Monday, March 25, 2013

Squash Bars..GAPS friendly

Mmmmm these are so good! Now trust me, I know when "health nuts" say that and you taste it and smile saying "mmmm so good" while trying your hardest to swallow that cardboard taste. That's usually me. 

But these really are good and I love that they are grain free!

Here's the recipe!

Squash Bars

8 eggs
2 cups pureed winter squash
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or ghee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate egg yolks and whites into different bowls. Whip egg whites until light and fluffy. Combine egg yolks, winter squash, cinnamon and butter. Mix well. Fold in egg whites. Pour into a 9x13 pan buttered and lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool, then slice into small squares and optionally top with butter. Enjoy! 

Quick tip: Cook several winter squashes at one time, then scoop out the insides, puree, and put into baggies in 1 cup portions then freeze. Simply take the bag out of the freezer ahead of time and your squash is ready to go!

The use pumpkin (canned if that's what you have) and the only addition I make is adding some honey to the mix as well as some ground ginger and cloves. 

Here's the link

Enjoy !!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

21 weeks!

Sharing my 21 week picture with Juliana on the LEFT and 21 week picture with baby number 2 on the RIGHT! And yes the same shirt :) 
Pregnancy Updates
How far along: 21 weeks 
Total weight gain/loss: 7 lbs -- gained obviously
Maternity clothes? started wearing maternity pants this week
Sleep: would LOVE to, but Juliana's molars would have it another way :( please sleep come soon I need it!
Best moment this week: Jeremy finally being able to see kicks from the outside!! LOVE it!
Food cravings: Lettuce wraps, yay something healthy! I can't wait till lunchtime everyday to pile my lettuce wraps with produce yummmmmm
Symptoms: Tired, no more nausea yay! My veins are terribly bulgy already and getting worse though. The sad part of second pregnancies, everything happens sooner! :( 
Gender: my sweet boy :) 
Belly Button in or out? In
What I miss: Energy still lol. And my back not hurint 24/7
What I am looking forward to: Feeling movement every day! I love kicks!
Milestones: People asking me when I'm due :) 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top Ramen Day -- with a twist

Do you ever just need to have top ramen? While I do love eating healthy and mostly the way it makes me feel, there are days I admit that only top ramen can satisfy.

With a nasty cold today is one of those days :( 

I think I somewhat justify it by adding a ton of extra stuff to make it a "little" better....but really the culprit lies in the noodles and packet of powder, which is terrible for you......but without doesn't taste like top ramen. oh well. 

I've made SO many variations of top ramen it's kind of strange! Today I loved this cause it satisfied my craving for hot comfort food top ramen with at least some added benefit. 

I added some kale, chard, carrots, edamame, corn and egg (make sure to add your egg at the end of your cooking time or it'll foam up!)

YUM :) 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Simple Steps to be a Stay At Home Mom :)

After having several conversations with friends and acquaintances regarding how my family has come to manage me staying home to raise our kiddos, I thought I'd share some simple steps we've taken to make this a reality for us. 

These are very basic tips you probably are already putting into practice but they have really made a difference for us so I thought I'd share!

The first thing to address I think is how important it is to YOU to be able to stay home. For me there was literally nothing material I wouldn't sacrifice to make being a stay at home mom possible because that's how we want to raise our kids......but every family is different and has different needs. Some have husband who make so much it's not even a question, some have husband in ministry (enough said lol) and others WANT to work in order to maintain their lifestyle or provide more for their kids. So these tips are not here to make you feel guilty if you aren't able to fully stay home or for you to feel "holier than thou" if you are, they are just something that may help as we ALL work hard and raise our kids.

SACRIFICE -- I know it should go without saying but this really is the base and root of being a stay at home mom. If you're like my husband and I your journey together started out with all kinds of fun, extravagant, and memorable dates. I love all those memories! But then you got married and realized what finances were (ok maybe not everyone got married at 19 like me but hey!) and realized you both had to work hard and a lot in order to pay for everything. 
So we both worked lots and lots believing we were barely getting by.....ha! Who knew :) Our lifestyle was much the same as when we had dated ---- several nights a week of dinners out, I could drop $75 at Target buying clothes I thought were cute, he went golfing and out with his friends a lot, and a "date night" meant dinner, a movie, coffee and dessert. 

So the obvious first step is to realize that if that is still very much how you are living and you WANT to be able to stay home but can't figure out how to afford it.......sacrifice of the lifestyle you are used to will be the first step. 

The basic application is that all non-essential things get CUT OUT! So here is my quick and briefly described list!

1. Plan your meals! You do this so that you're not tempted to grab take-out because your tired or not prepared and it's 6:30. Cooking IS cheaper! Trust me! Especially when you plan your meals out. When we first got married this was another things I was terrible at. I wanted to impress my new hubby so almost every night on my way home from work I'd stop at the store just to "grab a few items" I had forgotten. That adds up as well so be careful. Learn to watch for deals and use coupons, don't just buy items that are ten times as expensive because you don't want to make another stop. 

2. Make coffee so you won't need to go to Starbucks or around here Dutch Bros :) I also find that having iced tea or other drinks on hand make it easier to have something with you when you go

3. Have lunch stuff prepped so your husband (or you) doesn't need to buy a lunch

4. Cut the CORD, the cable cord........and enjoy some family time! Go outside and throw the ball around or go for a walk. I know that TV seems like an essential but it REALLY isn't if you're desperately trying to cut costs. If you need a downgrade go to something like netflix or renting a redbox here and there :) 

5. Research to make sure you are on the cheapest phone plan possible -- for us that has always meant no smart phones. And while I pretend I don't want one, come on, I do! But I just don't need one and can't spend that much on my phone every's a phone!

6. Educate yourself on good "deals" for food so that you won't be caught overpaying for things -- this was important for me in the beginning when people would say things to me like, "Wow! Chicken is on sale here for $1.79 a lb"....I would respond with "wow!" but honestly had no idea if that was a good deal or not!

7. Have friends over or meet for a picnic instead of dishing out $40 for a dinner or lunch. If you do need to go out to meet your girlfriends for coffee or birthday dinner opt for water and appetizer

8. Be smart with your car choices -- after I promised I never would ...........I drive a van. An OLD van so that we have no car payments

9. Check out thrift stores or outlets if you need clothes instead of heading to the mall. This is especially true for kids clothing, always go to a second hand store where the items are .50 cents each! You can also find great toys and baby essentials there like bouncers and play mats or borrow from a friend. Those things are $40 dollars in store!CRazy!

10. BEWARE of Target -- it sounds silly but there you are at checkout and the cashier says "your total is $85.43".....say what?!?! All you stopped in for was some detergent, diapers and conditioner! 

11. Price shop! Find the best deals on pretty much everything you are buying! Diapers, clothes, food, etc. 

12. Find cheap ways to enjoy your hobbies --- you don't need to necessarily give up all your hobbies to save money. For me, home decor and crafts is an area where I have to really be careful. I could win a $2000 gift card to Hobby Lobby and spend it in an hour trust me...but there ARE ways to make your home look put together without emptying your wallet. Buy yourself some dirt cheap burlap and teach your little domestic self how to sew! Don't buy into the lie that you HAVE to have nice things in order to have a nice house. You can easily redo furniture and copy styles you love :) 

13. This may be obvious -- but self indulgent things like massages, manicures, pedicures, hair, clothes, jewelry, etc etc etc I pretty much toss into the non-essential pile! I know everyone's standards are different but it's not like I go around in sweat pants and a ponytail......not ALL the time! haha. Do your own nails, plop your toes in the tub while your child plays (truly like a spa right?) and find blogs that TEACH you how to do your hair! The Small Things Blog is amazing and I have used so much from her site!

14. Get out that stroller and hit the trails -- save yourself the $100 a month gym membership and enjoy the outdoors! If it's winter use something from youtube like this video.

15. Utilize your talents! This is a big one. Remember all those hours of dance class, piano lessons and whatever else you did? USE them! I'm sure there is something you are good at that you can teach to others. This can mean anything from making cards or headbands to sell online, teaching piano lessons in your home with the baby in the bjorn, to tutoring or coaching or renting an annex for dance classes. Your parents paid for those skills now you can use them! :) 

There's my 15 tips for you to consider! 
Again! This is only for those who really want to try and stay home and need practical ways to do so. Some people have no option but to work and hopefully these are still helpful to you, but I have hard time when I talk with people who say they wish they could but simply can't afford to stay home with their kids while their manicured hand holds a frappuccino and smart phone. If you want to, you personally will need to sacrifice a lot and also a lot of times as a family as well. But I would challenge you that no amount of money is as good for your kids as your time with them!

Plus.....nothing is as sweet as those post-nap time cuddles!

Happy Savings! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Love/Hate Wednesday

Good Morning Reader!
Life has been so busy I haven't been able to blog as much as I like :( So here's to Love/Hate's been a while! 

1. I love that we are finally living in a REAL house! After so many years of waiting and hoping sometime I forget to look around and remember, "It's OURS!". I hate that it comes with a million and one projects that seem to get so overwhelming.

2. I love that my daughter has always been an amazing sleeper and it's been an area of no stress for us always. I hate that this week she decided to change all that and fight naptime and bedtime. After 3 hours of fighting naptime yesterday I had her sit with me while I napped on the couch and she finally just toppled over and fell asleep. I would normally let her just scream but she kept gagging so hard I thought she'd thrown up so I'd go in and check and then the process is started over again. sigh. please let today be different! 

3. I love that my husband finally has a new job that he LOVES. I hate that it means going in an hour earlier and we miss our family breakfast time every day :( 

4. I love this stormy weather that makes me want to curl up! I hate that now that I'm a mom this weather means no outside play............a long day for me.

5. I love that I am 19 weeks today and baby #2 is kicking me all the time! I love being pregnant and this is my favorite part! I hate that I've been so dizzy and tired lately. 

6. I love that after HOURS of searching I may have found the perfect place to give birth!!! A birthing center 30 minutes away that might be a huge answer to prayer! I hate that is has to be so hard to find prenatal care and dr's to accept my insurance. 

7. I love that Juliana is babbling things that mean "nothing" to me all day. She is adorable.
That's all :) 

8. I love that we have been doing well with eating the right food and getting to the gym! I hate that no matter how much I love feeling good I still have a hard time resisting chips and candy :( I think this will never end lol! 

9. I love that my family lives so close -- both my in laws and immediate. What a blessing! I hate that our babies are all growing up! And getting into fun stages like hitting each other and pushing :( boo!

10. I love that our house is open and there are constantly people coming and going. I hate that I have been a slacker on cleaning and the whole house really needs a good scrub today!

Happy Wednesday :) 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Toddler Activities !

You know when you see all those adorable activities for your 1 year old on Pinterest and think "ya!  I'm going to be all crafty and do that!" 
Well we tried a few, she loved them :) But lots of clean up for me haha!

I gave her a tub of dry beans, a spoon and a small Tupperware.

Started out super cute as she worked on her transferring skills :)  

BUT as is inevitable with a curious 1 yr old, out they all went. DUMP! 

And lets roll around in them lol. She had fun!

Then she went to bed and I swept :) Happy Monday!