New Mexico, part 1

Catching the Plane and Seeing the Mountains:Last Monday Rob, his mom Valerie, and I flew to Albuquerque to visit Rob’s Aunt Mary and her husband Ahad. We got in right on time after some early morning airport drama.

I travel frequently alone, and rarely check bags. Hence, I forgot all about crazy Christmas travel and people who don’t fly often, and also forgot to take into account that we were checking bags and traveling with someone who has not flown since before 9-11. So I only allotted an hour and 15 minutes to check-in and get through security. The car was 15 minutes late, and by the time we got to the airport at 6 for a 6:55 flight, well you can imagine. The kiosk wasn’t working for us because we had a flight that had been changed several times or some other unknown reason; and of course the line to see an agent was at least 90 minutes. Uggh. So we got to cut in line to get our boarding passes, and then I talked our way in to cutting in the security line too. Luckily we had no liquids or gels to worry about. And we made our flight just fine. Or bags however did not, and upon arriving in Albuquerque we left our address with the airline, and our bags were delivered about 8 hours later. Crises averted; I’ll file this under things to remember about holiday travel.

Monday with Mary and Ahad was pretty low key, we were all jet lagged and stuff. They have the most beautiful house with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Oh how beautiful!

We’re Back and Ready for 2009

We’re back from New Mexico and starting to settle back into a routine. We are coming up with this theory that time moves faster on the east coast. Sunday was spent lounging around after the nearly 12 hours of travel on Saturday. Then yesterday and today, so much to do on the “To Do” list, and as I am looking at it now a lot has been crossed off, but there is still so much to do. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I am spending this week cleaning and organizing for the 2009 plan. I’m going to visit my mom this weekend, hence the jump-start. We are starting off this year in very different circumstances. Last year we were working at Nick Jr. and talking about getting engaged, this January we are married and jobless. It’s a scary place to start the new year, looking for work, but we have a plan.

We have been trying to simplify our lives and minimize our possessions since Rob and I combined households. I’ve found a few good blogs that give lots of ideas on living simply, and on a budget. One idea implemented this week is that of meal planning. I’ve been doing this somewhat for awhile, because it is much easier to go to the grocery with an idea of what you’re going to make with the food bought. What we are doing now, is putting a budget to the plan. $50 a week. I sat down on Sunday night and made a list of 25 meals (some are repeats) for January. No 31, because there will be leftovers, and the occasional meal at a friends home. I planned the first week, and loosely laid out the other four. This way we can move things around and try not to have beef four days in a row for example. And since I have more time, we can watch the sales and cook around that.

This week’s menu:
Monday – stuffed salmon with grilled aspargus (we had salmon in the freezer)
Tuesday – Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Wednesday – Skyline Chili
Thursday – French Bread Pizza
Friday – Indian chicken from Natascha

We came in at just under $60 for the week. That is $10 over budget, but food for lunches and some of the ingredients will be used next week. Hopefully we can make up the difference later in the month.

We are also cutting all unnecessary spending with the exception of a $10 fun budget for each of us each week. Yesterday we each spent $2.50 at Alpha Donut. There is so much mindless spending that goes on in our lives. I’m going to keep on the blog searching for more ways to simplify and budget our lives.

We are keeping hope that by mid-year those awesome jobs will once again have come to us, and we can have the occasional dinner out.

I just remembered one more thing. We FINALLY dropped off two bags of clothes, kitchen supplies, and a CD player to the Salvation Army thrift store. The unexpected upside is that we got a tax write off form from them, and since it is December 30 I don’t have to keep it on file for a whole year – just until tax season is over.

Here’s to living simply in 2009.