“Describe Your Perfect Date”

” April 25th. It’s not too hot and not too cold, all you need is a light jacket!” 

I’m sorry, I’m two days late for the Miss Congeniality reference. It was a movie from my teen years and I couldn’t help myself. I’m better now. 

mother and child
So today’s challenge was to describe your perfect evening. I have to say, I’ve had a lot of pretty closely perfect evenings recently. I already told you about our weekends. During the weekends, here’s what they look like: 

Home around 5:02pm (I still adore the 2 minute commute!). Put away my things, charge my phone, change into house clothes, and start dinner. Play with Tristan and/or carry him because he is adorably beside himself with excitement at my return. 

Enjoy dinner with my family. Afterwards, clean the kitchen. Figure out tomorrow’s dinner menu, put meat in fridge to defrost. 

Head upstairs, listen to whatever music Peter decides to listen to (always entertaining!) and workout. Try to keep Tristan from wreaking havoc. 

Come back downstairs, have some wine, and do some blogging. 

Head up to bed around 11. I usually wake up between 7:30-8am, so this still allows for plenty of sleep. 

These evenings are refreshing to my soul. I stay disciplined to do them because I know I need them. My family is happier as a whole when I do this routine. 

How about you?

Oh, The Irony…

Today is the first day of Makeover Your Evenings, and seeing as how it’s 10:30pm and I’m just now writing, clearly I need it! 

Today’s focus is your why. Why do you want your evenings to be better? Really dig deep with this one. 

Here is my why: 

carry the baby, get the coffee
I’m 27, a wife and mom, a director of a growing long term care facility, and a freelance writer. I’m busy. And I need to find a way to get all these aspects of my life to mesh that leaves me refreshed. 

My family is my top priority and since being here in Iowa I’ve been on my computer way less so I can spend more time with them. But obviously articles still need to be written, meals still need to be made, and I really enjoy blogging. 

My why is so I have more time with my family. My husband is laugh-until-your-abs-hurt funny and I love hanging out with him and being goofy with him. My son wants to be just like daddy so he runs around being silly and then doubles over laughing at his own antics. I treasure my time with them and want to soak in the moments. 

A solid evening routine helps me streamline my work at night so I have more time with my men. It also sets me up for a smoother morning so I can be productive and squeeze in some blogging time. It’s Say Goodby to Survival Mode, ya’ll. 

If you’re joining us for Makeover Your Evenings, leave a comment with your why! 

Confession

St Louis Blues jersey
So when I planned to start going through Makeover Your Evenings tonight, I didn’t realize it was the same night as Game 7 of my Blues vs the icky stinky Blackhawks. 

So in light of that I’m postponing Day 1 until tomorrow. 

Let’s go BLUUUUUUUUUES!!!!!!

Weekends in Paradise

Alright ya’ll, so I’m working on making blogging part of a routine again and I’m super pumped to start #MakeoverYourEvenings on Monday with you! But because this little slice of heaven is so perfect, I just have to share the beautiful weekend routine we have created for ourselves: 

Saturdays: 

Wake up late, make brunch. Saturdays are pancake days. Lately I’ve been making this recipe from Wellness Mama by throwing all the ingredients into my Ninja blender and then pouring it from the blender onto the griddle. I top my pancakes with melted coconut oil and it is just delicious. 

Then we clean up the house and I put Tristan into his carrier and we walk to the coffee house. They know us there and the younger baristas love to interact with Tristan. Some mornings they have a local musician playing and we stay to enjoy the music. On mornings that they don’t have a musician, we take our coffee to go and head across the street to the park. 

After a walk around the town and some play time in the park, we head over to the library to pick out new books and movies for the week. 


Then we head home for a nice lunch, after which we head upstairs to the gym for a workout. Yes, working out has become a routine for me! I’m even enjoying it! Miracles do happen. 


We spend our evenings watching movies and enjoying being a family. 

On Sundays we basically repeat Saturdays, just without the coffee and the library. We go grocery shopping if we didn’t do that on Friday and I get a basic idea of meals for the week. I also do our meal prepping, which includes making muffins for our breakfasts during the weekdays. 


I absolutely love living in this peaceful little town. I could not have imagined a better place for our family to grow and be nurtured. 

Happy weekend!! 
{This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here}

The Cure for the Mombie Effect

The Cure for the Mombie Effect

“Mombie” – a sleep-deprived woman barely held together by coffee and yoga pants (or, since I ditched my yoga pants, skinny jeans). 

A (non-glamorous) peak into my day last Friday morning:

I rolled over and checked my phone. 8:30!  I’m late!

Ran downstairs to start the hot water for coffee. Dishes in the sink. Encrusted with last night’s dinner. Goody. Started that soaking.

Ran upstairs to get dressed. It’s a good thing my only typical makeup is mascara, because there really isn’t even time for that. Got myself and Tristan dressed while Peter made the bed and got himself ready to go.

Back downstairs, poured the hot water over the coffee grounds into the french press. Started the dishes. Every other dish, had to stop and get Tristan away from pouring the contents of the trash can all over the floor.

8:55 am – time to go! Barely got the dishes done (I hate leaving Peter with dishes to do, it’s a priority for me to get them done before I leave), I remembered last minute to put on my wedding ring, and…I left my coffee on the counter.

The empowering part of this scenario is that while I know that situations come up and sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, there are steps I can take to make sure my day flows smoothly – even if I wake up a half hour before I need to be at work.

My morning, no matter what time I actually get out of bed, is determined by how I set myself up the night before.

I can give myself a huge step up each day by completing a few simple tasks the night before.

  • I can do the dishes each night before I go to bed. This leaves just putting them away as my morning task.
  • I can fill the kettle with water so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning.
  • I can pick out an outfit for the next day. Even jewelry if I’m really feeling crazy.
  • I can make sure that breakfast is baked and ready to go for the next morning. Through trial and error, we have discovered that homemade muffins is really what works the best for us.

When I actually do these things consistently, I free up space in my mornings for extra time with Peter and Tristan, or extra sleeping time if we need it. And I get coffee. Mombie cured.

Most of these realizations and habits came when I blogged through MoneySavingMom’s Makeover Your Mornings 14-day course late last year. I’m so excited for the release of her follow-up challenge, Makeover Your Evenings, which goes live tomorrow! I got an early release copy and have been looking through it. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome this course is and how many big things will be happening because of it.

To celebrate “launch day,” Crystal is offering special pricing!  Normally this will be $17 (like Makeover Your Mornings), but here’s the set up for tomorrow:

12 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET on April 21st – just $5!!!
7 a.m. to 12 p.m. – just $7!
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – only $10!
5 p.m. – 12 a.m. – only $13!

I’ll be blogging through this one too starting on Monday. It’s literally been a struggle for me not to start as soon as I got it. I’m like a kid on Christmas morning, except for 14 whole days!

Ready to make over your evenings with me? Click here to sign up, then leave me a comment to let me know!

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure here.

How to Feed a Hippie

How to Feed a Hippie - where to buy the best quality healthy foods online

Feeding a family is difficult enough. But add in specialty items and it can be pretty impossible depending on where you live. We are pretty lucky because we live in a rather ritzy college town (which seems so silly, a ritzy college smack dab in the middle of Iowa, but whatever, I’ll go with it), so there is a small family-owned grocery store that carries more organic and otherwise healthy options. Apparently the college has a lot of vegetarians and vegans, so they have a good place to shop.

But food deserts are a reality and many people don’t have the access to quality foods that we have. So for you (and in case you were curious about good places to shop), here’s a run-down of some places that I have personally shopped at and recommend:

Thrive Market

I posted about them last week. Thrive Market is the online convenience of Amazon, featuring Whole Foods products at Aldi prices with a Costco membership. Make sense? I love that I can order hemp hearts and sprouted quinoa, as well as the basic healthier foods and good dark chocolate. Plus, my membership fee pays for two memberships: on for me, and one for a qualifying low-income family. Shipping is always free with orders of $50 or more. Oh, and did I mention they almost always have a free gift with purchase?

US Wellness Meats

If you’re a carnivore, this place is your jam. This is the place for all of your grass-fed organic meats, your livers, bones, and even pre-made tallow in case you don’t want to make your own. They don’t just have beef and chicken. Go here if you want bison, duck, elk, or lamb.

Azure Standard

The only thing I don’t like about Azure Standard is the minimum of $50 order. They are a bulk co-op in several cities, and you have to coordinate with a drop manager to know when your order will be delivered. When we lived in St. Louis, our drop was a K-Mart parking lot, and there were a good 50 families participating. This was where I first bought a gallon of coconut oil, and another time I purchased a 22 pound bag of sea salt (I’m pretty sure we will be using that salt for the next 10 years. It’s been two years already and it looks like we’ve barely touched it). Azure Standard is awesome for bulk purchases, especially for harder-to-find things like organic wheat berries for my friends who have enough time to grind their own wheat for their homemade bread. You can’t see prices unless you’re a member, but it’s free to join.

Tropical Traditions

Known for being the best coconut oil in the world (and truly, it’s delicious), this stuff is worth the investment. It goes on sale pretty regularly and there are deals for buying multiples, so go halvsies with a friend or two for the best savings. Or do what I did and buy a 5 gallon bucket.

Amazon

Not everyone knows about the best (in my opinion) feature of having an Amazon Prime membership: the Prime Pantry. Basically, you fill a box with whatever food/household items your little heart desires for the flat shipping rate of $5.99/box. These are BIG boxes, friend. One time we got a $50 gift card for participating in a survey and we were able to stock up on groceries and a 24-count package of toilet paper. They don’t have a ton of organic or health-conscious items, but if you happen to like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, I would recommend using this feature (sign up for Amazon Prime here if you don’t have an account yet).

I do a lot of our shopping online. Now that we have a more flexible food budget (and I have found creative ways to supplement it), I’ve been able to slowly transition. One of my goals for 2016 is to make about 95% of our non-perishable purchases online with money I’ve earned through writing articles or swagbucks gift cards and getting to use our grocery money on fresh produce. The more I can provide quality nutrition for myself and my men, the happier I am!

Have you ever shopped at any of these places? What do you think?

 

 

This article contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here. 

Review: Bundle Organics juice

what should you drink as a pregnant mom? check out Bundle Organics all organic fresh juices!
March is National Nutrition Month, and I’m excited to participate with a few fun product reviews! As my blog has gotten bigger, I’ve been able to qualify for free products from good companies. Bundle organics is the first of 4 reviews before the end of the month. As always, all opinions are mine.

Bundle organics was founded in 2013 with a great concept: organic juice combinations conveniently packaged for quick consumption. What sets them apart is that the juices are pasteurized. For pregnant women, the unfortunate threat of listeria can keep some women from eating as many fruits and vegetables as they should, so Bundle Organics takes away that concern. They also fortify the juices with extra nutrients for baby like folic acid, iron, and vitamin E.

I love that they don’t add any artificial dyes to the juices. I think the colors are beautiful because I happen to love food in its unadulterated form, but others might not find the color particularly appetizing. If that’s you, drink it straight from the bottle.

I also appreciated the no added sugar. I don’t really like for Tristan to have a lot of sugar, and I’ve diluted juice for him in the past. He couldn’t get enough of these juices and I finally had to give him the empty bottle to play with after he had his share.

There are 3 varieties of juice blends so far: berries, green, and orange. All three contain ginger and lemon, which is as good for the immune system as it is for pregnancy nausea. The berries blend contains a variety of the beautiful dark berries, spinach, and kale. The green blend is primarily kale and apple, and the orange features oranges and carrots.

Bundle Organics also launched a line of doctor approved herbal teas for pregnant and nursing moms on Kickstarter earlier this year. I’m going to anxiously await the Rooibos/Orange/Cardamom/Mango tea! I’m not pregnant, it just sounds delicious!

Pros:

  • All juices (and teas!) are organic
  • Lots of fruits and veggies in each bottle
  • Easy to consume – shake and drink!

Cons:

  • Delicate enzymes of raw fruits and vegetables are denatured in the pasteurization process. However, they are still packed with good nutrients, and I understand why they would need to be pasteurized since they are a consumable product that ships to people. Raw juice wouldn’t be so fresh-tasting.
  • I’m not usually a fan of fortified things. I think most nutrition can and should be found through food alone and not synthetic additives. For example, someone with the MTHFR gene can’t properly use folic acid and need the folate version. Perhaps if they were to change their fortification to the more natural folate rather than folic acid, their audience would be larger.
  • They are a bit on the pricey side. However, they are all organic ingredients, and it’s definitely cheaper than making a bottle of juice that size from scratch on your own.

All in all, I’m actually very impressed with this company and these products, and I will probably be purchasing some in the future, especially for any future pregnancies.

If you want to purchase Bundle Organics juices, you can find them at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby. You can also purchase them online through Amazon or Target (if you buy through Target, click the “ship to store” option so you don’t have to pay shipping).

*Giveaway* A jar of coconut oil!

How to score a free jar of coconut oil, this week only!

I’m a crunchy mama and a hippie. Coconut oil is basically my go-to for, well, everything. And for good reason! Coconut oil is good for your entire body.

Coconut oil is extremely high in lauric acid, a compound also found in breastmilk that helps boost your body’s immune system. It is a medium chain triglyceride, which means that the triglyceride chains are small enough to be absorbed quickly and used for energy, but without the side effects of eating a sugar-laden donut.

A few years back I purchased a 5 gallon tub of coconut oil, and I keep smaller jars all over the house for its wide variety of uses. We have one in the bathroom as a very effective shaving cream and moisturizer, and a little goes a very long way. We have one in the nursery because it acts as a cloth diaper-safe cream for whenever our little dude has tummy troubles. I like to oil pull before a trip to the dentist to make sure my mouth is sparkling clean. Katie (aka WellnessMama) taught me that coconut oil taken in larger doses internally is an important part of a sun-safe diet, and my favorite way to meet my daily intake goals was in smoothies and bulletproof coffee.

So you see, coconut oil is a staple of any crunchy household. That’s why I’m so excited and honored to get to pair up with Thrive Market to offer a free jar of coconut oil to all new customers with their first order from now through March 25!

Thrive Market is a new way to shop. It’s basically Whole Foods at Aldi prices with a Costco membership. Super high quality, your choice of top name brands (tons of organic), but all at the lowest prices you will find anywhere.

My favorite parts about Thrive Market are the membership details. First, I love that there aren’t any contracts. You buy what you want, when you want, and that’s it. Second, when you purchase a membership, you are providing two memberships – one for you and one for a low-income family. Finally, a company that believes (as I do) that good food should be affordable! Third, your first order is fee-free. You don’t actually have to pay for a membership until you have tried it and fallen in love! Fourth, shipping is free for all orders over $49! So really…there’s no reason not to join.

To get your free jar of coconut oil, click here and place your first order. If you already have a Thrive Market account, you can also qualify for a free jar of coconut oil for any order over $50.

Do you have an account at Thrive Market? Do you want one?

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full disclosure here.

2016 Goals update

2016 goals update, plus a special bonus treat!

I love goals. I love to set them and I haven’t always been so good about the follow-through part. When I was single, I had a few goals that I accomplished (graduating school, paying off my car quickly, etc), but I have never completed goals so quickly as to now that I am married to the Master Goal-Crusher.

So far in the just over two years of marriage, we have pared down our belongings to about 1/3 of what we (I) had when we moved in together, paid cash for two cars, and destroyed our savings goals. We have also purchased a portable washing machine and just this week ordered a dryer (should arrive by the end of the month!).

Because of all the moving expenses and getting settled, we weren’t able to make any progress on our savings goals in February, but we didn’t have to go backward at all, which I am most excited about!

I have always admired Crystal Paine (aka, the MoneySavingMom) and how many goals she accomplishes. In a similar fashion to my own experience, she credits her husband for teaching her the critical steps and discipline of effective goal-setting. Together they have reached insanely awesome goals, like paying 100% cash for a house, going as a very broke newlywed couple living in a teeny tiny apartment to 13 years later owning 3 rental properties, an incredible blogging business, and funding multiple schools and aid in poorer countries. They inspire me daily.

Earlier this year Crystal and her husband Jesse decided to share their wisdom by teaching a 4-week tele course on goal setting called Makeover Your Year. This is typical Crystal courses (like the insanely popular Makeover Your Mornings course I blogged through here), but with her husband and you get to learn the wisdom they both have. There have been so many requests for another course (the first was live), that they recorded the sessions and now they are available for purchase! From March 18-March 21 (Monday) the whole course is only $25 (regular $29). This is so worth the investment if you are wanting to live intentionally in 2016. It’s definitely not too late to start goals and crush them!

I’ve spoken with several people recently who have mentioned to me they wanted to set goals and reach them with their spouses, so I had to pass along this info for you! I would love to know what you think of the course and how it benefits your family!