How to start meal planning.

So a lot of people (my 5 friends) know I buy mostly organic and fair trade when the option is there. I want to remind you that our grocery budget has decreased dramatically since I started meal planning and I STILL buy 90% organic.

Here’s why. I used to think only pretentious people bought ONLY organic. But then I started paying more attention and doing more research and heres the thing…Cancer has become not an “if” situation but a “when” situation. Almost everyone knows of someone that has it. It’s a scary thing and at first my only goal with buying organic food was so that I could somehow allow my family and I to be healthier longer. Period.

That was where it started. Then we began to notice that we simply felt better. We were sleeping a little better, we were less anxious and didn’t feel as though our minds were in a fog. It became second nature to pick that option over the other because it (to us) was worth it.

Let me get back to our budget. I was spending $900+ on groceries every month AND we were still eating out all the time! When my husband and I first got married I thought heating up a frozen pizza in the oven was “cooking”. Oh sweet, sweet girl… And any produce we bought was waisted. Going to the store was a guessing game of “oh, we might need that. Let’s get it.” Literally, we always had food but never had ingredients to actually make anything!

Finally in year 3 of our marriage I had had enough of always having things that didn’t make ANYTHING. So I started meal planning.

I made a list with each day and beside it listed “B, L and D” for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. I looked at Pinterest (and still do) for easy 15 min meals and listed out one for each dinner. For lunch I put either “LO” for Leftovers if I knew I’d have enough or I would put sandwiches/salad. Breakfast is always some kind of fruit, yogurt (for the boys), and some kind of protein. See how I work backwards? It’s much easier that way to first plan the dinners and then work around them.

Side note: I used to do simple cereal and milk for my oldest but he would end up asking for a snack 15 min later and then every 5 min till lunch so I said no more! It’s better for my sanity to fill that boy up, if possible. Now we just use dry cereal for snacks.

I posted a photo in my last post of how I start my lists but here it is again.

Besides cutting our budget in half it has also prevented us from eating out as much because we KNOW what we will eat every night. It wasn’t a guessing game any more. That in itself reduce so much stress! I can now give that energy to other, more important, things.

So then, as we keep going…After you’ve planned out your meals you simply make a grocery list of everything you need for the week! No more thinking “I might need this” and buying something that will go to waste!

Now I think half of our groceries each week are produce. And we EAT them. They no longer go bad and get thrown away! And if some start ripening before you get to them throw them in the freezer.

You can freeze soooo much.

Wow, I’m sorry guys. This post turned into something real special. Hope you enjoyed it. If you still have questions please leave me a comment below. I would LOVE to help you out!

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3 Ways to work smarter not harder.

Multitasking. It’s something that can work to our benefit or stretch us so thin we end up making a bigger mess than what we started with.

Especially as women. We are almost always doing at least 2-3 things at ONE time. Whether it’s cooking, doing a load of laundry and/or checking into Instagram. Or feeding one baby while changing the other’s diaper. We are always, ALWAYS, multitasking. We almost can’t help it. It’s just the way our brain’s are wired.

Side note: one thing you should know before soaking up all this wisdom is thatI am currently a stay-at-home-mom. I have 2 boy’s ages 3 and 1. And I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how to make our day-to-day run smoother…more smooth..smoother.

So here are some tips I’ve learned that work for us:

  1. Whether you plan on leaving the house or not ALWAYS get everyone ready in the morning. You never know what the day will hold and it makes things that much easier when everyone is mostly ready to head out of the door.
  2. Meal prep or meal plan for the week. Making this a habit will relieve so much stress. It allows you to only buy what you need from the grocery store and in turn will save you a butt load of money. Our grocery bill went from $900 to $400 a month immediately when I started doing this.
  3. And lastly, the dishes. I used to and still do at times detest doing the dishes. BUT I’ve found a system that has seemed to work thus far! (side note: I cook dinner almost every night so keeping the dishes done is essential) Do the dishes from the day right after the kids go to bed. Then in the morning unload the dishwasher and put away the clean dishes while your coffee is brewing. As the day goes on simply load the dishwasher with the dirty dishes! Then repeat!

These are a few things that have made our days run a little smoother and I hope they help you as well!

Favorite Fam Product – #1


Hello Friends!

Once or twice a month (depending) I’ll be sharing about some favorite products my fam bam and I use! TODAY I’ll be talking about a product called Mom’s Stuff made by Mom’s Stuff Salve that literally everyone can and should use. It’s made by a company that believes in using simple + clean ingredients straight from nature. It’s bascally a superfood but for your skin (which they say).

I first came across it randomly on instagram and I read all the customer reviews about how it had helped them with any and every dry spot, eczema spots, some people used it as a vapor rub, for chapped lips.. etc.

At that time the weather was dry and Hudson was about 4 months old and kept getting rashy, eczema spots on his forehead. The travel size was only $15 so I thought “why not. It’s completely clean and natural so even if it doesn’t work for him I can use it.”

Applied it for the first time in the morning and by noon they were almost completely gone!

 

A few other ways we use this product:

1. Cuts and scrapes. It’s a great skin protectant and contains super healing ingredients.

2. Bug bites. This one is huge. We use is almost every day for this. It’s the only thing I’ve ever used that completely stopped the iching within minutes!

3. Diaper rash. Again, this suff is all natural and simply nourishes the skin so it does great on that little baby bum!

4. Dry skin. (this is the most obvious) My hands and feet get so dry from about mid-Sept. to  late-February and this Mom’s Stuff saves my skin!

5. Chapped lips. This is my husbands favorite way to use it!!

Basically this stuff keeps our family happy and functional. Haha! So go check them out! You won’t regret it! Have a happy Wednesday!!!

– C

 

Where I’ll be linking up this week:

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Toddler life in all it’s glory

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I’ve been working on this post for a while and now that I have a SECOND to look back at the past few weeks I know why..

Hud was sick with a head cold then the stomach bug and all while teething.. Sean was also sick on and off these past few weeks. Our sleep has been scattered and literally everyday so different. Things are finally starting to get back to normal..that or I’m just getting used to the idea that things will never be routine again. Haha!

So the past few weeks we welcomed a new person to the family.. a toddler.. a running, tantrum throwing, picky eating, sleep hating toddler. This little boy is ALSO the sweetest, happiest, child I could have ever have been blessed to have. I feel that parents constantly live on an emotional rollercoaster..anyone else feel me?

My friend Lauren over at Coffee + Littles showed me the definition of a toddler..

Toddler: emotionally unstable pint-sized dictator with the uncanny ability to know exactly how far to push you towards utter insanity before reverting to a loveable creature. (SPOT ON)

All that to say, as we welcome this new person into our family and watch him develop his own personality and see how truly lovable he is has been a crazy but absolutely wonderful ride! Until next time!

– C

For the love of Pumpkin…

It’s ALMOST Oct. which just means pumpkin EVERYTHING. I’m simply practicing…

One of my favorites is pumpkin muffins. They are literally so easy to make. We eat them for an easy breakfast or a quick snack! The best part, Hud loves them!

Side note: don’t forget to use a cooking spray so that the muffins pop out easily. I like to use coconut oil cooking spray from Trader Joes.


Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

1 can of pumpkin pure

1 box of spice cake


Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix ingredients together and BAKE!

12 muffins – 25-30 min.


 

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Another fav. is the #PSL (pumpkin spiced latte). And it has come back around!  The problem is that it is really not feasible to pay $6 a DAY to get my PSL fix…

So I looked around on Pinterest and came across this Healthy pumpkin spice coffee creamer from The Balanced Berry. This will become a regular in the Trout home. It’s so good and dairy free! For the recipe just click here.

Personally, I like my coffee creamy and this creamer won’t make your coffee LOOK creamy or change color all that much because of the ingredients but just go by taste. I use about ½ cup for a regular cup of coffee (I have a mean sweet tooth).

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Hope y’all enjoy! Happy (almost) FALL my pumpkin lovers!

 

Things I’m Learning.

 

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Everyone has an opinion, but at the same time everyone has their one way of doing it. Whatever it is.

I’ve been a mom now for 1 year, 1 month, and 7 days. People that have seen me on this journey have seen me become a bit more relaxed (a lot), and just more settled in my way. Though, I’m always open for advice… Because yes, I’m a new mom. I am not an expert and I don’t think I will ever have it all figured out. But I feel like every new mom has to go through this journey of figuring out what works, what doesn’t work and just how to get enough sleep.. haha. It’s a whole lot of trial and error but you get the hang of it. (even though just as you figure it out everything changes again!)

Having patience and learning to be SUPER flexible, plus God’s grace and a whole lot of coffee, has truly helped the most. Being a parent isn’t just another job where you can clock in and clock out. It is 24/7 and it’s THE most stressful job in the world. For that reason alone judgement from other people with/without children is the last thing needed..

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this was taken while visiting with one of my best friends

I’ve become a more confident person since becoming a mom. More confident in standing up for what I think is best for my child and less judgmental towards other moms. Sometimes I think that confidence and judgment go hand in hand when they shouldn’t. This goes back to my first statement. EVERYONE thinks they are doing it right..

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playing with dad at the rest stop during a trip
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my little explorer

Bottom line: Pray… and then trust your instinct as well as your spouses FIRST because you know your child the best. Being a parent is messy and nuts but so amazing and truly a blessing only God can give.

Until next time.

 

– C

This is where I’ll be linking up this week:

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Honey + Lavender Latte

 

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So I’ve been feeling a bit more domestic lately…or Hud has just been taking longer naps. Whatever the case, I’ve been actually trying out some of the things I pin on Pinterest. Most of the time I pin and think “oh, that’s brilliant. I’ll try that later…” and it never happens.

Anyone else feel me?

That being said I’ll start randomly posting about each pin that I give a go!

So this latte.. I’m completely obsessed! I usually have a hot one in the morning and an iced one in the afternoon. And besides the dried lavender all the other ingredients are super basic! The recipe I use is from the Fox and Briar blog. I like it because they keep it simple and show you how to make it without any fancy equipment. I got my dried lavender at Whole Foods but I know that you can buy it on Amazon as well!

Side note: to make it a “honey + lavender latte” just add 1 tbsp of honey (local honey is best)

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Try it out and share your thoughts below. Any other lavender lovers out there?