Exercise, Day 10: A Wife of Noble Character

January 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm 8 comments

Well, I did my grocery trip last night.  I didn’t go completely alone, as Noah asked if he could come along and I was actually pleased at the prospect of company.  It took longer than it should have, because I got to the store and realized that I’d forgotten my purse.  *’.’*  Once we got started, it took about an hour and a half, and that was given the fact that I had a specific list of things I planned to get and everything.  Ordinarily a trip like that would be accomplished inside 40 minutes while the kids are a music lessons, but I was determined to buy nothing I didn’t need and nothing I didn’t want.

In the end, my grocery bill was $118.   Actually, that was a lot lower than I expected, but Andy wasn’t very happy.  Hopefully he’ll feel better when he tastes what I cook with it. And for the moment, at least, I love looking into my fridge.  There’s just so much GREEN stuff in there!

Speaking of Andy, a week or so ago one of the “Possibly Related Posts” links that appeared with one of my posts led to a blog that focused on parenting.  The entry flagged was about one Mom’s truly horrible week, which began with learning her driver’s license had been inexplicably revoked (a mistake she had to devote three days to unraveling).  She couldn’t drive until it was taken care of, and therefore couldn’t attend to her errands.  To make matters worse, this happened in the week immediately preceding a planned trip to the mountains, so she had a lot on her mind because of the upcoming trip as well.  Understandably, it was a hellish week for her.

But at the end of it, she reflected upon the bright side.  Her daughters had behaved well and played together nicely all through her driver’s license crisis.  They’d had some nice times together at home, since they couldn’t run errands anyway.  And in spite of the chaos, she said that at least she’d kept it together enough that her husband had come home from his new job to find nothing but ‘homey coziness’ when he walked through the door.

I don’t know why, but that last bit resonated with me, and has sort of rattled around in the back of my head ever since.  I really do try to be a good wife to Andy, but I usually feel so overwhelmed by the kids and all of the things I’m trying to do that making sure the house is welcoming him with ‘homey coziness’ when he comes home from work is just not a priority.  Heck, a lot of the time I’m not sure it’s even an OPTION.   I’m too busy trying to finish schoolwork or make phonecalls for my business, or trying not to drown in the laundry, or whatever.  In fact, we’ve been through a lot of times when it was rare that I’d even know what we’re having for dinner until we were so hungry we’d eat just about anything.  Andy often ends up making dinner himself, for that matter, especially on non-eating days lately. Compare that to a woman who considers ‘providing homey coziness’ for her husband at the end of the day the most basic of her duties, and I don’t come out looking like a very good wife at all.

However, having put together a meal plan for the week and purchased all of the things I need to pull it together, I find the idea of homey coziness a lot more doable.  Today we were to have Elizabeth over to for lunch to play with Susie, and I decided to use this as an excuse to get the ground floor of the house in order. I got out what I needed for dinner, made a good wholesome lunch for the kids, and made our bed and straightened our room.   I also spent a good hour reorganizing our game shelves in the family room, which Luke repeatedly invades.  His favorite thing in the world is to pull out a box and scatter the pieces all over creation, and for a week my Family Room/Office has been littered with Apples to Apples cards.  I finally wised up and put the tallest baby gate we own up to block his access to the shelves.

By the time Andy came home tonight, dinner was nearly ready and the house looked really good.  The kids were happy to see him and I think we generated a good amount of that elusive magic that is Homey Coziness. 😉

Pangie commented the other day that she had gone into one of her closets to get something, and then somehow ended up cleaning the whole closet out.  As I think I’ve said, shortly after starting out on this little adventure, Andy and I buckled down and cleaned the entire basement.  Since then I’ve made a concerted effort to make the kids keep their toy area clean.  Somehow, the mere effort of trying to put one aspect of your life into order tends to make you want to put more things in order.  With this new resolve I’ve formed to cook more and prepare better meals, I figure I could probably find this sort of thing more within the realm of regular possibility than before.

Of course, I guess I go through times like this periodically too, in which I am determined to turn over a new leaf and put meals on the table every night, and blah blah blah.  I go along okay for a week or so, but then something happens or I get bored or whatever and I slip back into where I was before.  So maybe I need to make something like this a 21-day habit or something. 😉  Come to think of it, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would add to my regimen for the next time around, so maybe I’ll pursue something along those lines.

Dinner tonight consisted of Tacos, which I don’t care for.  One of the most beautiful things about doing ADF when you’re a wife and mother is that differences in food preferences are so much more easily managed.  I’m much less muttery about making things like Taco and Chili and Spaghetti now, because I can just plan those meals on the days when I’m not eating.  And Andy has less to gripe about when I make something with onions or spinach in it, because darnit, it’s my eating day and I deserve to have what I want. 😉   I guess I could be in trouble if Andy decides to take up the ADF mantle too, unless we were to somehow fast on opposing days. 😉  I wonder how that would work?

Well, it’ll be a cold day in Hell before Andy tries something like this anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Tonight I tried my first recipe out of the Bob Greene cookbook. It was Corn Pudding, which seemed like a likely companion to Tacos. The kids barely touched it, but it smelled good to ME.  I’ll actually eat some tomorrow and see what I think, but I think it’ll be good.  The next recipe I’ll try is a roasted turkey recipe for dinner tomorrow night.  So far, though, I like this recipe book a lot.


Entry filed under: Exercise, Successes, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Exercise, Day 9: New Books! Exercise Day 11: First Impressions are Everything


  • 1. melalvai  |  January 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Although homey coziness sounds so 50’s, it also sounds like something I’d sure want to come home to.

    Was the grocery bill for the whole week? It sounds awfully cheap to me for feeding a big family, if it is supposed to last a week.

  • 2. Jennifer  |  January 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    See, I didn’t think it was a bad amount either. I figure about $100/week, give or take, ought to be about right. $118 is feeding the six of us for under $20/person. Isn’t that good? I thought that was pretty good.

    But Andy informs me that he wants our food bills to come in for under $250/mo. I don’t see how this can be right. Have we ever managed that? I can’t believe we ever have. But then again, when you live on Mac-and-Cheese and the cheapest hot dogs that money can buy, I guess it IS possible.

    Money is just a whole other issue around here. >_<

  • 3. melalvai  |  January 8, 2009 at 7:29 am

    The lowest grocery budget I can remember having is $300/mth, and that was when Nell was little. Lately we’ve been ratcheting it up and up and up, and not because our tastes have gotten more expensive–groceries are climbing. Grapenuts used to be $2.39 and now it is $4.30.

    The latest adjustment to our budget puts groceries at $600/mth, and we’re already ahead of where we should be if we’re going to make that goal this month. I could trim a little off that by buying at Aldi’s and buying more store brands. But the biggest difference would be if I bought less fresh fruits and vegetables and I’d rather sacrifice a car payment than reduce fresh fruits and vegetables. Wait just a second, I nearly think that’s what I’ve done…Biking for apples!

  • 4. Pangie  |  January 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Mel: Biking for apples – I love it! I’m with you on the fresh produce. I have started getting frozen veggies for steaming and frozen berries for smoothies, but I cannot give up my apples and carrots.

    Jen: I don’t know if *I* stay under $250/month on groceries. Andy’s dreaming. 😉

  • 5. 21daystome  |  January 8, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I probably come in around $250 a month but I don’t exactly scrimp and save. When I am buying a product (any product) I check the other labels and size amounts and go with what is most cost effective, of course, but I don’t forgo products because they are too expensive. That’s feeding two people. I expect our grocery bills are going to go up once Daniel stays home, though. I think he usually eats out for lunch at work.

    With the raising prices of groceries, I really think Andy’s dreaming. I cannot imagine feeding a family of 6 on $250/month!

  • 6. Jennifer  |  January 8, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I thought that seemed a little silly. :/ But really, our finances are sort of a mess right now anyway, so hopefully with this coming tax refund we can pay off our outstanding debts (including the van) and settle into a more comfortable, reasonable budget. Yet another target for a 21-day kickoff, I think.

  • 7. melalvai  |  January 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Are you a Dave Ramsey fan? He tells the really struggling: food first, then rent, then figure out where anything left over goes. Those of us who are more comfortable, but have debt to pay off: rice and beans, beans and rice. Once I calculated the cost of potatoes per calorie vs. rice and he is correct, rice is the cheapest (and emptiest!) calorie available!

    Feed Andy nothing but rice, with a cost analysis of the meal you’d LIKE to serve him. Oh, maybe that idea is not consistent with “homey coziness”. 😀

  • 8. Feaelin  |  January 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Generally its best to not design a budget on arbitrary values, but instead look at past history. Examining spending for the past 12 months, for example.

    Also, I did some digging, and here’s a substantive resource for you:


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