07/7/14
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life lately

Summertime is one of my favorite times. The weather is perfect for outside activities, there are so many things to do, produce is at its peak, we BBQ and spend evenings outdoors instead of in front of the tv… it’s just full of so much awesomeness. I have a tough time sitting still at the computer. In fact as I write this on my phone I’m sitting outside Hunter’s door with it cracked open making sure he doesn’t get out of bed. #napwarsdrama

Once he’s all calm and sleepy it’s a shower and working on things around the house. When summer activities and get togethers pick up, house organization and tidiness goes down. Like I said in the last healthy on $75 post, it will continue on through July and until I share all I want to. Over these next few months I foresee short quick posts. Foods I’ve been making, life lately and kiddo update posts. Who knows, maybe they’ll be more frequent if they’re shorter. Pictures are worth a thousand words right? ;)

Here’s a glimpse at our life lately.

Berry picking – we’ve gone strawberry picking twice and raspberry picking once and I hope to do more raspberry and blueberry picking as well before the seasons end. It’s fun for Hunter and makes berries so crazy adorable.  Plus then I can do some canning!

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Garden harvesting – this is my first year of successful gardening. I’ve harvested peas, kale, swiss chard and green onions. In a day or two I’ll have my first grape tomatoes and zucchini to harvest too!

Hunter loves helping in the garden. :)

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Friends – lots of get together. Weekends are packed with fun filled times with friends, yummy food and lots of crazy kids.

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Sewing projects. My latest few include this 4th of July romper and headband for Zoe…

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This sa-weet tank top for my hubba hubba hubs…

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And a pretty pinnafore for my neice.

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I also have a tank top in the works for me this week and so many projects planned in my mind.  Can we please have about 10 more hours in the day?

Play – when it’s not too scorching hot we get outside.

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Hunter and Zoe both love being outside. I’ve been doing more walks with them, we’ve been enjoying the yard and everything outside. Zoe doesn’t love carriers, but she does like her car seat which fits into the jogging stroller so my new way of walking with them is her in the stroller and Hunter in the carrier. They both love it, I get more Hunter snuggles and the walk is an actual workout too lugging the 2 year old on me.

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Our Fourth of July was pretty mellow. Not much firework watching and the kiddos thankfully slept through all the noise.

How was your 4th? What’s life like lately?

Heather

07/2/14
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healthy on $75: week 3 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

My original plan was for June to be all about healthy on $75.  And now June is gone so it’s going to continue on through July!  I still have so much to share, and it turns out I’m a little slow at pumping out the posts on it.  Here’s the third installment of my grocery haul breakdown.  Enjoy!

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Like I mentioned in week 2′s breakdown, this week was also a bit off since we were on vacation for part of it.  As I begin to write this I haven’t added up the total I spent yet so it’ll be a surprise for me too. :)

What we ate

Dinners

Friday: BBQ’d steak and bratwurst, avocado, tomato and mozzarella salad and watermelon (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Saturday: burritos + corn on the cob (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Sunday: sushi from the grocery store (which was ehh but after 7 hours of driving I was not down with cooking) + peas from the garden

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Monday: brautwurst and potato salad (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Tuesday: fried rice with fresh peas and kale chips

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Wednesday: burritos and brownies (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Thursday: whole wheat pasta with feta and sauted zucchini in a light yogurt sauce + teriyaki chicken

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Breakfasts doesn’t vary very much: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs with cheese and fruit,  blueberry yogurt pancakes with applesauce. Coffee + milk.

Lunches: on vacation deli sandwiches provided by my parents – back home tuna sandwiches and leftovers.

Grocery haul breakdown

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt (when available) to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

Safeway

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  • 2 different pre-made sushi packs

Now normally I don’t include meals out or take out in our food budget, because it’s a rarity, but this is getting included because after a long drive instead of cooking, we picked up food.  Yes, I could have made something, but I went with the easy route.  It tasted okay… but I totally could have made something better.

Safeway total: $12

Chuck’s Produce

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  •  gallon of organic whole milk
  • 2 packages of chicken breasts (on sale)
  • ground beef (discounted)
  • creamer
  • dozen eggs

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  • bananas (on sale)
  • ripe bananas (discounted)
  • 2 lb bag of avocados (on sale)
  • zucchini (on sale)
  • nectarines (on sale)
  • apricots (on sale)

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I picked up one extra package of chicken breasts, which went right into the freezer.  The produce was all on sale saving me money on items I really want!

Chuck’s Produce total: $37.42

Walgreens

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  • 2 package sof starbucks coffee (sale and coupons)
  • 2 deodorants (sale and coupons)
  • toothpaste (sale and coupons + register rewards earned)
  • sardines

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Walgreens total: $14.67

Target

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  • toilet paper (paper and mobile coupon)
  • frozen peas (mobile coupon)

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Target total: $4.68

Dent room

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  • 3 cases of yuuuuuumy microbrews (42 bottles total, 18  x 22 ounces and 24 x 12 ounces)

I wish I could say everyone could get this deal, but it’s special from my husbands work.  He worked in the beverage industry and they have a room called the dent room where you can piece together cases (or get full cases) of beer.  A case of microbrew is just 9 dollars… it just cannot be beat.

Dent room total: $21

Grand total for 5 places: $89.77

Thankful it’s lower than the previous week!  It goes to show that making food at home saves money… had we not picked up sushi, I would have been right near my target of $75.

How I saved money this week:

  • I looked through the chuck’s produce ad before going shopping to make my list based off of what was on sale.  Almost everything I purchased there was at a lower price than regular.
  • I decided on a walgreens and target run to stock up on some items that we always need – mainly the coffee and toilet paper.  The deodorant deal was too good to pass up (just 50 cents each after the register rewards!).
  • In the long run the extra beer will save us money.  All three cases will last a while and since it’s summer time and we’re entertaining more, the extra cost of buying beer each week won’t be needed.

How was your grocery shopping this week?

Heather

06/30/14
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#40plantfoodschallenge results and thoughts

One week ago I began and shared about the 40 plant foods challenge.

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Today I’m coming full circle to talk about the variety I ate and my general thoughts on the challenge.  Here’s a list of and look at the plant foods I ate.

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Monday: rolled oats, banana, sunflower seed butter, apricot, raisins, celery, apple, kale, green onion and grapes

10/40

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Tuesday: chia seed, avocado, brown rice, broccoli, white onion, carrot and tofu

17/40

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Wednesday: swiss chard, red potatoes, russet potatoes, cucumber, strawberries, peas and black beans

24/40

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Thursday: nothing new that day

24/40

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Friday: pear, tomato, pickles (homemade!) and peanut butter

28/40

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Saturday: cocoa powder, coconut oil, poppyseeds, nectarine, green bell pepper, chickpeas, olive oil and peanuts

36/40

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Sunday: white beans

Final count: 37/40

So close!  Personally I think I did great.  :)

A closer look breaking what I ate down into three categories: vegetables, fruit and all other plant foods

Vegetables

  • kale
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • green onion
  • white onion
  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • swiss chard
  • red potato
  • russet potato
  • peas
  • tomato
  • pickles
  • green bell pepper

Fruits

  • banana
  • grapes
  • apricot
  • apple
  • raisins
  • avocado
  • strawberries
  • pear
  • nectarine

All other plant foods

  • rolled oats
  • sunflower seed butter
  • chia seed
  • brown rice
  • tofu
  • black beans
  • peanut butter
  • cocoa powder
  • coconut oil
  • poppyseeds
  • olive oil
  • chickpeas
  • peanuts
  • white beans

Thoughts and conclusion

It was tough getting tons of variety in!  I know everyday I eat veggies, fruits and other plant foods, but I tend to rotate through the same things.  I had the challenge on my mind more than I had planned to… like one morning I was making oatmeal and instead of just going for my normal banana and peanut butter, I added in cocoa powder and subbed the PB for coconut oil.  Just a little change that helped me get a little more variety in.

When the fridge is getting more bare and I need to go to the grocery store (how Thursday was) getting a lot of variety in turns into more of a challenge, hence nothing new that day.

I’m so glad I did the challenge.  I’m hoping that I can stay mindful of changing foods around a little more.  One trick I’ll use is to just buy more variety, just smaller amounts at the store. Really it comes down to what I have in the house… if I have it around, I’ll eat it!

A big thank you Maryea for the challenge.  I had fun with it and would totally do it again!

Did anyone else take it on?  I’d love to hear how you did!  How much plant food variety do you think you get in during a week?

Heather