Starting Again

Today I did something that I have not done in nearly a year…I went to the gym. The whirring of the treadmills, the smell of the chlorine from the pool, it all pulled me in and made me afraid.

When we found out we would be moving last year, we cancelled our gym membership. Although I tried to keep up with exercising as much as possible, I was not doing as well as I could have. I used our jogging stroller to go on runs around the neighborhood (until Cupcake got too heavy and it hurt my back). I tried to do workout videos here and there. I found it hard to stay consistent without the gym. It was too easy to look around my house and see the chore list staring back at me. There was always something that needed tending to. So, my workouts suffered.

And being a work-at-home-mom, working out became less enjoyable for me. Home was where my family was, but it was also my workplace. And now it was supposed to be my gym. I made a million excuses but the honest truth was I just hated working out at home. I was really unsure about whether we wanted to shell out the money for a gym membership, so I tried to make it work. My fitness suffered. I was cranky. I was getting out of shape. It was not good. Added to that was any decent gym around us was nearly double what we were paying before.

It took some convincing, but I told my sweetie that all I wanted for Valentine’s Day was a gym membership. I wanted a place to go to work out. For this mama, it also had the benefit of childcare! This meant that not only could I get my workout in, I could also shower and get ready after sans Cupcake. I was so excited when he agreed.

But this morning, I was terrified. I did not want to go. I was going to be so out of shape compared to where I was. It was a new place so I had no idea where anything was located. It was also snowing when we woke up and we live in a place not accustomed to much snow. I teach my students online, but the physical campus (located just 10 minutes away) was cancelled for the whole day due to the weather! We only have a car seat in one car, which is the better car for the snow, so my husband would have to take it to work. YAY! I would be able to excuse myself from attending the gym.

Thankfully, my husband gently reminded me how much I wanted this. So at an ungodly hour, the three of us packed into the car so I could bring him to work in the “good” car, then I drove through rush hour traffic (why do they call it that? It should be slow hour traffic). We arrived at the gym just in time for the childcare to be opening. I slowly got changed into my workout clothes, dropped Cupcake off with the providers, and was faced with actually having to workout.

The stats of the workout were not impressive, but they were better than anything I would have gotten sitting back on my couch. I pressed start and that seems like a huge accomplishment in itself. And while I had to work far harder than I used to in the past, I did it.

Have you ever been scared to start something up again that you haven’t done in awhile? Tell me about your “press start” moment in the comments below!

Love,

Lindsay

The Magic of a Blink

It’s amazing how quickly time passes once you become a parent. You find out you are pregnant, blink, and then there is that little miracle looking back at you.

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Before you know it, you foolishly decide to blink again and your newborn is becoming an interactive little one. Our Cupcake was so fascinated in the world around her and loved exploring. Every day was an adventure. You are happily going along when the urge to blink hits once more. Suddenly your infant has transformed once again.

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Now you have a baby. She can play. She can coo. She certainly can tell you in her own little way what she likes and doesn’t like. A personality emerges. Time passes as it always does and you let those eyelids touch for but a moment and instantly a toddler is born.

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These days are punctuated by a flurry of energy. Movement is the name of the game. What is this and how does it work motivates their world. Life is so fun as you crawl, walk, climb. But just as you settle into your new life of action, that blink is waiting.

IMG_7008Now you have a kid. Not a big kid, in global terms, but a bigger kid than you’ve ever known. She not only walks and talks, but she has opinions. Strong ones. And she knows how to express them! Not every adventure is a new one, but it is always an adventure. Don’t blink just yet, mama.

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January Resolution Progress

I have long believed that reflection is a great way to keep yourself on track. Each month I post progress on my New Years Resolutions. Overall, this month was not too bad!

1.Contact a different friend or family member each day. Almost perfect! I missed one day, but doubled up the next day to make up for lost time. I love this goal because it really helps me stay accountable for contacting the people I love rather than waiting for them to contact me.

2. Increase my daily steps using my FitBit- January: collect data. Over the month of January, my average monthly steps was around 4,500 . My goal for February is reach 5,000 steps five days a week.

3. Host one get-together a month at our home. Check!

4. Get my teaching certification in Maryland. Not yet! This is a must for February!

5. Start ABC Jesus Loves Me Homeschool Preschool with Cupcake. January has been spent planning furiously. We start the first week in February!

6. Return to the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule. I started using the baby steps again this month (which she recommends to do before getting into the cleaning schedule). Since I had done it in the past, I was able to get through the baby steps quickly as I had retained some of them from last time. Halfway through the month, I returned to her schedule and it has helped so much. It keeps me on track so I do not waste time trying to think of where to start!

7. Meal Plan each week. Check! We even started a Whole30 near the end of the month (currently on day 14!) and the meal planning has helped so much! Our food budget has been kept in check and we’ve been eating so much healthier.

8. Nurse Cupcake to 2 years old. Check!

9. Increase membership in my local women’s auxiliary by 25%. Since the year has started, we have grown by 6%! Wahoo!

10. Short-term goal of the month- Make a major career decision between two fields. This goal was perfect for this month. A few days into the year, my boss approached me about an opportunity that really helped clarify what I want to do. I want to stay in my current field of education and continue to grow and develop in that way. I will continue to do work in the secondary field as it comes up, but I am excited for the growth path I am currently on. My short-term goal for February is to create a gallery wall in my living room!

11. Post progress each month. Check!

-Lindsay

Adventures in Nightweaning 

My dear sweet Cupcake has always been an avid nurser. She suffered from reflux and I think this just served to increase her frequency. All throughout the first year of her life, I would rise several times throughout the night to breastfeed my little girl. It was our special quiet time together. 

Sure, I was tired. There were days that I’d get frustrated, but overall it was a great experience. In the dark she’d need me, her mama, and nothing else could soothe her. As she got older she developed the habit of gently rubbing my arm or twirling my hair as she drifted back to sleep. 

Before Cupcake was born, I had no expectations for breastfeeding. I thought I’d try it and take it day by day. Weeks passed into months and then a year quickly arrived. Cupcake was still nursing 3-4x a night. I was exhausted. 

I was too tired to enjoy the nighttime feeds, but also too tired to cope well during the day. I was suffering. This was when we decided it was time to nightwean Cupcake. I researched various methods and decided that Ferber seemed like the best fit for us. 

I channeled my former elementary teacher self and drew a big poster. I included the “rules” and room for us to record what happened. The first few nights were horrible. Cupcake didn’t sleep. We didn’t sleep. She was a mess during the day and was extremely clingy. Her naps got all screwed up. I pushed on. This had worked for so many people and I knew that if I just pushed through, we’d get through this sleep-deprived tunnel. 

After a week, Cupcake still showed no improvement. Things just were getting worse. I had followed the plan perfectly and it had not worked. She was not ready. I returned to nursing her on-demand at night and my happy little girl returned. 

A few months later I was done. We had just moved several states away from all of our family and friends. My husband had started a very demanding job and I felt alone. I was tired and stressed out and again found myself pouring over parenting websites looking for help. 

I learned that it was normal for babies to still wake through the night at this age. I searched some attachment parenting sites, found support, and resumed nursing her through the night with lifted spirits. I was tired, but not alone. 

As Cupcake grew, we had a few nights where she’s sleep for four hours straight, but those were rare. I was starting to really not enjoy nursing Cupcake all night long. So, I again turned to the Internet and found reference to Dr. Jay Gordon and his method for sleep training.

This is the general idea: The parents select a seven-hour window where they will not nurse. He suggests 11p-6a. On nights 1-4, mom will nurse the child anytime before 11p. If the child wakes up between 11-6, mom will nurse, but will put the baby down awake in his/her crib. Mom will hug/cuddle/sing and comfort baby. The baby cannot get more milk unless they fall asleep. If they fall asleep and rise again, mom repeats the process. After 6am, mom resumes breastfeeding as normal. On nights 5-8, mom will NOT nurse baby between 11p and 6a. She should still comfort baby, but not offer milk until 6am. After night 8, mom will continue to NOT breastfed between 11 and 6. Additionally, she will not pick up baby if (s)he wakes up during those times. Mom can still rub baby’s back and continue to talk or soothe baby. Overtime, baby should stop requesting milk and will hopefully stop waking up during that time. 

Here’s what happened in our house:

Night 1- Cupcake woke up at 10pm. I nursed her as normal and she went back to sleep. She woke up at 1:30a. I briefly nursed her and put her down awake. She called out for more milk, but I told her that “milkies” were sleeping. She cried and asked me to hold her hand. It took her about an hour to fall back asleep. She woke at 6:08 and I nursed her as normal. We survived night 1! 

Night 2: Her first night waking wasn’t until 1am. I was scared of this scenario, since now she was going to be going from 7p-6a without milk. But it was only day 2, so I decided to push on. Again, some (a lot of) hand holding did a lot of good and she slept until 6:30am! Wahoo! 

Night 3: She was really hard to put down for bed tonight. She kept screaming for more milk and wouldn’t settle. I prepared myself for a long night. It was also my husband’s first night back home after a week of night shift. Cupcake woke at 10 and I nursed her. She woke at 2:30 and would not go back to sleep. After trying to console her for over 45 minutes, I walked out of her room. I put on my headphones and listed to a nighttime meditation to block her out. She must have fallen back asleep because I didn’t hear anything from her again until 5:15. In my half-wake state, I picked her up and started nursing her. Whoops! She was then up for the day! Yuck! 

Night 4: huh?! She nursed at 10:30 and then slept until 7! This was great! I was a bit bewildered  by the extra sleep! I was happy, but also a little sad because this was the last night we’d be night nursing and she slept  through it! 

Night 5: I was so scared of this night. No night nursing. How were we going to manage that? I decided I’d offer her a sippy cup of water so I didn’t have to worry she was thirsty. She woke up 10:59 and I dashed to her room to fit in one more session. I kissed her little baby face a million times and may have gotten a bit emotional. I knew this was the right choice. I was happier and more well-rested. I needed this, but it was also sad to see that part of her babyhood end since I knew it was me that was pushing for it. She woke at 12:30. I went in with her water and she cried for milk, but after a few minutes settled for cuddles and water. She woke at 5:47 and I rationalized that she couldn’t tell time so I went to go nurse her. I was greeted by a happy little girl saying, “Hi mama!” Success! 

Nights 6-8: I adjusted her times from 11-5a, since she wakes almost every day in the 5 o’clock hour. With a quick nursing, she goes back to sleep for another hour or two! 

Tonight I supposed to be night 9, where I stop picking her up. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, so I’m going to continue what we’re doing because it works for us! 

She has been so much happier these days. I think she is benefitting from the extra sleep. I think having a well-rested mommy is also helping! While this method certainly won’t work for everyone- it worked for us! 

  

September Reflections

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

This month I have not blogged pretty much at all! Life has been a whirlwind. The universe gifted me with two incredible job opportunities that have left me with not a whole lot of extra time. I also went back home for a few days to visit my parents and in-laws and effectively went off the grid for awhile. It felt great. I am finally settling into a new routine and am ready to introduce a new blogging series for October!

Now, on to my goals.

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

My goal for September was to learn about Dave Ramsey’s budgeting. I read his books, his websites, his blog posts- pretty much anything I could find. My husband and I sat down with renewed energy to tackle our budget and to make some big changes. One of those I mentioned above; I started working again! I have two work at home jobs that I am absolutely loving. Once Cupcake goes down for a nap or for bed, I quickly hop on my computer and get to work. This new addition to our income line will greatly help us toward our savings goals. This was a successful month!

My goals for October are to plan out our holiday budget for family members. If I can start figuring out what we want to gift this year, we can hopefully start to DIY some gifts and look for deals on those we cannot make. Our holiday season gets compounded with our anniversary and a multitude of family birthdays (including my mom’s 60th and my sweetie’s 30th!). Setting a budget this far in advance will really help!
2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

This was successful with the exception of one week where I only worked out three times. I have been running around our neighborhood a lot as the weather starts to cool down a little! It has been wonderful. I also acquired an Ergo baby carrier so I can take Cupcake on hikes!

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

I completed a 7:57 mile in April. This goal is complete!

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

This was a big NO. However, this will certainly change in October as my Elimination Diet begins and I am will have the challenge of cooking a little differently.

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! We were doing so very well with sleeping through the night until she was hit with a whopper of a virus. All the kiddos (and most of the adults) in the neighborhood have been suffering from colds, coughs, and terrible sore throats. The other little ones have also been waking up throughout the night, no matter how old they are, so I cannot entirely blame Cupcake for her lack of sleep. I am sure that once she feels totally better, we will get back to normal.

I definitely cannot imagine her wanting to wean any time soon, but yesterday she went a whole six hours without nursing DURING THE DAY (with me right there with her!). She had the option and still did not nurse! So, although it’s hard to believe, she really will wean some day. Until then, we shall forge ahead!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

I had the joy of surprising my Gramma with a visit this month. It was so joyful! She has been really sad lately about a situation with a friend, so it was great to connect with her. I know she adored seeing Cupcake and Cupcake had so much fun exploring my Gramma’s room!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

My goal for September was to have no more than six 8-oz servings, but the August trend continued. I just don’t really have a taste for it these days. This is a GREAT thing as I am headed into my Elimination Diet, where soda is definitely not allowed. Coffee, on the other hand, I literally have no clue how that’s going to go. Won’t you all have so much fun laughing at my misery reading about my experience.

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

This month I had to completely overall my cleaning schedule. Prior to my new job opportunities, nap time was clean time. Once Cupcake fell asleep, clean time again! My house looked great. I eventually switched to “an hour a day” mode. Now, I spend an hour a day cleaning. I set up a rotation throughout the house and start in a different room each day. If I have any extra time, I move on to the next day’s room. It has been working really well, except that my laundry keeps getting piled up! I HATE having piles of laundry everywhere.

So, my goal for October is to go back to the FlyLady methods for laundry so that I can hopefully get on top of this situation!

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

So, this whole month, the only TV my hubby and I watched was one of the Republican Debates on CNN. Totally worth it.

Unfortunately, I lost the internal battle I have with Cupcake and the TV. I am really struggling there. Instead of cutting her time, it seems to be growing. Ugh. It makes me really unhappy, but I have not done much to stop it. This month I needed time to finish a work project, and *poof* on went the TV. I had to finish dinner and Cupcake wouldn’t play alone? TV. Why is TV so magical?!?!

My goal for October is spend the month researching fun and easy alternatives for me to help increase Cupcake’s stamina for independent play. I feel like if she could play better on her own, I would not feel so tempted to turn to the television. I will work at using the first few days of the month to observe how long she can play independently and work to increase it to a level where I can get a good 15 minutes for her to play independently.

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.

Check!

Before the Elimination Diet

As I’ve written about, I am about to start a Total Elimination Diet (TED). This is to combat a multitude of health issues I have been having to hopefully identify if there are any food intolerances at play.

As a way to keep a record for myself, I wanted to record any symptoms and issues I am having at my baseline so that I can notice how they evolve and change over time. It will also help me as I start to reintroduce foods to my body later in the process.

My current symptoms:

  • Migraines (2x a month)
  • Digestive Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Acne
  • Itchy Skin/Rashes
  • Runny/Stuffy nose
  • Dark Circles under eyes
  • Frequent muscle aches
  • Anxiety

Evaluation of Current Eating Plan-

For the past month, I have tracked all of the foods I have been eating. I was really hoping to notice a trend in my symptoms and be able to correlate them with what I had consumed so I could avoid an Elimination Diet. Clearly, I was unsuccessful. Using online trackers, I generally keep within 1500-1800 calories a day. Some of my favorite foods are peanut butter, homemade bread, tomatoes and sugary things- all of which will not be allowed on my new plan. I drink coffee daily, and have started to taper that off so that I do not throw myself into a withdrawal-induced migraine once I officially drop that habit. I have to admit I am nervous.

I am taking on this challenge under medical guidance because I want to make sure that I am eating enough. It could be really easy to drop weight if I just limited myself to salad and chicken breast! While that certainly will be a meal option here and there, I want to make sure that I am including everything I need for a well-rounded diet. As I am still nursing Cupcake, I will continue taking my prenatal vitamins to make sure that any temporary nutritional holes in my diet are filled.

I think a lot of this eating plan will be emotional. I have found that over the past few days, I have been craving all of the foods I know I will not be able to have as I get started. It hasn’t been too much of a problem (as I slowly remove my spoon from the peanut butter jar), but I will definitely be sure to include the not so cheery parts of this plan, as well.

I have been told that the first few days are not fun. Oftentimes the body goes through a withdrawal period where symptoms seem to get worse before they get better. When I heard that, I all about jumped ship. Why would I want to do this to myself? I was reminded that although it will be difficult to start, I will feel so much better afterward. The next few weeks will be trying, but as I start to add foods back to my diet, it will just get better and better.

Selfishly, I am glad we are doing this now. There are no major holidays for a little while to tempt me. By the time Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around, we will be through the strictest parts and will have many more options to choose from, knowing that they are safe for our bodies. We also would love to expand our family at some point, so I want to do this before that happens. Obviously if I were to fall pregnant, that would be part of the considerations in how to proceed on this plan.

All in all, I am more excited than nervous. I am ready to feel good again! Wish me luck!

Homemade Egg McMuffins

It doesn’t matter who you are, it seems like a common thread is that mornings are crazy. Now that we’ve hit the autumn, kids (and teachers) are back to school, adding to the flurry of excitement that is morning time.

We don’t always have time to make a full breakfast. With my husband in residency, he needs a good solid breakfast to get him started. It also needs to be fast. And healthy because I’d like to keep him forever.
Although people frequently slam McDonalds, their Egg McMuffin actually is a really decent breakfast. However, as a chain, their food uses who knows what ingredients to preserve their products. It’s also more expensive to purchase one than it is to make one!

However, it also takes some time. Time we do not have in our morning. So, I decided I’d create an egg sandwich that we could keep in the freezer and quickly warm up in the morning. In less than a minute, my sweetie has a wholesome complete breakfast.
You can just get your eggs, or even bake them. I wanted them approximately the size of an English muffin, so I used a greased cookie cutter in the pan to form my egg patties. I couldn’t find my circle shape anywhere, so Christmas ornament eggs it was! I also didn’t want to take the time to dirty up another bowl, so I just cracked the egg directly into the pan and stirred it briefly. You can alternatively mix your eggs ahead of time and pour them into a cookie cutter if you prefer!

Easy Egg McMuffins

Ingredients (yield 6)

Six Eggs

Six English Muffins

Six slices of Cheese

12 slices of bacon (or 6 sausage patties)

Directions

  1. Coat a circle-shaped cookie cutter with Pam or butter. Place into warm pan.
  2. Crack egg into cookie cutter. Stir with fork until mixed. Cook on medium-high heat until set.
  3. Use heat-safe tongs to flip egg in cookie cutter. Cook egg throughout. When cooked, turn egg into wax paper.
  4. Repeat with remaining eggs, coating cookie cutter each time.
  5. While eggs are cooking, slice and toast English muffins until preferred doneness.
  6. In a separate pan (or in the microwave) cook bacon according to package directions.
  7. When all items are cooked, assemble sandwiches. Let cool to room temperature and wrap each in tin foil. Place in freezer-safe ziplock bag.

We like to take out our sandwiches the night before and then we need just 30 seconds to the perfect breakfast. Enjoy!


 
  
  
  
  

Cuddle Fairy

The Simplest Crockpot Lasagna

My dad recently came to visit our little family. I have never gone so long without seeing my dad before, so I was very excited to have him over. Growing up, my dad was the main chef in the family. I wanted to show him all the yummy things I had been making recently. I know that he absolutely LOVES lasagna, so I decided to give it a go.

I am not sure about where you are, but in August it gets mighty hot where I live! The idea of a lasagna cooking away in the oven seemed like a bad idea. So I turned to my favorite kitchen appliance-my crockpot. The idea of a lasagna cooking away all day without heating up my kitchen sounded GREAT! This would also allow me to take my dad to the zoo with Cupcake. She has recently become super interested in animals and I figured that’d be a heck of a lot more enjoyable than him watching me cook.

My dad is a great many things. He is brilliant, witty and always supportive. He also can be a bit particular. I was nervous to say the least. If he didn’t like it, I’d know. And then I’d be sad. Thankfully he LOVED it! He ate it and then started inquiring into how much we really wanted to have for leftovers. Cupcake devoured her portion. It was delicious and I am looking forward to making it again.

This recipe is very basic and simple. There aren’t a whole lot of veggies in it, but you could easily add a layer of that in! I am planning on making it later this week with a layer of sautéed spinach and onions. Yummy!

Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey

29 oz can of tomato sauce

8 oz uncooked lasagna noodles (I use the no-bake kind, but any kind works)

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1.5 cups cottage cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese for top layer

Directions

  1. Brown meat in a skillet and drain off fat
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and mix well
  3. Spread 1/4 meat sauce on bottom of crockpot
  4. Arrange 1/3 uncooked noodles over sauce (Break them to make them fit)
  5. Combine 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese with cottage cheese is a bowl. Spoon 1/3 cheese mixture over noodles.
  6. Repeat sauce-noodle-cheese layers twice.
  7. Top lasagna with remaining sauce. Cover with 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cook 4 hours over low. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

 Let me know what you think!

Easy Breaded Chicken 

Yesterday I posted my “recipe” for homemade bread crumbs. Since realizing that I could make a healthy, clean bread crumb filled with only ingredients I can pronounce- I have been on a quest for all things breaded! After months of setting aside some of my favorite recipes, the floodgates have opened. I have since breaded chicken multiple times, made my own fish sticks, and I am already trying to figure out how to get away with another day or two of breaded meals this week.

This recipe is insanely easy. It requires almost no prep time. I was able to do it all while Cupcake colored. If you know anything about 16 month old attention spans, you know that that is quite an accomplishment!

So without further ado..

Easy Breaded Chicken

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

2 eggs

1 T mayonaise

1.5 cups bread crumbs (you can use a store bought kind, or use my “recipe” for clean and healthy bread crumbs!)

If using unseasoned bread crumbs- add 1 t garlic powder, 1 t Italian seasoning and salt/pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Trim any excess fat off your chicken. Set aside.
  2. Turn broiler to high.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the eggs and mayo.
  4. In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs (and optional seasoning)
  5. Dip chicken first into egg/mayo mixture and then into bread crumbs. Be sure to coat entire piece. Place on foil-lined pan.
  6. Put pan in oven. Cook for approx. 8 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.


 

    

Stretching the Budget

I have always been someone who thinks frugally. I started keeping a budget at 15! I have no idea what prompted me to do so, but I thought it’d be smart saving for the future. It is times like now that I am so appreciative of this.

If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I am a SAHM to my favorite little girl, Cupcake. My husband just started his medical residency. A common misconception is that because my husband is a doctor, we are rolling in the money. This could not be further from the truth! To put it in comparison, I made more as an elementary school teacher.

So our family has had to look at things from all angles. I grew up with a working mom and always saw her as strong and motivated. I was proud of her for working. However, this did not seem like the right fit for me. Prior to having Cupcake, my students were my “babies.” I stayed late at work and arrived early. One of my favorite custodians used to always tease me that I was “still here.” He had to walk me out to my car on numerous occasions.

I am positive that there is a teacher out there who has a spouse completing residency, all the while raising a family. If you are that person, I bow down to you. I literally could not figure out how to make it work. The cost of childcare alone would eat into essentially my whole paycheck. When we factored in all the variables, we decided that the best fit for our family was for me to stay home with Cupcake.

Although I am not earning a paycheck, I am greatly helping our family by finding ways to save us money. I have the time to research coupons and plan my shopping trips better. I can cook from scratch, saving us the expense of having to pick up prepared meals. And all of this is still pushing it.

So, part of my “job” is looking for ways to reduce our grocery bill. I almost wish I didn’t care about preparing healthy meals so much. One of our biggest expenses is our food budget. Recently, I have been looking for more ways to cut down. I update our budget weekly, and with the numbers staring me in the face, I knew I had to find more ways to cut back. Thank goodness we live in the modern day, where finding more budget-conscious recipes are just a Google search away!

I have several websites that I use, but you all know my love for Ms. Andrea at Pennies and Pancakes. If you haven’t checked her out, please do! She has amazing recipes that not only taste great, they are very affordable. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on bread? Yea. Look for upcoming posts with some of my favorites from her website!

How about you? What are some of your favorite money-saving ideas? Please pass them along in the comments section below!