I like to think I'm organized. Day to day, I have a calendar and a to-do list and a million little things stored in my head about how the hours of the day will go. This type of "planning" comes naturally to me and I re-adjust my expectations as needed to get through any particular day or week.
30 Days of Nothing, it has become clear, is all about planning. Unfortunately, it's all about MEAL planning - one of my least favorite things to do. This explains so much in my own life. But it also explains why 30 Days feels so difficult to me. Planning meals out for this day and often the next two makes me want to crawl back in bed and cover my head. I can't tell you what sounds good now for Wednesday! I don't know. How will I know that until 5 o'clock Wednesday rolls around? (insert deep chagrin here) I can't tell you what to make for dinner tonight! Who knows? Maybe Mexican will sound good? Or Italian? Or hamburgers? Who can say?! I'll let you know.
Therein lies the problem so many of us have. Because we're used to deciding what's for dinner when we're just about to have said dinner, we end up gazing at a menu while we wait for our drinks to arrive.
In and of itself, waiting on those drinks and looking at that menu is not a problem. The problem for us is when that becomes the norm and eating at home becomes the anomaly. Not so good and a real financial drain on the budget. Also Starbucks. Ahem. I confess to having had a couple days where I slipped up slightly, and felt really bad about that. Did I mention it's not easy? This is not my forte. It does NOT come naturally to me.
Enter the picture above. We've been planning out our meals a couple days in advance, and last night I walked through the kitchen to discover that Anton had carefully set aside the things he needed to make Monday's dinner for us. (for the curious, it's beef roast or in our house "stringy meat") This got me thinking about how sometimes just a little bit of extra planning makes all the difference. The expectation is set. This is what we're having. The supplies are already in hand. The prep work can be done ahead so that we have less to try to "weasel" out of come dinner time. And also? I got to wake up to the glorious smell of perfectly seasoned beef roast searing in a pan this morning. UH-MAZING. And into the crock pot it went...
Saturday, when we might normally head out for lunch after our late morning soccer game, we instead packed a picnic lunch and invited some of our soccer family friends to join us at the park. Additionally, because AB had planned ahead, we already had a delicious pulled pork bubbling away in the crock pot for dinner. Because we had plenty, we extended the invite to some friends and had an impromptu (and delightful) "pulled pork tacos" evening.
Meanwhile, I'll be transparent and say that this does not quench my love of dining out. First of all, some things you just can't duplicate at home. Second, my kitchen counter has been littered with a CONSTANT and overwhelmingly large influx of dirty dishes. My dishwasher always full. My hands? Soapy. So, three meals a day and I'm baked. Pardon the pun! Have I mentioned how, out of all the chores on the house list, the kitchen is my absolute and utter LEAST favorite to tackle? I do not deny that I despise kitchen clean up.
On the other hand, the discipline itself - you can't deny. It's a shock to your system to just STOP spending. The fact that so many people will not even entertain the idea of this type of challenge gives you the info you need. Have I said this already? It's not easy.
Tomorrow is the half-way point and I'm convincing myself that this can be done. But I'm lying if I don't tell you that I'm ooooooovver it. I'm weak. Yes, I am. Here's an actual conversation from our home this week and I'll paraphrase:
AB: Do we have plans on October 4th?
CB: Yes. We do. We have plans the first five days of October.
AB: We do???
CB: (deadpan) Yes. We're booked. You'll find me living in gluttony having dinner and drinks at pretty much every eatery in town from October 1st through the 5th.
I joke. (cough)
But the struggle is real people.