Life Update: Mini-Vacay, Making A Murderer, and Meal Planning

Brad and I got to spend two days/one night down at Foxwoods in CT right before New Year's. We went ice skating. In my head, I thought it would be so romantic and we'd hold hands and skate together, and of course, I'd look all graceful like the image on the left above. In reality? Not so much grace on my part. I am a terrible ice skater. And I forget that the moment I'm off the ice onto solid ground. Brad, on the other hand, was a hockey player so he's naturally a great skater. So mostly I just stood back and watched him circle the ice, because, there is something so attractive about a dude who can skate. (At least to me).

Anyway, we did get away for two days and that was lovely. It was relaxing and fun and nice to just be alone together. We slept late and ate yummy food, gambled and shopped a little. It was a needed break after the holiday craziness and I think it'll keep me going until we can get away for a little vacation this summer. I fully believe adults need alone time too and that there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation without kids once in awhile.

We had a great holiday with Austin and our family. We cleaned up from Christmas almost immediately (all new stuff organized and put away the day after and all indoor decorations back to the attic by mid-day on the 27th). I'm one of those folks that enjoys putting my tree up right after Thanksgiving but then I want it gone as soon as possible after Christmas. I need to reclaim my house.

Austin's started the second round of ice skating lessons. He's doing pretty well, for never having been on the ice before November. He does get a bit lazy at times and tries to get his teacher to help him up when he is perfectly capable of standing up on his own, but for the most part he pays attention and follows their instructions.

He's always been into reading but since we did the 25 books thing again this year he's been wanting stories every night. I'm more than happy to oblige. I was a big reader as a kid and as you know I've been reading a ton since the start of last year, so it's nice to curl up with him each night and read him a story. Brad and I take turns usually. His latest favorite book is this Curious George compilation of I think 9 Curious George stories, and he usually asks for us to read two of them at a time.

We just finished the Making A Murderer series on Netflix over the weekend. Just, wow. What a great show. We finished all 10 episodes in 5 nights (which isn't bad when we work full time and have a 4 year old running around). It was interesting and kept you on the edge of your seat, and I have a new girl crush on Steven Avery's two lawyers. They rocked! I highly recommend this show. I like that it can appeal to a very wide audience (pretty much anyone).

One of the things I've started for the new year is monthly meal planning. I found towards the end of last year (really, after our last vacation) we were eating out way too much. Like 2-3 times a week. Much of that is due to not having a set meal plan. Brad would buy dinner options at the store (he shops each week and cooks for the family each night) but wouldn't specify what we would have when. So we'd get home from work and neither of us really wanted what was in the freezer. So starting with January, I printed a blank calendar (you can find it here), and wrote out a meal for every night of the month. I mixed in healthy go-to's (like pork, rice, and veggies) with just a few (5-6) new recipes I'd found on Pinterest. I thought we'd try a few new items each month and keep the ones we loved in rotation. I made sure to have variety in the meals - meats and veggies, pastas, a pizza, homemade soup, crockpot meals - so we don't get bored. Only 11 days in but I've been looking forward to each home cooked, planned meal each night instead of wanting to go grab McDonald's. I also think this will save us some money in the budget each month, because it really is so expensive to even get fast food nowadays. When you're spending $18 on a meal for 3 at McDonald's, that is a lot!

I also feel that having the plan for a full month is more helpful than weekly. I don't have to plan once a week, and we can buy stuff (non perishables) we need more of in bulk at once. I'm more likely to keep up with the planning too, if it's something I only have to spend an hour doing once a month (that would include finding and printing/copying new recipes) than a half hour or so a week. I know I'd get lazy and not do it.

So that's the gist of what's been up since before the holidays. Not a whole lot but with the insanity that is the holiday season, it feels nice to get back to the boring. :)


  1. That's great that you're doing a Meal Plan! I've been doing one every week for a couple years already and love it! It really helps with 2 kids at home, a working husband and I work part-time. I also have a set grocery budget to work with ($100/week), so I usually make meals that use a couple of the same ingredients to help keep costs down. I also use an App called List Ease that I can input my grocery list and the prices and it helps me stay within my budget.
    Good luck!

    1. Oooh! Thanks for the app recommendation! Off to check it out!

  2. the monthly meal calendar is a great idea, Melissa.
    I usually make a big meal on Sundays and we eat the leftovers Monday/Tuesday.
    I have good intentions of checking the store flyers and using a protein that's on sale but hardly do!

    1. Yeah we try to do that too - like a crockpot meal or soup that will last a couple of days. We also will sometimes make extra and have it for lunches. :)