This Week’s Meal Plan, Cozy New Bedding, and an Unfortunate Event

Hello my friends!

It is another Sunday, and another morning of meal prepping is now behind me. Fruits and veggies are washed for the week, and Michael’s breakfasts, lunches, and a dinner are sitting in his fridge. The meals have also been planned for the week, and the groceries purchased and ready to prepare them. I plan two meals for us to have per week as a family, plus the meal I make for Michael to eat on throughout the week when we aren’t having dinner together. Also since next weekend we are kid-free, we get to have our date night. Instead of going out, we decided to eat in because he’s been craving “that seafood tomato stuff” I made him a couple of times before. He also has crab legs in his freezer he’s been itching to make. So we’re going to have a seafood night – although for me I’ll only have a few bites of the seafood, and will be using beans in the same broth for my main dish. Here is the weekly plan:

One of these days I will get better at remembering to take photos, but today was not that day! I only remembered photos when I came here to finish blogging, and the food was cooked, done and at Michael’s house. I get so focused on the cooking that I forget to photograph it – and you would be shocked at how time consuming it is to actually pause to get good blog-worthy food shots! It is my plan to share my weekly meal prep photos with you here, however, so I am going to make myself do better at remembering.

I did make a delicious lasagna this week that I remembered to take photos of! If you missed it, I shared that recipe on a post earlier this week, which I have linked here.

Moving away from the food front, it was another eventful week. I started reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton and am already halfway through. I also finished my annual tradition of writing letters to my boys. Each year in the first week (or so) of January I write letters to my boys highlighting accomplishments and changes they made over the last year, and giving them advice for their futures. My plan is to deliver all of the letters to them in one large envelope when they move out on their own to start their lives as adults.

Writing these letters also led to a junk drawer clean-out, which was rather therapeutic. I write these letters each year and stash them in the drawer, but there are so many now (this is year number seven) that it was time to get them all in order and put them in a better place. So I purged and sorted the junk drawer and found all of the previous six years of letters and started an envelope for each child, placing the letters inside by oldest to newest.

This was also the week for something overdue. When it comes to style – both home and wardrobe – I like to go with timeless pieces so I can purchase once and use until it’s worn out, instead of just for a season as is the case with trendy items. As a result, the pretty white comforter I’ve been using is finally reaching the end of its useful life – or at least its aesthetically pleasing life. It will still do its job in keeping me warm, but after six years it has finally become discolored at the top where I grab it to pull it up, and then rest it against my face while I sleep. Even bleaching it doesn’t help anymore, and threads are starting to come out, so it was time to retire it and bring in something new.

Before I had that comforter, I had a down comforter for several years. I loved having a duvet cover I could slip off to wash because comforters are a tight squeeze in the washer and I’d rather not have to go to a laundromat to use an extra-large washer and dryer. So I’ve decided to go back that route, except this time I purchased a down alternative comforter. I did a little research on down comforters and learned that they stopped live plucking back in 2014…but they instead pluck the feathers from dead geese that have been mass farmed for food. My personal preference is to give as little support as possible to the mass farming industry that is not only cruel, but also largely responsible for climate change as well as risk for virus outbreaks just like the pandemic we are currently experiencing.

So for ethical reasons I ordered this down alternative comforter from Amazon, and a linen blend duvet cover that arrived yesterday and I’m returning for another. I loved the texture and style, but I ordered a natural color thinking it would be a pretty neutral contrast with my white furniture. But the color just wasn’t right in my room. I called my boys into my room to get their opinions and they both agreed that they liked white better. So I started a return and ordered this white linen blend duvet instead to replace it. The comforter arrives sometime today, and the new duvet will be here tomorrow. I will be sure to share my review of both once I get to test them out.

Another exciting order finally arrived this week. I ordered a blackhead remover from Vumae Skin during the week of Thanksgiving that was lost by USPS (I ‘m sure you’re shocked and dismayed by this), so they had to send a new one. It came via Amazon Prime this time and arrived in two days. I’ve been wanting one for so long, and this one was 60% off so I pulled the trigger. My youngest son and I both have acne prone skin, so we’ll both benefit from it. We each used it for the first time, and my skin felt awesome afterwards! It removed dirt, dead skin and gunk from my pores. It exfoliated my skin and left it feeling soft, and the natural oils seemed to return once the dead skin was gone. The one I purchased is no longer available, but there are so many of these on the market that it is easy to find one if you’d like to give it a try. Walmart even has a few, so there are low price point options as well as the fancy high-end ones (mine cost me $40 but was originally $100).

This weekend proved to be even more eventful. Yesterday Logan and I joined Michael and his kids to help remove cabinets and clean out storage at his grandparents house. They’ve moved into assisted living and his dad and stepmom are working to get the house ready to sell. They’re having new cabinets installed and the floor refinished. so the old cabinets had to go. Michael always wanted to buy his grandparents house when the time came so he wanted me to see it. We’ve been together almost two years, and we know that we want to have a home together, we just are not in a rush to do it because we both own our homes and have kids, so it’s not just us and not just a matter of one of us moving in with the other. We’d have to both sell our homes and use the equity to buy a home big enough for six.

Talking about this “in the future” is as far as we had discussed so far, but the topic came up seriously yesterday. The house was actually perfect. It met all of my musts for a house – an L shaped kitchen with a huge island, a dining room large enough for a big table and a buffet, a master bedroom big enough for a king bed and a closet big enough for all of our clothes, and a tree-free yard where I can grow a successful garden. It also met Michael’s requirements – enough bedrooms for each kid to have their own room and the possibility for a large stand-up shower in the master (it doesn’t have that currently, but could easily have one put in).

It also is on a golf course – hole 9 is basically in the back yard – so Michael would be thrilled. And it has a paved path for golf carts that I could do my daily walks on. The entire back of the house is filled with windows and skylights, with a deck that stretches the width of the house and a concrete patio on the walkout basement below that could be easily screened in for when mosquitoes get bad in the summer. They also already have to redo the kitchen, so if we were to buy it we could select the finishes – so not only would I have the perfect kitchen layout, but I could actually have the kitchen of my dreams because it’s a blank slate.

In the same day we went from seriously considering it, to talking ourselves out of it completely. The struggle is – it isn’t in the town where we currently live. We are in Cape Girardeau and the house is in Jackson. They are right next door to each other in the same county, but they each have their own school district. Which means if we moved there the boys would no longer be able to go to their current school. And unlike when we left Perryville to move to Cape, they don’t want to change schools now. Hunter is a sophomore in high school and Logan starts high school next year. They love their school and their friends and don’t want to start over somewhere else – and I don’t blame them.

We could try to use a family member’s address to keep them in the Cape school district, but if we were found out they’d be left with no choice but to change schools and that’s a risk I’d rather not take. Michael briefly considered going ahead and buying the house himself, but with the equity from his house only (since I would be staying in mine instead of selling it for a down payment), and paying the mortgage by himself for four years until I could move in, it would be a stretch to afford it on his own for that long.

And then…as we were in the car talking about the kitchen remodel while going to swap out the empty propane tank from the back porch heater, we were brought back to reality. As we were turning into the gas station, there was suddenly a loud bang from underneath our feet, followed by grinding and shuddering as the car slowed to a stop in front of the gas pump. If there was any doubt that it was the transmission, it was confirmed when he put it in park, got out of the car, and it started to roll backwards so I reached over and pulled the emergency break. Every gear was gone…no park, reverse, drive…nothing.

The car has a crazy amount of miles on it because he drives 35-40 miles one way to work every single day, so it was probably due for something to go wrong and yesterday proved to be the day. It is now at the shop awaiting opening tomorrow for diagnosis and repair. It’s intended to be his daughter’s car come July when she turns 16 and he’ll be getting a new one, so on the plus side now her car will have a fresh new transmission!

The situation reminded us that all the dreaming in the world about a future home is fine, but it doesn’t need to be a sudden or rushed decision because life has ways of throwing us curve balls. We need to plan and prepare. We need to talk about blending not only homes, but shared finances as well. We need to prepare our houses to sell, then actually put them on the market and sell them. And then we’ll need to find the right home to move into. A lot needs to happen before we get there, and we are in no big hurry to take on all of that stress. It was the perfect house, in the perfect location…but in the wrong town and at the wrong time.

I will leave you there, dear friends, in the hopes that the upcoming week will be less eventful than yesterday! Tomorrow is a holiday so I’m off work and the kids are off school, so the week will start off on a peaceful note. I hope you enjoy your Sunday and have a great week ahead.

Love,
Loren

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