Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Watch me shrink

Sometimes it gets me sad to think that I seem to always be on a diet or getting back on track or starting a new something. But, I'm incredibly blessed in a ton of areas of my life, I think I can deal with having a metabolism that would love me to weight 400lbs and a mind that thinks a bad day should end at the ice cream shop. So, I have coworkers that eat in the cafeteria every day while I bring salads and I weight sooooo much more than them and work out. Oh well. This is my body and my life and I gotta work with what I was given. I can do this. I will do this.

So, what is my plan? I'm jumping on the IIFYM wagon after watching Skinny Meg shrink and wittle herself some awesome muscles. I've been doing it (not so great some days, other days pretty decent) for about a month and I'm ready to jump in with both feet. According to the IIFYM calculator, I get 137 carbs/148 protein/65 fats a day with 1700 calories to do that with. That's a shit ton of food. This last month, I've been working with those numbers and learning how to get that much protein in per day, because that is a learning curve. And for a girl like me, that thinks its weird that they are telling me to eat more and I'll still lose, that just seems wrong. But, my numbers are based on lifting weights at least 3 days a week. Eating that much food without big workouts would cause a gain.

I woke up Monday morning ready to see results and do the work needed. So far this week I worked legs Monday including 100 squats and this AM I worked arms and shoulders. I plan to do at least 40 minutes of just cardio tomorrow and do a Body Pump class this Friday. I will have hit my goal of 3 days a week of weight lifting. I might move to 4 someday but I thinks we'll start here.
Be prepared for a lot of pics that look like this.  I had just done 100 jumping jacks to finish my workout because it seemed like a good idea.
And like this.

Best workout song for always. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rylan goes to first grade

I'm not going to be all cliche "I don't know where the time went....." Maybe I will for one sec. 7 years ago, I was laying on the couch on bedrest, trying like crazy to stay pregnant longer. I went into preterm labor at 31 weeks and stayed on bedrest until at 38 weeks, we had an 8lb baby boy. Nothing in the world makes you think, one day, this 8lb sack of cuteness that needs me for EVERYTHING, will grow into a tan, muscley (its a word), TALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL 6 year old that can dress himself, read books and help you pack his lunch. You just kind of forget to look ahead and suddenly they come to lay on your chest like they have for 6.5 years and they are almost as big as you and you are suffocating.  Its cracker jacks.

Anyway, last year we moved to Fayetteville a week before school started and the school our apartment was zoned for was overfull and Rylan got overflowed to Butterfield Elementary. We were at first bummed, but then we met his no-nonsense teacher and got the flow of everything and were so happy for the overflow. So much so, that 6 weeks into school, they wanted us to go back to the zoned school and Rob and I went to the superintendent's office to fight for him to stay. Which he did. Cause I fight gooooooood. I'll talk till you decide I'm right. Or I'll just cry.

When we found our house that we just bought, one perk was that it was in Butterfield's zone, so Rylan could continue 1st grade at the same school he started in. We've come to get used to going to that school, everyone knows Rylan there (even the principal, grrrrrrr) and he has buddies there, and quite frankly,  that other school is kinda a little uppity. Or so I've heard. And we aren't upity. What's the opposite? Downity?
Its hard to read all the wording. I am not exactly the kind of mom that has the awesome board all filled out. This is a sheet of typing paper. I do what I can. It says that when he grows up he wants to be a Master Lego Builder (its a thing, go to Legoland), his favorite song is anything by Crazy Frog, his favorite food is Sorbet and Pizza, and his favorite thing to play with is legos. 

He's so presh. He has homework now. Usually spelling and sorting words to learn vowel sounds. We are working on his negativity a bit. But overall, he has had a good first few weeks. 

Max got a sign too. Max is still at his same school he's been at for about a year. He has a new teacher and suddenly he can recognize AND write every letter. He WANTS to do school work with me and loves telling me what letters are in words and on signs around town. When I helped Rylan with therapies, I learned all the things that they need to know to be Kindergarten ready, and I'd say Max is more than ready a little early. 
When he grows up he wants to be Optimus Prime (totally doable goal). His favorite song is Scatman. His favorite food is Peanut butter and jelly, and his favorite thing to play is Transformers. 

These kiddos make our world go round. I am so glad they are ours.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ch Ch Changes Part II

I have been very infrequent with my blog in the last year. A lot of that has been working more, being busier, not really knowing WHAT to blog about, since this blog really started as a way to let my family know about my babies, since we live(d) far away from a lot of relatives and I didn't really have babies anymore. I had big kids. That are still wicked awesome, but maybe whose every move doesn't strike me as quite so blog worthy as much as yesteryear. Really, my poor blog has been a victim of Facebook and Instagram. Once I started having both of those places to post a pic with a (let's be honest, sarcastic) one liner,I got lazy and started doubting that anyone even read my blog.

I went on a girls trip in July and my friends asked about my blogging (or more, lack thereof). With the sweetest of compliments and pushing, they encouraged me to get back to blogging. They told me that I had stories to tell and wanted me to blog more. Apparently I'm not the only crazy mom trying to find her place in the world, and my sometimes funny, sometimes sad stories about our nutty life were readable to them? Or maybe I just have really good friends.

I'm going to give it a really solid effort. I have life kind of handled right now (cue major catostrophe) and it feels like a perfect time to fire up the old typing fingers and get going.

I will start with where my family is now. A year or so ago, I wrote this post about our sudden move to Fayetteville from outside of Little Rock. And by sudden, I've blogged about the fact that that move was 8 years or so in the making, but the actual move took no less than 3 weeks.

When we moved here, we had not sold our house yet. We knew it would take mere minutes to sell it, so we found an apartment that only had a 9 month lease. We had visions of selling our house immediately and banking the money we used to spend on mortgage while we ONLY paid  for an apartment.  We were wrong. It took 11 months to sell our house. Eleven months of a mortgage and rent. Two months past the time our lease was up. In the end, we had dropped the price $10,000 and ended up accepting an offer even lower than that. But, we had paid a mortgage and rent for 11 months and we were D-O-N-E.  It was sad times. But happy times all the same. THE HOUSE WAS SOLD!!!!
Bye Bye East End/Hensley House you were good to us. 

At the same time that we heard wind that there was a possible buyer for our house in Little Rock, we started looking here in Fayetteville. We had driven around a lot and gotten a lay of the town. We knew for sure we didn't want to live in a town outside of Fayetteville. We'd had 10 years of the suburbs and our 11 months in the apartment might not have been ideal, but one thing that apartment had going for it was PRIMO LOCATION TO ALL THINGS FUN. Seriously, you could get in the van and go to Walmart, the gym, the gas station, pick up the dry cleaning, go to the liquor store, the hardware store and the bank, and then bring home either BBQ or Mexican for dinner and have only put 1.5 miles on your odometer. To say we'd gotten spoiled to being right in the thick of things was an understatement. Rob's 40 mile each way commute from Little Rock had turned into a 10 minute trip and that included dropping kids off at school, I don't lie. I used to have to go 20 minutes to drop kids off at pre-k and then 30 minutes in the opposite direction back to town to go to work. And on my off days, the zoo, museums, splash pads and all our playgroup friends were miles and miles away.  My job is now 5 minutes from the house. Playdate fun is less than 10 minutes away in any direction.

The one problem with the area our apartment was in was that the actual houses were very pricey. One day, we received an email from a realtor saying, "here is a house in your area and price range. This one will go fast." Rob looked at it on his lunch break immediately and only felt okay about it. His description and pictures didn't make me want to see it. I'd almost put it out of my brain but something just made me say "see it yourself, and then you'll be able to stop thinking about it." And I saw it and I wanted to put an offer down immediately. I saw so many possibilities. I saw it the way the home owners had decorated it, and I thought about what we could do to make it more 'us'. The pictures hadn't done it justice. The "small closet" was 3 times the size of mine in my old house. The smallish kid's room wasn't so small once you were in it and realized there was a ton of furniture taking up a ton of space. Let me also mention that our favorite park is LESS than 1/4 mile from our front door. There is even a little walking trail from our neighborhood into the park. I saw its charm, its GIANT deck, its proximity to all things important (like Walmart, lezbehonest), and I wanted it yesterday.

We put in an offer May 31. It was accepted June 1. Our house outside of Little Rock put in an offer June 5 that we accepted June 7. Our house here closed July 10. Our house in East End closed July 25. We lived out of boxes for 11 days at the beginning of July, our new house was supposed to close July 1 and it too 11 extra days. I took a long ago planned girls trip and left the kids with Rob for three days in the middle of all this. I took the kids to Kansas City with no Rob to attend the wedding of my cousin while Rob hired movers and moved us in the house when we FINALLY finalized the house. At the end of July, I once again packed up me and the kids and we went to my parents house for an end of the summer getaway I had promised them. In the middle of all this I started taking call at the job I got in January, so some nights I was at the hospital at all hours. Life as we knew it has been so nuts lately.

And oh, so awesome. Like really awesome. We really live in this town. Not renting. Not still owning a home in another town. For reals, we own a piece of this town that we have wanted to live in for years. We both have jobs that we (usually) love, Rylan is in a school he loves, Max MOSTLY likes his pre-k and we live so close to tons of family.  The new house is not just bigger than our old one, it makes better use of space. Open floor plans are awesome in their own way, but I like the older floor plans where a kitchen is a kitchen and a den is a den. This new house has something our old house was lacking: closet space. Rob and I have a walk in, there is a double doored closet in hallway that is huge, a linen closet and then another closet in the hall that has a secondary closet in it, meant for guns. We don't really know what to do with that closet, so we just keep our vacuum and medicines in there. That's normal, yes?

I cannot wait to do updates on how we are changing things. The house had amazing bones and had been kept up with well. But, it was built in the 1970's and was owned previously by the Methodist Church down the road and used as their pastor's house. So, we've got some painting and buffing and wall hanging and nailing and ship shaping to do.

I will be back with pics of the new place. SOON!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I'm a little cracker jacks

We are renting one house and own another and that's expensive.

My kids were so overtired and cray-zay last night we put them to bed at 6:30 pm with Enya playing. Enya helps even my mood out, hopefully it worked on them. All I know is they were asleep within 10 mins of sending them upstairs.

Its 3:38am and I've been up for 2 hours watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I have a 4 year old that is trying to be bad bad bad and a 6 year old that has the emotions and talking and arguing ability of a 14 year old hormonal girl. 

We have a 1600 square foot house plus two storage areas, plus a two car garage's worth of stuff shoved in a 1300 square foot apartment with 1 tiny garage and things are getting TIGHT.

The other day I almost cried because a coworker was mean to me, I never got a lunch break, barely got a bathroom break and had a patient almost make me vomit and I still like this job 20X more than the one I got right when we moved here. 

I am trying like a banshee to stick to a wheat free/dairy free diet because its best for my belly and also helps with weight loss but OMG my emotional eating brain wants ice cream. And toast.

I live in a constant push/pull of wanting to have lots of money to travel with and wanting to work part time to have more time with my kids.

I need to get back to my New Years Resolutions. I was doing great and then I've fallen off the wagon.

I need to blog about my weight loss, I seem to do better if I hold myself accountable.

I think only 3 people read this blog.  I am 99% sure my husband, whose name is on the blog is not one of these 3 people. Let's check-Rob likes to watch Golden Girls........let's see if that gets a response.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

And....a cute pic, because a blog post ain't cute without a pic.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Freezer cooking

One of my favorite people in the world just had a baby. She texted me to ask what some of my favorite freezer meals are. I love freezer cooking. Its one of my favorite things to do/think about/talk about. I wish I'd gotten this post together BEFORE she gave birth but
1. Maddie came 3 weeks early and I don't really DO early very well. I barely do on time.
2. My fam has has strep, bladder infection, strep, bladder spasms, strep, and hay fever. Not in that order and not all the same person. But, seriously, if I never see the inside of a doctor's office again it'll be too soon. Wait....I'm a nurse.......

Since becoming a stay at home mom/sometimes working mom/working mom, I've found freezer cooking to be a crazy saver. Like, its saved me from going crazy several times. I've written a few blog posts about it, mostly in years past, where I did a HUGE cooking session and made a huge mess and came out with like 20 meals in a day.  I'd make tons of casseroles and have them stacked in the freezer and they were my prized possessions.  I'm going to be honest, that, although I liked the outcome of these days, I was never prepared enough (story of my life) and it is SOOOO messy and I was SPENT after those days. That being said, I MISS those days and ALL those premade dishes being in the freezer.

That was when I had only Rylan. I could either do it when he was sleeping, or on a day when I traded babysitting with someone. These things happen with one baby. When you have two kids, getting them both to nap at the same time is about as easy as winning the lottery and when you do it, if you are smart you either take a nap yourself or shower. You don't freezer cook. Then, my kids, one at at time went off dairy. Guess what went away when dairy went away? Casseroles.

I miss casseroles.

I miss cream of mushroom soup. A lot.

I'd love a slice of lasagna right about now.

So, freezer cooking went away for awhile.

About two year ago I started picking it back up. I learned that freezer cooking doesn't have to be an eight hour cooking session. Your end result does not have to be 30 meals.  What works for me is to do a little bit at a time.  And it doesn't have to be an entire meal to make it helpful to your dinner.

There are five ways to do this

1. Double or triple a meal, eat one the night you make it, save the other one or two for later.  I do this with lots of things. I almost always do it with homemade waffles or pancakes or muffins, they freeze wonderfully.I do it with soups like chili and minestrone. If you think right now "I don't want to eat the same thing again and again" the answer is YOU WON'T. If you consistently put stuff in the freezer, you won't be repeating meals very often at all. I've recently started trying out recipes from Pinterest.  You can also, carve an hour or so out of a day and put together a recipe. It might seem like you are only doing a little, but all these littles add up to a filled freezer if you do it weekly.

Pumpkin Donuts (I make them into mini muffins because I'm lazy)
Biscuit Pizzas
Skinnied Paula Deen Chili
Pizza Crust (recipe makes enough for 3 large pizzas or 6 small ones, Pizza dough is totally freezable)
Waffles (I double or triple this recipe, freeze it, then day of eating we take them out of freezer and cook at 350 for about 10 mins, from frozen)
Dairy free Pancakes (recipe is for blueberry, I've made them plain, with cinnamon, with blewbs its always good)
Banana Bread (I usually do muffins, as we tend to not overeat when they aren't in loaf form)
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
Turkey Burgers
World's Best Cornbread
BBQ Meatballs

2. Make the beginnings of a recipe: chop up onions and peppers and have them ready for a soup of casserole, put the dry ingredients of pancakes or homemade brownies in a ziplock bag, where only the eggs and oil need to be added later. When there is a sale on ground beef or turkey, buy a shiz ton and cook it, divide it into portions and have it ready for sloppy joes, lasagna, spaghetti, or chili. Put all the seasonings in some ground beef and put it into hamburger patty shape and flash freeze it, then all you have to do is thaw and grill. Easy peasy chicken squeezy. Pre-make noodles (cook them all dente) and freeze them, then when kids/husband/you are starving, you can warm up bottled marinara, throw in some ground beef that you've already cooked and heat up your precooked noodles. Little things like this will save you from calling for takeout so many times.

3. Dump recipes.These are recipes that you pour into a bag without doing much prep work, and they are ready to thaw and pour into a casserole pan or the crockpot. These are my current jam. I do this on Saturday or Sunday night, I triple the recipe, cook one at the time, and make two for the freezer.
Sausage and Peppers-cook in crockpot all day and put over pasta
Honey Pineapple Chicken
Paula Deen's Skinnied Chili
Salsa Chicken-1 pound chickn, 1 jar salsa, 1 can corn (drained), 1 can black beans. AND GO!
Spicy Lime and Honey Wings (I use this for chicken drumsticks mostly), just thaw, and put on cookie sheet, cook 45mins at 400.
Italian Chicken-2 pounds of chicken, 1bottle Italian dressing, dump in crockpot, cook, serve over rice.

4. Plain and simple leftovers. Ever have a meal that you don't want to eat again and again and again? Try to freeze the leftovers and see what happens. I love to make Calico Beans and Ham and Beans. Problem is, we eat half of it and then Rob and I have leftovers for 3 days and you can only eat beans for so many days in a row before friends and coworkers start complaining. Also, a full pack of hot dogs or a 20oz ground turkey package has 8 or so portions. We eat 5-6. A few extra grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are amazing for nights when you have sick littles, church to get to, or just do not want to cook.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Resolution check up: Part deux

Well, shizzles, I let another month go by and didn't blog. I tried to write out blogs but I have this insane fear of being boring and not worth it. And then I sleep or the moon is right or something and I remember I started this blog to update about us and its for us and I should blog about what I want to blog about.

I wrote out my 2015 Resolutions and resolved to check in weekly about this. Which I've done once.....I really like to fail myself.

1.Read 2 books a month-I'm all over the map with my book reading. I'm constantly reading, but I am so ADHD lately I can't even help myself. At any given time, I have three books going. Usually a smut book (fiction/romancey), a Christian book, and a self help book. Doing this is making me not get anything done. So far, this year, I have read:
Image result for heaven is for real
I will be honest, I wasn't ready to buy what these people were selling. But, it was a good read and I was a believer by the end. Its much better than the movie, no offense to Greg Kinear, whom I love.

Write this lady's name down, save it in your phone for library and bookstore use and look her up on your Kindle or whatevs. I've read four of her books and plan to read all of hers. She has a way of making you think about what you would do if faced with a situation that seems wrong.

This is pitiful. 2 books in 2 months. I can do better. Put the phone and computer down, Sara. Focus Sara.

I currently have a Stephanie Plum novel going and The Happiness Project.

2.Read my kids 1000 books or chapters of a chapter book in 2015. As of last night, we're at 118. I am hoping to keep up this pace, we have ten more months to go and I can easily attain this goal. The kids are loving picking out books at the library to be read to. Rylan is really good at sight words these days so he reads a little to us and I love watching him grow. 

3.Walk,run,bike,elliptical,stairstep, or crawl 1007.5 miles.
-I'm tired of hurting myself or being sick. And the weather. Excuses Excuses Excuses. I currently am at 81 miles. I've got to step it up. Or more, step on a workout machine! I hurt my back and was slow getting back to the gym, it was everything I could do to get through my workdays, which involve a lot of standing, pushing beds, and lifting patients, without crying. I feel 90% better and feel like I know what I did that was the culprit (a certain weight machine at too high weight) and am staying far far away from it.

3.Spend time with God every day-I've 75% kept up my prayer journal, I miss a day or two here and there, but I get caught up. I love reading back and seeing prayers that have been answered. It is a wonderful way to give your worries to God at the end of the day. Some days, like yesterday, I concentrate on being thankful instead of asking for blessings. I am more aware of praying for people when I remember/see they are in need.

4.GET ORGANIZED!!!!! This one is going to take time, but I am on my way. I am getting dinners ready ahead of time, meals packed so we aren't buying lunches at school, work or restaurants unless they are preplanned. Rob and I completely cleaned out our garage and organized it to the best of our ability and it looks fabulous. The next day, I did a few jumping jacks because of all the extra room. At the beginning of February I cleaned out our master closet. We aren't utilizing that closet to the best of our abilities, its huge for a townhouse and I got our clothes organized so that we can use the shelving for other stuff, like board games, and gloves and hats that are shoved everywhere. My next project is finances. A must must must do.I want to go on vacation. We've done family vacations in the past few years, but Rob and I have not taken a vacation all by ourselves with kids ever. I know we can do this, we just have to hunker down.

5. Spend more time with my kids. Going better. Can always be even better.  True story, Max and I like to put some tunes on my cell phone and sit at the table and color and chit chat. It is totally fun.  They are outgrowing their babiness so fast. Pretty soon it will all be video games.  I am including them in cooking, trying to remember to turn down the radio and chit chat in the van and just overall remembering to enjoy my children. They were a true gift from God. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

How I had two littles and didn't go crazy

I was told one day that I seem to be so calm and easy going and have it together. And I laughed in that person's face. But, it got me thinking about the times I thought that there would be no end to the crazy feeling that was having two little ones. And maybe if I could shed a little light on what I did that worked for me and supposedly made me look like I had it together, maybe I could help one mama feel like she too can get through it.

I preface my following paragraph with the fact that I completely and totally love both of my children to the end of the earth and back again. They are a blessing and I wouldn't be me without them.

Rylan was born November 2008. I had planned to be trying to get pregnant around his second birthday. Life had other plans. Instead, we carried a 6 week old baby to Rylan's second birthday. I wouldn't trade this for a million suitcases full of a million dollars each. We got Max, and a life with no Max is no life for me.

You can never plan for life with two or more kids. People will warn you and you'll listen, but you won't know until you are in it. You think it'll be like one kid but a little harder. Strike that flip it and reverse it. You can no longer hand off the baby to your spouse to get a shower or a nap, because your spouse has the other child. You can't sit down in a chair with your tiny baby and breastfeed in peace, because your toddler is poking at your boob and saying "wat dat?" Your stoller is double in size, if it isn't too long to turn a corner without knocking down everything at the end of an aisle, its so wide you can't get through a normal store/library/church door. Before having my second child I could get my first to calm down and chill in a backpack I bought that held up to 40 pounds. I couldn't put that on my back because I was wearing another child on my front. Getting a shower or a nap or time to cook a meal now requires two humans to be happy and healthy, and you aren't one of those humans. If you make it an hour with only 1 person crying, you feel like you are a triumph, and bonus points if you weren't the one crying.

It did almost make me cray-zay. But, now,  looking at my 4 and 6 year olds, I can barely remember the sleepless nights, the crying because I couldn't remember the last conversation that Rob and I had that didn't revolve around who would do baths and who would do dishes, the saying sorry to my kids because mommy yelled, or realizing that I had left my car keys in the diaper bag AFTER Rob had taken kids and said diaper bag to daycare for the day.

Here's a few things that got me through those first few months, when life seems kind of nuts:

I'll start way back when.  When I had a 2 year old and a newborn. It was hard and I often felt nuts, but one of the things I did was have a notebook in which I wrote myself notes. I wrote down meals that turned out to be really easy to make while dealing with the kids, I wrote down ways to entertain both kids at once, if a day went well, I wrote something down that I thought made it go better.  This got me through the first crazy months.

Another thing I did was I found things that entertained both of my kids and things that killed 2 birds with one stone. Rylan was 2 and ornery and crazy, but he LOVED taking baths. Baths were a time that he was in one place and couldn't get into too much trouble.  So that little boy got a nice long bath every single day. Sometimes I bathed Max in the little baby tub on the floor next to Rylan in the big tub. Sometimes I folded laundry at the sink while he took a bath and brother slept. Sometimes I sat on the closed toilet and did absolutely nothing but make sure my kids were both alive. I learned to cook wearing a baby (the safe way), read a book while pushing a double stroller, pull a wagon with one kid in it normally and the other in a car seat in it. We got out of the house as much as possible because new sights, new people made us all behave better than being at home.

I also slept when my kids did. I went to bed at 8:30 and got up at 5am (of course with many nighttime awakenings in between).  A friend once said I got more done before 8am than she did all day. That's not necessarily true, but I often got bills paid, one on one time with the baby, time to talk with my husband, books read, or simply bathing first thing in the morning. Having a pajama day is good in theory, but I always do better if I get up and get started with my day. When your kids get up, they often are ready to party, so meeting them with a little coffee in your system does wonders to your psyche.

Also, don't compare yourself to any other moms. This is so hard, but just like the person that told me I seem so calm and put together when I was really hiding a mountain of legoes behind a closed closet door, nobody is perfect. Not one mom can do it all alone. Choose your battles. I love to cook. Its my thing. If I served chicken nuggets and heat up Chef Boyardee for dinner, it would hurt my heart. So I never stopped cooking and baking. I even let Rylan help me when he was a wee lad.  I might seem like Suzy Homemaker when I bust out banana muffins and Chicken Parmesan, but have you seen my laundry pile? It ain't pretty. I can't do it all well, so I picked the thing I do the best at, feeding my family, and went with that. The laundry gets done, and with a lot of help from the hubs, eventually, but its not my forte. The moment you realize that somebody that looks like they have their shiz together on the outside, probably has a layer of dust on their sidetables will be a freeing moment for you.

We had our tough days, we cried and yelled and didn't know what we were doing. But we loved each other like crazy and we made it.

This blog post has been four years in the making. I've always meant to write a "how I survived one' but every time I thought about it, life gave us lemons and I had to real quick find a new lemonade. I hope to add to these thoughts with a series of posts, if they are helpful at all.

For now, here's some pics to show our crazy.

Managing to read with two squiglies

Wagons are your friend

Family pictures that include the whole family are few and far between

The stroller that doesn't fit through any doors, ever. But it drives like a dream and the kids have lots of room. Side note: feed the shiz out of your kids. You can get yourself very far on a walk if the chillens bellies are full.

Definitely get some good are muscles for this sort of thing

And please, remember, for every ten photos that look like the above, you'll get 1 that look like the below

The sit and stand stroller that saved our sanity. You'll want one of these. Like...yesterday

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pantry Challenge

Last Saturday I went to the grocery store for the 5th time since the New Year. Last Saturday was 17th. That's a little sad. Before Christmas, funds were tight and we were leaving for 5 days at my parents' so we had some decently empty shelves in the pantry and fridge. So, I went to Walmart and filled us up. During that week we went two more times to fill in what I forgot, because I am forgetful. The next week I went to Aldi* and majorly stocked up. We are always out of snacky type things and "lunchbox helpers", as I call them, that are staples for Rylan's lunches and Rob and I's snacks, like raisins, turkey jerkey sticks, applesauce pouches, 100 calorie packs of nuts, chips, fruit snacks, and creackers. I got all the needed things, plus all the AMAZING Aldi deals*. (read:10 pounds of potatoes, bags of chicken, cheese, turkey, and bacon). Not one week later, I was back at Aldi reloading on the "lunchbox helpers" and snacks we were again out of, and buying all of Aldi's AMAZING deals (read: 9 bell peppers, a bag of apples, more bags of chicken, bacon and cheese).

I came home and loaded the needed snacks, cereal, and lunchbox helpers in the cabinet and then pushed, shoved, and rearranged the produce and meat into the deep freeze and fridge.

And then I decided I shouldn't be allowed at a grocery store for a while.

It doesn't help that we live (literally) walking distance to Walmart's front door right now. When we lived in Hensley, the closest grocery store was at least a ten minute drive and they were overpriced and always smelled strongly of fried chicken. Like not a "oooohhhhh yum we should grab fried chicken for dinner" smell, but a "did they just fry chicken in old grease inside my nose?" kind of smell. It was always there. So, we preferred the stores that were in Little Rock, which took 30+ minutes to get to. So, if I forgot something? Too bad. Wait till your next trip to town. And even then, the thought of unloading two little kids and answering "no" a hundred times to "can I go see the toys" "can I have fruit snacks" "can I have a donut" just made one or two items not worth it. Now its just RIGHT THERE.

-Sidenote: Aldi is magical and I love it. They have everyday low prices PLUS amazing specials. They have a lot of rules that you have to do. Its how they keep their prices low. Its weird the first time and then you are used to it and its normal. Like, they don't take checks or credit. Cash or debit only. They don't have cart pushers. Therefore, you put a quarter in a slot and it releases a cart for you and you don't get your quarter back unless you return your cart to the front of the store. They also don't have , you bring your own, or if you are like me my first two times, you bring home a trunk full of cucumbers rolling around back there. Its weird, but I'm used to it now.

So, Monday, I decided I'm not allowed back in a store for a while. And when I go, I can't spend over $20. At first I said only almond milk, peanut butter, eggs, and fresh produce. Then I ran out of spray oil and olive oil and flour. I can't really cook without those first two things, and having flour will help me use up other pantry items, PLUS we are once again running low on lunchbox helpers, so I changed it to $40. I was previously spending $150 or so a week, so That is almost a quarter of what we were spending.

So far so good. I'll fully admit, we ate out on Monday for lunch and Wednesday for dinner. I got off work late on Wednesday and it was eat out or skip church. We ate out. Monday, our landlord was replacing our garbage disposal. We were sure he was going to make us pay (cough, rock in the disposal, cough) so, getting out of the way and getting Chick Fil A so he could replace it for free (holla at being a renter!) was a small price to pay.

I am excited to use up some of this food and save some money in the process. By not having a birthday or Christmas this month and adding my new job which has more hours and better pay (Silver Linings!!!!), we are seeing a light at the end of the low funds tunnel and I love it.