Thursday, January 18, 2018

Budget-friendly healthy and organic food shopping

I mentioned earlier that the main theme of my 2018 goals center around self care and taking care of me first for a change. Diet and exercise have been on the back burner for me for years. It's time to make some changes and get healthy, and food has a lot to do with it. Having four kids in the house can make it kind of tricky to eat well, since we tend to gravitate towards quick, easy, and inexpensive snack options to keep the little ones happy. I have a really hard time spending extra money from our food budget on specialty items for myself, regardless of how good they are. A recent (childless) trip to my local Grocery Outlet showed me that healthy options don't have to be expensive though. 

I snuck away during nap time to find some mom-friendly snacks. I headed straight for Grocery Outlet's NOSH section- organic, natural, healthy, & natural foods. 

I had no idea that Grocery Outlet had a selection like this, or that I could save 40-70% by shopping here. I browsed the aisles and found quite a few things I'd normally spend much more on at my other store. For example- this tahini, a specialty item needed to make your own hummus, is normally $12.99 (and you really only need a teeny bit of it). This jar of tahini is was only $5.99 at Grocery Outlet! Along with that I also found the organic garbanzo beans for my favorite hummus recipe as well, and some yummy, healthier "chips" to dip in it. All for such great prices. 

I also found one of our toddler snack time favorites- Annie's chocolate bunny crackers, for only $.99! That was too good to pass up, and I like those too.

Quinoa- a dinnertime staple in my house, was about half the price I normally pay. I grabbed a big back to stock up and I'll have to remind myself to always come here for quinoa. We eat tons of it! It's a great side dish or salad addition. I love to throw it in a rice cooker and steam it with some chicken or vegetable stock for flavor. Then I top it with diced tomato and avocado, a little lime drizzle, and some salt and pepper. So good! I eat it as is or sometimes I'll throw it on top of some romain lettuce for some crunchy lettuce wraps.

All in all I only ended up spending about $26 at Grocery Outlet, and my receipt said that I saved over $37! Without any coupons or anything! Here's what I got:

Sea Salt baked chips 
Organic garbanzo beans
Organic tahini 
Almond butter
Organic blackberry jam 
KIND granola bars
Annie's organic bunny crackers 
Kale Krunch 
Peanut butter granola bites
Pepper Jack cheese crackers
Organic quinoa 

Not a bad little healthy haul, and I will definitely be back to Grocery Outlet now that I know what kind of stuff I can find there for so much less. Though I have heard though- if you see something you love, stock up because it might not be there next time. Check your local circular and snag this $3 off coupon now! Seriously though- give it a try and see how much you can save! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Self care goals for 2018

Hello 2018! Hello to a new year and a fresh start. Don't you just love that? I do. As cliche as it sounds, I love starting off the new year with a few basic goals for myself. Nothing crazy-big or fancy, but with 2017 in my rearview (and we all know it was a rough year) I'm looking forward to taking better care of myself as a main priority. 2017 was the year of the fussy baby and the needy toddler, which didn't leave much time for mom. I feel like I kind of had the life sucked out of me. 2018 is going to be different and I'm going to focus on more self care this trip around the sun. Here's how:

Eat better. My diet has been pretty much crap since Josiah was born. At first I was nursing, so of course I was eating like a horse and had plenty of excess fat to lose from my body. Within a couple of months though, I was back to my old habits of coffee, coffee, coffee all day and I'd subsist on mostly toddler snacks. Fishy crackers, string know the drill. Most days I'd experience major caffeine crashes and be completely exhausted. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. My body hasn't been properly fueled in I don't even know how long. This last week or so I've really tried to eat more. I've been doing a green smoothie every morning to get some green, leafy veggies in and I just started adding some protein powder to it too. It fills up my stomach and helps me make better snack and lunch choices later in the day. 

Move my body. Exercise has been pretty nonexistent in my lifestyle for years. Sure, I'm skinny. I don't need to lose weight. But I have the upper body strength of a kitten and I'm pretty sure I've got about zero muscle tone. And just because I'm not overweight doesn't mean I'm healthy- I know I need to do something to get moving and get my heart rate up every now and again. I have a stair-stepper and I've been making it my goal to use it every other day. Even just 20 minutes gets me panting and sweating. My goal is to keep up with that at the very minimum and to add some kind of strength training to it as well to tone up. Oh, and I'm dying for spring to roll around so I can get back to walking with my double stroller- the one form of exercise I actually enjoy! 

Make better use of my time. This year I'm going to try to simplify and make better use of my time. Embracing technology helps so much with this one- I love stocking up at & using their free 2 day shipping feature. I've streamlined my errands by ordering what I can online and stocking up when things are on sale so I'm not running out at the last minute for basic necessities. Most of them are delivered right to my door now. Right before Christmas I stocked up on these Kleenex tissues- a staple in our house during cold and flu season and beyond. I've got 4 little noses to wipe, and these are our favorite. (They have a special layer in the middle to trap and kill 99.9% of cold & flu viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes!) I've even started doing my grocery shopping online...I just order and pull up at the store. I don't even have to get out of the car with all of the little ones anymore. So convenient and it saves me so much time and stress. Find out how to get free 2 day shipping or free store pickup here- it's a life-saver for sure! 

Rest when needed. It's hard to admit that you can't do it all 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mom life can be rough, but rest is essential. I'm going to stop feeling guilty about this one and put my feet up when I need a little breather. 

Do things I enjoy. I realized that in 2017 I didn't really do anything that I really love to do. I didn't read a book. I didn't do any crafting. My sewing machine went completely untouched. I didn't do a whole lot for myself, besides the occasional blog post and what I was doing to run my new business. I kept myself busy doing a lot of busy work, but I didn't do any of the things that used to really make me happy. That is going to change!

Those 5 little things are going to hopefully make me a better me in 2018. This is going to be the year I prioritize myself, my health, and my happiness a little more. What are you doing to take better care of yourself? Do you have any big goals for the new year?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The holiday blur

Holy whirlwind! I kind of cant't believe the holidays are already over and I'm sitting here the day after Christmas trying to remember it all. It seems like the older I get and the bigger my kids are, the faster the time goes by. I really don't even know what happened to's almost over and I'm having a hard time remembering all of the highlights. It was a tough year for me personally, what with this crazy PPD & anxiety, but despite that, I tried to still be there for all four kiddos and highlight the special celebrations and moments we had throughout the year. Not an easy task, but I feel like I kept up appearances just fine. That's a win in my book.

Christmas is always magical when you have kids, and I had the privilege of seeing it through my older kids' eyes this year and experience some fun "firsts" with the littles. This was Josiah's first "real" Christmas, since he was just a baby last year and I'm pretty sure we let him sleep through the entire morning's festivities. Harper is 3 1/2 so she was very excited about Christmas this year., and we were super excited to spoil her. Shopping for her was SO fun- I love buying presents for toddler girls because they just love everything. She's currently obsessed with Moana (her & Josiah both- we watch it every damn day- Christmas included!) So she ran around Christmas morning in her new Moana costume and necklace (the heart of Tafiti!) and sang us songs and acted out the movie all day long while jumping around from toy to toy...all while staying perfectly in character. She reminds me so much of Lily at this age- sweet and sassy and lover of all things girly, musical, and princess-like. 
The only picture I got of all 4

The big kids were completely surprised by their gifts. They wanted electronics of course, and we'd had them fooled for months that we weren't going "big" this year now that we're a family of four and have so many kids to buy for. Well, we had no idea what to even get them besides the one thing they each asked for (it's so hard as they get older), so we did end up getting them their "big" gifts they wanted and kept the rest pretty minimal. Ayden finally got his new XBOX One (he's been asking for a few years) and Lily got a tablet loaded with a really nice drawing program for her digital art she's been doing lately. She wants to be an animator and/or fashion designer and recently started using a drawing app on her Kindle, which she quickly outgrew. She's SO talented and this new tablet is already allowing her to do some advanced stuff she couldn't do before. I'm all for her using technology to advance her artistic ability! She's amazing. The XBOX for that's what he's into I'm not going to fight it anymore. I told him as long as he keeps his grades up and does his chores he can play. He's a 13 year old boy- what are you gonna do? At least he's not interested in what I was at 13, which was boys, makeup, and smoking. Sure can play Minecraft until your eyeballs fall out as long as you're not smoking cigarettes in middle school! I am going to start loading him up with more chores though if he wants to game more...I realized yesterday while shoveling the driveway that I have a perfectly capable 13 year old boy I could be putting to work more! That's what all these kids are for, right? Hehe. 

I know the holidays can kind of be a bummer time for some who don't have a lot of family. This year it was just the six of us and it was great- no one was stressed out, we had nowhere to be, and we even got some sledding in. We had a nice ham dinner with all of the fixings and I talked to a lot of friends and family throughout the day via text (isn't texting amazing for the anti-social people like me?) Still, it was kind of sad for me. My family and I have been estranged pretty much since Josiah was born (he's almost 16 months old). It's sad when you have to over-compensate for your other people being absent in your children's lives. It's hard not feeling that twinge of jealousy when you see your friends post pictures of their big, happy families sitting together with 3 & 4 generations of people together, all getting along. I wish I had that, but I don't. We've never been able to mesh our two families together. There are people on one side who just can't get along with anyone, so it's always been weird and awkward trying to do birthdays and holidays together. And then we had our falling out last year and it hasn't gotten any better. My youngest two don't even know what they are missing. The older I get the more I realize how completely ridiculous it is...but what are you going to do? I spent a fair amount of my Christmas day feeling really mad about it. I'd find myself seething with rage while I was cleaning up wrapping paper or putting the ham in the oven and I'd have to force myself to stop thinking about it. Not today. Be happy for the kids. Forget about your own mommy/daddy problems and make the day special for your kids...don't let them know they are missing anything. So that's exactly what I did and will continue to do in the future. At least I know how not to treat my kids and how to not perpetrate the cycle and repeat history. My kids are the most important people in my life and I will not let anyone else make them feel less than. 

So aside from the moments of self-pity and anger about the current situation, we still had a great Christmas, and I'm looking forward to 2018. Today we are dealing with the aftermath- the toy explosion, kids fighting over use of the TV for movies & XBOXing, the abundance of cardboard & paper (too much for the recycling bin), and leftover pie for a mid-morning snack. I'm really going to take this "new year" thing to heart (hopefully) and make some changes in my life. My diet and health have been absolute shit this last year and I'm feeling it. Zero energy, zero motivation. Hopefully I can make some lifestyle changes that will make 2018 better than 2017 was to me. You can't drink from an empty cup, so I plan on filling mine next year.

Happy holidays, friends! I hope you caught a Christmas nap too :) 


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