Sunday, October 28, 2012

Whirlwind Changes

Sometimes it is crazy how fast things in life can change! Our gut reaction is usually to grind our heels in and try to slow it all down so we can comprehend what is going on. But is that always the best method? Or is it wise to just go with the flow and see where everything takes you?

To be honest there really isn't a right or wrong answer to this, but I can tell you one feels better in the long run and one is more painful along the way! Sometimes trying to slow down everything that is going to go on no matter what is only going to hurt your heels and wear out a great pair of shoes!

After all the changes that I have gone through in the last year or so, I am starting to really believe it all happens for a reason and sometimes its easier and less painful to just go with it and give it a try! I know there are a lot of people that don't believe in fate, or a destined path for us, but I am starting to think there is a reason that these things happen when they do!

Here is my current example, all in one month this is what has happened to myself and my family:
    *Nick got a promotion and started at a new store in our area so no move was needed
    *One of my daughters got tested for Celiacs, tested negative, then went to a GE Dr who said that infact she did have Celiacs.
    *During that appointment I find out that I display all classic symptoms of also having Celiacs, tests in process on that one.
    *While looking for great Gluten Free options for meals since we are hitting this as a united front, I learn of a new product my mom and sister in law found at a womens expo in my home town. Turns out that this is a direct sales company that is looking for an Area Developer in my area. No other reps in the area at all so the whole region would be mine.
    *Find out that the it might be time to get rid of one of our vehicles, which means an additional car payment that we had just cut out of our budget in May.

Now, I have to digress when I talk about my husbands promotion...this is great for the family since we did not have to move for it. BUT we still have to levels to go until he is done with his promotion track. This means, chances are the next move we have will not be anywhere close to where we are now. So here is where the option comes in....drag my heels and figure out what is all going on and which route should we go, or just go with it and realize that maybe things happened this way for a reason.

First, since finding out one of my girls has Celiacs, there is no draging my feet on this one. The diet is gluten free all the way and I jumped head first into this change! No problem there, mainly because my oldest brother was diagnosed with Celiacs at age 2 so I am pretty comfortable with this diet and process. Plus this is my childs health involved, there is no question that I would just go with the flow on it.

Second, finding out that I potentially have Celiacs also, again this one is a no brainer...if my daughter has to have a gluten free diet, we are going at it as a united front. The house has gone gluten free!

Third, the potential new business opportunity for me. Now this is the tough one! The company I am looking at is incredibly amazing. I have been so impressed with everything I have seen so far and think that it is too good of an opportunity to pass up on. Here is why, first its a ground level opportunity so I would have huge potential and no one above me to benefit from my growth(in direct sales that is an amazing opportunity!), second the company invests in you to get started so I have a hand up with getting it all going, third the company offers gluten free products and is looking at trying to expand their gluten free product line.

Ok does this sound amazing or what!?! So you are probably wondering why I have any issues with this at all. Well if we go back to my digression on my husbands promotion, we could move at any time and I would have to up root everything that I would be building here. See  my I start something that could be amazing just to have to move away from it? This is why when we moved up here, we decided I would just be a stay at home mom so I wouldn't have to up and leave something when the time came. The worst part is when my husbands company decides its time to move...its immediate! Such as in November of 2011 we did our first move...he interviewed 11/15 and started working almost 300 miles away from home on 11/28! Yes that gave us 13 days to process it all! Plus then I had to pack up our home and prep it for sale all by myself with 3 yro twins! Fast forward to this October...he interviewed on 10/2 and started 10/15! Again a 13 day turn around with the promotion process! Lucky for us the new store was just south of us so no move needed. Next time though we could be looking at anywhere in an 8 state area! Do I want to start and then leave a business I have built up from the bottom?

Grrrr....can you hear and feel my feet digging into the ground!?! So what does a person do? Well like I said earlier...I have started to realize that maybe just maybe there are reasons for it all! So tomorrow I set up an appointment to speak with the owner of the company to get things rolling with the company! The crazy thing...once I accepted this in my head I was able to get a full night sleep, and physically could feel my shoulders lighten!

So whats the whole point behind this post? Really I am not sure if there is a specific point, other then sometimes whether we dig our heels in or roll with it, things are going to change regardless. So sometimes its just easier to take the easy route and go where the wind takes you! It could be the best thing that happened to you...and if it isnt, change isnt that far away!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just take a chance and try it!

I have been so busy lately that I have been horrible at posting, but I am back and I have a list of things to post about! Such as today's post! With a blog about changing your path in life and how to survive it, I figured I needed to live the lessons of my blog.

We tend to get ourselves in ruts that are just easier to live with then break, but these ruts can be damaging to us whether its emotionally, physically, or even budget wise. So sometimes we just need to take that chance and try something different even if it doesn't feel normal! Today I took that chance and was shocked at how well it turned out for me! In the past last 3-4 months I have been so consumed with my brothers wedding(which was amazing!), getting things ready for preschool, and helping with the rush of Cornhole Boards that I just was going through my monthly and weekly grocery motions and not finding more savings. Well with the amazing news about my husbands new promotion we got last week, I was forced to rethink the budget due to the increase of drive time and gas he will have.

To cover this new increase in our budget, I wanted to see if I could shave $10 off my weekly grocery budget to cushion the gas budget. So I set a goal to get the full weeks worth of groceries for less then $40! I was determined to do it and figured if I really wanted to amp it up, I needed to take a chance! I had the afternoon free since the girls were in preschool so I figured I would go a little out of my way and try a new grocery store. I am an avid couponer and budgeter so I am pretty familiar with prices of the items we like to get, plus I was equipped with the Sunday ads from other stores so I knew what price ranges I wanted to beat. With all this on my side I figured it was safe to jump head first and try a new store. I am so glad I did! Not only did I get everything on my list, but I also got 4 pears, 3lbs of apples, 2 avocados, 2lbs of red grapes, and an 8pk of Fruit & Veggie juice total....$31.86! YES!! Not only did I come in $8.14 under my new budget, but I also got extra produce that I hadn't planned on! BONUS!!

So I know this isn't a scary jump or a big change, but it was a change that I was anxious to make. Now I am kicking myself for not trying this earlier! Sometimes we need to take those little steps to help make the bigger ones a little easier!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

School Supplies or more?!?

I have to be completely honest...School Supply season is my favorite! I can't make it out of Target without getting a couple new supplies! I feel that school supplies are a staple for everyone, and not just those that have kids in school. Plus when you can get them so cheap, why not stock up. So you are probably wondering why I need to stock up on them if I don't have kids in stay organized!

Everyone always tries to get organized in January and set themselves up for the year, but I think this is a great time to restart, recharge, and get organized. During these awesome sales you can stock up on binders, notebooks, notecards, markers, highlighters, dry erase boards, planners, everything! Plus we are entering the most expensive part of the year...winter! You need to start thinking about how you are going to organize time, money, and life in general. School will be starting which means kids getting involved in more activities, then holiday seasons, gift giving, colder weather, higher bills...its all coming. So why not start planning it all now?

Here are a few items that I always like to stock up on and why:

PLANNER: I think that everyone should have a planner! Period! It is important to have one central place that you can put all of your events, appointments, and activities. One central guide book that will keep you on track and not in a constant late cycle.

HIGHLIGHTERS: I think these are important for keeping your priorities straight. I like to highlight my dates in my planner so I know when Nick works evenings vs mornings. To keep straight what are important appointments and what are just events available to attend if we have time.

BINDER: I like to keep things put together by keeping binders. They can be used for your monthly meal planning, organizing your recipes, keeping finances in track, or just to keep clutter together. I have my important binders for meals, coupons, and recipes...but I also have binders for fitness, home decor, crafts, and so on. I simply take pictures out of magazines that interest me and then three hole punch them into a binder. This way I can keep them in one spot, and get rid of a bulky magazine that I have already read through. With this I will also stock up on the clear plastic sleeves for additional organization.

NOTEBOOKS: I like to have notebooks around for easy notes, lists, and also for the kids to have access to. It is so much easier to make a list of whats for dinner that week and include the shopping list with a spiral bound notebook.

CRAYONS: Now these are not a necessity, but I usually can get a box of 24 for less then $0.50, so I like to have extra on hand. First because crayons are less messy then markers for kids, they are easy to pack for a car ride, and frankly kids love them. PLUS I like to use them for little gifts at valentines and Halloween too. We take broken crayons or ones that have been well used and put them in a special container. Then when a holiday comes up I can simply toss them in a themed silicon mold pan and melt them down. I use a glue dot and adhere it to a valentines or Halloween card. This is a hoot for the kids to make, plus then I can give a fun little gift that does not involve candy!

NOTECARDS: I am a notecard junky! I love to have them on hand for writing down recipes, they are great for little kids to write on and fit in any small container. They are also great for organizing lists. During the holiday time I like to add a name to the top of a card, then add the suggestions for gifts to the card. This way I have several ideas for each person I need to give gifts to. They are also great for flash cards for kids! Super cheap and very good at multitasking!

So although its "School Supply" season, I hope you look at the multitude of other uses and consider this "Organization Season"!

Friday, June 29, 2012

But I eat "Fat Free"

We have all walked the aisles at the grocery store and seen the big labels screaming "FAT FREE" or "LOW FAT" next to our favorite products. Instantly we think to ourselves..."Great, I can have what I like without the guilt". Or is that really what you are getting?

The reason that many of your favorite foods can claim to be Fat-Free, is because in order to cut out the fat, they have added various chemicals, additives, and preservatives. So although your body may not be taking in the additional fat that you are worried about, it is taking in chemicals that are not easily digested like real foods are.

Also along with adding these additional chemicals, many times the products also have increased amounts of sugars added to the product to achieve the same enjoyable taste without the fat. The downside to this, is the body then needs to work harder to burn off the additional sugars it is taking in. So really the fat you are saving isn't as beneficial as it really seems.

Plus on top of the various chemicals you are putting into your body, studies have shown that our brain processes the consumption of these "Fat-Free" products differently and in turn allows us to easily over eat when we are eating what we feel is a 'healthier' option. We feel that because it is fat-free that we can splurge a little bit more, so we usually still consume the same amount of calories if we would have eaten the more natural, whole fat product in the first place. The worst part of even when we do eat these products we feel that we haven't truly satisfied our cravings and feel guilty or eat additional servings to reach that satisfaction we wanted.

Something we also need to remember, our bodies need fat! I know that is not what people want to hear when they are trying to lose weight, but it is the truth! We need to have enough calories and fat to maintain our bodies needs in order to lose weight. If our body does not get what it needs to will shut down! The down side to this? No matter how hard you are working out, you will not be losing the weight you should be. Nor will you be building the muscle you need to keep your metabolism up and motivated all day long.

So what should you do? You should opt for the more whole product with the fat, and eat it according to the serving size. This way you can get the satisfaction you wanted, plus taken in a whole product that your body can easily digest and burn. If you are going to splurge, then do it right! Make it worth the calories, and set your body up to easily work it off!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cha-Cha-Cha CHIA!

Since I was a child of the early 80's, I grew up with all the fad products that were heavily advertised on all the major TV channels...especially on Saturday morning during my favorite cartoons. We always saw various commercials for the Chia Pet, which came in numerous styles, shapes, and designs! Everyone thought they were so real function other then adding another plant to your house. Little did we know at the time that these seeds were more then just a crazy looking plant for your desk.

These amazing seeds are mild in flavor, just a slight nutty flavor, that are packed with fiber and calcium. This awesome seed can also absorb up to 12 times its own weight in liquid so it is great for helping you curb your appetite and allowing you to feel full without those crappy weight loss pills.

Here are my favorite ways to use these seeds:

1. Add to my smoothies/protein shakes: I add 1 tablespoon to my smoothie and blend it up right in the smoothie. This helps me stay full all morning long without getting cravings!

2. Add to my salads: I like to sprinkle a tablespoon of seeds on top of my salads as an added crunch. Its essentially like adding sesame seeds, but much better for you!

3. Chia Pudding: In a covered container I add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of liquid such as almond milk or Greek yogurt. To add more flavors I will toss in some cut up peaches, raisins, or dried cranberries. Then simply place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight, and then devour! It reminds me of tapioca but much better!

4. Added to Protein Bars: I love making my own granola and protein bars so I know exactly what is going in them, and this allows me to add extra crunch and fiber! This way not only am I getting a great protein packed bar, but its also going to fill me up so I don't have to battle cravings throughout the day!

To find these amazing seeds, simply head to your grocery store! Most have them in the baking section, packaged by Bobs Red Mill:

Now that you know where to get them and how to use them...start adding them to your daily diet! It is easy to toss in here and there, and you won't regret it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whats your eating style?

Anywhere you look there is a new fad diet system, program, or product that is supposed to promise a quick fix to your weight loss needs. For me, I am not about the fad diets that usually are only good for a quick temporary weight loss that easily comes back. I think that if you truly want to change your body and health, you need to change your lifestyle. Just changing for a temporary amount of time is only going to give you a temporary fix, so to get a life change you need a lifestyle change.

So how do you change your lifestyle? First its going to take some commitment and a little research. Most of all though, it is going to take a want and need to change. If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to receive what you have always received. So to see a different you, you are going to need to feed it differently. Once you have the determination to change your lifestyle, you need to decide what lifestyle is right for you.

Like I said, there are lots of fad diets out there trying to tempt you...but if you do your research you will find that there are some great styles of eating and living that are not only logical but also easy! I could go on for days with all the different things you can try, but I don't want to waste your time! Instead I am going to share 2 of my favorite lifestyle choices that are similar in style but slightly different based on your idea of including grains and beans in your diet. Here are the two lifestyles that I feel are a great start for a healthier you, along with some links to blogs that I have found helpful:

Clean Eating:
*Eating food in its natural state
*No white foods (flour, sugar, rice, ect.)
*Avoiding all refined or processed foods
*Lean proteins and healthy fats
*Lots of fruits and veggies, pref organic
*No preservatives, fast foods, or ALCOHOL
*No or limited dairy

The title is pretty self explanitory in this lifestyle of eating. You want to put just clean foods in your body. When you are adding processed and refined foods to your body, it makes it harder for your body to break down the foods. Also by cutting out the processed foods, your body is going to get everything you need out the food you are eating so it doesn't need to store the crap that turns into unwanted weight!

Favorite Sites:
He & She Eat Clean at
*Great recipes, motivation, and fitness tips

Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth at
*Although she has all vegetarian recipes, still lots of great stuff

The Gracious Pantry at
*TONS of awesome recipes, tips, and information

*Known as "Primal" Eating
*Lots of grass fed lean meats
*Lots of fruits and veggies, pref organic
*Lots of nuts and healthy fats
*Consuming food in its most natural state
*No Sugars, Beans, Grains or Dairy

The premisis for this style of eating is to eat how our primal ancestors ate. Essentially like a caveman! You are going to eat food that we can easily find in processed foods! The reason for no dairy is because in nature no species consumes dairy in any form after infancy/youth. Since you are eating just nature based foods your body is only taking in what it needs and nothing more, again allowing you to lose weight and detox your system.

Favorite Sites:
*Tips, info, and lots of recipes

Multiply Delicious at
*An awesome mom that does paleo easy, including weekly menus

Everyday Paleo at
*Lots of easy recipes and motivation


Now that I have shared some of my faves about both of these lifestyles, I want to share about how to be successful with a lifestyle change like this.

First, remember you are human! You will slip up, you will be tempted, you will have cravings and challenges. So embrace this and set yourself up for success not failure. You should go through your pantry and fridge and eliminate items that no longer fit your lifestyle and would just temp you. Think of it as a cleanse for your life and a benefit to your local food pantry!

Second, stop torturning yourself! Understand that when you do have a slip up you need to move on and get back on track. Just because you slip up once doesn't mean you have to give up. Accept it and keep moving forward!

Third, understand that nothing has to be 100%. For myself I try to eat 85% Paleo and 15% Clean Eating. Basically I eat mainly off the paleo standards but allow myself some grains on occassions. I still stick with the guidlines Clean Eating establishes for the grains I allow myself though.

Lastly, you have to allow yourself a splurge or two. If you have been invited out by the girls and you are going out for the evening...set your rules up ahead of time and allow yourself a splurge. Make sure to follow your rules and if you are going to indulge do it right. First decide what your splurge is going to be...for me I love dessert so I want to have an indulgent dessert everyonce in a while. So in order to do this, I make sure to set out my rules for the night so I can reward myself without the guilt. So my rules may be no alcohol, salad with lean protein, and 3-4 glasses of water throughout the meal. Then when I get my dessert I will be less likely to finish it all, and if I do I have set myself up for a healthy beginning to my meal so the splurge isn't as damaging! Now here is the most important thing about a splurge...if you are going to do, do it right. Thats right...splurge on the real thing. Studies show that if you splurge on the full fat, naughty items you wanted, you are less likely to over indulge and feel more satisfied. They have found that if you skimp on your splurge you feel like you not only cheated yourself, but feel guiltier because it didn't even hit the spot like you wanted it to!

So now you have some options to look into! Don't by any means think that these are your only options, but look at them as a start for your research into a healthier you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

10 Super Foods

Whether you want to look good for swimsuit season, get into that super cute pair of jeans, or just drop a pant size...we need to remember that 80% of our success is based in the kitchen and not the gym. Yes, I said the kitchen! No matter how hard you bust your butt in the gym...its still gonna jiggle if you are feeding the wrong foods!

So, what should you feed your body to make sure you aren't destroying your hard work in the gym? Thats where your Super Foods come into play. These are foods that easy-to-eat and full of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. By keeping these items in your kitchen you are going to set yourself up for success. I bet you are dying to know what these super foods are aren't you?!? Well here you go:

I got this list from where they give an in depth reasoning for them being a Super Food:

1. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Plain Yogurt. I like Greek yogurt because of the creamier texture and high amounts of protein. Plus I love how versatile it is in the kitchen. I use it in my smoothies/shakes in the morning, with fruit and honey for a snack, or on top of tacos or enchiladas like sour cream.

2. Eggs. I love to always have hard boiled eggs on hand because they are a quick and easy snack that is packed with protein, low in fat and calories, and just plain tasty! You can make easy omelets, scrambled eggs, and quiches that are all quick and good for you.

3. Nuts. Although they are high in fats, they are good fats that our body really needs. A totally fat-free diet is not good for us. They are great as a snack or to add into your main meal as an alternate source of protein. I like to always have almonds on hand at our house so I can grab some quick or add them to a salad for some crunch.

4. Kiwis. They are full of nutrients and antioxidants, plus super tasty! They are great to eat alone, but also work great in your morning smoothies. Because they can go bad quickly I like to slice them and lay them out on a lined baking sheet and freeze them. After they are frozen I place them in a ziplock bag that I keep in the freezer so I can quick grab a few slices and toss them in my smoothies. I also will toss a few in my water bottle to add a little extra flavor.

5. Quinoa. This is a new super food for me. I have recently started eating this and I am loving it. First it is gluten free which is great for those with Celiac or any other gluten related allergies. Second, it is very versitle and can easily be made to be sweet or savory. You can use it as a side dish, add it to a wrap, or make it a center of your entree.

6. Beans.  Beans are usually not on the top of most peoples lists of favorite foods, but trust me they are soo good! You can do so many things with beans! I love them in salads, mexican food, wraps, and even desserts! Yes, I said desserts! I love Black Bean would never guess that they are even in the brownies! Plus added bonus, they are super cheap which is nice on the budget. I recommend getting dried beans so they are easily shelf stable and making them up as you need.

7. Salmon. Now that it is grilling season, this is a great food to have in your diet. You can easily grill it up and make a super delish meal. But remember you can easily make it in the kitchen all year round so don't forget to keep it on your grocery list!

8. Broccoli. Whether its fresh or frozen, broccoli is an amazing food for you. You can eat it raw with a little dipping sauce (use greek yogurt with ranch seasoning to cut out some of the fat and calories and add extra protein), or bake it, broil it, and stir fry it!

9. Sweet Potatoes. These root vegetables are packed with all sorts of amazing nutrients for your body. They are so easy to transform into so many things so you should always have them on hand. Next time at the grocery store grab these instead of standard white potatoes. You can bake them and grill them in wedges for yummy healthy 'fries', or mash into yummy healthy mashed potatoes. I like to also cut them into small chunks and broil them with a little salt and pepper and add them to a salad.

10. Berries. Ok...what is not to love about berries? Low calories, full of antioxidants, and high in
fiber...yes please! And really there is not much you can't do with berries. Just remember nature has already made them sweet, so they dont need a lot of extra sweetners added to them!

Now you have the add them to your grocery list! You can easily add all of these items into your monthly meal planning, and not break the budget so get on it!