Real Food Lunch Box (Pre planning)

My Bobbiesue (1st grader) is doing great on her no sugar diet. Her behavior problems have went away for the most part. However school is starting in a week and a half and she will need to bring a lunch box every day.

Luckily I have came up with some awesome ideas for her. They consist of real food, and a low sugar. The best part is that they are frugal.  Real food can be affordable if you put your mind to it.

So this is her meal plan for the first week of school.

Monday

  • Peanut butter and jelly roll ups
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Flavored Water

Tuesday

  • Turkey and cheese roll ups
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pretzels
  • Apple Juice

Wednesday

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Turkey
  • Carrots
  • Pretzels
  • Homemade peanut butter granola bar
  • Applejuice

Thursday

  • Peanut butter and jelly roll ups
  • Grapes
  • Trail Mix
  • Celery

Friday

  • Pasta Salad (noodles with parmesan cheese)
  • Rolled up Ham
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Garlic Bread Chips

I hope this helps you think of some real food ideas for your child’s lunch box. It can be super frugal too you just need to think creatively.

 

Too clean for their own good?

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This picture was taken when my girls were 1 and a half and 4 while they were being over washed with store bought soap (notice the splotchy skin)

Many parents wash their children with soap too often. This can cause painfully dry and itchy skin. It can also prevent them from gaining access to immune system boosting bacteria.

Exposure to good bacteria can make small children healthy for the rest of their lives. Chronic diseases including allergies and asthma can be avoided due to these bacteria. However, if you use soap too often they will never be exposed to them and not be protected from these diseases. 

My girls used to take a shower with store bought soap four times a week. I thought I was keeping them clean and healthy. Instead, it caused itchy painful skin. As bad as that was it got worse. My youngest was diagnosed with pneumonia twice in that year once while she was just one and a half years old. She luckily recovered quickly and is doing great today. 

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This is was taken about 4 months ago. Their skin is much healthier after using handmade soap two to three times a week.

If your children are a little bit dirty then they can bathe only using water. Let them play with their bath toys and splash and they are good to go. This will help them maintain their natural oils and beneficial bacteria.

If you must use soap, then use a handmade one. It contains glycerin that helps skin maintain moisture all day. This is better than store-bought varieties that dry skin out.

Huckleberry and Hobbs sell amazingly scented handmade soap. I love the sweet pea one. It keeps my girls’ skin stay super soft and smell so good all day. Perfect for both playtime and cuddle time! It also lasts for a long time due to the glycerin in the soap making extra bubbles. 

Handmade soap will make bath time much better. Your kids’ skin will be super moisturized. It could actually save you money. So next time you need to buy soap buy a handmade one and simplify your life.

Mindfullness can lead to a great life!

imageedit_2_2421443041Going with the flow in life can be fun and simple. It works pretty well sometimes for most people. Life starts to get disorganized and messy though. I have allowed myself to live this way for my whole life. It is causing more harm than help though.

I have been working hard on establishing a daily schedule that works well for me and my girls. It allows me to be mindful of everything around me, keep calm, and be productive. There are four main things I have been paying more attention to lately. It seems like as long I have these four things going well then the rest of the details just fall into place. 

  1. Food- I am the type of person who can go all day on just drinking coffee and eating a heavy dinner at night. This does nothing for productivity though, and it leads to me and my girls all crashing from hunger and being extremely grumpy.

           So I have been making a meal schedule. We eat a heavy breakfast, medium sized lunch, and light dinner. This gives us so much more energy and raises productivity levels. I also don’t hear my kids complaining that they are hungry all day.

            Other diet changes have been made as well. We have been trying to eat a nutritionally sound diet lately. It has been fun and positive for the whole family. We were even able to lower our sugar consumption!

2.) Another thing that I have been mindful of is my amount of sleep. It I get enough sleep then I have a great attitude, stay positive, and take my medicine on time. If I don’t get enough it shows rather quickly due to my bad mood and reduced productivity.

I need the average 8 hours of sleep but get 7 due to my three-year-old waking up through the night. I clean the house at night so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Then I drink water and sleep through the night.

My girls go to bed at 7 and sleep until 6. Playing outside a lot helps tire them out. Their favorite game is hide and seek and they also love to jump in their pool.

3.) My mood is another thing that I am trying to focus on. If I run around all grumpy then the girls will follow and I don’t want them to grow up grumpy. So as hard as it is every day I try to keep a smile on my face and my words kind. I used to flip out about the smallest thing but now my anxiety medication is really helping with that.

4.) I need to remember to take my medicine. For the longest time, I had failed to get on a schedule that I could take my 8 hour medicine whenever I needed to. Now I take it at 6 am, 2 pm, and 10 pm. It works great and I don’t have to stay up late at night just to be able to take it.

My two medicines for my bipolar/ anxiety work very well. I feel happier, energetic, and more productive. The little stuff that used to bother me doesn’t anymore. It feels so great! 

So if you take medicine remember to take them at the right times so they work well. I know this is easier said than done but the work will be worth it.

I hope this helps you be mindful of the things around you. Just remember that the smallest things can make the biggest impact in your life. Also if you have little kids they are watching you all the time and learning from your behaviors. Keep positive and just keep improving. It’s ok to fall but we all have to get back up again.

A hardworking Father

This goes out to all the dads out there. Thank you for spending all of your time supporting your family. Your work may get overlooked, or underappreciated at times. They might not realize how early you need to wake up to get to work, or how tired you are every day. All your kids know right now is that they have a daddy that loves them.

My dad raised me and my sister on his own. My mom was there but was hardly a mother. We had our dad’s support endlessly though. There was so many times that he just wanted a nap after work but instead he played with us, took us to the mall, or even just cooked dinner with us. It was just daily life for us so we never noticed how much work he truly put into raising us.

When I was a teenager he often worked two jobs just to keep us afloat and keep a roof over our heads. He divorced my mom and kept us two girls. He was in the process of shaping us into beautiful, headstrong, and kind young women. However with him being gone all the time life began to slip we hardly saw him because he was working so hard just to keep us financially stable.

One day a miracle happened. He found my stepmom, the most loving and caring woman in the world. We finally had the family that we always wanted, along with three little siblings. He worked hard finding a stepmother for us and a new wife for him and did not settle until he got the best. She helped me graduate high school, discover confidence for the first time, and become the person that I am today. All of this happened because my dad never gave up on me.

I finally realized what my dad did for me, when my girls were playing with their dad after work one day. I sat there and with tears in my eyes for a few minutes as I was processing all of this. I just had to give him a call, and he was there for me once again. He always is!

Fathers, one day your child will look back at you and realize this just as I have. So keep up the great job. Your children will grow into remarkable people as time goes on, and will appreciate all that you have done for them.

Eliminating Empty Foods

My family has been gradually eating healthier over this year. We are sneaking more veggies and meats into the kids’ meals. However, we still have a problem with eating a lot of carbs daily. We have too much white bread and noodles. We also let a lot of junk food sneak into our home. It is easier to eat it when it is right there available.

Sadly the problem is that my husband likes to eat these foods. He is diabetic but still loves junk food and I am in no area to judge because I sometimes eat it right along with him.  So our girls follow us and should not eat as healthy as they should.

I am going to slowly start getting the junk out of our home. Hopefully for good. I will at least follow these steps.

1.) Drink more water.- I have already gotten the girls drinking a lot of water recently. Now I need to try to limit their milk instead of letting them drink half a gallon a day. As long as I keep the cold water in the fridge they will drink it. I need to try to reduce their bedtime milk though.

As for my husband, I am going to set a cold glass of water on his computer desk. Hopefully he will at least touch it instead of drinking his diet mountain dew right away when he gets home.

2.)  Even more veggies. I am going to start making a small veggie tray and put it on the table before dinner every night. If I put pickes, peppers, and peppers on there everyone will at least try it, and at least try one other item at the same time. I will eat the veggies that they don’t want.

3.) More meat with dinner. Instead of doing a ton of carbs with the main dish I am going to focus more on the meat. Some great ways I plan on doing is a lot of pork. My family loves pork chops, and steaks, but they love crock pot pulled pork the most.

4.) Concentrating on fruit with dessert. Some ideas I have include fruit salad, cut up fruit with a creamy vanilla dip, and fruit pies like apple pie. They will up our fruit content but also give us yummy deserts to eat.

I am hoping this will let us get out of the carb cycle. It is ok to eat carbs when we need quick energy but not every night. Eating better will be super beneficial and give us all additional energy.

We will also start excercising by bringing back our family bike rides. They are so fun, and Daisy now knows how to ride bike on her own so that will be a very fun addition to our summer routine.

Nicole

Frugal Meal Plan June 5th -12th

This weekend was super hot, but we also did a lot. It was one of the type of weekends where you make several memories that will be cherished forever.

We went to the party at the library with bouncy houses, painting, and even snow cones on Saturday. It was so hot that all of us were feeling dehydrated especially Bobbie. She passed out a couple of times so lots of love and gatorade was needed all weekend long.

After a restful Saturday night and most of Sunday. We went to the local splash pad Sunday night for some family fun time, we even brought my younger sister along. She helped with the girls. I got a little break, and fun that I needed of a while now. My husband saw that I was getting stressed out a bit so he surprised me with my sister coming with I had no idea until we picked her up. It was such a great surprise.

On Wednesday of this week Bobbie will be done with school for the year. We are going to do homeschooling this summer just to keep her learning all summer long and get a little bit ahead in school. We will be starting a bug unit on Wednesday and that will last around 2 weeks.

Breakfast

  • yogurt
  • toast w/ jelly
  • french toast
  • biscuit and sausage sandwiches

I am trying to get the girls to eat a heavy breakfast before it gets too hot. This way they are not crashing due to being hungry when it is too hot to eat. It gets very humid here in the summer.

Lunches

Sandwiches: Ham, turkey, or PB & J,

  • served with either chips or gold fish, veggies: carrots or peppers with ranch, and fruit: strawberries or grapes

These will be made, wrapped, and waiting in the fridge and cabinet so they can just grab one and go back to learning or playing. Doing one basic meal with many different combinations helps my family save money and it works for everyone. My husband can even bring it to work with him.

Dinners

Monday- Grilled Chicken with mac and cheese

Tuesday- Chicken with mushrooms, peppers, and onions with white rice

Wednesday- Grilled Pork chops, with corn

Thursday- Chicken fajitas

Friday- Burgers and homemade jojos

Saturday- Leftover pork chops, with stuffing

To Drink

  • Water ( trying to get them to drink as much water as possible)
  • Juice Boxes- will be chilled in fridge
  • Gatorade
  • Iced tea (for me)
  • Diet Dew (for husband)
  • Milk (trying to minimize due to heat)

 

Linked to Menu Plan Monday

8 tips to help your family rock this summer

Summer is so fun. It is the season that your kids get to be home more and you get to spend more time with them. Making beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. However, that free time also comes with sibling arguments, boredom, and usually a lack of routine. It doesn’t need to be that way.

There are tons of great ways to keep your children within a schedule. So there will be less fighting, also less boredom, and keep the kids off of electronics.

  1. Set a routine. Write it down for older kids or draw it for littler kids to understand. Some things that can be on the morning routine include.  
    • Making sure they get dressed, make beds, and brush teeth in the morning.
    • Eating breakfast- Some great quick breakfasts include smoothies, breakfast burritos, and sausage biscuits. All of these are great freezer meals you just need to unthaw the night before and just warm up the next day. Wonderful for the days that you are in a hurry to get out of the house or it is just too hot to cook.
    • One chore- little kids can pick up their toys, or help you out wiping down surfaces, sweeping or just about anything you are doing. Bigger kids can clean their bedrooms, sweep floors, or do dishes. There are tons of more chores out there if you think of one feel free to let me know in the comment section.

My girls are going into this routine this summer. I will be pre-making smoothie cups and putting them in the freezer for easy grabbing. Then they will head into chores Daisy will be helping rinse off and put away the dishes and Bobbie will be wiping off the table and sweeping the floor.  Then I will give them about a half hour of free play time then they will do some homeschooling.

2.)  Make sure they learn something over the summer so they never stop learning and aren’t having to readjust themselves when the school year starts some ideas are

  • Workbooks for their grade level- These are available on amazon for you convenience but they are also available at dollar or discount stores for a great savings. There are so many different kinds that if you buy them for a cheap price you can really stock up and learn a lot over the summer. My Daisy will be working on the Schoolzone Big Preschool Workbook  and my Bobbie will be doing the Schoolzone Big First Grade Workbook. It is about the same book but different grade levels to eliminate fighting.
  • Books- Assign your kids a book that is at their reading level. When they are done move on to the next. Littles can be read to or look at pictures independently. I find that my Bobbie tries to read books by herself as a kindergarten graduate and I still read to my Daisy daily.
  • Nature Study- Summer is a great time of year to get your kids out in nature and teach them about the outside world. Some great ideas for this are bug collecting, bird watching and identifying, and plant studies.  My girls will be doing all of these units and spending a ton of time outside this summer. 
  • Growing a garden- There are so many lessons that can be taught by growing a garden. It also helps them fall asleep better, and eat healthier.

3.) For your sanity, I suggest this one. Let your kids have a quiet time or an alone time. They can do anything they want as long as they are in their rooms and being quiet. My Daisy still normally takes an afternoon nap, and my Bobbie colors and watches Monster High or some other cartoon in her age group. She is really starting to like the 1980s version of Inspector Gadget. This will enable you to reset your mind and get some things done or take a break while they are resting.

4.) Afternoon chores. Afternoon chores are great for getting toys picked up by littles and the table set by bigger kids while you are making dinner. It will totally help pass the witching hour with minimal complaints. My girls are each assigned one of these chores. The only thing I do not let Bobbie put on the table are the plates because I am scared that she will break them and feel bad or hurt herself.

7.) Stock the Fridge- There is nothing worse than going to make lunch and realizing you are out of something or barely have any food left. I usually feed myself and Daisy leftovers during the school year. But I totally stock the fridge in the summer. For drinks, I buy a ton of juice boxes and water bottles and put the on the inside of the fridge door. For lunches, I premake two kinds of sub sandwiches turkey and ham. I also cut up and bag up fruits (strawberries, apples, and pineapple) I also do this to veggies (carrots and green peppers). Sauces are great for kids to dip veggies in so they will eat them so I make homemade ranch dressing for them. We also keep chips, goldfish, and trail mix bagged up for snacks. This keeps my kids eating healthy and being able to grab their own lunches or snacks when they are ready for them.  

8.) Remember to have fun and go some places during the summer to get out of the house. Some of my favorite places to go include the mall, and the pool. We will also have one family vacation this summer to their Uncle Matt’s house. They love their uncle and his wife and they have a son that is ten but he still loves to play with the girls. They have so much fun there. Are you planning a summer vacation? I would love to hear about it in the comment section.

My girls and I are going to rock this summer having so much fun together learning and playing. I hope these tips help your family do the same. Do you have any tips that may be helpful to other families? If so feel to share them below.

How and Why I only keep clothes I feel good in.

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A lot of women struggle to find clothes that they like and actually fit well. I shop at the local thrift shops for mine. I know some people do not like this but it is what works for me in this current phase of life.

I love keeping only clothes that fit me and I like for a couple of different reasons including
1.)I can keep less things in my closet at once eliminating clutter
2.)My daughters like to pick out my clothes for me. It makes them feel special.
3.)I can easily and quickly get dressed in the morning.

This seems hard to do and costly for most people however I have a few different frugal ways do this. I usually only spend $20 for several different clothing items at a time. It gives me the ability to change up my style whenever I want to. I do this by

1.)Shopping at the deep clearance rack at Goodwill. If you actually look you will be quite amazed at how many things you can find that work for you left behind by others that don’t have the same style taste as you.
2.)I also like to look at the color of the day, the tags that are that color are half price.
3.)Using a local garage sale group on facebook and wait until the seller lowers the price a bit. Most moms use the garage sale groups but buy instantly. I like to wait a day or two of the items not selling then buy them once they lower the price a bit.
4.)Buying a neutral color item and make it more exciting with timeless pieces of jewelry like rings or necklaces. My favorite color is silver. If you get things that never go out of style and work for you it can limit the amount of money you need to spend on these items.

If you are unhappy with your clothes use some of my tips and get a closet full of clothing that you are excited about! If an item is too bland go ahead and add a pop of color with timeless jewelry. I hope some of these ideas work for you. If you have any other ideas of how to liven up your wardrobe frugally feel free to add them to the comment section below.

5 ways to reduce your child induced anxiety.

We all love our kids but, sometimes they simply drive us crazy. As someone with bipolar depression I know this all too well. I am working on being a calmer mother this year. I have come up with some simple steps to lessen anxiety in these hot headed situations.

The first three will work if you have some time on your hands. These will work when your children are cranky or you are having a high anxiety day naturally without the children driving you nuts. Have them play in their room or watch a cartoon to be able to do these activities.

  1.  Get creative with some kind of art project or writing something. I know a lot of people that are great at paint or drawing. It is super fun and calming. My creativity in unleashed through my writing. It helps me have a more focused mind about what I am writing about and less about the world around me. After just a few minutes this will help you be more relaxed and ready to face the challenges of parenting once again.
  2. How you look has a lot to do with your confidence level and how you feel. If you are stressed out maybe a few minutes in the bathroom will do you some good. Maybe you have time to take a quick shower, and put on some makeup. If not you can still always put your hair up, and put on some perfume and lip gloss. It will help you be calm and you will also look great for the rest of the day.
  3. Prepping dinner is a calming thing that you are going to have to do later in the day anyway. So chop your stress away with those veggies and fruits. I know peeling potatoes gets rid of the anger that has been boiling inside me. Making homemade bread tastes great and the kneading process is very calming. This will also help you make a wonderful and nutritious meal for your family.

These next methods are things that you can do with you kids next to you.

  1.  Drinking water can calm your mind quickly and also make you feel healthy. There is nothing better than a cold glass of water on a hot day! It also gets you mind thinking of eating healthy.
  2. Going outside is a simple and fun method to relax you. You can sit on the porch and watch them ride bike, go down the side, or anything else they want to do. A great thing to also do outside is take a walk. It will help you get a workout into your day. Either way will calm both you and your children down for the rest of the day. It will hopefully help them fall asleep earlier.

I hope these tips help you stay strong on high anxiety days, and be a more happy parent!

How I have been healing in 2017

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This pic is from 2015 but it is one of the best ones I have of me and my girls.

In the beginning of this year, I have been going through a lot of pain. Several things have really broken me as a person in my life. I have never really allowed myself to heal from them. I just kept on going.

The first thing is the death of my beloved grandma. I was her “special one” the one that she loved the most. She babysat me a lot when I was very little before my little sister was born. After that, she took me shopping every weekend from age 7 until  I graduated high school. We spent so much time together. When she got sick me and my husband were there to visit several times to help her out. However I wasn’t there when she needed me the most, the night she passed away. I thought I had until the next morning after me and my husband worked a 12-hour shift but she passed away that night. I never got to say goodbye. It hurt so bad for the rest of my life.

This year I realized that it will be a whole in my life forever, but I need to allow myself to heal for my sanity. She would not want me to worry and hurt about it as much as I have been. She knows that I love her due to my past actions. Always talking to her every night when she was lonely because she was seperated from my grandpa. I also helped her a ton in the hospital when she was sick. Remembering the good things really helped me heal.

The other thing I am healing from the poor treatment I received from my mother while growing up. She treated my sister as her special one and made my clean our room alone, and allowed her to beat me up while growing up. My mother self self injured herself a lot due to her schizophrenia and she also hit my because I looked too much like my dad. They were on and off again all the time growing up, and I was and always will be a daddy’s girl. I also grew up self injuring myself. It is a scary habit and I have always been trying to fight. My worst nightmare is that my girls pick up on the habit. My mom has ruined my life but I forgive her.

The ways I deal with it are forgiving her and my little sister, and being a better mom for my girls than she was for me. I never want to see my girls go through massive problems like I had to deal with. I love them so much! We talk about once a week, it still tough but I need to forgive her for the both of us.

I am also getting medical help for my bipolar depression. This has helped me immensely.  I no longer have the super depressive periods of my life that I used to have, and I also do not get manically happy where I end up ignoring my girls due to cleaning the house all day. I also have a medicine that I can take if I have panic attacks that used to make me injure myself.  I  am at a super calm and happy stage in my life and I hope it lasts forever.

Nicole