Domestic goals

You’ll have to excuse my boring no-pretty-photo posts for a couple weeks. I’m still laptop-less and camera-phone-less. Luckily I still have my iPad *knock on wood* so I can at least write SOMETHING.

One thing on my mind lately is my feeling of inadequacy.

I know, just a few weeks ago I was feeling on top of the world with work and motherhood but the last week or so I’ve fallen behind and noticing more and more of my shortfalls.

Nobody’s perfect. And I’m not striving for perfection because if I do I’ll go insane. But I am trying to improve.

A reader suggested I try to knock out some of my pre #2 list while I’m waiting for #2 to come along and I think that’s just what I’ll do. Starting with adding a few more things like: learning to cook and liking it. And writing a book. Or at least a draft. I have a non-fiction concept in mind and I’m working on my outline. Hopefully I’ll be done before #2 comes along.

Back to the cooking thing. Sorta… I’ve wanted to get into the whole “live a healthier lifestyle” thing for a while. You know, working out and stuff. Recently I got my first ever gym membership. And I’ve been going! We joined the YMCA and I take Lil’ J with me. I’ll go do a class like Zumba or spin or strength training, and she’ll play with the kids. Then after we all go swimming. We all go as a family too the days our schedules aline.

My husband loves working out and he loves when I work out and get all dressed up in my sexy workout clothes (ok so maybe that’s what motivated me to start going). But he’s not as pumped about my cooking. He says it’s because of the mess it creates and “all the work it takes.” He’d prefer to go out, order a salad or sandwich and make Lil’ J something small at home. Problem is we spend a fortune eating out every month, plus shopping for random snacks and small meals. We HAVE to stop.

Even though I can’t imagine adding weekly trips to the grocery store and meal planning/making to my everyday to-dos I know it’s something that has to be done. And maybe. Just maybe, this time I’ll actually start to like it and pick up the intuition all of my other friends seem to have with what taste good with what.

One thing that gets me pumped about cooking is thinking of it as something I can do WITH Lil’ J. She’s only two but we can still learn together. Whenever I put something on the stove or in the oven, she wants to be right there mixing, seasoning, watching. It’s daunting thinking of the time it’ll take but if it’s time spent with her, maybe it won’t be as painful.

It’s sad but I’m 26 and probably can’t make 3 recipes from memory. Let’s count: spaghetti, French toast… I think that’s it.

But I’ve got resources on my side: EMealz. A service I signed up for, for about 6 months. I got the weekly meal plans in my inbox I just need to print and go. Also Shelf Reliance. They specialize in food storage (systems and the food) and recipes on how to use it. I have a bunch of their food and a Shelf Reliance cook book. Time to use that shiz.

My short term goal is to make at least one meal a week. And maybe even (ok, hopefully) post about it. I’m not a food photographer though so no laughs aloud.

Another goal is to keep my house clean, but I’ve gotta take baby steps with all this domestic stuff. I was doing so good but I’ve been too lazy to do much of anything lately (aside from exterminate fleas and vacuum 5xs a day). We’re still totally game for a maid, its just not as easy finding the right one as I thought it would be.

On a similar note, I’m still not unpacked and I’m too scared to go into the garage alone cause I’m worried I’ll see a spider. Now I’m dependent on my husband to help which means we may still be packed next year when we’re ready to move again. I’d prefer to be able to use our garage for a car before then.

Lately, witnessing my mom friends who have it all together with the running, clean homes, perfectly fed kids and all that jazz make me want to jump off a cliff. Other than that, I’m awesome. How are you?

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  1. Jenn, I am continually impressed by all you manage to accomplish–working full time, constantly doing fun activities with lil’ J on your time off, starting a videography business, making time for your marriage… the list goes on. I feel like I’m in over my head just keeping HP alive and keeping us all fed at the end of the day.

    Your post made me think of this book that has ideas for how to involve toddlers in the kitchen activities:

    1. Sarah, that book looks sooooo awesome! Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely be checking out that book (maybe I can find it at a library), if not, buying it for sure! Gotta get pumped! I hope you and baby H are doing well! Soon as I get my computer back I’ll be finishing up yur sweet video. Now that it’s been so long maybe it’ll be an even better treasure! ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. The book was actually written by someone I know here in Austin who is working to open a free, public Montessori school in Austin (scheduled to open in fall 2014). All the proceeds from the book go to helping the school open. She blogs over at She’s inspired me to include a lot of Montessori elements in my parenting… I love the emphasis on teaching them independence from an early age.

      And it will be awesome to see the video when he’s older and has changed a lot. He already seems HUGE to me even though I know he’s really still itty-bitty!

  2. The moms that seem to have it all together are just really good at blogging about the good stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ and honestly if I get one good domestic thing done a day, I feel really good about myself!! It’s hard work!! One of the reasons I knew I wanted to quit my job was because I was the only one doing the domestic stuff around the house and it just wasnt worth it to see it all fall apart while I was too tired from working full time to do anything about it. Sounds like you have a lot more resources than I do, and I would start with super simple meals. Marinate chicken overnight and pop in the oven after work with some veggies thrown in. Or my favorite, the crockpot. That’s what got me back into cooking was stuff I could prep after Dustin went to bed and just throw together with minimal effort the next day. You’re Doin so many things and you’re excelling at most of them… At least te most important ones… Like being a mommy wife and provider!!! I applaud and look up to you, jenn!!! You. Are. Amazing. Nuff said!!

    1. Haha Ruth, actually the friends I have who seem to have it together mostly don’t blog, maybe that’s the key, stop blogging and get my life together! haha. But that’s so boring!!

      What do you marinate your chicken with? See that’s the stuff I don’t “get” yet. Knowing me I’d put ketchup on it and that would be nasty. I love making crock pot stuff, I just need to bust out my old recipies, make/buy a recipe book and get to work!

      PS: thanks for your sweet words. I’m really not that awesome, I just blog the good stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰

      PPS: Do you feel like you’ve had more time since leaving full time work? I feel like Lil’ J would just consume my extra time and I’d still be unproductive but with less money. ha!

  3. I make most of my meals mostly from scratch, I always have four goals in mind when coming up with a recipe.
    1- that it only takes about 15 minuted of my time to make.
    2- that it only uses one cooking dish and one prep dish
    3- that it’s healthy
    4- that it’s delicious

    You can check out my blog for a few of them but feel free to contact me if you want more info. (I’m actually teaching a class on it for RS night this month.)

    1. Andrea, LOVE your recipe goals, I’m with ya there, and as long as all of the stuff involved to make it is understandable/familiar! I’ll definitely be checking out you site and bugging you. Thank you!

  4. Oh Jen, I’m totally feelin ya on the food/cooking thing.

    What about crockpot-ing? You can use fresh foods, and it takes like 15 minutes to put it together. I’m exploring using liners so I don’t have to scrub the pot afterwards. Dang, you can make some seriously yummy things. Beware though, the crockpot blogs out there can be huge time sucks.

    I like crockin girls, I tried some of their top 10 recipes and they were a hit. And your house smells yummy.

    1. Thanks for the link Marilyn! I did love crockpotin. Mine is still somewhere in the garage, I need ot unpack that baby and get to cookin. YES I always used the liners. I HATE cleaning the pan (I made my husband clean it actually since I cooked, but he hates cleaning it). Liners= totally worth it.

  5. This post totally makes me laugh because I always come to your blog and read your posts while thinking to myself “she balances it all so well, how come I feel like I’m drowning”. Haha! Cut yourself some slack, girl. Nobody can do it all. I’m a stay home mom and my house looks like a hazmat situation right now. I cook almost every night (crockpot, seriously you should try that) but only because we’re now a 1 income family and I don’t want to live in the car.

  6. Girl, you are doing well. We all get in a little funk sometimes where we criticize and compare ourselves to others. With the cooking, start small. Don’t worry about the jazzed up gourmet-ish home cooked meals you see posted online. That takes work and years of learning. Start by tastefully cooking the essentials:rice, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, chicken breasts…all the other veggies and side items are in the frozen section in steamable bags.

  7. It’s funny my immediate inclination is to tell you how awesome you are and how your blog means a lot to so many people, but one’s actual greatness sometimes does little to dissuade one of the severity of one’s flaws. I concur with the sentiments of the people who commented above, we’re all flawed, just trying to make it, and from the outside looking in, you’re doing a great job.

    Developing a budget, and getting glass jars with cash for each week helped our family with cooking. Once the eating out money is gone, then that means eating the groceries we purchased at the beginning of the week from the market or grocery store.

  8. When Rebecca Soni won a gold medal in swimming, a reporter asked her what made a difference for her in this race. Her reply? She didnโ€™t look at swimmers in other lanes. She focused on what she had to do. You have a race to complete tooโ€“itโ€™s called your life. And you donโ€™t have to be like anyone else. No one can do what you can do or change the world the way you can. Some of the other posters have told you how much they think you have it all together…just keep being you and know that God wants the best of you, but doesn’t want you to be the “swimmer in the other lane.” Have a blessed day. :>) MS

  9. I highly recommend America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated for you! I love that they explain techniques so you’re not just re-hasing recipes but can learn basics to come up with your own creations. They just launched an online cooking school too but even if you can’t do that their online tutorials are awesome:

  10. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

    This may even include yourself. I’ve been in that place before. Feeling inadequate, and not good enough, and its not a pretty place to be. Its a never winning battle. I think having goals is not only healthy but keeps your mind busy and preoccupied. And nothing feels better then saying “I did it!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I found a whole list of inspiring quotes that I thought you might enjoy!

  11. I am an avid cook and baker but don’t like to clean. I would rather have someone else do that. My friend loves to clean but doesn’t like to cook. Her advice was to start easy and small and work my way up. The same can be said for cooking. Start small and work your way up. Something I make that is also a hit at parties is what I call Robusto chicken. It is simple. You just take chicken legs, put them in a baking dish, and pour Wishbone Robusto salad dressing on the chicken. Cover and bake 350 for an hour. Turn the chicken after 30 minutes. Take the cover off for the last 15 minutes. That’s it and it is very good. You can even use a disposable aluminum pan from the dollar store if you don’t want a mess. Bake potatoes on the side and make a salad.

  12. I doubt tht those moms that seem to have it all together, actually do. I know people say that about me but they don’t see my house at the end of the day, or the fact that I pass out the minute my kids go to bed lol. You are doing your best, which makes you a fantastic mom!

  13. Catching up on your posts and decided to comment on this one. I think it’s ok to feel as if we don’t have it together all the time. When we do, it makes us aware of our behaviors and in turn helps us do better if we are falling in certain areas. I think feeling like the cat’s meow makes us miss the little things. Don’t worry Jen, I think you’re doing just fine. Don’t beat your self up.
    As for the making dinner thing, experiment. Start off with easy things like chicken, and fish. Chicken doesn’t always need to be marinated, salt and pepper, and you’re good. There is a show on the food Network called 5 Ingredient Fix, check it out.

  14. I wrote a new post you might be interested in called “Eating Well” it’s about the 3 steps I use to throw together something healthy and delicious at the last minute. No weird ingredients, I promise.

  15. I’m sure you’ll get a routine down that works for you all. As for cooking don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Start with simple things like Hamburger Helper or those boxed meals from The Macaroni Grill. Tacos and fish are easy to make. You can always just open up a canned veggies or microwave some Uncle Ben’s to go with it.

    Cooking can be fun and easy. Good luck!

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