Paul and I were talking the other night and as our minds sometimes do, we ended up wandering into our long and varied past.
We’ve been together nearly 19 years, almost half of our lives, so there is a lot of history between us. We’ve watched each other grow up, really.
It’s no surprise that the walk we took down memory lane was peppered with food memories and we wandered through some of our favorite meals and finally landed on some forgotten recipes from back in the day when neither of us knew a lot about food other than what came out of our mothers kitchens.
One dish in particular came up that I learned from a neighbor when I was in my early 20’s, not long after we were married. It was a simple meal, easy enough to make, but somehow over the years it’d been all but forgotten by both of us. Of course, it’s now been requested, and I’ll end up sharing it with all of you, but that’s not really the point of this post.
During that same time, I got really into meal planning and menu planning. I operated on a tight grocery budget, much like I’ll be doing here, and it’s an idea I’m considering revisiting.
I do know that when you’re on a budget, every penny counts. Very careful budget planning is often the only way to survive.
Although my budget will be tighter than I’d like until I get the business going, I’ll have a little breathing room thanks to the way we’ve chosen to live and thanks to CB and her hubby for not charging me an arm and a leg in rent!
Still, I know there are a lot of people out there in today’s economy struggling to make ends meet.
Paul finding a job had caused a bit of a reshuffle around here. The hours he’s going to be working are going to greatly
Honestly, my life has led me to master very few things. It has mostly been focused on raising my daughter and being a wife. Cooking, cleaning, household management, child (and husband) rearing…those are all what I suppose you’d consider my areas of expertise, if I have any at all.
Now that I think of it, I suppose I did major in something…surviving being poor.
Paul and I have never been rich and I don’t see us ever getting there. To put it bluntly, we’ve both been poor our entire adult lives. We both finished high school and we both attended college, but I was a ready-made family when he met me and we both tried to focus on doing all we could to raise my daughter. That meant full-time jobs for both of us for a while and when I left the work force, it was to be a full-time mom and wife because those things were always where my heart really was. College just never seemed like a real option to either of us and since a family was what we both really wanted rather than high-paying (and high stress) careers, he focused on trade skill jobs, including cooking, while I focused on taking care of us.
It was a trade-off, yes. One that I’ve had called into question recently, but I stand by the fact that I don’t regret it and neither does he.
So, I guess that leads me to state my qualifications then, right? Here goes.
I became pregnant my senior year in high school at the tender age of 17. I was married the first time two weeks before my 18th birthday. Not exactly a shotgun wedding, but close enough. I gave birth to the daughter who would be my only biological child (we’ve unofficially became parent figures to others over the years) 6 months after I turned 18, about the time I would have been starting my 1st semester at college.
My first marriage was abusive and brief. One of the reasons my ex-husband used as an excuse to be abusive was that I wasn’t a good enough wife and mother, didn’t know how to cook well enough or manage a house. I tried my best while we were together, but I decided, if I ever remarried, that I would make it my goal to learn all those things somehow.
I’ve been lucky with Paul. He’s a good man, patient, supportive, understanding. He’s never belittled me, in all of our 19 years, for not being a good enough anything. I couldn’t ask for better.
Over the course of our marriage, he’s stood by me as I expanded my limited cooking knowledge, taught myself a different way to budget than the way my mom had taught me, fought with a natural tenancy towards laziness to make myself get up and clean and learned, at times with his help, how to successfully manage our household in every way.
Now, I don’t have to try so hard. Years of fussing with, and at, myself has lead me to develop routines and ways of doing things that work for me and I do most of those things out of habit now.
One tool, other than a supportive husband and sheer determination, that I will recommend if you’re having trouble getting your house under control or struggling with clutter, a tool my best friend shared with me some years ago is Flylady. The Flylady, was a god-send to me back when I was really struggling. I honestly don’t know if I’d be who, and where, I am today without her and her website.
There is tons of useful information on her site and you’ll notice as I share my own tips and tricks, that there is a dash of her in nearly everything I do.
Of course, I can’t share her specific system with you here, so make sure you go check her out.
I suppose that’s enough for this post. When I have time to sit down with internet soon, I’m going to rearrange some of the categories at the top to make things easier to find.