Why I Ditched The Yoga Pants

Why I ditched my yoga pants

Last week I did the mommy unthinkable: I threw away my yoga pants. “But why?” you might ask as you recoil in horror. Because I am on a transformation journey and those yoga pants are holding me back. That’s why.

Let’s be honest ladies, our love of yoga pants really has nothing to do with working out. For most of us, it’s the socially acceptable form of wearing pajamas in public. Especially after having kids sometimes our old clothes don’t fit like they used to and it’s just easier to throw on a pair of black yoga pants and call yourself dressed.

Awhile back I listened to a TED talk by a woman who learned a few things about a wardrobe when she studied abroad in Paris. One thing that stood out to me was that her fashion mentor even had beautiful pajamas. She believed in every instance to present her best self, all the way to what she wore to sleep.

I am steadily working towards being my best self again post-baby (yes he’s over a year old, don’t judge me), and when I looked at my own mismatched assortment of old tshirts, basketball shorts and one baggy and faded actual pajama set I decided to make a change. We turned the cotton knit and flannel clothes into rags and threw away the yoga pants. I kept one pair of plaid pajama bottoms that actually do fit me still (miraculously), a pair of running capris, and the non-ratty tshirts. No, I didn’t go out and buy new matching pretty pajamas, but I do feel much more put-together – and decluttered, too!

Another upside to not having my yoga pants around is when I’m off work I actually get dressed from head to toe each morning now, instead of deciding that yoga pants are acceptable all-day wear. I look more put together, and I feel much more confident as well.

I had no idea a silly pair of black pants could have such a negative impact on my life! How do you feel about yoga pants? Are they acceptable to wear when not actually doing yoga?

3 Signs You’re Walking Into a Hippie’s House

Hippies are a little different. Here are 3 ways you know you're in a hippie's house!
Hippies are fun creatures, at least I like to think so. We’re basically the same as everybody else, but we do things a little differently most of the time. If you happen to visit the house of one, here are three things you might expect to experience:

1. You can smell their diffuser going before you even open the door.

Our maintenance man at our complex told us once that he enjoyed walking past our door because it always smelled good. We almost always have a diffuser going! Essential oils play a huge role in our home from our homemade cleaning solutions to our hygiene products to our air freshener.

2. They don’t wear their shoes inside the house.

Studies show that not wearing shoes in the house helps with overall cleanliness. I would prefer no shoes at all, but Peter prefers house shoes so we wear house shoes. Tristan hates shoes in general so he wanders around in just socks, and I am jealous (my socks wear out too quickly if I do that).

3. Their kitchen looks like a laboratory.

Fermented foods and drinks are so nutritious, but they take up so much counter space! Once you get going with one ferment it’s hard to stop. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough, and even salsa and ketsup are all popular homemade ferments that you might find on a hippie’s counter top. And don’t forget the bone broth in the crockpot!

Are you a hippie? What else would you add to this list?

How to Get What You Want…FOR FREE

How to use what you have to get what you want for free. Frugal and creative living at its finest!

Okay okay, so there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But have you ever thought about bringing back the barter system?

I absolutely love bartering. If I have something that you need, find useful, or believe is beautiful, it makes sense to trade! Money is tight for many of us, and the thrifty home manager finds creative ways to stretch a dollar. Bartering is a way you can live “for free,” since the exchange of money is not involved and uses only what you already have.

Last summer I traded a gallon of Tropical Tradition’s coconut oil for several pounds of meat for my family. Read about it on my MoneySavingMom.com reader tip.

In December I was able to trade again. We had been talking about getting a toy chest for Tristan’s ever-growing toy population, and I happened to see a friend (who actually lives in the same neighborhood) put a large toy chest on the local buy/sell/trade site for $60. I knew we wouldn’t spend $60 on a toy chest but I also knew she had been wanting a few essential oils for awhile. So I messaged her and asked if she would consider a trade and she agreed! The following weekend she brought over the toy chest and I gave her three bottles of essential oils ($60 worth) I had purchased with free product points. It was a great trade!

What do you think about the practice of bartering? Have you bartered before? Tell me in the comments!

How to Start a Blog: Building Your Blog “Home”

Get started blogging by building your blog's "house" - the structure of your blog is key to your success!

My cousin texted me today and asked me some questions about how she should get started with a blog. Since the answer will be much longer than a text message, I figured I would write my thoughts down here.

I’ve blogged on various formats since I was 16. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and it’s been very fun to document my little family’s journey on this blog – I was dating my husband when I started this blog in October of 2013 and now here we are, married with a one-year-old. CRAZY! Anyway…

We live in a Pinterest world now and blogging looks a lot different than it did when I was 16. Blogs are more professional and can actually earn money, which is basically the coolest thing ever and I’l be talking about that in a minute.

The first thing you want to do when you decide that you want to start a blog is to choose your host. I use WordPress.org and have been thoroughly pleased with it. It is easy to use, there are a lot of free plugins (the features, like my subscriptions sign up, instagram feed, and Pinterest button are all plugins), and I have been able to learn and implement various techniques online (including editing HTML, which I never thought I could do!). I pay $14.99 annually for my WordPress.org hosting, but you can get a free blog host through WordPress.com.

The second thing you will need is a domain name. I  purchased my name, Crunchy Hippie Life, through Bluehost. If WordPress is the house of the blog, your domain name is your address. Right now, you can sign up for a basic web hosting plan through Bluehost for $3.49/month. The basic plan is what I use and for my current readership, it works well. You can go up in plans to accommodate for increased need for bandwidth as your readership grows. When I signed up for this blog, I also bought the domains to similar names – I own CrunchyHippieLife.org as well.

So now you have your blog house and your blog address. Time to move in and decorate! Once you log into your domain, choose a theme. I’m speaking now of WordPress, because that’s what I’m most familiar with now. Take some time to play with the plug ins, check out PicMonkey.com for your background and header design if you choose one, and make it look the way you want it.

Before you announce your new blog to the world, give your readers something to read! Write at least a few blog posts so that when people come check out your new blog they don’t just have one little blurb. In the world of Pinterest, people decide quickly if they want to keep reading your blog or move on to the next one. So please don’t do what I did and have just one “welcome to my blog!” post because….that’s not a way to get people interested. Just trust me.

Decide how often you are going to post on your blog and commit to it. If you’re feeling especially inspired one week, write the extra posts but schedule them for the following week. Readers will follow when they can expect a routine. If you post once a week for a month, then every day for a week and then nothing for a few weeks, it tells the readers that you are not consistent and they can’t trust you as an authority in your field.

I’m still learning how to optimize my website for Pinterest and building readership, so I will leave those topics to the experts until I also become an expert. Until then, follow my Pinterest board and learn with me!

Was this helpful? Do you want to create your own blog now too? What would you blog about?

 

Cheap and Healthy: Zucchini

Why you beed to add zucchini to your next grocery list

Do you like zucchini? Unfortunately it usually doesn’t get much attention unless people can make it into a sugar-laden bread. As a zucchini lover, just throwing it into bread hurts my heart because as a vegetable it is so delicious and versatile. This delightful summer squash contains plenty of nutrients, including folate. Folate is super important for women of childbearing age, as studies have shown a diet low in folate during pregnancy puts a child at risk for spinal conditions. The flavor ranges from sweet to savory, depending on the size (the smaller the zucchini the sweeter it is). The blossoms are considered a delicacy when stuffed with cheese and herbs.

Growing up, I always had zucchini sliced and steamed, or in the bread (okay I do really like the bread, but the sugar content is usually really high). Be sure to check my Pinterest board for more ideas.

Zucchini has recently been rediscovered as a low-carb star, especially in paleo and gluten-free diets. Popular dishes include “zoodles” (made by either shredding or running it through a spiralizer), or by cutting lengthwise, scooping out the seeds, and filling with meats, cheese, and sauce for either a lasagna or pizza boat. It has a mild flavor so it can pick up the flavors of the spices you use with it.

Last summer a friend gave us a large harvest of zucchini and instead of baking it into bread I looked up new recipe ideas and found that it can be an apple alternative in pie and cobbler. Zucchini cobbler is delicious, ya’ll.

What is your favorite way to eat zucchini? Post your recipes in the comments!

Healthy Coupons: Week of 1/23/16

Is anyone going dairy-free in 2016? If so, this is the week for you! Check out all the coupons for dairy milk alternatives!

$1/1 any So Delicious product. ANY! That means it’s good for the yogurt (get it for pennies with this coupon!), or an ice cream, or a creamer, or a big carton of milk. I love seeing these big value coupons!

$0.55/1 So Delicious yogurt. If you’ve never tried any of the yogurts, I recommend the raspberry coconut milk yogurt.

$1.50/1 Orgain Organic Almond milk 

$2/1 4-pack Orgain Nutritional protein shakes 

$0.75/1 Silk half-gallon or Silk Nutchello 48oz

$0.75/2 Silk Dairy-Free yogurt alternatives 5.3oz or larger

$0.75/1 Annie’s organic soup

$1/1 any box Larabars 

Cloth diapering: Pros and Cons

Why our family loves cloth diapers and you should too!

We were graciously given a two-week supply of disposable diapers from some very generous friends, and so for the past week we have been using them. After months and months of cloth diaper laundry, it’s been very eye-opening for us to take a break and use disposables!

As a self-proclaimed hippie, it is to be expected that I am all about cloth diapering. As a new mom who is still sometimes having difficulty believing that this little person is truly mine and I’m not just babysitting for a really long time, I wanted to talk some brutal honesty about the differences in diapers.

First, the pros:

  1. The cost. Obviously pictures like this are pretty convincing. I LOVE that I can use these diapers for any future children we might have. You definitely can’t say that about a disposable!
  2. The cute. Guys, cloth diapers are absolutely adorable. And on Etsy, they are even cuter. Like this one. And this one. And this one. Yes they are all Harry Potter related. I can’t help myself. I need them all.
  3. You always have them. You don’t have to run out in the middle of the night after realizing that you just used the last diaper.

Now the cons:

  1. It’s a lot of laundry. We do laundry 2-3 times a week, and you have to do a short cycle  first to clean off all the gross before adding in the other clothes (unless you have enough cloth diapers to fill an entire full load, we have about a half load’s worth).
  2. Sometimes it takes awhile to find a brand that fits your child’s specific build properly, and the process can be frustrating. When we first started cloth diapering, we were lent a bunch of cloth diapers by some friends, but they didn’t fit Tristan’s long skinny  legs very well. He was always leaking and we almost gave up on cloth diapering altogether until another friend sold us her Thirsties cover and it fit him so well it was quickly my favorite!
  3. If you’re easily grossed out, cloth diapers probably aren’t for you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to scoop mess out of diapers before I could put them in the wash. The pro for the disposable diapers is definitely that you only see that once.

Every once in awhile, it is very nice to have a break from tons of laundry (thank you friends!). In general for our family, the pros of cloth diapering outweigh the cons. Though the investment seems like a lot, once you do the math and realize how much money you save by not having to purchase diapers regularly (especially if you have more than one in diapers at once!), the cost per diaper goes down drastically. Even for the Harry Potter diapers.

Cheap and Healthy: Bananas

If you're on a budget, you are eating as cheaply as you can. Bananas are a great addition to a healthy frugal diet  because they are very inexpensive and high in Vitamin B6, the energy vitamin!

It’s banana day! This is particularly good timing since they are on sale at Aldi for $0.29/pound, and no that was not planned.

Bananas are technically a berry. The high amount of vitamin B6 in one banana makes them a great source of quick energy.

Growing up, I thought they had a weird texture and I went through a phase where I really didn’t like them. Tristan has the same texture issue so he just squishes it around his place at the table and doesn’t actually eat them yet. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate this odd fruit.

Everyone knows  you can either eat them plain or let them “go bad” to make banana bread, but they are actually quite the versatile fruit. Did you know you can use them as egg replacements? Use one ripe and mashed banana to replace an egg in a recipe. This is especially helpful if anyone is trying to “vegan-ize” old favorite recipes, like this woman did. 

Mix a banana and an egg together for gluten-free pancakes and top with a berry compote or real maple syrup. For extra protein, add a scoop of protein powder to the pancake mix. Some of my friends use Juice Plus’ Complete protein (with nutrition from 24 different plants!) in their mix and they call them “plantcakes.”

Peel and freeze bananas and blend them with some berries and/or cacao/chocolate powder (or more protein mix) for some healthy ice cream, or add to your smoothies for added thickening, chill, and creaminess. My favorite smoothie is frozen banana, chocolate protein powder, a scoop of peanut or almond butter, and a splash of almond milk.

What are your favorite ways to eat bananas?

Healthy Coupons Week of 1/16/16

Another good week for coupons! Also, I heard Whole Foods is having a sale on all of their 365 brand products – 10% off everything! If you go, check to see if they will honor their 10% case discount as well for even more savings (without using any coupons!). This is a great time to stock up on your favorite 365 brand products.

And now for the printable coupons:

$0.50 off any (1) Dole jarred fruit (look for any fruit in just juice instead of syrup – pineapple is a popular option)

$1.25/2 Dole jarred fruit

$2/1 4-pack Orgain nutritional shakes

$1.50/1 Orgain Almond milk any size

$0.75/1 Monk Fruit in the Raw

$1/1 Stevia in the Raw 100 count box or 9.7oz baker’s bag

$1/1 Odwalla 59oz beverage

$1/1 Cambell’s ORGANIC soup

$1/1 either 59oz or 89oz Simply Orange any variety

$0.75/3 Larabars, any variety (another good one to print off a bunch of coupons and combine with Whole Foods’ case discount!)

$1/1 BOX of Larabars (Target usually has these for $5, and you can combine this with Target coupons or Cartwheel deals!)

$0.75/1 Food Should Taste Good chips, any variety 4oz or larger

$0.55/1 Wholly Guacamole product, any variety

$1.50/1 package of Truvia (excluding 7 count packet)

$1/2 V8 46 oz bottle or 6-pack cans, any variety

Cheap and Healthy: Lentils

Cheap and Healthy foods: first up, lentils! These tiny legumes are very under appreciated, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch!

For the next few Mondays I will be sharing some of my favorite healthy basics and a few ways to eat them. Enjoy! 

Lentils

Lentils are technically a legume, and they are a very common ingredient in middle eastern dishes, mostly curry or stew, or served over rice. High in zinc, iron, and phosphorus, with a solid 26g protein per 100g raw, they are an excellent addition to anyone’s diet, but especially pregnant women and people with anemia.

There are many different colors of lentils. The yellow and red hold together during the cooking process better and are good for stews. The brown tends to turn mushy and is used as a thickener for soups. Personally, I use brown most often and serve it over rice.

The lentil is particularly appealing because it cooks very quickly, somewhere between 10-45 mintues. However, to maximize the nutrition value it is recommended that you soak lentils for a prolonged period of 8 hours. Sprouting the lentils is another way to get rid of the enzymes that inhibit digestion and release all those minerals and delicious protein.

My all time favorite recipe is to cook them with wild rice in a mushroom broth with onions and garlic. Back when I was especially strict with my diet, this meal was a staple both for price point and nutrition. Lentils tend to take on the taste of whatever they are cooked with, so they are wonderful used to extend meat in chili or tacos. A local restaurant here in town is known for their lentil burgers. It’s an extremely versatile food and definitely a staple in healthy frugal eating!

Do you eat lentils? What is your favorite recipe? If you leave a recipe in the comments I might just try it and feature it in a future post!