Well, after the meals stopped coming after O's birth, we started back on our E-mealz plan, but we weren't 100% consistent with it, as some weeks we were too exhausted to make a trip to Wal-Mart. Here are some things I have learned in the last couple of weeks:
1. If we don't go shopping together, it probably won't get made. One, because I am not going shopping with the two kids by myself--takes too long, and there's no room in the cart. Two, if there are substitutions or omissions, I want to know about them otherwise I'm looking through the pantry trying to find something that just doesn't exist in my house. Which leads to lesson #2:
2. If we don't have all the ingredients on hand, then it probably won't get made or WILL get made and will taste weird because I do not have any time to run BACK to the grocery store to run in to get ONE item while toting two kiddos. Just not gonna' do it. So it pays to really pay attention to the shopping list (particularly the "staples") and not leave anything off. (This week we couldn't find lemon juice at Wal-Mart. Weird, I know. So, I really hope that that particular ingredient is not a necessity, but it probably is...)
3. You cannot substitute anything else if the recipe calls for "chili sauce." Though I'd never heard of it before, I'm assured that it is irreplaceable in recipes.
4. Corn starch is not that same as flour or corn meal. And even if the Internet site that Google brought up when you search for "corn starch substitutes" says that they make good subs, they do not.
5. Bisquick is also considered "All Purpose Baking Mix." Who knew?
6. We ate out more if we didn't make dinner and that led to purchasing school lunches because I didn't have leftovers to take. And I know this is totally stupid coming from an adult, but I HATE making sandwiches. And if I don't automatically put leftovers in disposable-if-you-leave-them-in-the-car-to-become-moldy-but-reusable-if-you-don't lunch containers, then leftovers will go to waste.
7. Eli hates doing dishes. (Seven years of marriage and I never really suspected. And no, I'm not being facetious.)
Which leads to my next update:
Back at the end of the summer, I bragged about cleaning up my kitchen and living room every night before bed, focusing on maintaining. After Oscar was born, it was much harder to do and many nights over the last eight weeks or so I would go to bed knowing I would wake up to a mess. Then Eli found out that his military law school dates that would take him away from us for 13.5 consecutive weeks have been set for spring (he leaves early February and will be back just before Elsie turns two). This lit the fire under me to start thinking about survival in those months. I started asking people about routines that I could have in place by then to manage the house, the kids, the yard, the work, the stress, the chaos--the LAUNDRY!! And am I surprised that I didn't find a lot of help out there? Not really. I think we all secretly live in chaos and without routines. We just put on a good show and get by as best we can until the machine breaks down completely.
I had heard about the Motivated Moms planner, and actually ordered one a few years ago that didn't get used (oops) and I considered it again. It is a fabulous idea and would work much better for me if I were either a SAHM or already had my butt in gear, but honestly, I'm just not there yet. So, I looked a little more, and I came across FlyLady.net. Totally hoky. Totally cheesy. Totally what I need. Baby steps (just like Dave!) and encouragement to develop habits and routines. Because guess what? Epiphany? I won't just magically turn into Super Mom once Eli leaves! If I try to do everything at once, I will definitely have a melt-down. I have to actually learn and use these new routines before then. So, Baby Step 1: Shine your sink. And that's where I am folks. As I'm trying to get everything done that needs to be done on a daily basis, I'm starting with a shiny sink. Every night before I go to bed so it greets me in the morning. And from there I'll add some more, little by little. But this is actually pretty challenging in and of itself. So, as a final thought, I give you...