Hunter: 2 years

These are a few of my favorite things.


Cuddly hugs when Hunter wakes in the morning. Needing a mommy kiss to make an owie better. The way he says diaper (dowper). The way he’ll mimic our awesome English accents. How he loves his baby sister. The kisses and hugs he gives her are the cutest. His sweetness. Although he likes to take, he loves to share and does it in such a kind way. He’ll randomly ask for a cookie out of nowhere.


How he fixes things with his tools and proudly says “screw this daddy” – of course referring to his screw driver. His cute belly. How he imitates me when I’m pumping by grabbing a funnel and pulling up his shirt. Wanting to do things by himself, even when he struggles with it.  Watching him read books.


How he blows bubbles into water. Being fearless but cautionary at the same time. Swimming in the bathtub. How he brushes his 10 pearly whites, and then wants to suck all the water off his tooth brush. How all he truly needs during a tantrum is a change of scenery and love. Lots of love.  The joy he gets from jumping, falling down on purpose and telling us he’s instantly okay, just to do it all over again.


Letting me sing my favorite bedtime childhood song to him while rubbing his back before bed. How he sings and knows the sound of music ‘doe a deer’ song. The way he punches the air when we’re practicing combat. How he prays at dinner. How he is always thankful for all the people in his life during his bedtime prayers.


The obsession with having his nails trimmed. The joy he gets from his big boy bed.  The uncontrollable laughs he gets, the snuggly times on the couch together and tearful times too.


All my favorites. I just want to bottle them up and never let them go. These two years have been the best and I know they’ll get even better and better, although it’s hard to imagine.  My mommy heart is so full.

I love you Hunter, happy (very) belated birthday!



how varied is your diet? #40plantfoodschallenge

This week I’m taking on the 40 plant foods challenge. Basically Maryea is inspiring me (and many others!) to strive to eat 40 different plant foods in a weeks time.


I like to think that I get a good variety in my diet, but I know I eat a lot of repeat foods.  Foods that are good for me like oats, bananas, kale and nut butters… but is there enough variety?  Each of those good for me plant foods only counts once during the challenge.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my diet turns out over a weeks time. To really get a look at how much variety I eat in a 7 day period.

Although it’s a challenge, I’m using this week as more of an inspired observation. :) First I want to see what kind of plant foods variety I have, then I’ll work on improving it as needed.

The plant foods that count include all whole, unprocessed plant foods. Included in this group is fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and intact whole grains (from Maryea’s Q & A).


Here’s a run down of the whole plant foods I ate on day 1.

  • Rolled oats
  • Banana
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Apricot
  • Raisins
  • Celery
  • Apple
  • Kale
  • Green onion
  • Grapes

Day 1 total: 10

1/4 of the way there! I know as the week goes on the daily number will be lower as I’ll eat a lot of these things again. I’m excited to see how it goes!

I’m going to share where I finish at the end of the day on Instagram with the hashtag #40plantfoodschallenge.

Thinking of joining?! You should! If not as a challenge, turn it into inspired self observation like me. :)

Here’s to a varied, healthy diet!



healthy on $75: week 2 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan


Weeks 2 and 3 were a bit off for me as far as grocery shopping and meals went.  Our vacation was in the middle of both weeks, so my shopping and eating will look a little different than normal for each week. I also didn’t have to cook a lot which made it different too.

What we ate


Friday: cheese (sharp cheddar and gouda), sausage and crusty bread plate (at home date night)


Saturday: greek lemon chicken and bean rice bowls


Sunday: burgers at the in-laws

Monday: BBQ chicken, bratwurst (extra from Friday), veggie salad left over from Saturdays chicken dinner, bbq’d broccoli, rice (also leftover), fresh fruit and unpictured (leftover) crusty bread {if I could eat this dinner every day I would!)


Tuesday: beef, cheddar and avocado burgers, salad with caesar dressing and freshly picked strawberries


Wednesday: spaghetti with beef sauce, asparagus and salad (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Thursday: Hawaiian chicken thighs, cabbage coleslaw, grilled cauliflower and rice (vacation meal I was in charge of for 12 adults and 4 toddlers)

Breakfasts were the same mix as before: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs + toast, blueberry yogurt pancakes and french toast with applesauce. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Lunches: tuna sandwiches, leftover rice bowls, deli sandwiches provided by my parents on vacation, lots of fruit always

Grocery haul breakdown

Again, lots of little extra trips… let’s see how I did.

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

Natural Grocers


  • Organic whole milk
  • 3 dozen cage free eggs
  • Bratwurst (on sale)
  • Extra sharp cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Feta
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Raisins
  • Natural cane sugar


Major savings from a living social I bought.  I spent $7.50 and got $25 to spend.  But, I didn’t need the sunflower seed butter.  That was a total extra.

Natural Grocer’s total: $18.55

Chuck’s Produce


  • Bananas
  • Ripe banana (discounted)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Onion (on sale)
  • Cucumber
  • Grape tomatoes (on sale)
  • Apricots


Chuck’s total: $11.92



  • Disposable diapers for Hunter + Zoe for travels (coupons used)
  • Disposable wipes (coupons used)
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee (clearance + coupon)
  • Foaming hand soap
  • Contact solution (coupon used)
  • Bag of avocados (coupon used)
  • Strawberries (coupon used)
  • Mint Oreos (I was promptly ignored when I told Jacob “it’s not in the budget”…)


Target’s total: 38.84

Philbrook Farms U-pick strawberries $1.45/lb


U-pick total: $11

Fred Meyer


  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Natural cane sugar (picked up for jam making)

Fred meyer’s total: $5.25

Oroweat outlet


  • 2 loaves of white bread for Jacob
  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread for Hunter/I
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns


Oroweat’s total: $4.40

Unpictured travel snacks the hubs picked up: water and chips

Total: $7

Unpictured trip to a market on vacation: brown and white rice, a lemon and half n half (organic)

Total: $10

Grand total for 8 places: 106.96

This is how my spending is when I don’t pay attention and plan well along the way.  Had I not gone strawberry picking and we hadn’t done extra vacation food spending, I would have been on target.  I really wanted to make jam though.  The  disposable diapers were an extra expense I don’t normally have.

I plan to balance this extra spending with staying under my budget the next couple of weeks of being back home and in a normal routine.

Still, I feel like there was savings, and here’s how I made that happen.

  • The living social deal I picked up saved me nearly 75%. Natural Grocers is a bit more spendy, but I actually ended up saving money by using the living social. I still have two more to use too!
  • Not cooking – I know this isn’t always an option for everyone (or myself), but with the vacation meals split and a get together I ended up not having to cook which meant less food to purchase.
  • I also brought organic chicken that I had purchased at home for a great deal, pulled from the freezer. Feeding 12 adults can be spendy, but I was able to keep the meal affordable by using up the last or my freezer chicken, using inexpensive veggies and bulking it up with rice. The teriyaki sauce I used was gifted from our neighbors, so I already had that on hand too.
  • I used lots of coupons at target saving me over $16.  Read how I coupon HERE.

My freezer supply of meat is dwindling, but as you’ll see over the next couple weeks, I’m already working on getting a small amount back in there.  And in a way that doens’t blow my entire food budget.

 What’s one item you happily splurge on?  Nut butters are always a favorite of mine.  We like good beer too.