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New Year…New Planner

One of my favorite parts of starting a new year is reorganizing and setting a plan.

I started a little late this year and I’m kicking myself a little bit because I feel slightly behind because I haven’t quite found a system that works for me. I did find a planner that I absolutely love; I bought the ‘create365 The Happy Planner’ from my local Hobby Lobby.image1-1

I like it because it is completely customizable. I’ve had a planner every year for as long as I remember but what usually happens is I end up not really utilizing it because I lose interest mainly due to it not really fitting my needs. Or I end up with 2-3 planners/journals and then get overwhelmed by it all.

After purchasing this planner I went on youtube, instagram, and google searched The Happy Planner and came across hundreds, maybe even thousands of ways people organize and decorate this planner. While majority are beautifully decorated I just can’t find myself to sit down each week and do that. Kind of seems like a waste of time to me personally. Most of the layouts and organization people use follows along with how it is originally set up, particularly the fitness extension kit (I’ll elaborate more on this down below). I still haven’t figured out completely how I want to organize this planner but I’m narrowing down with a little trial and error. I know I  want to track three main things:

1) Important events/appointments for the family

My husband has a busy schedule so knowing his weekly/monthly calendar is essential. Also with a baby making an arrival sometime early April I know I will have dr appointments and milestones/developmental events that I will want to keep track of.

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Here is the monthly view-I have always used this as a month at a glance and to help organize each week

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Here is the weekly view. It is broken down into three categories Morning/Afternoon/Evening. Since I don’t work at the present time or really plan this way I plan to use the top box for that day’s appointments for the family, the middle box will be for my To Do list that I need to get done and the bottom box as of right now is more for notes/goals I’d like to complete or accomplish for the day

2) Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping Lists

One thing I have started that I really have found helpful is planning ahead dinners and having 2-3 options available for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Not only does this save time but also less stressful. I would also argue it saves money because I go grocery shopping about once a week or so and just get what I need. I have been using this planner to help create lists and plan the upcoming weeks dinners. I like that I can add a pocket folder to this planner to hold the coupons/gift cards/etc. I plan to use for that particular shopping trip.

3) Health and Fitness Tracking

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This is the extension pack I purchased to snap into the planner so that I can use one planner for everything. It comes in 4 month packs and includes all the labels and stickers needed to set up the months (This is for February that I haven’t set up yet).

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Here is the weekly view of the fitness pages. This is the page I struggle with finding a way to utilize in a way that makes sense to me.

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I really like at the end of each month there is a reflection page that allows you to review the past month and help plan for the next. I will not add pictures to this planner like the top suggest because I don’t want the planner to get so bulky but I will use this for measurements and additional information like my workout split, etc.

This is probably the part that is taking the longest to organize because this fitness extension kit that this planner offers allows for tracking daily food intake/exercise/and water intake. While I know many like to use the food tracker I just can’t seem to do that or find a benefit for it. I have used myfitnesspal for maybe a year or so and I find that this works best for me. Tracking on the app and the planner just seems excessive and I know I won’t keep it up long term.

I don’t know what to use the space dedicated to food intake in the planner for just yet. I have considered tracking my macros so I can see in a weekly snapshot what I’m consuming and what I’m doing well/poor with. I’ve thought about using it for more of a journal/reflection area to write how I feel on a daily basis.

I know I want to jot down my weekly goals regarding my physical, emotional, and mental health. I feel what would work best is using this fitness pages more of a reflection and give me a chance to see how each week went at the end of the week and try to improve in the weeks ahead. Finding a way to organize that is just going to take some practice with things. Unfortunately, with most things I don’t really have much patience. I just want to find a method that works and then settle into a system that I can maintain and utilize effectively.

As I figure out how I want to organize this planner I’m excited to get things going and feel organized because that is when I feel I am most productive. While some of the sections I won’t utilize as much now (as I’m not trying to lose weight because I’m pregnant I know later on this year I will definitely utilize!

To everyone else out there who likes to plan…. Happy Planning!

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Where did I go?…. excuses & announcements!

Holy smokes! What a year it has been since my last post. It’s hard to believe it’s basically been that long.

So much has happened and changed since I last wrote anything I don’t know if I can update on everything or just start over and go from there.

I’ll try to give the cliff notes version of what has happened and updates on past year.Basically why I mainly disappeared is that both of our laptops took a crap about a week apart from each other. I tried using our iPad and iPhone but typing like that was just unbelievably difficult for me to do (I know the whole world uses them but I’m still an old-fashioned Windows kind of girl), I prefer typing on a keyboard. The other reason for not keeping up with things is because well my daughter keeps me busy and I got lazy (the MAIN reason). 1 nap a day is sometimes not enough time for me to take mommy time.

Who would have guess fixing 1 of our laptops was as easy as exchanging the batteries since one of them was junk. I, embarrassingly, thought about exchanging the batteries today for the first time…why are the simplest tasks somehow take the longest to complete or think of.

Anyways, here I am. I hope to do a better job finishing up 2016 into 2017 with writing more. I enjoy it. Even though I don’t think I have that much talent when writing or organizing my thoughts. I find my mind just bouncing around thoughts and ideas; my posts may be hard to follow or not flow from one to another.

Family Update #1: My Daughter

My last post I mentioned my daughter was around 12 months old and entering the ‘terrible two’ stage. Well,now she is almost 2 1/2 and even more sassy; except now she can use her words more which I’m not sure is better or worse than just fussing. I still try to pick my battles but I feel like she picks a battle with me about EVERYTHING! Mothers should be able to get an injection of patience because I need TONS more than what I have currently. She’s outspoken, full of energy, thinks she is so independent regarding everything…. and she’s absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I do her.

I wish I would have kept up with writing over the past year because she has grown so much and as I’m writing this I find myself disappointed that I let that time slip by without jotting down my thoughts and memories. Her 2nd birthday was such a great day; she LOVED her Minnie party. We took so many trips to our local zoo where she was able to do more and more with each visit. All the family visits we had… I wish I would have written about those to look back on later. Maybe I can write future posts allowing myself to reminisce about those events.

Family Update #2: We’re growing!

As much as I hope to do a better job with writing in 2017 I’m not sure I’ll be so great at it as we found out in late July that we are expecting our 2nd baby! We are beyond thrilled (and slightly terrified) about the news!

I think my husband and I figured it would take years to add to our family as it took 3+ years to have our daughter, but I guess once your body knows how to do it it’s a little more prepared! ha. We are due early April.

This pregnancy I think will FLY by as I’m already into my second trimester and sometimes I even have to remind myself I’m pregnant because this pregnancy is sooo different from my last. Morning sickness (which consisted of just nausea) only lasted a couple of weeks. Fatigue is a real thing but I think that is probably more from having a very active toddler and no coffee (I miss my coffee in the mornings and I look forward to a venti iced americano as soon as I can get one).

The only drawback so far is that I’ve been battling a cold (stuffy nose, clogged ears, frustrating cough) for almost 2 months now with little relief. I don’t know what it feels like to breath out of my nose it’s been so long. If anyone who may be reading this I’m open to anything that may help with it… I’m so over it!

I’m sure many of my upcoming posts will be about our upcoming arrival and how we are planning for him/her.

Health & Fitness Update:

I am still trying to make it to the gym as much as possible. I was going 5-6 days a week prior to getting pregnant but have backed down to 3-4 days a week. Being sick hasn’t helped and the morning sickness stopped me for a while. My focus this pregnancy is to go regularly as I just stopped going during my last pregnancy. My daughter actually goes to the kids room and enjoys it most days so that helps a lot with staying on a regular schedule.

With being pregnant I’m not trying to lose weight, max out new 1RM; but I’m focusing on maintaining the lifestyle and stay healthy throughout pregnancy so that hopefully after the baby is born it won’t be a hard transition back into like it was last time.

My workouts these days last about 45 minutes and I typically burn 250-400 calories per session. In comparison, before pregnancy my workouts took about an hour or so and was burning minimum of 500 calories per session.

Once I can get back to the more intense workouts I will work back to my old 1RM with my bench (150#), squat(235#), and deadlift(225#). Looking forward to getting back.

I think all of the above updates on all the major aspects of what has been going on. I hope to dedicate at least 1 day a week to take the time to write and get back on track with things that I’ve been wanting to do/write.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I’m always looking at ways to introduce my daughter to new foods but I want to do them in a healthy way. I’m also hoping that my husband also enjoys them too. This new recipe I made is definitely a keeper!

I made Chocolate pudding but with avocados. I used only 4 ingredients: Avocados (2-3); Agave syrup (could use honey 1/3 cup); Vanilla extract (approx. 1 tbsp); unsweetened cocoa powder (approx. 6 tbsp). **measurements may be off as I made it by hand mostly after looking online at many different versions.***

I’ve found the longer it chills the better it is! I topped it with whipped cream and it was superb! ** if you don’t use whipped cream you may need to make sure you either use a little more honey/agave… to make it sweeter.

Anyways, if you’ve never tried it you should! Enjoy!image1 image2

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Nothing Fancy Here, just Realness

I love finding ways to save money. Not necessarily for any other reason than it feels good to get a bargain. When I decided to make my daughters food and researched about it all I saw were baby bullets, baby processors, steamers…. etc. All of these devices and storage containers for baby. I found myself thinking “what am I going to do with all this ‘baby’ stuff after I don’t have a baby?” So I decided to do it my own way; and I found other blogs, videos, articles of people who did the same thing. I mean I’m doing this to get a bargain not spend money on something I’ll use for a small amount of time.

What I did was designated a cutting board just for baby food, got a good sharp knife, freezer bags, ice cube trays (this was actually harder to find), Sharpie, steam basket, food processor. I had everything I needed except ice cube trays and a good processor. When I went to the store looking for ice cube trays I found ‘fancy’ ones for $9.99. I WAS NOT going to spending that much on ice cube trays; luckily the dollar store had 2 for a $1. Score! I tend to make big batches so I have about 20 trays. Do you have points on a credit card that you never use? Well, I did and so I used my points for a kitchenaid 3.5 cup food chopper…. YAY for FREE stuff!!!! I’ve also used my nutribullet for some but the food chopper works AMAZING!!!

YAY for free stuff! This works AMAZING! I haven't had an issue at all with this. I will however probably buy a bigger one as I start making bigger batches; but I'll use it for my own food as well.

YAY for free stuff! This works AMAZING! I haven’t had an issue at all with this. I will however probably buy a bigger one as I start making bigger batches; but I’ll use it for my own food as well.

Everything has worked out perfectly! I just have to be careful because I could just cook, cook, cook but I would have no where to keep it!! I just need a bigger freezer!!!

I almost need a separate freezer for baby food. But this has green beans, oatmeal, apples, peaches, sweet potatoes, kale, peas, and carrots! :)

I almost need a separate freezer for baby food. But this has green beans, oatmeal, apples, peaches, sweet potatoes, kale, peas, and carrots! 🙂

Ever do something and you just feel good about it! That warm feeling inside! Making her baby food does that to me!

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My daughter may turn orange

My daughter has loved all the foods I have made her so far but she really loves carrots and sweat potatoes. Let’s see if she turns orange! 🙂 I made carrots on Monday while my daughter had her bottle!

Just hanging out watching mommy make carrots!!

Just hanging out watching mommy make carrots!!

Here is how I make her carrot puree in a very simplistic way (which I don’t know if it can get simpler honestly)! In the time it will take me to put this post together I would have been almost done with making this puree! 🙂

I clean, peel,  and cut off ends! Step 1 complete

I clean, peel, and cut off ends! Step 1 complete

Once fork tender, blend/puree to the consistency you want for your baby. My daughter is starting to have her few a little chunkier so I didn't add water but you may need to if you need your baby's food smoother

Once fork tender, blend/puree to the consistency you want for your baby. My daughter is starting to have her few a little chunkier so I didn’t add water but you may need to if you need your baby’s food smoother! Step 2 complete

I cut into fairly small yet even pieces (this makes it simpler to puree and cook faster)

I cut into fairly small yet even pieces (this makes it simpler to puree and cook faster) Step 3 Complete

scoop into ice cue trays. I used to do this very neatly but now I just scoop with spoon and dump! :) Step 4 complete

scoop into ice cube trays. I used to do this very neatly but now I just scoop with spoon and dump! 🙂 Step 4 complete

wrap with foil, freeze overnight, transfer to freezer bag (date and label) step 5 complete

wrap with foil, freeze overnight, transfer to freezer bag (date and label) step 5 complete

A 2 lb bag of carrots made about 24-26tbsp. Did I mention that the carrots cost $1.96!!!! WHAAAAAT!! That’s a deal!!!

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Homemade Baby Food!

Making my daughter’s baby food has been one of the highlights of motherhood thus far.

I didn’t plan on making her food, never even thought about it; but when breastfeeding didn’t pan out like I had hoped I wanted to give her the best when it came to solid foods. I’ve always enjoyed baking and cooking so it all started and came about very organically.

I started to do a lot of research when our pediatrician explained at her 3 month wellness check there was not a lot of nutritional value in rice cereal bought from the store. She said that it was more about getting her ready for solid foods and eating from a spoon. She also explained it wasn’t necessary to start her out on cereal just because she was 4 months. My husband and I decided to wait for a little while longer because she was doing just fine on formula and sleeping throughout the night. Waiting until she was 5 months gave me time to do some research about what I could prepare for her.

We started with oatmeal and moved on from there. I took pictures of what I’ve made her and a quick run down of how I made it. I did this so I could make everything again…maybe use for future babies.HA, not quite yet. That will take some convincing my husband. I’m ready for more but he’s not yet. One day at a time! Back to baby food, I added a page on my site where I post what I’ve made her; feel free to check it out!

I’ve recently had some people ask about making homemade baby food so I thought I’d show just how simple it really is. When I first started I was afraid it would consist of so many steps and just be difficult. I worried how would I do this by myself with a baby that is constantly wanting my attention. I manage and after a few times it’s easier than you think. I think even if you don’t love to cook you could still enjoy making your own baby food; knowing you are giving your baby the absolute best. As a bonus we have saved so much money by making our own food; who doesn’t love to save money. Thus far I have made oatmeal, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, banana, avocado, spinach, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, and kale. Basically, all there is to it is just washing produce, peeling (except apples I leave peel on), cutting in smaller pieces, steam, puree, freeze, store, and serve. The hardest part is really time. When my daughter is feeling extra clingy then it can get challenging but other than that it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes-1 hour. I’ve done everything without buying a baby food recipe book or anything. I looked up a few things but mainly I just use my knowledge from cooking previously.

I wanted to show a quick step by step of how I make green beans. I always get our green beans from a farmers market here in town and usually I wait until they are .99/lb. I recently got 5 lbs of green beans and made them all today while my daughter jumped in her jumper to nursery rhymes playing in the background. (this girl loves her music).

This is how they come.  This is about 5 lbs of green beans.

This is how they come.
This is about 5 lbs of green beans.

The second step is cutting off the ends. **this takes the longest so I did this while she was napping (while I was drinking my coffee)

The second step is cutting off the ends. **this takes the longest so I did this while she was napping (while I was drinking my coffee)

once the ends have been cut just stem until they are tender.... technical term fork tender.

once the ends have been cut just stem until they are tender…. technical term fork tender.

place in a food processor, blender, whatever you use. I puree for about 20-30 sections. I no longer add extra water because my daughter is eating things a little bit thicker these days but puree until you get where you want.

place in a food processor, blender, whatever you use. I puree for about 20-30 sections. I no longer add extra water because my daughter is eating things a little bit thicker these days but puree until you get where you want.

What the green beans look like after pureed.

What the green beans look like after pureed.

place in ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. transfer to freezer bag with date and label.

place in ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. transfer to freezer bag with date and label.

This was one bag of green beans. I ended up getting 6 full ice cube trays(96tbsp)+ 4 oz that I put in the refrigerator. So for $5 I have 100tbsp or 50oz of green beans. That will last us 2 1/2-3 months. 🙂

From start to end took 1 hour. That included getting baby out of her crib, changing diaper, playing with her, & getting a bottle for her in between some of the steps. 🙂 Probably 20 minutes was just clipping the ends off the green beans.

How I prepare her food for the day ahead is after I put her to bed I take out of the freezer what I want to feed her tomorrow. Breakfast: cereal+fruit Lunch: vegetable/fruit Dinner: vegetable+fruit 

I place the cubes in containers and let them thaw overnight. When I’m ready to feed her I pop them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and done!!!

We are starting to get to the point where she’s had the basics to put together some combination foods which I don’t know if it’s more fun for her or for me. Happy baby=Happy Mommy!!