Why my family eats together at the table

As a child, growing up my family rarely sat at the table together. I wish we did other families did it and their kids always seemed so much well adjusted to life. Once my dad and stepmom got together there were too many kids for us all to gather around the table. I will do it for my girls though. We just got our bigger house and my husband got the table he grew up eating at, as a gift from his mother. It is a big huge Ethan Allen table. I believe eating at the table is good for kids for a few different reasons;
1.) They can’t get away with not eating- My girls know that if they don’t eat dinner, then they won’t get dessert. If they throw a fit about this fact then they get to go to bed early that night. This actually works! My five year old just started eating meat. She still only eats a little bit but she will now try a bite of everything on her plate. Chicken was the biggest battle for her but she still tried it.
2.) We actually save on food bills- With my girls actually eating what they have on their plates they have a ton less room in their tummies for junk food. Gone are the days when they would beg for popcorn at night, or tried to have a third or fourth cup of milk at bed time.
3.) There is less tv watched at night- My husband and I ask my five year old about her day at school every night. She tells us about her day which normally includes a comment about new friends or what class she had that day music, gym, or art. Then she will ask her dad about any questions she has though of during the day. There has been so many things she has learned about so far this way like how to tie her shoes, and how to count to 20. If there has been any disciplinary issues to talk about with her about school we talk about it after dinner. Normally it is that she has been not high enough ranked on the clip chart at school and what she did that gave her a lower color. We make her do her homework before she gets to go and watch cartoons and maybe gets to watch one each night.
4.) It is a great place to play games- My church always had a game night with tons of food and litteraly played games for hours. Usually from 12 noon- 9pm, and I always wanted to be able to play games with my kids at the table when they got older because of that. Now we get to because my girls are old enough to do it. So much fun! We played our first game last Sunday and it was a money counting game. It was so fun to watch my little girl say aloud the name of the change piece and how much it was worth.
5.) It unifies the family. If you spend a lot of time together you are actually on the same page with each other and know what is going on in each other’s lives. It even helped my marriage because me and my husband are actually talking and not just going through the motions but not really talking to each other like we used to do before.
So if you don’t eat a the table as a family I challenge you to even for just a week. I bet it will improve the condition of your family relationships.

Nicole

How to be proactive while your new home is being renovated.

My family has been feeling very crowded in our two bedroom home. We found out about a three bedroom trailer in the same court that we could get pretty cheap due to it being a family friend’s family members. We were able to buy it and are currently renovating it. While my husband is working on it with his parents I am staying at home with the girls due to pain fumes. I am still being helpful during this wait time. This is a few ideas if you are waiting to get into your new home like we are.

1.) Keep the old house very clean so when it is time to move our you can. I honostly don’t know if I have days or weeks left to wait. It all depends on how long the renovations take. My father in law is a professional painter volunteering to do it all free, however we need to work with his problems due to pretty bad M.S. side effects.

2.) Show the old house. We are currently looking for a buyer for the old trailer, so we can pay off the loan for the new home very quickly. We have had a couple of offers come here and there but nothing is really locked in yet. There are things we will need to fix here and perfect before we actually get it sold.

3.) Eat down the level of food in our pantry using a pantry challenge. This helps us keep costs low to pay off our loan quicker, and also gives us less food to have to worry about packing up and moving. I have really picked up cooking from scratch again since the beginning of the challenge and that has been so fun and I am only currently cooking with basic ingredients, so it pretty much cut our grocery bill in half, and kept the cabinets pretty empty.

4.) Junk out stuff that you are not using anymore. Currently I have thrown away 3 bags of stuff we are not using anymore. We also filled up 2 bags of good stuff to donate to goodwill.

5.) Feed the people that are working on your new home. I like to bake cookies and give out snacks for my husband and his parents to eat while they work on the new home. They really appreciate it because there is no food in the new home yet. Sadly all of them need to eat regularly due to health problems. I figure since they are helping out with the new home it is my job to make sure they are all well fed.

6.) Box up stuff that you are not using daily. I have boxed many books and toys of my girl’s so far. This will make the actually moving day so much faster, and since they are not the toys that they play with every day they will not miss them much.

Even when my girls are not so little anymore I will still use these steps just to make future moves go easier. I hope these ideas help you if you are waiting to move into a new home you recently bought whatever the reason.

Nicole

 

1 year blogging

Today is my one year blogiversary here on wordpress. I can’t believe how many different readers I got on here this year. I got 15 subscribers so far. I also got more page views than I though to would get a grand total of 863.   I had so much fun with two different sponsorships by two very cool companies Mealgarden and Baker Creek Seeds. It was so fun and I can’t wait to start blogging again after a summer hiatus I spent to hang out with my girls. I can’t wait to make my very special announcement of a very special event in my family’s lives. I will announce that tomorrow and it will be so cool and have lots of different blog posts about it. So thank you for all the support this first year of my blog and keep looking for new updates.

Nicole

My PCOS Journey

PCOs Polystic Ovary Syndrom is a silent disease among women in child rearing age. It is a silent killer because most women don’t even realisze they have it. I didn’t realize I had it until my period was uncontrollable two weeks ago. Since then I have learned so much about this disease in the last two weeks since I started noticing the symptoms. I have the diagnosis to all of my problems now.

Instead of just listing a ton of facts about the disease I will tell my story.

I started my period at age eleven just like my mom and they are so painful for both of us. I would have to come home from school because I had such bad period cramps. Ibuprofen and tylenol didn’t even touch it at all. It was terrible and it just kept the same and never got better. It stayed this way for years.

After I got married I tried to have babies right away. I had to try for a good three years before it happened. I thought it would never happen and it was so hard on me. I always thought everyone else is having babies why can’t I? Luckily my second daughter would require only almost two years of trying. I am still trying for my third and have been for two years now.

Right now I having terrible periods that some of your read about in my last post. I don’t know if it will ever completely get better but there are medicines and diets that make it feel a little bit better at least. I need to eat very little sugar because it is not very good on my body at all. I try to not eat any deserts while still giving them to my family. If I eat sugar I feel very anxious and grumpy and it is not fun at all. If I don’t eat right I may get diabetes 2 one day.

This is just my story with pcos. There are a lot more people that have it as well however it is a reletively unknown disease and there is very little funding for it’s cure. For more pcos information check out pcos gurl on twitter. Right now there is  a #lemonfacechallenge going on to get funding and awareness for this terrible disease.

Nicole

Taking care of your family while you are sick

I have been very sick recently. My period came and has been with me for the last two weeks. I know this is not normal but I can’t go to the doctors until this week. I have just been waiting for it to go away. I have no idea what is causing this and I am getting very worried. However while I am worried I still have my two little girls to take care of.

I have been cleaning a whole lot instead of sitting there worrying. There is nothing more stress relieving for me than cleaning. I have also had my daughters help me clean. My four year old is learning the responsibility of trying to keep her own room clean and my two year old is just following me around helping with chores.

I have been cooking as clean as I can hoping that eating healthy will help me get healthy again. Also we have lots of other sensitive diets in our home that thrive on us eating well.

We have also been playing outside lots because it is summer and I don’t want my girls to miss out on summer fun. They are riding their bikes a ton and it really saves on bedtime battles.

Thank you for reading this.

Nicole

Mealgarden supports bloggers

I know that fellow bloggers spend tons of time thinking of, writing, and spreading their content. Their blogs are their hobbies or sometimes even full time jobs that they constantly are working on. They want their content to be protected and the credit to be given to them if it is shared by others. Food bloggers spend even more time because they need to work on and alter recipes, photograph food, and perfect their recipes before they even start writing the post.

I am an avid user of mealgarden. I am one of their most active bootcampers. I was recently asked by my bootcamp advisor why I and other users are not sending in recipes by email, because it is one of her favorite parts of the app. I told her that I didn’t know if the blogger was getting credit for their recipes people sent in. She said that other users share this view. She assured me that on the bottom of the page on every recipe is the source of the recipe and it lists the blog it came from on every single post that comes from a blog. So rest assured bloggers will be getting the credit due to them.

I think this is actually a great way to spread word for food blogs and recipes. It will have your link on the bottom of the page and they have a great recipe finder and it provides nutrtional information as well. It is a great way to get nutitional information added to blog recipes without doing a ton of extra work. I hope other bloggers will start using this tool and getting the attention they deserve with this app. They truly appreciate all of their users and even train them of how to use their app with the bootcamp they offer. I hope to see other bloggers on the app and in the bootcamp soon. The bootcamp sign up link is at MealGarden.

Nicole

Try, instead of can’t.

For years my husband has been telling me to try things harder. I didn’t believe in myself so I didn’t try as hard as I should. Things like I can’t clean the girls room with a two year old in the same room, or I can’t cook a huge meal when I am tired.

I also have been saying can’t about not being able to drive, because I have my permit but have been so scared to learn how to drive. I couldn’t really stay out of the ditches for the longest time but now that I am getting better intersections really confuse me and now they scare me. What if I go at the wrong time. I also don’t quite know where to turn switching lanes sometimes. It is all really stressful to me.

But lately my four year old as been saying she can’t do things. My lack of confidence is leading to her not believing in myself. So last night I finally got ticked off and said there is no more can’t in my house. I mean it I am not going to say I can’t do anything anymore and will be trying harder than ever. Hopefully my four year old will follow me in this.

When I get into the car instead of having hubby drive I will try to drive more often. I will not chicken out because he will be there to save me if I am unsure. Also I need to just think of what I know and use the knowledge I already have and stop doubting myself. I am really bad at that I always doubt myself when important decisions come up but no more I need to start believing in myself more. If not for me than for my little girls.

I also went completely crazy and actually started cleaning my daughters’ room this morning right away with my two year old helping me. I didn’t even have my coffee right away first. I did however drink it after cleaning for about an hour. A shocking thing happened. It went really well and my two year old actually helped me and after some of it was clean she actually played on her own with a newly discovered toy she really likes her train set. So I am actually ahead on chores today instead of behind and it is all because I tried something new and different in the way I cleaned.

What is something that you think you can’t do. Why don’t you give it a try anyways and see what happens? It could have a really good outcome like me and my daughters’ bedroom!

Nicole

 

How to save money while meal planning

I love to save money as much as I can and I think I live a pretty frugal lifestyle. I want to provide you with some ways to save money while meal planning today, because we all need to save money where we can.

I usually stick with basic ingredients that are in a variety of recipes. I really like using spices they are very versatile and can go into lots of things. I also love cooking with fruits and veggies for this reason as well. They can go into many different meals and sometimes depending on what it is you can just eat it on its own. This will drastically save your budget if you don’t go for fancy ingredients that you can use in one or two recipes if you are lucky.

I stock up on meats when they are on sale. I get a lot of my pork at around $1.25 a pound this way. I get my chicken at around $1.50 a pound. Beef is more expensive at around $3 a pound when it is on sale. I stock my freezer up when it is on sale and I don’t really repurchase until it is on sale again. I also stock up on lots of other things when they are on sale like noodles, canned veggies, cheese, and mostly everything I buy.

I also love to coupon sometimes I stick a coupon on top of a sale and get the item almost free. I love doing this and couponing if a major hobby of mine. I collect coupons both out of the Sunday paper and on the internet. There are also websites out there that will give you coupon match-ups for the current week so you can really save money.

Another thing I do is that I make a lot of things homemade instead of buying them. I love baking cookies, and bread. I also make my own granola, trail mix, lemonade, and spice mixes. Pretty much if you can make it on your own instead of buy it I do it.

Now I am going to post some things of how to save money when you use the mealgarden app.

The first thing is to make sure you are carrying your leftovers over and not just listing the recipe twice when you are going to use leftovers. This will help you not buy extra ingredients you don’t really need.

The next thing is to make sure you have the actual amount of people eating checked when it asks again it is so you are not overbuying food.

Try to plan meals with only one of two different meats for the whole week, and use one meat up before using the next. It will help keep waste down if you use up one kind of meat before starting the next.

I hope you enjoyed reading my money saving tips on meal planning. I also hope you are able to save some money the next time you set your meal plans.

Nicole

How I make meal planning easy.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you would know that I am a stay at home mom of two little girls. One is two and the other is four. They eat a ton of fruits and veggies but not so much meat. I also have my husband that works twelve hour shifts at a factory. He is also diabetic so we need to avoid too much bread or sweets with him, and have everything in a very good balance. In the diabetic balance he also needs lots of protein and calories. This makes meal planning take several hours for me to do a week. Mostly finding new recipes to keep things exciting.

I have been using the mealgarden meal planning app for the last two weeks. I actually did the full meal plan this week. It was so easy and fun. I just plugged my favorite recipes into it by typing them into their system. I was also able to find some really good recipes in their cookbook that they already had in the system. I even put my own unique recipe on there for my skinny pancakes. It took me a few hours to fill in the meal plan but most of that was looking for new recipes and plugging them into their system. I even messed up and put everything onto the wrong week on the calender because I was tired from working with my girls. It only took about ten minutes to put everything into the correct week’s place.

The nutrition part of it is awesome. I thought I was doing really badly with my meals because I put my dinners in first and they contain a lot of red meat, and it actually made me think more health conciously as I was plugging the rest of the meals in, and my family could potentially be eating more healthy because of it. As I plugged meals with more veggies or fruits in them my overall mealplan health rating went from red (unhealthy) to green (healthy). I could see this tool potentially helping me plan healthier meals than ever before for my family. I have never been too health concious of a person, and even with my husband’s diabetes we still don’t eat perfectly. All of that could change if I keep using this app.

The shopping list part of the app is really cool too. The fact that you can change the measurements for shopping reasons is so cool and really helps with the pricing of items. Also the fact that you can email your list to anyone is super helpful. If one of my girls gets sick I can just email the list to my husband and he could look it up on his phone and grab the things we need without stopping home to get a grocery list. This feature is so convenient. It really is one of the most useful parts of the app for me. It would take mere seconds to get the list sent out and then cuddle with my sick girl again.

I have a few others things in my mind that this app could improve on. The first one is to track beverages as well. If you drink the wrong things your calories will go up and your health benefits decrease. They would just need to open a new meal slot labled beverages. Along on this note since the app is already doing health of food it would be pretty cool if it could add the nutritional facts of your whole meal plan all together and then also have a daily section that would be really cool and would benefit a dieter like I am. I lost a lot of weight this year and I think something like that would really help me continue to lose weight, and I might even switch out some meals in the plan with others for calorie or health reasons. The other thing I wish they did was to make the meal plans you create shareable with the click of a button, maybe to just other users of the app that would be really cool. It would be fun to see what other users are eating.

That is what I think of this amazing app and how it can be improved. I suggest that you give it a try, because it really does save me a ton of time, money and makes me eating habits more healthy. Thank you for reading this.

Nicole

Opening Meme Readathon April 2016

I am doing the readathon differently this year. I will be reading one childrens book to my two and four year old daughters all day long .

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I am blogging from the great state of Wisconsin in the United States

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Something disney princess. Hopefully Cinderella.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? We still need to grocery shopping but hopefully we will do some doritos, and chocolate chip cookies.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am a stay at home mom of two year old and four year old. I have blogged for sex months now here at Bobbiedaisy

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I look forward to reading great books with my girls