imagined that both of these problems could be answered at the same time.

Both Matt and I have been actively seeking different employment during the last several months. I am excited to share that we both have been successful and will be changing jobs in the next month. Matt is the marketing manger for the Davie County Humane Society. He actually started with training this past week  and will officially start this Monday.  I have given my resignation and will be completing my employment in mid August. I have accepted two different contract positions. One is for local pediatric home health and the second is school system contracting in Guam and several other states.  Matt position is for 30 hours per week, so he is increasing both his pay and hours.  The positions I have accepted are going to start at around 20-25 hours per week but may/ hopefully increase to around 30 hours in the next year. My hours will be school hours (8-2) and 7pm to 10 pm Sunday and Wednesday nights.  These are flexible and will allow me to be at home and spend much more quality time with the kids. I am so excited. Kendall expressed why this is so important to us with this statement “Mom, you will be home for dinner EVERY night?  That is the best news EVER!” My salary should remain about the same as now depending on the number of patients, I am given to start with. The biggest change will be with insurances and taxes.

Change is scary! Change in jobs is really scary!  I will not be able to establish a good budget or really much of any budget until at least September. My best estimate is that we will work paycheck to paycheck until November with the goal of establishing and maintaining a budget by January.  There are several reasons that establishing the budget will be so difficult. First, I will have a two-three week period where I am not working at all or very minimal at best. Second, I am still unsure of how many hours I will be working at each position. Third, my hours will continue to be unsteady until at least October. We must also decided and obtain health insurance and figure out our tax liability.

In anticipation of these changes, we have tighten the budget and are really working to save every penny possible during the month of July.  I will try and share more about these major changes as I process through them.  We have decided not to change our scheduled Beach vacation so that will give us some time to re-charge and actually communicate!