Surviving the 1st Trimester

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If you didn’t know, I am expecting! I am now into my second trimester and It is SOOOO much better than the first. If you are in your first trimester and feel miserable, I feel for you! I also want you to know it gets better. I promise! I was incredibly sick for the first 17 weeks. I threw up everyday. Most days all day. I lost about 20 lbs. I lived off of crackers, toast, and clear soda. Oh and that anti-nausea prescription, I threw that up too. So much for that!

With all of that said, I made it and you will too. That sweet babe you get in 9 months is worth it, and your body knows what it is doing. Hang in there mama! Here is some things that helped me!

  • Preggo Pops: I was worried the sugar in these would send me into the bathroom, but they did not! They had just enough sour to settle my stomach, slightly sweet to taste good, and had ingredients that are know to help with morning sickness. Order them ASAP!
  • Ginger Ale: I drank this everyday all day. Water wouldn’t stay down. I was terribly afraid of being dehydrated, but this liquid stayed down. While I wouldn’t normally suggest copious amounts of soda, in this case do it!
  • Sleep: I was extremely tired. I noticed my sickness was far worse when I didn’t take time to rest. It can be hard to rest because all the responsibilities are still there and you feel like why can’t I just do what I normally do, but I had to remember that my body was doing really BIG things in the first trimester. Listen to your body and take that nap, sleep in, and go to bed early when you can.
  • Ginger tea: Maybe ginger ale isn’t your thing. Try ginger tea. Sometime I was sick of drinking soda and tea was a nice change of pace. Ginger ale settled my stomach more personally, but ginger tea is healthier and doesn’t contain the sugar like the soda
  • Eat regularly: Do not get hungry! Hungry was no good. If I didn’t eat I would for sure find myself in the bathroom. Low blood sugar can cause morning sickness, so it is good to eat regularly to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Talk about it: At one point I got the blues. I was really upset about how sick I had been. I love cooking and eating yummy food. I like getting dressed and feeling like a normal human. My house was a mess. The laundry was piling up. I was sick of crackers. My husband worked 6 days a week. I hadn’t showered in days. I was beginning to think I am not cut out for this. I knew women who had multiple kids, jobs, and housework who had it together while pregnant, and I was just trying to stay alive. It was really hard at first. I am so glad I talked to people who love and support me because I was feeling pretty bad about myself. Not to mention all the hormones! They tell you crazy things about yourself that just aren’t true. You are made for this. You will be a good mama. It will get better. Know that!

Hang in there friends! The first trimester can be tough. I never imagined that I would be so sick. I didn’t know of anyone who was as sick as me, and I definitely didn’t know anyone who felt down about pregnancy like I did at first. Your body is doing incredible things. Listen to your body. Take care of yourself. Reach out for help. It gets better. You will make it to the “middle magic”. Try some of these things. I can’t say you’ll feel 100%, but I can promise this too shall pass. Much love and many prayers to those who are also growing and raising children!

 

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10 Ways to Save on Groceries!

My household only consists of two people I feed everyday. My husband and myself. While it might only be two people, I am home most days now and eat every meal at home. When I first stayed home I found myself eating out, not having enough food for a decent meal, or not wanting to eat the same things over and over again. This cost me many $$$.

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So what did I do….. went to the grocery store. Bought ALL OF THE THINGS! Spent $180 on that food. We don’t have money for $180 to be spent on food each week so I can fulfill my cravings, not to mention that most of what I got was absolutely terrible for me. With that experience, I search for ways I saved on groceries in the past and new ones I could use going forward. I went from $180 in crap food to $50-$60 in groceries each week that made real meals, fed me and my husband 3 times a day + snacks (21 meals for two people), and it wasn’t complete garbage food. I think that is pretty darn good, so I am sharing my favorite and easiest ways to save on groceries!

  1. Keep your staples stocked. In my pantry I almost always keep rice, quinoa, and lentils. They are all pretty cheap and add bulk to meals. They are also healthy! I also keep things like flour, sugar, a few spices we use on everything stocked all the time. If the store is having a sale, or I happen to have a coupon (Although I almost never have coupons) I might buy an extra. A few other things I try to stock: dried pasta, baking soda/powder, Beans, oil, vinegar, oatmeal, pasta sauce, and broth. By keeping these things stocked you can round out meals, add extra flavor, and cook from scratch which is $$$ saving!

  2. Look in your Fridge. When I go to the store and do not check out my fridge or pantry before I go, I usually end up with something I didn’t need or forget something I did actually need. It is so easy to open my fridge and see we are out of almond milk, but still have eggs. Except when I don’t do that I forget almond milk and bring home more eggs. This is also how I make my grocery list which I the MOST IMPORTANT thing I do to save money.

  3. Make a LIST. This goes hand in hand with checking out your pantry and fridge before you go. Making a list helps me to stay on track, and not buy the yummy looking pizza rolls when I don’t really need them in the first place. (But honestly, I love pizza rolls.) Also, this helps me to make sure I have complete and nutritious meals for the week. Otherwise I end up with odds and ends. I am  then running back to the store for chicken for stir fry, tomato juice for chili, and cheese for tacos because I didn’t think about any of that before I went to the store. Which adds up in various ways. From gas back and forth, to the other stuff I bought instead of the things I actually needed that will probably go bad before I use them.

  4. AlDI. I know this is a particular store, and not everyone may be close to one. If by chance you have one in your area, PLEASE GO! I once many years ago thought Aldi had poor quality, or expired food. That isn’t the case. Aldi has amazing food! Lots of organic and gluten free options, and usually has everything I need. Plus, the prices will blow you away! I get eggs for .99 cents. Avocados on special for .59 cents. Not to mention great meat prices. I bought meat from Aldi and from a big chain grocery store same day ( I forgot my list….), and my Aldi meat was fresher longer. I went to use the big chain meat, it looked slimy and wasn’t to expire in 4 days. Not my Aldi stuff! I exclusively shop at Aldi for all of my groceries. I always get great product and save tons of money!

  5. Plan Ahead. This has been hard since becoming pregnant. On the day I plan all  of the meals I chose sounded great, but come Thursday those meals don’t sound good because I have this major craving for Chinese take out or Mexican food. With that said, if plan for the meals I am going to eat I am less likely to end up eating out normally. I don’t end up with take out because I have meals I am looking forward to, or because I know I have what I need to make a yummy meal at home. Notice a trend?!?!? Planning is key! Makes all the difference.

  6. Skip the coupons. I am not against coupons. I use them. I especially love them when they are for clothes or shoes, but not at the grocery store usually. They usually take a good bit of time to cut, find, or print. They are also usually for a certain brand, a specific product, and I find that it isn’t usually on the things I keep stocked or use all of the time. Which is okay, because I could plan for a meal with X particular item, but I don’t know that the time and effort spent finding a coupon is worth the savings. I will say, if you are super savy with coupons and know how to get 10 jars of pasta sauce for a penny that is amazing! I just do not know how to do that, and don’t find coupons helpful items like produce and meat which is where the bulk of my money is going for groceries.

  7. Apps. Something I use in place of coupons is rebate apps. My favorite one is Checkout 51. I like Checkout 51 because they usually list brands and products I buy anyway, and they also have a general section where you can redeem rebates on products that aren’t a specific brand. For example, there might be a rebate for milk and it doesn’t matter the brand, if it is nut milk, cow’s milk, or some other kind of milk. It is easier than coupons for me because everything is in one place and you get money by just uploading your receipt. Also if you don’t redeem anything else, every week they have uploaded receipts for $60 or more are entered in $500 giveaway.

  8. Rewards. If the grocery store you shop at offers a rewards program join it. Especially if it is free! I don’t plan my shopping trips around coupons, rebates, or rewards, but rewards are great because it is usually as simple as swiping your “rewards card” or putting in a phone number. Like I said, I don’t plan my groceries around sales. I just don’t take the time to do that, but at checkout it is so easy to swipe my rewards card and usually I save a few cents to a couple dollars. Every bit helps, especially when it couldn’t be more easy!

  9. Make meals go farther. This kind of goes with planning, but it is worth sharing! If you can take one meal and use leftovers, or save something from the meal to complete another it saves money and usually time too! My favorite way to do this is to make a whole roasted chicken one night for dinner. Save the bones/meat and make soup. Or we eat all the meat and just make broth because it is a kitchen staple. Either way, if I can take something we were going to throw away and make it purposeful for a second meal, its like free food! I have a recipe here for making broth from bones.

  10. Farmers Market. This is my favorite way to save money! Going to the Farmers Market is fun, supports local families and farmers, and saves money. If you frequently shop at the farmers market, you will probably get to know the people you always buy from. It is not just a great way to make a friend, but it is also good for saving money because they can tell you which is the best deal, some might cut you a deal, or they can guide you to items in season which tend to be easier to find and cheap. I also like the farmers market for special items that can be really costly t the grocery store. Fancy goat cheese spread, speciality breads, and organic products are plentiful at the farmers market and are much cheaper because you are buying straight from the source!

  11. BONUS!!!!! I hated this when I heard it because in my mind ALL of the good stuff is in the middle, but shop the priemeter of the store! It is usually much much much healthier, gives opportunity to make meals from scratch, and it is usually where you save money. Boxed and prepackaged meals are not good you and usually cost extra for the packaging, prepared product, and chemicals that keep its shelf life. I once had someone say you could take care of your body now with healthy food, or pay the cost of healthcare and medicine later. While it might not be right now specific savings on groceries today, I know one medical bill could buy me groceries for a month or years depending on the cost. Healthy is ultimately money saving!

 

 

3 Things That Transformed My Relationships

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I am usually pretty happy, outgoing, and can be quite social if I choose to be. While these sound like characteristics of a extrovert, I am definitely a introvert. It doesn’t always work in my favor. I need alone time. I need quiet time. I need time to recharge after being with a lot of people. But my biggest struggle with being an introvert isn’t any of those things, it is making meaningful connections and relationships with people.

I don’t think I am socially awkward. It isn’t the talking or connecting with people that is hard, it is making meaningful ones that lead to strong friendships and relationships with people.

My husband is great at this. People almost always love him. They like being his friend. He keeps friends forever and makes new ones no problem. While it is a piece of cake for him, it isn’t that easy for me. However, I am on the road to being more intentional and not being afraid to put myself out there to make those meaningful relationships and connections with people.

I have three things that are currently and have already transformed existing relationships and are helping me to build new ones with less fear. I genuinely hope they help you to create stronger relationship you currently have, develop new ones, and transform the way you interact with people wherever you fall on the spectrum.

  1. Read The 5 Love Languages. This book made ALL of the difference in my life. It is by Dr. Gary Chapman. I read it when I first met my now husband. I thought we had a good relationship. Sure, we fought and argued sometimes, but doesn’t every couple? Yeah. People fight. That is normal, but you know what decreased significantly after I read this book? FIGHTING. I honestly cannot think of a serious argument we have had since then. I can’t say this book will or will not do that for you, but I can say it helped me to understand, appreciate, and love my husband better. After reading this I found that my husband showed me love all day everyday, but before the book clued me in I was missing it. Yes, this book is geared towards romantic relationships but the principles can be used with your children, your family, and friends. I promise!

  2. Reach out. I do not do this enough. I know that. I get caught up in housework, appointments, and daily tasks. I forget to reach out. Ask how someone is doing. Wish them a happy birthday. Let them know I have been thinking about them. It isn’t that I don’t want to do these things, or that they haven’t actually been on my mind. It is that I don’t slow down to take the time to do it. With a little planning, and I mean very little, I am able to get out a birthday card. Remember they have a big interview coming up. Wish them luck. Ask how their vacation was. Let them know they are on my mind. I put reminders in my phone. It might seem like a task or chore by doing it this way to some, but it helps me to stay on top of it and to let others know I really care even though life is sometimes busy.

  3. Let go of fear. This one I need more help with than the rest. The book gave me practical tips and brought me to the light, reaching out is as simple as making time, but letting go of fear is easier said, than actually done. I for some reason am so afraid of rejection that probably doesn’t even exist. I am terrified to join new groups or clubs on my own. I usually wait for an invite instead of inviting others to do things with me. I am so scared of being told “I can’t come.” “I am busy.” “I have other plans.” Or worse, showing up somewhere alone and being the one who knows nobody. I am slowly saying no to fear. My word for 2018 is FEARLESS. It is my mission, because I know that beyond my fear is meaningful and strong friendships if I can just let go. I have a couple scriptures I am using to help myself, but I by no means claim this to be the thing I rock at. It’s a work in progress, but I identify the need and that is transforming in itself.

Here is my encouragement:

‘This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”’ Joshua 1:9

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ 2 Timothy 1:7

‘For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ Isaiah 41:13

‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ‘ Philippians 4:6

 

5 Spring Cleaning Tips

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Spring has arrived, and is in full swing at my house. Many people this time of year are organizing the cabinets, opening the windows, and scrubbing the walls. Nothing truly feels better then being in an clean organized space, so I have complied my favorite ways to get it all together before summer gets here. (You know when summer gets here I am going to be outside)!

  1. Go Natural! So many cleaners have nasty chemicals. I really enjoy using natural cleaners, especially with pets and being pregnant. It just gives me peace of mind that what I am using isn’t toxic. Plus, I have saw some different research floating around online that might prove that certain natural cleaners are just as effective as the conventional ones. I really like my Thieves household cleaner. I use it for everything. I even dilute it with extra water and spray on my soft surfaces like carpet, pillows, and mattress. IMG_0513Here is some of my other favorites:
  2. Don’t Underestimate the power of your vacuum! Vacuums are not just for floors! The are great for hard to reach spots too. Many come with attachments that make it great for sucking dust off of ceiling fans, the top of the fridge, window screens, YOU NAME IT! I have been known to use the hose to suck up crud on the counters a time or two. I use my vacuum everyday, but when it comes to deep spring cleaning I am using it for everything. P.S. I have two great danes, and this one works pretty darn good for pet hair.

  3. Declutter. This is by far my FAVORITE thing to do. Clutter drives me crazy. I hate clutter so much that I shove things in closets and drawers to not look at it until I can deal with it. Do not be like me. I then have disorganized closets, which is another problem. To deal with this I like to daily throw trash away and recycle paper clutter. I also keep a basket in my bedroom closet for when I am doing regular cleaning to put clothes, beauty, and other items household items that can be donated.

  4. Take it from the TOP. This has been a lesson learned from some ladies I follow on YouTube. Start at the top and work your way down when cleaning. Nothing is worse them freshly mopped floors now covered in dust and crumbs from wiping off the counters. I find myself always doing double to work when I don’t follow this method. Honestly, this was one of those things when I heard it I was like “DUHH”. It never occurred to me to do this, but makes my life easier.

  5. Give everything a home. This is the most important thing in my house. If things do not have a home I am notorious for throwing it away or shoving it somewhere to never be found again. If you are like me, make sure everything in your house has a home. It makes keeping your home clean easier.  If something doesn’t have a “home” figure out if it is worth keeping, tossing, or donating. If you keep it, it needs a home ASAP before it gets shoved in the junk drawer. (Do you see a reoccurring theme? I hide my messes). (:

I hope these tips help you get your home clean and organized for Spring. I use these all of the time to help me keep my home clean. Cleaning can often seem like a chore, but I find that I am enjoying it a little bit more now that I have found some products, tips, and tools to help get the job done. Happy Spring wherever you are!

The BEST Peanut Butter Pie

Pregnancy has me craving things I would usually tell myself I don’t need on a week night like peanut butter pie. Normally, I would probably settle for a sweet treat we already had at home and make this for a special occasion, but I NEEDED this after I saw the picture on Pinterest.

Let me just say, this was amazing. It literally took no time at all! I kind of didn’t follow the direction in the order they were given, (you should follow them) and it still turned out delicious. Also, It looked nice enough I would serve it to friends. Which is a pretty big deal because I normally make desserts and they turn out totally wrong. Like the time I made cider donuts and they turned into bagels, and didn’t even taste kind of good.

So trust me, if I can make this you can too!

P.S. this is not my recipe. As I mentioned above, I don’t make good dessert usually. I got this recipe from HERE. Her name is Mandy and she has other wonderful recipes you should try!

Without anymore interruptions, here it is: THE BEST PEANUT BUTTER PIE

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What you need:

  • 1 Oreo pie crust
  • 2 cups Heavy whipping cream
  • 1-3/4 cups Powdered Sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1-¾ cups Peanut Butter
  • 20 miniature Reese’s, coarsely chopped (I USED CHOCOLATE CHIPS)
  • Peanut Butter, melted (optional)
  • Hot fudge topping (optional) (I USED CHOCOLATE SYRUP)

How you make it:

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip together whipping cream, ¾ cup powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Set aside. (Okay, Here is where I didn’t follow instructions. I made the whipped cream second. You need it for the third step. Make it now. Do not be like me!)
  2. Cream together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and peanut butter.
  3. Fold in half of the whipped cream.
  4. Pour into pie crust.
  5. Top with remaining whipped cream, chopped Reese’s, and peanut butter and hot fudge sauce if desired. (This is where I used chocolate chips and chocolate syrup instead, I think either way it will be amazing!)
  6. Chill until firm, about 4 hours. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy! (I chilled mine for about 4 hours, and it was still a bit soft. Mind you it was a hot day and I kept getting into my fridge half way through to start dinner. Ours was much more firm the second day!)