a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This works for me

I am at the age that I need a list to go grocery shopping. I used to be able to remember everything in my head, but those years are long gone. Except for routine things we buy, if anything is needed for a recipe or household supplies, I need to write it down.

I start my grocery list with meal planning for the week. It really does go smoother if I know what every day we will be eating.  Friday we go out to eat. Below is our meal plan for the upcoming week. 

Usually Sunday nights the young family come over for dinner, but this week son is working and due to different schedules, we'll be watching the kids so we're taking them to Peter Piper Pizza (think on the order of Chuck E Cheese) for a little variety. Usually the family comes over on Wednesday and sometimes I'll send leftovers with them or keep them and use them on Thursday when we watch the wee one. Like to keep Thursday very simple with meal preparation.

A few months back I got the brilliant idea (thank you God) that when we watch the kids Saturday afternoon, we would take them grocery shopping with us for the week. It would serve two purposes. We would get the job done and still have some of the day to do what we wanted and it would help teach our step grand daughter about grocery shopping. When I was her age (11-1/2 years old) I was going to the store alone for my mom or with my brother or sometimes my sister. My mom knew what items cost and she knew how much would fit in a bag of groceries. She gave us a list and the money and we took care of what needed to get bought. We didn't have a car when I was growing up, so oftentimes had to go to the store several times weekly to get what was needed.

To make it seem like "fun" to take our step grand daughter to the store, we decided to "pay" her for her help. We gave her the option of either $5 a week in cash or buying something at the store that cost up to $5. If she purchased an item that was $2.30, then we didn't give her the difference of $2.70.  It was either or. Cash upfront or item(s) up to $5. Most weeks she chooses items to buy. 

She helps by getting items off the shelf, looking for items, etc., and we are teaching her how to comparison shop, look for the best prices, things on sale, etc. The wee one enjoys sitting in the cart and looking around.

Before I would write my list randomly of what was needed and I could keep track of it as we weaved through the aisles of the store. But having to keep an eye on the wee one and the step grand daughter got to be a bit too much and I found myself having to go back to make sure I got everything on the list.

So I devised a "shop by section" shopping list (which I am sure is very common, I just hadn't searched for one).

And made something similar to this below. Listing the different departments in the order we would "hit" them. Up until this past weekend, I would weekly hand write the categories until I realized I should write one out, print it and be "good to go."  So as I'm getting together the list, I write down in the various departments what is needed.

This week's finished list looked like this. There were other things we bought, but things we routinely buy or check out the aisles, like the chip aisle for instance. 

As we shop, I cross off the items. It is always a good feeling to get to the end of it :) And I'm always grateful to have the money to be able to by what we need and want.

In case you read the list, under baby when it says "protein x2" it means baby food that has some type of protein (chicken, etc., in it). We keep a supply of baby stuff here, formula, diapers, baby food, wipes, etc., so when we watch the wee one, they don't have to bring stuff with them for his care. So protein x2 would mean two packages (two to a pack) of baby food that would be considered a meal.

This system works for me. A few years ago I wrote a post "the list works if you work the list". I'm too lazy to search it out and highlight it here. But basically if you write down things on the list and use it for shopping, you'll get what you need.

I still believe the list works if you work the list. As long as it is written down, it is purchased. There are still those times when I forget to write something down and think I'll remember it.

And you know that rest of that story.

Do you use a list for grocery shopping?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Eat healthy, lose weight, exercise more

That my dear friends is how I intend to purposefully live in 2017.  

This is based on the sermon I heard today at church, but it also applies to those that might not have a faith or a different faith than I might have.  

Let my apply these principals in general and then how they might apply to one who has a faith.

Eat healthy - We all know to keep our bodies running the best way they can we have to put the proper food into it. A diet of junk food, while can potentially be delicious, is destructive for our overall health long term.  We must eat healthy foods generally with those occasional unhealthy foods allowed, as long as in moderation.

A person of faith can apply this not just with healthy eating for their body, but what they are eating on spiritually.  Habits like reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, going to church, staying away from things that can potentially be harmful, not appropriate movies, songs, TV shows, etc. Spending too much time on social media and less time pursuing things that are worthy, those I mentioned above.  

Lose weight - We all know the benefits of weight loss. Less stress on joints and muscles and vital organs like the heart and lung. Less potential of developing serious health problems like diabetes and hypertension.  But, and this applies to nonbeliever and believer, there are other things we should lose. Bitterness, anger, fear, worry, anxiety, and so much more. We need to drop those things that encumber us from living a freeing life or for the believer, the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live. He came to give us life, not to steal it or destroy it. The enemy, for those that believe, does enough of that himself. We need to lose weight to live abundantly.

Exercise more - A body that is moving is generally a more healthy body. Muscles need to be used or they will become deconditioned. The same thing happens if we don't exercise kindness or love or generosity and so much more. Those qualities and similar need to be exercised more and not less if again we want to live the abundant life.

This is how I want to live 2017.  Eat healthy, lose weight, exercise more.

And my intent to do so?

So many pick a word of the year they concentrate on. I haven't in a while, but this year felt moved to pick a word. Two came to mind, but I settled on.


As in "Fix My Eyes on Jesus" the author and perfecter of my faith.  Fix my eyes more on him by reading my Bible more, spending more time in prayer and meditation and reflection.  That's the eating part.  

For the losing weight part, I need to let go of anxiety, worry, and fear, my natural default mode when times get tough. I spent too many minutes, hours, days, weeks at the end of 2016 paralyzed with worry and fear. I am intentionally letting go of that "dear" friend of mine anxiety in the year 2017. I have a strategy of working on it through scripture and prayer. I intend to be less anxious by the end of 2017 (prayers needed on this if you pray). But I do intend to lose the weight of anxiety significantly in this new year.

And finally exercise more.  Exercise more physically as I have become a bit deconditioned but also by being kinder, more gentle, more loving, more generous and so much more. Remembering that Christmas spirit all through the year and not just in preparation for that one day that comes and goes way too fast.

So that is my intent for this new year.

Fix my eyes on Jesus. I truly believe if my main focus is him it will lead up to my second word for the year that I played around, which is Joy. If I fix my eyes on him, I do believe that joy will be found.

Will this be easy to do? No. It goes against my grain. Remember, anxiety, worry and fear are my default mode. I need to consciously live differently and that I intend to do.

By eating healthy, losing weight, and exercising more.

And I truly believe 2017 will be the year God wants me to have. Living abundantly in him.

I trust he will keep his promises and his word.

Fix My Eyes on Jesus in 2017.

That's my goal and my resolution each day in 2017. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

one more loose end being tied up

Look what I found!  Remember when I was mentioning needing a gingerbread cookie recipe

Lo and behold.  What did I find at the grocery store a few weeks later? Honestly, this is the extent of my baking.  I'm not one to measure sugar and flour and eggs and whatnot together to create a cookie dough.  

This is easy peasy in my books.

Get a few tubes of icing and we are good to go.  

Step grand daughter can help bake them in the oven and then she can decorate the 12 cookies.  Win-win solution in my book!!

This is my last post for 2016.  I'll be reading and commenting on blogs, but won't post anything here until 2017 (can you believe already 2017???)

Its been an interesting year.  Ups and downs.  That is life.  A new grandson, a move to a new area, other curves along the way.  Up and down.  That is life.

I let a lot of things steal my joy this year.  My joy is not found of this world, but in Jesus.  I kind of forgot that in all my recent struggles.  I'm finding joy again in that Savior that was born so many years ago in a lowly manger. Don't let anyone steal your joy.

My mom made this many years ago.  She enjoyed her arts and crafts and was good at them.  12/13/2016 was the 10th anniversary of her passing.  First of all, I can't believe its been 10 years. Second of all, it made me realize what a wonderful woman she was (as is all of our moms).  Life is so fleeting here this side of eternity, no matter how many years one might get to live.  Don't take your loved ones for granted.  Love them completely and unconditionally.  We just never know how many days we are granted and we must live life to the fullest. 

Thank you all who come and visit and leave a comment.  Thank you all who think good thoughts or say a prayer for me.  It is always appreciated (and always needed). 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!

See you in 2017

Thursday, December 8, 2016

tying up loose ends

There were a couple blog posts where I asked your advice about this and that and I thought you might be interested to see what the "final outcome" was.

Remember when I asked your opinion about posting a sign to keep solicitors away? We finally did get a sign and attached it to the window by the front door.  The outcome?  Wouldn't you know it.  Honestly since that time NO ONE trying to sell something or solicit something has come to the door (at least through the hours of 9:30 a.m to 6 p.m. when I'm working). So not sure if it is effective, but its posted. Time will tell.

Remember the post about the sewer bill from our previous home in San Diego? Something that I was trying to resolve close to a year after the property was no longer ours? I have to give hubby credit. When he decided to pursue it, he went after it diligently.  He called literally every day and explained the situation, tried to get resolution.  He finally connected with one of the people I had originally talked to who had moved up to management over time.  He got her personal number there at the company and called her daily. This happened pretty much daily through the month of August. She told him that the system was undergoing a change that month, but she was working on getting things cleared up and called him to let him know that the account had been closed. They bill bimonthly.  We should have gotten a bill in October. Guess what? No bill!! And so far no bill in December. Due to his diligence (and kindness in doing so because he is an incredibly kind person, more so that me, I'm more generous, but he's more kind) this was resolved. 

So now the burning question I just have to ask......

You knew there would be a question, didn't you?

Are you done Christmas shopping?

Or are you dreading it?

For us, we are only buying for the wee ones this year. I'm 50% done. Just need about 1-2 hours to wrap it all up.

And you'll be proud of me. I have a Christmas tree up and decorated and a strand of lights outside shining as we speak. A few other decorations and that's about it.

I'm actually doing okay with the fact that Christmas is a mere 17 days away. I'm not panicking or in despair.

Life is good

because (fill in the blank)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It was good to get away

It was good to get away for the 3 days that we did, from "Black Friday" returning Sunday afternoon.

I took pictures and I planned to share the pictures here, but honestly, I just don't have the energy to do so.

We headed West to a place we were familiar with.  To Temecula, California, close to where we lived almost 6 years ago in Murrieta, California.  Temecula is known for its wine country.  Not as "fabulous" as Napa Valley perhaps, but coming to its own notoriety and success for producing good wines and pleasant tasting rooms to enjoy such wines.

We needed this getaway. Stress in one form or another had consumed us (me) since at least the middle of this past August. Anxiety, a lifelong unwanted friend of mine, was visiting for an extended period of time making my life (and those around me) miserable. We just needed to be gone for a few days, to be away from situations and to just think about something other than what we had been thinking about for all these recent times.

We started out on Friday morning and for 2 hours talked about "it." The thing that has held us hostage for those 3 miserable months until hubby and me agreed it was time to stop talking about "it" and to talk about something else. It was hard not to talk about "it" but we managed not to for the rest of our time away from here.

Our ultimate destination was Temecula, but we stopped at the Mission Inn in Riverside for lunch.  They go all out of their way decorating for Christmas and their yearly Festival of Lights.  We weren't there for the actual "flipping of the switch" to turn the lights on, but we saw the festivities and a lot of decorations. Lots of time put into creating a festive atmosphere.

Our next stop after that was Downtown Disney. Located right next door literally to Disneyland, a strip of shops, restaurants, and movie theater. A place to go to people watch, shop, and catch a bit of the Disney magic without paying the exorbitant price of an admission into Disneyland. No rides, just a fine time looking at shops and people watching, a favorite pastime of mine. 

We were planning to have dinner there but were still filled from lunch, so just enjoyed an appetizer and a glass of wine for me, beer for the hubby, during happy hour at one of the restaurants in Downtown Disney.  We enjoyed people watching. We have our own language for it with different abbreviations for this and that type of people we see (all clean fun, but our own secret code so to speak.) It was fun to laugh. We hadn't laughed like that in a few months.

Then we headed south to Temecula, actually Murrieta, to check in to our hotel. The hotel was located a mere 5 blocks from where we used to live down there about 6 years ago. I liked Murrieta.  I got to see quail there and if you know how much I like quail, you could imagine how much I enjoyed living there. We visited a lot of our "old haunts." The 2 places we lived up there. Where hubby worked. Places we walked that corgi of ours. We sadly saw a lot of restaurants that we had frequented had closed in the years we were gone. 

Saturday had us out and about visiting several local wineries. We enjoyed the wine tasting and the conversations struck up with those hosting the tastings at the local wineries plus other fellow wine tasters. We bought just a few bottles of wine, less than we might have previously done, but were cognizant of buying what we enjoyed rather than just buying because we were there.

Saturday night we enjoyed a nice dinner with hubby's brother and sister in law. They live in San Diego but came up to the area (45 minutes away) to join us for dinner. It was nice to reconnect with them.

Sunday we headed back home. Recharged. Energized. Ready to begin the new work week, the new month ahead, the Christmas season.

The problems still exist. They will for a long time. There may or may not be a resolution.  Whatever way the outcome may be, we will continue to pray about it and hope for the best.

But we realized we needed this time away and may need another time away in the not too distant future. We have to be alert to it and just do it.

In the meantime, we have Christmas to get ready for. Lights are up outside. Tree to be decorated this weekend. What little shopping I'm doing will be "wrapped" up in merely one shopping trip over a 2-3 hour perid.

Life is good.

Because God is good.

All the time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

baby steps

Hard to believe, but the wee one turned 9 months old last Tuesday.  He's crawling and doing this and that and cruising around the furniture.  He's getting ready to want to take those baby steps from one couch to the other. You can see him reaching his arm out to the other couch, about 12 inches apart. Not enough for him to reach it, but he wants to get there. He's just not yet brave enough to take that first tentative step. I thought he wouldn't be walking until he was a year old, but I think it will be closer to 11 months, just based on what he's doing and how he's developing.  

Its fun to watch his progress in his development. With my own kids, I was wanting them to walk, talk, etc., and wanted it sooner than later. I know there's a skill set they have to learn to get to the next step. I can "breathe" easier with him because I'm "just" the grandmother and I'm wiser. I know he will walk (eventually), talk (when he's ready), etc., so I can enjoy watching those steps he needs to take to where he needs to be to do the next step he is ready to do (did you follow that??) Lots of steps going on.

And I want to stay not only is he making and taking baby steps, but I am too. I loved each and every comment that was left on my last post. So many thoughtful suggestions and loving care. So many others hurting this time of year too.

Baby steps I've made for Christmas this  year.

We decided to put up Christmas lights outside. Mind you, it will be one strand in a small area, but its the first time in a few years (5 to be exact).

We went to Home Depot and bought the lights and will put them up on Thanksgiving.

We even looked at artificial trees and guess what? We bought one!

I was actually in the Christmas section of a store and I wasn't in a panic mode or filled with dread. Believe you me, that is a big baby step.

Tree will go up first Saturday of December. The step granddaughter will be over and we'll set it up with her and decorate it.  

The wee one's parents won't need us next weekend for child watching due to their work schedules, so we are 'getting out of Dodge for a few days'. Taking a mini trip Friday through Sunday.  If it is noteworthy I'll blog about it upon my return. I'll be on the tablet while we are gone so if my comments are short, its because its harder to type on it than the regular desktop.  

Wishing each and everyone of you, who I truly do love and thank you for reading my writings and responding in comments, a most Thankful Happy Thanksgiving. Appreciate all you have and be grateful for it all. Each and everyone of us is truly blessed in so many wonderful ways.

Monday, November 14, 2016

you may remember (or not)

That Christmas is not a favorite of mine. I would personally prefer not to celebrate it all and just skip to the new year without the fanfare. I've written about it before, but I'm too lazy to show the links of it. Lets just say that December has not been a kind month to my family. Its been filled with strife and a multitude of deaths (actually three deaths, but isn't that a multitude when those deaths were a father, a mother, and a beloved corgi?). December sucks for us. I'm sorry, it just sucks.

I can't find joy in Christmas for the past 10 years (at least). I want to feel joy but who can find it in what has gone on for several of those years in the past few years? I want to get excited about seeing Christmas decorations before the Thanksgiving holiday but for the most part I just want to wrap myself up in a cocoon and start the new year with fresh start, oblivious to what may or may not have occurred leading up to December 25th.

And then we have this year. Really, how could it have happened? It surely wasn't something I wanted to encounter or be involved in. I wanted to sweep the holidays under the rug. But I found myself with an 11 year old young lady, a step grand daughter, who loves Christmas and still believes in Santa. She joyfully announced the other day "its 45 days until Christmas." I wanted to scream "NO......" but I didn't. I said "that's great." 

I tried to match her enthusiasm. I said later on in the shopping adventure "we'll make cookies" to which she replied "gingerbread cookies, we'll leave some for Santa". I never made gingerbread cookies. I was thinking sugar cookies. If you have made gingerbread cookies, let me in on your secret. I really need to know how to accomplish this.

There is talk of stockings and such, talk of trees and such.

I just cannot do it. 

I really can't.

But yet I need to.

I need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for her.

I need to put up a Christmas tree (Oh Lord, please no, I really don't want too, just show me that one that looks cool and doesn't cost a lot)

I need to fill those stockings that will be hung by the wall with care (no mantle in which to do so, but stockings will be hung).

I need to model Christmas of my youth here this year.

Frankly, I'm not sure I can do so.

Yet I must.

Help me and encourage me. Help me to see the joy of Christmas when really i want  to ignore it all.

Help me to see and model some Christmas joy.

I covet what you will share with me.