Meal Planning: Easy…NOT easy

Have you ever actually created a week long meal plan (snacks included) and stuck to it? I DID. Here’s how and what REALITY CHECK happened…

Making a meal plan is NOT easy.

So much life just distracts you.  For me, sitting as quietly as possible in a room without anyone else and zero music playing…only dogs licking themselves off and on bothering me… it took me an HOUR.

I wanted to use what was IN my cupboards, fridge and freezer.

Here’s what I came up with.

Week 1 Plan 

I ran it by Randy to see if he wanted to make any changes. We had eggs so he decided to switch out breakfasts a few times.

I created my grocery shopping list and because I know what/where items are in the grocery store I organized it to be super efficient in that task.  This is a bonus as a Vegan Chef – I know where the odd things are.

HERE IS MY PLAN FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS IN PDF FORM

Life began to happen and we almost fell off within 2 days. 

I began baking and creating the dishes that we would have.  The house smelled great.  This was only possible because I am not working right now. REALITY CHECK.

Randy began to look for my beat up planning paper to ask what we’d be having for dinner which inspired me to stick to the plan.

Our grocery shopping for WEEK 1 was about $68.  Again, I had resources in my kitchen but I was pretty stoked to only spend that much for a full week of meals ALL HOME COOKED, packed with flavor, low on salt and always enough for LEFTOVERS!

I also planned out my exercise and the pet’s meals (we are all dining on the ritz).  The $68 INCLUDED their 7 days, 2 meals a day. 

WHAT I LEARNED

  1. You need TIME to plan and execute a meal plan.
  2. It is important to have a dessert (in our house).  You can make them with less junk in them – with lots of flavors. 
  3. It is cheaper to plan meals and cook.
  4. Once we got rolling it was easier.  It’s not EASY yet (and I’m going to be working again…which means a lot of cooking on days off).  I’ve got Week 2 planned out and I’m excited to make that chocolate cake (vegan of course).
Week 2: WISH ME LUCK

Code Violation, Again

Does anyone else deal with these sorta problems? Not the end of the world but why does it continue to happen?

This really happened…today…like 5 minutes ago.

Randy and I get along pretty well.

I know this because of how much we have been through TOGETHER and that’s when you discover the strengths within each other.  If you know both of us (since we got married) you’ve seen that part of our life.

Before that we learned habits that we “bring to the table” on a regular basis.  This one Randy brought is a REGULAR: using the clean dish drying towels to clean up spills on the floor.

This REALLY happened.  Like 5 minutes before I sat down.  I just laugh now (and plan when I’ll be using the family finances to purchase a better towel to replace the one that has been used to clean up anything other than drying a dish…THAT I HAVE SEEN.)  Only one person on earth knows which towels have been used for anything other than drying a dish.

We have pared our stuff down to 1 1/2 10×6 U-Haul Trailers!  Can you imagine that? 

WHAT’S NEW THESE DAYS?

This is me these days. Namaste.
Pip’s Pet Care 

We have moved to a new place in Colorado and today it is 27 degrees outside as I walked our dogs and passed out my new Pet Care Service cards door to door.

Did you know I opened a Pet Care Service!?  My sister helped me!  A blog reader helped me! My amazing Husband Unit helped me! 

Now to get some new clients here in my new town that I am LOVING! 

🙂 Wish me luck before I freeze and wish Randy luck too (maybe he needs CLEANING RAGS from Santa this year).

SOCIAL MEDIA

I think it would be wise to include DO NOT EVER EVER USE MY DISH TOWELS FOR CLEANING UP SPILLS ANYWHERE EVER ON EARTH to wedding vows.
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Also I would include NEVER EVER USE MY WOODEN SPOONS FOR STIRRING PAINT.
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I think it would help a marriage. 🙂

#love #tillDeathdoUsPart #WaitWTH #realLifeProblem #IamsureItoldyouthis52milliontimes #stillLoveMyGuy #HusbandUnit #TLF


Pretty Much Alone

Job Seeking has become unfun. I’m not Mormon and while they do NOT ask about my religious affiliation I don’t know the “language” at all. …One person told me to BE CAREFUL in conversation if I ever wanted to get a job! That’s nearly impossible for me.

My kitchen window view of Y Mountain (and my hood).

I’m out here on an island.

I get to choose how it feels and looks but the weather is cold, crisp and sunny (with chances for snow flurries).  The view is what I get to decide:  concrete and asphalt, extremely old buildings, rivers or mountains.  The skies are normally filled with clouds of all sorts.

This is what I signed up for back in June 2017.  The UNKNOWN expectations of my future. Letting it ride with the wind.

There is good and there is bad.

Out of every 100 people I meet there will be 98 Mormon believers and 2 “everything else” believers from Atheist to Zoroastrianism.  This is according the Wiki page about Provo Utah.

Job Seeking has become unfun.  I’m not Mormon and while they do NOT ask about my religious affiliation I don’t know the “language” at all.  I feel like telling everyone I’ve got to get to Fireside tonight for the MTC Women’s Conference planning with my fellow Sisters. There are plenty of buzzwords there.

One person told me to BE CAREFUL in conversation if I ever wanted to get a job!  That’s nearly impossible for me.  I feel like I chat too much.

Anyway, interview after interview – rejected over and over.  Oh and these days there is NO reply letting you know.  They just cut the line and let you drift away in Wonder Wonder World.

I took myself off Facebook and Instagram again and am considering a full shut down and restart of this blog to make it more “Mormon-centric”.  We did sign a lease and I’d like to get a job.  I’m pretty sure this blog isn’t helping me at all.

I’ll just go get a donut.

Provo Bakery. Yep, they’ve been baking since before I was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

 

THE GREAT MORMONS

I want to give a shout-out to a few people I’ve met that I think are Mormon.  Not 100% sure… but unless I’m seeing some tats showing and hear a cuss word I’m gonna conclude they’re part of the 98%.

My Yoga Teacher Chenae.  She is amazing.  I have two classes a week with her.  She told me we (Husband Unit and I) bring good energy to her class.  She is so relaxed and Zen’y.  Namaste.  Clearly she shines good light out because I definitely feel it.

Getting ready for Yoga!

I say this because I was told (by a Mormon teacher) that the people that grew up here in Provo have a thing about them that would explain their feeling of altitude over the rest of mankind.  Mormons outside of Provo have (on an absolute majority) been amazing, friendly, kind and fun to be around.

I have continued to go to all of my  weight lifting classes because I actually felt like the teachers made me feel welcome.

The list of activities I participate in is growing: swimming, pilates, Zumba AND Zumba Gold and cycle.  I’ve used the indoor track and love it too.  Can’t remember if I missed anything. Each of the classes have amazing leaders/teachers.

So, thanks to Erin, Amy, Drew, Heather, Wendy, Kara, Gabby, Becky and Stacey.

More positive vibes to share:

The instructors for my weight lifting classes.  One in particular is Lauren.  She’s off the charts friendly and talks like she has had a life outside of Provo. Amy cracks us up with her dry humor and stories.  Erin is a Mermaid – I firmly believe this because she is SO friendly and creative.  Heather is one of the nicest and most accommodating people I’ve ever met – she is an Iron Woman (she should be making Pilates workout video she is so passionate about it) and STRONG.  Wendy was subbing  for another teacher when I met her and she did the nearly impossible: taking a room of uptight early-risers through an hour of torture (AND WE LIKED IT), Gabby was the most patient person trying to teach me how to swim (I’m getting better), Kara was the FIRST instructor I met and she had such a positive attitude I just wanted to be in her class again, I call Drew Mr. Pain because the class was WAY WAY WAY above my abilities and he pushed me to try my best and lastly the two cycle instructors Becky (LOVE her program) and Stacey.  When class began Stacey put on the greatest music REAAAAL LOUD and shouted out, “NOT TODAY SATAN!!!!!”  He was a riot and got the whole room jazzed up.

In retrospect I feel that any sort of commitment here requires some “skin in the game” and that needs to be “being a Mormon”.  Without a doubt I’ll never be a Mormon (or join any other religion or cult-religion again).

OUR ANIMAL KIDS

Saved one spider, I’ve been feeding dozens of ducks oats every day and there are some magical looking birds (mom and dad I believe) roosting in our porch roof.

Zoey has some sort of rash-like situation happening.  We battle it with medicine but sometimes it gets her (plus she doesn’t do much all day so has plenty of time to be bothered and scratch it).  The donut has helped a lot.  Clearly she seems to be loving it…NOT.

Kona has now sprouted wizardly grey hair on his paws.  Is this the same as the curtains matching the carpet in the K9 world?  (I firmly believe I have TWO readers not including Randy… we’ll see). He is still anxious to sniff and eat anything that isn’t made out of wood, metal or plastic.  Walks along the Provo River are filled with food treasures.

Note: Randy discovered that carrots would help Zoey.  He ordered some dehydrated carrot powder or flakes (still hasn’t arrived) but in the meantime I discovered ALL of my carrots were pressure cooked in the InstantPot so he could give them to the dogs.  Rather than, say for example, serve them 1T of dehydrated carrot he served them 4 cups.  Poor Kona and his raw rear…and I guess Randy deserved the punches in the nose as those carrots moved through a chocolate lab(oratory) compressed gas release system or aka Dog Farts.  Oh gawd.

Piper has been visiting the backyard more.  I’m also growing cat grass myself (because none of the pet stores carry it here).  We have a tiny farm in our cupboard and it’s working out great.  She gets too fluffy and I cut her hair chasing her around the house with extremely sharp scissors.

We continue to feed them 3 times a day and the only difference I see is bigger poops, more poops and better begging techniques.

 

OUR HUMAN KIDS

Thought-provoking: I am rarely asked how Jordan and Claire are doing by anyone (family included now that my mom is dead).  Morgan is often the topic of “kids”.    Randy and I met on e-Harmony with two kids each.  He with Amanda and Morgan and me with Jordan and Claire.  All of our kids are different and incredible human beings.  They share a lot of commonalities but truly are so different.

Recently a friend’s friend asked me how MY kids were doing.  I never thought of a separation between all four of our kids. I’m proud of all of them.

One of J’s amazing creations.

Jordan

Schooling continues in Oregon.  Engineering.  Going well.  Carrying A average in classes.  Recently wrote a paper on The Congo which inspired a lot of great texts back and forth as he plowed through the history there.  He continues to create artistically, read and rides his bike.  He also keeps Randy and I appraised of great movie-night shows we can watch at home on Netflix or Plex.  Have you seen Black Mirror yet?

 

Scared as sh** but not backing down now!

Claire

Working in Santa Barbara at NEXT Energy Technology and no, was not affected by the fires or flooding.  She’s coming up on her one year anniversary!  In all my 50 years I have met a lot of people that went to college for X and aren’t doing a job connected to X.  Claire is actually working in the field she studied which rocks.  Naomi Ginsberg would be proud of her (that was her professor at Berkeley).  Recently she successfully jumped out of an airplane and I’m pretty sure she’ll be doing it again.

 

Morgan

We get to see Morgan regularly!  Laundry here is WAY better than any other place (of course) and on Sunday we have all of her house mates over for a dinner.  That has been so fun and these young ladies are amazing in so many ways.  Right now she has a packed schedule:  Anatomy, Ballet, First Aid & CPR, Book of Mormon and Creative Writing.   She went to her first ballet (as a spectator) last week.  I haven’t had a chance to ask her what she thought of it.  For fun she and her house mates are trying to squeeze in things to do TOGETHER making fun memories that will last forever.  I think that’s brilliant.  She, Randy and I buzzed up to Ice Castles earlier this month and had a blast (then a hot chocolate on the way home).

I JOINED THE POSHMARK WORLD

The other day I bought a brand new cotton fluffy delicious robe on Poshmark.  I donated mine before we left and it’s rather chilly to go from the shower to our bedroom…across the living room passing the big glass window.  Randy says the neighbors are fine with it.  It’s even PURPLE!

My friend Tracey has been able to quit her job and dive full time into RESELLING online.  She has many different shops and stores.  Reselling online is a fun way to find and share what’s in your own closet as well as treasure hunt for incredible things to resell.

This is a $1.5K skirt brand new (aka NWT, New With Tags).

I’m sticking with clothing, accessories and shoes.  My “store” is called PITA THE BUTTON GIRL.  I have about 2,000 people following me and today I have 78 “Listings”.  Instead of working on my Posh Closet I’m writing this blog update.

I hit some GOLD while visiting Park City at a boutique which I am hoping will be a magical find for someone in need of a Louis Vuitton Denim Skirt. THANK YOU to The Sundance Film Festival and all of the fancy-schmancy celebrities that visit and leave their “worn once” apparel.

My gorgeous and fashion-forward Yugoslavian Princess friend Danijela has been coaching me through this world of high-end fashion.

As most of you know, I spent the last 12 years in running shoes, sports bras and workout pants…and 805 Boot Camp shirts!  We’ll see how this all goes…it’s quite a task to open and keep a shop fresh and fun online!

If you are curious about Poshmark (or my Closet) and want to shop please use my “referral code” which is @saritapita and you get $5 in credit (I will too).  Go here to see my official Closet.

In the meantime I am continuing my job seeking through LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor.

WRITING.  GETTING BETTER AT IT…I THINK

I am also taking an English Class and working on my writing skills.

So far it has been a great experience.  We get topics to write about then spend the second half of the class discussing them.

I’d never read Kurt Vonnegut until now.  Check out the short story Harrison Bergeron.  Did you know Kurt Vonnegut only published 14 novels in his lifetime?  I thought there were way more.

Right now Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is on deck.

Wanna know something completely ironic?  Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction to the 60th Anniversary Edition of the book I borrowed from the Provo Public Library (WHICH IS AWESOME BY THE WAY).  Neil has a sister named Claire.  I named MY CLAIRE after Claire Gaiman, Neil’s sister.   Claire and I were friends when I was returned to Los Angeles after escaping from the Sea Organization.  She was one of the only people that I liked (enough to name my child after her!). Her husband was one of my most favorite guys too, Timmy Edwards.  Or Tim Edwards if you are being picky.  I called him Timmy.  Reading the Forward brought back the memories of Claire and Timmy (and me and Jon, Claire’s dad) and I miss them both.  The both have strong English accents (or they did in 1987-1988).

 

 

I hope everyone is doing well.

Namaste.

 

POLLS – I LOVE THEM (you can even see the results too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Amanda Shoemaker’s Birthday Today!

It’s July 13th and that means WE CELEBRATE our beautiful, talented and kind daughter Amanda Nicole Shoemaker!

We will never forget the fun memories with you and all of the goodness you brought to our lives.

I am Amanda’s Step-Mom.  One of the toughest jobs I’ll ever sign up for willingly.  Started the job in October 2006.

She taught me a lot.  She opened my eyes up to a whole other world filled with energy and life that made her bubble and enjoy her friends and family.

There are so many belly busting hilarious moments with her in the short amount of time we spent in each other’s lives.

We spent her last birthday pigging out at BJ’s digging into a pazookie (which is a chocolate chip cookie baked fresh then topped with ice cream…not invented by Jenny Craig).  It was DELICIOUS.

We celebrated her 17th and sang Happy Birthday just like we do with every birthday person in our lives.

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday Dear Amanda

Happy Birthday To You!

We miss you so much but you are on our minds every single day.

I often find myself wondering if you are near us watching our lives unfold.

I also imagine you are somewhere special welcoming the friends and family we lose and helping make them feel comfortable (as corny as that sounds).  

So much in my life today is a direct reflection of you! 

Amanda’s Bench

Morgan Shoemaker doing a perfect head stand at Amanda’s Bench in 2017

There is a bench at the Hummingbird and Rocky Peak trail  intersection that my husband put there in honor of our daughter Amanda Shoemaker. 
The bench that was there was falling apart and he asked the Santa Monica Conservancy if he could repair it. From scratch. 
He ordered special wood and sanded, carved and finished it. 
Then we asked for help getting it up the trail and so many people joined in. There were more people than needed but it was more about being part of this really special event.  It was heart warming to be surrounding by so many people wanting to help.

We put something special beneath the bench at the last second.  Next time you hike up, take a peek.  

Now that we are leaving Simi Valley to begin our next adventure we have asked a special person to keep the bench up.  It means they have to visit it off and on to check on how weathered it has become.

We lost Amanda in 2009.  April 28th. 

Her gravesite is Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth.   I don’t know the exact way to tell you where she is resting.  When you pass through the gates you carry on straight over a speed bump.  About 300 yards past the speed bump is a road.  Amanda’s grave marker is in the next field on your left (west side).  There is a bench made of stone and it is above that toward the one tree. Everthing in that area was brand new when Amanda was laid to rest. 

During cooler months we come and sit to think about life and Amanda.  

Every Christmas we decorate too.  

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