Life Lessons (so far)

Now that my 30th birthday has come and gone, I thought it might be a good time to reflect back on some of the important life lessons I have learned along the way. Most of these things I have learned from my partner in life Darryl. If this was some fantasy world he would definitely be a ‘wise-man’ or something all knowing like that. As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. My latest lesson is that I don’t have time for everything, sometimes life needs to take the lead and the hobbies will just have to wait. That being said, I’ve started to adjust to school being out and staying home with a 4 year old and a 3 month old. I’m now trying to make realistic goals and fit in some writing here and there. Usually this means brainstorming while I’m feeding the baby and jumping on the computer for 5 or 10 minute intervals while I’m cooking dinner or my 4 year old is playing a game on his own. Now that we have a second child I am learning that just as you get into the groove of things, they change and you have to figure it all out again. Oh well, c’est la vie.

You can’t please them all, so don’t bother trying
This is an important one, I have spent most of my life trying to do what I thought I was suppose to. Making decisions based on what I thought was expected of me or what was usually a person’s next move. As it turns out, I’m kind of a free spirit that doesn’t fit into a mould and neither should my life. We all get only one life to live and we need to stay true to ourselves. There is always going to be haters and people that disagree with you. While it’s important to consider other point of views, stay true to what your gut tells you and make the decisions that are right for you.

Ask before you Assume
This is a relatively new one for me and an extremely beneficial one. In this digital age of social media, texting and emails there is a lot of room for misconstrued messages and wrongful assumptions. I have learned to clarify before I form an opinion about something I read or hear. More often than not I realize that I misinterpreted what they had said and am glad that we had talked it over. It’s actually amazing how often I get the wrong impression, this is especially beneficial with the opposite gender … men and women really do think differently.

Learn to let go 
I am one of those people that will replay a conversation or situation in my head over and over again. I obsess about what I should have done or should have said. It drives me crazy when I make a mistake at work, or get in a fight with a friend. Learning to let go of the things I can’t change is something I am still working on. This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I have a hard time with failure or letting people down. I am learning that you can try to make amends for things that you have done wrong but you can’t change what has happened in the past, you can only learn from it and keep moving forward.

Try to see yourself how others see you
This is a tricky one, it depends on your relationship with yourself. For me, I am my own worst critic so seeing myself through the eyes of others is a positive thing. Whenever I feel like I might not measure up or I’m having a bad day, I try and separate myself from these emotions and give myself the advice I would give to others. Obviously my emotions can get the best of me from time to time, but we are often harder on ourselves then we are on others. We set unrealistic expectations that we wouldn’t expect others to achieve. While having drive and goals are important, we shouldn’t set ourselves up for failure. Set an ideal goal that you would like to one day achieve and one that you think you can achieve in the near future.

Or perhaps you may have the opposite problem, maybe you see yourself as perfect and everyone else as flawed. Do you find your peers constantly not measuring up to the expectations you have set for them? Maybe it’s time you step back and take a good look at their lives. Remember they’re human too, are your expecations for them unrealistic? It is important to  evaluate the messages that you are sending out to others. Are you coming of as a jerk or a snob when your only trying to help? Think about the way you speak to others and how you might be misunderstood.

Patience really is a virtue
We live in a world where we can instantly access information, take pictures and see them immediately, we can send a text or an email and get a response back within minutes or seconds. Gone are the days of waiting and as a result of this our patience is almost non existent. We expect immediate results. We want what we want when we want it. I think most of us need to practice the art of patience and seeing things through. I can’t even count the amount of times I have decided not to purse something I wanted because it would ‘take to long’ so it ‘wasn’t worth it’. How lazy am I. Lately I have been trying to stick with things and plug away at them slowly, stick with them even when they frustrate and anger me. I have to say that I am begin to taste how sweet the fruits of my labour can be. I encourage everyone to have patience and to have the perseverance to see things through to the end, no matter how long they take. One step at a time folks, you’ll get there eventually.

Have some gratitude
With the exception of a few very unfortunate people who have truly been handed a ‘poop’ sandwich, we all have some things to be thankful for. Many of us take for granted the things that have come easily to us. Maybe it’s finding love and having a family. Or getting that great job or living in a great house. How about having friends and family that love us. It can be a simple as having a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I am sure most of us can find at least one thing to be grateful for each day. Practice gratitude and your life will suddenly shift into focus and all that silly little stuff you were so stressed out about will suddenly fade away.

 

I think that is where I will leave you all for today, lots to think about and digest. Onward and upward we go on this journey we call life.

– Shannon

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Lesson Two: One Pot Wonders

In my quest for frugal meals I have discovered that it is all about the ‘One Pot’ Meal. Things like soups, stews, casseroles, pies, crock pot meals, roasted meat with veggies and stir frys ( I think that’s the plural form ). The advantage of these meals is that you can basically just chuck whatever odds and ends you have in your fridge into a pot or other cooking device and create a hearty meal that goes far. Obviously I’m not going to suggest living purely off these items alone, of course if you are an extremist you may wish to do so, but the rest of us can certainly incorporate these types of dishes into our lives 3 times a week or so.

Soups are great for lunches and they can be made in large batches and frozen. Feel free to get as creative as you want with soup, there really aren’t any rules, just chuck whatever you want into a pot and cook it. However, for a little guidance you may wish to consult such resources as Pinterest, Allrecipes, Martha Stewart, Canadian Living, Chatelaine or simply do a google search for one pot meals.

Another advantage of these meals is that they are easy. You basically just have to chop and dump things into a pot then cook for at least an hour. The only disadvantage is that you generally need to plan ahead because most recipes require a bit of time for cooking in order to get the most flavour out of the dish. Lucky for us, Planning Ahead was lesson one.

Lesson One: Plan Ahead

So far in my research I have learned that planning is they key to success. I suppose that should have been obvious, however I am one of those people that floats through both life and the grocery store zigging and zagging all over the place, so for me it was not. In an effort to be more organized, I have created this list to plan out my meals and groceries for a 2 week time period.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 1.41.49 PMDownload Meal Plan Sheet

To save money on food, it is important to plan out your meals and buy items that can be used for multiple dishes. Buy sale items in bulk if it is non-perishable or freezable. Make big batches of things and freeze the left overs. Grow what you can. Produce like potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, and beans can all be grown from kitchen scraps. Make yourself a little herb garden you can use year round, or buy dried herbs if you prefer.

kitchenScraps

The Beginning of a Journey

As I get ready to welcome my second child into our family, I find myself yet again wondering how one can possibly afford to live without working. I am a part-time waitress at a pizza place, I live off minimum wage and tips. My husband makes a comfortable salary and takes care of the main items such as the house and car expenses. I usually cover all the little bills like cell phones, internet, cable, etc. and the groceries. To get to straight to the point, I am not entitled to much as far as maternity leave goes and will have to get a little creative with our budget. Lately I have felt inspired by ladies of the past. It has occurred to me that people use to get by on much less than we are accustomed to now. Yes, I know prices have changed and so on and so forth. People didn’t have cell phones, cable, internet or often cars to pay for, but that wasn’t the only reason they were able to get by on less. Somewhere along the way of becoming  independent women, we have lost touch with the thrifty home-maker’s spirit. Now I’m not about to go and become some sort of pioneer woman living in the dark ages, but I would like to learn to stretch a buck a little further. That being said, let the adventure begin.