Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A few excellent recipes and Valentine's Day

First of all, thank you all so much for your thoughts on my sick time/sick kid issue. I really appreciate it, and it's nice to have other perspective. I would love to have a backup plan, but sick time is so sporadic - you never know when you're going to need it. Oddly, my employer provides an emergency child care service for situations just like this. I've tried it twice. Both times were a complete & total failure - I would NEVER leave my kids with either of the people they sent. Once person was two hours late & reeked of smoke, & asked if she could smoke in our house. The other person was clearly incapable of taking care of a toddler. It was frustrating & disappointing, & made me never want to use the service again.

We try not to be too paranoid about the kids (they go to school, & we feel comfortable with their care providers), but for someone to be alone in our house with our kids? Well, that's a much tougher sell for me. We do, however, need to find a regular babysitter for evenings out. They are so difficult to find in are area, & no one wants to pass on their recommendations! :-)

Number Crunching!
Enough about that. Lately I've been doing extremely detailed number crunching on our larger financial goals (mortgage payoffs, kids college, etc) to determine our time lines for paying these off. It's motivating (and, frankly, a little shocking) to see how much of our monthly income we need to divert to these payments to make quick progress. I'll have a post on this soon once I have a good sense of the numbers.

Last night I did some baking & cooking for the week ahead. I made this Hearty Turkey Stew with Vegetables for my lunches, & it's amazing! I used some sliced turkey from the freezer, & that worked well.

I also made my mini skier some muffins to take on the bus today. I took this muffin recipe, and swapped out the cranberries for chocolate chips, & added a few sprinkles of cinnamon. They are - fantastic!

And, M is a huge muffin connoisseur. He has one every morning while he's working, before the rest of us get up & make an official breakfast. When we got married, I promised to always keep him stocked in muffins. I typically hold up my end of the bargain, but sometimes it gets dicey. :-) His favorite recipe is the Fresh Cranberry Muffin version, so I made a triple batch of that last night as well. They do very well in the freezer, so we just defrost what we need each week. The muffins are his early Valentine's Day gift. I know, I know, we're crazy romantic around here. :-)  We're also going to lunch together on Valentine's Day, and will likely have a glass of wine together in the evening to round things out. Given that my birthday is just a few days before, lots of celebrations going on!

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day this year? Have you tried any great recipes lately?


  1. Good luck finding a babysitter - what a shame no one can recommend anyone :(

    I'm working on our numbers/time lines right now too - I find it half motivating, half scary. I'm looking forward to seeing your plans.

    We're not going out for Valentines - I'll make us something nice, It's my birthday this month too so we go out for that instead :)

    1. Parents are really tight lipped about their sitters - I think they are afraid that I'll use their sitter regularly & they won't have access anymore. My best friend has offered to watch the boys overnight, so we'll likely take her up on that.

      It's crazy! I've been running the numbers & although I can somewhat see how we could do things (just like paying down any debt, start with one target, then divert all extra money to that, then add that payment to another account, etc) it's a little overwhelming.

      Definitely no going out for dinner - lunch is usually pretty casual. Although, maybe we'll regret it. :-) We're not going anywhere very fancy. I have a gift card at a local restaurant, so we'll use that. Happy birthday month to you as well!