the cost of real food + five tips to save more money


Does eating real food cost more than the typical standard american diet (SAD)?  The short answer: yes it does.  The long answer you’ll get below: it doesn’t have to.  For me, I definitely have some room for improvement.

Today I’m going to share what our budget for food looks like, plus my goals for where I’m striving to take it along with some real life tips I started using to save money on my groceries.

[want to read more about my real food diet?  READ HERE]


How much do we spend on food each month?

I find this such a fascinating question, because food budgets vary so much from family to family.  I know ours has varied a ton over the years.  When it just Jacob and I and we were not really paying attention to the grocery spending, we easily spent over $1,000 a money.  And on what?!  The money just flew out of our wallets.  It was careless spending and not a smart way to be with our money.

Fast forward a couple years from that and I got really good at keeping our food budget between $300-500 a month.  I couponed and shopped all around town for good deals.  I also didn’t have kids then.

Fast forward to now, and I cringe at multiple grocery store stops.  It’s not even the shopping part (I love grocery shopping), but the in and out of car seats for 3 kids, and making sure everyone has gone potty or has snacks or doesn’t need to nurse at that moment.  It is so much work in itself!

We slowly crept our (my) grocery spending back up to that $1,000 mark, but it was different this time around.  Instead of buying lots of snacky foods like we used to and not sticking to a grocery list, now we were feeding more mouths, and my focus on food quality had really increased.  I don’t buy everything organic, but I do really make an effort to buy my high fat animal products (butter, half and half, meats) organically and/or grass fed.  I don’t really buy organic pantry items (unless they are the same price as conventional, then why not), and rarely organic produce, but we still were spending a lot on groceries.

A note on buying organic  – to eat a real food diet you don’t have to buy anything organic.  It’s a totally personal choice, but not a necessary thing.  Eating real foods means choosing them in their most natural form and cooking at home – buying ingredients, not meals already made.

My personal grocery spending goals

I am good about meal planning, but don’t always look to what I have on hand.  I’ve begun utilizing what I keep on hand a lot more.  My goal is to get our spending down to $800/month for food and toiletries too.  $200 a week is pretty reasonable, especially if I enact this second step – grocery shop at two different stores.

My favorite store I love to shop at is Chuck’s Produce, but the inside aisle items are marked up higher than other stores.  I plan to buy my meats and produce there, because I love the quality of the meats and the produce is typically a great deal especially when I shop off of what is on their ad for the week.  On a different day of the week I’ll buy all the other items to round out our meals – pantry items and bulk bin foods at Winco Foods.  I think that switch will make a big difference, without sacrificing the quality on the items I most care about – meats and produce.


Five tips to save more money on your groceries

Every one of these tips came straight from my grocery shopping trip from last week.  I hope they can help you save some dollars too!

  1. When meat is on sale, fill your freezer (if possible) with enough for the month. I felt so lucky last Friday when I went into Chuck’s Produce in the morning and the meat specials had just been marked down – I picked up 4 whole organic, pasture raised chickens for 50% off!
  2. Buy produce based on what is in season and what is on sale.  When foods are in season, like right now lettuce is booming, the price tend to drop because there is such a large supply.  I’ve been rotating our fruits and veggies around a little more when a certain one is on sale.  Last week broccoli was also on sale, so I doubled up on that and nixed the asparagus I had planned for a meal.
  3. Keep produce prices to $1.50/pound or less.  I made a big effort to do that and it really made me change some produce choices that I was going to purchase, which then impacted my bottom line.
  4. Buy from the bulk bins and only the amount you actually need.  I was out of almond flour, so instead of spending the $9 or so on a bag, I just bought the smaller amount I actually needed for a recipe letting me spend a lot less at the time.
  5. Save your indulgent coffee for the weekends.  We love good coffee in our house, and especially stumptown coffee.  We’re pretty obsessed.  I was buying whole bean stumptown coffee and going through a bag in a little less than a week (we like our coffee strong!).  If stumptown isn’t on sale, it’s $13 a bag – ouch!  That’s a lot, so we decided to switch to whatever local coffee was on sale (there normally is one) for Monday-Friday, then have stumptown on just the weekends.  It’ll make it more special, and we are spending half the amount on our M-F coffee now.

Using these tips I was able to reduce our grocery bill for last week down to $193 between two stores.  The coolest thing is that included 3 extra whole chickens that are now in my freezer!

IMG_3829Bonus tips – don’t go shopping hungry, and especially don’t go to Costco hungry!  Last month fail.

Curious minds want to know, how much do you spend on groceries each month?  Do you have strategies you use to save money?  More tips are welcome!



dear hunter {year 4}

I remember the evening you were born. After a tiring 24 hours of labor, the most beautiful boy was laid on my chest. The instant love for you was strong and just keeps getting stronger. Yesterday on your 4th birthday, I held you close and laid your head on my chest. I told you all about how when you were a baby, even smaller than your sister is now, that you would only sleep on my chest at night. You asked me why you wanted to sleep that way, and I told you it was because you wanted to be close to mommy when you slept.  


After a full and very fun birthday party and day, you had a hard time going to sleep. It’s understandable, you just wanted to keep the party going! After some sad tears, I sat next to your bed and rubbed your back. I listened to your breathing calm down, your body become more relaxed, and then you quickly slipped into sleep. I know you weren’t on my chest, but mommy was close. I stayed there for a little bit, listening and watching you. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have you as our boy. You have the most caring heart, excited energy and curiosity that keeps you constantly learning and challenging yourself.  


All I want is time to slow down so I can keep you how you are right now. But in reality, you just keep getting better. I am so impressed with the boy you are becoming. I love you so much Hunter. I know I am the luckiest mama to have you as my kid. Even though you are getting bigger, I’ll keep snuggling you close to my chest, because it’s not just you that likes to be close to mommy, mommy needs it just as much too.

I love you so much Hunter.


april highlights


April is going down as the month of sunshine.   We got so much enjoyment out of not only playing in the yard, but working on it as a family too. Sunshine + dirt does the body good. Pictures and more of the month below!

IMG_3050At Hunter’s swim lessons I get to watch him about 25% of the time, and the other 75% is keeping Zoe entertained.  Snacks, tickles and this little notepad + bag of crayons is always a hit.  She holds the crayon so well!

IMG_3079Because when you don’t have a baby in your belly anymore, wine + a sunset on your deck is a pretty great way to end an evening.

IMG_3691Just hanging out with the magnolia tree.  That boy loves to climb up in it too.  Sometimes he’ll be out in yard playing alone and I’ll walk outside to see what he’s doing to find him climbing in and out of the tree, happy as can be.

IMG_3083BIG bubbles on a hot sunny day. Long sleeves/pants > sunscreen.

IMG_3099I wrote and shared a post on having a positive body image after having a baby (link here).

IMG_3740A mid-week walk with friends when they are on spring break – we love it!

IMG_3763Hunter’s been working on his writing skills.  It’s not only awesome teaching him his letters, writing and reading, but he gets so much enjoyment out of practicing it too!

IMG_3785What a difference 2 years makes.  Heart these girls to pieces.

IMG_3809Leftover lunch + a baby.  I made chicken cordon bleu but instead of using Swiss cheese, I subbed in smoked provalone.  So good!

IMG_3829There’s a baby hiding somewhere under all that Costco loot.  After the many salami samples, we got suckered into buying it.  Things I buy when shopping hungry!

IMG_3137Cheeeeeese.  Hunter loves having his picture taken, can you tell?

IMG_3845The great thing about living in a small town, and near downtown, is being able to walk into town.  I needed a couple items from the hardware store, so instead of strapping 3 kids into car seats for the 2 minute drive, we walked the mile into town.  Hunter walked the whole way (with a big hill back home!), Nova slept in the carrier the whole time, and Zoe was happily pushed in the stroller for most of it.

IMG_3854I’m bringing food prep back into my life to calm the worry and stress I sometimes feel at dinner time.  Read my three steps to calm the worry and how food prep has helped me tremendously.


IMG_3881We checked out the water resource center for the first time ever, and had such a blast.  There’s a lot to learn about water, energy and the environment + a super fun play area for kids 5 and under.  Hunter’s favorite spot was biking to generate energy to light up light bulbs.

IMG_3204Flannel fam.

IMG_3913Zoe is such a great sleeper, and goes down so easily, but when she wakes from naps, long snuggles are needed.  I’m not complaining one bit.

IMG_3931Cobb salad on a hot day.  April was filled with super hot days (80s and 90s).  Salads and summer eats made a lot of appearances throughout the month.

IMG_3930So proud of Hunter moving up in his swim lesson level!

IMG_3953Our stove top burners can be removed and replaced with an indoor grill.  I absolutely love this feature!  Asparagus grilled is the best.

IMG_3964Zoo with pals.  Pretty sure it was the hottest day in April – we didn’t even make it past noon before being too hot out in the sun!

IMG_3248The kids don’t mind one bit living on a hill with a slanted pool.

IMG_3983Nova at almost 2 months.  Her eyes get more blue every day.

IMG_4002Zoe’s excitement for life adds so much happiness to my life.


IMG_4016Mom win here.  Hunter needed a potty break on a drive home and we were not anywhere near being back so we stopped at a coffee shop for that.  They had stumptown coffee (my fav) AND soft serve ice cream.  The kids were in heaven.

IMG_4038Zoe’s such a little mama.  Snuggles and baby kisses all for her when she wakes before big brother.

IMG_4076The salmon creek trail is always a hit with the bike + gives little bodies a chance to run around free.  Also, those double french braids!

IMG_4072Fruit and veggie restock!  A pretty normal week as far as the amount of produce we go through.  New additions I normally don’t buy are rhubarb and butternut squash!

IMG_4090My sweet friend had a baby boy and we got to meet her little guy.  Nova was 2 months old here, Jayden just 10 days.  Such a difference in size!

IMG_4134This garden box has officially become the digging zone.  I couldn’t be happier about that (and neither could they).

IMG_4140Three girls enjoying the grass under the magnolia tree.

IMG_3337We heart Rivermaiden and stumptown coffee!  Especially Jacob. :)  A few Saturdays have turned into Rivermaiden trips after Hunter’s soccer game.

April, you brought so much sunshine and gave us tons of time outside.  It’s one of my favorite things and I can’t wait for more!

What is your favorite memory from April?


Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

baby steps to a real food lifestyle: start with a cooked breakfast


Over the years my way of eating has changed a lot.  My view on what a healthy diet is has changed a lot too.  In the past I thought low-fat or “diet foods” were what was good for me.  The media tells you that, so you know it’s true, right?!  Ummmm no.  At least not for me.  I’ve learned through experimentation what works for me.  As I continue to learn more about nutrition my focus has shifted to really nourishing my body for optimal health, happiness and to just feel great living life.  [read no diets, just eat real food]

But let me tell you, it’s been many years in the making.  I started this blog in November of 2008 as Get Healthy with Heather – that’s when my journey to a healthy lifestyle began – almost 8 years ago!  I would have been so overwhelmed if somebody told me that I needed to change my diet to where it is at now, but today, it feels normal.  It’s not challenging and I’ve truly made it a lifestyle.

Finding your way to a real food lifestyle and what works for you and your family may not happen overnight – maybe it will take 8 years!  There will be road blocks (that dang sugar is addicting!), and failures (in the kitchen), but where you end up is a beautiful (and delicious) place.

In honor of my journey to a real food lifestyle and honestly feeling the best I have in my life (despite having a 12 week old that doesn’t give me all the sleep I want – I still love you Nova!), I wanted to start sharing baby steps to help you transition to a real food lifestyle.  I’m not here to tell you how to eat, but if you’re looking to shift your way of eating away from more processed foods to home cooked, nourishing and energizing for the body foods, then I hope you enjoy this series on baby steps to a real food lifestyle.


Today’s baby step to a real food lifestyle is to have a cooked breakfast in the morning.  Mornings can be a tough time, especially if you have kids, to think about cooking up a meal.  No matter how early I wake up, we are always rushed to leave the house, then there is clean up and dishes, but it is so worth it is set the stage for the day.  I find this especially important if you are relying on boxed cereals or sweets (pop tarts, donuts, pastries) as a start for your morning.  Maybe cooking a meal at breakfast time really is too much, so I challenge you to cook a breakfast that can be quickly warmed up in the morning and ready in minutes.

Here are 5 breakfast ideas that are made regularly in our house.  They can be made in advance if needed, or cooked up in the morning.  And remember, scrambled eggs + fruit is a simple and fast option as well!


If you give this baby step a type, please report back on how it goes for you!

Do you eat a cooked breakfast in the morning?  What is your go-to breakfast?


march highlights


Ya know when you’re living life, and it just goes on by in a blink?  That’s what we’ve been doing here.  Now let’s take a look at the highlights from March!


That first week (or three) with a new baby around meant a whole lot of TV for Hunter and Zoe.  Their snuggling together on the couch was the best.

IMG_2618 IMG_2620 IMG_2625We had our first outing as a family of five when Nova was around 5-6 days old – hospital visit follow up + a trip to the grocery store.  It was a miracle we all looked presentable (and on time) leaving the house!

IMG_3130Rock sorting!  Hunter is obsessed with collecting rocks on walks and always adds them to his rock collection – such a fun way to learn and use them.

IMG_3132When your daughter brings out all the hair ties and clips and has you add more and more into her hair.

IMG_2649Zoe shows so much love and sweetness for her little sister.  And that pile of laundry in the back ground – MY LIFE.

IMG_3160This is my go to omgimsotiredandneedcomfort lunch – tuna sushi bowls.  I shared the recipe over two years ago and we still love it!  Find it here.

IMG_2650Jacob took the kids on an outdoor adventure around a park in town.  I was still in recovery mode and likely snuggled in bed with Nova.

IMG_3174One of the hardest parts emotionally of having a newborn baby was not getting as much one on one time with the other kids.  I loved this afternoon where Hunter and I whipped up a quick simple batch of mini almond butter fudge cups.  We munched and reconnected just as my mama heart was needing it.  Find the mini almond butter fudge recipe here.

IMG_3220I added the sakura bloom ring sling to my collection of baby carriers.  After figuring it out with the help of a few videos, I loved how quick it was to get baby into it!  Plus it’s comfortable to wear.


8 days old and all dressed up for her first morning at church.  Gosh she’s beautiful.

IMG_3288The kids and Jacob ran, danced, went down slides and had a blast at the kids club while Nova and I watched.  I watched, she nursed and slept the whole time, but we all had a grand time.

IMG_3305This girl.  When she brings out the tutu, she becomes even more cute.  Is that even possible?

IMG_3301Great grandma with her two granddaughters.

IMG_3339Dr. Hunter helping at Nova’s 2 week check up.  Healthy and happy baby girl.

IMG_2801Practicing his back float and making strides every week at swim lessons.

IMG_2846When you hike, you’ve gotta bring your monster truck, and a purse.  Daddy hikes are the best.

IMG_3371Sweet 2 week old Nova.  Her and I had a weekend long stuck in bed together – I got mastitis for the first time and felt like I was hit with the flu but worse.  No fun.  So thankful for a husband who feeds us, takes care of the other kids and a baby to nurse away my boob pain.

IMG_3389Such a treat for my rock loving boy – daddy showing HIS rock collection he had as a kid.

IMG_3397Cheddar broccoli soup, the best homemade dutch oven bread and salad.  It’s all way more simple than it looked, and even more delicious.


Cheers (or tears) for being almost 3 weeks old!



Before Jacob went back to work a sweet friend of mine took family photos for us – these are just three of the many amazing photos we got.  SO happy we did this.

IMG_3457Hunter is the best baby holder.  He tells me Nova is his best friend, gives her kisses and rubs her back to comfort her when she’s sad.  I know she is the luckiest to have him as a brother, but I feel the luckiest that I get to witness all of this sweetness.

IMG_3479She entertains them, and they entertain her.  Win, win.

IMG_3485Jacob was back to work, so I took them on an outdoor adventure.  Which meant a slooooooow walk around the neighborhood.

IMG_3541I’m working on just letting them be messy and splash in all the puddles.  I think we all love my letting go.

IMG_3015The face of a mama out on a date with her man, plus baby in tow.  Baby at a bar!  Two thumbs up for 3peaks public house and taproom – the beer and salmon fish tacos were mmmmm.

IMG_3596Spring soccer started up!  The first game was a whirlwind of emotions for Hunter, but after I ran around on the field with him after lots of tears, he took off and scored many goals and had a blast.

IMG_3621I’ve fully embraced my new love for braids of all kinds.  And not washing my hair as much.

IMG_3636When I brought Hunter’s flip flops out from hiding on a sunny day, it pretty much made it the best day ever.  That boy is flip flop obsessed and would wear them rain or shine.  Also, how are these kids so cool?

March seems like so long ago looking back at these pictures.  While it was a tiring month with a newborn, we still managed to keep life going, had lots of fun and soaked up so much great time together while Jacob was on his paternity leave.  I just love these people of mine so much.


Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

make your workout count


I totally get the challenge of finding time to workout when you have kids, especially when you are trying to workout at home.  There are so many thoughts running through my head before starting a workout: Are the kids sleeping?  When will they wake? Do I wake up early to workout or wait until they are in bed?  Do I need to shower today or can I use that time to workout?  Am I going to need to shower after the workout?


With one and two kids I didn’t have those thoughts running through the my head, but dang, three kids make it tough!  Granted Nova is only 10 weeks old, so I know when her schedule becomes set I can plan things a little better.  I’ve carved out a few mornings of yoga and circuit training at home, which last until Nova starts her day… sometimes it’s at 7am, other days it’s 6am.  I’ve learned to embrace what I get and be thankful for each of those minutes.  Every movement makes my body and mind feel that much more alive.

I feel 1000x blessed that fitness is a big part of my life.  I get to teach groups fitness classes which brings me so much happiness!  Bonus, during body pump and body combat, I get a killer workout in too!  No kids are around and I can really take my focus to fitness.  I went back to teaching pump and combat last week (love!) and had a realization during the workouts, because they were tough:

Now is not the time to give up.  Now is the time to embrace what’s in front of me and give it my all.  Now is the time to work hard because the (kid free) opportunity is not always there.  

I don’t want to spend hours upon hours working out, no way.  I want to get in and get it done, so I keep the intensity high.  I don’t leave the workout feeling like I held back.  I know there is an end, and that I’ll be heading back to my fabulous mom life where it’s harder to workout, so when I get the chance to fully commit to my fitness, I embrace it.

I went for a run a couple weeks ago, and I don’t consider myself a runner anymore by choice, but I just needed some movement and head space.  I could have jogged around town and looked at the trees and kids getting out of school, but instead I found a hill (not hard since we live on a hill) and after a warm up loop into town, I committed to 5 hill sprints.  It was a good long hill and sucked everything out of me.  I had to fight the urge to walk and kept pushing my body up one step at a time.  I was in my mind telling myself I could do this, and I did it! I felt amazing after and knew I left nothing behind.  And I was only gone for 20 minutes but made it count.  Time well spent.

Sometimes you just need to get in your head and remind yourself to make the workout count.  I do this by lifting challenging weights, running faster, pushing and kicking with more intensity and even moving my body gracefully and mindfully in yoga, breathing and stretching through the movements.  Be present with your workout, whatever type of workout it may be.

How do you fit your fitness into your life and make the workouts count?  Do you go to a gym or workout at home?  If you’re a mom, have your workouts changed since having kids?


oatmeal almond flour biscuits {gluten free option included}


This oatmeal almond flour biscuit recipe is sure to please the whole family!


Weekends are my favorite.  Everyone is together, breakfasts can be longer and slower, tasks and errands decrease and play increases.  The weather was perfection this past weekend.  Hunter played his soccer game in the morning, then we had a family coffee shop trip to Rivermaiden (our favorite Stumptown spot!).  After that there was a whole lot of this.


Backyard relaxing and play time.  The kids were as they should be – covered in dirt and sweat with big grins on their faces.

Now, let’s talk about this food for a minute. These oatmeal almond flour biscuits are the perfect addition to a weekend breakfast.  Spread on some fig jam, add some scrambled eggs and fruit and you are set to win the day.  I’ve been making them for months now, and since it’s still a family favorite, it’s time for me to share this goodness!


The base is almond flour and rolled oats.  Whole wheat flour is added in, but you can also substitute brown rice flour here for a gluten free option.  I’ve made both and the only difference is that the biscuits come out a little more crumbly with the brown rice flour.  A little crumble isn’t a problem for me…. but those toddlers, they love a good mess!

I highly recommend trying fig jam with the biscuits.  We had homemade fig jam from the canning weekend in September, but store bought would be great here as well!  The sweet jam combo paired with the buttery, nutty biscuits is perfect.


Oatmeal Almond Flour Biscuits

Makes 4 biscuits.  Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (substitute brown rice flour for a gluten free option)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or milk of choice)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl combine the oats, almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Mix to combine.
  3. Add the butter in and press it through the flour with a fork, until it resembles a crumble.  Stir in the half and half or milk of choice.
  4. Spoon into 4 mounds onto an unlined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.

How was your weekend?  What is your favorite biscuit spread? 


february highlights


I cannot believe it is the end of April!  I just flipped my calendar over to April about midway through the month and added a few things to it, but mostly, the days are blank.  It’s nice having so many days with nothing written on them – I’m definitely soaking in this time where my schedule isn’t full… just my hands. :)

As things sometimes go with a new baby, I got behind on my monthly highlight recaps, so today and later this week I’m playing catch up.  I love these highlight post – I can watch how the kiddos change each month, see what we did with our time and highlight the posts from the month.  As always, I hope you enjoy a peek into our February!


There was a good week when the kids would walk hand in hand.  It didn’t last (Zoe is against it), but man, it’s cute and so sweet.  Hunter loves holding his sister’s hand.


I shared a day in the life with two toddlers post (read HERE).


We spent a morning playing at the kid’s club.  These kids love a good dance party + slides.  Rock on Hunter!


Zoe the explorer.  Undies, backpack and binoculars courtesy of Hunter.


Hunter practicing his knife skills.  For those of you interested, he’s using an ikea kid’s table knife, which is pretty dull.


I shared this delicious 2 minute tuna avocado salad (recipe HERE).


Cat hat.


The plank house at the Ridgefield wild life refuge is one of our favorite spots to go walk.  Plus, it’s such a beautiful building.


Wild life refuge walking.


The walking bridge that takes you to the plank house over the railroad tracks.  It was such a gorgeous sunset that night.


I don’t know about you, but I always think these car carts will make shopping easier.  It doesn’t.  Thank goodness for the lady who saw my kiddos and brought them balloons to entertain them (and keep their hands to themselves).


I sewed up matching dot dresses for Zoe and her baby doll.  Love.


We celebrated Zoe’s 2nd birthday with a pom pom party!  Read more here.


A random stop in at the small fire station downtown.  The kids got a fire truck tour and stickers.  They were in heaven.


He doesn’t nap often, but when he does, it usually involved Jacob or myself laying in bed with him.  A great reason to slow down and soak in some extra snuggles.


I shared a post on raw liver and why I added it into my diet + a smoothie recipe!  Check it out here.


Anything dirt and digging, they are into.  We cleaned up the garden and started to get it ready for spring planting.  This is the area next to the garden they get free reign to do whatever digging they in it.


We started working on scissor skills this month.  Hunter was stoked, and did really well!


I look away for half a second, and she face plants off of a bench onto the rough floor.  Thankfully it looks worse than it really was.


Impromptu ice cream date and walk around town with my girl.


Hunter woke up sick one weekend so just Zoe and I went to church that morning.  While it was not fun having a sick boy, I really loved getting one on one time with this kiddo.


Near the end of my pregnancy and I shared what I packed in my hospital bag.  Read the post HERE.


Sunshine and dandelions.  Love these three.


This was not as messy as it got.


Testing out the baby tub with a little spa treatment.


I taught my last body pump class of this pregnancy at 39 weeks.  Being an instructor keeps me motivated to stay strong until the end.


Without any prompting, he built these dumbbells and showed me his workout.  Like mother, like son.


I wrote a post on helping your kids to become real food loving kids by giving them the power of choice while grocery shopping.  (read HERE)


Two years with this gal has been pretty amazing.  Read her Dear Zoe post HERE.


At Zoe’s 2 year check up.  Happy birthday Zoe, here’s a shot! #momfail


Birthday treat steamed milk for my favorite littles.


My youngest brother came and spent a morning with us while he was here on his Air Force leave.  The kids had a blast with him.


A morning of worm hunting with these two around the neighborhood.  Little did I know what I had in store for that day.


That worm hunting evening, Nova Sienna arrived!


Beautiful baby girl.



Zoe meeting her sister was the sweetest thing.  All she wanted to do was hold her (and that’s still true to this day).

IMG_3080Family of five!


Back home with our sweet baby girl to end February.  It was a pretty exciting month!


Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

three steps to calm the worry


Adjusting to three kids has been a lot harder than two.  Most days I feel like I’ve got the day figured out, but other days I question everything I do.  Nova is almost 2 months old now and as sweet as can be.  Hunter and Zoe adore her.  She doesn’t even know how into her they are.  I couldn’t have asked for an easier baby, yet I still find myself struggling.  I struggle to find balance.  I shared more about this in a recent newsletter, but I noticed myself beginning to feel anxious on certain days when I taught in the evenings.  Nothing major, just more worry in my head about making sure everything was getting done and people were sleeping and eating when they needed to be doing those things.  I wanted everything done on a schedule so that I’d feel like I had it together when the time came for Nova and I to leave for the evening, because everything including leaving the house takes longer with a baby.

The worry wasn’t fun, but instead of drowning in my struggle, I decided to take action.  

Step 1) figure out where the worry stems from

The biggest worry and stressor came at dinner time.  I love cooking, but worrying that I would have to try and hold a baby or entertain toddlers while needing to chop and cook was the challenge.

Step 2) create an action plan

I realized meal prep was needed.  If I could eliminate a lot of the prep work and all I had to do was cook the meal, I wouldn’t stress as much.  It would give me the opportunity to cook more easily earlier in the day if I wanted to as well.  I made a meal plan, wrote out my grocery list and a list of things to prep.

Step 3) put plan into action 

I bought groceries one day, then the next day I spent the afternoon prepping foods to make my life easier, and it worked! It totally alleviated my worry and made my life so much easier when dinner time rolled around.  Here’s a list of what I made one week:

  • Baked granola for breakfasts/snacks 
  • Baked chicken breasts and thighs for lunches and a dinner and diced after cooling (marinated in Italian dressing, ketchup, avocado oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper)
  • Sautéed 2 lb of ground beefalo (1 lb used last night for spaghetti which I added a jar of sauce to once I separated it, the other to be used for burrito bowls)
  • Prepped Thai zucchini beefalo meatballs to be cooked
  • Grated an extra zucchini to add to pancakes for one or two breakfasts
  • Made peanut butter fudge cups
  • Roasted a full sheet of diced sweet potatoes for breakfasts/lunches
  • Diced fruit for snacks/lunches (strawberries and cantaloupe)
  • Sliced bell peppers for snacks/dinner
  • Cut up broccoli so it’s ready to steam for a dinner
  • Chopped lettuce for dinner salads
  • Diced salami for the pizza dinner
  • Made kale chips for that night

When I am struggling in whatever the situation may be, I find taking an action always helps. I feel better when I do something instead of nothing and continuing to worry and become more anxious.  Hooray for taking action!

Can you relate?  Do you have a situation you need to tackle with these three steps?


positive body image after having a baby


A few days ago I was driving in the car, just Nova and I.  There were no toddlers to distract my thoughts as I listened to a podcast on the calm drive home.  At a stop light I randomly looked down, for no reason at all.  As I glanced down I saw my stomach hanging over the seat belt.  I saw it, gave it no thought, and moved on.  But then I had a thought… I should be upset about it.  But I wasn’t.  I didn’t dislike my body.  I just saw my body, how it was, with no negative thoughts, and I was shocked.


I grew a baby for 9 months.  Then I had a baby 5 weeks ago.  I knew my body had changed.  I loved the changes.  I had a baby and without even forcing it on myself I gave myself grace.  Grace to have body peace.  Peace with where my body is at right now and not wishing for where it will be months from now.

I have gone through the postpartum part twice before, and this third time I have a different mind set about it.  It’s not something that is crowding my mind.  It crowded my mind with previous pregnancies.  I even have a whole page dedicated to my post baby weight loss journey from when I was pregnant with Hunter.  It was a bigger deal to me then, but now it’s not a mental priority.  It’s not something to add stress about.  I have so many more important things and people in my life, why add the mental stress about something that isn’t the most important thing in the world?

Maybe my mind set has changed because I know it took 9 months to grow a baby and change my body, and that I don’t have expectation about instant changes (that’s just not realistic).  I’m also happy with where I am at.  I know with my real food way of eating, being active, and working to not stress about as many things, the weight will naturally go away when my body is ready to let go of it. I also know from my previous pregnancies that it usually begins to happen around the 5 month post baby mark for me, so I’m not forcing anything and it is so peaceful to feel that way.


I just want all you ladies out there to know, it is okay to take your time losing the baby weight.  It is okay to love your body after you have a baby.  Your body will look different, and it may take a while to get back to where you were before, but the more grace you give yourself in the journey, the better you’re going to feel as a person, as a mother, and as an example to others that may be struggling with negative body image thoughts about themselves.

Give yourself grace.

Love your body for what it does for you.

Calm the negative self talk, and up the positivity in your mind.

Your baby, your family and most importantly, YOU deserve it.

How is your mind set post baby?  What are your struggles?  How do you work to overcome them?