Sunday, March 11, 2012

Organizing Life

Since Brady's arrival, I have felt very unorganized and scattered!  I guess a newborn can do that to you, and when it is your second baby... you dont stand a chance of getting things together for a while!

He is almost 2 months old now, and I felt it was time to try and pick up the pieces around here!  While shopping at Target, I came across some AWESOME baskets that I have fallen in love with!  I bought 4 sets of them (a set had 2 baskets) and the cost was $10 for 8 baskets!  I used the baskets to get my pantry and fridge in order. 

One thing I have realized is that when we open the pantry or the fridge, we grab what is in SIGHT to eat.  I wanted to change the way the fridge and the pantry was arranged, and make the "healthier" foods become what we see first.  Usually in the fridge, the veggies & fruits hang out in a drawer which is supposed to control humidity.  Our drawer like this usually ends up holding fruits and veggies that are beginning to go bad!  So, I used the baskets to create a home for these items, so we see them immediately when we open the fridge.  Our leftovers also have a shelf all to themselves now!  This makes it pretty impossible to forget that we have leftovers, and they are actually being eaten!!

Same logic in the pantry... baskets hold groups of items that needed to be together. Items that need to be finished off are moved into ziploc bags, so that they boxes aren't creating clutter and taking up large amounts of space!

I think the pantry and the fridge look MUCH better, and I am hoping that my logic behind the purge & rearrange actually holds true!!!

 - Jessica

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Changing the Way We Eat...

Meal planning is hardly a new idea.  However the idea is relatively new in our household.  I put together my "meal planning" tools last year, and did my first meal plan in November!  I thought it would be a great way to adhere to our grocery budget better while at the same time, I could make sure that we are eating better! 

I sat down the last week of February and I started planning what we would eat in March.  I kept planning our meals until I had planned an entire month! 
I kept in mind that I have a meal train in the works thanks to Brady's arrival.  I have a meal coming on March 12, and as far as I know... that is the last meal on our meal train.  However, if someone else signs up to bring a meal, I will simply not cook the meal I planned that night!  I also kept in mind that cooking a meal will equal leftovers!  We have more leftovers than most in our household because Derik works such a crazy schedule!  I can make a meal last for lunch and sometimes another meal the following day because I am the only one eating it!  So, my meal plan was finished, and I needed to write the ingredients to make the recipes on my grocery list!
I tried to choose meals that would be healthier than the Outback takeout we have become so familiar with in our house!  Thanks to the meal train, I have been introduced to lots of new recipes that I LOVE!  A few of my favorites (I am still trying to obtain all of the following!!!) were...

Mexican Casserole (thank you Karen Swainey)
DELICIOUS Chili with Sausage (thank you Sarah Morin)
Pasta with Sausage (thank you Shelly Costello)
Beef Stew with Egg Noodles (thank you Bree Asbach)
Chicken Tator Bake (thank you Kristen Reynolds)
Tortilla Soup (thank you Meredith Renuart)

After making my grocery trip I decided 2 things.  First, our grocery budget is going to have to change!  Second, I need to start couponing!  The trip cost more than I expected, but we will be eating meals from this trip for almost 3 weeks! 

The groceries were bought, and the fridge was full... and it was time to make Abbie's lunch today!  So, I opened the fridge and let Abbie tell me what she wanted!  I was a proud mommy and eagerly made her a healthy lunch that she devoured even more eagerly!  She chose cheese (checks), chicken (chicky), strawberries (saw beweies) & blueberries (hochoops), and yogurt (yogurrrr)!
My goal is to maintain healthier eating habits from this point on.  Although, it wouldn't take much to improve on our diet of popcorn, ice cream, sugary cereal, and soda!  Hopefully we will all benefit from the changes and most importantly... we will teach our children to eat healthier than we have in our pasts!

 - Jessica