Friday, January 30, 2015

Dance Your Butter Off





You might be a homeschooler if you can combine science and physical ed in one simple move. Not to mention the very practical skill of food preparation.

Last week (just after we read Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle) our little reading group made butter.

This is such an easy activity. And it was so much fun.

You can see for yourself in the following video. Then I will share with you how to you too can Dance Your Butter Off.


video


You can see that Josiah is not as impressed. I am also disturbed by my cackle. I CACKLE! I want to giggle or twitter. I don't want to cackle! 

Anyhoo. 

I did create this little printable for our butter making activity. The kids simply recorded the steps in the butter making process

Just click on the picture and it will take you to my google drive file.



For this butter making activity you will need:

heavy whipping cream
a jar with a lid
and lots of energy

I added just about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of whipping cream to each jar. We divided it up between 4 jars so everyone could shake their thing.



I have to say that the smaller jars worked just a little bit better. This one is a jelly jar. The pints took a few minutes longer.

We set the timer for 10 minutes and just shook! 


And some of us danced. And some of pretended like we were too cool to make butter in a glass jar.


You can tell when the butter is done. It will separate into a ball. Just drain the 'buttermilk' from the butter.


I did salt the butter just a little bit after it was done. 'Cause that's the way we roll.



It was lipsmacking good!



I'm considering implementing a butter making session every day around 2:00pm. I figured I danced and shook off at least 2,000 calories.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Review: Motivate Your Child




My friends. 


The Muffin and I are far from perfect parents. Though there was a time that I thought I could be. Not that I would admit such arrogance. 

We had been married 10 years when we adopted a tiny Josiah. Troy had been a children's pastor when I first married him. Then a youth pastor and later a senior pastor. I taught kids. We had a lot of time to observe a variety of parenting mistakes. 

Some of us need to get a grip. Just being real. 

I have learned through my now 13 years of parenting. 

Here is one biggie. I don't know everything. 

My education and experience didn't prepare me for the ride. I did have the experience of having excellent parents, myself. And the older I've gotten I've come to appreciate them so much more. 

This is a tough job! 

How do I raise a son who has a heart for God? How can I teach him to be unselfish? To act with integrity? To be self-motivated. I want him to be all these things because it's who he is...not because I require it of him. 

Lately, I've come to realize that perhaps I've been a bit of enabler. Josiah is dyslexic. We've had to make quite a few adjustments and accommodations with his homeschooling. He has come to rely on me to keep him on task and on track...and, of course, this has spilled into just our every day life. 

How many times do I have to remind him to do his chores (that he is responsible for every single day)? Do I have to keep track of the swim team bag? Is it my responsibility to make sure he leaves the house with everything he needs for the library? And don't get me started about keeping on task in the mornings. 

Am I going to send him off to the great big world not knowing how to keep track of his jacket or when to change his underwear? Or am I just waiting until he gets married and I pass of the responsibility to some poor sweetheart of a girl. 


I have been blessed to be part of the launch team for a great book. I have shared bits and pieces about it on my personal Facebook page. 

It's called " Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told." 

It's written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. They are part of the team that founded the National Center For Biblical Parenting. 



Here is a description:

Learn What Internal Motivation is and Howto Develop it in Your Child
You will learn:• How to build a strong conscience to strengthen internal motivation• How faith changes kids in practical, down-to-earth ways• Ways to help self-focused kids think of others• A strategy to help kids who tend to blame, rationalize, or defend •Ways to use consequences for heart change• Specific heart-based strategies to develop responsibility and initiative.

You can see why I wanted to be on this launch team. 

Already, I have found such wonderful nuggets to implement. The book is so practical.
I want to share a few things that really stuck in my heart. 

There was an example of a mom who videoed her little ones playing Wiffle ball in the backyard. When she played the video back she was astonished and dismayed at the tone of her own voice. It was harsh. She determined that she was going to become more gracious in her speech. It made me think about my own interactions with Josiah. Am I careful with my words? Am I instructing or interacting in a gracious way? Ouch! 


The beauty of "Motivating Your Child" is that it just doesn't identify a problem area. It gives me ideas, examples and scripture to get help me along the way. And trust me. I need all the help I can get. 

Another section in the book talks about building Responsibility. You should see all the bookmarked spots. Anybody else have a video game obsessed son? My husband and I don't want to see the video game controller became permanently attached to Josiah's hand. We are careful with what kinds of games he plays, but at the same time we want him to be judicious and responsible with his time. 

There is an excellent section in the book that talks just about this. We want Josiah to become internally motivated to do what's right. We are encouraged that we can help him do just that. 

I could go on and on...there are so many wonderful things in this book that I have been able to put into practice. 



Before I leave you, I want to share what I consider the heart of the matter. Being ministers, we have seen the responsibility training of spiritual training left to the church. The church's role is to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry." Our role as Christians is to preach Christ to a lost and dying world. Our role as parents is to pass along the faith. We are to live out our salvation. 

The authors spend a good portion of the book helping us understand this and they give us ideas to help us teach that practical Faith. There is even a chapter on leading your child to Christ. 

One of my favorite titles in the book is this.... "Your Home is a Discipleship Center." 

Amen! 

It's all about Jesus. And relationship. 

We am not simply here to train Josiah about how to take care of finances, do his laundry or brush his teeth. 

In the book we are also given an opportunity to take a Family Challenge. Read this.

Send your son to church - spiritually feed him for a day. 
Live it out at home-spiritually feed him for life.

Taking the Family Challenge means that we become intentional about passing our faith on to our children.  

Just this week we started to take a scripture and memorize it. We spend time every day talking about it and reflecting upon it. We talk about how we are seeing it worked out in our own lives. 

Our verse this week? 

What profits a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. Mark 8:36

I can't recommend this book enough. 

I encourage you to check it out. 

Buy the book before January 31, 2015 and you will receive $150 MORE of great stuff. 




If you are around tonight (January 29, 2015), I encourage you to stop by the Release Party on Facebook. There is FREE housecleaning being given away! 









Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Show and Tell (from the kitchen): A Weight Loss Post




It's that time of the week where I dish on how my weight loss journey is going.

Josiah and I have had the sniffles. His sniffles have been decidedly more severe than my sniffles. My workouts haven't been there, but I have to say I've had a great week otherwise.

In fact, some of my fluffy jeans are baggy this week. Love it when the fluffy jeans are baggy! There is always good news/bad news with this sort of thing. The good news is that I'm losing weight. The bad news is I always lose weight in my hinnie first. I don't have much of one to begin with. This means I have a hard time keeping my britches up!

My friend has a name for all of us folks with a less than ample hinnie. Apparently, we are to be known as "The Buttless Wonders."

I know! I need to tell my momma something. I did not come up with this one! It has hardly barely never left my mouth! We were not allowed to say the "B" word (butt) when I was growing up. It was considered 'tacky.'

Moving on.

Just this morning I went through my kitchen and took a few pictures of some of my favorite things in my kitchen that are helping in this "the battle of the bulge."

We will just call it my 'show and tell.'

1. Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt. This is my new favorite friend. There is a ton of protein in it and it is only sweetened with stevia. You've got to check the labels. Yogurt is notoriously sneaky for adding in sugars. Just read the ingredients.



2. Several weeks ago I read this article. It talks about 4 hormones that might be interfering with weight loss. I am one hormonal mess. I understand! He spoke my language. Anyhoo. I did a little research and bought some Natural Calm. I have been having a few teaspoons a day. My blood sugars have been so low I am going to have to reduce the little bit of insulin I take at night. I have had increased energy. Which means I can get into all kinds of nonsense!


3. Okay. So not the most appetizing picture in the world.


This one is a little better. This is my Thrifty Gal's Salsa. I make a whole batch of it up at a time and keep it in the fridge. My favorite way to eat it is with some beans and rice. It has just enough spice and heat to make my taste buds sing. Not that I've ever heard my taste buds sing.


4. Another terrifically appetizing photo. This, my friends, is a bag of frozen strawberries from my Daddy's garden. I take a few of these and whip them up in my food processor with a little bit of cottage cheese. Unbelievable. It tastes like ice cream. And considering one of my biggest cheats is ice cream...I need all the help I can get in that department.


5. I try and have a cup of hot tea before I go to bed. It helps with the nighttime munchies. This kind is one I got around Christmas, obviously. It really taste a little like a cookie. I'm not mad at it.



6. I really think you have to know where some of your triggers lie. I love pasta. I love spaghetti. I love making spaghetti. I might use a pasta called Dreamfields once a week. But, spaghetti squash is a terrific alternative to my pastaholic tendencies. For one, I don't have to limit my portion to a minuscule amount. Another weakness of mine is the potato. However, the potato doesn't love me. It spikes my blood sugars. Enter...The Spaghetti Squash. I know you are thinking, "potato=spaghetti squash?" You just have to try this recipe. It takes care of some of those hashbrown casserole cravings. I will talk about cauliflower another time. I also like spaghetti squash with just a little bit of butter or olive oil, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese.


7. This is so not a healthy diet food. There are probably things in this that I should have. However. a little sweet and creamy goes a long way with me. It is sugar free so it won't spike my blood sugars. I put a little bit of this in my coffee in the morning and I think I'm getting something special. I'm an easy girl to please. There are always new flavors to try. And I'm ready and willing to try all of them.



So that is my 'show and tell' for this week. I have so many more things that I have incorporated into my lifestyle. And that's what it has to be. We can do this!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Printables and Links (just in ti me for President's Day!)






One of our favorite subject in this house is history. It's more than just the places and events that intrigue us...it's the people. 

We might be just a little nosy. 

One of my particular favorite forms of literature are biographies. Again...I might be just a bit nosy. 

I have read several excellent biographies about Abraham Lincoln and one terrific one about his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. 

I think he was just a fantastic person all the way around. I want to share with you a few links and ideas that you can incorporate into your own study of our 16th president. We tend to do more hands-on, interactive kinds of things. Which means I love to go poking around the internet so I can see it for myself (we do live in Missouri, after all). 

I created a group of notebooking pages for Honest Abe. There are 7 pages included. The majority of them are intended for a biography report I am going to do with our little reading group in a few weeks. The boys (in particular) seem to do with more graphic organization. You can do what you will with them. We are going to quite a bit of reading about the President and then make our reports. 




As far as books go...I have a few on my bookshelf that I've used for years. (I am not an affiliate of Amazon..they don't allow it in Missouri...so don't worry about using my links).

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters. This is really a great book. There is also a FREE lapbook available at Homeschoolshare.com


DK Readers L3: Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, Leader, Legend 



Abraham Lincoln -God's Leader for a Nation


 Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom (Heroes of History) - A YWAM book! These are so well done. 


Abe Lincoln Grows Up  - I found this one at the Thrift Store this past summer. I am planning on pulling it out as part of our President's Day study. 

I am sending you to the Biography section at An Old-Fashioned Education. There are several links to FREE and just plan terrific older books. I enjoyed reading through Lincoln's Yarns and Stories: (a complete collection of the funny and witty anecdotes that made Lincoln famous as America's greatest story teller) by Alexander McClure. 

Anyhoo. Old-Fashioned Education has put all of those wonderful resources on one page for us to enjoy. 

Do you have any littles in the house that enjoys paper dolls? Here is a link for President Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln paper dolls. I adore paper dolls. Josiah...not so much. 

Next I'm sharing a few videos from youtube I looked up. 

This one is short and put out by Disney. Perfect for the young crowd. 


This is the full documentary from the History Channel. 



This is the 1939 movie starring Henry Fonda. It is partially fictionalized, but here is an interesting fact. In 2003, Young Mr. Lincoln was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".




Here is a link to a webquest. I haven't tested all the links, but I am going to do this with Josiah. He loves webquests. 

This is a PBS resource page featuring "Looking For Lincoln." There are all sorts of fun and interesting tidbits here. 

Take a virtual field trip! The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Mary Lincoln Todd House. the Lincoln Home National Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial National Monument and the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial are not near our neck of the woods,but we can visit online! 

This is a great page. It's perfect for kids needing to do their own research. She has quite a list of external resources; some I probably have mentioned here. 

Add a little science to your study. This video is fascinating! "What are the odds the coffee you are drinking has the same water molecules as Abraham Lincoln's?" Do I want to know?

Here is a nice poster to print and color from crayola.com. I think it would be fun to add to your notebooking pages or even collect a whole set of presidents.  

This video ,featuring the Gettysburg Address, is from the Library of Congress. 

This site has a few crafts and writing activities. We are going to make the stove pipe hat in our reading club. 

So that's about it for me. There are so many things to do! And I'm not talking about my laundry. 








I'm part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew Round-Up. Go check it out!





Presidents Day Resources

Monday, January 26, 2015

What I'm Fixin' this week!


Hey! It's Monday.

Which means I am posting my meal plan for the week. I didn't post my plan last week. My week started strangely because of the holiday. It was Tuesday before I realized it wasn't really Monday.You know how that happens.

As it is, I have a sick boy to start out this week.

 Poor guy. He handles being puny much better than most grown men.

But that's another blog post.

I am going to keep this short and sweet. Kind of like me. Only I'm "shorter"...And sometimes sweet. And a little strange. Moving on.

Monday
That's today! I'm fixing these Korean-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I am subbing out the brown sugar for something more friendly to my eating plan.

Tuesday
Pork Loin Roast (in the Crockpot). My mom has a method that is really easy. I am going to try it out this week and I'll let you know how it works for me.
Mashed Cauliflower (for me) and potatoes for my boys
Pan fried okra. I took a package out of my mom and dad's freezer when I was at the farm this weekend. Yum! Okra is my friend. It could be your friend to.

Wednesday 
Black Bean Quesadillas with homemade salsa & guac. I made these last week and they were literally inhaled. I am posting the recipe this week so stay tuned! I took pictures and everything. Sure. We had them last week. But they were super easy and everybody liked them. I'm striking while the iron is hot! Plus, I have all the stuff ;<)

Thursday
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (using leftover pork from Tuesday). I'm giving my guys buns and using a low carb wrap for me.
Slaw
There are also a bag of chips or two wandering around the house I'm trying to forget about. I did not buy them. I plan on sending them to work with The Muffin.

Friday
Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken This recipe looks absolutely yummy. I am going to cut it in half.
Roasted Broccoli
Caesar Salad


So that's it. That's the plan. Then again there's always cereal....








I'm linking up to Meal Plan Monday over at orgjunkie.com





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Bean Primer: Red Beans & Rice





Hi! How is your week going?

Mine is going...whether I like it or not. I can't believe it's already half over. I have some stuff I need to do! For one, there is a desk in my living room that needs to be moved to Josiah's room. And I am working on a brand new online shop that features some really wonderful art. My mom and I are doing it together. It's been a bit tricky getting it all together. We live an hour away from each other and she works full time. We are gittin' 'er done. 

This is just a sample of a download that's going in the shop. 


Isn't this just darling? This is a original Zentangle print. My momma created it. She teaches art and part of her job is teaching art to residents in a Nursing Home. They have been her test subjects and happy to color anything she puts in front of them. They have been coloring fools! I have also been doing a little bit of this and that. Mine don't look near as detailed and professional, but doodling has given me some stress relief. 

But you didn't stop by to hear about my doodle habit or my stress levels! 

I've promised to give you some of my favorite bean recipes. This one comes from my friend Kimberly and her husband, Mark. She's originally from Michigan and her husband from Indiana. But they lived several years in Mobile, Alabama and came away with a few southern traditions. I always love going to their house. Kim has the gift of hospitality and is always ready with a cup of hot tea and a friendly ear. 

My first taste of this particular recipe was at their house (I might have had a cup of tea that day). It was wonderful. I am not a stranger to Red Beans & Rice, but this was just tasty good. And, as I was to find out, easy peasy. 

I made a trip to one of our local discount groceries a few weeks ago and found this bag of red kidney beans for .89. Now you can use canned beans. This is one of those kinds of recipes that has a few more steps so the easier you need to make it the better. 

Though I find cooking up a pot of beans to be no trouble at all.


I generally do a quick soak when cooking my beans. I just put my beans in my pot and covered them with water. I turned on the stove and let them come to a boil. Then I cooked them for about 8-10 minutes. I don't even think they need that long. 


After the beans have boiled, I turn off the stove and let the beans sit on top for an hour. You can do 2 hours if you have to. This is what they look like after they've soaked. 


After my beans soaked I drained them in a colander and covered them with clean, fresh water. I then put them on to cook. I am not sure how long. As I told you last week...you have to babysit beans if you are going to cook them on top of the stove. They can soak up the water. I let them come to a boil and then turn them down. 

Just another thought before I move on. There have been occasions that the beans I have purchased at the Discount Store have taken forever and ever to cook. I'm sure the older the bean...I still take the chance. I like a good deal. 

You can use any rice for this recipe, but I used brown rice. My favorite brown rice recipe evah is still Alton Brown's.  I decided to cook this batch on top of the stove. I'm still trying to figure out why I did that. It always comes out so good in the oven. I managed just fine, but it just doesn't seem to come out as fluffy and nutty on the stove. White rice is simple bimple to cook on the stove. Brown rice is another animal grain. I cooked up 2 cups of rice for this recipe. 


It is truly the beautiful veggies that make this particular recipe unique. For one, you can't fix Red Beans & Rice without celery, onion & peppers. This recipe calls for one of each color. You can also see a little garlic peeking out there. So I realize my veggies aren't probably in their optimal condition. I don't care! I use what I have and we all eat fine. Don't throw something away that can be cleaned up a bit. 


So I chopped. And chopped some more. 


Then I threw my veggies (except for the garlic) in my big ole skillet. If you don't have a big ole skillet you need one. Just my opinion. I (heart) my big ole skillet. 


I need to talk about my choice of protein. The recipe called for andouille sausage. I used what I had in the freezer which was a nice package of delicious smoked sausage I got at the Discount Grocery for 1.99. It was a nice quality. I did defrost it in the microwave maybe a little too long. I think I got distracted. It happens. 


I threw my smoked sausage and garlic in the my big ole skillet and sauteed everything together. 


This, my friends, is spice in a can. How much spice in a can you want to use is up to you. I used a few tablespoons and it was plenty spice. Though I noticed my hot mouthed boys adding some hot sauce. 


I don't have a picture, but I mixed my beans and veggie mixture together and seasoned. I think it's okay to season the beans as you cook them, but I wanted to use any extra beans in something else (a chef salad). Then I mixed it all with my rice.  Josiah can eat a whole pot of rice by himself so I decided he needed to have a little something else with his rice. 

The result was really delicious. I wasn't as happy with my brown rice. It tasted fine. It was just a bit gummier than I like. 

This recipe made a bunch. We were able to have leftovers. Love the leftovers. The Muffin doesn't appreciate them as much as I do. So when he tells me that he will enjoy eating on something another day I know it's good. This was a dish he enjoyed again. 



Okay. So the recipe. 

3 cups of cooked red beans
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 med.Onion, chopped
5 stalls of chopped celery
1T minced garlic
2lbs of andouille sausage
2 cups of cooked rice
Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning to taste.(I used 2 T)

Saute all the veggies (except for the garlic) until tender. Add the sausage and garlic and give it another toss until the garlic has cooked a bit. Mix the veggies, beans and rice all together and season with the Creole seasoning until it tastes like you want to eat it.

I didn't serve anything with this dish the night I fixed it. I normally like something green to serve along most of anything we eat. Except pancakes. A spinach salad doesn't go too well with pancakes.

Not that I've tried. 

Anyhoo. This week I am going to fix Black Bean Cakes. They are so yummy. And a little addictive. 

I'll keep you posted. 



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You Can Lose Weight If You're Broke!





"To dream the impossible dream...."

So some of you are like me. You need to lose weight. In fact, I haven't been at my ideal weight in nearly 20 years. There were many years of heartache, failure after failure...nothing seemed to work. Except gaining more weight. I am good at that. 

I am not going to get into the psychology of all of it. I'm not Dr. Phil. Though I can do a fair imitation. 

What I want to talk about is an excuse I had for years. Almost 2 years ago I lost 80 pounds. Yikes! 
Now I have some more to lose and this past year as been filled with more excuses. 

Mostly this one, "It's just so hard!"

Tru dat. 

I am not going to sugar coat any of it. Losing weight is work. It's frustrating. But (and this is a big one) when it happens it's worth it all. 

One excuse I floated around for a while was this one."I'm too poor. If I had the funds I could do it."  I remember hearing lots of people talk about this one years ago when Oprah lost weight. "If I had a trainer and a personal chef..." Where you one of those folks talking? 

It can be expensive. Especially, if you chose to use a supplement or other resource to help you along. I am not knocking that choice. You do what you have to do. I haven't had that choice. 

For some of us we've had to chose between paying a bill and food on the table. 

So here it is. I want to give you my favorite  FREE or FRUGAL tips, tricks and resources that will help you scratch that "I'm Broke" excuse off the list. 

Workouts

A membership to a gym is not possible for some of you. Now we have a membership to our local Y. We receive a scholarship for half-price. We decided that this would be priority for our budget because Josiah is on the swim team and it has done so much for him. My husband is also an athlete and he does some weight training. You have to decide if something like this is in your budget and if you will use it. We do use it and it has become part of even our family time together. Don't be afraid to check out something like a scholarship or discounts. 

We participated in a family Fun Walk last spring. It cost $5. Josiah even won a bag of cool games. Actually, he won two, but we gave one of them to a young man who didn't win anything. 

Making a daily walk part of your routine can be a worthwhile habit. Some mamas make take this time for reflection, prayer and focus. Some use it to get the kiddos moving as well. It is harder for me to walk long distances because of injuries I sustained from a car accident, but when the weather is nicer Josiah and I will sometimes walk around the block or to the bank. We also will drive to the local botanical gardens and enjoy a walk along with a nature study. You can mix fitness with schooling! 

Take every opportunity to move. I try and park away from the entrance of the store if possible. When I'm cleaning house I will put my tennis shoes on and move. If you have a pedometer see how many steps you walk in a day. I've heard that we should try and get in 10,000 steps. That's a lot of moving. 

I love using youtube workouts when I can. I don't have to leave the house and they are FREE. Here are some of my favorites.  Just a little aside. Isn't youtube wonderful? Just this week I am learning how to make a California Roll, trying a hand lettering technique and studying about Qatar. At least, Josiah is studying about Qatar. All from youtube! 

1.The first two workouts I'm sharing are ones that you can do from a chair.  This chair workout for the overweight/obese is only 10 minutes long. The gal is so encouraging. I can't do some of it (my range of motion isn't as great), but I try. She has a whole bunch of other workout videos as well. 

2. Sparkpeople has some great workout videos available. I like this cardio chair workout. They have bunches and bunches of videos available. 

3. I also use T-Tapp workouts. I purchased them when I had little bit of extra cash. However, they do have free workouts on youtube. This one is called the Hoe Down.  I was really surprised how much these work! This video is just over 3 minutes. 

There are also lots of workout videos available at the library. Try some different ones. Your metabolism likes surprises. It will often slow down if it gets used to the same workout week after week. 

If you want to add a little bit of weight training look no further than your kitchen cabinets! We do have some hand weights I use that I found at the thrift store for about a buck, but when I was homebound doing physical therapy after my car accident, my physical therapist grabbed some canned veggies out of the cabinet. There you go! You might have other household items (like a baby :<) that might fill in. I'm currently staring at a big Bible commentary. Could I use that Bible commentary in a workout? It must weight at least 20 pounds. Hmm. 

Groceries

This is a biggie. Just buying the weekly groceries can be so stressful. When you add in special and healthy ingredients...AHHH! Just this morning I went to the health food store and spent $25 on just a few things. And I sure didn't get what I intended to. I wanted to get some Hemp protein powder. It was $20! That is 1/3 of my grocery budget. 

So. Get rid of the junk food. Don't even buy it. I don't care if the kiddos can't seem to do without it. They'll survive. If they want to spend their own money on junk food..that's another thing.

Learning to cook can be your greatest weapon against the bulge. Don't worry about making it fancy. 


Scratch cooking is so much healthier. It might not be easier or convenient, but have you read the labels of some of that processed food? If you can't pronounce it don't eat it. The fewer ingredients something has the better. Don't be afraid to try recipes. I am a seasoned cook and some of my attempts have been complete fails. 

I don't cook separate meals. If I think my husband and son might need something more I will usually just add a baked potato or some rice. I think you will fine that everybody will eventually get on board. The taste buds will acclimate to the healthy stuff eventually. 

Rethink brand loyalty and where you shop. I do much of my shopping at Aldi's. They almost have everything I need. I discovered the joys of Discount Grocery shopping some time ago. We have a few good ones in our area. Sometimes I have found special ingredients that have been just pennies. My favorite buy was the case of 24 Greek yogurt I bought for 1.99. It was perfectly fine. Another place I like to go from time to time is a bulk grocery store. The ones in our area are owned and operated by Mennonites. I get some terrific deals on herbs, spices, oatmeal, beans...Do a little research and see if you can find one near you. 

We don't waste a lot of money on beverages. I buy skim milk for The Muffin and Josiah. I also purchase Almond Milk for myself. I generally buy a half-gallon of orange juice. That's it, baby! I will buy tea bags and make tea for the house. I also have a stash of coffee I buy from the Discount Store. That's it. Otherwise it's water all the way!! 

So I forgot about my husband's buttermilk. That particular item is another story. 

There have been times that we have eaten from a food pantry. We were extremely blessed to have even that, but there aren't a lot of healthy choices in those boxes. Generally, they consist of a lot of pasta and canned foods. One time we got a whole box of honey buns and ranch dressing mix. It has been a few years since we've had to do that, but I know what it's all about. This is the best advice I can give you. Use what you have. Just watch your portions. If you do have a bit of money spend it on veggies. A dinner of spaghetti with canned spaghetti sauce can become a special treat with carrots and celery sauteed and added to your sauce. Or chop up a whole plate of the same veggies to have for extra munchies. Beans and eggs are wonderful cheap proteins. A box of oatmeal can go a long way. This is a link to a recipe book that uses items frequently found in food pantry boxes. Several of them look pretty healthy. Just remember. Watch your portions.

Motivation

Sometimes just staying on plan on and on track is downright near impossible. Ack!! I can't even tel you how many pep talks I have to give to myself daily. Yep. I talk to myself. U gotta a problem with dat?

I have to keep a food diary of some sort. I use sparkpeople.com, but you can use just a pen and notebook. It helps me stay accountable to me. 
Sometimes you just have to be brutally honest with yourself. I want to be here for this guy and My Muffin. I want to be healthy and present for him. I don't want him to be ashamed of me. And I want him to see first hand that the hard stuff is worth doing. You can't buy that kind of motivation. Write it down. Look at it every day. 


Because I am a stress snacker, I have had to develop other ways to handle things. I doodle. I read. I enjoy a cup of tea. 

Pinterest is a great resource. Try setting up a Pinterest Board just for your healthy new lifestyle. I pin recipes I want to try, articles that might help me and even clothes I want to wear when I lose a little more weight. When I finally was able to start shopping in the "regular sizes" again that board helped me really focus on what I liked. I had spent so many years just worried about things that wouldn't make me look bigger than I really was. I had lost some of my own personal style. Don't be afraid to dream. 

The best advice I can give you is to just start. Don't worry if your efforts look cool and hip. Baby steps. And don't let the excuse of being broke get you down. 

We've got this! 








I'm joining in with my friends from The Schoolhouse Review Crew! 


Living Frugally
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