Food Prep, Planning, and a Small Bathroom Update

Good morning my friends!

It is 7:15am on Sunday and I’m writing to you with my morning cup of coffee…from my brand new Chromebook! If you read my post on Thursday you will have seen that my old Chromebook took a jump over the cliff and the keyboard no longer works. I thought I could plug in my desktop keyboard to write from it, and that did work for a while but eventually buttons from the Chromebook appeared to be stuck because as I was typing, “<<<<<<<” kept popping up into my sentences. So I eventually had to move to the desktop computer, which I really don’t like using because it’s in my living room with all the noise and ruckus of the house.

At any rate, I bought a new Chromebook the first of the year. It was supposed to be delivered on Wednesday but finally arrived on Friday, and now here we are! Also in Thursday’s post I mentioned a new posting schedule. This website started out as a personal blog in December of 2018, but as I found myself writing more and more about health and nutrition, I did less broad-topic blogging and converted it to a health and wellness website. That will never change because health and wellness is my passion. However, I do love blogging so I wanted to make sure I’m giving myself the time to do that.

My new schedule will look like this:
– Blog posts on Sunday with a weekly recap
– Health topic post on Thursday
– Recipe posts at random as I create them

I started my week as I always do, with Sunday morning food prep in the kitchen. A blessing of working from home is that it’s no longer necessary to food prep for myself, because I can walk across the hall and put some food together any time I get hungry. But I do still food prep for Michael. I used to just do his lunches and some breakfast smoothies, but now I’m also making a dinner for him for each week as well, so he has something relatively healthy to eat on the evenings when we are not together. I also wash and prep fruits and veggies so they’re ready to grab and eat.

For this last week’s lunch I made him a curry using a yummy curry sauce I found at Trader Joe’s. I did a double batch to make sure he had enough for the whole week (I’ll be sharing the recipe soon and will link it back here) using chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, spinach, coconut and almond milk, red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, and some extra turmeric for color and anti-cancer properties. For dinner I made him honey lime chicken (he isn’t plant based, so I have to make him a meal with meat for his dinner – I do still give him plant based lunches!) using no oil or butter in the prep to keep calories down. And I paired it with a sheet of roasted veggies – baby potatoes, carrots and green beans. I found both recipes on Pinterest and have them linked in case you’re interested – but please note that I never use oil in mine so any time it calls for it I just leave it out. I didn’t get any photos of the chicken (whoops!), but it was very tasty!

This week was so busy that I very much got burned out and meal planning was moved to the back burner. I purchased a couple of packages of vegan buffalo chicken patties, which I don’t do often because they’re processed, but we have both of my boys and Michael’s son this week so I wanted to make it kid-friendly without any effort in planning. I also decided to do a plant based lasagna because I bought some organic lasagna noodles and some cashew mozzarella from Trader Joe’s, and had extra sauce. So I had most of what I needed for a plant-based meal without shopping or planning. Then at the 11th hour I decided to just do some quick and painless taco salads for Michael’s lunch, and some baked garlic and herb salmon with roasted squash and macaroni and tomatoes for his dinner…which I’ve been working on in the kitchen as I’m writing to you. I don’t have recipes for these I just threw them together. The salmon has garlic and Italian seasoning on it, and also Italian seasoning on the squash. The macaroni and tomatoes (not pictured) is seasoned with salt, pepper, basil and a little stevia.

The first week of the new year was so busy for me that I can hardly believe it was only the first week! As you may know if you’ve been following the blog for a while, I’m an SBA Loan Packager by day, and the SBA world has been so busy – especially since we are currently short staffed. Each day when I thought I’d get a moment to breathe, another request or two would come in. I would much rather be busy than bored, as the time passes more quickly that way. But when it’s this level of busy, it requires extra measures and conscious effort to keep stress levels low. Fortunately that is an area in which I’ve had loads of practice, so I’ve learned how to manage it pretty well.

Sometimes, I have to close out of my email while working on something so that I don’t feel overwhelmed by seeing new messages pop up and knowing I have more items that need my focus. I’ve also developed a new routine this week. Tuesday I spent the day with a lumbar pillow and a heating pad on my lower back because I’d spent so much time sitting on Monday that my lower back and right hip were sore. So on Tuesday, when my FitBit would buzz at me at 10 til every hour to get up and get my 250 steps in, instead of just standing up and stepping in place to make it happy, I got up and spent five minutes walking around my house.

I walked in circles around my house from kitchen, to dining room, to living room. I did loops until five minutes had passed, far exceeding the 250 steps I needed. By Wednesday my hip still ached a bit but my lower back felt as good as new. I’ve decided I’m going to continue this routine, especially when work is so busy that I don’t have time to get up and move around the house. Honestly, working from home has been a game changer for me in this department. My sciatic nerve pain has completely gone away now that I’m not confined to an office/desk all day, but have the freedom to get up and be mobile for more than just using the bathroom or refilling my water cup. I couldn’t exactly walk laps around the lobby inside the bank!!

I actually discovered a bit of a crazy new exercise regimen that I’m loving! I am very much an outdoorsy person and I love the summertime when I can lace up some sneakers and hit the road on my lunch breaks for a walk. But I absolutely loathe the cold and will not set foot outdoors once it drops below 60 – or below 70 if it’s windy! So I have an elliptical in my basement that I’ve been using for winter. I really dislike it though, and sort of wish I’d chosen a treadmill instead. It gives me a thigh workout in addition to cardio, which causes me to use it for shorter periods of time than walking because it gets rather uncomfortable.

But – while walking circles around my house at the end of every hour an idea occurred to me – why can’t I just walk laps around my basement on my lunch break instead of using the elliptical?! I have about a 300 square foot finished family room in my basement – which Hunter has currently taken over as his bedroom because I needed his room upstairs for an office. But the rest is unfinished with the furnace right smack in the middle, so it has a perfect set up for walking laps. To be honest it puts in my mind when I would ride my bike in circles around my grandparents basement as a child!

So I set my FitBit on the run setting (since walk isn’t an option), then walked around the basement until I reached one mile. It takes slightly longer to do it in the basement than outside, presumably because there are turns instead of straight lines. But I loved it and will likely be doing that from now on! If you follow my coaching account on Instagram (Planted Coaching), I shared a video of this to my story on there. Apparently 2021 is going to be the year of quirky improvisations!

I also got to start off the year with my new planner, and a new journal. I’m sure we can all say this, but when Covid started last year, everything changed and I feel so far off of my routines. I used to start every morning by planning my day as soon as I clocked in to work. Before I answered a single email or worked on a single loan, I would pull up the .pdf I have saved from Mel Robbins’ Mindset Reset program because it has a daily planner down the right side with lines for each hour of the day. I use Foxit to type in what to work on for each hour. This is another habit that helped me manage stress because it kept me structured and on some sort of track for the day.

Covid hit, I started working from home, then the SBA department started working (quite literally) day and night to process PPP loans, so every bit of daily routine and structure I had flew out the window from the first of April until about the middle of May. I was working so much overtime and there was no time to write, so I fell out of the habit of posting on here too. I stopped using my bullet journal planner, and I stopped journaling.

So now I want to get back into my routines – with a new blogging schedule, a new Chromebook, and a new planner and journal. I skipped the bullet journal this year and went with a planner that has a habit tracker in it, because I just don’t have the time to set up a bullet journal – and last year’s never even got completed! I bought this planner and this journal from Amazon, pictured right.

The other big event of the week – I finally replaced the sink and faucet in my bathroom! My house was built in 1967, and the half bath that is in my bedroom still had the original cast iron sink, which was rusting around the drain, and the original faucet. I couldn’t even get warm water out of it – if I turned on the hot and the cold, it would alternate between the two rather than blending them for warm. You would get a second of scalding hot water, followed by a brief stream of icy cold. As a result I only use my bathroom sink for brushing my teeth and do everything else in the main bath.

In early December I noticed the faucet had finally developed a drip (after more than 50 years!!), so it was time to stop procrastinating and get the silly thing replaced! I held off for so long because I needed to decide whether to replace the whole countertop, or just the sink. I really was hung, because the countertop is also original from 1967 – laminate with the pink marbled finish. And while laminate countertops leave a lot to be desired, I actually really love the pink. It is the perfect shade to match all of my other pink accents in the house, so I didn’t really want to give it up. I ultimately decided to keep it and only replace the bowl and faucet.

I bought a new 19″ sink from Lowes, and a brushed nickel waterfall faucet from Amazon. Michael and I (mostly Michael with a bit of help from me when needed) installed it yesterday. After a battle with drain plumbing – because heaven knows that even though the sinks were the exact same size, the drain was off just enough to keep it from going back together without new parts – and several trips up the road to Ace Hardware, my pretty new sink is in! I am in love with the faucet – Amazon just keeps knocking it out of the park with the faucets, because the gorgeous copper faucet in my kitchen – with the highest water pressure I’ve ever seen – also came from Amazon.

Now I need to work on the tile – you can see in the picture a metal bracket in the tile to the left of the faucet. There was a toothbrush holder and a soap dish mounted to the wall (also original to the house) that I removed. The screw to the remaining bracket has the head stripped so it wouldn’t come out – I’m going to set my youngest son Logan to that task when he gets home later. There is a big hold in the tile where the soap dish was, and there will be another one where the toothbrush holder was once the bracket is removed. Since the tile is also from 1967, I have none to replace it with and likely will not find any to match. So what I’m going to do about that remains to be decided – I will probably end up replacing all of the tile. Which is okay, because the old mirror also needs replaced and once it comes off there will be tile needing fixed there too. So I guess next up is a new lighted mirror and new backsplash tile.

And with that, I must leave you because all of the cooking is done so it’s time to put the salads and smoothies together, then get them over to Michael’s house. I’ll spend a little time with him, then I’m driving 30 miles north to visit my mom (in town from Central IL) and grandparents, before going on to pick up my boys who are at their dad’s this weekend. This week’s blog has been a bit off the cuff because I didn’t have my Chromebook to start writing it until Friday night, so next week’s blog will be a little more thought out. I also will be sharing my weekly meal plans in my Sunday blog posts as well, with photos and links to any of my Sunday meal prepping recipes. I will try to snap photos of dinners that I plan, but no promises because shooting and editing photos always takes up some time, so with a hungry family ready to eat on weeknights that probably isn’t likely to happen. But I will test the waters on this!

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday, and I will see you back here on Thursday to talk about the latest in health and wellness. Please head over to Instagram to give Beetitudes a follow to stay up-to-date with what is going on. Talk to you soon!

Love,
Loren

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