Saturday, April 28, 2012

All's Quiet on the Home Front

My blog has been quiet lately. I wish it was a no news is good news sort of thing, but it's more neutral than anything. It's certainly not a bad news situation, but there are some things I wish were different. For example, it would be good news to share that my house sold, but no such luck yet. We press on, however. I spend most of my moments trying to treasure and preserve my time with Baby Girl, as she recently hit 6 months and keeps growing and growing and growing. My wishes that she remain my tiny little cuddle bug are unanswered, so instead I'm trying to memorize her every moment before she too quickly moves into a new phase. My family has been busy - busy enjoying the spring, busy trying to sell the house, busy being active and social and trying to be healthy. I'm halfway through the first weekend I've had in a long time where I don't have any obligations, and it's hard to swallow! Next weekend starts the run of showers, parties, and festivals all over again. I wouldn't give it up though, but it sure would be nice if I had more free hours in the day. Maybe someday when scientists find out how to survive on no sleep...

Today - well, the few hours I was out of the house - was devoted to grocery shopping. I get into food ruts where I can't think of anything to make and want nothing more than to drive through the nearest unhealthy restaurant. The best way to get out of the food rut is to spend an hour or two browsing through a specialty grocery store. On weeks where I have a bit of spending money, I may find myself perusing a Whole Foods or similar market, buying some good looking produce or fancy cheeses. But on weeks like this - where the bills stack a bit higher than is fun, I take my frugal pocketbook and head to an Asian market.

There's nothing more exciting to me than strolling through grocery aisles with products that I normally don't see in my week to week grocery shopping. Granted, I can't read most of the packages, but most of them do have English translations somewhere on them. A larger Asian market will also have some produce and fresh meats and seafood, which can also be an adventure in food. I normally stock up on rice noodles and Panda chocolate biscuit cookies and spend the rest of the time looking for fun new things to try. Candies are usually a safe bet, as well as frozen pancakes and pork buns. However, every once in a while I get an item that sounds good in theory, but goes into the garbage after an initial try. The price can be the best part - tonight's adventure gave me three bags of groceries for $30.

Of course, I still had to supplement my experimental groceries with my regular run of items, so it was a second trip to my "regular" grocery store. I've actually started really enjoying going to the grocery store each week. I do spoil myself each time with a stop at the Caribou Coffee kiosk for a skinny latte, but after that, it's all business. I wish I could say that I have some good frugal tips, but the grocery store is one place I have been splurging lately. The main reason for that is for health- it seems that the healthier you want to be, the more you have to invest. However, I also spend more than I need to for convenience, too. For example - fruits and veggies. I enjoy taking cucumbers for lunch, but if I buy a whole cucumber, I won't find the time to cut and bag it for lunch, and it will end up going bad. I can spend a few extra dollars, however, on mini cucumbers that I do not need to cut up to eat. So I do spend on the convenience, but in the long run, it's worth it.

I also love shopping when it's busy. Not because of the crowds, of course, but they have the sample ladies out when the store is busier. Some of my favorite ways of cooking veggies come from the lady that gives samples in the produce area. And I think she's starting to recognize me as well... either that, or she's very friendly to everyone and thinks I'm nuts for talking to her like I see her all the time!

Grocery shopping used to be a task I hated, but I've found a way to make it a little date with myself each week. I don't do as good of a job at saving money as I should, but I'm taking strides toward being much healthier, so it's a good balance. Now if I could just find a way to start looking forward to exercising the way I look forward to my weekly grocery shopping trip, I'd be set!!

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