motherhood

Groceries for a Family of 5 for Under $100 WITHOUT Clipping Coupons!!!

I am always working hard to trim my grocery budget because, lets face it, it is one of the only bills that I have very much control over from month-to-month.

In the last few months, I had been spending $130 on average every 10 days (down from $175 or so that I had been spending prior). During that time we had some unexpected medical bills and our car was totaled (hit from behind; everyone was safe, but the car was totaled).  So I had to do even better. I challenged myself to a $110 budget.  I brought along my oldest child for the trip and he was in on the challenge too!  When we got the receipt back for $80.10 my son high-fived me.  He didn’t even miss all the extras we left on the shelves to save all that dough!

As the title says, I do it without clipping coupons.  Good for you if you do clip coupons, but I have tried several times and they just don’t work for me.

Instead I work with a meal plan, shop sales, purchase very few to zero household products, and limit treats.  Also with very few exceptions my family drinks water.  Usually using these habits I stay around $130, but when I decided to really push it worked.  I will still give myself $110 to work with  in the future because I did have a few staples on hand but I hope I continue to have this kind of success.

For my $80.10 trip you may be wondering what I was able to get:

For breakfasts:

Milk

Cereal

3 cartons of eggs (some will be for breakfast dinner)

Bread for toast

1 pint Blueberries

2 bags Frozen strawberries and bananas for smoothies

 

For lunches:

1 Watermelon

Turkey breast

Bread (4 loaves including breakfast)

Jar of peanut butter

 

Snacks:

Bananas

Organic Carrots-I do not try to buy all organic because I can’t, but if the price is close I will splurge (also will use a few for one soup)

Pineapple fruit cups in 100% juice

Pear fruit cups in 100% juice

New york cheddar cheese (mom and dad eat snacks at night ;-))

Micro wave popcorn

 

Dinner:

Head of broccoli

1 lb Chicken breasts (boneless, skin-less)

2 lbs Ground turkey

Bag of onions

Mini Bell peppers (also for snacks)

Garlic

Frozen Brussel sprouts

Blueberry pancake mix (for breakfast dinner)

Pint of blueberries (so yes that makes 2 pints)

Cheddar cheese (for taco night)

1 carton of vegetable stock

1 bag of frozen chicken tenderloins (about 2 lbs)

1 jar of tomato sauce-sometimes I make my own-not this time.  LOL

2 boxes of penne

Chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

Corn on the cob

Iceberg lettuce

1 can of corn

 

Extra household:

Gallon slider zip bags for my daughter’s school

 

Dessert:

Tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream

 

A few items I already had on hand but may have bought: rice, beans, jelly, honey, coffee, tea, agave nectar, oil, vinegar, tortillas, and taco shells.

Here’s my receipt:

 

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How I Feed My Family of 5 for Under $100 WITHOUT Clipping Coupons!!!

I will post my meal plan in the future.  🙂

Tips for Losing Your Baby Weight in a Healthy Way

When I was pregnant people said all kinds of crazy things to me:

“You look like the octuplet women!” (I am not lying, someone actually said this to me.)

“You need to check with your doctor again, I’m sure its twins.”

“You’re going to have that baby any day now!” (6 months preggo)

“I can’t believe you weigh that much!”

and then after the baby came someone said:  “I’m sooo glad you lost all that weight, I was getting worried.”

Its true, I did have a watermelon-sized belly when I was pregnant.

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I think maybe I looked like an alien, because strangers and acquaintances alike (even people who had themselves been pregnant) felt the need to basically scream in horror at the site of my cone-head of a belly.

I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and have been for over two-years now) which also seems to draw some attention, so a few have asked for my thoughts:

 

1-It takes 9 months to put it on, don’t feel bad if it takes 9 months to remove it.  A lot of times it won’t but it seems kind of reasonable.  Gotta’ say, a friend shared that one with me 7 years ago, it took a lot of pressure off!

2-Everybody is different.

3-Yes I am “skinny” but I promise my body is not the same shape it was.

4-Exercise immediately.  I did Kegals in the hospital bed.  Really, its true!

5-Don’t deprive yourself, but have discipline.  I tend to be a mostly healthy eater and I exercise regularly.  So when I am trying to lose weight, I add a few more things to my routine:  I weigh myself daily, don’t eat after 9pm, and only eat dessert every other day.  It works for me.  You have to find out what works for you.

6-Breastfeed if you can.

7-Drink a lot of water.  Now go drink some more!

 

I attended a class with a lot of new and soon-to-be moms over the weekend.  They asked the OB-GYN speaking how long it takes for your body to return to “normal”.  She said years and at the same time it doesn’t ever really return.  Sorry for the bad news.

Her message and mine, just get yourself healthy!

Cheers to your health!  XO

 

PS:  If you have trouble with your own self-discipline, why not try an accountability group.  My cousin has helped many people through online weight-loss accountability groups.  I can send you in her info if you are interested.

A Response to “Scary Mommy: The Rules for Visiting a New Mom”

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Should there really be rules for visiting a new mom?

I recently came across this post that went viral on Facebook and other places:

http://www.scarymommy.com/rules-for-visiting-a-new-mom/

She details a variety of ways to be a more encouraging friend to new moms when you visit them.

Altogether we would generally do well to take her advice, but as the old saying goes, “do as I say, not as I do,” she seems to encourage a generous and gracious spirit but writes with an entitled and judgmental tone.

While I agree that visitors would do well to bring the food or gifts that the family needs rather than the food or knick-knacks she wants to bring, do we really need to list rules for how to visit and show love?

Don’t these expectations set us up for hurt feelings and judgement?

Aren’t these unreasonable expectations?  We are the ones who chose to have babies.  It really isn’t someone else’s responsibility to feed and clothe them.

Is it really so bad that someone is so excited that she is thinking more about seeing the baby and offering emotional support than providing us with leftovers?

I truly appreciated the girlfriends who brought enough food for leftovers, the ones who brought extra gifts that were practical rather than plants or teddy bears, but that’s not really the point.

The point is that if we want to encourage generosity and grace in others, we should expect it of ourselves, even in our speech.

So I won’t give rules but I will offer 3 pieces of advice:

1-Ask the mother what she wants from you.

2-Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

3-Love covers over a multitude of sins.

XO

 

Crying Over a Cup of Tea

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Every year on the Friday before Mother’s Day, my children’s preschool has a beautiful Mother’s Day  Tea and musical program.  I have been attending the tea for more than 5 years and I have grown to dread it!

Its adorable to see a two-year old sing “You Are My Sunshine” dressed up like a sun complete with yellow tutu and sunglass hair bow.  All of the children are totally cute with their clumsy little hand gestures and of course there’s always the unpredictability of young children going off script that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

But I always end up crying.  I don’t mean, I get a little teary-eyed.  I mean I cry until my nose is red and my face is swollen.

This has happened for the last three years.

For me, the adorable and sweet music that brings happy tears combined with the sadness that the tea party was something I used to attend with my mom is an emotional cocktail that I can’t completely handle.  My mind starts skipping through my memories of my mom directing children’s choirs and even preparing me for my first stage solo as a five-year old, and the emotion pushes me over every time.

This past year I was really concentrating on enjoying my tea, snapping a few pictures, and recording a couple of videos without all the tears.  (That’s usually how I handle difficult situations.  Mother’s Day, Christmas, mom’s birthday…I prepare myself in advance for the possibility of sadness and generally cruise through knowing she would want me to enjoy my life with my own kids.)

This year was supposed to be different, I was going to have a peaceful time.  But no!  I made a fatal error, I misread the invitation start time and instead of showing up at what I thought was twenty minutes early to get myself calm and ready, I showed up as my daughters class was walking on stage.  She got there just in time to go on without her pretty little costume.  I felt awful; guilty and embarrassed for messing up on the time and sad and emotional from all the sappy Mother’s Day songs.  I was such a mess I ran out crying leaving my purse behind.

I recovered by Mother’s Day, but after three painful years I have some great pictures and videos but I can honestly say, I have a love-hate relationship with that tea party!

 

5 Things that will Help Your Toddler Embrace Becoming a Big Brother or Sister

For some toddlers the addition of a new little brother or sister can be exciting.  For others, it can feel like an intruder.  And for mom and dad it can be overwhelming to watch your time divide even further.  Here are a few tips for a smooth transition:

 

1-Gift-Giving

There are so many ways you can help your older child look forward to his new little brother or sister through small, inexpensive gifts.

Make a Big Brother or Big Sister T-shirt together to wear to the hospital.

Take big brother to Build-a-Bear Workshop to make a special bear, bunny, or other friend for his new little sister.

Have a gift at the hospital to give big sister from her new sibling.

During the end of the pregnancy give a big-kid gift to your little guy to show he is not a baby anymore.  We gave this piggy-bank that emphasized responsibility to our son when his first sister was born:

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2-Read Together

Reading is a great tradition.  When I had my second child and was still in the hospital the first night, I did a full bedtime routine including reading a story to my toddler.  We read A Bad Case of Stripes.  He picked the book and brought it to the hospital to have me read.  It helped him know he was still important and his routines weren’t going to be disrupted by this invader.

Before the baby is born check out some of the great children’s stories available that give your child a little bit more of a concrete idea about what it will be like to have a new baby in the house.  I think we’ve read Berenstain Bears’ New Baby and The New Baby from The Little Critter Series at least fifty times each.

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3-Special Plans for the First Weeks Home

For my kids, a new baby in the house has meant FUN, FUN, FUN!  In the months leading up to the birth, we lined up play-dates, grandparent fun days, pool days, library trips etc.  It was like summer camp!

4-Get Some Help

For most toddlers just a few minutes of your undivided attention will go a long way.  Get somebody who loves newborns as much as I do to hold your little bundle while you get down on the floor and build a block city or sip on some pretend tea out of a plastic cup with your older child.

5-Pray Together

I read a quote today that I loved by Alan Redpath:  “when God is at the center, self is destroyed,  and love begins to reign.”  Ultimately, we want our children not just to coexist and tolerate one another, but really love each other.  Get your little guy or girl to start praying for his new baby sister or brother.  Help him with the vocabulary to consider being a protector of the new baby, to think about how to serve you and his new baby sister or brother.  Allow your son or daughter to consider how amazing God is for creating this new being that you haven’t even met yet.  Toddlers are notorious for being selfish.  Help your son love his new sibling and that will be enough!

Congratulations on your new baby and on moving toward being outnumbered by your children!

Its More Important to Paint Your Daughter’s Toenails than Clean Your House

The house I grew up in looked like it was ready to be photographed for a catalog at all times.  It wasn’t that we had a lot of money, my mom and dad just had a great eye for design and  they could DIY anything before DIY was cool!

A scenario that best describes the environment I was accustomed to goes something like this: I brought a group of friends home from college my freshmen year.  Within two steps of entering the door, a guy friend half-serious says, “are we allowed to use the toilets?”

Another time, my parents offered to babysit for a family friend and pile all five of us kids into the friends’ house so the other parents could go out.  While they babysat, they decided to take the time to reorganize the other family’s furniture!  When the couple returned they were obviously surprised to find their house looking completely different, but kept the upgrade.

What’s my point?

My point is I was shocked when my always-perfect-mom advised me, “enjoy your kids and don’t worry about cleaning your house!”  at my second baby shower.

“Who are you and what have you done with my mother?” I blurted out!

I believe in keeping an orderly home, but it was very liberating to know that if my mom could’ve gone back for a do-over she would have spent more time enjoying us, her kids, and less time keeping a picture of perfection.

Even though my mom eventually gave me the sage wisdom that my kids are more important than a spotless house, she didn’t give up on perfection completely.  She always believed in a perfect pedicure.   As she spent the last eight months in and out of the cancer center and homebound, she always checked to see if my toes were painted.  She checked to see if the paint was chipped and whether the nail bed was nicely filled.  I became her personal pedicurist when she was too sick to trust nail salons.

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Paint your daughter’s toenails!   I’m sure the time you spend will be a treasured memory…one day she may paint yours too!

 

Stomach virus update: DON’T LICK THE GERMS!

Well my plan worked, sort of. 

The only problem was that the baby got excited about my daughter’s cup of Gatorade (a rarity in our house) and she decided to lick the germs of my daughter’s cup when we weren’t looking.  So she had a little tummy-ache a few days later.  But no one else got sick.  She was fine within 12 hours.

I guess I should have included this to the list of what to do or not do for a stomach virus:

DO NOT LICK THE GERMS OF THE SICK PERSON’S CUP.

 

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You’re welcome!