Decluttering, Budgeting and Organizing On a Rainy Day

...These are all things that I would like to be doing but somehow, it's not working out that way!  I could've also called this post: things you really shouldn't even try doing on a rainy day but, I thought that might sound a little negative and then you wouldn't read it. Explain to me again why exactly was I out in the middle of this torrential rain? And at Walmart nonetheless? Ah yes! Because I fed the dog some old deli meat this morning to stave off hunger while I grabbed some real food for him.  And for the rest of us.

I grabbed my E-Mealz shopping list intent on making all the meals for one week so that I can see how it works and report back to you.  I added a few more items on the list (alas, E-Mealz doesn't have a "lunch" menu so I have to improvise), threw on my jeans and flip flops and headed out.  I found a space close to the entrance (SCORE!) and when I strolled in there was a dry cart waiting for me along with a Walmart employee with an umbrella bag open and ready for use.  The shopping gods were with me today, I could feel it.

Then it all went to hell.  How, you ask?  I went into the home goods section.  See, the thing about decluttering and organizing is that you (well, at least I) need to purchase some things in order to facilitate said declutering.  Plastic bins, little shelves for the kitchen, etc. I didn't do too bad (although the general thinking is that I can get the plastic bins cheaper at Big Lots!). I grabbed a couple of shelves, a curtain rod and a scarf for my window and went off to the grocery section.  As I walked in, I felt myself focus and get tunnel vision.  Tunnel vision makes me tired.  I look down at my list which is compartmentalized by category (these people are after my own heart!).  But, it's not easy to shop because even if you're only looking in the dried foods/canned section, you'll probably have to hit 3 isles to get it all.  Let's not mention the fact that this particular Walmart has reorganized their entire store and I'm still getting used to the floor plan.

I kept forgetting one thing from a section and then had to double back.  The whole experience made me weary.  It was more the thought of everything I had to do at home and the anxiety rising as the pile in my shopping cart grew. I won't tell you what I spent (you won't like it and it's best this way so that you can continue thinking I'm cute AND smart).  I will say I purchased more than just food.  Were all the items necessary? I'd like to think so but as I type this I can think of at least 2 things I could've done without.  And now, wracked with guilt, I may have to return them.  Well, after the damn rain stops.

I had a little sticker shock at a few things.  Primarily the ground beef.  I'm used to buying the 1lb pack but since I was making several things this day, my shopping list called for 2.5-3 lb pack.  I cannot believe that there's almost $3 difference between the 80/20 beef and the 97/3. Sheesh!  Then they wonder why people don't eat healthier!

In the produce section I thought: what do zucchinis look like again?  Don't judge me.  This was my last stop and I was hungry, tired and not looking forward to leaving the store since I could still hear the rain coming down (PS: the hunger is what made me buy cheese sticks from the frozen food section. Yeah, I did!).  After several loop-de-loops in the store I make a run for  cashier and find one that is finishing up with a customer. LUCKY! I start unpacking the cart (or is it dismounting? I'm not really sure but should really look that up).  That's when I notice it.  Blood.

It had dripped, ironically, on the paper towels.  And it made its way to the umbrella bag that was on the bottom shelf of the cart. As I took it out I told the checkout girl (we'll call her Nancy) and she immediately came by with a plastic bag.  Suddenly, there were 2 other people cleaning up the blood from the floor which before then I had not noticed.  I imagine a blood trail ala Criminal Minds and I'm slightly horrified.  I'm not with the frog princess today so can't blame the kid for me being distracted and not noticing this.  I continually apologize as if somehow, I'd stabbed myself while shopping and was now dirtying up the store unnecessarily. I asked for paper towels to clean off my, um, paper towels.  Nancy then proceeded to check me out but, I could tell the relationship wasn't going anywhere. She didn't make small talk, she didn't really smile or make comments about what was in my cart. Oh well! I have enough friends anyway, Nancy so there!

I'm not entirely sure where this post is going.  I went to sit at my desk and realized that there was water leaking from the back door into the office and nearly electrocuted myself trying to dry it all up.  Ah yes, electrocution!  That reminds me.  That great parking space I was bragging about? I rolled my cart out with difficulty, what with the 89 items I purchased weighing it down and a big umbrella in one hand. As I neared my truck I saw it.  I immediately knew that things weren't as they seemed.  I had to unpack (or is it decart?) my groceries while standing in about 4 inches of water.  If FEMA was around, they'd have deemed that particular parking space a definite flood zone.  With my flip flops in the water and the first 2 inches of my jeans soaking wet, I did the job and then got in my truck and drove away.  Don't ask about my hair, you really don't want to know.

I'm sure there are many lessons to learn from my outing and interactions today but, after finally settling the frog princess down for a late nap, I just had enough time to put fingers to keyboard in order to write this up.  Who has time to ponder the lessons anyway? Not me! I have to go put together the little shelves and sort the spices before working on my very first E-Mealz dinner.

If you've learned any lessons from my day, please post here. I'd love to gain a little knowledge from this rainy day.

Green Mami: Meal (and Money) Saving Menus

You might not think about it but, part of living green is not wasting and for me, a big part of that is food.  I am guilty of not eating leftovers or not planning my meals right and wasting food.  Afterwards, I feel really guilty.  These days I need to be also conscious of the fact that I'm trying to save money while giving my family nutritious meals. Here's my problem: I'm creative and fabulous at all kinds of things.  But when it comes to cooking, I have a hard time putting meals together in a jiffy. I cannot whip up a four course meal with flour, rice, garlic and bread.  While my line sisters call me MacGyver, I'm afraid that I sorely let them down in trying to MacGyver my way through an unplanned meal.

I've been researching and thinking and thinking and thinking.  Finally, this morning I decided to just go for it and see how this turns out.  I signed up for e-mealz.  Initially I didn't want to because it seemed like more work.  But, let's face it, if we are trying to do something good for the earth and for our families, it's going to take a tad bit of work.

I got my plan for the week (though I'm all late since my meal plan is published on Thursdays).  Here's what I like:

I can select a meal plan based on where I shop which is awesome because they take into account the weekly sales at that particular store.  I selected the Walmart meal plan but I think that I can make changes if I need to. There's also a generic "any store" plan.  Not only do they have their plans by store but you can also select dietary needs (low carb, glutten-free, etc).

You get your meals AND you get your shopping list. Hello?! How easy is this?!  Here's a sample of what you would get: Walmart Meal Plan.  The only thing is that you have to make a commitment.  So, it comes out to $15 for 3 months worth of meals.  That's about $1.25 each week for a little organization in your life.  I found a coupon that saves you $2.50 (simply type in DAVE in the coupon code box).  So that's only $12.50 for the 3 months (you do the math on the weekly b/c I refuse!).

So I am off this afternoon to go food shopping in order to not waste money or food. I have my plan all set and I am on my way to being a greener mami for it!

Now, if I can only get someone to give me a snack plan...

Check out this link if you'd like to sign up for e-mealz:


While I am not being paid to write this post, e-mealz does have a referral service.  I'm trying this and hope you try it with me but as usual, I'm more interested in passing the information along to you so that you can make better decisions and have an easier life as opposed to because I'm a money hungry mami (well, I'm kinda that these days but, I just want what's best for you! How's that for a mami line ;-) )