Walking, June, and 21 Day Fix

Happy FriYAY!

Happy June.

Happy Summer.

Happy Hurricane Season!

 

So BIG news…Baby C is walking! I have video proof and at 11 months he is walking. My boys both seemed to have missed the memo that they are moderate/late term preemies and decided to just go on with their bad selves and walk before a year old. Honestly, I love it. Little unsteady waddles with arms out are the cutest!

Now that Baby C has been walking for about a week or so, he’s doing more walking than crawling and he’s getting pretty fast!

And, now that it’s June, it’s Baby C’s birth month which means in a couple short weeks I’m going to have a ONE YEAR OLD.

How on earth did this happen??!

All the cliches about the days are long the years are short yadda yadda yadda…yeah…they’re true. I’m really looking forward to the next several months though as he grows up and becomes even more interactive with us.

In addition to his new found freedom of walking, Baby C is signing more every day and his newest sign is “more” and “eat” which really is no surprise from my little chunky baby.

And last but not least, he knows how to play peek-a-boo! Gah! The cuteness!!

In other news I have started doing 21 Day Fix and I’m soooooore. I’m following the meal plan as well and at first the containers looked SO small I was wondering how on earth I was going to survive on such little food.

But them somethig amazing happens…after you stuff your 21 day fix container…let’s say the green one (vegetables), and dump what appears to be a measly amount of food that couldn’t even sustain a rabbit, let alone a human being, you have a shit ton of food on your plate!

Im serious.

Every.Single.Time. I fill my containers…green, purple, red, yellow, so on and so forth, I’m thinking “how on God’s green earth is this enough food??!!”

and Every.Single.Time. I dump my food onto my plate, I have SO much more food than I thought.

AND Every.Single.Time. I eat, I feel full. I’m not starving and I’m STILL nursing Baby C. In fact, I think my supply is up a little which I’m baffled by because Baby C eats 3 meals a day, albeit small ones, and maybe a snack or two. And some days his snack is just a quick nursing session.

So the only thing I can even remotely tie to my increase supply, is my daily Shakeology (chocolate!). It’s a nutrient dense super shake basically (I say this bc it’s not JUST a protein shake and it’s not JUST a meal replacement shake) so this makes sense but I’m still left very surprised by this because for real y’all I’m having to pump and I get 3-4oz from ONE side. And I’m starting to leak again!! Say what?!

And since I’ve already crossed into TMI terrority I’ll share this tid bit with you…

Shakeology is making me poop.

And in a really good way.

See recently my bowls have been a hot mess. It got so bad that I didn’t want to eat because 20 minutes later I’d be in the bathroom. I’ll spare you these details but suffice it to say, food was running right through me.

I quickly got on some good probiotics and then I got backed up. Which is never a problem for me so I was left dumbfounded. After a few weeks on probiotics, yes WEEKS, I was somewhat starting to get back to normal but I was still kinda eh about my bathroom habits. I was feeling bloated and gassy and it just wasn’t my normal (1-2 times a day EVERY day).

Enter Shakeology *drum roll*

Honestly, Shakeology was a part of my Beachbody challenge pack (21 day fix containers, on demand access to Beachbody workouts – YES it’s as amazing as it sounds) so I didn’t seek it out to help my poop (or lack thereof) challenges. I just figured I’d do as Autum says and include it in my 21 day fix challenge.

Y’all the first day I drank it I pooped 4 times.

4 TIMES.

Yep, new personal record.

And the best part was, I wasn’t cramping, gassy, or bloated. I simply just had to poo.

After 4 days on Shakeology, I FINALLY feel back to normal in regards to my colon. I feel empty after I go and I’m going 1-2 times a day again. Hallelujah!

So all that to say, is that the digestive enzymes, pre and probiotics are a workin’!

Now the workouts…as I said I’m sore. And I love it. It takes a lot of running for me to be sore and the leg exercises in 21 day fix definitely target all 4 of the muscles in my quads, plus my hamstrings and my glutes! I think at this point I’d have to run 10+ miles to feel any soreness, but with 21 day fix, a quick 30 minute workout routine has left me cringing every time I have to go to the bathroom. And y’all know I’m going at least twice.

I also love that the moves involve weights and it’s legit strength training WITH cardio. Seriously every move is working several muscles at a time and that’s what I love and that’s why it’s only 30 minutes. Life right now is just busy and especially on shift days when running isn’t always feasible, having a quick, extremely efficient at home workout is a game changer.

Y’all bottom line, this is my second Beachbody program to try and I’m in LOVE. Beachbody is on point.

I’ll be posting my progress on here over these next 2.5 weeks so be sure to check in!

 

Have you ever tried a Beachbody program?

What are your weekend plans?

Do you live in a hurricane prone area?

 

 

 

 

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Insanity Update and Insanity Eats Week 2 and 3

It’s been a few several days since I have updated on my Insanity progress so here it is:

I have taken off 3 days in a row.

Then got back on track and completed the next workout.

Then took a day off.

Then got back on track.

Then took a day off.

Then got back on track with the Cardio Recovery routine today.

Clearly there’s a pattern here, but I am choosing to ignore it, so I’m asking you do the same. M’kay? Just humor me on this one.

Alright, now that we got that out of the way, here is a brief update.

I miss running! Its strong ya’ll. I REALLY REALLY miss running. Insanity is a GREAT workout and I sweat my butt off and get a little endorphin rush, but its just not the same as running. And its making Insanity hard to stick with.

I am going to continue Insanity, but when I want to run, and I can fit it into my schedule, I’m going to! I hope that getting a couple runs in a week will help with my running withdrawals. Also, I know I’m stronger from Insanity so I am curious how this will translate in runs. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

I have completed 18 days of Insanity (if I take a day off I pick back up where I left off versus the scheduled workout. I know this will extend my 60 days, but I’m good with it) and I have lost 3 inches.

-1 inch on chest (above breasts)

-0.5 inche on waist

-1 inch on hips

-0.5 inche on right thigh (yes my thighs are two different sizes)

According to the scale I am up 2 pounds putting me at 160. I am wearing my size 8-10 clothes and my size S-M shirts (the breastfeeding friendly ones). I am 5’7″ and I was 153 pre-pregnancy, gained 22 pounds with Baby C putting me at 175 pounds. All in all, I am okay with my weight. It’s a number. An arbitrary number that doesn’t take into account muscle mass and strength. I’m not going to lie, I wish the number was smaller. But I do know I am strong. I am healthy. And it’s just a number. I’m thrilled that I was wearing all my regular clothes about 8 weeks postpartum and I am gaining some muscle! I’m sharing some raw honesty here with these numbers, because healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes!

According to the fit test I have improved a lot too! In all 8 exercises I increased the number of reps I could do in 1 minute. I can even do some Push Up Jacks now. The moves aren’t as hard coordination wise, but the Fit Test was still tough since I maxed out what I could do.

Overall, with my days off, life craziness, and my diet (more on this in a bit) I am happy with my results so far. Physically, I notice a little more definition in my thighs and stomach, and seeing my measurements reassures me I am making progress.

Now for my eats!

Week 2 eats was during Labor Day weekend so alcohol was consumed, along with snack foods, and more sugar and treats than the previous week. I knew this would be the case, and I was okay with it. I also did make solid food choices.

For breakfast I had oatmeal and coffee. A morning snack would be cottage cheese and either grapes or pineapple or a Greek yogurt with granola. And some days it was both.

Lunch was either out (BBQ) or a quick PB&J. An afternoon snack was usually a chocolate protein shake that also curbed my sweet tooth.

And dinner this week was all over from pizza to ribs to salad to PB&J, or eggs.

One thing I focused on this week was increasing my protein and I am happy to say most days I was around 75-80 grams.

Week 3 eats brings us to this week, and the biggest diet change now is that I have eliminated dairy from my diet because of Baby C’s reflux. So I know longer eat milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, or protein shakes. So I’ve gotten creative.

My diet now is a lot of meat, veggies, fruit, and complex carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice.

One thing I have started to make, which I’m really enjoying, our meat and veggie bowls and rice bowls. And its literally what it sounds like. Cooked meat seasoned various ways, tons of veggies, and enjoy!

The other night I made a Korean beef rice bowl with ground beef and brown rice and it was delicious. Tonight I am going to make a pineapple cilantro salmon rice bowl – yum!

For my sweet tooth, I came across the Peanut Butter Chocolate Larabar. Holy moly ya’ll! This bar is everything. Its vegan, dairy free (Yay!), gluten free, and kosher. And this bar is like death by chocolate. It not only is a quick and simple snack, but its a great treat.

I also made dairy free ice cream! I blended 2 frozen bananas, 1/4 avocado, and 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, and a splash of almond milk. I topped it with unsweetened coconut, almonds, and marshmallows and had rocky road ice cream! You guys, make this. Like seriously. Like right this minute.

It.Was.So.Good.

Since my go to dairy snacks aren’t an option any more I have fruit, beef jerky, veggies, or eggs (hard boiled, on top of avocado toast, etc), and my tried and true PB&J (I love PB&J – can you tell?) for snack options. Its been an adjustment for sure, but fortunately most labels list if milk is contained so that makes it very easy. And in the end, I think I am actually eating healthier.

And that concludes my Insanity update for now!

Insanity Week 1 Eats

Ya’ll, this is by far the hardest part of the 60 day Insanity program – nutrition.

What the heck am I suppose to eat?!

How much am I suppose to eat?!

I’m breastfeeding so how many calories do I need?!

How many grams of protein should I eat in a day?!

Carbs? Are they good, bad, somewhere in between?

So yeah, I’m still trying to figure this out. And I even read the Insanity Nutrition Plan. It has a lot of information and lots of meal ideas and I’m definitely using it, but I’m still second guessing my food choices.

I clearly need a personal dietician AND chef because this past week I didn’t get around to eating breakfast until 11 am or later!

Yeah, not good.

And most days, that meal ended up being breakfast AND lunch.

I know….this is bad, but with a newborn it’s life.

The other thing that’s kinda tricky is I can’t rely on a scale and certain goal weight to dictate if my calorie consumption is appropriate because Insanity is cardio AND strength training.

Which means I’m going to gain muscle and burn fat.

And one thing I do know, muscle weighs more than fat.

Hence why measurements are so important.

But the part that’s confusing: when should I see my measurements improving?

The answer: it depends.

On what you might ask…

How hard I work out and what I eat.

*hand hits forehead*

So, maybe now you understand my dilemma.

What the hell do I eat and how much?

So to make sense of all of this and to simplify the nutrition aspect, here is what I’m trying:

Breakfast will either be eggs, breakfast burrito, cottage cheese and fruit, Greek yogurt with granola, or oatmeal.

Snack will either be a protein shake, cottage cheese, hard boiled egg, or Greek yogurt.

Lunch will be a salad with either chicken, tuna, or salmon with all the veggies and some fruit.

Snack will be a protein shake, a PB&J, rice cakes with PB, almonds, yogurt, or fruit. This snack will probably depend upon my level of breastfeeding hunger. Lately, I’ve been having a PB&J because I am so hungry.

Dinner will be a protein (salmon, chicken, beef) with veggies and another side such as salad, quinoa, or potatoes.

Before bed treat will probably be fruit, protein shake, yogurt, or a glass of wine 1-2 days/week only.

With all of these meals and snacks, my goal is to limit my sugar intake (candy, cookies, ice cream, etc) and make better food choices like a piece of fruit over cookies.

I’m guessing right now my calories are somewhere around 1600-2000. I know it’s a wide range but with Baby C, some days I just don’t get around to eating a meal and rely on quick snacks, and other days I can sit down and eat decent meals.

This week I did fairly good on my above “nutrition plan”. I had eggs with a Greek yogurt most days, followed by some kind of snack, followed by another snack, then maybe another because I never did get a solid lunch in since I ate breakfast so late. Then I had dinner which varied from sandwiches to a protein shake.

I did have some cheats though in the form of wine and chocolate chips. I did however, significantly limit my sugar by not giving in to every craving like I was before. So it’s a small step of improvement.

To make next week even easier to stay on plan, I did some food prep today while Baby C napped (in his crib! More on this later!).

I cooked quinoa with sautéed cabbage, onion, spinach, and green pepper in it. This will make for an easy salad addition or a side with my meals.

I also chopped up cabbage, spinach, and green pepper and stored it together as a salad “base” that I can add to each day.

I had a fresh pineapple I cut up as well for a quick snack option that beats my usual granola bars and other processed and high sugar foods.

I then cut up the cucumbers that desperately need to be eaten so I can either munch on, add into a salad, or have as a side.

With part of the cucumber I decided to make a quick cucumber pineapple salsa to go with our salmon we’re having for my birthday dinner tonight. Yummy!

I’m hoping next week I can make more improvements and have less doubt about my food choices.


What is your food philosophy? Clean eating? Paleo? THM? Eat whatever you want? Whole foods only? Low carb?

Anyone else have a birthday in August? Today I’m 29…my last year in my 20s.

An Update in List Form

I have lots to share and my mind is mush so it’s going to be a list today…

Pregnancy: ya’ll, yesterday marked the longest I have EVER been pregnant – 33 weeks and 6 six days. Today I am exactly 34 weeks and this baby is still cooking! And I am oh so grateful. And I am oh so DONE. This has been a very tough road. On one hand I am so happy he’s healthy and thriving and still growing but on the other hand I am crampy, contractiony, back achy, pelvic pressury and have a baby bouncin’ on my cervix (ouch!). I am SO ready to meet this little boy, count his fingers and toes, see his nose and hair and give him a name and bring him home to his family. I’ve stopped all medications and plan to get a little house cleaning done and it take it a day at a time.

Here are a few stats:

34 weeks

17lb weight gain

No stretch marks

Belly button is poking out at the top only

I can’t see my toes

Having another BOY!

Due date is July 15th

Mable: my last post I introduced you to my sweet Mable (which btw means “loveable” and is such a fitting name for her!) and I have good news! She’s good to come home!! Her bladder repair surgery went SO well and she’s urinating a full bladder’s worth ON.HER.OWN. She’s also pooping on her own. Although she doesn’t have full rectal control, she has a lot more than a couple weeks ago and gets into position and poops! This is huge because it means her nerves are healing and are not completely dead! She’s still recieving TLC (read: spoiled rotten) at the vet office and even has free range to roam around on occasion. Her fractures seem to be healing nicely and are definitely not slowing her down. We need to get a couple other things lined up like a meet and greet with our two current dogs and getting Mable her own crate but I do have a collar and leash ordered for her! She’s coming home! Here’s a picture overload for your enjoyment!

Baby Prep: ya’ll, my freezer could feed the Chinese army. Or at least my family during a zombie apocalypse. Seriously it’s kinda insane. BUT having gone through the newborn stage once with round the clock nursing and very little sleep, I know I won’t regret all the food I have prepared. My mom and I worked leisurely these past couple weeks on a few final things: chicken casseroles, banana bread, and french toast which I got zero pictures of. I know – a professional blogger I am not. We also made some beef based dishes. Meatloaf, meatballs, hamburger patties, and chili!

I decided it would be easier for me to already have meat prepared versus pounds of ground beef in the freezer. So the meatloaf, meatballs, and hamburger patties were seasoned, formed and frozen raw. All I have to do is toss it in the oven or on the grill. The chili was cooked and simmered ALL DAY then cooled overnight in the fridge and portioned into zip lock bags for an easy meal. Outside of cooking and eventually some cleaning (my nesting doesn’t like the cleaning) there hasn’t been much else in terms of baby prep. I have the essentials in my room and the nursery is sort of together. The crib is in the room in pieces, the old tv is out of there, and the futon is folded up (as a couch vs a bed) and all of Baby Boy’s clothes are washed and in his drawers but honestly that’s been it. I want to get it all done and have a Pintrest worthy nursery but the truth is I hurt. A lot. All day every day and the reality is, it will be easier to do some of this not pregnant. And Baby Boy won’t need his crib/room immediately after coming home. So there’s time. At least I keep telling myself this.

Summer/Diapers/FirefighterDad: okay hands down summer is my favorite season. I love it all – the sunshine, the warmth, the pools, beaches, BBQs, being outside, watermelon, sprinklers, white puffy clouds…agh I could go on and on. The only thing I don’t like are the mosquitos but I am religious with sunscreen and bug spray so it’s a small sacrifice for a couple months.

With that said, Diapers has been practicing riding his bike (with training wheels). This is something I really want him to master before his brother arrives so the 3 of us can take walks! He got the bike for Christmas and was all like “no way”. Well a lot of encouragement and 6 months later he’s getting it. It’s not perfect, but we did make it around the half mile loop we have in our neighborhood. Progress! There has also been a lot of scootering, sidewalk chalk and playground time. I hope to get to the pool and beach more now that water temps are more reasonable and I even signed Diapers up for a free summer bowling program and our local library’s reading program. I figure since I’m not working full time right now (and for the next foreseeable future) I am going to take advantage of this staying-at-home-mom-gig!

FirefighterDad is doing well also and is extremely busy. His department is crazy short staffed so that means overtime and crazy hours. Plus he’s taking a class on the weekends so time with him now is limited, but by the time Baby Boy arrives, his schedule won’t be so hectic. A small sacrifice now for more time later.

And that’s all the update I have for you.

 

Now fill me in – what are your summer plans?!

Freezer Cooking Part 3

I know.

know.

Why should you get your hopes up about this post after the debacle of  Part 2?

And all I can say is that on this particular day I got my crap together and took pictures like a boss. Like a Big Bad Blogging Boss (nice alteration, huh?).

I started with cooking 2 boxes of pasta and 2.5 lbs of ground beef.

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Once these were done, drained, and cooled a bit, I made my ricotta cheese mixtures with I snuck in some blended cauliflower for an added punch of veggies.

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I added two eggs, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to the ricotta cheese. The unpleasant orange glob is my blended cauliflower. I had to add some tomato sauce to it for some liquid.

Then began the assembly of Lasagna Cups for Diapers! I mixed meat, sauce, ricotta cheese, and pasta in a bowl then spooned some into paper muffin cups.

I topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese and baked them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. These smelled incredibly and FirefighterDad actually ate one and the best part?! He didn’t notice the cauliflower!!

While the cups were baking, I also made Lasagna Casseroles. Or Baked Ziti with meat? Either way they looked good and will be super simple dinners.

I started with a thin layer of sauce, followed by pasta, ricotta cheese, meat, sauce, pasta…well you get the idea.

I then topped them with shredded cheddar cheese, sprinkled some basil and oregano on top and wrapped these bad boys up for the freezer.

My final freezer cooking for the day was making Mac and Cheese cups for Diapers. I saved some of the cooked pasta and made a simple homemade cheese sauce with butter, milk (lactose free for Diapers), shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese, added in the pasta, stirred and plopped them into paper muffin cups. I topped them with a small slice of cheddar cheese and baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes until the cheese was ooey-gooey and melted.

And folks, that concluded my freezer cooking for the day. I had everything cool completely them put the cups into freezer bags.

 

What are some simple lunches you make for your kids?

What casseroles do you enjoy for dinner?

Freezer Cooking Part 2

Sit back and buckle up for another freezer cooking post!

I got this wild hair up my butt and decided to make mini pizzas and cinnamon rolls – so far, no.big.deal.

Well, here’s the catch: I decided to make homemade dough. Say what?! I know, but for realz I did. With yeast and rising and kneading and all.

Andthe worst part?! I took exactly ZERO pictures of this process. None. Nada. Zilch.

So freaking lame.

So you’ll just have to trust me that I did in fact make enough pizza dough for 10 small pizzas and one large pizza.

And since I was already elbow deep in flour, I also made cinnamon roll dough that made 60…yes SIXTY rolls and a loaf of common swirl bread.

The pizza dough was top notch and the cinnamon roll although very good, was a little dry for my preference.

So the moral of the story here, is that you will have to trust me that I did in fact spend an entire afternoon cooking and I have a shit ton of frozen cinnamon rolls 😀

Since this is a really boring and lame post skip right head to the next one – Part 3. I promise this one has ample pictures!

Freezer Cooking Part 1

Bedrest is still going ya’ll. I’m 31 weeks today (yay!), baby boy is doing really well, and all in all I’m stable. I feel miserable, but I’m stable so I’ll suck it up and continue bedresting a few more weeks of growing this precious boy!

In the meantime I have been on a mission to prepare me and Diapers for Baby Brother’s arrival by doing some freezer cooking. I first started freezer cooking a few years ago after reading Money Saving Mom‘s blog. She has some great ideas and it really is a huge help. With a 4 year old and soon to have a newborn, I knew I needed to get a jump on this.

I wanted to make fun, nutrious, simple, cost effective, and easy lunches that Diapers could reheat in the microwave by himself.

Enter my muffin pans.

I had a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and some BOGO hot dogs so I decided to try making corn dog muffins. I’ll admit the final product looked and smelled WAY more appealing than the uncooked/being assembled “muffins” looked.

Here’s how I did it:

First, I mixed up the box of Jiffy (how good is this cornbread?! It’s my fave and SO ridiculously easy to make!). Then I spooned a small amount in the bottom of each muffin wrapper. On top of that I cut up half a hot dog per muffin and then topped each muffin with the remaining cornbread mix.

The end result smelled just like a corn dog, and although I haven’t tried them, Diapers LOVES them!

FYI, I baked these at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Since I already had the oven on, I also made a double batch of my homemade granola.

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If you love granola, stop what you are doing and make this NOW. Seriously, you will not be disappointed. This granola is on point, simple, and the best.I’ve.ever.had. For realz.

And it’s more of a mix-it-together-and-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants recipe, which is just my style.

I use oatmeal (original, quick cook, steel cut – whatever floats your boat)

Butter (I’ve also used half butter and half coconut oil)

Brown sugar

Ground Cinnamon

I mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate microwave safe bowl, I melt the butter then pour this over my dry ingridents. I mix this up incorporating the butter to moisten the oatmeal. I seriously just eyeball amounts. If it looks like I don’t have enough liquid I melt more butter. The idea is to get the oatmeal damp not soaking wet.

I pour it onto cookie sheets, smooth it out and bake for about 15 minutes on 425 until it’s a nice golden brown. I let it cool for about 10 minutes so the melted sugar can set a little, then with a spatula I mix it up crumbling it along the way. I put it in freezer ziplock bags and freeze it when it’s completely cooled off. It also keeps in the fridge well.

Other add-ins I have done is honey, milled flaxseed, and protein powder. I also want to try tossing in some raw quinoa for a protein source.

 

What are some simple re-heatable lunches  that you rely on?

Anyone else do some freezer cooking?

Ebates

First, Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!! I hope you enjoyed your day and got pampered.

Now, have you heard of Ebates? I want to say I have seen a TV commercial for this particular cash back rebate system, but I can’t be sure.

Anyways, my sister sent me her referral link and after perusing Ebates and knowing I was going to make an Amazon purchase for some baby stuff, I figured what did I have to lose?

So, I signed up and followed the Ebates link to Amazon.com and using my Amazon  gift cards* I made my purchase. About a week later I had $1.77 in my Ebates account as my cash back! For not spending a dime of my own money and actually earning money by shopping, I was sold!

If you’re interested in giving this a shot, here’s my referral link:

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=dqenw9ocp2F8kq3O1xTebg%3D%3D&eeid=29773

If you are already doing some shopping take a peak in Ebates first. My sister actually prefers this to Swagbucks and highly recommends it. I do like my Swagbucks, but I’m very impressed with Ebates too!

Along with the baby items I bought I also bought Diapers reusable food pouches. He loves the baby food pouches and honestly I love them because they are super convienent and an easy way to get an assortment of fruit and veggies into him. But at roughly $1.00 a piece and down to one income, I am trying to be creative in ways to save some money. Since these pouches were weekly snack purchases for Diapers this was an easy way to save quite a bit in our groceries.

After reading many Amazon reviews I went with the WeeSprout Nature’s Little Squeeze pouches. I opted for the largest size which is 7 oz and am VERY pleased! These are made by a small mom and pop business based in the US. The customer service was excellent and the product is fantastic. Easy to fill, easy to wash, free of BPA and other yuckies, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and a universal cap size.

imageTo start off, I made my own Greek yogurt with fruit and filled these bad boys up, and they are Diapers approved which makes me very happy!

 

*Be sure you read the fine print on Ebates cash back offers; not all qualify for cash back when making purchases using a gift card – I honestly lucked out on this. There are also exceptions on every offer I e seen but they are reasonable.

 

Fill me in on what’s going on with you?

WIC Take 2

Every month I get WIC vouchers for both me and Diapers. Last month I got them half way through April so I used them all at once. This month I ended up doing the same thing because I had some freezer and pantry items I wanted to eat through and my house was bare. Bare ya’ll.

This method makes for a longer grocery shopping trip and requires me freezing quite a few items, but it also is at the mercy of what items are listed on what WIC voucher. For example, if I need cheese, I have to get all the items on that voucher to maximize it.

So this month to stretch my WIC vouchers even further I used them with my local grocery store’s BOGO sales! And yes you can do this!! The lady at the WIC office even mentioned this and you can use coupons on WIC items. How awesome!

One big BOGO was WIC approved cereal. Diapers and I each get 36 oz of cereal per month, or 3 12oz boxes. With the BOGO sales I walked away with 8 boxes of cereal instead of 6.

Juice was also BOGO so I was able to get 4 bottles of juice versus our normal 2.

Some of the BOGO deals weren’t on qualifying WIC items which was disappointing, but I was still able to get some good deals.

This is the first month I got EVERY item on each of our WIC vouchers and all together it came out to be $139.99 that WIC covered.  That’s a pretty good savings!

I also had to do some regular shopping:

Bagels – reduced by $1

Spinach

Tomatoes

3x 2.5lb packages ground beef – each reduced by $3 (total of $9 savings)

Whole cut up chicken – reduced by $3

BOGO Pork Tenderloins – $6.27 savings

BOGO Smithfield Bacon – $5.50 savings

Sausage – 2 for $7

BOGO 16 oz Lunch Meat – $5.00 savings

BOGO ice cream – $2.95 savings

BOGO Italian ice – $1.88 savings

BOGO Vlasic pickles stacked with a $1/2 coupon – $2.50 savings

BOGO Cheese Its (Diapers’ request) -$2.60 savings

BOGO Mission tortilla chips

Pepperoni – 2 for $5.00

Simply Orange Juice (FirefighterDad’s fave OJ) – 2 for $6.00

2 boxes Capri suns – coupon $0.75/2

Kraft American Cheese – coupon $1.00/2

Butter – 2 for $6.00

Daisy sour cream – $0.64 savings

Toaster Strudels – not on sale just a pregnancy impulse purchase

2 pk cream cheese – coupon  $1.00 off 2pk

I got a few other random things but basically, I bought a lot of groceries. With all the meat and produce items, I was expecting to pay about $250 for these groceries.

After all was said and I done I paid $140.71 for these groceries!!! This accounted for a total savings of $69.94!! Say what?!!

This was not only a pleasant suprise with all the meat I bought, but it was a defining moment – WIC saved me just as much money as I spent. This is huge!

I know WIC is only a supplemental food allowance but since it covers produce (we got mangos, a pineapple, potatoes, avacados, spinach, cucumbers, and bananas), milk for both me and Isaac (all together 7.5 gallons of milk a month), dairy (yogurt, cheese, eggs), cereal, bread (or rice, pasta, tortillas – your choice), beans, peanut butter, and juice, it still saves a significant amount of money on food staples every month.

I’m really happy with my bargain shopping, penny pinching and grateful for WIC. I am guessing with what I have purchased, we have groceries for 3-4 weeks with the exception of additional fresh produce.

Do you have any bargain shopping stories, tips, or tricks?

My First Experience with WIC

From the get go I said I wanted to be authenticate sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus I wrote this post and specifically #7. So I thought I should probably follow my own advice if I was gonna dish it out like some crazed-advice-giving-snob.

So here it is, Diapers and I are on WIC. This is a government supplemental food assistance program for pregnant/postpartum/nursing mothers and children ages birth-five. And interestingly enough, after losing just a smidge over 75% of our household income due to me being laid off, this is all we qualified for in terms of government assistance. And this is crazy to me!! FirefighterDad’s income is not substantial.  And I’m just floored that for a family of 4 (most programs count Baby Boy #2) we didn’t qualify for more. I suppose now I understand how so many people can be struggling and I can see first hand how the middle class really is shrinking – but that’s neither here nor there. #steppingoffofsoapbox.

Back to WIC. Honestly, I’m grateful for this. Do I wish I didn’t need it? Absolutely! Am I embarrassed? Not exactly. Is it helpful financially? Yes! And the way I look at it, is that I have worked for 6 years (not including HS and college years) and contributed a crap ton of money into these programs by way of taxes, so if I qualify and we need the help, I’m gonna take it. Sure, it’s a dent to my ego, but it is what it is.

And overall my experience was positive! I have heard quite a few horror stories about using WIC and some people have even said its not worth the hassle come checkout time and they STOP USING THE PROGRAM?! Say what?! So I psyched myself up, went on a day I was feeling good, when Diapers was at school, and I went having done my homework. I knew how much, what size quantities, flavors, brands, etc I could get. I then followed the advice of separating all items on the belt per check, and having the items in order on the belt as listed on each check. I had a very sweet cashier who clearly knew what she was doing, and having the items seperated AND in the order of the check seemed to make the whole process much smoother.

Now I will admit WIC isn’t ideal, it doesn’t cover everything, and you may have to pick brands, flavors, items, etc that you normally wouldn’t, BUT I found that I still had some choices and quite a bit of variety. One huge blessing is that Diapers’ milk is covered! Being lactose intolerant his milk is pricy. Even the generic Walmart brand adds up because he’s a kid and loves milk. And all it took was me telling the WIC nutritionist he’s lactose intolerant and BAM! he gets lactose free milk on his checks. No proof, no doctors note, nothing. So, if you have food allergies, sensitivities, etc be sure to speak up and say so!

I anticipate a lot of this food will be used to do some freezer cooking and stocking up on essentials like milk, bread, cheese, beans, cereal, juice, and frozen veggies because between both me and Diapers, we can’t go through it all, but having a stash with a baby on the way is never a bad thing.

So in a nutshell WIC has come a long way. Produce vouchers are now included for fresh and/or frozen, various milk options are available, options on grains are available, and cereal and juice options are available. This program is in no way meant to cover complete and balanced meals, but rather supplement and I find that it supplements the pricy food groups (with the exception of meat) such as dairy and produce. I figure that WIC will save my family about $100-$110 a month. Not too shabby!

As I learn more navigating this, I’ll be sure to update!